Obama speech was shattering to liberal Zionists

Yesterday was a staggering day. It was as bad as when Obama went to AIPAC in June 2008 and said, Jerusalem must not be divided. Obama piped the hard-right Israeli line for the purposes of winning an election. It was a naked renunciation of everything he claimed to believe.

The speech has sent shockwaves through liberal circles. As Laura Rozen of Yahoo news, tweeted last night:

Worst month in US since Katrina? Feels like Obama has basically abdicated any moral authority on anything.

Rozen’s tweet is a harbinger of the fact that Obama’s speech will have a dramatic effect on American Jewish public opinion. All the people who believe in the two-state solution know that Obama’s inflexibility spells disaster for them.

Today the New York Times ran a Save-two-states-now piece by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that contains a rebuke to Obama for his spinelessness that I boldface:

“When I addressed international forums as prime minister, the Israeli people expected me to present bold political initiatives that would bring peace — not arguments outlining why achieving peace now is not possible.

This feeling is widely shared by American Jews who want to preserve Israel as a Jewish state. They are not in Rick Perry’s camp. Nearly 4/5 of Conservative rabbis are against the settlers, and many of them are ashamed of Israel. These are Peter Beinart Jews; they want Obama to take a stand against the occupation to save Israel. They want J Street to take on AIPAC.

The irony of course is that Obama’s collapse is a Jewish communal achievement. That is the thrust of Tom Friedman’s column of last Sunday attacking the powerful Israel lobby for holding Obama “hostage.” Friedman bit his tongue for years when it was Walt and Mearsheimer saying this– when it was just the Iraq war that was the issue. Jewish solidarity meant allowing the neocons and Jeffrey Goldberg to smear the scholars.

But now Israel is threatened by its own expansionist stiffnecked policies, and Friedman is laying the blame where it lies, on domestic political calculations.

Daniel Levy makes the same point in the New York Times:

“The U.S. cannot lead on an issue that it is so boxed in on by its domestic politics,” said Daniel Levy, a former Israeli peace negotiator in the government of Ehud Barak. “And therefore, with the region in such rapid upheaval and the two-state solution dying, as long as the U.S. is paralyzed, others are going to have to step up.” 

Obama’s speech is a greater shock to liberal Zionists than the ’06 Lebanon war or the Gaza onslaught or the Mavi Marmara raid. For this is not about Palestinian lives or Turkish freedom fighters. The Jewish dream of Israel as our liberation story is plainly dying before our eyes– in expansion, in militarism, in Israel’s defiance of its neighbors.

As Ilene Cohen writes in an email: “There’s a still-small Israeli and pro-Israel ‘community’ of pundits and politicians that recognizes that Israel will never shed its growing pariah/outcast status so long as it insists on sticking with its colonial Greater Israel project. To be clear, these people are motivated by concern for Israel; justice for Palestine and Palestinians is not really on their radar.”

Expect these American liberals to grow more and more vocal in days and months to come. You will see a renewed American Jewish push against the settlements, and a breakup of the old lobby.

Last night on the Nightly News, Andrea Mitchell said woefully that Israel has not faced a greater crisis since 1967: so isolated and alienated from its neighbors. The response in 1967 was war, conquest, occupation. Liberal Zionists know that those choices only hurt Israel. And now the two-state dream– once the fantasy of “leftists,” in the words of former Obama Treasury aide Stuart Levey back in 1985– is a shell, destroyed by the militant right wing.

Henry Siegman expresses Andrea Mitchell’s anxiety in more thoughtful terms at the National Interest:

Nothing will be the same again in the Palestinians’ dealings with Israel and the United States. The notion that Israel will decide where negotiations begin and what parts of Palestine it will keep is history. It is sad that America, of all nations, has failed to understand this simple truth, even in the wake of the Arab Spring. Sadder still is Israel’s continuing blindness not only to the injustice but also to the impossibility of its colonial dream. That dream may now turn into a nightmare as the international community increasingly sees Israel as a rogue state and treats it accordingly.

Siegman is moving past Zionism, slowly but inexorably. His journey will be widely imitated in years to come.

Consider that at Foreign Affairs, Gideon Rose has run Ali Abunimah. Consider that at the Jewish Community Center on the Upper West Side, the annual Sukkot lunch will feature an anti-occupation activist from Israel.  (thanks to the New Israel Fund).

It is true that the great majority of American Jews are still wed to Zionism, but our liberal intelligentsia is shocked by what Zionism has produced: Barack Obama imitating a fool, Rick Perry, to gain the approval of a racist, Avigdor Lieberman. An American Jewish spring is in the air.

P.S. Yesterday, in describing the Israel lobby as a Jewish entity, I suggested there would be no Christian Zionists demonstrating outside the U.N. I was wrong. Back to the drawing board!

Update: this post initially described Laura Rozen as a reporter for Politico. She’s now at Yahoo news.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 72 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Dan Crowther says:

    Expect these American liberals to grow more and more vocal in days and months to come. You will see a renewed American Jewish push against the settlements, and a breakup of the old lobby.

    Sure. Right up until the first sign of violence. I, for one, dont expect jews, liberal or otherwise to give up on zionism – which it seems, Phil does- no, that will not happen. Justice and peace are not going to be achieved by world Jewry, lets be honest with ourselves. No, the rest of the world will have to impose its will on Israel. If that bothers some in Israel and elsewhere, let me be clear, too fucking bad.

    • seafoid says:

      I also think we’ll see leftwing Israelis turn on the settlers, for what good it will do them.
      They have more to lose than US Jews. Their country is at risk. There was no crowing today on Ha’aretz. A pity of course the resistance only comes now. where were you in 1969, dudes?

      Actually I think it’s too late for Israel. The machine
      is too powerful. The IDF is the vector.

      • Citizen says:

        That IDF vector may be the one that takes the treads off the US tank when it’s already running out of gas.

      • Dan Crowther says:

        Seafoid-

        Thats how I see it happening(left wingers vs settlers n co.), but only after they have felt the pinch of a sanction regime by civil society- which is what is needed, in earnest, right now.
        With regards to “too late” –

        link to english.aljazeera.net

        “David Landau, former-Ha’aretz journalist and now with The Economist, was the most angst-ridden of them all. We should be rejoicing, he said, that the Palestinians under Mahmoud Abbas still want a two state solution and are not asking for ‘one man, one vote’.”

        translation: A-rabs gettin rights? Hell-Nah!! Ain’t Gonna Happen!
        (read in deep southern american accent, spit on the ground for full effect)

        Funny that racism will be the left’s motivation to “save” the country …… for the racists on the right. Go Racism!

      • MRW says:

        but our liberal intelligentsia is shocked by what Zionism has produced

        Then it should have listened to some of those genuinely concerned gentiles these past few years who tried to warn, instead of scoffing ‘who are you to talk about Jews’ and yelling “Anti-Semitism!” W&M tried. Look where it got them. Ditto Jimmy Carter.

  2. pabelmont says:

    “The irony of course is that Obama’s collapse is a Jewish communal achievement. That is the thrust of Tom Friedman’s column of last Sunday attacking the powerful Israel lobby for holding Obama “hostage.” ”

    Not a “Jewish communal” achievement, any more than the banking debacle of 2008-and-ongoing was a “Jewish communal” achievement. The BIG-ISRAEL (AIPAC) lobby, which is not even all Jewish, is (to the extent Jewish) the project of a very, very few very, very rich Jews. It IS the lobby, and not the American Jews, who hold Obama and the Congress hostage.

    Unless and until the Jewish community, as a whole, talks SERIOUSLY to its so-called leadership and tells them to back away from hard-line-Israel, and to make AIPAC a SHAMEFUL enterprise, however, the LOBBY is a Jewish communal enterprise by default, default of action, quiet where noise is needed.

    Am I agreeing with you, after claiming to disagree?

    • libra says:

      My goodness pabelmont, how naive can you possibly be about the Lobby? How can a handful of rich men have such influence without sitting on a very large base of support? It’s about much more than money.

      But perhaps the lightbulb has flickered into life. There are no doubt many people who know they should be speaking out but don’t. It takes courage to do so precisely because there are so many who will deliver the Goldstone treatment at the local level. But don’t for one moment think it’s just this big group of quiet non-Zionists versus a few rich Zionists with the world’s worst vanity project.

      • Keith says:

        LIBRA- “How can a handful of rich men have such influence without sitting on a very large base of support? It’s about much more than money.”

        Good point. The money is critically important, however, it is the popular support which gives the money legitimacy. The Zionification of organized American Jewry is an essential component of Zionist power. In this regard, anti-Zionist Jews are an important part of weakening American Zionism and support for Israel as a Jewish state.

        • yourstruly says:

          definitely so, keith

          this was apparent to me going on thirty years ago, upon returning from witnessing the ’82 u.s.-backed israeli war against lebanon

          joining up with palestinians i participated in a number of rallies, spoke on various tv/radio stations. what the rally organizers indicated to me was that back then, at least, a jew speaking out in favor of justice for palestine would be able to capture the public’s attention; more, perhaps, than would a palestinian, if only for the simple reason that the the pro-palestinian jew would be saying the unexpected. today there are many more jews siding with the palestinians, such that the novelty may be wearing off. at the time my hope was that my message would reach the general public, jews included. i believed (and still do) that it helps the “cause” for non-jews to see jews speaking out for palestine, help, in the sense that our presence in the struggle would encourage those afraid of being called antisemites or self-hating jews to stand up for palestine. the more jews who come out for justice in palestine, the more ridiculous the charge becomes, hence, the easier it is for others to join the struggle.

  3. Kathleen says:

    “As Ilene Cohen writes in an email: “There’s a still-small Israeli and pro-Israel ‘community’ of pundits and politicians that recognizes that Israel will never shed its growing pariah/outcast status so long as it insists on sticking with its colonial Greater Israel project. To be clear, these people are motivated by concern for Israel; justice for Palestine and Palestinians is not really on their radar.”

    Whether the motivation comes from selfish reasons or true humanitarian reasons. Let’s hope these liberal Zionist start to push hard for the halting of all building of illegal settlements and illegal housing in E Jerusalem—————-

    “That dream may now turn into a nightmare as the international community increasingly sees Israel as a rogue state and treats it accordingly.”

    The international community has recognized and defined Israel as a rogue state for a very long time.

    Thanks for all of the reports about the much needed and long overdue movement in the Jewish community

    • Citizen says:

      Wouldn’t it be fun to waltz in on Maddow when she’s on air being her snarky boyish self about the campaign horse race–with a big Palestinian flag?

  4. RE: “what Zionism has produced: Barack Obama imitating a fool, Rick Perry, to gain the approval of a racist, Avigdor Lieberman.” ~ Weiss

    SEE – IN RE: “Avigdor Lieberman is thrilled by a speech [Obama's] that called Israel the ‘historic homeland’ of ‘the Jewish people.’ ”
    (excerpt)…By referring to Israel as the ‘historic homeland’ of ‘the Jewish people’, Obama has – for the settlers in the West Bank and their supporters – acknowledged that “Judea and Samaria” are a legitimate part of Israel…
    LINK – link to mondoweiss.net

  5. Duscany says:

    Obama couldn’t be more pro-Israel than if he pre-enrolled both his daughters in the IDF (which he might just try if things are still looking really bad when next fall rolls around).

  6. Chespirito says:

    Disenchanted American Jews may turn against the AIPAC line, Netanyahu, settlements– but will they turn against unconditional American aid to Israel? As long as America pledges $3bn/yr in military aid no matter what Israel does in Gaza, Jerusalem, and the West Bank, Israel has no real incentive to change its behavior.

    Condemning the settlements is not enough. That, after all is the J Street line: criticism of the settlements combined with ironclad support for US aid to Israel–an incoherent line that will never produce any change. American Jews and non-Jews perhaps ought to focus on what we are most responsible for: America’s very active and destructive role in bankrolling so much ethnic cleansing and bloodshed.

    Why do American intellectuals like to talk about all things in the Israeli-Palestine conflict except for the outsized American role in it? Why is it so hard to get American intellectuals on both left and right to say, unequivocally, that US aid to Israel is wrong?

    • Citizen says:

      Not to mention the supplemental aid to that $3 billion yearly, with big doses of “emergency aid” quite frequent, or our underwriting of Israel’s debt by our endless loan guarantees that magically convert to freebie grants. Doesn’t the chattering class find it deeply ironic that Israel’s credit rating, thanks to US underwriting of its debt, has jumped to AA+ by S & P, who a month earlier downgraded US credit rating to AA-?

    • yourstruly says:

      american intellectuals on either left or right arent’t going to say, unequiocally or any other way, that US aid to israel is wrong, unless we force them to do so

      here in the u. s. of a.

      isn’t this our primary task?

  7. Sin Nombre says:

    “Obama speech was shattering to liberal Zionists”

    Oh yeah? You just watch how fast all those Humpty-Dumpty pieces suddenly—miraculously!—just by themselves!—jump back up and put themselves together again. Especially at the first little tiny outbreak of the inevitable violence that is to come—that starts to injure jews that is. No matter if it’s even launched by Israel. Or taken advantage of by Israel to claim the need to escalate it.

    Even if—so as to gather all those pieces back together again—that violence or escalation of same on Israel’s part includes an attack on Iran. Indeed, if anything, the ultimate Ace-In-The-Hole Guaranteed Wayback Machine To Jewish Solidarity.

    So these “liberal” Zionists are once again just gonna be hostages, and the fantasy of a One State Solution is gonna then (allegedly) roll on.

    In fact, reading all the gloomy news above folks here in general ought to be *pleased*: Denying Palestine statehood just advances that One State idea, right? Just means it’s the inevitable only alternative, true?

    Except … that this assumes Israel can be forced into essentially agreeing to dissolve itself thusly via pressure and shame about being apartheid and blah blah blah. But … it won’t. No moreso than it’s been sensitive to pressure over its settlements, or over its colonial status, and indeed even less so since a One State solution means the sure eventual vaporization of its entire existence.

    So what we’ve seen now is just another step towards the time that Israel begins annexing whatever it wants and just kicks out whatever arabs it wants, folds its arms across its chest and tells the World to go pound salt. And now it can do it knowing that it almost certainly is going to be able to accomplish such ethnic cleansing with the U.S.’s support.

    And then, aside from this or that little peep, see how miraculously quickly the “liberal Zionists” accomodate themselves to that. There will, after all, still be a place where they can go and not have to rub shoulders with the stupid goyim.

    • libra says:

      Sin Nombre, do you see any eventuality in IP that isn’t completely negative? Because I can’t see one in your analysis.

    • iamuglow says:

      I agree theres a good chance this will happen

      ‘another step towards the time that Israel begins annexing whatever it wants and just kicks out whatever arabs it wants, folds its arms across its chest and tells the World to go pound salt.’

      but I think it would be the endgame for Israel if they thought they could get away it.

      • Citizen says:

        I agree with Sin Nombre. I see nothing but the US going down hill, dragged down by Israel Firsters in America, aided by Christian fundies, Wall St, Ike’s favorite complex supplemented by HS which plants a Stasi here. I see China playing the “clash of civilizations” game very smartly, as it has played free trade and open markets. What will China do with a war on Iran? The “proposition nation’s”
        center will not hold because identity politics and increasing poverty will make e pluribis unum (sic) look like an old cub scout merit badge. Weimar Era wheel barrel full of cash for a loaf of bread or a garage full of cash for a big screen tv? In Florida the crime of stealing copper wire from outside air conditioners is getting rampant. A Wendy’s burger costs about $8.00. What’s the minimum wage?

        Re: “And then, aside from this or that little peep, see how miraculously quickly the “liberal Zionists” accomodate themselves to that. There will, after all, still be a place where they can go and not have to rub shoulders with the stupid goyim.”

        But that place might not be a safe haven anymore than the USA in the coming years. Israelis are already flocking to–Germany…

    • lysias says:

      And now it can do it knowing that it almost certainly is going to be able to accomplish such ethnic cleansing with the U.S.’s support.

      How much is that U.S. support going to be worth in 20, or 10, or even 5 years?

      The American economy is about to collapse. The American empire is dying.

    • Sin Nombre says:

      libra wrote: “do you see any eventuality [] that isn’t completely negative?”

      Accepting that “completely” can still mean something less than smoking nuke ruins all across the ME (although at least some of that may well still be in store!), and that “positive” means some reasonably fair result for the Palestinians, the short answer is nope. None whatsoever.

      Ask yourself some questions: Do you believe the Israelis will ever, all on their own, ever voluntarily agree to dismantle any of their major settlements? Or give up any of Jerusalem? (Indeed, haven’t they even seemed to be adamant on not even stopping the *further* gobbling of ever *more* West Bank land?)

      Okay, so if your answer to either of these is “no,” then ask yourself “Do you really believe American jews will ever really significantly break with Israel?” And then further that “even if they did … that this would so affect the U.S. as it would then force Israel against its will to do so?

      Once again I at least see the answers as no. Even if the Diaspora population here did break with their brothers, as the U.S. political system has now been so completely manipulated and penetrated by Israel, and (as it would naturally have been also striving for) it has achieved this in a self-sustaining way, that there’s no hope of the U.S. ever doing so. (After all when you’ve secured *billions* every year from the U.S. in cold hard cash that you can spend any way you want, what’s a few measly tens of millions of that to be plowed back into further manipulating and penetrating the U.S. system? As some might say “such a deal!”)

      Ordinarily of course one would have to consider that some reasonably foreseeable cataclysm might change the trajectory all this means, but I at least see none on the horizon. At worst a U.S. nuke strike on Iran, Syria or even Pakistan? But we’d win, and not suffer any cataclysm ourselves. And then, thanks to the manipulation/penetration, we’d be told it had nothing to do with Israel anyway.

      After that I suppose one might consider such things as … giant meteorite strikes or some such other things on that order, but…

      (And yet another question for iamuglow: And what will stop Israel from “getting away” with this? Given it has the U.S. to help it, who is gonna stop it?

      • iamuglow says:

        I don’t know who Nombre.

        Israel can win the short game by force, annexing more land, bombing Iran, etc…. but the long game, where you are feared or hated by all the nations in the world save for the US and Micronesia…I don’t think a tiny nation of 5 million people can keep that up for very long.

    • yourstruly says:

      this assumes that the arab/islamic world, as it has in the past, will be passive in the face of u.s/israeli aggression against its neighbors

      that the justice for palestine movement (BDS especially) won’t continue to grow

      that the doomsday scenario that’s unfolding (the effects of global warming and perpetual wars) won’t become increasingly obvious to more & more people

      that there’s no way that the spirit of those eighteen magical days in tahrir square won’t surface here in the good ol u. s. of a.

  8. Keith says:

    “Feels like Obama has basically abdicated any moral authority on anything.”

    At this stage of the game, with US militarism and neoliberal globalization run rampant, it is extremely difficult to imagine Obama having any moral authority to abdicate.

  9. iamuglow says:

    One thing I was optimistic about yesterday was how appalled commentors were of Obama on a couple of the NY Times articles. People get what is going on. They aren’t getting it from the MSM, but ‘liberals’ are putting 2 and 2 together on their own. They’re learning the score.

    Whether the commentors included ‘liberal Zionists’, I don’t know. Every 20 or so comments there would be one proclaiming …’you’re are all anti-semites’.

  10. I think Phil gives too much weight to the American jewish community in terms of effecting change. Change within that community is certainly important, but beyond that, a change in the general American public is more important.

    Despite already being assured of a US veto, Obama’s speech yesterday was abject groveling and the negative impact it will have on US interests around the world will be too obvious for the lobby to paper over.

    I think Israel’s backing of the US into that corner was gratuitous, one over-the-top push too many, and over-reaching on the lobby’s part.

    The obviousness of it will have play far beyond the jewish community and will become the object of public political discussion–which is absolutely what the lobby fears most.

    • Citizen says:

      True, an awakened Joe & Jane Doe is what the lobby fears the most, but don’t underestimate the average US goy’s steadily maintained ignorance of his country’s lethal love affair with Israel no matter what s–t hits the fan. I really can’t think of anything that would ignite a fire under his or her heine about Israel except reintroduction of the military draft; by the time that would be needed it would already be too late. Further, the new America doesn’t feel any duty to go be cannon fodder for an imaginary USA they know is a fiction. Patriotism is no longer an American value nursed from the crib on. That’s just chump work for fools. In this sense, the masses have caught up to the old ruling elite.

      • biorabbi says:

        I Presume you are a goy, so my remarks are to you. The most ardent zionists are not Jews, but American Protestants. They are not idiots, or dolts, but tens of millions of loyal Americans, more concerned for the well being of Israel and the Jewish people than their own in many cases.

        • john h says:

          >> “The most ardent zionists are not Jews, but American Protestants. They are not idiots, or dolts, but tens of millions of loyal Americans” <<

          The ones you mention are indeed idiots and dolts. They are far from being loyal Americans, their loyalty is to their false god called Zionist Israel.

        • Donald says:

          “The most ardent zionists are not Jews, but American Protestants. They are not idiots, or dolts, but tens of millions of loyal Americans, more concerned for the well being of Israel and the Jewish people than their own in many cases.”

          On this subject they are uninformed at best. I used to be one of them. I know others.

      • Mooser says:

        “I Presume you are a goy,”

        Your parents gave you an excellent set of manners, “biorabbi”.
        Yes sir, with an approach like that, I don’t see how liberal Zionism can fail. However, as your name indicates, it might be good for mulch, once it completely decomposes.

        Remind me to start any replies to you with, I presume you are a ki…., no that probably wouldn’t make it past the moderators.

        • john h says:

          A bit slow this time, Mooser. You’re dealing with someone who loves something that decomposes: biodegradable!

        • irishmoses says:

          I thought “goy” was just a neutral term for a non-Jew. Mooser, you seem to be saying it is a derisive term. Educate me as I refer to myself as a goy frequently on MW. Is there a more appropriate term; something nicer, along the line of “respected man of high-Irish intellect”? I’m sure you can think of something.

    • ToivoS says:

      Good comment pinewood. Obama’s “speech” is going to sit in the craw of the Lobby from now on. Not sure how this will play, but it does provide the Palestinian movement for justice more political freedom to get out from under that “peace process” nonsense that has been hamstringing them for the last two decades.

  11. Whizdom says:

    For the zionists, of a liberal bent, Obama repudiated us, and certainly failed to win the hearts and minds (And votes) of the Eretz Israel Bloc of American Jewry. who is advising the guy?

    The speech was an abdication, a capitulation, “other than the UN veto, which we will use at will, we resign as a broker for achieving a resolution to this intractable matter”. Domestic policy trumps foreign policy, and that’s all folks”.

    Negotiations are long gone. No Israeli leader can make the concessions necessary for a deal. Water, demilitarization, troop presence, settlement legitimization, ror. None of it.

    This thing needs external arbitration, the parties can never agree to a happy compromise. We just left the table as a honest broker.

    This is bad for Israel and bad for the US. heckuva job.

    • Citizen says:

      Cheer up, tune into Fox Cable New channel–the Republican candidates are now answering questions just for you.

    • seafoid says:

      “This thing needs external arbitration, the parties can never agree to a happy compromise. We just left the table as a honest broker. ”

      It needs external arbitration on how to structure Erez Israel into a single state of all its people. The 2 state solution died in the late 60s.
      Israel can’t pull out of the Territories because the occupation project was designed to ensure it never would. The Zionists got their popula
      qtion projections wrong. They have built an Erez Israel that is no longer fit for purpose. They threw everything into it and have degraded their society too but it is all for nothing.

  12. radii says:

    say it with me now, everybody, here are the talking points:

    “Zionism is a political enterprise, it does not define who is a Jew”

    “the goal of a ‘Jewish state’ was not to create a giant bunker no one dares stick their head out of”

    “Jews have been around nearly 6000 years, Zionism a little over 100 – the two are not equivalent terms”

    If there really is going to be a “Jewish Spring” that stirs up the tribe to save itself from its own crazies, they’d better get their asses in gear … I’m catching a whiff of the Too Late aroma wafting over the Atlantic already

  13. biorabbi says:

    Isn’t that dufas Beinart the prototypical liberal zionist so loved here at MW? I don’t like when he’s attacked. Shouldn’t liberal(progressives, sorry)stick together? After all, all the ills of the world are caused by zionism. Edrogan says so.

  14. tombishop says:

    Phillip,
    Check out this column by Sarah Posner on Salon.

    How Rick Perry courts the Zionist vote
    Appearing with Jewish extremists is designed to win over apocalyptic Christians

    link to tinyurl.com

  15. The disappointment of liberal Zionists is palpable.

    We remain Zionists, most of us, but insist on being present to see the birth of a viable, healthy, good neighbor Palestine.

    The healing of excess is not dissolution, but restoration to health.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      Of course you remain Zionists. You’ll chuck your affiliation with liberalism long before you’ll discard your adherence to the notion that Jews deserve the land that Palestinians have been living on for generations. In fact, in my estimation you’ve very much gotten a head start on that yourself.

    • radii says:

      oh, Witty, your last line actually makes me sad

      … you don’t realize the rabble have taken over over there – it is an ugly mob in charge now and they want land and blood and violence and will wear the world’s scorn as a badge of honor

      … I hate to break it to you, but there will be no “restoration to health” – no return to any kind of form of early Zionism you recognize and hold fondly in your memory and your heart

      the ugliness so many of us sought passionately to avoid is all but certain now, and some, like Phil and the activists who post and report here, have lives and futures at stake in the outcome

      • Mooser says:

        “… I hate to break it to you, but there will be no “restoration to health” –”

        radii, read Witty again. He obviously says it is the Palestinians who need to be restored to health.

  16. hophmi says:

    As a liberal Zionist, I really wonder what planet you’re living on. Exactly what in Obama’s speech or policy is not liberal you don’t make clear. I see no devastation amongst liberal Zionists.

    Also, the Sukkah event at the JCC is a New Israel Fund event. It should be no surprise that it features a leader of the J14 movement.

    • Donald says:

      The non liberal part of his speech would be this assumption that the Palestinians need the permission of their occupier before they can have their own state. It almost seems as though the US and Israel want the Palestinians to negotiate from a position of weakness, while settlement activity continues.
      So the Israelis have the legal status of having a state (while they happily continue to violate international law) and the full backing of the United States and the Palestinians grovel for whatever scraps their overlords might generously toss them.

    • Koshiro says:

      As a liberal Zionist, I really wonder what planet you’re living on.

      Not the one on which you can in any way, shape or form be classified as “liberal”, that’s for sure. You’re a plain old racist who sometimes makes the less than convincing attempt to dress up his racism by using “liberal” terminology.

      • Mooser says:

        “You’re not a liberal Zionist. You’re as crazy as the settlers.”

        Hophmi? Crazy as the settlers? Oh no, not ol’ Hophi! He lives in New York.

    • Cliff says:

      You’re not a liberal Zionist. You’re as crazy as the settlers.

      You deny the Nakba. You characterize it as ‘people not getting what they want’. You say that Palestinian civil society wanted to enslave Jews (hence, justifying the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinian majority).

      You also bring up the exodus of Jews from the surrounding Arab countries (which happened after the Nakba, and which is totally irrelevant to Israel’s crime of ethnic cleansing), as if Palestinians are responsible.

      You whitewash Israeli crimes and/or disassemble by accusing every SINGLE person who EVER criticizes Israel in the articles at MW as self-hating or paying inordinate attention to Israel.

      You’re not liberal in any rational sense. ‘Liberal Zionism’ is a slightly less disgusting brand of Zionism, but Zionism none the less.

  17. hughsansom says:

    What is the explanation for American behavior or, more specifically, Obama?

    I think the US is looking very much like the United Kingdom after World War 2. The US is utterly different in many respects (it hasn’t suffered they way the UK did in the war, for one thing, and it is vastly larger for another), but its painful inability to address reality is much the same.

    The age of American ability to dictate to the rest of the world is over. It can still dictate to Europe because the Europeans, and especially the British and Germans, are almost as delusional as the Americans (more delusional on issues like fiscal responsibility, less so on some others). But China, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa — all clearly understand facts the US won’t even admit.

    Obama is more a President for Our Times than I realized. He is essentially weak, risk averse, cowardly, dishonest, self-serving to the detriment of all but those whose approval he craves. He toadies up to bullies as if he will be made stronger by doing so.

    As for Israel, the question is how much horror will the US support Israel in visiting upon the Palestinians all so that a small band of bigots can exercise their sadistic inclinations.

    • seafoid says:

      + 1

      The Zionists spent so long climbing the ladder and they got to the top on Wednesday but the building they are leaning against is subsiding.

  18. petersz says:

    These fake “liberal” Zionists like Friedman are all the same. They are like the “liberal” white South Africans in apartheid South Africa who believed in rushing to create the bantustans to preserve it as a white state and then claimed they supported the right to self determination of the Blacks! But their racist colonial attitude is the same. As Bishop Tutu put it these people merely want to “polish the chains of apartheid”.

  19. jon s says:

    I, for one, am deeply disappointed by Obama’s speech. How could he state that he favors a Palestinian State, in the context of two states, yet oppose the declaration in the UN? He didn’t even mention the settlements, he didn’t refer to the 67 lines, he all but sang Hatikva.

  20. I just started reading “Lyndon Johnson, Master of the Senate” by Robert Caro.

    The book opens with a brief story of Johnson’s change from an enthusiastically loyal advocate for Southern Unity, segregation, over decades in Congress, to the enthusiastic and very subtle orchestrator of the passage of the first voting rights legislation in 1957, since 1875 (82 years).

    It describes the infuriating legal and administrative context for blacks in a small town in rural Alabama, with no legal recourse, let alone cooperative one.

    Nothing at all was truly threatened by blacks having the full right to vote, equal access to public goods and services (libraries, schools, public transportation), and equal rights before the law.

    The same holds true for Palestinians. Palestinians are human beings.

    Whether in a single-state, federal state, or two-state, they deserve enfranchisement and equal rights, and not later.

    • Donald says:

      I read that book a few years ago–it was very good. You won’t be wasting your time.

      And your post here was decent. Finish the book and think about the similarities to the current plight of Palestinians (who, if anything, face a more hostile enemy both in Israel and the US Congress than American blacks did in the 50′s). You seem to be doing this to some extent already.

    • Sumud says:

      Whether in a single-state, federal state, or two-state, they deserve enfranchisement and equal rights, and not later.

      So how this this relate to your often stated contention that jewish Israelis should have the permanent right to ethnically cleanse Palestinian Israelis? Have you changed your mind about that?

    • Keith says:

      RICHARDWITTY- “Nothing at all was truly threatened by blacks having the full right to vote, equal access to public goods and services (libraries, schools, public transportation), and equal rights before the law. The same holds true for Palestinians. Palestinians are human beings.”

      Richard, you appear confused. You are arguing that Israeli pretexts are not valid, apparently unaware that pretexts are never valid. They are used not because they are true, but because they serve a purpose. Zionism requires anti-Semitism to maintain itself and Israel needs enemies and threats to justify its militarism and hegemonic ambitions, and to hold Jewish Israeli society together in opposition to a common enemy. If Israel actually worked for and achieved a secure peace, and if the ADL were to admit that anti-Semitism was a relatively insignificant problem, Israel would likely fracture due to internal conflicts, and Zionism would simply fade away. And if you were to acknowledge the reality hidden by the mythology, you would abandon liberal Zionism for liberal humanism.

  21. eljay says:

    >> And your post here was decent.

    +1.