Latest video’d settler shooting could defuse third rail in US discourse

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 13 Comments

Yesterday Annie posted on the shocking settler attack on unarmed Palestinians in ‘Asira al-Qibliya in the occupied West Bank, with Israeli soldiers standing by. Yossi Gurvitz notes the international attention to the incident and says that it should lead to removing the Israeli Defense Forces from the West Bank and replacing them with an international peacekeeping force:

Not only does [the IDF] support the transferring of Jewish population to occupied territories, which is a war crime, and not only does it protect this population (yet another war crime), it consistently allows the settlers to harm persons which according to the laws of war are under its protection. And the laws of war, again, are the only pretext for the IDF’s presence in the West Bank…

The IDF has had 45 years to prove it is capable of doing its duty as an occupying force; it failed. It’s time to bring forward a new military force, which can defend the indigenous population from the predatory one.

At the Atlantic, Robert Wright has jumped on the Asira al-Qibliya story:

settlers have repeatedly, with their impunity all but guaranteed, burned or cut down the olive trees of Palestinian farmers. And it helps explain why some settlers apparently feel comfortable shooting at Palestinians while Israeli soldiers are a few feet away. All of this notwithstanding the fact that the settlers live in the West Bank in violation of international law, whereas the Palestinians are there lawfully.

Wright is indicative of a major change in the climate: leading media figures understand that the Israel/Palestine story is a great important story and they are tired of its being a third rail in our politics.

Philip Giraldi at CNI says that the U.S. has reached a tipping point and the media are finally going to engage in a ferocious debate about the future of Israel:

now we Americans have finally reached our tipping point. Recently Peter Beinart, a Zionist and defender of Israel for many years, released The Crisis of Zionism, which explains how Israel has become an armed camp dedicated to repressing and even expelling its Palestinian helots. … The book has predictably provoked a firestorm of criticism from the pro-Israel establishment, but Beinart is not alone. Tom Friedman and Paul Krugman of The New York Times, both Jewish and both longtime friends of Israel, have voiced the same concerns, namely that Israel no longer represents the liberal and humanistic values that they themselves cherish. It has been noted in passing that young American Jews increasingly do not view Israel in positive terms, a sign, if one was needed, that the older generation that believes Israel is always right, no matter what it does, is passing into history. And it does not end there. Even the mainstream media is now, perhaps reluctantly, on board. [60 Minutes, etc]

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

Other posts by .

Posted In:

13 Responses

  1. Krauss
    May 22, 2012, 2:13 pm

    Too optimistic – at least so far. Wright has had a pretty progressive position on I/P for a long time. In fact, the Atlantic as a whole has slowly moved into his direction – note the Goldberg/Fallows debate. Fallows, the true liberal, is confounded by Goldberg’s aggressive ethnocentrism.

    Maybe that’s in part why Goldberg has slowly started to branch out to Bloomberg, perhaps he feels uncomfortable at the Atlantic? After Daniel Levy of J Steet posted his brilliant takedown of the hasbarists, where he casually mentioned Goldberg himself, Goldberg then snapped at the ‘lazy Atlantic editors’. When you lose that kind of discipline you know things are not okay. But, still, the Atlantic is Atlantic. It counts but it still isn’t as important as, say, NY Mag.

    I did notice that the UK Telegraph picked up this story. I’ve also noticed a more decisive turn against Israel from these papers, who have often taken a quite profound brainless approach to I/P where sloganeering and jingoism had replaced independent thought, but no longer it seems.

    Israel’s policy elite is right to fret about Europe turning against Israel, even the right is going into this direction. But America is still far to go, in part because our politics is much more beholden to special interest groups and monied donors than many European countries, if not all.

    I would be much more interested in watching the campus. California universities are spearheading this. A case in point:

  2. Annie Robbins
    May 22, 2012, 2:59 pm

    speaking of tipping pt, one definite sign is the general off the rails reaction coming from segments of israeli media. take for example the recent jpost article titled “Yes, all criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic!”

    where can they go from there? they are backing themselves into a corner, there’s only so much ad hominem the rest of us can take and they must know we read this hysteria.

    • lysias
      May 22, 2012, 3:18 pm

      I recommend reading Alistair Horne’s book about the Algerian war of independence, A Savage War of Peace. The pieds noirs European settlers were just as unreasonable, and over time they antagonized first their Muslim neighbors and then eventually more and more of French public opinion. (Pierre Leuillette’s war memoir Saint Michel et le dragon, which I just read, confirms this.)

      The world was lucky that the pieds noirs did not have nukes.

      • seafoid
        May 23, 2012, 3:51 am

        My wife’s aunt’s husband was a pied noir and she says when he moved back to France post 62 the family were shocked by his racism.

      • Sumud
        May 23, 2012, 6:25 am

        I’m not at all surprised by what you say seafoid.

        I interact with (white) South Africans from time to time in my job, and while I don’t like to make generalisations there is on occasion an arrogance in their attitude that I think is probably cultural baggage from the days of apartheid.

        The racism inherent in the Global War on Terror is pretty awful also…

      • seafoid
        May 23, 2012, 5:32 pm

        Isn’t it? I can’t believe the hostility that Muslims are exposed to now .

    • seafoid
      May 22, 2012, 4:06 pm


      there was one very interesting comment last week about how Israel has started talking back to its Jewish base in the US because once it loses them the game is up and it does all seem to be coming together very nicely.

      • Annie Robbins
        May 23, 2012, 2:14 am

        agreed seafoid.

        lysias, fantastic reviews for A Savage War of Peace.i ordered it. thanks

      • lysias
        May 23, 2012, 10:23 am

        I also recommend Bruno Pontecorvo’s movie The Battle of Algiers.

      • Annie Robbins
        May 23, 2012, 10:42 am

        got it…on my to do list. this is another segment of recent history i know virtually nothing about other than it happened. i need to get informed, it’s embarrassing sometimes how little i know.

  3. Elliot
    May 22, 2012, 4:06 pm

    Good job, Phil, putting the idea out there.

    A few years ago, the New York Times published a B’tselem picture of settler violence on its front page, above the fold. My response was to send B’tselem a check covering the cost of a video camera for Palestinian witnesses.
    In our age of constant police surveillance, it’s great to see citizens (in this case, occupied residents) use the camera a a mighty weapon.

  4. radii
    May 22, 2012, 4:27 pm

    yes, we here on the Mondoweiss comments well know that the tipping point has been reached – but it has not yet resulted in the tide turning … there is a trickle growing into a stream and in some places a river, but the flood has not yet come … when the flood comes today’s kind of zio-madness will be washed away … and, hopefully, the Palestinians can continue to emulate the US civil rights movement of the 60s and remain non-violent in the face of the ongoing horrors and war-crimes and put all their efforts of resistance in the form of video, audio, still images and information – the world is growing more and more aware of the zionist-Likkud thugs and serial war-crimes and as that knowledge expands it will not stand … the South Africa parallel is almost completely formed now and when that takes hold – it is curtains for the zio-thugs

  5. Patrick
    May 23, 2012, 1:58 am

    Phil it seems not so long ago that you thought that, for there to be real change in the US position, it would have to come from the Jewish community because they are so firmly embedded within the American establishment, and have so much influence. Yesterday, however, after attending the debate between B. Kristol and J. Ben-Ami you wrote of your depair over the prospects for the possibility of such change originating from the Jewish community. Now it seems you are more optimistic, but perhaps see change coming from other quarters.

Leave a Reply