Future Democratic leaders at Harvard are ‘infuriated’ at Israel, ‘Haaretz’ reports

Again going where the American mainstream press is afraid to set foot, Haaretz has an excellent piece on the growing disaffection of American elites with Israel, written by Tom Dan, an Israeli at Harvard. (Thanks to Annie and Karen Platt).
 
“I cannot see one good reason we should continue supporting you guys over there,” says Dan’s classmate, Will, described as
 
a devout Democrat, who has participated in two campaigns for seats in the Senate and the House, and is well on his way to becoming a leading figure on tomorrow’s Capitol Hill. Like Will, more and more Harvard students are criticizing Israel.
 

Wake up and smell the coffee! Dan offers a sharp analysis of the American generational shift, culminating with the assertion that Israel’s hamhanded propaganda efforts have successfully aligned the left with the pro-Palestinian community. True. 

The Democratic Party’s old generation is still strongly committed to Israel’s well-being. The likes of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and even President Obama are still as pro-Israel as they come. Next election’s candidates will also be no different – rising stars like New York’s charismatic governor, Andrew Cuomo, or Newark mayor Cory Booker have done everything but bake us Valentine’s Day cookies. 

But if we scrape off these layers, as more and more old leaders are replaced by young ones, we find a bleak picture for Israel.
 
Another friend who graduated last year with high honors for his work in the Department of Government asked me rhetorically, in reference to the Israeli government announcement to expand the E-1 settlements near Jerusalem, the day after the U.S. voted against Palestinian statehood in the UN, “do you really think it makes sense for us to give you weapons as you keep embarrassing us?”
 
It is not so much the questions themselves that are worrying as their tone and the feeling of infuriation behind them. And sadly, our pathetic attempts at hasbara (public relations) have been failing…
 
No, despite our efforts, things will get worse. As long as the criticism came from Europe or better yet – from one of the hostile third-world cartoonish dictatorships that comprise most of the international community, we could feel safe. But we have done a wonderful job at aligning the American left more closely with the rest of the world.
 
…as much as it is convenient to blame it all on Netanyahu, what we see is a longer trend. The interest in Israel as a partner is diminishing as it becomes less clear how we are more than just a trouble-maker, and our presence in the West Bank is increasingly becoming more of an ideological problem for liberal Americans. It is not a coincidence that Hollywood – another liberal stronghold – has picked as Oscar nominees two films that are critical of the Palestinian problem.
 
I think this claim diminishes Dan’s moral authority:
 
The issue after all has nothing to do with any deep hatred toward Israel; but rather just a general fatigue with the delinquent child whose older brother is tired of having to protect him in the schoolyard.
 

If he is talking about the left, the disaffection is far more profound, and involves the fact that 1967 has blurred into 1948 in the rear-view mirror, and the whole project, of ethnic cleansing and Jewish nationhood, seems no liberal advance in society.


About Philip Weiss

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

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

  1. seafoid says:

    The generation gap is important. People in their 30s now don’t remember the 1960s.
    Israel built YESHA on very shaky assumptions about the endurance of 60s hasbara.

    • sardelapasti says:

      Seafoid – yesha, shmesha… it would be easier to understand if we used plain English. Not all of us know Modern Hebrew. And “hasbara” is a ridiculous euphemism for worse than the formerly worse propaganda.

      • seafoid says:

        Hasbara to me means “utter bollocks spoken by the incorrigibly mendacious” .

        • FreddyV says:

          ‘Hasbara to me means “utter bollocks spoken by the incorrigibly mendacious” .’

          That’s a t-shirt design you’ve got there……

        • lysias says:

          I just read Sarah Schulman’s Israel/Palestine and the Queer International. She describes how, shortly after she had received an invitation to address an LGBT conference at Tel Aviv University and she was still trying to decide whether to accept the invitation or to decline because of the boycott, she happened to see Netanyahu speak on television, and she was struck by his utter dishonesty.

        • lysias says:

          Here’s the critical paragraph on that in Schulman’s book:

          That week, Netanyahu arrived in Washington. I saw him on CNN, speaking to AIPAC, while I was at the gym. Normally, I would have watched long enough to register his affect, then changed the channel. But I was by then sucked into all things Israel/Palestine, so I watched. He listed specific actions by the Palestinians as proof of their lack of interest in peace. He talked about their naming a street after someone who had committed public violence that killed Israel civilians; he seemed to think this was the grand crime, not the occupation and domination of an entire people. I noted his physicality as he spoke – his lips, eyes, facial demeanor. He was not sincere. He was playing a game. I thought through the situation he described: the creation of Palestinian desperation. Then I realized that he is a perpetrator who pretends to be a victim. He blames his own victims for the consequences of his actions. I thought back to my earlier question, the one that came to me in Berlin as I watched Still Alive in Gaza. What do the right-wing Israelis think their actions will accomplish? Just from a practical point of view, how could they believe that their actions will produce their stated goals? It didn’t make sense before. Now it does. His goal is not peace, even though he says it is. His goal is land-grab. He wants it all. But he won’t say this out loud. He’s a liar. And so I watched him continue to lie. And then I listened to AIPAC applaud.

  2. pabelmont says:

    Israel delinquent? Merely delinquent? Well, maybe. USA pols probably regard Palestinians as dark and Israelis as light (skinned, an ever-so-important way of deciding moral and legal questions in the good-ole-boy USA, even today), and thus regards Isrealis’ high crimes as mere mischief (at worst).

    (Warning to USA pols: The Hispanics and Black voters may have other ideas about the meaning of skin color!)

    The other operative thing is the psychological tendency (brought up on one of the blogs yesterday I think) to refuse to stand up and speak out with what a person believes to be a dissident voice — a tendency which prevents one from learning that [a] many/most of the neighbors had the same view you secretly held and [b] they were silent for the same reason you were, the desire not to rock the boat. A matter of politeness, if you like, with ENORMOUS political consequences, since it operates as a form of censorship. Some CHURCHES have begun to challenge this tendency, and BDS and various campus activity — and this blog — do so as well. So perhaps the “politeness” of speak-no-evil will die out and a realistic appraisal of Israeli behavior (and of american interests) will soon take place.

  3. Dan Crowther says:

    What’s Will’s last name? Coward. A Devout Harvard Democrat Indeed.

    Haven’t we seen enough of “Ivy league lefties” to know they’re by definition, full of shit? “Will” will be a consultant for SDK Knickerbocker in a couple of years, and he’ll be laughing at his “righteous indignation” phase.

    And pardon me for noticing that the real objections here are cosmetic – don’t embarrass “us” (“us” meaning the rulers, or potential future rulers of the U.S.). Hardly a moral argument. I also love this equation, stated as if it’s Law of Science: Harvard Student + Political Interest + “left” leanings = Future Democratic Leader. Haha. Shame shame on ALL of us for buying into this nonsense…..like my man Noam says:

    “The whole educational and professional training system is a very elaborate filter, which just weeds out people who are too independent, and who think for themselves, and who don’t know how to be submissive, and so on — because they’re dysfunctional to the institutions.”

    • so will is the coward huh? A Devout Harvard Democrat Indeed.

      let’s review his words:

      I cannot see one good reason we should continue supporting you guys over there

      and from this you surmise the real objections here are cosmetic – don’t embarrass “us”

      hmmm.

      • Dan Crowther says:

        Why not his last name? What is this, alcoholics anonymous? I’ve had enough of anonymous quotes on this and many other subjects.

        - Daniel Crowther

        • bilal a says:

          It would be stupid to allow your name to be published stating ay criticism of the Jewish State: a career ending move before it even started, automatic insertion of you ad your photo into the ADL database archive:

          “The Library and Archives Department at the Anti-Defamation League is looking for an energetic, creative MLS candidate for an internship in archives management. ..Projects will include: …; expansion of the archival database by converting handwritten information to electronic format; creation of a digital photo archive.”

          link to jobs.code4lib.org

        • Why not his last name?

          why not ask the author? what evidence do you have Will had anything to do with it? why did Will become your target?

          i am just curious what you think of the point of the article. what if it had read ‘will smith’ said:” I cannot see one good reason we should continue supporting you guys over there.”

          would that have made the world of difference to you?

        • Dan Crowther says:

          Yes Annie, it would have made a world of difference to me. We are, after all, talking about leadership. What kind of real leader wouldn’t either announce himself in full or allow the author of an article that quotes him to use his full name?

        • so i guess that would be a no, you have no evidence to support your theory, you have not made any effort to contact the author or even find out if ‘will’ disallowed the author to use his name and your target of this article is the alleged cowardice of the person critical of israel. got it.

          just curious, why aren’t you calling all the other posters here cowards? after all, you communicate here all the time.

        • Dan Crowther says:

          “future democratic LEADERS infuriated at israel”

          I know you’re new to journalism, annie – but this headline is absurd when it’s thrust relies on ANONYMOUS QUOTES. It’s not hard to understand. I know most here would take a kind word about Palestine or a condemnation of Israel from Pol Pot as significant, but I’m just not impressed.

          As for Will – I really don’t care whether he allowed or disallowed, he obviously didn’t give his full name when he spoke – that much is obvious.

          And yes, I’ve called commenters here cowards before several times for posting anonymously, it’s their right to do so, but I don’t like it, especially here in the MW echo chamber, you think people would have the stones to own up to what they say. Whatever else is true about me, I do.

        • joemowrey says:

          Just to be clear, though apparently Dan does, I do not consider people who post anonymously to be cowards. Everyone has there reasons for anonymity. It’s a choice. But I do believe our opinions carry more weight when we are willing to put our names where our mouths are, so to speak. How much impact would Carter’s use of the word ‘apartheid’ have had if his book was published under an author’s name of “anonymous,” or some cute nickname, instead of his own. (Not that I consider Carter to be any kind of hero. In fact, he is a war criminal, like all U.S. Presidents, and should be on trial in the Hague.)

        • Dan Crowther says:

          I should qualify – I call anonymous commenters with extreme “Lobby Fetishes” cowards

        • I call anonymous commenters with extreme “Lobby Fetishes” cowards

          not here you don’t:
          link to mondoweiss.net
          link to mondoweiss.net

          you’re big on accusations of cowardice. but i’m not seeing seeing any comments meeting that qualification wrt one on one interactions here. funny you would be making it towards a person quoted anonymously who may have been a friend/acquaintance of the author never even known he was being used as a subject. you use the accusation frequently, as your archives attest. are you the antithesis of coward dan? the courageous one?

        • Dan Crowther says:

          Ha! Nice work. So you don’t like my use of the word “coward” – OK, fine.
          But look at who I call cowards. Tell me you disagree with me. You might not like my delivery, but I don’t think you can say I’m wrong.

          In my archive I use coward to describe: members of the MSM who do know better but refuse to cover this and many other issues in a way consistent with the truth, chickenhawk neo-cons and other associated war cheerleaders who have never signed up themselves ( something i find uniquely disgusting); anonymous lobby fetishists, and yes, guys like “Will” who, with a “trembling voice, as if the 200-year-old ceiling would cave in the second he opened his mouth” gives some extremely mild criticism about Israel, to a reporter, at dinner, without his last name attached.

          I’m having a really hard time believing a kid who would tremble in fear as he delivered his criticism didn’t ask the guy to retract his last name – that’s just me though.

          This isn’t about me, Annie. You can stop making it personal. It’s about taking a look around and asking, “are we even discussing reality, or are we taking any mention of pov’s that agree with our position and amplifying them?”

          The tag line is still “the war of ideas in the middle east”. Syria is on fire, and the war is about to extend to Lebanon. There’s more killing in Iraq now than there was before we left. Turkey has re-newed arms trade with Israel, just as many of us predicted, as both countries, along with the West, take aim at Syria and their own internal “problems” – the Palestinians for Israel, the Kurds for Turkey. Libya continues to be a nightmare, Mali and the rest of Africa are now firmly in the sights of NATO, Obama just put boots on the ground in Niger, another drone base. Pakistan is on the breaking point, Iranians can’t get basic goods, Egyptians are fighting another tyrant and the Kings or Emirs of Saudia Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Bahrain and Yemen are all buying large amounts of weaponry from the US, including drones as they fight the counter revolution. In other words, Barry’s done a remarkable job of “getting the band back together” even as he pivots to Asia.

          So while I support Will’s in his views, and hope he continues on with them, I wonder why they’re important. The game, as it were, is almost up – the bad guys are on the five yard line. All they need now is a big enough spark…..

        • Keith says:

          DAN CROWTHER- “In other words, Barry’s done a remarkable job of “getting the band back together” even as he pivots to Asia.”

          I agree completely, and that is why Glen Ford calls him the more effective evil. The US, Israel, Britain and France are all warfare states, their economies geared to militarism even as they privatize the commons. The Middle East and Africa the objects of the new cooperative imperialism. And let us not forget tar sands oil and fracking. And while I don’t want to be too judgmental, it does seem as if a lot of important and relevant topics are not being discussed even as relatively minor stories receive emphasis.

          “The game, as it were, is almost up – the bad guys are on the five yard line.”

          I share your sense of urgency. Things are grim and getting grimmer. And I don’t see necessary change occurring, certainly not within the time frame to stave off disaster.

    • joemowrey says:

      “Haven’t we seen enough of “Ivy league lefties” to know they’re by definition, full of shit? “Will” will be a consultant for SDK Knickerbocker in a couple of years, and he’ll be laughing at his “righteous indignation” phase.”

      I agree with Dan. Once “Will” grows up and smells the Lobby (and DNC) coffee he’ll be towing the line like all good Ivy league so-called lefties. That’s how he has been conditioned throughout his educational life here in Corporatastan (the U.S.) . Bluster away with a few semi-intelligent objections now and then to make it look like you understand the concept of critical thinking, but in the end, tow the line so you can cash in by being a shill for the status quo.

      I also heartily agree with Dan about the whole “anonymous” thing. As someone who uses my name whenever I comment anywhere, (and it is my real name) I find it absurd (if not sad) that so many commenters at this and other feisty sites use “handles” instead of their actual names. What is this, CB radio land? If you have an opinion you aren’t ashamed to express, why hide behind a funny nick name? Courageous people like Phil and Adam and Annie sure don’t. (At least we assume they are using their real names!)

      • Djinn says:

        Because some of us want to be able to get back into Palestine, which is hard enough as it is without Israeli authorities being able to google your name and instantly deduce that you’re *not* actually there to see the fabulous historical sites.

      • Keith says:

        JOEMOWREY- “I also heartily agree with Dan about the whole “anonymous” thing. As someone who uses my name whenever I comment anywhere, (and it is my real name) I find it absurd (if not sad) that so many commenters at this and other feisty sites use “handles” instead of their actual names.”

        Screw you, Joe. Of what significance is my last name to you? What difference would it make? In this age of surveillance, what would be gained by me targeting myself? Are you unaware of the harassment that Noam Chomsky, Israel Shahak, and Norman Finkelstein endured because they were well known? Are you unaware of the actions of the Zionist cadres? Why risk it? Mondoweiss knows who I am. You can go ‘F’ yourself, oh self-righteous one.

        • sardelapasti says:

          Keith – I’ll second and even third that. These guys either don’t even know where they live or they are provocators or something.

        • Citizen says:

          I use to post comments under my real name. After getting hacked a few times I now use a pen name.

        • MHughes976 says:

          I understand that people may have a good reason to wish for anonymity. However I’ve long assumed that if the Israeli secret police wanted to know about me they would call their friends in the British secret police for whom identifying me would be the work of a minute. I’ve also assumed that the use of a pseudonym would delay things by about two minutes, since the legal protections of citizens against the fiery eye of Leviathan exist (surely!) only for fun and the information I reveal casually would for an expert go a long way towards narrowing down the list of people I could be. Or am I placing too much faith in police technology?
          - Martin

  4. I think this claim diminishes Dan’s moral authority

    the schoolyard line really jumped off the page, didn’t it? the article’s focus was on the israel/us relationship and what he described as “the damage to Israel’s interests.” before the schoolyard line one could imagine perhaps dan just wasn’t addressing the implications of what israel (and US) policy means to the lives of millions living under occupation for generations. sad.

    • Alex Illi says:

      The mayor loss of moral and intellectual integrity occured already when expressing the grotesque worldview that the “majority” of countries were “third-world” “cartoonish” “dictatorships”.

      And on top of that, of course, “hostile” .

      But I can accept truth even from a mouth sometimes talking nonsense.
      I can also understand Mondoweiss and it’s readers are focused on the US-Palestine-Israel-etc.-situation, but still it’s a quite disturbing that ‘no-one’ (*hold it, now I’ve seen that W.Jones has noticed it -well done!) has pointed out that this absurd world-view is not consensus here, even though from what I know about the main of the navel-obsessed, xenophobe US- & Israel public it seems clear to me that thus is the conventional irrational world-view of most of their citicens – the majority of the world were “hostile” “cartoonish” fiends.

      From such a self-fullfilling, worldview only trouble can arise.
      E.g. when I read that most US-based criticism on the drone-killings is concerned solely with the “poor US-citizens” under potential threat of being targeted.

      Greetings from Ghana,
      which the author would probably declare being among the “cartoonish dictatorships”, but where I feel less in threat of being dictated upon than I would in the USo’A and Israel.

  5. Mndwss says:

    “It is not a coincidence that Hollywood – another liberal stronghold – has picked as Oscar nominees two films that are critical of the Palestinian problem.”

    Is it not strange, especially in this situation to use words like “the Palestinian problem”?

    As if it is Palestinians that are the problem.

    With all the history of the Jewish Question/problem that ended in the Final Solution, how can an Israeli Jew talk about victims of oppression like that?

  6. Citizen says:

    @ Mndwss
    Ah, looks like the perennial “Jewish Question is still with us after all these years, for both Jews and Gentiles alike. It sure has a long historical legacy, doesn’t it? It weathers every storm, and every dawn of blissful light, doesn’t it? And the Jews will keep celebrating their own version of world history, in short, as, “They tried to kill us, we won.”

    What has ever been won?

    There’s something wrong with this age-old pattern. What is it?

    • yrn says:

      “They tried to kill us, we won.”
      What has ever been won?

      We are still here…… this is our win.

      Hard for you to understand, as you were never in this position and situation……………….

    • biorabbi says:

      What is wrong with this age-old pattern?

      Did the Spanish Inquisition solve the Jewish problem, did the Final Solution? Does Israel? Will the absence of Israel solve the Jewish Problem?

      My only Jewish problem is where to find good cheesecake in Little Rock. As far as I can see, there is no Jewish problem, just as there is no black or Muslim problem… to paraphrase a learned rabbi from another generation, you simply have an eye problem.

  7. W.Jones says:

    “As long as the criticism came …from one of the hostile third-world cartoonish dictatorships that comprise most of the international community” AKA one of those goofy impoverished places that comes after the words “MADE IN” on everything I use.

  8. Bumblebye says:

    Meanwhile, at Oxford University, George Galloway donned his coat and stomped off when he realised his debate opponent was not just a student, but an Israeli. He has been accused of racism as a result:
    link to guardian.co.uk

    “Galloway interrupted the third-year philosophy, politics and economics student at Brasenose college when Aslan-Levy used the word “we” in reference to Israel.

    “You said ‘we’,” said Galloway. “Are you an Israeli?”

    “I am, yes,” Aslan-Levy replied.

    “I don’t debate with Israelis. I have been misled, sorry,” Galloway said, standing and putting on his coat, then reiterating as he walked out: “I don’t recognise Israel and I don’t debate with Israelis.””

    • Woody Tanaka says:

      The allegation of racism are nonsense. Galloway isn’t saying that he will have no interaction with Israelis, but only that he won’t debate them. By definition, all he is saying is that he will not give a benefit to those who favor the continued oppression of the Palestinians by permitting them to appear on stage with Galloway.

  9. jon s says:

    See the video in bumblebye’s link.
    Disgusting.

  10. bilal a says:

    Is there another function for Israelis at Western Universities, ie Birthright might have anotherunspoken national security agenda ?

    from Haretz:

    Zygier, Paul Y. and David Z. all had dual citizenships and worked at a Milan company, according to the report. All three had also changed their names several times.

    The report adds that Paul spent a significant amount of time in Syria, Iran, Egypt and Dubai. David has visited Iran a few times. All three were followed by Australian intelligence services, and David – who also has a British passport – was also followed by the MI6, the British intelligence service.

    link to haaretz.com

  11. Donald says:

    “the disaffection is far more profound, and involves the fact that 1967 has blurred into 1948 in the rear-view mirror”

    That’s a pretty clever way to put it. I’m gonna wait a decent interval and then steal it as my own.

  12. ToivoS says:

    involves the fact that 1967 has blurred into 1948 in the rear-view mirror, and the whole project, of ethnic cleansing and Jewish nationhood, seems no liberal advance in society.

    This rear view mirror metaphor by Phil is very good. It helps explain something that I have noticed in the last decade. That is the debate, at least within the the left, includes 1948 and ROR with increasing frequency. One still hears liberal Zionists referring to ROR as merely a formal issue that can be solved cosmetically as if today is the same a 2000 when then, in fact, it could have been. Today is different. Too many view 1948, 1967 and continued settlement expansion as different phases of the same phenomena of colonialism, displacement and ethnic cleansing.

  13. ckg says:

    Unfortunately, future Republican leaders at Liberty University are fawning over Israel.

    • lysias says:

      Unfortunately, future Republican leaders at Liberty University are fawning over Israel.

      As the Republican Party is doing a good imitation of committing suicide.

  14. RE: “The issue after all has nothing to do with any deep hatred toward Israel; but rather just a general fatigue with the delinquent child whose older brother is tired of having to protect him in the schoolyard. ~ Tom Dan

    IN OTHER WORDS: Americans are getting sick and tired of acting as enablers of Israel’s brutish, delinquent behavior.

    JACLYN FRIEDMAN (from “It’s Time for Some Israel Real Talk”):

    [EXCERPT] . . . I love Israel. As an American Jew, the dream of Israel has held me in thrall since I was a small child. The day I wept at the Wailing Wall was one of the most transcendent and emotional of my life. But loving someone doesn’t mean helping them do whatever destructive thing they want. Call that enabling or co-dependence, but it’s not love. I love Israel like I’d love a drunk friend who wants their car keys. . .

    SOURCE – link to prospect.org

    P.S. REGARDING “ENABLING” AND “CO-DEPENDENCE”, SEE THIS COMMENT AND THE P.S. BELOW IT. – link to mondoweiss.net

  15. MRW says:

    This just up on HuffPo: Tim Tebow Officially Puts Evangelical Right on the Sideline

    In an astonishing turn of events, Tim Tebow has now cancelled his appearance at First Baptist Dallas; and in doing so he has officially placed the political religious right to the far margins of society. . . .

    Like many evangelical young people, Tebow seems to care more about loving and being loved by Jesus than the politics that too many automatically associate with Him.

    In his press release Tebow mentions that he was looking forward to sharing “Christ’s unconditional love” at First Baptist Dallas. Apparently Tebow, like so many of his evangelical brothers and sisters, now feels that the religious right is no longer a place where that can be done.

    link to huffingtonpost.com

  16. seafoid says:

    “The Democratic Party’s old generation is still strongly committed to Israel’s well-being.”

    Israel has the equivalent of terminal cancer.
    The Dems are providing it with the political equivalent of six packs of cigarettes and 2 bottles of Jack per day.