Fear that Israel is becoming ‘South Africa on the Mediterranean’ is expressed in Park Avenue synagogue

US Politics
on 38 Comments

The UN Security Council resolution against settlements will have the effect of mainstreaming the BDS movement (boycott, divestment and sanctions) and lead to “mass boycotts and sanctions,” a leading liberal Zionist told a Jewish audience in New York last night.

Michael Koplow, policy director of the Israel Policy Forum, said at the Park Avenue Synagogue last night the UN resolution will lead to “much harsher measures” from European countries:

If Israeli settlement policy continues as it has, world opinion is gong to harden further, and… Israel is going to be facing a larger prospect of mass boycotts and sanctions than it has up until now. Up until now, it has mainly been the province of the BDS movement and it has not been government driven.  I think that with the UN Resolution and with the fact that most countries particularly in Europe do not view the current Israeli government as being serious in a real way of limiting settlement growth and negotiating with Palestinians for a Palestinian state, I think that it is likely that if things continue apace, we will see official governmental efforts that target the Israeli economy. The labeling of settlement goods was sort of a baby step in that regard. I think we’re likely to see much harsher measures down the road.

Koplow was responding to an audience member’s question about whether Israel is about to become “South Africa on the Mediterranean.”

Liberal Zionists still monopolize the U.S. establishment discourse, of course; and they are in crisis today. Israel’s political leadership is dominated by rightwing settlers and their friends; while Donald Trump could give a green light to Israel’s annexation of the West Bank.

Yesterday in the New York Times, liberal Zionist Roger Cohen lamented that the Security Council resolution was too little too late. Obama had displayed “political cowardice” on the Israel issue for eight years because of “domestic political” concerns (meaning, the Israel lobby), until the “obscene” flurry of activity at the end. Cohen says John Kerry was “honorable” but Obama was a coward.

Kerry’s speech [of December 28] was almost three years in the making. He should have made it in April 2014, when his diplomacy collapsed. Obama said no. There were the midterms, then there was the Iran deal to negotiate, so better not to anger Israel further, and finally there was the U.S. election in November. In America there is always a domestic political reason for not doing the right thing on Israel-Palestine.

Cohen doesn’t believe the two state solution is viable anymore; and he faults Israel.

I doubt that solution remains viable. But let’s be clear on the settlements. They may or may not constitute a primary cause of the conflict, but they do demonstrate Israel’s decades-long commitment to building in a way that makes a viable Palestinian state impossible. You cannot be a Palestinian in the West Bank watching the steady growth of Israeli settlements, outposts and barriers without concluding that Israel’s occasional murmurings about a two-state peace are mere camouflage for a project whose objective is to control all the land in perpetuity without annexing it.

The flaw in Cohen’s argument is that he cannot say how powerful the lobby is that produced such cowardice in Obama. Almost all American Zionists (including The Israel Policy Forum) opposed the UN Security Council resolution; and it is this faction that compelled Obama to veto a similar resolution in  2011 at the U.N. Today the Democratic Party is in revolt against that Obama decision because of the strength of pro-Israel Jews in the party.

What was Obama up against? Here is liberal Zionist fellow-traveler Michael Tomasky in the Daily Beast blasting Obama for taking on Netanyahu.

[Failure #5] Overplaying His Hand With Bibi Early On. This has nothing to do with the merits of Obama’s position on the settlements, but too much pressure too soon on Netanyahu started a downward spiral in the dynamic that could never be fixed. Democrats in Congress came to Bibi’s defense publicly and privately, and Obama was isolated against Likud and its bipartisan supporters. Bibi trolled him to death in subsequent years—but only because he knew he could.

Yes, how did Netanyahu know that he could? How did Netanyahu know that the US was something that could be easily moved? Tomasky and Cohen honor that pressure by failing to name it.

Ron Kampeas also honors that pressure in a column at the JTA where he criticizes Obama for sometimes offending Jewish audiences. He cites the example of a 2008 meeting with Cleveland Jewish leaders.

[T]hen, during a Q&A, Obama said, “This is where I get to be honest and I hope I’m not out of school here. I think there is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that you’re anti-Israel, and that can’t be the measure of our friendship with Israel. If we cannot have a honest dialogue about how do we achieve these goals, then we’re not going to make progress.”

Some folks in the room said later that their jaws dropped (to be fair, others said the meeting went over well). The Likud was not then in power, but it was a major party in Israel, and as president he would likely have to deal with it. Indeed, his eight years in office almost wholly coincided with Likud-led governments.

So Obama had the temerity, as a liberal Democrat, to criticize rightwing Israelis. I guess he learned his lesson.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

38 Responses

  1. just
    January 18, 2017, 12:05 pm

    “UN resolution will lead to ‘mass boycotts and sanctions’ of Israel …”

    Yes, please!

    • inbound39
      January 18, 2017, 4:54 pm

      Couldn’t agree with you more there just……sanctions are long overdue. American taxpayers need to look at the humungous deficit they currently have in the trillions and ask why billions are being paid out to Israel in aid and weaponry which obviously is majorly being used to fund an illegal occupation and collective punishment of Palestinians. All that makes Americans complicit in Israeli War Crimes. Americans need to come out and say loudly no more of this Special Relationship with Israel. Declare AIPAC a foreign agent and weed the Pro Israeli’s out of government. They are putting Israel first and not America. Look at what it is in reality costing America…..look at the President AIPAC decided you would have…..Donald Trump…..the ultimate insult to America and all it previously stood for. Pro Israeli’s have made a laughing stock of America.

      • pabelmont
        January 18, 2017, 8:03 pm

        American taxpayers buy aircraft that the Armed Services don’t want because BIG-DEFENSE (or should I say BIG-ARMS-MAKERS) want to sell them to the USA and that means selling them, in effect, to the Armed Services. Congress bows to the MIC. And similarly, it bows to AIPAC (BIG-ZION). We’ve made our political bed so that political decisions are made to profit Fat Cats (the “BIGs”) rather than the public or the national interest (whatever that may mean).

        Let’s all watch as BIG-PHARMA and BIG-INSURANCE defeat single-payer health care (again) io Post-Obamacare as they did originally in Obamacare. Let’s look with delight as BIG-OIL and BIG-BANKS put their stooges into all the cabinet posts in Trump’s gift — and think of our powerlessness to avert Climate change or the net financial bubble.

        Pfui.

        Hillary was defeated but her backers seem to have won.

      • Mooser
        January 18, 2017, 11:27 pm

        “American taxpayers buy…/…or the net financial bubble.”

        Gee, and I thought the Republicans had something to do with it. They don’t even rate a mention.

    • Yoly
      January 19, 2017, 7:11 pm

      Becoming? No, become.
      Yo

  2. Annie Robbins
    January 18, 2017, 12:13 pm

    The flaw in Cohen’s argument is that he cannot say how powerful the lobby is that produced such cowardice in Obama

    the flaw in cohen’s argument is that he himself is a coward. a primary talking point on the right is that settlements are not the problem. so what does he say, before explaining how and why settlements are very much the problem:

    let’s be clear on the settlements. They may or may not constitute a primary cause of the conflict

    yeah, they are definitely a primary cause of the conflict. israel continuing to expand and take over all the land, is a primary cause of the conflict and requires and occupation of palestine to facilitate/secure. if they were not expanding, they wouldn’t need to occupy the rest of palestine, they could end the occupation.

    but i agree with you, he should have mentioned the lobby of course. (slight caveat, i have not read the article because i only get 10 free nyt articles a month. cohen just doesn’t rank as a top priority for me).

    • just
      January 18, 2017, 12:31 pm

      It is the classic cowardice found in “liberal Zionists” everywhere.

      I just love the way that these guys freely lambaste the US President, yet stroke poor wittle Netanyahu:

      “Failure #5] Overplaying His Hand With Bibi Early On. This has nothing to do with the merits of Obama’s position on the settlements, but too much pressure too soon on Netanyahu started a downward spiral in the dynamic that could never be fixed.”

      Never mind that all of them (and many more) contributed to the massive and intentional deception of the American people and the world~ all the while protecting Israel first.

      The fault lies with Mr. Obama not applying enough sustained pressure from the git- go.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 18, 2017, 1:23 pm

        just, too much pressure too soon on Netanyahu

        bwahhhh poor lil bibi

      • Citizen
        January 18, 2017, 7:37 pm

        Obama should have backed up his dusty Cairo speech by voting YES in 2011 UN SC vote on the settlements. Instead, he vetoed it, and Cairo speech stayed in the dusty closet. He abstained in his final hours. He should have mentioned the undue influence of the lobby today, during his farewell address. Adding his name to Washington’s farewell (no special foreign entanglements) , and Ike’s farewell (beware the MIC). Instead, he just wants to join that exclusive Jewish golf club, get his library paid for, find takers for his speeches and books. Penny Pritzker there, from start to finish–and beyond.

      • David Nelson
        January 18, 2017, 9:22 pm

        erased comment, do not post, olmert was PM in 2008

  3. Philip Weiss
    January 18, 2017, 12:21 pm

    Missed that! Youre right annie

  4. inbound39
    January 18, 2017, 4:56 pm

    GREAT article Phil!..Huge thumbs up!

  5. pabelmont
    January 18, 2017, 8:40 pm

    Trouble is, that just as the MSM don’t tell Americans what’s actually happening in I/P, and don’t tell Americans what AIPAC et al. are doing (and what their power is); so too MSM doesn’t tell Americans that these talking-heads are playing the cover-up game.

    Americans who read MondoWeiss or Electric Intifada or the like know these things and ‘exist’ in a world essentially alien to the world occupied by most Americans.

    I know the feeling of being nekulturny: I listen to classical music, mostly chamber music which I also play, and don’t listen to jazz, pops, swing (!), R&B, hip-hop, or any other manifestation of popular music. And as a consequence I am totally out of touch (musically) with most of America. Readers of MondoWeiss are nekulturny in the sense that we “know” stuff that most American s don’t and (perhaps) vice versa.

  6. Mooser
    January 18, 2017, 11:16 pm

    Don’t know what to think of this:

    “Palestinians Ask Putin to Use Influence Over Trump”

    More links to source at link.

    • eljay
      January 19, 2017, 7:16 am

      || Mooser: … “Palestinians Ask Putin to Use Influence Over Trump” … ||

      This won’t go over well with people who:
      – dislike Putin, Russia and/or Trump; and/or
      – believe that Putin / Russia meddled in the recent U.S. election.

      To others, it may make the Palestinians seems (more) impotent.

      • inbound39
        January 19, 2017, 3:02 pm

        They can’t look anymore impotent than they already are eljay. They only have rocks and rudimentary unguided rockets to resist with. And American and UK governments et al stand and watch as Palestinians get slaughtered….it’s disgusting and lacks honour and integrity.

      • eljay
        January 19, 2017, 3:46 pm

        || inbound39: They can’t look anymore impotent than they already are eljay. They only have rocks and rudimentary unguided rockets to resist with. … ||

        I didn’t mean it in a physical / military sense. I was thinking more along the line that there are undoubtedly people who perceive the Palestinian side of the I-P issue as being legally / morally / historically weak, and this perception will only be strengthened by the Palestinians’ latest move.

      • echinococcus
        January 19, 2017, 4:55 pm

        Come on, it’s not “Palestinians” but the Zionist puppets Abbas and Erekat. If they want the US to consider their plea not to move the embassy to the illegally occupied International zone, all they have to do is to ask their boss in the Zionist entity government to transmit their request: the Yahoo (or any Z politician) has a lot more pull with the US than Mr Putin can have.

      • Mooser
        January 19, 2017, 7:08 pm

        “the Palestinians’ latest move.”

        I am going to need some more confirmation that this is indeed “the Palestinian’s latest move”.

      • eljay
        January 20, 2017, 7:27 am

        || Mooser: … I am going to need some more confirmation that this is indeed “the Palestinian’s latest move”. ||

        This changes things a bit, IMO:

        … The Palestinian president has also reportedly sent letters to the leaders of China, and the European Union, asking them to “spare no effort” to stop the US from moving its embassy. …

      • Mooser
        January 20, 2017, 12:01 pm

        “This changes things a bit, IMO:”

        Thanks, “eljay”. The EU, and China, and Russia? So Trump can claim to trump (so to speak) the EU, China and Russia by moving the Embassy.

    • Mooser
      January 19, 2017, 4:49 pm

      “eljay” thanks for noticing. Does it make any sense to you? Makes none to me. Although TPM is usually reliable, maybe they bit on something.

      So if Trump doesn’t move the Embassy, he is being influenced by Putin? (Russia runs Trump!)

      And if he does move it, he is defying Putin? (Trump is tough and not influenced by Putin!)

      That’s the position the PA wants to put Trump in?
      Doesn’t make sense.
      So Trump can earn cheap anti-Putin points by moving the Embassy, and the move becomes a blow against Russia, not Palestine or the status of Jerusalem?

  7. Kay24
    January 19, 2017, 2:22 am

    So watch out for Nikki Haley to get a few calls/usual threats, and change her tune.

    Trump’s UN Pick Nikki Haley Tells Senate: Israeli Settlements ‘Can Hinder Peace’
    During first confirmation hearing, Haley says she supports the two-state solution, but doesn’t believe UN is forum to discuss Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.765916

    • eljay
      January 19, 2017, 7:53 am

      || Kay24: … http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.765916 … ||

      … The UN is not the right forum to deal with issues like the settlements and Palestinian statehood, she said. …

      Seriously? I suppose she also thinks the courthouse is not the place to deal with issues like the rapist’s on-going crimes and the victim’s right to freedom and justice.

      • amigo
        January 19, 2017, 1:15 pm

        “Seriously? I suppose she also thinks the courthouse is not the place to deal with issues like the rapist’s on-going crimes and the victim’s right to freedom and justice.” eljay

        There you go again.

      • eljay
        January 19, 2017, 2:54 pm

        || amigo: … There you go again. ||

        MW management hasn’t told me to stop. As soon as they do, I will.

      • amigo
        January 19, 2017, 5:16 pm

        “MW management hasn’t told me to stop. As soon as they do, I will. ” eljay

        Thank the good lord , I was beginning to think that Elizabeth creature had gotten to you.

  8. Misterioso
    January 19, 2017, 10:49 am

    A short video guaranteed to make you feel good:
    Please watch.

    Nazareth “flash mob,” New Year’s Eve, 2017.

  9. Talkback
    January 19, 2017, 12:39 pm

    “Koplow was responding to an audience member’s question about whether Israel is about to become “South Africa on the Mediterranean.”

    What must change that Israel “becomes” what it hasn’t been from the get go? Expell, disenfranchise and denationalize even more Nonjews then it allready has since 1948 to achieve and maintain a Jewish “democracy”?

    • rosross
      January 19, 2017, 6:54 pm

      A Jewish democracy is as fanciful as being an atheist or secular Jew. In a democracy all religions are equal. If being a member of the Jewish religion gives precedence then the nation is not a democracy but a theocracy, a backward religious State no different to Saudi Arabia.

      • Talkback
        January 20, 2017, 8:28 am

        But a “Jewish state” doesn’t mean a theocracy but that it simly maintains a Jewish majority to keep any outcome of election within Zionist parameters. And the only way to achive this is to keep Nonjewish refugees segregated and without national and democratic rights. This amounts to the Crime of Apartheid by definition which points out that amongst the inhumane measures to maintain the domination of one people is to deny the right of return of another and the right [of these natives] to statehood.

        Apartheid is inherent in Zionism. There’s no way to achieve its goals without enforcing it against nonjewish natives and or segregating (expelling) and disenfrenchasing them. Hetzl’s proposal was to drive out Nonjews by applying economical pressure. The Jewish Agency segregated the Nonjewish natives by ensuring that they will no longer have access to cultivate their own (home-) land, as if these parts allready were no longer part of Palestine. The first General Attorney of mandated Palestine Norman Bentwich (a Jewish Zionist) described this as “economic Apartheid”. It actually violated mandate terms, but nothing was done because the first high commisioner for Palestine Herbert Samuel was also a Jewish Zionist who did not only allow the creation of the illegal Haganah, but also the creation of Jewish insititutions which the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry would call a “shadow goverment” and a “state within a state” in 1946.

      • Sibiriak
        January 20, 2017, 11:45 am

        Trump inauguration… sounding a bit theocratic… in the name of Jesus Christ, amen!

      • Mooser
        January 20, 2017, 2:44 pm

        “… in the name of”

        Kyrie Eleison !

  10. James Canning
    January 19, 2017, 1:10 pm

    The UNSC resolution was not a “harsh measure” aimed at Israel. An accurate statement of the relevant international law regarding illegal settlements is to be applauded.

    • inbound39
      January 19, 2017, 3:09 pm

      That’s correct James. What else is factual is Israel pushed to become a full member of UN and the UN gave it the opportunity by giving it full membership in exchange for implementing Resolution 194. Israel agreed to do so yet never has. On that basis Israel in fairness to other compliant states should be suspended from the UN until it complies and abides by its International obligations. It is currently a member under false pretences.

  11. Ossinev
    January 19, 2017, 3:20 pm

    “I doubt that solution remains viable. But let’s be clear on the settlements. They may or may not constitute a primary cause of the conflict, but they do demonstrate Israel’s decades-long commitment to building in a way that makes a viable Palestinian state impossible”

    In many ways Cohen`s article hits the nail on the head big time all the more so because it is in the NYT that hitherto bastion of auto Zioworship but the above statement is inherently contradictory. “May or may not constitute a primary cause” when he goes on to say that they make a viable Palestinian state ( the central issue in the conflict ) impossible just doesn`t add up?

  12. rosross
    January 19, 2017, 6:53 pm

    It is not becoming, it is and has been for a long time, an apartheid State like South Africa and the South Africans say a vastly worse one.

Leave a Reply