David Harris of the American Jewish Committee says it’s his “Jewish duty” to put aside political differences with Trump and advocate for Israel. Speaking to a liberal Westchester synagogue, Harris also took a shot at the president. Asked, “Has Jared Kushner sought your counsel?” he shot back: “You’d have to ask Moscow.”
Monthly Archives: November 2017
Open Hillel, IfNotNow, and Jewish Voice for Peace, have all decentralized Zionism from Jewish political life, and the Zionist Organization of America’s gala honoring Steve Bannon is assisting that process. The drama of Zionist donors, cozying up to figures of Christian nationalism and regressive nostalgia, brings to mind Theodor Herzl’s attempt at collaboration with Russian anti-Semitic Interior Minister von Plehve.
Kenneth Marcus, Trump’s nominee to head the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Education, actively works to pass and enforce legislation that suppresses civil and human rights and criminalizes constitutionally protected free speech. His nomination points to the increasing convergences of white supremacy, fascism, and Zionism.
“Have you gone mad?” Tamar Zandberg of Meretz challenged Labor after it supported Netanyahu’s plan to deport 40,000 African refugees. But Avi Gabbay, the Labor leader, is pushing the faction to the right in order to meet the Israeli public where they stand, in racist policies.
Weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin literally makes a killing off of killing. The company’s notorious F-16 fighter jet came into Israel’s possession in 1980, two years before Israel’s first war with Lebanon. Since that time, the company’s fighter jets have been integral to Israel’s brutal military campaigns in Lebanon and Palestine. When considering companies to target for their entanglement in Israel’s human rights violations, Lockheed Martin should make the top of everyone’s lists.
Israel to deport 40,000 African asylum seekers ‘without their consent’ to Rwanda or Uganda. According to Israeli media the refugees will be sent to Rwanda for which Israel will pay the African nation $5,000 per head.
On Nov. 28, the New School in New York is to host a panel on the use of the anti-Semitism charge to protect Israel from criticism. It features two activists who support boycotting Israel, Linda Sarsour and Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for Peace. The New School is under attack from pro-Israel groups; some fear that the panel could be shut down, as the Anti Defamation League accuse Sarsour and Vilkomerson of fomenting anti-Semitism. Just what the panel is about!
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin plays bad cop to Defense Minister Lieberman’s good cop. Rivlin refused to pardon former soldier-medic Elor Azarya in the Hebron execution of March 2016. Azarya’s sentence has already been cut so he will likely get out of prison next spring. Lieberman called on Rivlin to “mend the tears in society and the effect of the event and the trial upon IDF soldiers and the youth awaiting draft.”
In an important new piece in the New York Review of Books, David Shulman says that the “heroic myth” of Israel as a savior of the Jews has been eclipsed by an awareness of the “terrible violence” inflicted on Palestinians and the need to give equal rights to all between the river and the sea. The anti-apartheid-style struggle for basic rights has begun, and “at whatever cost, we will win.”
The State Department threatened Friday to close the Palestinians’ Washington office unless they enter into direct negotiations with Israel. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has determined that the Palestinians have run afoul of a condition in the law that allows their mission to the U.S. to function which prohibits the Palestinians from requesting the International Criminal Court, or ICC, to prosecute Israelis for crimes against Palestinians.
Ron Brummer from Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Hasbara, recently confirmed that there is no separate economic system for Israel inside the occupation and outside it. “If you want to divest from the West Bank… you have to divest from Israel.” This is clarifying. Liberal Zionists who have supported settlement boycotts only need to choose sides. Are they for freedom or apartheid?
The domestic political fight that is Russiagate takes up all the media’s attention, while civilians killed by US bombs are like ants on the sidewalk. That’s because U.S. crimes against humanity are never seen as scandals, except maybe a century later. At most we just treat war crimes as policy disputes. Nobody expects a bipartisan investigation into our ties with the Saudis.
The signature moments of the Clinton scandals involve threats against people who were going to talk about his sex life. When Lindsey Graham asked in the House, Is this Peyton Place or Watergate? we said, Watergate. It wasn’t just about a blowjob.
Israel is in charge of giving foreign spouses in the West Bank visas, a power these spouses say has been increasingly abused. They described being issued ever-shorter visas ranging from two weeks to six months instead of the usual one-year visa, dragging them into a near-constant process of visa renewals. “I think the entire policy is to empty Palestine of its brains, of its capacities, in a voluntary manner,” says Sam Bahour, of Right to Enter.
Israel states that it will move military checkpoint between Bethlehem and Jerusalem deeper into West Bank, annexing 296 acres of al-Walajah village land, including a historic spring. Some say Israel intends to make the land part of a national park in Israel in an effort to fight local resistance to the landgrab.
Israeli leaders were not only contemplating ethnic cleansing, but also Genocide, according to declassified governmental minutes from 1967. Labor politicians were obsessed with the fear that the 1.4 million Palestinians in the territories they had seized would overwhelm the state’s Jewish majority one day. And these liberal Zionists encouraged the settlements, too.
Speaking to a conference on settler population growth in the West Bank titled “On the Way to a Million,” Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin dismissed the idea of a Palestinian state, “Halas [‘enough’ in Arabic] with the story of two states. There is no other option but the state of Israel, certainly between the Jordan [River] to the [Mediterranean] sea there will be one state.”
Over half of the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank has been declared an active military “firing zone” by the Israeli army. The Israeli military conducts military exercises in these areas, even if Palestinian villages still exist there. Ibziq is one such village. Uday Nawaja’a was recently killed there while tending to a flock of goats after stumbling upon an unexploded ordnance left behind by the Israeli army. “I was tending to the flock, as Uday was wandering underneath a tree, about 30 meters away,” Nawaja’a’s uncle told Mondoweiss. “Suddenly, I heard an explosion. I ran over to Uday to see what happened. But a few seconds later, he was dead.”
New York Times columnist Bret Stephens says that Jewish Voice for Peace is as anti-Semitic as white nationalists like Richard Spencer because it undermines “Israel’s right to exist.” This is a clever feat of propaganda for Israel: Stephens is saying that Israel has a right to discriminate against Palestinians. People need to call it out as racist claptrap.
Amirah Abu Lughod writes, “According to most people’s definition, Yaffa is a beautiful city – sea side views, a bustling shopping scene, an artist’s village, restaurants everywhere you turn. I found myself struggling to see the beauty. I knew what I was seeing was nothing like the Yaffa my grandparents called home and what did resemble their existence there felt like a restoration of mockery. It looks nothing like what my ancestors called home because my ancestors were those people who lived on ‘the land with no people for a people with no land.'”
The tag team of Benjamin Netanyahu and former US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro springs into action on Iranian earthquake. “Our humanity is greater than their hatred,” Netanyahu says of Iran. And Shapiro echoes, “Sadly, Iran hates Israel more than it wants to find earthquake victims.”
Salwa Salem-Copty hopes to someday return to live in her family’s village in the north of Israel, but at 70 years old, she thinks it is unlikely. Instead she has one request — she would like to be allowed to visit the grave of her father, who was killed when a bus full of workers traveling to Haifa was attacked in April 1948. Salwa was never allowed to visit her father’s grave. Today, now a grandmother, she is still fighting for that right.
Ron Brummer of the Israeli Ministry for Strategic Affairs says there’s no point in just boycotting the settlements because there’s only one economy between the river and the sea. “If you want to divest from the West Bank, Judea and Samaria, you have to divest from Israel, which means you boycott Israel completely.”
Steven Salaita visits Hawaii to learn more about Kanaka Maoli resistance and to converse with local activists and intellectuals about Palestine. He writes, “Enough commonalities exist among the two nations for a shared political project: both suffer military occupation, land theft, foreign settlement, and structural racism. In fact, they contest the same colonial apparatus. This point may seem counterintuitive, but these days the United States and Israel differ only according to technicalities of nomenclature and color scheme. Collusion between the US and Israel is by now axiomatic. People needn’t be identical to know that it is foolish to oppose one of those powers while ignoring the other.”
Brisbane musicians rework Nick Cave’s classic ballad “The Ship Song” to call on him to cancel his upcoming shows in Israel and respect the Palestinian picket line. #BDS