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Don’t expect Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris to be critical of Israel

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Yesterday the New York Times ran a piece on all the Democratic presidential prospects visiting New York to raise money: “The First 2020 Race Is Underway: Scrambling for New York Donors.” A candidate needs “to construct a $30 million war chest by the end of 2019,” Shane Goldmacher wrote.

New York will be crucial to that task. More than $500 million came from the New York City area to political campaigns in the last full election — the most of any single metropolitan region in the country, according to the Center for Responsive Politics…. The road to the White House runs down 57th Street.

The article mentions a handful of New York fundraisers and donors, and most of them are pro-Israel. Though the article doesn’t delve into that.

There’s Robert Zimmerman — “a prominent New York donor and a member of the Democratic National Committee who has been in touch with multiple prospective candidates.” Robert Zimmerman was enraged when President Obama allowed the Security Council resolution condemning settlements to go through in 2016. NY Post:

“Congress should investigate how the vote on this resolution came about,” Democratic National Committee member Robert Zimmerman told The Post.

Zimmerman, a DNC super delegate and fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, said… the U.S. abandoned Israel and left the Jewish state to the mercies of hostile UN officials.

“I was surprised and absolutely confounded by it. It was frustrating, disappointing and egregiously wrong. The vote certainly will hurt the Mideast peace process. Peace has to come through direct negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians,” Zimmerman said.

There’s Sarah Kovner: “an influential Democratic fund-raiser in the city, [who] said she ignores those too focused on the presidential campaign.” Sarah’s husband Victor is a founder of J Street, and he identified himself and his wife in 2009 as liberal Zionists who love Israel and disdain the settlement project.

There are two donors who have been friendly to Elizabeth Warren:

The night after Mr. Biden’s April visit, Ms. Warren mingled with donors at the Manhattan home of Mark Green, a former New York City public advocate, the official reason being her 2018 re-election bid (for which she has already stockpiled $15 million). A few months earlier, Meyer S. Frucher, the vice chairman of Nasdaq, hosted another fund-raising reception for Ms. Warren, according to people familiar with the gatherings.

Sandy Frucher

Mark Green defended Israel during the 2008-2009 onslaught on Gaza, refusing to criticize it for killing children. Meyer “Sandy” Frucher has promoted Israeli companies on the Nasdaq, many a time. And been an advocate for the Israeli economy. Back in the ’70s, he used support for Israel as a wedge issue when he managed the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s successful campaign for Senate from New York.

Warren is a big progressive, but she issued only a tepid statement on the Gaza slaughter in April, not even calling them killings.

“I am deeply concerned about the deaths and injuries in Gaza. As additional protests are planned for the coming days, the Israel Defense Forces should exercise restraint and respect the rights of Palestinians to peacefully protest.”

California Senator Kamala Harris is also mentioned in the Times article:

That summer, Michael Kempner, a public-relations executive and top Democratic bundler, hosted an event for her at his spread in the Hamptons.

Kempner has done pro-Israel fundraising for Democratic candidates in the past, and his firm MWW signed a PR contract with the Israeli Ministry of Tourism two years ago. From Jewish Insider:

MWWPR will develop and execute a strategic communications program designed to proactively promote Israel as a top tourist destination for North American travelers… MWW is headed by Michael Kempner, a top fundraiser for Hillary Clinton, President Obama and the Democratic Party. Kempner is listed as a “Hillblazer,” having raised more than $100,000 for Clinton’s presidential campaign last year.

Ronald Perelman also supported Kamala Harris, per the Times.

Ronald Perelman, the billionaire donor, organized a fund-raiser for Ms. Harris’s PAC at the offices of his company, MacAndrews & Forbes, last December. Earlier in the year, Mr. Perelman, who contributes to both Republicans and Democrats, had another ambitious Californian, Mr. Garcetti, for a cocktail hour among donors at his estate in the Hamptons

Perelman is a leading supporter of Israel. He supported Lindsey Graham in the last cycle in part because of Israel, to the point that Graham joked about his reliance on Jews who love Israel: “If I put together a finance team that will make me financially competitive enough to stay in this thing…I may have the first all-Jewish cabinet in America because of the pro-Israel funding.”

It would appear that Harris is positioning herself to the right of Elizabeth Warren. Harris has said nothing against the Gaza slaughter. Last year she gave a speech to the Israel lobby group AIPAC, saying that Israel made the desert bloom. Jewish Voice for Peace has called on Harris to say something/anything condemning the slaughter in Gaza.

The importance of pro-Israel Jewish donors to the Democratic Party is a big unspoken secret of American politics. Peter Beinart writes in the Forward that Bernie Sanders is more outspoken on Israel than Warren and Harris et al in part because they are dependent and he is not on “Jewish establishment” donors.

He knows that his likely 2020 competitors are moving left on issue after issue… But he knows that when it comes to Israel, those competitors are constrained by their fears of the American Jewish establishment. Bernie Sanders, who now stands a better chance of becoming president than any Jew in American history, is not afraid.

The importance of these donors was also a theme of a J Street forum on the politics of Israel in 2016 at which J.J. Goldberg pointed out that 13 of the 14 top funders of Democratic causes are Jewish. “There was one non-Jew who was giving big money to the Democrats. That’s gigantic in the terms of American politics. If Bernie Sanders sets a new model, then this may change, and the weight of Jews in the political system may go down,” Goldberg said.

Israel is likely to be an issue that divides the Democratic establishment from the grassroots in the 2020 cycle. To the point that the press may begin to talk openly about big donors’ affinities.

About Philip Weiss

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

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53 Responses

  1. American Perspective
    June 12, 2018, 2:30 pm

    Is it typical for mainstream candidates for the Presidency to be critical of allies?

    Take the United Mexican States (what Americans call “Mexico”). Whatever criticism the denizens of Mondoweiss have against the Israeli State, applies multiple-fold to Mexico. It is a government which deeply oppresses minorities and dissidents. It maintains barrios that are open-air prisons (ones that are far smaller than Gaza). For some context, last year the Mexican government facilitated the murder of 25,000 people (compare to about 50 Palestinians who were killed last year).

    Or take the Republic of China. China has occupied Tibet for almost a Century and subjected the indigenous people of both Tibet and the non-Han countryside to far harsher conditions, and sociocide than anything that happens in Gaza or the areas of the West Bank and Jerusalem where people speak Arabic. China is a single-party state that prohibits the practice of mainstream Islam by Uighurs and serves as a key ally to the worst human rights violators on earth.

    Israel is an ally of the United States. Yeah – there’s BS talk about “shared values”, and side deals to American military contractors, and all sorts of dressing typical of how you manage allies. But basically Israel under Netanyahu is an ally of the United States. By contrast, the Hamdallah administration and its powerful allies including the Islamic Republic of Iran and Syrian Arab Republic are not.

    So why would you expect a mainstream candidate to criticize? Have you heard Warren or Harris make any Bush-era neocon claims, or Carter-era human rights claims about exporting our values abroad? Have either Warren or Harris made human rights in China or Mexico central to their platform – and if they did want to become neocons, why would they concentrate on Israel? We have other allies (like our new friends in North Korea) who deserve far more criticism.

    • just
      June 12, 2018, 3:06 pm

      Aye yi yi. You WERE serious on the other thread.

      (I guess your screen name says a lot~ hmph.) Enjoy yourself.

      Thanks, Phil. I didn’t think they would stand apart from the sheep. They are gutless.

      Sadly, I’m still waiting for a miracle.

      • just
        June 12, 2018, 9:03 pm

        Yep~ A.P. is a sockpuppet. The screen name is a humdinger.

      • echinococcus
        June 12, 2018, 9:11 pm

        Why give the American Retrospective the time of the day, as if he were writing anything to look at? He’s the latest avatar of the time-wasting diversion from the Propaganda Ministry replacing the logorrheic “Nathan” or whatever-his-face.

      • Marnie
        June 13, 2018, 9:02 am

        For you just –

    • zaid
      June 12, 2018, 3:59 pm

      “Whatever criticism the denizens of Mondoweiss have against the Israeli State, applies multiple-fold to Mexico.”

      Really ! when did Mexico expel half of the indigenous population? Does Mexico demolish Indigenous people towns and builds settlements instead?Does mexico blockade any part of the state and bomb it every 4 years?Does Mexico ban half of its population from voting?Are there laws in Mexico that discriminates between people based on their race or Origin?

      “compare to about 50 Palestinians who were killed last year”

      Source please?

      “Or take the Republic of China. China has occupied Tibet for almost a Century”

      Unlike Israel China annexed Tibet and gave its population the Chinese citizenship and Tibetans now have the same rights and access to services as any other Chinese so there are no occupation there. You are clueless and dont know what occupation means.

      “By contrast, the Hamdallah administration and its powerful allies including the Islamic Republic of Iran and Syrian Arab Republic are not”

      You know absolutely nothing about the middle east, Hamdallah and all other PLO prime ministers are powerless , the power is in the hand of the president (Abbas) and his ruling party (Occupation sub contractors) and they are anything but pro Iran , they have been and continues to be pro Gulf states (where the money is)

      Syria is a powerful ally! LOL

    • Jethro
      June 12, 2018, 6:49 pm

      Is it typical for mainstream candidates for the Presidency to be critical of allies?

      Wait, what? Israel and the US are allies? All this time I thought the US was an impartial mediator.

    • LHunter
      June 12, 2018, 6:59 pm

      What’s your point? Are you saying politicians shouldn’t criticise allies when they enforce apartheid and occupation and commit genocide?

    • Annie Robbins
      June 12, 2018, 7:11 pm

      Is it typical for mainstream candidates for the Presidency to be critical of allies?

      iow, when the PM of an allied country makes a highly publicized speech critical of a sitting president every congressperson is supposed to shut their mouth and not back the US president. what garbage.

      oh, and btw, we’re well equipped here to deal w/bs whataboutery.

    • US Citizen
      June 12, 2018, 7:21 pm

      The solution is simple – when an AIPAC endorsed candidate runs just spell out for the people in that district all the money we give to Israel that could be spent here at home. People understand dollars and cents. Make AIPAC and the people who run on a pro-Israel ticket defend giving 11 millions dollars plus a day to a ‘vibrant democracy’ when our own are going without. Spell it out for them and shame these pimps for Israel and theseAIPACers. It’s long overdue.

      It’s time for progressive politicians to put Palestinian rights on the agenda, stop being bullied by AIPAC, and get with the program, or else they are going to lose the support of the constituents they need to get elected- if not today, then tomorrow.

      It’s past time for American progressives to clearly and unequivocally decide and declare which side they are on. It’s time for professedly humanitarian, egalitarian, pro-human rights, anti-racist, and free-speech progressives to express their support of the Palestinian struggle—on social media, in real-life conversation, and on the street.

      Politically? At a minimum, demand of any politician who seeks your vote:
      End the blockade of Gaza, immediately and unconditionally.
      Support BDS. Refuse any attempt to criminalize BDS and anti-Zionism.
      Stop blocking UN and ICC actions against Israeli crimes.
      Restrict arms sales to Israel.
      Reject the hypocritical Zionist apologetics.
      Refuse any attempt to censor or restrict the internet. (This last is very important. Nothing has threatened Zionist impunity more than the information available on the internet, and nothing is driving the demand to censor the internet more than the Zionists’ need to shut that off.)

    • oldgeezer
      June 12, 2018, 7:37 pm

      @american perspective

      The vast majority of those deaths were murders by the drug lords and not by mexico.

      Tibet has never been recognized as an independent state by more than a small handful of nations. It operated independently for a very brief period of time.

      Quebec is not a state and has power in only limited areas subject to the Canadian constitution.

    • RoHa
      June 12, 2018, 10:52 pm

      Israel is not an ally of the USA. Israel does nothing to help the USA.

      The USA is an ally and servant of Israel. It fights wars for Israel.

      US support for Israel damages the USA.

      http://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/understanding-jewish-power/

      • Yonah Fredman
        June 12, 2018, 11:07 pm

        Since Richard Nixon Israel has been more than an ally. It has been a key plank in us foreign policy. Lbj started, but Nixon made it bipartisan. Whatever cause you’ll point to is besides the point. The point is the US is tied to support for israel.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 12, 2018, 11:12 pm

        Since Richard Nixon Israel has been more than an ally…. The point is the US is tied to support for israel.

        nah, it’s more of a one way street. an ally is someone who supports you too.

      • Yonah Fredman
        June 12, 2018, 11:17 pm

        But there is a difference between Nixon and golda compared towards trump and bibi.

      • Yonah Fredman
        June 12, 2018, 11:22 pm

        You curse the US support for Israel, I hear you. But your curse is not analysis. I certainly think between Nixon and Obama a peace treaty a la Geneva 2003 should’ve been signed. But I don’t see US doing 180 degree turn, not in her mode of conduct.

      • Yonah Fredman
        June 12, 2018, 11:27 pm

        The Jewish zionist support for a strong US defense budget created a political alliance between pentagon budget hawks and zionism.

      • just
        June 12, 2018, 11:52 pm

        Like this tool of Israel, Annie?

        “Nikki Haley Defends Israel Ahead of UN Vote on Resolution Condemning Gaza Violence …

        U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has urged countries to condemn Hamas instead of voting for a resolution on Gaza which she called “fundamentally imbalanced,” ahead of a General Assembly meeting on Wednesday.

        The UN General Assembly is due to meet and hold a vote on an Arab-backed text on Gaza at the request of the UN’s Palestinian delegation and their Arab and Muslim allies.

        The draft General Assembly resolution demands that Israeli forces stop “any excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force.” It calls for “immediate steps towards ending the closure and the restrictions imposed by Israel on movement and access into and out of the Gaza Strip.”

        It also “deplores the firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip against Israeli civilian areas,” but doesn’t say who is doing the firing.

        The draft asks Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to make proposals within 60 days “on ways and means for ensuring the safety, protection and well-being of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation,” including “recommendations regarding an international protection mechanism.”

        Haley called the proposed resolution “a fundamentally imbalanced text that ignores basic truths about the situation in Gaza,” in a letter to UN ambassadors seen by dpa on Tuesday.

        She urged member states to support a U.S. amendment, which would be voted on separately beforehand and condemns the Islamist group Hamas which controls the Gaza Strip.

        “If we are to truly work for the protection of the Palestinian people, the international community must condemn the malign behavior of Hamas without delay,” the letter reads. …”

        https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/haley-defends-israel-before-un-vote-on-resolution-against-gaza-deaths-1.6173164?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

        She’s a threat to US national security, but she sits there like Power did and makes zero sense to the rest of the world. An abomination, indeed. As if she cares about one single Palestinian……..

      • Annie Robbins
        June 13, 2018, 12:45 am

        exactly just. one way street.

      • RoHa
        June 13, 2018, 12:29 am

        Yonah, exactly what has Israel done for the US in order to deserve being called an ally?

      • echinococcus
        June 13, 2018, 5:03 am

        …there is a difference between Nixon and golda compared towards trump and bibi.

        And what exactly would the difference be? Be precise.

        (Note that the rotten American hag Golda Meir spoke good English and knew how to use her prepositions; she wouldn’t have offended the eye with atrocious usage like “compared towards”.)

      • eljay
        June 13, 2018, 7:57 am

        || RoHa: Yonah, exactly what has Israel done for the US in order to deserve being called an ally? ||

        Cherry tomatoes.

      • RoHa
        June 13, 2018, 10:08 am

        Another crime against humanity.

      • Mooser
        June 13, 2018, 11:47 am

        “The point is the US is tied to support for israel.”

        So Israel is the ‘court Jew’ for the US? That’s our great Jewish Zionist destiny?

      • Mooser
        June 13, 2018, 12:44 pm

        “The Jewish zionist support for a strong US defense budget created a political alliance between pentagon budget hawks and zionism.” “Yonah Fredman”

        Gee, I can’t think of a better role for American Jews to play in our nation’s affairs. We should organize Jewish kids into physical-training and close-order drill squads, so more of them will be ready for the military.

      • MHughes976
        June 13, 2018, 6:31 pm

        The United States is an ally supporting Israel in almost all the ways a devoted ally might. Israel in return gives mainly support not so much to the United States but to the United States’ political class. We know of and regret the money aspect of this support. But the heart of the matter is a moral idea, the idea that anti-Semitism is the worst thing in the world as far as the world is under human control. This idea is interpreted to mean that validation from authentic Jewish sources is the most credible of guarantees that you are a just and humane person.

      • Yonah Fredman
        June 13, 2018, 8:15 pm

        More than an ally, but different than an ally. But let us return to the start: as in 1967 and 1973. This was in the midst of the cold war. the united states was busy losing the war in vietnam, eventually leaving their allies in the lurch, telling them in effect, go to reeducation camps, see if i care, after pouring blood and treasure and then saying, enough and pulling out. in contrast the israelis were able to to fight and win. lbj, seen here as a villain because of his pro israel policy, was key to this. and nixon right after him saved israel from defeat by resupplying israel.

        someone (maybe dayan) once commented that america would have been much happier to support the arabs against israel, but it was not fated that way. nasser’s affinity for moscow and the third world’s affinity for moscow, moved american foreign policy in the direction of anti moscow, that is anti nasser and pro israel.

        obviously things change over 45 years. but still i want you to show me when and where the US has turned 180 degrees like you are proposing here. and if there has been no such revolutionary change regarding policy elsewhere, why would we expect it here in this region and conflict.

        you are too busy indicting israel to give an analysis. start with nixon.

      • RoHa
        June 14, 2018, 2:42 am

        ” in contrast the israelis were able to to fight and win. ”

        But how did this help the USA? You are just reinforcing the line that the USA is an ally of Israel, but not showing that Israel is an ally of the US.

      • Mooser
        June 14, 2018, 3:31 pm

        “you are too busy indicting israel to give an analysis. start with nixon.”

        No, Nixon resigned before he could be indicted.

      • echinococcus
        June 16, 2018, 1:32 am

        One simply must love Anglo-Zionese.

        Admire how elegantly Reb Fredman writes:

        The Jewish zionist support for a strong US defense budget created a political alliance between pentagon budget hawks and zionism

        To say that the obedient, corrupt politician shits bought with our own money not only feed and protect and arm the Zionist abomination in Palestine and give it thousands of soldiers, too; they make us pay our last cent to become war criminals all, using our taxes and our kids to wage endless wars of aggression on their behalf.

        The cherry on this Zio cake is that they also make fun of us.

      • Mooser
        June 16, 2018, 1:08 pm

        The best thing about “Yonah’s” comments is his still, small, passive voice.

    • Misterioso
      June 13, 2018, 11:49 am

      @American Perspective

      Nonsensical comment. Apples and oranges.

      Unlike, as is the case with the entity known as “Israel,” along with several other benefits, including, providing sophisticated weaponry and protection at international forums (e.g., the UN), American taxpayers are not pumping in over $12 million per day to support the regimes governing Mexico, China, Iran or Syria. Nor, unlike the entity known as “Israel,” do these countries have super wealthy Americans (e.g., Sheldon Adelson, and Haim Saban) along with for instance, AIPAC, determining our foreign policy by bribing our politicians (e.g., Donald Trump) with hundreds of $millions to ignore and/or support their crimes against humanity.

  2. Citizen
    June 12, 2018, 2:32 pm

    “Israel is likely to be an issue that divides the Democratic establishment from the grassroots in the 2020 cycle. To the point that the press may begin to talk openly about big donors’ affinities.”

    I won’t hold my breath.

    • just
      June 12, 2018, 3:54 pm

      Apparently some stuff has been going on elsewhere in the US govt:

      “U.S. Slaps Sanctions on Two Israeli Firms, Citing Kremlin-ordered Cyberattacks

      Treasury Department says the companies assisted Russia’s government in carrying out cyberattacks against U.S. targets

      WASHINGTON – The U.S. Treasury Department announced on Monday that it is placing sanctions on two companies based in Israel for allegedly engaging in cyberattacks in service of the Russian government. One of the companies, Embedi, has an office in Herzliya, while the other, ERPCSAN, has an office in Tel Aviv. Both companies also have offices in Russia.

      According to the Treasury Department, these companies assisted the Russian government in carrying out cyberattacks against various targets in the United States, including energy installations. The sanctions will lead to the freezing of all the companies’ assets in the United States, and will make it illegal for American citizens to make business with those companies. …

      This is the third time in recent weeks that cyber companies based in Israel have made headlines in Washington. Previously, it was reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating the involvement of an Israeli cyber company in the 2016 U.S. Election, and that investigators from Mueller’s team have visited Tel Aviv and collected evidence.

      In addition, multiple reports last month stated that Black Cube, an Israeli private intelligence firm, tried to conduct a spying operation on former Obama administration officials who were involved in the crafting of the Iran nuclear deal. The company denied the allegations.”

      https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-u-s-sanctions-two-israeli-firms-citing-kremlin-ordered-cyberattacks-1.6171049?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

      I have to say that I loved this part of the headline: “U.S. Slaps Sanctions on Two Israeli”, but the dots have yet to be connected properly, imho. The companies are sanctioned, but only the Russian gov’t is blamed. Not the GOI…

  3. LHunter
    June 12, 2018, 4:55 pm

    Great pic of Kamila Harris standing next to a known racist and mass murderer. She’s married to Douglas Emhoff who is Jewish – not sure if he’s a Zionist. Given she has said nothing about the recent round of mass murder in Palestine I am inclined to believe both she and her husband are Zionist stooges.

  4. echinococcus
    June 12, 2018, 5:30 pm

    Face it, the likelihood of anyone calling himself “Jewish” being a Zionist is statistically speaking very high. At least much higher than the opposite. In the US, the risk increases even more. If said person is married to a Democrat, of the Zio-pandering sort to boot, it becomes even higher.

  5. Kay24
    June 12, 2018, 5:34 pm

    No US politician with a sense of decency, and genuine concern for human rights, will not want to criticize Israel. Unless of course they want to run for office, or get re-elected.

    Trump, Jared, Schumer, Cuomo, and the congress, seems to love this man:

    “Scandal-plagued Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has once again been questioned by police in connection with one of three corruption cases which continue to dog his political career.

    Police interviewed the premier at his Jerusalem home on Monday night over his alleged dealings with communications company Bezeq Telecom, as a handful of protesters calling for his resignation demonstrated on the street outside.

    The incident is the third time Mr Netanyahu has been questioned in connection with a corruption investigation known as Case 4000, which alleges Walla – a news website owned by Bezeq – gave Mr Netanyahu’s government favourable coverage in exchange for regulatory benefits.”
    Independent uk.

  6. Steve Grover
    June 12, 2018, 5:53 pm

    Oy Phillie baby!
    You’re a media mogul who claims to be Jewish everytime you spread hatred towards Israel. Can’t you throw a couple of Shekels towards a candidate? Don’t you wanna to live up to your stereotype and buy yourself some political influence?

    • lyn117
      June 12, 2018, 8:34 pm

      Facts regarding Israel’s behavior cause hatred towards it. Also, official lying and covering up those facts. Personal attacks on Phil, e.g., calling him a media mogul (we would wish someone with his integrity & conscience were a media mogul) are unwarranted.

  7. Kay24
    June 13, 2018, 10:06 am

    The Kusher family are being rewarded well for all that devotion shown by them. It might get even more lucrative, since he handed over Jerusalem to the zionists. I have never seen such corruption, so arrogantly, and blatantly, from the West Wing before. Whatever happened to the rule of law, and being held accountable?

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-12/kushner-s-2017-apartment-deal-shows-turn-toward-israeli-firms

  8. JLWarner
    June 13, 2018, 9:58 pm

    No doubt you are correct. Nevertheless, our group, LA Jews for Peace, sent an open letter to Senator Kamala Harris on May 22, 2018 that was signed by 15 members. The letter urged her to speak out about Israel assigning snipers to shoot unarmed, non-violent protesters along the Gaza-Israel line using United States supplied weapons. In the ensuing weeks, Senator Harris has neither spoken out nor responded to LA Jews for Peace. The following is an updated version of that letter.

    As a strong defender of human rights, with one of the best human rights records in the U.S. Senate, and in the context of your support for a democratic Israel, we urge you to join your colleague, California Senator Dianne Feinstein, in condemning the Israel military for shooting and killing 122 unarmed, non-violent Palestinian protesters at the Israel-Gaza fences over the past three months.

    We urge you to take this action to support human rights and the rule of law, and note a political advantage in doing so:

    Human Rights

    This is a human rights issue. It is not about Israel defending its borders because the three parallel fences that Israel constructed within Gaza are not an international border. Israel totally controls and operates freely on both sides of these three barriers.

    The ongoing Palestinian protests do not threaten Israel, which is a world leader in crowd control technology. Even if the protesters managed to cross all three fences, Israel could have quickly contained them through non-lethal means.

    Israel’s crime was to preemptively use deadly force against non-violent protesters as its only tactic. Israel did not consider alternative, non-military options to stop the protesters.

    Here is what happened:

    • The Palestinian Great March of Return started on March 30, Palestinian Land Day. This date commemorates a 1976 protest against an Israeli action to confiscate Palestinian land, in which the Israeli army killed six Israeli Arab citizens. The current marches continued for the subsequent eleven Fridays, through June 8 when four Palestinians ere killed. Two additional marches were held: on May 14 to coincide with the official U.S.-Israeli ceremony unilaterally moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and on May 15 to commemorate Nakba day (catastrophe in Arabic).
    • The marches consisted of tens of thousands of unarmed Palestinian men, women, and children, gathering near the three Gaza-Israel fences, with two demands:
    1. End Israel’s 10-year blockade of Gaza. This siege prevents Gazans from traveling, heavily restricts imports into Gaza, and limits Palestinian exports to the outside world. At this point, two-thirds of Gazans rely on philanthropy for food; unemployment hovers around 50%; and Gaza’s electric, water, and sewage systems barely function.
    2. Honor many United Nations resolutions supporting the Palestinian legal right of return to the homes and lands that Israel expelled them from in 1947-48.
    • Almost all attendees were peaceful. Although some demonstrators threw stones, flew burning kites, burned tires, and even snatched fragments of the innermost of the three fences on their side of the boundary line, in two months of demonstrations only one Israel soldier was injured, when a stone nicked him.
    • Israel claimed these Palestinian protesters threatened the lives of Israelis and, in advance, dispatched 100 military snipers to shoot marchers. In total, the Israeli army has shot and killed 122 Palestinians, including reporters, doctors, invalids, women, and children. The snipers, supported by tear gas released from drones, also injured close to 10,000 protesters. The Gaza Health Ministry reports that many of those wounded were shot from behind by outlawed hollow-tipped “dum-dum” bullets that caused many permanent injuries.
    • May 14 was a critical day for the March because it occurred at the same time as the joint Israel-U.S. celebration to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. Palestinians are particularly upset by this Embassy move because it clearly demonstrates that the United States government rejects negotiations over the final status of Jerusalem. Instead, the U.S. government now supports the Israeli claim that the entire city of Jerusalem is their capital. That unilateral action permanently negates the Palestinian position that East Jerusalem should become the capital of an independent Palestinian state. Finally, the Embassy move violates the Oslo Accords, which considered the status of Jerusalem to be a final status issue.
    • June 14 seems to have also been a critical day for Israel, because on that day the Israeli snipers apparently targeted medical first responders killing one while he was assisting an injured man, and wounded twenty, including a Canadian doctor who was shot in both legs, while they were taking a break almost 100 feet away from any protesters.

    While the White House and State Department echoed the Israeli government’s justification for these Gaza massacres, Israeli and international human rights groups documented Israel’s use of excessive force that amounts to war crimes. For example, B’Tselem, an Israeli organization, called on Israeli soldiers to refuse illegal orders to shoot unarmed civilians. Amnesty International called for an arms embargo against Israel, and the International Criminal Court prosecutor announced she was investigating Israel’s use of excessive force against civilian demonstrators. The U.N. Human Rights Council initiated an investigation, and Pope Francis condemned the killings. Even a significant fraction of Israeli Jews expressed outrage at the IDFs sniper death toll.

    This is hardly the first time Israel used excessive force against Palestinians. Other cases are described in Amnesty International’s 2014 report, “Trigger-Happy, Israel’s Use of Excessive Force in the West Bank,” the 2009 United Nations study, “Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict,” commonly known as the Goldstone Report, and many more.

    The May 28-29 military exchange between Hamas and Israel is condemned on both sides, but it does not negate any of the above and following arguments. Israel escalated an incident that was part of the Great March for Return by firing tank shells that killed three Islamic Jihad members. Islamic Jihad and Hamas fell into Israel’s trap by responding with a barrage of mortars and rockets. Israel responded with a massive set of airstrikes.

    The world stopped talking about Israel snipers shooting unarmed civilians and is now talking about another Hamas-Israel military exchange. But for the sake of human rights, we must not allow the May 28-29 military exchange to inoculate Israel against shooting unarmed civilians, killing 122 and wounding thousands, during the Great March of Return

    Rule of Law

    The United States government has multiple legal requirements to not support state violations of human rights or unilateral military attacks on neighboring states. These requirements are encoded in the Congressionally-adopted U.S. Foreign Assistance Act and the U.S. Arms Export Control Act, both amended by the Leahy Law. These U.S. laws are intended to assure that the United States is not complicit in war crimes committed by other countries using American made and supplied weapons.

    Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights involving US-supplied military equipment are well documented, including the two human rights reports cited above, as well as the recent Israeli army murder of civilians participating in the Great March of Return. It is essential that Congress enforce its own laws by restricting future U.S. arms sales to Israel, as well as to Saudi Arabia and Egypt for their similar use of U.S.-supplied weapons against civilians.

    Politics

    Condemning Israel’s use of deadly force against non-violent Gaza protesters offers clear political advantages to you and the Democratic Party.

    Over the past decade, Democrats have distinguished themselves from Republicans by their nuanced stance on Israel. Democrats support Israel’s right to exist, but do not support Israel’s occupation of Palestinian areas conquered in 1967. Furthermore, it is the party’s future stalwarts, progressive and younger Democrats, who sympathize most with the Palestinian cause. They are also the strongest voices urging Congress to criticize Israeli violations of U.S. human rights legislation associated with Israeli snipers killing about 110 civilians during the Great March of Return.

    The strongest statements to date by U.S. Senators condemning Israel’s use of excessive military force against the Great March of Return non-violent protesters are by Senators Bernie Sanders and your colleague Dianne Feinstein.

    We urge you to join these and other colleagues in opposing Israel’s use of excessive force using American weapons. It is ultimately the right thing to do.

  9. Nathan
    June 14, 2018, 7:44 am

    “Finally, the Embassy move violates the Oslo Accords, which considered the status of Jerusalem to be a final status issue”.

    JLWarner – If you raise an argument based on the Oslo Accords, you should note that the agreement also establishes that the solution for the refugee question is a final status issue. In other words, the Palestinians have agreed that the topic of refugees must be resolved through negotiations (and ending the conflict). If the issue of refugees must be negotiated (and agreed upon), then obviously no one could possibly know right now what the outcome of the negotiations might be. This means that the Palestinians have agreed that there is no right of return.

    The Americans have not recognized all of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The US administration made it clear that the borders of Jerusalem, Israel must be negotiated. Meanwhile they have placed their embassy within the green line (West Jerusalem).

    If you maintain that there is a right of return, then clearly you reject the Oslo Accords. In such a case, you shouldn’t base your argument vis-a-vis Jerusalem on an agreement that you reject. If, however, you accept the validity of Oslo, then obviously you accept that all the outstanding issues will be resolved only with the end of conflict.

    Do you feel that the demonstrations near the fence are a good idea? I think that it would be wise to make the demonstrations in some other location. It was obvious after the first demonstration that it’s just not worth it. I wonder why no one in the anti-Israel world has the courage and wisdom to tell the Palestinians to protest elsewhere. All of you anti-Israel people believe that Israel of your imagination is simply the most odious entity in the world. So, you should warn the Palestinians that they shouldn’t demonstrate near the border. Tell them that it’s a bad idea, because the Israelis are so unreasonable. Alas, anti-Israel activism is not pro-Palestinian. No one here really cares about the Palestinians. The issue is only animosity towards Israel, and the insane Palestinian self-defeating moves serve the purpose of promoting this animosity.

    I would suggest that the Palestinians stop the demonstrations. It would be much better FOR THEM if they would end the conflict with Israel through negotiations. Besides Jerusalem and refugees, the Oslo Accords deal with Palestinian statehood, borders and settlements – all of which must be negotiated within the framework of the final settlement (end of conflict). Let’s go for it.

    • bcg
      June 14, 2018, 10:24 am

      @Nathan: they aren’t ‘demonstrations’, they’re attempted prison escapes. That what humans do when they’re imprisoned, they try to break out.

      • Nathan
        June 14, 2018, 12:53 pm

        bcg – That “prison” has one of the most wonderful beaches in this world. It also has some nice cities with farm land between them. That “prison” also has archeological sites, and it has a government, an army, a judicial system, a school system up to the college level and a foreign policy – and it’s quite capable of waging war for an extended period. This “prison” also has diplomatic relations with other states (Qatar, Turkey).Actually, one might come to the surprising conclusion that this “big prison” is actually a little state. And it is.

      • eljay
        June 14, 2018, 1:07 pm

        || Nathan: … Do you feel that the demonstrations near the fence are a good idea? … ||

        || bcg: @Nathan: they aren’t ‘demonstrations’, they’re attempted prison escapes. That what humans do when they’re imprisoned, they try to break out. ||

        || Nathan: bcg – That “prison” has one of the most wonderful beaches in this world. It also has some nice cities with farm land between them. That “prison” also has archeological sites, and it has a government, an army, a judicial system, a school system up to the college level and a foreign policy – and it’s quite capable of waging war for an extended period. This “prison” also has diplomatic relations with other states (Qatar, Turkey).Actually, one might come to the surprising conclusion that this “big prison” is actually a little state. And it is. ||

        It seems an odd tack for a Zionist to praise Gaza as a pleasant and powerful “little state”.

      • American Perspective
        June 14, 2018, 2:09 pm

        Eljay:

        The powerful State of Palestine went up head-to-head against the United States this week at the UN. The outcome was clear: the State of Palestine is the most powerful country on earth. Nobody seriously doubts that. Aside from its own power to bend the will to the U.N. to its every whim, the State of Palestine rules OPEC and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and many other countries by proxy.

        Have you ever met a Zionist who has doubted that the State of Palestine (directly, and through its dozens of client states) is powerful?

        The question about whether Gaza is “pleasant” is an odd one.

        Gaza certainly doesn’t look like Singapore or Las Vegas. It doesn’t look like Hong Kong or Eilat. For that matter it doesn’t look like the Arab nationalist areas of the West Bank or its neighbors in Egypt, Cyprus or Israel.

        Gaza looks the way that the people who live there want it to look. We can debate whether that’s “pleasant” or not – but a more helpful way to discuss it is, “is Gaza society consistent with what how its residents want to live?”

        And the answer to that is an emphatic: Yes!

        Gazans are eager to die in huge numbers to protest against the United States’ moving its embassy somewhere overseas. If the people of Gaza didn’t like their society or didn’t find it “pleasant” they would turn to their leaders and demand change. They don’t because Gaza is exactly the way the people of Gaza want it to be.

        Just like Singapore looks the way that the people of Singapore want it to look. And Las Vegas looks like was folks there want it to be.

        Not all societies are the same. We would never want to impose Singaporese values (beating folks for littering, outlawing dissent) or Las Vegas values (legal prostitution, open carry for guns and alcohol) or Eilat values (no sales tax, religiosity frowned upon) on other societies. We recognize that various places choose how they want to be. It would be arrogant and useless to object to those choices.

        Gaza chose.

      • oldgeezer
        June 14, 2018, 4:29 pm

        @bcg

        In a typical display of absolute dishonesty Nathan neglects to mention the water off those beaches is unsafe to go into as the criminal Israelis keep bombing civilian infrastructure. Specifically in this case the sewage treatment plant.

      • eljay
        June 14, 2018, 5:06 pm

        || American Perspective: Eljay:

        The powerful State of Palestine … ||

        Looks like this is the new script from ZioHQ.

        || … The question about whether Gaza is “pleasant” is … ||

        …a question I didn’t ask.

    • RoHa
      June 14, 2018, 9:26 pm

      ” the Embassy move violates the Oslo Accords, ”

      And this shows
      (a) that Israel cannot be trusted to keep agreements,
      and,
      (b) that the Oslo Accords are now a dead letter.

      “I think that it would be wise to make the demonstrations in some other location.”

      The point of demonstrations are for them to be seen. If they were held somewhere else, would anyone notice them?

      “The issue is only animosity towards Israel”

      I suspect you think that animosity towards Israel is a bad thing. If so, why so?

      As oldgeezer pointed out, it is a reasonable response to a state like Israel.

  10. oldgeezer
    June 14, 2018, 10:12 am

    @Nathan

    “This means that the Palestinians have agreed that there is no right of return.”

    you made a huge, and incorrect, leap in logic. That the means/method of resolving the refugee issue will be negotiated in no way negates Palestinian claims to such a right.

    Your leap is no different than the claim that by agreeing to negotiate it Israel has conceded that such a right of return exists.

    Not a whit of difference.

    Also following your logic, Israel, by agreeing to make Jerusalem a final status issue acknowledged it was not (all) Israeli territory despite it’s current claims.

    btw the right of return is an individual right and not one which can be negotiated away by anyone, including the PA, on their behalf.

    The rest of your post is paternalistic in suggesting nonPalestinians should be telling them what to do as well as you telling them what to do. Overall though it shows your ingrained racism in deciding they are not qualified or capable of making their own decisions in regards to their struggle.

    Quite a disgusting diatribe but typical of the verbal garbage spouted by zionists.

    Let’s go for it? Oh please, Israel has showed that it has no interest in any negotiations whatsoever and it intends to use all the time it can squeeze out to perpetrate it’s crimes against millions of defenseless civilians.

    • Nathan
      June 14, 2018, 12:35 pm

      oldgeezer – You repeat the Palestinian position that the right of return is a personal right, so it’s supposedly non-negotiable. Nevertheless, Mr Arafat signed the Interim Agreement (Sept 1995) in which it was agreed that the issue of refugees is a final-status issue. In other words, it’s part of the give-and-take process of negotiations. You should note that UNRWA defined the Palestinian refugee as one “whose normal place of residence was Mandatory Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab–Israeli conflict”. In other words, the definition does not include the descendants. So, if you want to claim that the right is individual (and therefore non-negotiable), it would be possible to answer that this non-negotiable right does not include the generations born afterwards, the women who married refugees and any refugee who took on citizenship anywhere else in the world.

      I think that the Oslo Accords are much better. It should be negotiated in the context of ending the conflict.

      And what do you think about the demonstrations? Do you think it’s was a good idea to endanger the Palestinian public thus? I understand that it’s a big “no-no” in the anti-Israel crowd to criticize the Palestinians. It’s not an issue of paternalizing, as you try to claim. You probably criticize plenty of societies in the world without accusing yourself of paternalizing. You don’t criticize the Palestinians because that might be understood as siding with Israel. More importantly, you don’t really care. The issue is animosity towards Israel.

      • oldgeezer
        June 14, 2018, 5:01 pm

        @nathan

        Spare me Nathan. I don’t have the patience for bs that others that post here display.

        Oslo is effectively dead. Israel not only killed it with it’s actions. It has ignored it. It’s corrupt PM has bragged about doing just that. I will be willing to talk about Oslo when Israel implements what it was supposed implemented in the late 1990’s. Until then it’s only being used as a smokescreen for theft, criminality and oppression by Israel.

        Until the rule of law and #BDS hopefully to be followed by full blown sanctions on the country and it’s key citizens.

        What do I think of the protests? I think Gazans and only Gazans have the right to make the decision as to whether legal protests are the right way to go. The protests aren’t the issue. It’s the violations of IHL and mass murders by Israel that are the issue.

        Animosity? Heck yeah… Until Israel obeys IL and IHL animosity is a reasonable response. Just as I feel the same way about Saudi Arabia. Two peas in a pod. Rogue states which should be shunned and sanctioned.

        Post away… my patience is gone for your disingenuous claptrap.

  11. Kathleen
    June 14, 2018, 10:33 am

    If they were truly wise on this issue they would take notes from Bernie He tip toed closer to the facts on the ground more than most. Do you think you have to be Jewish to get away with what Bernie said during the campaign? Did that provide him with cover.

    We know there has been a sea change in attitude about this issue between the older generation and millineal’s over the last 10 or so years. We know more people older than 50 have also become more informed about the conflict based on facts over the last decade.

    Bernie did it why not Harris or Warren with the same tactic Bernie used…small donations…tip toe honestly around the issue.

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