Author Archives: Alex Kane

About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is an assistant editor for Mondoweiss and the World editor for AlterNet. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer gives pro-war pep talk to Christian Zionists

Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer defended Israel’s unrelenting assault on Gaza Thursday night to Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Dermer said that every civilian death in Gaza is an “operational failure”–making for a lot of such failures, since at least 58 civilians have been killed by Israeli airstrikes. The ambassador also sought to link Hamas to the radical Sunni jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), though the groups have wildly divergent ideologies and goals.

Posted in Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | 17 Comments

Relentless bombing on Gaza continues: Israel kills media worker, 9 people watching World Cup on beach

The latest Israeli assault continued into its third day, exacting a bloody and growing death toll in the Gaza Strip. At least 81 Palestinians have been killed in three days, including 22 children. Late Tuesday, a driver for journalists was killed, as were nine Palestinians watching the World Cup at a beach coffee shop. There are no signs of the operation letting up soon. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that he is not “talking to anybody about a cease-fire right now. It’s not even on the agenda.”

Posted in Gaza, Israel/Palestine | 302 Comments

Eyewitness to Israeli beating of teenager Tarek Abu Khdeir: It was ‘an ambush’

An eyewitness to the brutal beating of Palestinian-American teen Tarek Abu Khdeir says that he was far away from the clashes taking place in Shuafat when he was pummeled by undercover Israeli forces. Leen Barghouti, the eyewitness, called the attack an “ambush” in her first interview with the media since witnessing the beating. Barghouti said Tarek Abu Khdeir “wasn’t anywhere near the main street” where the clashes took place. Israeli officials have claimed that Tarek and other Palestinians attacked Israeli forces and the video of the beating was “edited and biased,” but Barghouti’s account bolsters what Tarek and his family have said from day one: that the 15-year-old was not throwing stones or taking part in clashes that were sparked by the brutal murder of his cousin, Mohammed Abu Khdeir.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government | Tagged | 20 Comments

‘Operation Protective Edge’ begins: Gaza rocked by Israeli airstrikes as Palestinian militants shoot at Jerusalem

Palestinians collect their belongings from damaged houses in Gaza City. (Photo: Mahmud Hams / AFP / Getty Images)

The Israeli military launched “Operation Protective Edge” last night with a series of heavy airstrikes across the Gaza Strip. So far, the air attacks have killed 22 Palestinians, including 7 children. Palestinian militant groups, including Hamas, have fired an estimated 160 rockets into Israel, with one exploding in Jerusalem. It is the largest military operation on Gaza since November 2012, when an aerial bombing campaign killed an estimated 167 people including 87 civilians, and Israeli leaders are saying that the current military operation won’t be short. “The prime minister’s instruction by the end of the meeting was to prepare for a thorough, long, continuous and strong campaign in Gaza,” a senior official told Haaretz. “The prime minister instructed the army to be ready to go all in. A ground offensive is on the table.”

Posted in Gaza, Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government | Tagged | 142 Comments

Contradicting Israeli officials, family of Tarek Abu Khdeir says he was attacked while in uncle’s Jerusalem backyard

The family of Tarek Abu Khdeir, the 15-year-old Palestinian-American brutally beaten by Israeli forces, held a press conference today in Florida organized by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). They say he was standing in his uncle’s backyard when he was ambushed in the Shuafat neighborhood of Jerusalem–and did not attack the police, as Israeli officials have claimed. The family, who have been in contact with Tariq’s parents in Jerusalem, is also demanding that Israel pay the costs of medical treatment for the head wounds Tariq suffered.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, US Politics | Tagged | 95 Comments

Caught in a lie: E-mails prove right-wing pro-Israel donor Adam Milstein gave money to California student candidates

Last week, philanthropist Adam Milstein denied that he gave money to student government candidates at UCLA to help the election campaigns of those who were pro-Israel. But documents published by a student news outlet reveal that Milstein, contrary to his denials, did fund the elections of members of the Bruins United slate at UCLA–proving that outside pro-Israel money is being injected into student politics. The revelations have sparked a controversy that threatens to derail the appointment of Avi Oved, one of the student government members aligned with Milstein, to a seat on the powerful UC Regents, which oversees the UC system.

Posted in Activism, BDS, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | 60 Comments

Senator Rand Paul pens over-the-top pander to pro-Israel crowd

Senator Rand Paul is trying to burnish his pro-Israel credentials before the 2016 presidential election. His latest attempt is an over-the-top column this week in the National Review calling on the U.S. to stop calling for Israeli “restraint” and to cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA). The article is a call for the army to go wild, and has little grounding in facts. It’s all about ingratiating himself to a crowd that has money–the Sheldon Adelson crowd.

Posted in Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | Comments Off

Pro-Israel Muslim-basher Adam Milstein at center of storm over funding of California student elections

Right-wing philanthropist Adam Milstein is not a particularly well-known advocate for Israel in the U.S. But the Israeli-American has found himself at the center of a storm over an e-mail sent to him by a student government candidate at UCLA thanking Milstein for his “generous donation” to his election campaign. The disclosure of the e-mail has kicked up controversy, with students across the UC system calling for an investigation into the candidate’s relationship with Milstein, who has repeatedly derided Muslims and Islam. Above, Adam Milstein (far-right) with his wife (far-left) and Sheldon and Miriam Adelson.

Posted in Activism, American Jewish Community, BDS, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | 11 Comments

What did Israeli officials know about the missing teens, and when did they know it?

What did Israeli officials know about the abducted and murdered teens, and when did they know it? Israeli authorities have told news outlets that they had evidence the teens were killed, but that information only emerged yesterday with the discovery of the youths’ bodies. Under the cover of government-enforced uncertainty regarding the teens’ fate, Israel launched its #BringBackOurBoys campaign and its wide-ranging military operation–an operation condemned as “collective punishment.” The cost, in Palestinian lives, infrastructure and cash, has been severe–and it’s likely to get worse in the coming days. Israel seems to have exploited the situation in order to strike a blow against Hamas and the unity deal the Islamist movement struck with Fatah.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government | Tagged | 42 Comments

‘J Street has to change or die’: Divestment battle exposes tactical rift among liberal Zionists

The Presbyterian Church’s decision to divest from three corporations linked to the Israeli military has highlighted a growing rift between two-state solution advocates who see divestment as a legitimate tool and J Street, the leading liberal Zionist group who lobbied against the church measure. The divestment resolution comes at a time of growing frustration among those who believe in a two-state solution. Increasingly, those desperate to end the occupation are looking to the tactics BDS is pushing for salvation. And those same people, J Street’s natural constituency, are starting to voice criticism of the group for its ardent opposition to BDS.

Posted in Activism, American Jewish Community, BDS, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | Tagged | Comments Off

Israeli officials threaten return to Intifada-era policy of demolishing suspects’ homes

The Israeli government reportedly wants to return to its 2nd Intifada-era policy of destroying the homes of alleged militants involved in attacks against Israeli soldiers or civilians. News outlets report that Israeli authorities want a court to approve their desire to destroy the family homes of two Palestinians convicted of killing police officer Baruch Mizrahi near Hebron in April.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government | 32 Comments

How food writing humanizes the Palestinian struggle: Laila El-Haddad on ‘The Gaza Kitchen’

Laila El-Haddad’s and Maggie Schmitt’s captivating book “The Gaza Kitchen: A Palestinian Culinary Journey” shows how food is a perfect window into Gazan culture and society. Mondoweiss’ Alex Kane sat down with El-Haddad, above left, for a wide-ranging conversation that ranged from her experience with celebrity foodie Anthony Bourdain to how examining how food is made smashes stereotypes about women in the coastal strip. The interview was conducted in the middle of Mondoweiss’ summer fundraiser — you can receive a copy of “The Gaza Kitchen” with a donation of $80 or more.

Posted in Gaza, Israel/Palestine | Tagged | 5 Comments

Reform Jewish leader offers alternative to Presbyterian divestment: meet Netanyahu

Liberal Zionists lobbying against the divestment measure at the Presbyterian General Assembly in Detroit have a new strategy: saying it is part of the BDS agenda, aimed at ending a Jewish state. Reform Judaism head Rabbi Rick Jacobs warned the Presbyterians that they would alienate Jews and offered another plan: “if we are truly partners and you disapprove this divestment overture I look forward to sitting with your leadership in the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem.” Jewish proponents of divestment say the liberal Zionists are employing threats.

Posted in Activism, American Jewish Community, BDS, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | 47 Comments

How Israel is exploiting the reported kidnapping to weaken Palestinian reconciliation

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has laid the blame for the reported West Bank kidnappings at the feet of Mahmoud Abbas and the unity pact he signed. But if Netanyahu really believed Abbas was responsible for the action, Israel’s government would have stopped transferring cash to the Palestinian Authority’s coffers. They have not. Instead, Israel and the PA are working together in an operation that is targeting Hamas and weakening Fatah-Hamas reconciliation–which may be the real point of Israel’s wide-reaching operation.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government | Tagged | Comments Off

Presbyterian Church takes step towards divesting from Israeli military-linked companies

The Presbyterian Church’s Middle East Issues Committee voted 45-20 to endorse divestment from companies doing business with the Israeli army. While the measure still has to go to the general plenary for it to be adopted, Palestinian rights advocates celebrated the move as a first step towards divestment. Above, Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council members Lynn Gottlieb (left) and Brant Rosen (right) at the Presbyterian Church assembly.

Posted in Activism, BDS, Israel/Palestine | 4 Comments

Documents open window into how Israel lobby courts student government members

Documents published by UCLA’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter offer an unvarnished look at the thousands of dollars spent to cultivate the next generation of pro-Israel advocates who are currently college student leaders. Itineraries of the Anti-Defamation League’s and American Jewish Committee’s free jaunts to Israel show that the vast majority of these trips are devoted to meetings with prominent Israeli Jews, some of whom are Israeli military leaders. Above, two students on an Anti-Defamation League trip sit on top of an Israeli tank.

Posted in Activism, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | Tagged | 8 Comments

BDS activists slam art groups for taking tour to IDF-linked Technion

Two art groups–Creative Time and Independent Curators International–have come under criticism from supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for taking a traveling exhibition to the Technion, an Israeli university with strong ties to the Israeli military and its occupation. Some art collectives involved in the show have pulled out in protest, and an open letter signed by intellectuals and artists criticized the show for violating the BDS call.

Posted in Activism, BDS, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | Comments Off

Israeli leader justifies force-feeding bill by pointing to Guantanamo Bay

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants the Knesset to pass legislation authorizing the force-feeding of Palestinian hunger strikers. “In Guantanamo the Americans are using the method of force-feeding too,” Netanyahu reportedly said. The law is being pushed in response to a Palestinian hunger strike that started in April in protest of administrative detention, the practice of holding prisoners without charge or trial.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, US Politics | 30 Comments

Meet Aryeh King: The brash right-wing settler bent on evicting Jerusalem’s Palestinians

Aryeh King’s vision for Jerusalem is maximum Jews on maximum land. In the contemporary reality of the holy city, that’s a call for a future where the dispossession of Palestinians is put on hyper-speed. King is trying to implement his vision with the Israel Land Fund, the organization he heads that is devoted to settling Jews in Israel and the occupied territories. He says that Jerusalem is an “apartheid” city–but one where Jews are hurt, and says that John Kerry’s warning of Israel becoming an “apartheid state” is delusional. “I’m laughing when I hear him, it’s like this guy took something, he’s on drugs,” King tells Mondoweiss’ Alex Kane.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, On the ground reports | Tagged | 23 Comments

Modern Language Association members condemn Israeli border policies, but vote is not ratified

Modern Language Association (MLA) members voted 1,560-1,063 to condemn Israel’s discriminatory border policies. But the vote was not ratified because 10 percent of MLA members have to affirm the vote for a measure to count, leading pro-Israel groups to celebrate the end result. Despite that, MLA member David Lloyd saw the vote as evidence that “on the battleground of ideas, Israel and its supporters are continuing to lose ground.”

Posted in Activism, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | 23 Comments

LA City Council members denounce student activists over ethics pledge critiquing Israel lobby trips

Los Angeles City Council members led by Bob Blumenfield, above, have introduced a resolution denouncing an ethics pledge against trips for student leaders organized by groups that fuel anti-Muslim and anti-Armenian sentiment. The move is the latest chapter of a roiling controversy sparked by student activist efforts to have student government members refrain from being wined and dined by groups like AIPAC and the ADL.

Posted in Activism, American Jewish Community, BDS, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | Tagged | 19 Comments

Modern Language Association resolution criticizing Israel sparks raging debate

A leaked internal discussion over a Modern Language Association resolution critical of Israel has revealed an intense, often vitriolic, debate over Israel, Palestine and the role of the MLA in talking about the conflict. The raging debate comes as MLA members vote on whether to condemn Israel for denying entry to academics traveling to West Bank universities.

Posted in Activism, Israel/Palestine, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | Comments Off

UC Santa Cruz student government votes for divestment from occupation-linked companies

The student government at the University of California, Santa Cruz voted this week to divest from corporations linked to the Israeli occupation. The 22-14 vote made Santa Cruz the fifth UC chapter to endorse divestment in recent years. Last year, a similar resolution failed by a vote of 17-19.

Posted in Activism, BDS, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | 10 Comments

Boteach forges close ties with Rwanda leader linked to ethnic slaughter

Last month, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach traveled to Rwanda to deliver a prayer at an official memorial service for the victims of the Rwandan genocide. The New Jersey rabbi has forged a close personal relationship with Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who has allied with Israel–Boteach’s other cause–and who has been accused of rampant human rights abuses.

Posted in American Jewish Community, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | 14 Comments

Watch Palestinian-Americans discuss how Israel discriminates against U.S. travelers

A Capitol Hill briefing last week examined Israel’s practice of denying entry to Palestinian- and Arab-Americans. The event came as Congress continues to consider granting Israel entry into the visa-waiver program, which would give Israeli citizens the right to travel to the U.S. without a visa.

Posted in Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | 20 Comments