Author Archives: Phan Nguyen

About Phan Nguyen

Phan Nguyen lives in New York and has a Twitter account: @Phan_N

How many people have died from Gaza rockets into Israel?

Israel has suffered a total of 29 fatalities in over ten years of rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza. Phan Nguyen has compiled a list of the deaths (including two from unexploded ordnance) as a resource for journalists and analysts who seek to describe the threat level from the besieged Palestinian territory

Posted in Israel/Palestine | Tagged | 85 Comments

Jeffrey Goldberg leads the charge on latest BDS smear: Presbyterian Church divestment is anti-Semitic because David Duke supports it


Never before have so many pro-Israel Jews and mainstream Jewish organizations excitedly promoted the website of David Duke and wanted to know: “What does former Klansman and white supremacist David Duke think?” What’s the cause of this turn of events? Duke recently issued a statement in support of the Presbyterian Church USA’s move for divestment. The insinuation—rarely spelled out—is that if someone as anti-Semitic as Duke agrees with an action, the action itself is anti-Semitic. The tactic of using Duke to smear progressive movements is an old one, and this time the charge is being led by none other than Jeffrey Goldberg.

Posted in BDS, Media | Tagged | 120 Comments

Bait-and-switch anti-Semitism: NYU SJP accused of targeting Jews, or not

Thursday morning, students in two New York University dormitories woke up to find mock eviction notices slid under their doors by Students for Justice in Palestine to raise awareness of home demolitions in Palestine. The media quickly picked up a false accusation by pro-Israel groups that Jewish dorm rooms were targeted by the activists, and the only source in these reports was a single NYU student, Laura Adkins, vice president of NYU’s Israel advocacy organization, TorchPAC. Phan Nguyen talks with Adkins and reveals how this fake story is consistent with recent attempt to discredit pro-Palestinian activism.

Posted in Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, Media, US Politics | Tagged | 55 Comments

Appeals court upholds dismissal of anti-BDS lawsuit against Olympia Food Co-op

On Monday the Washington State Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of the anti-BDS lawsuit against the Olympia Food Co-op. The suit had been filed by five Co-op members in 2011 to force the Co-op to rescind its boycott of Israeli goods. Several pro-Israel interests became involved in the case as well, ranging from the multimillion-dollar Israel advocacy group StandWithUs, to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and most recently the Lawfare Project.

Posted in BDS, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine | 30 Comments

Scarlett Johansson not only abandons Oxfam but throws it under the bus

In quitting her role as an Oxfam global ambassador Scarlett Johansson cited “fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement” between herself and the organization. With this statement, Johansson and her public relations team not only extricate her from a vulnerable position, but does so cynically and opportunistically by throwing Oxfam under the bus implying that she was being forced by Oxfam to honor the Palestinian BDS call.

Posted in BDS, Israel/Palestine | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 63 Comments

Deconstructing Scarlett Johansson’s statement on SodaStream

SC-End poverty

Scarlett Johansson has finally issued a statement in response to criticisms over her new role as “global ambassador” for the Israeli settlement–produced SodaStream. Yet her statement, at 259 words, does not directly address any of the criticisms against her. The question now is whether Oxfam can stay true to its principles enough to compel Johansson to break her ties with SodaStream — or else break its ties with Johansson.

Posted in BDS, Israel/Palestine, Occupation, US Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 79 Comments

Cary Nelson, the AAUP, and the privilege of bestowing academic freedom

One of the most prominent US voices against the academic boycott of Israel is Cary Nelson, professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a former president of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). Phan Nguyen demonstrates neither Nelson nor the AAUP is as principled on the issue as it may seem when opposing academic boycotts.

Posted in BDS, Israel/Palestine | Tagged | 27 Comments

‘Apolitical’ arts organization combatting BDS is front for pro-settler group tied to Israeli Foreign Ministry


Creative Community for Peace (CCFP) is an organization that, in its own words, “supports the idea of building bridges between people through art and music.” Since its formation in 2010–11, CCFP has led the fight in the United States against the cultural boycott of Israel, proclaiming that “music and the arts are bridge[s] to peace and they should not be politicized.” CCFP hopes to convince artists that performing in Israel during a boycott does not mean taking a political position. But CCFP is actually a front for StandWithUs, the notorious right-wing pro-settler organization that works closely with the Israeli Foreign Ministry. And CCFP provides cover for StandWithUs to fight cultural boycott without exposing its own political pro-Israel agenda.

Posted in American Jewish Community, BDS, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, US Politics | Tagged | 36 Comments

Eric Alterman on Palestine and Israel, part 2: Alterman vs. ‘Goliath’ (Updated)

In Part II of Phan Nguyen’s study on Eric Alterman’s questionable statements on Palestine and Israel he addresses the careless and false accusations that Alterman makes against Max Blumenthal’s book Goliath, and demonstrates that Alterman is an unreliable commentator on Palestine/Israel.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Media, US Politics | 34 Comments

Eric Alterman on Palestine and Israel, part 1: The liberal Zionist dilemma

Phan Nguyen reviews some of Eric Alterman’s statements that undermine his self-proclaimed status as a conscientious critic of the Israeli occupation.

Posted in BDS, Israel/Palestine, Media, Occupation, US Politics | 39 Comments

‘Elder of Ziyon’ fails ICRC reading comprehension test (Updated)

Phan Nguyen demonstrates the breadth of ‘Elder of Ziyon”’s shoddy scholarship, and examines what the hasbara industry accepts as a groundbreaking exposé.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Occupation | 42 Comments

Israel supporters use Boston bombing to call for firing of UN Rapporteur

A smear campaign against UN Rapporteur Richard Falk distorts his words to claim that he blames Israel and the US for the Boston bombing—and that he believes the vicitms had it coming. Yet Falk never made the comments he was accused of making. Above, Falk talks at the United Nations.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Media | Tagged | 90 Comments

Some thoughts on the 10-year anniversary of the death of Rachel Corrie

Phan Nguyen reflects on the 10th anniversary of Rachel Corrie’s death: “I was at my home in Olympia, Washington, on the morning of Sunday, March 16, 2003, when I received a call from Will, a friend who had traveled to Rafah. It was a pleasant surprise. I had already heard from Rachel Corrie, whom he had gone to Palestine with, but not from him, so my enthusiasm was pronounced when I asked him how he was doing. “Um … really bad,” he said. “Rachel’s dead.””

Posted in Activism, Israel/Palestine | Tagged | 22 Comments

It’s delicious to see very uncool people fall for ‘Rolling Stones’ anti-BDS hoax

Pamela Geller and other Israel supporters rejoiced when it was announced that, in an affront to BDS, the Rolling Stones would perform in Israel—except it was a hoax.

Posted in BDS, Israel/Palestine, Media | Comments Off

How the JCRC inspired New York officials to fight BDS

When New York public officials criticized Brooklyn College for hosting a BDS event with Judith Butler and Omar Barghouti, it wasn’t the first time local politicians had mobilized against pro-Palestinian activism. Under the guidance of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York elected officials have rallied against boycott, supported censoring speakers critical of Israel and even met with settler leaders. Although JCRC may not have led the fight at Brooklyn College, its influence in city politics is clear to see. Above, New York City Council members pose with JCRC-NY Vice President and CEO Michael Miller and Israeli Minister of Information and Diaspora (and settler) Yuli Edelstein.

Posted in American Jewish Community, BDS, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | Tagged | 18 Comments

Dissecting IDF propaganda: The numbers behind the rocket attacks


Phan Nguyen examines the conflicting rocket attack statistics cited by the Israeli military to justify the current attack on Gaza.

Posted in Gaza, Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Occupation | Tagged | 86 Comments

Newsweek: From ‘Black Rage’ to ‘Muslim Rage’

“Rage” is all the rage with Newsweek, apparently. For comparison:

Posted in Media, US Politics | 11 Comments

Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb is latest target in anti-Obama campaign

Veteran peace activist and interfaith dialogue advocate Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb is the latest target in a campaign to attack Barack Obama in the run-up to the US presidential election.

Posted in American Jewish Community, Iran, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, Media, Neocons, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | 29 Comments

Defining ‘occupation’ with Israeli Consul General Akiva Tor

The recent hubbub over the word “occupation” reminds me of a conversation I had last year with Akiva Tor, the Israeli Consul General to the Pacific Northwest.

Posted in BDS, Israel/Palestine, Occupation | 7 Comments

After LGBT forum, Oren will headline for notorious homophobic pastor John Hagee

What does the Equality Forum’s LGBT Summit and a conference hosted by John Hagee have in common? The same headlining speaker.

Posted in Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government | Tagged | 65 Comments

Jewish press concoct threat against 200 Jewish students in Florida university

Yesterday, YNet, the Times of Israel, the JTA, and the Jewish Daily Forward published reports about the targeting of 200 Jewish university students in a guerrilla campaign instigated by “pro-Palestinian” activists at the start of Passover. One problem with the story — it never happened.

Posted in Activism, Israel/Palestine, Media | Tagged | 115 Comments

Hasbara in 1988: ‘despite difficulties, South Africa is a vital, progressive state with much to admire ‘


First of an ongoing series by Phan Nguyen on the use of the apartheid analogy. Defenders of South African apartheid said blacks were doing better there than in other African countries and South Africa was an asset to the west. Sound familiar?

Posted in BDS, Israel/Palestine | Tagged | 57 Comments

StandWithUs manufactures boycott of Jewish deli in Olympia

The pro-Israel organization StandWithUs concocted a story about a mass boycott of a Jewish deli in Olympia, WA to attack the region’s growing BDS movement.

Posted in BDS, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine | Tagged | 46 Comments

Northwest pinkwashing events cancelled, StandWithUs’s record of queer exploitation exposed

Last week, three pinkwashing events in Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia, Washington were cancelled, following actions by anti-pinkwashing activists.

Posted in American Jewish Community, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, US Politics | 10 Comments

Excerpts from the Olympia Food Co-op lawsuit dismissal

On February 27, Judge Thomas McPhee of Thurston County Superior Court dismissed the anti-BDS lawsuit against the Olympia Food Co-op, accepting the defendants’ motion that the lawsuit violated Washington State’s anti-SLAPP law. Here are excerpts of Judge McPhee’s key findings.

Posted in BDS, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine | 10 Comments