Category Archives:
Middle East

Netanyahu says US is part of new ‘axis’!

Philip Weiss on
John McCain

Today in his effort to counter the Iran deal, Netanyahu called the US part of the “Axis,” a naked reference to Nazi Germany and its allies in World War 2. “The Iran-Lausanne-Yemen axis is very dangerous to humanity and it must be stopped.”

White House will go after AIPAC next — Newsweek

Philip Weiss on
AIPAC logo

As the Iran talks go to the wire, we can only marvel at the political fireworks we are seeing. Newsweek follows up on the the Wall Street Journal report that Israel was spying on the US talks and leaking details to friendly members of congress. “I’m betting there are going to be some willing leakers now about stories such as AIPAC’s operations against Congress,” a former US intelligence operative predicts.

[1]-[2]-[6]-[20]: A regional strategy for sustainable peace for Israel/Palestine

Johan Galtung on
The separation wall, 2007. (Photo: Filippo Minelli/Flickr)

Prof. Johan Galtung proposes a region-wide solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: “A genuine approach to peace would exclude all talk of the USA as a dispassionate honest “broker” and engage in Israel & Palestine negotiations by honestly: Pointing out that USA & Israel are in alignment on almost everything but the settlements, and working on how to integrate Israel into a regional community with its five Arab border states and the states bordering on the latter.”

Israel spying scandal comes to light one week before Iran negotiation deadline

Eamon Murphy on
Obama and Netanyahu

With less than a week before the March 31 deadline to finalize the outlines of a nuclear deal, the relative positions of Iran and the Western powers are coming into focus. Israel sees its regional nuclear monopoly hanging in the balance and has sent a national security delegation to Paris to influence the negotiations. Meanwhile, the nascent U.S.-Israel breach continues to widen, as anonymous White House sources accuse Benjamin Netanyahu of using information obtained through espionage to lobby Congress against a deal.

Netanyahu and the unraveling of the British Jewish consensus

Robert Cohen on
Prime Ministers Netanyahu and Cameron

Robert Cohen writes: In Britain, if you are a pro-Israel lobby group like We Believe in Israel, or BICOM or the Zionist Federation you have a tricky time ahead. If you are leading our religious or communal bodies from the United Synagogue to Liberal Judaism and of course the Board of Deputies, then you are now in a very serious fix. Here’s why. Bibi is back and this time he’s telling the truth. Expect to see turmoil in the ranks of the Jewish establishment, some soul searching among the rank and file and a clear fracturing of publicly voiced Jewish opinions on Israel. And about time too.

The journey from ‘birthright’ to Palestine

Kayla Blau on

Kayla Blau writes a powerful reflection on attending a Birthright trip and then visiting her Palestinian childhood friend Aseel in East Jerusalem. She writes: “I am spinning, reciting how much propaganda we received, how my gut cringed at the irony of every IDF memorial. Aseel’s mother, Fatima, nods solemnly. Her brother, Noor, jumps up, “See! They have Holocaust museums and memorials at every corner, yet we are the victims of a modern day Holocaust! Where are the Palestinian memorials? Where do our tears go? Where are our bodies buried?” Noor’s question lingers like the stunned silence after the car bomb that night, definite and deflating. In the wake of hate crimes, Palestinians held hostage by the occupation, and unwarranted jailing, Aseel’s uncle sits with his five year old child and prays. He is forced to explain to his child why his brother was killed by Israeli soldiers at the same time my rabbi explains Jews must stay righteously committed to Israel.”

Separating anti-Semitism from anti-Zionism

Lillian Rosengarten on
Netanyahu at Congress

The distinction between Zionism and Judaism remains in constant need of clarification and discussion. Fanatics closed to discussion use the anti-Semitism charge to create political terror in an effort to silence and deny.

The U.S. sells out a brave, democratic Muslim leader — again (Updated on March 13)

James North on
Mohamed Nasheed arrest, Getty images

Cowardice and incompetence at the U.S. State Department are jeopardizing the freedom — and possibly the life — of a dynamic, progressive Muslim leader in the global south. Mohamed Nasheed, who was once the elected president of the Maldives, the Indian Ocean island nation, has been violently dragged into a courtroom to face a show trial that might end with him going back to prison,

Students in Brussels defeat Israeli embassy’s attempt to silence apartheid week events

Charlotte Kates on
Khalida Jarrar's Skype lecture to Israeli Apartheid Week at the Free University of Brussels. (Photo: Mohammed Khatib)

A presentation by Palestinian parliamentarian Khalida Jarrar took place at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Free University of Brussels, VUB) on the evening of March 4 after student organizers defeated an attempt by Israel’s ambassador to Belgium to cancel Israeli Apartheid Week at the Dutch-speaking university in the Belgian capital.

Do not let this opportunity for peace with Iran pass

Ali Shakeri on
From left, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif are photographed as they participate in a trilateral meeting in Vienna, Austria, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, Pool)

Former Iranian hostage Ali Shakeri says, “The United States and Iran have an opportunity to work together to create peace and stability in the Middle East. We cannot afford to let this opportunity to enhance the prospect of peace to pass.”

Why Iran is not and has never been Israel’s #1 enemy

Anne-Marie Codur on
Netanyahu with prop at UN GA, 2012, Mario Tama, Getty Images

Mr. Netanyahu’s speech on March 3, 2015 will be marked as the day when an Israeli Prime Minister has pushed the chutzpah so far as to embarrass the President of the United States in front of the whole world. But why is he so adamant that Iran is “the” absolute existential threat to the Jewish people in the first place? Anne-Marie Codur says all the laws of geopolitics and all the facts indicate that Netanyahu is simply lying.

What we talk about when we talk about ISIS

Eamon Murphy on
The Atlantic magazine cover

As the U.S. prepares to re-engage more deeply in the Iraq War, including the likely deployment of ground troops to help retake Mosul from Islamic State, there has been a push from mainstream commentators to recommit to an ideological view of our military campaigns in the Muslim world. A splashy cover story in The Atlantic, “What ISIS Really Wants”, offers an intellectual foundation for the reenergized War on Terror, presenting full recognition of ISIS’s “very Islamic” nature as a matter of urgent strategic significance. Eamon Murphy writes the obsession with naming Islam as the enemy of the West is in fact a defense of our own side’s troubled ideology. He says the guiding principle of post-World War II foreign policy — that the course of world events should be influenced, wherever possible, by force — is imperiled by the spectacular failure of the War on Terror, which actually succeeded in creating a transnational army of Islamic terrorists. That Islamic State rose in Iraq, then spread to Syria and Libya, threatens to give war a very bad name.

The 15 billion dollar deal that will make or break Israel’s regional hegemony

Juman Asmail on
Activists outside the Jordanian Embassy in London protest the Israel-Jordan gas deal.

The past week has seen international efforts to prevent an Israeli-Jordanian gas deal grow. Jordan BDS has called upon the international boycott movement to stand against the deal, and on Friday, February 20th activists in Denver, London and South Africa took to the streets to join the call to action. If the gas deal goes through it will increase Israeli dominance in the region by controlling the energy supply to bordering countries, and undermine the growing BDS movement.

In Their Own Words: Four residents of Yarmouk speak

Talal Alyan on
Palestinian residents of the besieged Yarmouk refugee camp line up to receive food supplies, March, 2014. (Photo: AP)

Four Palestinian residents of the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria reflect on the state of the camp, what Palestine means to them now after what they have experienced and what they would want to say to Palestinians outside of Syria.

My invitation to speak at Hebrew Union College

Bruce Shipman on
Joshua Heschel, left, and Martin Luther King Jr.

“Conscience and responsibility” was theme of discussion at Hebrew Union College to which Rev. Bruce Shipman was invited, but the source of his notoriety, his assertion that Israel’s actions help foster anti-Semitism in Europe, was not addressed

A cosmopolitan’s regrets: Roger Cohen on the Jewish condition

Philip Weiss on

In his new book, Roger Cohen’s description of his late mother’s mental illness and the way it traumatized him as a boy is spiritually scouring. His belief that Israel is necessary because Jews feel displaced is not as compelling.

I misremember Iraq

Scott Long on
Brian Williams

Scott Long comments on the Brian Williams scandal that he lied about his experience in Iraq, but he doesn’t understand why this is an issue. Williams made up a story, but he was in the middle of the most fantastic made-up story in American history. The Iraq war was a gigantic fiction: the reasons were fake, the goals were fake, the triumph was fake. Rather than Williams’ tall tales, the real scandal is journalism’s complete submission, as the “war on terror” raged, to the fantasies of patriotic allegiance.