Category Archives:
US Politics

‘My friends, with us tonight is the face of the Holocaust': Boteach talks Israel, Palestine, and genocide with Wiesel and Power

Eamon Murphy on
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Elie Wiesel and Samantha Power at New York's Cooper Union. (Photo: Facebook)

Shmuley Boteach was joined by Elie Wiesel, Samantha Power, and Noah Feldman at the Cooper Union on Monday night for a discussion called “Genocide and the Jews: A Never-Ending Problem” — a title that evoked Power’s Pulitzer Prize-winning history, “A Problem from Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide. It was an evening characterized by uneasy contradictions, as the panelists differed on the basis for criticizing Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians, the significance of accusing the Jewish state of genocide, and the prospect of a Shoah-like catastrophe in the age of Zionism.

Support for Israel in the U.S. Jewish community continues to erode

Marilyn Kleinberg Neimark and Donna Nevel on
Part of the Jewish Voice for Peace delegation at the 221st Presbyterian General Assembly in Detroit who worked in solidarity with Presbyterian groups on divestment from companies profiting off the Israeli occupation.

Marilyn Kleinberg Neimark and Donna Nevel write: “As the discourse changes and unquestioning Jewish support for Israel continues to erode – both for its policies and for its status as an ethnocratic state– there’s reason for optimism. But the ongoing work of Jewish groups standing with, and participating in the growing call for BDS and other efforts to achieve justice, equality, and human rights for the Palestinian people, as well as for a US foreign policy committed to these principles, remains more important and more challenging than ever.”

For CNN and NYT, Jewish lives matter more than Palestinian ones

James North and Philip Weiss on
New York Times headquarters. (Photo: Wikimedia)

The NYT’s account of the killing of four Jews in a Jerusalem synagogue in a Palestinian terror attack leaves the death of a Palestinian bus driver, said by Palestinians to have been lynched, to the 13th paragraph. Jews count more than Palestinians to the newspaper of record

Caltech prof says Israeli scientist passed NASA rocket secrets to his government

Philip Weiss on
Troian with her attorney, Dan Stormer

A professor of physics at Caltech says that an Israeli scientist at the school shared secrets from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, or JPL, with Israeli government rocket scientists in violation of federal law, but that when she reported the matter to Caltech authorities, she was punished for the disclosure.

US Jewish voters have more favorable feelings about Netanyahu than Obama

Philip Weiss on
Obama in 2012

J Street published a poll of 800 Jewish voters on November 4 that is scary. When asked to “rate your feelings,” warm versus cold, they favor Benjamin Netanyahu by 53-24 percent but fewer warm up to Obama– 48-44. Notice the unfavorables for Obama are nearly twice Netanyahu’s. Hillary Clinton they favor, 61-31. And only Sheldon Adelson is

Ilan Pappe offers a reminder that the ‘ongoing Nakba’ implicates many of us in Israel’s history

Liz Rose on
Ilan Pappe

Ilan Pappe’s October 25 lecture in Chicago, “The Ongoing Nakba,” promoting his new book, The Idea of Israel: A History of Power and Knowledge, emphasized two things that stood out to me in particular: Israel’s importing of European pine trees and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Though these issues are not new to the discourse on Palestine, Pappe reminds his audience that the land is as alive as the indigenous people who inhabited it. The mind, body, and spirit of both land and people are still victims to Israel’s current goal of de-Arabizing Palestine, “which has gotten worse for the Palestinians every year since 1882.”

Pittsburgh’s ‘Conflict Kitchen’ is latest battleground over Palestine, free speech and criticism of Israel

Julie Hakim Azzam on
A typical lunch-time line at the Conflict Kitchen. (Photo courtesy of Conflict Kitchen)

Pittsburgh may be known for its steel mill past and its high-tech present, but is now emerging as the seat of a lively debate concerning Palestinian food, free speech, and criticism of Israeli policies. The Conflict Kitchen is a take-out eatery that only serves food from countries with which the United States is in conflict. The restaurant began serving Palestinian food on October 6. On November 8, restaurant co-director Jon Rubin received a letter containing a death threat. As a result, Mr. Rubin temporarily closed the Conflict Kitchen

Pro-Israel billionaires Adelson and Saban muse over buying the New York Times

Annie Robbins on
Sheldon Adelson, left, and Haim Saban flank Israeli-America Council Chairman Shawn Evenhaim at the IAC conference in D.C. (Photo: Shahar Azran)

Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate and his co-horts at the Israeli American Council (IAC), launched off their first ever inagural “Israeli-American Conference” in D.C. over the weekend. The talk of the town is the “spirited public discussion” between Adelson and Haim Saban, the billionaire democrat fundraiser and media mogul. Adelson challenged Haim Saban to team up and purchase The New York Times because the Times is so mean to Israel. It sounds like they’re jealous Amazon’s Jeff Bezos swept in and bought the Washington Post right out from under their noses

Dempsey bucks Obama line by praising Israelis for Gaza tactics

Sam Knight on
General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, went against the Obama administration’s own line when he said Thursday that the Israeli military acted “responsibly” and went to “extraordinary lengths” to minimize Palestinian civilian casualties during Operation Protective Edge last summer

Evangelical Christians come under attack as more move to oppose Israeli occupation

John Wagner on
Bethlehem Bible College

On October 26, 2014, the Jerusalem Post carried an article entitled “Bethlehem Bible College – purveyor of anti-Israel propaganda” in their Christian News section. The Rev. Alex Awad, a Baptist minister who works both for Bethlehem Bible College and The United Methodist Church, was personally named as part of “a blatant attempt to demonize Israel.” The article goes on to denounce a video the college produced on the bombing of Gaza. That the Jerusalem Post felt it necessary to publish this frontal attack on a well known Bible college is actually a good sign

Israel lobby stakes claim for Jerusalem at Supreme Court, but Kagan isn’t buying

Annie Robbins on
Supreme Court Frieze

Menachem Zivotofsky was born in Jerusalem in 2002 to American parents. His lawyers are currently arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court that his passport should designate “Israel” as his place of birth, but Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan responds that’s absurd. Zivotofsky’s case has received much attention and several stalwarts of the Israel lobby are hoping for a ruling that essentially grants Congress the authority to overrule the White House when setting policy on Jerusalem. Described as both “a proxy war for U.S. foreign policy toward Israel” and “foreign policy minefield,” the implications of the Supreme Court’s decision could have lasting repercussions not just to US politics and national interest, but for the Middle East

David Brooks’s romance of community

Philip Weiss on
David Brooks

When Times columnist David Brooks revealed that his son was in the Israeli army in Aspen on July 1, folks gasped, but no journalist picked up on it. That’s how the establishment works.

A visit to Auschwitz

Scott Roth on

I was drawn to Auschwitz to see how I would react, both emotionally and intellectually. Would visiting Auschwitz force me to reconsider my position on the State of Israel and my opposition to the type of Zionism that drives it? Would standing in the one extant gas chamber at Auschwitz 1 force me to consider my luck at having been born a Jew in 1976 in New York as opposed to 36 years earlier somewhere in Europe and therefore change my political values

Does SJP have the right to free speech?

Radhika Sainath on
Northeastern chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. (Photo courtesy of Northeastern SJP)

It is a well-established principle that public universities are bound by the First Amendment. You might not know this from talking to students who are speaking out for Palestinian rights. In the past eight months, Radhika Sainath has given 15 know-your-rights workshops to students from nearly 70 different universities. Despite her extensive conversations with SJPers, she continues to be surprised at the level of repression these students face from their administrations.

Loyola SJP investigation reflects double standard towards Palestinian voices on campus

Lillian Osborne on
loyola_chicago.jpg.720x400_q75_crop.jpg.pagespeed.ic.slLQW_yg6p

On September 19, the administration of Loyola University Chicago temporarily suspended Loyola Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and opened an investigation of the organization. The actions, which will culminate in a disciplinary hearing on Thursday evening, came after a diverse group of students gathered at a table hosted by Taglit-Birthright Israel, which provides trips to Israel exclusively for Jewish students, to register and ask questions about the program. Loyola’s investigation is part of a broader censorship of political speech on university campuses around the US over issues related to Israel and Palestine.

Why the Salaita case matters, outside the United States

David Palumbo-Liu on
Steven Salaita speaking at the University of Illinois, September 9, 2014. (Photo: Facebook)

While Steven Salaita has received massive support from colleagues, students, community groups, and others in the US, what has received less attention is the support he has received from outside the US. This is extremely important, for as protests against Israel continue and in fact grow across the globe, one should understand that such acts of silencing resonate with those beyond US borders. Today it is clear that criticism of Israel is the issue, and that the significance of Salaita’s case is not limited to the