Category Archives:
US Politics

Tell your congressperson: Don’t attend Netanyahu’s speech

Philip Weiss on
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney

If it was outrageous and inappropriate and unprecedented for the Republicans to ask Netanyahu to speak to Congress, thereby undermining Obama’s Iran policy, those who oppose war should take action, and give Netanyahu the cold shoulder when he comes to Congress

Netanyahu speech could turn Israel lobby into a political football

Philip Weiss on

The stunning invitation to Netanyahu to address the Congress in March against Obama may at last politicize the “special relationship,” forcing Democrats to side with the president over Israel and unleashing a debate over our Israeli policy, including the damage to the U.S. from the unending occupation

In Iraq and Syria the US sanctions its allies while its friends back its enemies (got that?)

Ted Snider on
A U.S. flag waves while displaced Iraqis from the Yazidi community cross the Syria-Iraq border on Feeshkhabour bridge over Tigris River at Feeshkhabour border point, northern Iraq. (Photo: Khalid Mohammed/AP)

The war in Syria and Iraq has so many sides it’s hard to keep track of the teams. In Syria, we’re fighting the Assad government, but we’re also fighting the rebels who are fighting the Assad government, putting us on both sides of that civil war. But when you throw in the other countries that are taking sides, the program becomes even harder to follow. Recently, it seems that allies are on our enemy’s side while our enemies are on our side. To be on our side, it seems, you first have to let us sanction you.

How a culture remembers its crimes is important: A review of ‘American Sniper’

Eamon Murphy on
(Image from the film "American Sniper")

The greatest crime of the twenty-first century so far has come to the big screen, and it’s a hit. Eamon Murphy reviews Clint Eastwood’s film “American Sniper” which tells the story of Iraq war sniper Chris Kyle. Murphy writes: “There’s a generic antiwar undercurrent, but no understanding of the myriad ways in which this specific act of aggression was so monstrous. The conflicting signals were probably part of a strategy to drum up business through controversy, but the movie deserves to be talked about: how a culture remembers its crimes is always of interest. We seem willing to regret the Iraq War, provided that we never have to face it; American Sniper abides by this profitable bargain.”

Letter from a Texas Maximum Security Prison: A personal reflection on Martin Luther King Day

Shukri Abu Baker on
Martin Luther King explaining to his daughter Yolanda why she could not go to Funtown. "One of the most painful experiences I have ever faced was to see her tears when I told her Funtown was closed to colored children, for I realized the first dark cloud of inferiority had floated into her little mental sky." (photo: James Karales)

Holy Land Foundation President Shukri Abu Baker writes from a maximum security prison in Beaumont, Texas: “I was only 4 yrs old when Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, 1963. In that speech King dreamt of a day when people of all races would be able to sing with a ‘new meaning’, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my father died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.” I sang, and I’m still singing. Even from the tight emptiness of my cell I’m singing, but I’m yet to savor the new meaning King spoke of. I’m yet to feel the breeze of liberty against the stark landscape of incarceration. Perhaps my singing carries too strong of an Arabic accent, or a hint of Islamism, or a touch of Palestinianism. Perhaps the song, was not meant for me.”

Obama won’t meet Netanyahu during ‘bizarre,’ ‘historic,’ ‘unprecedented’ visit (Updated)

Philip Weiss on
House Speaker John Boehner and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo:Jonathan Ernst / REUTERS)

The Congressional invitation to Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to both houses of Congress, purposely upstaging President Obama’s State of the Union speech on Iran and terrorism is a shocker that the MSM can’t ignore. More Iran sanctions would be like throwing “a grenade” into negotiations, John Kerry warns, while US media reflect shock that Congress would invite Netanyahu to urge such a course. The White House and State Department say they won’t meet with Netanyahu on the visit, the Israel lobby calls it a snub.

Can we just retire the phrase ‘relative calm’?

Patrick Connors on

The New York Times’ Isabel Kershner says the stabbing of Israelis by a Palestinian in Jerusalem “broke a period of relative calm.” Can we retire that phrase permanently? Have Palestinians ever experienced a period of relative calm?

The ‘hasbara’ tweeps who brought down Jim Clancy, and their ties to Israel and the Israel lobby

Allison Deger on
Jim Clancy.

Veteran CNN journalist Jim Clancy’s resignation this week is one of the odder media fallouts from the Charlie Hebdo Paris attack. On January 7, 2015 Clancy got into a late night Twitter spat regarding the French satirical magazine with online adversaries. He told them they were ganging up on him and practicing “hasbara,” the Hebrew word for “explaining” that describes pro-Israel advocacy. As it turns out, Clancy was not off base. Some that spared with him have worked for the Israeli government and pro-Israel lobby groups.

Update: On MLK Day, lots of folks are talking Palestine

Philip Weiss on
Wall picture from NYC2Palestine on Facebook

USA Today mentions Palestine in a story on Martin Luther King Jr’s living inspiration, and a 1964 speech on South Africa, lately rediscovered, suggests that King would be supporting Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel.

US calls ICC decision to investigate Gaza ‘tragic irony’

Philip Weiss on
Fatou Bensouda

It’s a “tragic irony” that Israel which has withstood thousands of terrorist rockets is to be investigated by the International Criminal Court, the US State Department says, fulfilling its role as the defender of the Jewish state

‘It’s the political problem Black bodies pose for the US state and Palestinian bodies pose for the Israeli state': NYC panel looks at militarized policing in the US and Israel

Brandon Davis on
Dr. Robyn Spencer, Linda Sarsour and Beth Miller discuss the connections of militarized policing between the US and Israel. (Photo: Brandon Davis)

A New York panel last night featured Dr. Robyn Spencer and Linda Sarsour discussed the connections of militarized policing between the US and Israel. The panel was held one day after a press conference hosted by a coalition of over fifty groups in opposition to the New York City Council’s upcoming delegation to Israel and the US-Israel military/police relationship.

Debate over trip to Israel reveals fissures in Muslim American community

Alex Kane on
The Shalom Hartman Institute logo. (Photo: Youtube)

The Muslim American community, by and large, is sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. But when it comes to how to advocate for Palestinians, sharp differences emerge. An at-times bitter debate has broken out in the Muslim American community over engagement with Zionism, the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement and what type of actions to take to address the Israel/Palestine conflict. The debate has centered around a trip to Israel a handful of Muslim Americans are currently on. The Muslim Leadership Initiative trip, which first caused a storm of controversy online last year, is being sponsored by the Shalom Hartman Institute, an Israeli and American think tank that has ties to the Israeli army and works against BDS.

A tale of two tests

David Samel on

David Samel offers a math test and a morality test that look at the same numbers from different perspectives. Do you come up with the same answer in both tests?

Eric Fingerhut, head of Hillel, says JVP is ‘frustrating’ and that Open Hillel movement has no legs

Alex Kane on
Eric Fingerhut, the head of Hillel International. (Photo: Shahar Azran for Hillel)

On January 8, Eric Fingerhut, the head of Hillel International, spoke to an audience of over 100 people at Temple Sinai in Roslyn, Long Island. He packed a lot into his speaking engagement. Fingerhut said that Jewish Voice for Peace is “frustrating,” the Open Hillel movement has no legs, Christians United for Israel is an “amazing” organization and progressive causes are becoming “infected” with anti-Israel sentiment.