A religious freedom watchdog mandated by Congress rebuffed repeated appeals from Christian Palestinians to investigate Israel and “bullied” sympathetic officials into dropping their cause, said outgoing member to the committee for religious liberties James Zogby on Wednesday.
Zogby is the director of the Arab American Institute and was appointed eight years ago to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) by President Obama. With less than three weeks left in his term, Zogby went public with his dissenting opinion to the religious committee’s decision to excuse Israel from an investigation.
Ron Fox, a 77-year-old Jewish Democrat in Mass., urges the party’s state committee to condemn Israeli settlements: “For 45 years, not a day has gone by that I have not thought about human rights violations caused by settlements.”
When Israeli soldiers carried her novel in one hand and a gun in the other into Gaza in 2014, trying to kill “bad guys,” that was all that a writer could ask for her work, Israeli writer Dorit Rabinyan says in New York, in a tour sponsored by the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
Jared Kushner, the First Son-in-Law, is secret financial partners with what was once the richest family in Israel — the billionaire Steinmetzes, whose leading figure has been linked to a massive bribery scandal in Africa. Kushner’s hidden business ties, just revealed in the New York Times and Bloomberg, should prompt the same intense scrutiny that other Trump officials have gotten for their secret links to Russia.
Abba Solomon finds a historical parallel between a recent “misadventure” at an anti-BDS conference where members of J Street attended and were called “anti-Semitic” by a speaker from the stage, and “the American Jewish Committee (AJC) [who] felt it must cooperate with the Zionist movement, in order to be within the tent when decisions were made. It participated in the formation of the Jewish Agency for Palestine on the understanding the Agency would be a joint Zionist/non-Zionist enterprise.”
After overcoming multiple legal and administrative hurdles, including an Israeli-imposed travel ban, Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, appeared on a panel at Columbia University last night entitled “The Road to Freedom: The BDS Movement for Palestinian Rights and the Struggle Against Apartheid.” Barghouti listed BDS’ many accomplishments since its launch in 2005 by Palestinian civil society and his commentary was sharp and at times funny. “BDS cannot claim full responsibility for Israel’s growing academic, cultural and increasingly economic isolation” Barghouti said. “For Israel itself deserves a big share of the credit.”
The donor class of the Democratic Party in Massachusetts puts its foot down, and the party moves to quash a lukewarm resolution condemning Israeli settlements. Fears of BDS and an “exodus” of Jewish leaders from the party fueled the response.
Jared Kushner is related by marriage to Hart Hasten, a Holocaust survivor and kingmaker in Indiana. The Hasten-Kushner clan is the Jewish connection Trump and Pence shared before they became political partners.
SNL stays away from Israel jokes but comic Vanessa Bayer highlighted Jewish alienation from Israel in mentioning “my uncle Simon even though my dad says he is so blinded by his devotion to Israel that he ignores all reason.” The line got a pretty good laugh.
If Massachusetts Democratic state committee passes resolution opposing Israeli settlements, party leader Steve Grossman warns many Dems will say, “that’s the last straw. This is not a place I feel comfortable any longer.”
Marking Marwan Barghouti as a ‘terrorist’ is very important for Israel and the New York Times, too. The Times did not impose such standards when it was celebrating Nelson Mandela.
Amith Gupta writes a double standard was at play when the New York Times decided to amend an op-ed written by imprisoned Palestinian Marwan Barghouti by adding in his conviction when the crimes and biases of other contributors are defended or ignored, “While the New York Times decided to poison the well for Marwan Barghouti, it has taken the opposite position in disclosing the backgrounds of many of its pro-Israel commentators. In 2014, the New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan responded to concerns about the Times’ failure to disclose that one of its contract writers, Isabel Kershner, was married to pro-Israel lobbyist Hirsh Goodman when the former wrote extensive puff pieces sanitizing Israel. Omitted from the response was the additional fact that Kershner’s son was actively serving in the Israeli army during its 2014 Gaza massacre. But according to the public editor, such background details about a writer of the Times’ primary coverage–rather than its opinion pieces–was ‘unnecessary.'”
The crazy response to the Marwan Barghouti op-ed in the New York Times — Michael Oren called it a “journalistic terror attack” — reflects a growing insecurity on the part of Israel’s leaders about the country’s reputation.
The coverage of the Palestinian issue in the New York Times is getting better, as reflected by the Marwan Barghouti op-ed calling Israel a “moral failure,” and new Jerusalem bureau chief Ian Fisher’s straightforward reports. Yes the Times hired neocon crank Bret Stephens; but the paper of record is in play.
Bill Kristol touts the old neoconservative nostrum, “regime change,” in four countries, Syria, Iran, Russia and North Korea. The leader of Never Trump suddenly likes Trump’s “normal” foreign policy.
LitHub wanted Sarah Schulman to remove paragraph about Palestine solidarity from an essay on free speech. She refused, published elsewhere. Her editor stood by her and lost his job. Now everything has been set right…
Obama “assented” to a “holocaust war” in Syria, says Marty Peretz; while Shmuley Boteach says “Trump is in danger of becoming a great man.” And Mort Klein says “Everyone knows that blacks are on average better dancers than other people.” Ever wonder why Zionism has become a dirty word?
The New York Times has hired Bret Stephens as a columnist, elevating an Islamophobic neoconservative who regularly pronounces on the “disease of the Arab mind” and the “communal psychosis” of Palestinians, while Israel is blameless.
After a visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC, Ghassan John Tarazi writes, “Two glaring parallels between the experiences of Palestinians and African Americans are the condescending attitude of exceptionalism among the oppressors and their blatant and subtle dehumanization of the oppressed. This is the toxic and malignant foundation on which the ‘legal’ oppression takes place – in both the United States and Palestine/Israel.”
Many of us are surely lacking in knowledge of the Holocaust– including White House reporters. You can see from Sean Spicer’s infamous press briefing where after he made his gaffe about Hitler not using chemical weapons, as Bashar al-Assad had allegedly done in Syria, 12 minutes went by and Spicer fielded 16 questions on matters such as North Korea, Ivanka Trump, and tax policy before Cecilia Vega of ABC brought up his comment, apparently because it was blowing up on Twitter.
Matt Katz of WNYC extols a Haggadah that defies Trump over refugees’ rights without mentioning Israel’s treatment of Palestinian refugees. The double standard is obvious, and damaging.
White House spokesman Sean Spencer was comparing Assad to Hitler yesterday, unfavorably so: “You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons”, he said. Oops, that was bad. But it got worse.
From Tzipi Livni to Moshe Ya’alon to Yair Lapid, Israeli leaders have expressed contempt for the lives of children targeted in Israel’s wars. That makes the allegations of massacres in Syria, and the U.S. missile attack there, very useful.