In yet another sign that the Democratic left is determined to stand up for Palestinian human rights, 34 congresspeople have signed letters supportive of Issa Amro, the courageous and non-violent leader of protest actions in occupied Hebron who has been accused by Israel of a series of absurd charges going back to 2010, including “insulting a soldier,” “assault” and demonstrating without a permit.
Category Archives: US Politics
In a speech to visiting young Jews, Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel’s “hand is outstretched to peace,” but he twice makes a fist as he says it.
The 1967 war was not an existential crisis, Israeli scholar Guy Laron tells Wilson Center. “The Israeli general staff quietly knew that they’re going to win the war big.” And the CIA told LBJ the same thing: “If Israel is attacked, it will win in a week.”
Yakov Rabkin’s book “What Is Modern Israel?” is one of the most important critiques of Zionism ever published. Zionism is opposed to Jewish tradition and to liberalism, and it has fostered a deep sense of insecurity in Israeli Jews and made American Jewish leaders into “vassals” of Israel. Critics must overcome the “climate of intellectual terror” to condemn the Zionist ideology.
Among the general US population, the number of those “unreachable” by Israel is 9 percent, but among Jewish college students the number is much higher 13 percent. And that is a “national security issue” for Israel’s future, says Fern Oppenheim of the Brand Israel Group.
A new study titled, “Sounding the Alarm: The American-Israeli Relationship” by an American Zionist group says that Israeli PR (or hasbara) isn’t working, and the more Americans learn about Israel, the less favorably they feel about the country. The report says that Americans have learned a lot more about Israel since 2010, but that knowledge has fostered the country’s unfavorable reputation, and fed the “delegitimization” campaign, because Americans increasingly feel that Israel does not share their values.
Ron Kampeas reports for the JTA: “Haim Saban, a major donor to the Democratic Party, is backing a bill that would slash funding to the Palestinian Authority unless it stops payments to Palestinians jailed for attacks on Israelis. The participation of the Israeli-American entertainment mogul in the initiative of the lobbying affiliate of the Israeli-American Council is significant because Democrats until now have been reluctant to back the bill as it stands.”
“Politically, ideologically and in some sense spiritually, I was born in June 1967,” Israeli settler and ambassador Dani Dayan tells a liberal Zionist gathering in New York, in yet another reflection of how rightwing ideology is ingrained in US Jewish life and in Israeli politics.
Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi says the Palestinian cause is often pushed to the margins, but not at this year’s Puerto Rican Day Parade where organizers invited a Palestinian contingent: “We were not only invited to march in New York City, usually a hands-off-Palestine site despite the advances made by the movement for justice in Palestine. We were also asked to bring Palestinian flags with us, “many, many flags” and invited to move closer to the front right behind the leading line of Indigenous Taino people, where Oscar López, riding in the float saw us, raised his fist for Palestine and placed it on his heart.”
On June 10, leading anti-Muslim organization ACT for America, whose founder, Brigitte Gabriel once described Muslims as being a “natural threat to civilized people of the world, particularly Western society”, initiated a nationwide ‘rally against Sharia law’. Most anti-Sharia protesters were met with fierce opposition, but further organized action will be required to squash the violent surge of anti-Muslim sentiment that’s grown ever more ominous since the election of Donald Trump.
On May 25, Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind joined some of America’s most notorious hate-mongers to protest against Muslim-American activist Linda Sarsour’s then-forthcoming CUNY commencement speech, which took place on May 31. Hikind rubbed elbows with Milo Yiannopoulos and Pam Geller — both avowed Islamophobes, and the former disgraced after appearing to condone pedophilia — in order to “expose” Sarsour as the anti-Semite he so wants us to believe she is. But for Hikind and his friends, Sarsour is an anti-Semite for one reason alone: she is Palestinian.
Israelis live in fear of Palestinians, and speak of a hundred years war. These conditions have produced a militaristic majoritarian culture where everyone admires Trump and even leftwingers dismiss Palestinian human rights concerns. “They have plenty to eat.” Phil Weiss’s observations from a tour on the 50th anniversary of occupation.
“I have enormous respect for the Palestinian national movement,” says Israeli ambassador and settler, Dani Dayan. “I admire in some sense a movement that keeps its refugees for five generations in squalid camps in order to keep the flame alive. In some senses I envy that movement.”
Amith Gupta examines why Governor Andrew Cuomo rebuked the Puerto Rican Day Parade while attending the Israel Day Parade in New York City: “This tale of two parades is remarkable in that it is very much a microcosm of politics in a state that is often reduced to little more than a bastion of liberalism.”
Memoirs by American Jews reveal that the 1967 war revolutionized Jewish life: even leftwingers like Joel Kovel were initially swept up in the fear for Israel and excitement over its victory, but those fears helped produce the most powerful force in American Jewish life since: the neoconservatives who, inflamed by memories of the Holocaust, vowed to support Israel in the face of an indifferent world.
“We had both written plays about Israel and Palestine that were deemed too political, biased, left wing, angry, anti-Israel, and even anti-Semitic. Artistic directors said they would lose half their boards if they produced our shows and to be fair they probably would.” –Ismail Khalidi and David Zellnik announce a new project for theater pieces on Palestine.
At Shavuot celebration at Tzedek in Chicago, Marc Ellis says Elie Wiesel was a Holocaust thinker who believed that Israel was the path to bring Jews out of suffering and towards redemption. Unfortunately there was no room for Palestinian suffering in that worldview. So relates Liz Rose, who used to write adoring letters to Wiesel, and planted a tree in Israel in his name.
Tony Judt’s disillusionment with Israel as an “anachronism” began when he volunteered during the Six Day War: “For the first time I met Israelis who were chauvinistic in every meaning of the word: anti-Arab in a sense bordering upon racism; quite undisturbed at the prospect of killing Arabs wherever possible, frequently regretting that they had not been allowed to fight their way through to Damascus and beat down the Arabs for good and all.”
In a new collection called Kingdom of Olives and Ash that decries Israel’s 50 years of occupation, Michael Chabon documents the grinding humiliations and complete loss of freedom for Palestinians living in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, who must get permits just to travel a few miles.
Only a brave, progressive international movement can end the Israeli occupation, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders says, in a video on its 50th anniversary calling for “equality, security, democracy and justice.”
Israel needs to enforce laws against polygamy because Palestinians are overpopulating the Negev, Jerusalem, and the Galilee, says Michael Oren, former ambassador to the US. Oh and by the way, US liberal Jewish support for Israel is in “radical… implosion” because they see Israel as oppressive, Oren says. Maybe they have good reason?
The White House announced that Donald Trump will not move the embassy to Jerusalem at this time so as to advance peace talks. AIPAC and Netanyahu were disappointed by the news. Obama’s former ambassador Dan Shapiro calls for the embassy move later this year, so as to “shatter Pal myth” that Jews don’t have a connection to Jerusalem.