Category Archives:
US Politics

Support for Rep. Hank Johnson following mischaracterization of his remarks on settlements

US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and Jewish Voice for Peace on
Rep. Hank Johnson who represents Georgia's 4th  congressional district.  (Photo: Office of Representative Hank Johnson)

During an event in Philadelphia during the Democratic National Convention, Representative Hank Johnson offered comments on the diminishing prospects for a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue, citing Israel’s ongoing settlement activity. Rep. Johnson analogized this settlement activity to that of termites hollowing out and undermining a structure, noting that settlement expansion has made the creation of a viable Palestinian state in the occupied territories all but impossible. This analogy was taken out of context in an article with a misleading headline written by a journalist with a longstanding record of anti-Palestinian reporting.

No blue sky between Republicans and Democrats on Israel

Mark Braverman on
Reform Jewish leader Rick Jacobs speaking to Jewish Voice for Peace members at the Presbyterian convention. (Photo: @lizaveta9/Twitter)

As the Democrats roll out their plan for America this week, it’s instructive to consider how the issue of Israel and the Palestinians plays out on the domestic policy stage. In a New York Daily News opinion piece, Reform movement head Rabbi Rick Jacobs criticizes the Republican Party’s platform for excluding language supporting a two-state solution. But Mark Braverman says the Republicans have actually got it right: their current platform, rather than departing from U.S. policy on Israel, is a more accurate reflection of four decades of U.S. support for Israel’s expansionism at the expense of Palestinian rights.

‘Once we realize how much power we hold, we can start a political revolution’: Protesters refuse to fall in line on first day of DNC

Wilson Dizard on
A protester outside the DNC holds a sign saying Free Palestine and showing loyalty to Sanders or Stein, but not Clinton. (Photo: Wilson Dizard)

Wilson Dizard reports from the protests outside the Democratic National Convention where he meets Sameera Khan, 25, former Ms. New Jersey 2015 and a Muslim American opposed to Clinton: “I’ve been involved in the political community for a very long time and studied international relations. I’ve been involved with Democracy Spring ever since I read about the Israel lobby and corporate influence, that’s what awakened me and made me realize that I have to fight. We are only as powerful as what we know. Knowledge is power, and once we realize how much power we hold together then we can start a political revolution.”

Fear and whiteness on the campaign trail

Wilson Dizard on
Eli, 32, from Alaska, and Austin, 23, from Cleveland, at the RNC. (Photo: Wilson Dizard)

Wilson Dizard wraps up his time in Cleveland and says the 2016 Republican National Convention was a watershed moment for American politics. He says the city’s Public Square felt a bit like Tahrir Square in 2013 during the counter-revolution and shares a conversation between a white nationalist Trump supporter who chatted with the children of immigrants, one of whom asked whether he would want to be saved by them in a hurricane. “Perhaps,” he said. But we’re in that hurricane, and people need to show compassion.

Bernie or Bust: Democrats descend on Philly amid email scandal

Wilson Dizard on
The Bernie Van (Photo: Twitter/@MaurinPicard)

The Democratic Party begins its national presidential convention in Philadelphia on Monday, under circumstances that political scientists refer to with the technical term “shitshow.” Wilson Dizard reports from the scene.

Clintonites on message: Vote for Trump, and you get Putin

Philip Weiss on
Putin

Something really is breaking loose with the Donald Trump nomination. He has so frightened the establishment with his refusal to hire the usual experts and his trashing of the “media elites” and his comments against NATO that in the last week a whole crowd of neocons and liberal internationalists has made the assertion that Trump is acting in Russia’s interest. And not only that but the Russians hacked the Democratic Party emails and gave them to Wikileaks to help Trump.

‘Does he believe in a God’? — DNC leaders wanted to undermine Sanders

Philip Weiss on
Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Further evidence of role of Israel lobby in Democratic Party: DNC chair Wasserman Schultz found Bernie Sanders’s criticisms of Israel “disturbing,” while Hillary Clinton campaign sought to use his stance to “marginalize” him, according to DNC emails published by Wikileaks.

Freewheeling Trump has backed down on only one issue. Guess which one

James North and Philip Weiss on
Trump with Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, photo from Andy Aboud in Vegas, undated

Donald Trump has taken heretical positions on countless issues, from a border wall to John McCain’s heroism to barring Muslim immigrants, and not backed down. Except for Israel. He said he’d be neutral on the conflict in February, but dropped that stance entirely. Such is the power of the Israel lobby.

‘Power is what matters’: Alt Right leader Richard Spencer explains his admiration for Trump and Israel

Wilson Dizard on
White nationalist intellectual Richard Spencer posing in front of a mural of Donald Trump outside the RNC. (Photo: Dave Weigel/Twitter)

A specter is haunting Cleveland, the specter of the Alt Right. The Alt Right in the United States is a small but growing intellectual movement that seeks to resist the dilution of “White” people, both as a matter of biology and imagined culture. Wilson Dizard talks to Alt Right leader Richard Spencer, one of the people lending intellectual legitimacy to the Donald Trump campaign. Among other things they discuss Spencer’s view of Israel, “I respect Israel as a homogenous ethno-state, but I hate the meddling of the Israel lobby in American politics,” he says.

Hillary Clinton gains backing of neocon megadonor who funds Islamophobic groups

Philip Weiss and Adam Horowitz on
Seth Klarman

Hillary Clinton has gained the support of major neoconservative donor Seth Klarman. Klarman’s family foundation supports rightwing Zionist groups, including the David Project and the Israel Project, and has supported several Islamophobic groups, including one that “applauded” an Oklahoma law later struck down as unconstitutional, that would have discriminated against Muslim religious practices. A Democratic Party think tank has said that the organizations Klarman supports have put out “anti-Islam messages polluting our national discourse.”

Money talks as Trump does u-turn on Israel

Jonathan Cook on
Donald Trump during his speech at the 2016 AIPAC conference. (Photo: AIPAC)

The grubby underside of US electoral politics is on show once again as the Democratic and Republican candidates prepare to fight it out for the presidency. And it doesn’t get seamier than the battle to prove how loyal each candidate is to Israel. New depths are likely to be plumbed this week at the Republican convention in Cleveland, as Donald Trump is crowned the party’s nominee. His platform breaks with decades of United States policy to effectively deny the Palestinians any hope of statehood. The question now is whether the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, who positions herself as Israel’s greatest ally, will try to outbid Trump in cravenly submitting to the Israeli right.

Outside RNC, Cornel West has inspiring words for the Palestinian people

Wilson Dizard on
Cornel West talking to Al Madayeen news outside the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, OH. (Photo: Will Dizard)

When asked outside the Republican National Convention in Cleveland what message he has for the West Bank, Cornel West tells a Lebanese news channel: “I think our young our precious Palestinian brothers and sisters need to know that there are voices here in the United States of all colors, white and black and red and yellow and brown, some of them are young Jewish voices who are concerned not just about the plight of Palestinians, but know that the day will come when the vicious Israeli occupation will be lifted. Palestinians will be able to live lives of decency and dignity and live lives of self determination.”

‘Monuments to Racism’: Anti-Trump activists and RNC attendees debate separation walls in the US and Israel

Wilson Dizard on
Julian Raven, a Donald Trump supporter, holds his artwork at the Public Square in Cleveland, Ohio on July 17. (Photo: Jim Urquhart/Reuters)

Wilson Dizard reports from Day One of the Republican convention which has already featured new heights of bizarre offensiveness. He meets activists from the American southwest who came to Cleveland to protest Trump’s proposal for a wall, which sounds very similar to Israeli separation wall in the West Bank. Rebekah Hinojosa, 25, who lives in the Rio Grande valley in Texas , calls the current wall between the US and Mexico a “monument to racism.”

‘NY Times’ offers Israeli lessons about dealing with ‘enemies’ to France

Phil Weiss and Donald Johnson on
Image circulating on social media blaming French victims for attack, from Dan Cohen's twitter feed @dancohen3000

Israelis have “seen it all” when it comes to terror, the New York Times says, in publishing a lecture from Jerusalem for the French on how to secure the country from “enemies.” There is no mention of occupation or dispossession or conditions that have produced violent Palestinian resistance.

Report from Cleveland: Republicans prepare for Trump

Wilson Dizard on
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 11: Windows at the team shop for the Cleveland Cavaliers are decorated for the Republican National Convention on July 11, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo: Angelo Merendino/Getty Images)

Wilson Dizard reports from Cleveland, OH where the Republican convention is about to get underway. He writes, “This election is a battle between two of the most corrupt political ideologies. And they have voters jumping through rationalization hoops to justify voting for two of the most unpopular candidates a primary season has ever produced.”

Eric Alterman wastes ten days in Israel

James North and Philip Weiss on
Eric Alterman

After 10 days in his beloved Israel, Eric Alterman diminishes the crisis: he leaves out ‘fascism’ charges made by leading politicians and only notices Palestinian attacks on Israelis, not the other way round.

The iron law of institutions versus Bernie Sanders

Donald Johnson on
Bernie Sanders (Photo: AP/Andrew Harnik)

The New York Times demonstrates the iron law of institutions in its support for Clinton. Its opinion columns have been almost uniformly nasty toward Bernie Sanders. Ultimately his policy based critiques of Clinton terrifies the editors and they don’t want him or the movement he represents to have any credibility even if he endorses Clinton, because he hasn’t retracted his critique.

To those who were here before us

Laila Abdelaziz on
An Israeli road sign in the occupied West Bank. (Photo: Laila Abdelaziz)

In light of the Democratic National Committee’s voting down of amendment to end Israeli occupation and building of settlements, Palestinian organizer Laila Abdelaziz reflects on the unrecognized intersectionalities between Native Americans and Palestinians; two indigenous peoples tied with a shared struggle against colonialism.