The latest study of U.S. Jewish attitudes towards Israel only confirms the trend– growing indifference to the idea of a Jewish state among younger, unaffiliated Jews. When 18-34 year-old Bay Area Californians are asked if they’re “very attached” to Israel, only 11 percent say yes, compared to 25 percent of those 50 and older. Is a Jewish state very important? 37 percent of the young say yes. Only 40 percent of the young are comfortable with the idea of a Jewish state.
Category Archives: US Politics
Everyone has heard of Bethlehem, but most Americans know very little about the city. Bshara Nassar’s curated exhibition “Bethlehem: Beyond the Wall” is hitting the road, on view next week at Manhattan College in the Bronx. “I saw how proudly Americans tell their stories to museums. I saw that many immigrants who came to this country have told their stories to these museums,” Nassar told Mondoweiss, “but I couldn’t find a place to tell my story as a Palestinian.”
The running sideshow to the Russian interference story has been Israel’s presence in our politics, witness Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer’s efforts to punish Al Jazeera for investigating the Israel lobby, and Sheldon Adelson’s gifts to Democrat Bob Menendez. But of course Israeli interference is not a scandal worthy of investigation; and it never draws the wrath of the liberal press.
The New York Times has published an exhaustive front-page article about Gaza’s misery that is a manifesto from Hasbara Central– the Israeli propaganda arm– explaining the worsening tragedy as the product of Palestinian infighting. An Israeli general is quoted at length by reporter David Halbfinger, U.N. and human rights officials not at all. Hamas is alleged to have started three wars, when Israel initiated them.
Amos Schocken, publisher of Haaretz, bashes US ambassador David Friedman for perpetuating “apartheid” in the West Bank, and meantime former Israeli security official Charles Freilich says that Jewish “intermarriage” in the U.S. is threatening Israel’s support because assimilating Jews don’t see the “supreme ideological importance” of the settlements as an “existential” issue for Israel.
Nathan Englander is a superb storyteller in his new novel Dinner at the Center of the Earth. And the spiritual portrait of the Israelis is grim. It’s not a happy country. Everyone is narcotized or unconscious or belligerent. The book’s central character is a young American who was deluded by his beautiful Hebrew school teacher to believe that Israel was his birthright, and so he made aliyah, and became a black-ops warrior, only to find that Israel was committing indiscriminate massacres.
Rabbi Susan Silverman describes Israel as a place of refuge in a NYT piece denouncing plans to deport thousands of African refugees. But the piece never mentions Palestinian refugees. “We are the people who expelled over three quarters of a million people in our war of conquest in 1948,” Joseph Levine writes.
We have “a duty to restore the honor” of that most vilified word, the Zed word, Zionism, Israeli consul general Dani Dayan tells a pro-Israel group at Columbia University. He criticized U.S. foreign policy for “injustices” like Abu Ghraib and said that when Palestinians declare a day of rage over Jerusalem, it’s not as if the other days are “days of yoga.”
Two weeks ago, New York Times columnist Roger Cohen entered my life and that of several Palestinians I introduced him to in the West Bank by having us believe that he sincerely wanted to hear our stories and know our reality. But the column that came out of it, “It’s Time for Mahmoud Abbas to Go,” intentionally ignores the Palestinian reality.
The Ronen Bergman Israeli secret history show went to NPR’s Fresh Air, and it was shooting and crying from beginning to end. Bergman and interviewer Dave Davies practically gush over how clever the killers are and yes, also how moral they are. It’s “unheard of” to kill civilians, Bergman says.
Media redlines on the Israel lobby are still in force: Col. Lawrence Wilkerson publishes an op-ed in the NYT saying that the runup to a war with Iran reminds him of the falsehoods that paved the way for the Iraq war, but he never mentions “Israel’s security” as a motive for neoconservative analysts — points that are at the top of his mind when he is interviewed by the Real News about his op-ed.
Controversy has arisen in recent weeks over the 2017 film, The Insult, Ziad Doueiri’s film and Lebanon’s submission to the 2018 Academy Awards. In a review, film scholar Terri Ginsberg says the movie is a vehicle for pro-Israel propaganda.
Israel advocates Tamara Cofman Wittes and Daniel Shapiro concede that Israel is becoming politicized, and support for the country is draining out of the Democratic Party as young Democrats, including many Hispanics and African-Americans, look at the Jewish state through the “lens of human rights,” as an occupier and discriminator.
An interview with Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb about the “land with two names” — Palestine-Israel — and its relation to Jewry. “Zionism is a failing ideology for many younger Jewish people. They see the oppressive conditions facing most Palestinians under the banner of Zionism and are frustrated by the mainstream community, which is in denial.”
Tom Friedman of the New York Times ran a column justifying Israeli slaughter of civilians in neighboring countries. Israel needs to go “crazy” and pound civilian areas in which enemy combatants are “nested” “without mercy or constraint.” He is back to his days of praising Donald Rumsfeld in Iraq.
In Oct. 2017, Al Jazeera said it had done an undercover investigation of the Israel lobby in the U.S. in 2016. But the documentary has never aired — and meanwhile Israel advocates Alan Dershowitz and Mort Klein have visited the monarchy and surely put pressure on the government to rein in Al Jazeera. The network should air its findings.
In his State of the Union speech, Donald Trump extemporized to characterize countries that receive aid from the US but voted against our recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last month as “enemies of America.” That list includes France, Germany, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Indonesia and Pakistan.
In an unprecedented victory for the BDS movement, a federal judge has blocked Kansas from enforcing a state law which punishes those who express support or engage in the boycott of Israel. “The government has no right telling people what they can and can’t support, and this preliminary injunction will protect other Kansans from enduring the First Amendment violation that [Wichita public school teacher Esther] Koontz has endured,” said Micah Kubic, director of the ACLU of Kansas.
“We have to remember, it’s a Jewish newspaper,” Israeli author Ben-Dror Yemini says of the New York Times, linking it to the “sickness” of American Jews in seeking meaning by attacking Israel. He spoke at a Reform synagogue on the Upper West Side.
The New York Times runs a long investigative piece by Ronen Bergman praising Israeli generals for not risking the lives of civilians in their efforts to target Arafat for assassination in the ’80s. The article glances over the hundreds of Lebanese civilians killed by Israel in bombing any building it suspected Arafat of hiding out in, war crimes you will not read about in the Times.
Henry Siegman’s landmark piece in the National applauds Trump for ending illusions. The two-state solution is dead and buried, Palestinians are making the right choice, a struggle for equal rights. And this will lead to a “significant exodus of Jews” as Israel faces a future as an acknowledged apartheid state or a democracy. Siegman’s defection from Establishment “scam” on these issues shows up Barack Obama, who endorses the same old illusions in NY synagogue appearance.
Mathilde Krim, who died at 91 this month, was honored in obituaries for his courageous advocacy for AIDS victims in the 90s. The press ignored her other great cause: Moving US foreign policy on Israel in the 60s to the “no daylight” stance we’ve had since. Krim had lived in Israel and married a leading Democratic fundraiser, and she twisted Lyndon Johnson’s arm to stand by Israel’s side.
In a talk yesterday at the Middle East Institute, Palestinian Ambassador Husam Zomlot accused Donald Trump of “backstabbing” Mahmoud Abbas, deepening a dispute over who is to blame for the failure of a peace deal with Israel. While earlier in the day Trump said Palestinian leaders had abandoned pre-talk discussions, Zomlot presented an altogether different narrative: the Palestinians were bystanders to internal divisions within the Trump administration that prevented peace talks from starting months ago.
Trump brags that the U.S. removed the “toughest issue” from peace talks between Israel and Palestine. “We took Jerusalem off the table, so we don’t have to talk about it anymore.” He continued to threaten Palestinians with financial damage but warned that if they don’t agree to talk, but said the U.S. would have “nothing to do with it any longer.”
John Kerry was once accused by an Israeli leader of being messianic in pursuing peace. Mike Pence is messianic in the opposite cause. His speech to the Knesset positioned the vice president as a Zionist prophet, speaking of God’s faithfulness in delivering a state to the Jews.