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Category Archives: Israel Lobby
Imagine you are Netanyahu and you just screwed up, carrying out a brutal war that alienated world opinion and only lifted Hamas, and Israelis and the US political class are about to discover your error. And who comes to your rescue but… Hillary Clinton, lifting the pressure from Netanyahu in an interview that signals complete support for his brutal strategy, and preserving Israeli control of the West Bank to boot.
Corey Robin documents the growing backlash in the academic world to the dehiring of scholar Steven Salaita over his criticism of Israel. The latest is that scholars from law schools at Columbia, Cornell, Berkeley, Georgetown, and other universities have come out with a very strong letter condemning the decision of the University of Illinois to dehire Steven Salaita.
Israel and its supporters are pivoting to their next adversary: the United Nations Human Rights Council and William Schabas, who has been tapped to lead the inquiry. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach has already issued an advertisement printed in the New York Times calling Schabas a “friend” of Iran and an “apologist for anti-Semites.” Meanwhile, a report in the Times does a poor job at looking into Israeli war crimes–and why Schabas might be investigating them.
Michael Berg writes about a long emotional night where he attended the event “A Progressive Case for Israel” at a reform synagogue in St. Louis, MO featuring a speaker from AIPAC and then participated in a protest for police accountability in Ferguson, MO.
Recently, J Street send out a message to its members, claiming that it had created a new platform that would better address the concerns of its members. In the wake of the death of the peace process, J Street’s raison d’etre has been to stop the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement, and had little to differentiate itself from the group it was seemingly intended to challenge, AIPAC. During the Israeli atrocities on Gaza it has become apparent, even to the leadership of J Street, that something had to change. As a result, J Street has posted a new platform, under the title “Renewed Gaza Hostilities: Aim for conflict resolution, not a ceasefire.” To the erstwhile J Street supporters who have outflanked the leadership in their support of a more progressive platform, this appears to be a significant change in tack for the group. Ron Smith examines the meaning of this new platform and attempt to determine if the new platform represents any kind of meaningful change.
Hundreds of scholars say they won’t engage with University of Illinois unless decision to block Salaita is reversed
In recent days, hundreds of scholars from diverse fields have signed statements pledging not to engage with the University of Illinois because of the school’s decision to block the appointment of Palestinian-American scholar Steven Salaita.
New Yorkers fed up with the political class’ support for Israeli assaults on Gaza protested outside City Hall this week. Their target was a press conference featuring New York politicians who support Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge,” which has killed over 200 people, the vast majority of them civilians.
Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer defended Israel’s unrelenting assault on Gaza Thursday night to Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Dermer said that every civilian death in Gaza is an “operational failure”–making for a lot of such failures, since at least 58 civilians have been killed by Israeli airstrikes. The ambassador also sought to link Hamas to the radical Sunni jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), though the groups have wildly divergent ideologies and goals.
Caught in a lie: E-mails prove right-wing pro-Israel donor Adam Milstein gave money to California student candidates
Last week, philanthropist Adam Milstein denied that he gave money to student government candidates at UCLA to help the election campaigns of those who were pro-Israel. But documents published by a student news outlet reveal that Milstein, contrary to his denials, did fund the elections of members of the Bruins United slate at UCLA–proving that outside pro-Israel money is being injected into student politics. The revelations have sparked a controversy that threatens to derail the appointment of Avi Oved, one of the student government members aligned with Milstein, to a seat on the powerful UC Regents, which oversees the UC system.
Senator Rand Paul is trying to burnish his pro-Israel credentials before the 2016 presidential election. His latest attempt is an over-the-top column this week in the National Review calling on the U.S. to stop calling for Israeli “restraint” and to cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA). The article is a call for the army to go wild, and has little grounding in facts. It’s all about ingratiating himself to a crowd that has money–the Sheldon Adelson crowd.
Pro-Israel Muslim-basher Adam Milstein at center of storm over funding of California student elections
Right-wing philanthropist Adam Milstein is not a particularly well-known advocate for Israel in the U.S. But the Israeli-American has found himself at the center of a storm over an e-mail sent to him by a student government candidate at UCLA thanking Milstein for his “generous donation” to his election campaign. The disclosure of the e-mail has kicked up controversy, with students across the UC system calling for an investigation into the candidate’s relationship with Milstein, who has repeatedly derided Muslims and Islam. Above, Adam Milstein (far-right) with his wife (far-left) and Sheldon and Miriam Adelson.
The Presbyterian Church’s decision to divest from three corporations linked to the Israeli military has highlighted a growing rift between two-state solution advocates who see divestment as a legitimate tool and J Street, the leading liberal Zionist group who lobbied against the church measure. The divestment resolution comes at a time of growing frustration among those who believe in a two-state solution. Increasingly, those desperate to end the occupation are looking to the tactics BDS is pushing for salvation. And those same people, J Street’s natural constituency, are starting to voice criticism of the group for its ardent opposition to BDS.
‘AMCHA aims to suppress scholarship honestly discussing Israel’s violation of Palestinian rights’: Prof. Rabab Abdulhadi responds to Israel lobby smear campaign
Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi responds to the false allegations made by the AMCHA Initiative in its latest escalation of the McCarthyist repression campaign to silence discussion of Palestinian rights on campus.
Liberal Zionists lobbying against the divestment measure at the Presbyterian General Assembly in Detroit have a new strategy: saying it is part of the BDS agenda, aimed at ending a Jewish state. Reform Judaism head Rabbi Rick Jacobs warned the Presbyterians that they would alienate Jews and offered another plan: “if we are truly partners and you disapprove this divestment overture I look forward to sitting with your leadership in the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem.” Jewish proponents of divestment say the liberal Zionists are employing threats.
Documents published by UCLA’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter offer an unvarnished look at the thousands of dollars spent to cultivate the next generation of pro-Israel advocates who are currently college student leaders. Itineraries of the Anti-Defamation League’s and American Jewish Committee’s free jaunts to Israel show that the vast majority of these trips are devoted to meetings with prominent Israeli Jews, some of whom are Israeli military leaders. Above, two students on an Anti-Defamation League trip sit on top of an Israeli tank.
We protesters against the Iraq war were wrong: we did not see just how bad it would be. But Israel’s American neocon boosters got exactly what they wanted– a “clean break” from the historic power struggle in the region, through destabilization of Arab capitals.
Shimon Fogel, the Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA)— the primary Israel lobby group that falsely claims to represent Canada’s diverse Jewish communities— recently claimed in an article in the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin that Israeli Apartheid Week has been “respectfully renamed ‘Islam Awareness Week’ at the University of Ottawa.” This, of course, is false. Israeli Apartheid Week happened to coincide with Islam Awareness Week this year on Ottawa campuses, but they have nothing to do with one another.
Los Angeles City Council members led by Bob Blumenfield, above, have introduced a resolution denouncing an ethics pledge against trips for student leaders organized by groups that fuel anti-Muslim and anti-Armenian sentiment. The move is the latest chapter of a roiling controversy sparked by student activist efforts to have student government members refrain from being wined and dined by groups like AIPAC and the ADL.
The student government at the University of California, Santa Cruz voted this week to divest from corporations linked to the Israeli occupation. The 22-14 vote made Santa Cruz the fifth UC chapter to endorse divestment in recent years. Last year, a similar resolution failed by a vote of 17-19.
A Capitol Hill briefing last week examined Israel’s practice of denying entry to Palestinian- and Arab-Americans. The event came as Congress continues to consider granting Israel entry into the visa-waiver program, which would give Israeli citizens the right to travel to the U.S. without a visa.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee was supposed to vote on the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act this week. But a Republican attempt to hamstring a potential U.S. diplomatic deal with Iran on its nuclear energy program unexpectedly scuttled the vote for now. The legislation has attracted attention over language providing Israel a path to join the club of countries whose citizens don’t need to possess a visa to enter the U.S.
There has been a lot of criticism of the ADL’s worldwide survey of anti-Semitism, including the organization that commissioned the study is hardly a disinterested, unbiased observer. An ADL study on anti-Semitism should be greeted with the same skepticism as a tobacco industry study on the effects of second-hand smoke, and yet the global survey’s deeply flawed methodology could have been fixed by replacing its 11 questions with simply one — Are Jews equal to others?
Over the past few months, the AMCHA Initiative has been leading a campaign against Professor Rabab Abdulhadi, who recently led an academic delegation to Palestine. Sherry Gorelick pens an impassioned defense of Abdulhadi, refuting allegations she is anti-Semitic.
Jeff Stein has followed up on his Newsweek report from Tuesday on how Israel spies on the U.S. more than any other ally. Today he writes the reason this is not more widely known is because it is hushed up by the Israel lobby.
It’s about time the Obama administration answered Israel’s many rebukes to the vaunted peace process. The anonymous officials who blames the Israelis for the failure of talks — and Haaretz is saying it’s Martin Indyk — were serving as the president’s proxies.