Cartoonist Eli Valley lost his job at the Forward after editor in chief Jane Eisner said “she wasn’t comfortable with a Jewish newspaper criticizing Jewish leaders,” he discloses in his new book, Diaspora Boy. And the New York Times runs a puff piece on Eisner and ignores the paper’s crisis over Zionism.
Category Archives: Israel Lobby
Susan Rice repeatedly groveled to the Israel lobby group AIPAC when she was in the Obama administration and trying to get its support for the Iran deal. Now when she is out of power she calls Bullshit on the group. A cynical-making glimpse of the Israel lobby’s power, and of its growing partisan divide.
Decertifying the Iran deal is all about Israel, as usual. Susan Rice calls bullshit on AIPAC over the Iran deal — now that she’s not in power. While Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies cribs Netanyahu’s line on the deal — Fix it or nix it — without crediting the prime minister of a foreign country. And even Rob Malley has to cite Israel’s claims in supporting the deal.
Esther Koontz, a Wichita public school curriculum coach and wife of a Mennonite pastor, endorsed Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel because she came to believe through her church that it will end the occupation, in the same way that boycott ended apartheid in South Africa. Now she is suing the state of Kansas over a law prohibiting contractors from boycotting Israel, saying it violates her First Amendment protection of political beliefs and associations.
After being censored for a year, “The Siege” by the Jenin Freedom Theatre premiered at the Skirball Center at NYU. Phil Weiss reviews the production: “For an hour and a half you are transported entirely inside the Palestinian narrative. There is no coerced attempt at balance, there are just Palestinians, joking, swearing, fearful, resisting, wondering at their fate. It’s all that anyone seeks to do in a work of art: to tell their truth. I have not seen this consciousness conveyed so genuinely before in a mainstream cultural space.”
Two victims of censorship by the American Jewish Historical Society say they’ll mount their events anyway. Dan Fishback is raising money for his play on rifts in the Jewish community. Lawyer Jonathan Kuttab says, “If we fold and play dead then they will get away with it without paying any political price.”
The American Jewish Historical Society in New York was set to host a discussion later this month of the Balfour Declaration by civil rights lawyer Robert Herbst, a member of Jewish Voice for Peace, and Palestinian lawyer Jonathan Kuttab. Then the event came under attack from far-right pro-Israel supporters and the history organization folded, canceling the discussion as well as a play reading on the US relationship to Israel.
Israel has deep support among US cultural institutions, witness director Greta Gerwig removing her name from a letter critical of Israel lest it hurt her Oscar hopes, and NYU staging Israeli government propaganda to counter a Palestinian play about resistance to occupation, The Siege.
The nefarious gun lobby is open for criticism. In the New York Times, Bret Stephens says the Second Amendment is an anachronism and should be repealed. Well that is true of Zionism, too, but Stephens is in the tank for that ideology. And David Brooks describes the ingrained political culture of gun-rights but he can never turn that lens on American Jewish cultural/political support for an ethnocratic state in historical Palestine.
Supporters of the embattled Iran deal in the U.S. will not win if they cannot identify the foreign country that along with its domestic lobby is still trying to undermine President Obama’s signature foreign policy achievement: Israel. Thankfully, the lobby itself is split over the deal.
Steve Israel and other Democratic politicians are rightly slamming the gun lobby for preventing commonsense measures that might have prevented the Las Vegas massacre. But these same politicians get their policy on Israel from AIPAC, the Israel lobby, and the media never talk about that form of corruption.
One of the largest holders of Puerto Rican debt is Seth Klarman of Boston. He gives money to tons of liberal causes but also funds many groups that provide propaganda for Israel, including the Israel Project, Birthright, and the Times of Israel.
A New Yorker has a feel-good poster with the word GAZA on it in their window. A neighbor tapes an anonymous letter to the door saying they are showing support for people who “would have me and my family and my friends mutilated to a cheering crowd.” Yet another sign of paranoia among Jewish Israel supporters.
How pathetic: The Jewish newspaper the Forward finally allows Stephen Walt to state his argument about the Israel lobby’s power, 10 years after he published a book on the subject. Till now Walt was redlined as an alleged anti-Semite– which was a travesty of intellectual honesty inside the Jewish community. And now Walt’s warnings about apartheid in Palestine are too late.
“While 71 percent of Modern Orthodox Jews 55 and older actively support the Jewish state, less than half — 43 percent — of Jews 18 to 34 do the same”– says a new survey. So decline in Jewish support for Israel is happening in all segments of the community.
Trump’s policy on Iran may be driven by three Israel-loving donors, Adelson, Singer, and Marcus, but it is verboten in Washington to identify the Israel lobby as the main adversary of the Iran deal, especially in the wake of the Phil Giraldi/Valerie Plame uproar, which has fueled the neoconservative claim that the antiwar left is anti-semitic.
Once again The New York Times defers to supporters of Israel. It gives the pro-Israel peace processor Dennis Ross a platform on the op-ed page to talk about anti-Semitism in the State Department back in the 80s and 90s. And Ross leaves out his marching orders to a Jewish audience, “We need to be advocates for Israel,” not for Palestinians.
At NYU, Rashid Khalidi says four Arab countries have been destroyed and ISIS would cut the throats of a quarter of the Syrian population, so he can’t blame Arabs for worrying about other issues more than Palestine. The historian also says that Palestinians faced a unique colonial problem because Zionism had 3 sources of support, international legitimacy at a time of decolonization, British backing, and a “river” of money from international Zionist movement.
Author Samuel Freedman is blind to Palestinian conditions in an article in the Forward celebrating the U.S. Jewish “love affair” with “the Jewish state.” And meantime he decries the “ideology of white supremacy” in the New York Times and praises the civil rights movement for ending Jim Crow. After 50 years of occupation and apartheid in Palestine, you can’t have it both ways.
“In the age of the internet, this article just ricocheted all over the world very very quickly. Rashid Khalidi at Columbia University told me that the morning after the piece had hit the internet, 14 different people had sent him a link for the piece” — John Mearsheimer reflects on the article The Israel Lobby, 10 years after its publication as a book.
For 50 years the Democratic Party establishment has been able to stifle pro-Palestinian efforts as too radical for US politics. That red line is breaking down today though, as the permanent occupation marked its 50th anniversary, BDS gains adherents among young Dems, and the Jewish monolith supporting Israel fractures. It’s about time.
The sound of the shofar at Rosh Hashanah in the synagogue is a “wake-up call” to Jews to support the “Jewish homeland” Israel, and fight the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, says David Harris, of the American Jewish Committee, completely conflating religion and Zionism in a way that fosters anti-Zionism.
Amanda Taub’s smart piece in the NYT on ethnic cleansing as an inevitable consequence of national “self-determination” cites examples of Rohingya, Roma, Jews and Muslims. The glaring omission is the Nakba, the expulsion of 700,000+ Palestinians during the creation of Israel. The Nakba is an American issue; Bernie Sanders and historian David Myers agree on that. But the Times can’t address Palestinian conditions.
The Netanyahu-Trump meeting in a hotel at the sidelines of the United Nations in New York today was marked by Trump’s blather about the “fantastic” two-state solution and fulsome praise by Netanyahu of Trump clearly intended to show that the Obama days are past and gone. The relationship between the two countries has never been “stronger” or “deeper,” and some of that closeness has been behind closed doors.
A young operative from the heart of the pro-Israel community, Richard Goldberg, is pushing “regime instability” in Iran in a document circulating at the White House and in the Republican Congress. Goldberg has has worked with Stand With Us and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. The document calls on the president to threaten a “global economic embargo” of Iran so as to undermine the regime.