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.
Category Archives: Israel Lobby
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.
Last Sunday five mostly-liberal American Jewish groups held an all-day conference in New York on “Israel at a crossroads on the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War,” and it was chaotic. The Israeli ambassador tells the crowd that Jews have a right to the West Bank because “winner takes all,” while an Israeli rabbi pleads with American Jews to stop backing up rightwingers in Israel. Phil Weiss writes, “if I can extract any lesson from it, it is that older establishment liberal Jews aren’t ready for the new discourse of Israel and they are freaked out about what young Jews are saying. Peter Beinart’s crisis of Zionism of 2013 is now four years old, and we are starting in on the chaos of American Zionism.”
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.
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.”
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.
U.S. President Donald Trump faces a deadline this Thursday about whether to renew a presidential waiver to delay recognizing occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocating the U.S. embassy there from Tel Aviv. Jonathan Cook writes, “Whether Trump signs the waiver or not on Thursday, all indications are that the US president – faced with domestic pressures and an intransigent Israeli government – is going nowhere with his ‘ultimate deal'”.
Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike called off the strike this weekend after achieving many demands in 41 days of self-imposed starvation. One thing for sure about the historic strike: it didn’t get a lot of coverage in the U.S. press. A cartoon by Katie Miranda.
Phil Weiss shares a photo essay from when Donald Trump visited Jerusalem and the Old City. Israeli security wrapped sites he was visiting with white sheets ala Christo, to keep anyone from seeing him, or disrupting events. There were armed checkpoints for Jewish Israelis, and a surveillance balloon in the sky.
How much does the Israel lobby explain why negotiations have failed to bear fruit for the past 25 years? Rashid Khalidi says it’s beyond the lobby: Israeli and American politicians get funding from the same people. Important industries, like high tech and defense, are integrated in the U.S. and in Israel at the highest levels. As a result the U.S. and American political systems are on the same page, to the point that it is more accurate to think of them as one integrated political system than in terms of allies, he explains.
As Trump flies to the Middle East, he should consider: We’ve been at war there for 16 years. Israel may see that as a happy outcome, but we need to disentangle ourselves from Israel’s oppressive policies toward Palestinians if we seek a peaceful future.
Haaretz newspaper in Israel gets death threats for its unblinking reports on Palestinian conditions, but the New York Times, once again moving mountains to support Israel, describes it as juvenile, antagonistic and contrarian, in a column by Shmuel Rosner.
“You should never describe BDS as a movement,” Alan Dershowitz said in Scarsdale May 10. But in a 2014 screed against BDS, Dersh repeatedly refers to the “BDS movement.” I guess he hadn’t gotten the memo he hadn’t yet written.
Speaking at the Jerusalem Post conference, Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton said the Jewish Diaspora serves as a global intelligence asset to Israel: “the worldwide relationships because of the Jewish Diaspora gives Israel some advantages that virtually no other country or institution anywhere else in the world has.”
Alan Dershowitz gave a pep talk on Jewish influence to an orthodox audience in Scarsdale Tuesday night. His theme? Jews earned their influence in the U.S. by contributing more to its success than others, so now use your influence: “We have contributed disproportionately to the success of this country. We have done so much for this country. When you think of how much better this country has become since our grandparents and great grandparents took the risk of coming, here, we have not only the right we have the obligation to speak out, and use every piece, every bit of power available in support of Israel.”
An “aggressive campaign of silencing, which we know too well from the extremist fringe in Israel, has made its way to the American Jewish community as well,” singer Noa says after synagogue in Detroit suburb cancels her May 18 concert after threats from rightwing Jews.
Israel commits serious human rights violations, Bernie Sanders says at the Carter Center, defending his signing on to a letter attacking the UN for singling out Israel for condemnation.
In an appearance at Columbia University, former Clinton foreign policy adviser Jake Sullivan characterized Donald Trump as “a person who does not look at America’s role in the world as having a special positive-sum nature.” But what’s so great about America’s role in the world!