Category Archives: US Politics

Maryland legislature passes toned down anti-BDS language

The Maryland legislature has become the first state body to officially condemn the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. But the criticism of boycotters was significantly toned down from the original effort, which would have cut some funding from any public university that subsidized travel to conventions held by the pro-boycott American Studies Association.

Posted in Activism, BDS, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | 18 Comments

In Ramallah, Palestinian Authority cracks down on Salafi anti-negotiation protests

As U.S. brokered negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian leaders nearly fell apart last week, in the West Bank the Palestinian Authority was busy cracking down on a Salafi group attempting to stage protests against the talks. Two weekends in a row, after evening prayers at a central Ramallah mosque dozens of Palestinian Authority riot police and undercover security services conducted mass arrests of members of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a marginal Islamic group that seeks the ouster of both the PA and Israel.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Middle East, Occupation, On the ground reports, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics, War on Terror | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

Bill de Blasio gives Avigdor Lieberman the Big Apple

New York mayor Bill de Blasio met with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and gave him a “Big Apple” memento.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, US Politics | 28 Comments

Distracted by the peace process: What really happened during the talks

Both the US and Israel have come to rely on the endless theatrics of the two-decade peace process. Settlement freezes, prisoner releases, rows about Palestinian Authority funding and, of course, intermittent negotiations have served as useful distractions from the main developments on the ground.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Occupation, US Policy in the Middle East | 29 Comments

Why the ‘Forward’s’ support for SodaStream is antithetical to progressive values

The Jewish Daily Forward’s coverage of the Scarlett Johansson-SodaStream affair betrayed Jewish and progressive values, write activists Donna Nevel and Rebecca Vilkomerson. It was deeply dissapointing hat the Forward’s coverage of this issue was inaccurate, sloppy, and unprincipled.

Posted in Activism, American Jewish Community, BDS, Israel/Palestine, Media, US Politics | 9 Comments

‘A Painful Price’: The escalating war on Palestine solidarity at U of Michigan and beyond

Max Blumenthal attended the University of Michigan divestment debate last week and was able to witness firsthand the tactics pro-Israel students and organizations are using to defeat BDS by any means necessary. Blumenthal writes, “Under the influence of a zealous cast of communal elders and with a powerful, astroturfed political apparatus at their disposal, pro-Israel forces on campus initiated a campaign of subterfuge and manufactured persecution designed to intimidate and silence students inclined toward Palestine solidarity activism. It was a disturbing spectacle to behold, especially at such an intimate distance.”

Posted in Activism, BDS, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | Tagged | 266 Comments

Desmond Tutu: Maryland legislature’s anti-boycott effort designed to ‘punish and intimidate’

The battle to officially condemn the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement in Maryland is coming down to the wire. A Maryland delegate has inserted language into the state budget that implies the academic boycott of Israel is anti-Semitic. But Palestine solidarity and civil liberties groups are waging a campaign to erase the language from the budget. And they have an influential figure on their side: South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Posted in Activism, BDS, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | 13 Comments

‘The Shondes’ singer Louisa Solomon endorsed BDS, so– DC JCC cancels her band’s gig

Brooklyn rock group The Shondes, whose critically-acclaimed 2013 album “The Garden” was praised by mainstream and Jewish press alike, were scheduled to headline the Washington Jewish Music Festival on June 2, but the DC Jewish Community Center (DC JCC) has now reneged on their invitation, citing lead singer Louisa Solomon’s past comments on Israel, specifically her support for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Movement.

Posted in American Jewish Community, BDS, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | Tagged | 11 Comments

Liberal schizophrenia and moral myopia: On Ari Shavit’s ‘My Promised Land’

Haaretz columnist and author Ari Shavit has gone all in on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a “Jewish state.” And if you read his new book My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel, you’ll understand why. Shavit is a devoted proponent of liberal Zionism, an ideology that pushes a peace agreement to save Israel’s Jewish character in the face of what they call “demographic threats.”

Posted in American Jewish Community, Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Media, US Politics | 38 Comments

Both Sides: Anti-BDS concerns on campus vs. life in the occupied territories

Katie Miranda contrasts anti-BDS concerns heard on U.S. campuses versus the reality of life for Palestinians in the occupied territories.

Posted in BDS, Gaza, Israel/Palestine, Occupation, US Politics | Tagged | 94 Comments

Former Israeli general: failed peace talks won’t lead to doom

Amos Yadlin is very comfortable with Israel’s regional situation. In a conversation with New York Times journalist Ethan Bronner, the former Israeli general predicted that the peace talks with the Palestinians would fail. “The chance of Kerry succeeding is like my chance to win the lottery if I didn’t buy a ticket,” he said, but dismissed predictions of doom if that came to pass, suggesting that Israel can cope with pressure and that the country should unilaterally withdraw to the line drawn by the West Bank separation barrier. Yadlin was also sanguine about the Arab Spring’s impact on Israel, saying that Arab countries are focused internally and that Egypt’s military regime is preferable to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Posted in Arab Spring, Egypt, Iran, Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Middle East, US Politics | Tagged | 43 Comments

The Israel lobby’s trojan horse: ‘Reforming’ education laws to defund Middle East studies programs

Pro-Israel groups are laying the blueprint for an attack on Middle Eastern studies programs. At a recent panel in Washington, D.C., Israel advocates outlined their plan: use amendments to an education law to pull federal grants from Middle Eastern studies programs they deem overly critical of Israel.

Posted in Activism, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | Tagged | 14 Comments

Not an April Fool’s joke: U.S. weighs releasing Pollard to keep Israelis at negotiating table

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is close to concluding a blockbuster deal between the U.S., Israel and the Palestinian Authority, according to Haaretz. The agreement would include a limited Israeli settlement freeze, release of Palestinian prisoners, the release of the spy Jonathan Pollard, and the extension of the Kerry peace negotiations for one year. During that year the Palestinians would not any make claims against Israel before the United Nations. ‘New York Times’ commenters say the U.S. is being manipulated once again, for a sham peace process.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | 88 Comments

Mahmoud Abbas vs Mohammed Dahlan: The showdown begins

Mahmoud Abbas, 79, is an aging president of an authority that has access to funds but no real sovereignty or political leverage (aside from what Israel finds acceptable); and Mohammed Dahlan, 52, is in exile in the UAE after his supporters were chased out of Gaza by Hamas in 2007, and then the West Bank by his own party in June 2011. But Dahlan, aided by some strong friends around the region – and of course, his old intelligence contacts in Israel and the US – is unmistakably plotting a comeback.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, US Policy in the Middle East | 17 Comments

Removal of Barnard Palestine solidarity banner was discriminatory act of censorship

A banner showing a map of historic Palestine with the words “Stand for justice, stand for Palestine” on it was removed by the president of Barnard college. In response, the Center for Constitutional Rights sent a letter to the president, saying that the removal of the banner was an unjustified act of censorship.

Posted in Activism, BDS, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | 14 Comments

Right-wing news outlets attack U. Mich’s divestment drive

Right-wing news outlets and Israel lobby groups have mounted a concerted campaign over the past few days to attack students leading the call for divestment at the University of Michigan (UM). The latest attack smears a student over a photo, the meaning of which was distorted by a neoconservative news outlet.

Posted in Activism, BDS, Media, Neocons, US Politics | 30 Comments

Loyola student government president vetoes divestment resolution

Two votes in a row calling for divestment were not enough to convince the Loyola student government president to let the measure stand. Pedro Guerrero, the president of the Loyola United Student Government Association, vetoed a resolution calling on the school to divestment from corporations involved with the Israeli occupation. The Students for Justice in Palestine chapter at the school said Guerrero had “caved” under pressure.

Posted in Activism, American Jewish Community, BDS, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | 38 Comments

NY Times should apologize for publishing Palestinians ‘have avowed as their goal the killing of all Jews’

Ira Glunts calls on readers to send a letter to Margaret Sullivan, the Public Editor of The New York Times, asking the paper to apologize for printing slanderous letter in the New York Times Book Review.

Posted in Activism, Israel/Palestine, Media | 33 Comments

BDS’ big night: Loyola student government passes divestment, U. Mich votes it down

Debate on divestment and Israel exploded on college campuses last night. For the second time in two weeks, Loyola University’s student government voted to call on their school to divest from corporations involved in the Israeli occupation. But in the vote that captured the most attention, the University of Michigan’s student government voted down a call for divestment. Still, students in support of the resolution said it was a victory to spark a campus-wide debate on the occupation and Palestine.

Posted in Activism, American Jewish Community, BDS, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | Tagged , , , , | 149 Comments

U.S. intel analysts doubt Israeli claim that captured weapons were headed to Gaza

Remember the massive Israeli photo ops earlier this month during the grand unveiling of “advanced” weapons bound for “terrorist organizations” in Gaza? Well, Reuters is reporting some US analysts don’t think it was headed to Gaza.

Posted in Egypt, Gaza, Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, US Policy in the Middle East | 58 Comments

Avigdor Lieberman claims transferring Palestinian citizens is perfectly legal

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s office has produced a legal document claiming that transferring Palestinian citizens and their land to a future Palestinian state is legal. Such a plan has already been raised with U.S. officials in the past, and Lieberman is now throwing it back into the mix as the U.S.-led peace process continues. Members of Knesset have slammed the proposal and Palestinian Officials from the Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm have called the proposal a “second Nakba”

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | Tagged | 48 Comments

Ohio State Hillel member calls Desmond Tutu a ‘neo Nazi’ for criticizing Israel

Monday morning, a student member of the Ohio State University Hillel Center made racist references to Desmond Tutu, a leader and veteran of the South African struggle against apartheid, as a “neo Nazi.”

Posted in Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine | 121 Comments

A movement grows in a Georgia church basement

Last night in Decatur, GA about 30 people gathered in a church basement to hear Josh Ruebner discuss his new book Shattered Hopes: Obama’s Failure to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace. The evening was a small window into the awareness spreading across this county of the U.S. role in Israel/Palestine, and the movement growing in its wake.

Posted in Activism, Israel/Palestine, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | Tagged , , | 33 Comments

Israel pays journalist $61,800 for good press during Pope’s visit

The Israeli Government Advertising Agency, known for promoting tourism, is paying a journalist $61,800 to cover Pope Francis’s upcoming visit.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Media | 18 Comments

US desperate to keep futile peace process going a little longer

Obama seems committed to keeping the peace process show on the road for a while longer, however aware he is of the ultimate futility of the exercise. For the first time since the US launched the Middle East peace talks last summer, the Palestinian leadership may be sensing it has a tiny bit of leverage.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | 60 Comments