Category Archives: US Politics

Why I, a Palestinian-American Muslim, went to the White House Iftar and what I learned

Tarik Takkesh writes about attending the controversial White House Iftar. He writes: “Monday’s Iftar was a discourteous gesture on behalf of the host, when he symbolically slapped his Muslim guests not once, but twice, in the face. The invitation of the Israeli ambassador to the Iftar (unbeknownst to me until my arrival) was a strike, but the President’s reiteration of support of Israel during his speech was two. My blood boiled, yet I waited to hear the completion of the despicably scripted commentary so I could respond. As soon as the President’s speech came to an end, however, it was clear that this Iftar was not an event aimed at fostering real dialogue. Instead, it was a one-sided narrative, and the President left the room quickly after the dinner.”

Posted in US Politics | Tagged | 29 Comments

Obama humiliates Muslim guests at White House Ramadan event, endorses Israel’s Gaza assault and NSA surveillance

At the annual White House Iftar dinner commemorating the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, President Barack Obama endorsed Israel’s ongoing assault on the Gaza Strip and defended government spying on Muslim-Americans. Alongside dozens of Muslim-American community activists and Muslim diplomats, the White House welcomed Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer, an outspoken advocate of Israel’s settlement enterprise who has claimed Muslim and Arab culture is endemically violent.

Posted in US Politics | 27 Comments

And now a word from our Democratic Party standard bearer

Video: Elizabeth Warren runs from a question about the Israeli invasion of Gaza.

Posted in Gaza, US Politics | 26 Comments

To my fellow American Jews

Beth Miller writes an open letter to the American Jewish community: “Because of you, I am loud and I shout. But I’ve noticed you are growing quiet – almost silent – as an injustice is taking place in Palestine. I think that I know why. I think that as Operation Protective Edge marches onward, you feel your convictions clashing. You, more so than me, were raised to believe that Israel is something it is not: a democracy, with values just like yours, amidst a sea of aggressors. But with each passing day, it becomes harder and harder to close your eyes to a glaring reality.”

Posted in American Jewish Community, Israel/Palestine | 44 Comments

Rachel Maddow ignores the story in Israel/Palestine

Michael Arria, author of Medium Blue: The Politics of MSNBC, writes about how the network’s star Rachel Maddow has refused to cover news from Israel/Palestine over the past three weeks even as it has dominated headlines .

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Media | Comments Off

Watch: New Yorkers pierce through pro-war gathering with chants of ‘stop bombing Gaza now’

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.

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

Violence outside Paris synagogue falsely attributed to anti-Semitism (Updated)

A violent incident that took place in Paris on Sunday is being widely described as an antisemitic attack but a firsthand report and amateur video indicate it was a street fight initiated by the Jewish Defense League against pro-Palestinian demonstrators.

Posted in American Jewish Community | 76 Comments

Not In Our Name: The Jewish duty to stand with the people of Gaza

Sally Kantar writes: “In the wake of over 150 reported deaths in Operation Protective Edge, I feel ashamed by the persistent disregard for justice by a state supposedly founded on Jewish principles. Lobbies like the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) have been appealing to American Jews for support by classifying the extraordinary violence perpetrated in Gaza as acts of “self-defense” in protection of the Jewish state, and thereby, the safeguarding of the Jewish faith. Why must we remain silent when confronted with this manipulation of our identity?”

Posted in American Jewish Community, Israel/Palestine | 65 Comments

Florida Congresswoman sides with Israeli police over her own brutalized teenage constituent

On July 10, Democratic Representative Kathy Castor of Florida’s Tampa Bay area issued an impassioned plea for the protection of endangered manatee whales. At the same time, she remained conspicuously silent about the brutal beating and ongoing detention of one of her constituents by a foreign government. Tarek Abu Khdeir, a 15-year-old Palestinian-American high school student from Tampa, was brutally beaten in a videotaped July 3 incident in occupied East Jerusalem by Israeli border police. Abu Khdeir’s family has beseeched their congressional representative, Castor, to publicly call for his release and immediate return to the United States. Though her staff has met repeatedly with the family, she has said and done nothing of substance to assist them.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, US Politics | 71 Comments

Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer gives pro-war pep talk to Christian Zionists

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.

Posted in Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | 18 Comments

Sawyer blunder indicative of noxious bias against Palestinians in American journalism

The dehumanization of Palestinians, the denial of their positions as victims — as the occupied, as the underclass in an apartheid system — is the standard narrative parroted by mainstream media. Palestinians are routinely portrayed as the aggressors, as seeking death and initiating violence. Such an attitude has become so embedded in our collective media psyches that even someone of Diane Sawyer’s caliber did not even flinch when reading copy obviously disparate from the reality at hand. Sawyer’s blunder is indicative of a far more noxious bias that stealthily creeps into all reporting on the Palestinian people.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Media | 7 Comments

U.S. neoconservatives also share blame for Central America child refugee crisis

The same kind of ignorant and violent policies that U.S. neoconservatives have carried out in the Middle East are also a reason for the exodus of children from Central America. They endorsed policies there in the 1980s that have repercussions today

Posted in Israel/Palestine, US Politics | 13 Comments

Video: Diane Sawyer misrepresents photo of Gazans in aftermath of Israeli bombing as Israeli victims of Palestinian missiles (Updated)

Major media fail: Diane Sawyer shows two photos of Palestinians in the aftermath of Israeli bombing of Gaza but says the first is a photo of Israelis who have been bombed.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Media | 111 Comments

Deaths of five teenagers in the West Bank expose mainstream indifference to Palestinian life

Mainstream media around the world have broadcast the names and faces of the three Israeli youths killed in the West Bank. In stark contrast, the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old Palestinian barely registered in the media. The difference in news coverage highlights international perceptions of Israeli and Palestinian lives, and reflects the unequal social and political order in which Israeli Jewish citizens are prioritised above Palestinians.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Media | 8 Comments

Contradicting Israeli officials, family of Tarek Abu Khdeir says he was attacked while in uncle’s Jerusalem backyard

The family of Tarek Abu Khdeir, the 15-year-old Palestinian-American brutally beaten by Israeli forces, held a press conference today in Florida organized by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). They say he was standing in his uncle’s backyard when he was ambushed in the Shuafat neighborhood of Jerusalem–and did not attack the police, as Israeli officials have claimed. The family, who have been in contact with Tariq’s parents in Jerusalem, is also demanding that Israel pay the costs of medical treatment for the head wounds Tariq suffered.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, US Politics | Tagged | 95 Comments

Arizona rabbis who stood for LGBT rights at home refuse comment on Israeli rabbi who bars renting to lesbians

In May, Rabbi Yaakov Ariel, the municipal rabbi of Ramat Gan, Israel, made a statement against renting property to lesbians on a popular online forum. Dan Cohen approached liberal rabbis in Phoenix, Arizona, Ramat Gan’s sister city, for comment. Even though each of the rabbis had worked to defeat Arizona SB 1062 which would have allowed businesses to discriminate against LGBT citizens, none were willing to comment on Rabbi Ariel.

Posted in American Jewish Community, Israel/Palestine | 5 Comments

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.

Posted in Activism, BDS, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | 60 Comments

Senator Rand Paul pens over-the-top pander to pro-Israel crowd

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.

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

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.

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

The death by drone memo: a throwback to U.S. terrorism in Nicaragua

The Office of Legal Counsel memo justifying the killing of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Aulaki claims that federal statutes prohibiting murder do not apply to CIA officers, who operated the drone that killed Aulaki. To bolster the claim, the memo cites a Cold War-era Justice Department memo that argues for the legality of CIA actions in the context of one of the most controversial acts of the Reagan years: the mining of Nicaragua’s harbors in April 1984, which killed several people.

Posted in US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics, War on Terror | 4 Comments

Hewlett-Packard’s complicity in occupation makes headlines

The lead article in Sunday’s business section of the San Francisco Chronicle warns HP’s role in Israel could lead to political pressure. Although never mentioning the Boycott Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement directly, the Chronicle informs its readers Hewlett-Packard, a local Bay Area company, is the target of “an international campaign” that has “emerged to pressure Israel by persuading investors to dump shares of companies that do business with the government or operate in the disputed territories.”

Posted in BDS, Israel/Palestine, Media | 22 Comments

Can a neocon change his spots (and come back as a liberal interventionist for Hillary Clinton)?

The neoconservatives are on the run. The latest upheaval in Iraq has further discredited them for destabilizing the country in the first place; and they are being called out in the mainstream media. But the neoconservatives’ partners in crime have gone largely blameless: American liberal interventionists and the Israeli right. When will they come in for criticism? Until they do, it seems that the neoconservative agenda is alive and well.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, US Politics | Comments Off

‘J Street has to change or die’: Divestment battle exposes tactical rift among liberal Zionists

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.

Posted in Activism, American Jewish Community, BDS, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | Tagged | 65 Comments

Jeffrey Goldberg leads the charge on latest BDS smear: Presbyterian Church divestment is anti-Semitic because David Duke supports it


Never before have so many pro-Israel Jews and mainstream Jewish organizations excitedly promoted the website of David Duke and wanted to know: “What does former Klansman and white supremacist David Duke think?” What’s the cause of this turn of events? Duke recently issued a statement in support of the Presbyterian Church USA’s move for divestment. The insinuation—rarely spelled out—is that if someone as anti-Semitic as Duke agrees with an action, the action itself is anti-Semitic. The tactic of using Duke to smear progressive movements is an old one, and this time the charge is being led by none other than Jeffrey Goldberg.

Posted in BDS, Media | Tagged | Comments Off

In life and death, some are more equal than others at the ‘NYT’

Have you heard? Three Israeli teenagers have gone missing. Three settlers – one of whom may have been a soldier – have disappeared from an area patrolled by their army, the ultimate enforcer of apartheid. According to Jodi Rudoren and Benjamin Netanyahu, they’ve been kidnapped. A Palestinian did it, they say. Forget the evidence – they just know. The King of the Jews made a proclamation and it’s suddenly news that’s fit to print – by a journalist who’s evidently incapable of asking questions.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Media | 20 Comments