Katie Miranda takes us through the lifecycle of a Donald Trump news story.
Category Archives: US Politics
This is a bizarre political story that highlights the fact that older American Jews don’t want to hear One Bad Word about Israel: A progressive Democrat who has gotten Bernie Sanders’s endorsement in a challenge to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in an August 30 primary in Miami, is running to her right on Israel! Law […]
Israel’s nuclear program and the US policy of “ambiguity” on that program violate the foreign assistance act, which was amended in the 70s to bar federal assistance to clandestine nuclear nations. The US is set to provide unprecedented aid to Israel. IRMEP has sued to stop the aid.
Marc Ellis says that following the release of the Movement for Black Lives platform the Jewish establishments have taken out their chalkboard to lecture African Americans on their place in society and global discourse. The accusation, with a long tradition, is that African Americans should stick with Black issues – as defined by the Jewish establishment. Ellis doubts it will work this time. “The Movement for Black Lives has placed Jews on notice that we have arrived at the end of ethical Jewish history,” Ellis writes.
For many people with strong opinions about Israel/Palestine, the 2016 Democratic and Republican presidential candidates don’t offer much in the way of new ideas. With that in mind, a voter might wonder what the Libertarian Party has to offer concerning Israel/Palestine. The Libertarians argue, as they do across the board, for disentangling the U.S. from onerous aid arrangements, but their reasons have less to do with Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and more to do with its promise to make government smaller in general. There isn’t a plank for Israel in the Libertarian platform, but in speaking with a Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate, Alex Merced, it appears that the party is the most open to new ideas, for better or worse, of all the parties running this year.
“Someone put the fix in,” attorney Martin McMahon says of the Justice Department’s decision to represent former Bush aide and convicted liar Elliott Abrams in McMahon’s suit against Abrams and other supporters of the illegal Israeli settlement project, filed on behalf of Palestinians, led by Bassem Tamimi of Nabi Saleh.
Black Lives Matter is not going to use careful and precise language about Israel, nor should it. Black Lives Matter sees the ugly reality of the occupation so it has taken on the conflict directly, and will not be bullied by the Israel lobby. When that fight gets out in the open, Israel’s actions will be in the spotlight.
The Movement for Black Lives has been receiving both widespread praise and criticism over the content of their new platform, particularly in response to their use of the word “genocide” to describe the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians. Some of the movement’s critics, including some of the largest Jewish communal organizations in the United States, have even condemned The Movement for Black Lives’ language “in the strongest possible terms.” Their harsh responses are indicative of skewed priorities regarding the struggle for social justice, both in the U.S. and in Israel.
The New York Times thinks it’s being balanced in a big article on the Middle East conflict on campus, but its chief concern is whether activists are anti-Semitic or not. The possibility that students who support Israeli brutalization of Palestinians might also be guilty of bias never crosses reporter Linda K. Wertheimer’s mind.
The Jewish state was not created so that 18 year olds at Berkeley feel good, Jeffrey Goldberg says, but he, Yitzhak Herzog and former UCLA chancellor Marc Yudof are all worried that a radical shift on Israel in those young people will undermine US support for Israel.
The 50th anniversary of the occupation is freeing criticism. Greg Slabodkin, a former AIPAC official, comes for conditioning US aid to Israel on that country agreeing to freeze its illegal settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem. He forthrightly says that Israel’s “oppressive and discriminatory settlement policies in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem continue unabated.”
The Black Lives Matter movement’s advocacy for Palestinians has caused a rift to open over Israel between younger and older American Jews, and there’s no sign of it mending any time soon. In its platform, Black Lives Matter characterized Israeli policies towards Palestinians as “genocide” and endorsed Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).
The Muslim community is like a lot of other Americans, in the view of the Arab American Institute’s James Zogby: “they simply are very afraid of Donald Trump, and they’re not overly enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton.”
Prominent “New Atheist” author Sam Harris argues against professor Noam Chomsky that noble intentions of US interventionism morally exonerates any civilian death as ‘collateral damage’. Chomsky maintains that casualties of wars waged by the United States are not by-products of intervention, but are at the very essence of American strategy.
The New York Times has pointedly refused to cover an important and explosive news story, the rise of Jewish anti-Zionism. Its news columns characterize Palestinian solidarity activists as anti-Semites and it ignores leading voices, from Hasia Diner to Gideon Levy to Max Blumenthal, who are putting Zionism behind them.
Ilene Cohen writes: “How curious is it that it took Ghazala and Khizr Khan to make a devastating dent in the nativist, Islamophobic Trump juggernaut and expose the emperor’s ugly nakedness? Admittedly, the success of this effort took an earnest embrace of patriotism and American exceptionalism, plus (inevitably) some embrace of the nobility of war. I hope it doesn’t turn around to bite us. But for the moment, this seems to be the only language that works. Still, it’s worrisome: who, after all, has ever succeeded in taming patriotism?”
If US Jews are going to criticize Israel, Peter Beinart says, they need to “root” themselves so deeply in Jewish identity that the Jewish community can’t excommunicate them for taking those political stands. That means knowing the Torah and Jewish history.
In contrast to a 2012 party platform that emphasized diplomacy with Iran, the new Democratic Party platform threatens military action and sanctions against Iran, and channels Netanyahu in saying Iran denies the Holocaust, supports Hamas, vows to eliminate Israel, and “has its fingerprints on almost every conflict in the Middle East.”
Bernie Sanders delegates to the DNC tell Wilson Dizard how Hillary Clinton supporters orchestrated the systematic suppression of any posters and signs considered critical of the candidate, and even ones dedicated to Palestinian human rights. Sitina Gutierrez, 38, a Bernie delegate from Texas tells him, “Somebody, a Clinton supporter, told me to take my sign down because it’s offensive. I asked her why are Palestinian rights offensive to her and she said ‘because I am for American rights.'”
If Georgia congressman Hank Johnson had not been criticizing the Israeli occupation when he likened Israeli settlements to “termites,” no one would have noticed. The smearing of Johnson as an alleged anti-Semite is vicious and contradicts the Torah.
The forces that tore apart the Democrats in 1968 were arrayed in Philadelphia, but the party and the police (the establishment!) were determined to defuse the destructive energies this time round. It’s not working so far.
Wilson Dizard talks to Mark, a Democratic Party consultant in Philadelphia for the DNC, about U.S. responsibility to the Palestinian people given decades of support for the Israeli occupation. “I feel for them. Palestinian Americans, great. They’re Americans. But Palestinians not my problem. We have things to deal with here,” Mark explains.
During his speech to the DNC Bill Clinton said, “If you’re a Muslim and you love America and freedom and you hate terror, stay here and help us win and make a future together, we want you.” Imraan Siddiqi responds: “The DNC is presenting itself as a more tolerant, open option in comparison to what the RNC has to offer. If we look a little deeper, however – it seems as though there is still much work to do. Bill Clinton’s comments were just a glimpse of this looming beneath the surface.”
Wilson Dizard reports from Philadelphia on day three of the Democratic National Convention: “The Academy Awards of Democratic Party politics continued into its fourth day on Thursday after Hillary Clinton clinched the nomination from the party of the people on Tuesday. Protests outside the Wells Fargo Center continue, and sometimes include dissident Bernie Sanders’ delegates who have come to feel the Democratic party doesn’t want them around, and that security confiscates their signs. ‘The DNC has its reps ripping up signs that support Palestinian rights so ppl can’t take them out of the trash,’ tweeted journalist Rania Khalek.”
Joseph Grim Feinberg reflects on Jewishness in contemporary political discourse: “Yes, I am troubled by persistent anti-Semitism in the world. But I am also troubled by the damage done to Jewishness when Jewish identity is collapsed into support for Israeli policy, and when accusations of anti-Semitism are wielded as a tool for silencing debate. What I found so compelling about Jewish history is the wealth of ideas that have emerged surrounding what Jewishness can be. That wealth is lost when name-calling replaces debate, and when a single, tendentious version of Jewishness renders itself impervious to criticism.”