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US Politics

California Democrats buck national party– opposing bills to penalize boycotts of Israel

Progressive, Arab American, and Veterans Caucuses of the California Democratic Party on

On Sunday, February 25, at their annual convention in San Diego, California, Democrats approved a set of positions on pending legislation that includes opposition to S 720/HR 1697, the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, a federal bill that would impose draconian penalties for boycotts regarding Israel under certain circumstances; and S 170/HR 2856, the Combatting BDS Act, which purports to permit and encourage states to enact similar laws–as many have.

Group tied to ex-Israeli ambassador held a ‘Truth About Israel’ gala at Mar-a-Lago as a ‘thank you’ to Trump

Allison Deger on

After President Donald Trump praised a group of white nationalists in Charlottesville last year, describing “some very fine people on both sides,” at last 20 groups cancelled events at his Florida resort Mar-a-Lago in protest. But one group stood with the president amid the controversy. “I wanted to say, ‘Thank you, Mr. President, for being a supporter of the state of Israel, our only ally in the Mideast,’” said Steven Alembic, organizer of the The Truth About Israel Gala Event at Mar-a-Lago.

AIPAC conference will feature lots of liberal Democratic speakers

Philip Weiss on

The premier Israel lobby group AIPAC fulfills its mission of guaranteeing bipartisan support for Israel by having many liberal Democratic speakers this weekend: Rep. Adam Schiff, Jake Sullivan, and Tamara Cofman Wittes. Even as the progressive Democratic base grows alienated from Israel, establishment Dems need to show support for the rightwing country so as to preserve their careers.

Skeptics who see Russiagate as warmongering will never get respect in the press

Donald Johnson on

Adrian Chen’s piece on Russiagate in the New Yorker has an important subtext: There is a narrative to be narrated, dammit, and facts can get in the way. And if you naively choose the facts, you might find yourself demonized as a pro-Putin propagandist. When the truth is that leftwing skeptics of Russiagate are opposed to the MSM’s neverending warmongering.

Trump’s ambassador says the unspeakable: Uprooting settlers could ’cause civil war’

Philip Weiss on

Ambassador David Friedman’s assertion that uprooting 100s of 1000s of settlers would “cause a civil war” is echoed by many on the left. Both sides imagine a one-state outcome, even as liberal Zionists attack Friedman for suggesting that Israeli society is not resilient and that the two-state solution is right around the corner.

‘NYT’ writers slam left for intolerance of dissent– on Israel panel that excludes anti-Zionists and Palestinians

Philip Weiss on

New York Times columnists Bret Stephens and Roger Cohen repeatedly bashed the left for not tolerating dissent at a JCC panel about Israel in New York last week. Cohen called for “unsafe” speech and “open discussions, fierce debate” so as to fend off a “monolithic” McCarthyist “mob” on campuses. But the panel itself embodied Jewish intolerance of dissent: All three speakers on stage were ardent Zionists, introduced by a JCC official as people who could reinforce “our commitment to Israel.” 

Zionism’s tailspin: Stark minority of young California Jews are ‘comfortable with idea of Jewish state’

Philip Weiss on

The latest study of U.S. Jewish attitudes towards Israel only confirms the trend– growing indifference to the idea of a Jewish state among younger, unaffiliated Jews. When 18-34 year-old Bay Area Californians are asked if they’re “very attached” to Israel, only 11 percent say yes, compared to 25 percent of those 50 and older. Is a Jewish state very important? 37 percent of the young say yes. Only 40 percent of the young are comfortable with the idea of a Jewish state.

‘Bethlehem: beyond the wall’ exhibit comes to New York

Jesse Rubin on

Everyone has heard of Bethlehem, but most Americans know very little about the city. Bshara Nassar’s curated exhibition “Bethlehem: Beyond the Wall” is hitting the road, on view next week at Manhattan College in the Bronx. “I saw how proudly Americans tell their stories to museums. I saw that many immigrants who came to this country have told their stories to these museums,” Nassar told Mondoweiss, “but I couldn’t find a place to tell my story as a Palestinian.”

Story of Israel’s influence shadows the Russian influence story

Philip Weiss on

The running sideshow to the Russian interference story has been Israel’s presence in our politics, witness Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer’s efforts to punish Al Jazeera for investigating the Israel lobby, and Sheldon Adelson’s gifts to Democrat Bob Menendez. But of course Israeli interference is not a scandal worthy of investigation; and it never draws the wrath of the liberal press.

In propaganda coup for Israel, NYT frontpager ascribes Gaza’s misery to Palestinian infighting

James North and Philip Weiss on

The New York Times has published an exhaustive front-page article about Gaza’s misery that is a manifesto from Hasbara Central– the Israeli propaganda arm– explaining the worsening tragedy as the product of Palestinian infighting. An Israeli general is quoted at length by reporter David Halbfinger, U.N. and human rights officials not at all. Hamas is alleged to have started three wars, when Israel initiated them.

Israeli publisher slams US ambassador for ‘perpetuating apartheid’ in West Bank

Philip Weiss on

Amos Schocken, publisher of Haaretz, bashes US ambassador David Friedman for perpetuating “apartheid” in the West Bank, and meantime former Israeli security official Charles Freilich says that Jewish “intermarriage” in the U.S. is threatening Israel’s support because assimilating Jews don’t see the “supreme ideological importance” of the settlements as an “existential” issue for Israel.

Englander’s new novel is high entertainment, with a grim view of Israel

Philip Weiss on

Nathan Englander is a superb storyteller in his new novel Dinner at the Center of the Earth. And the spiritual portrait of the Israelis is grim. It’s not a happy country. Everyone is narcotized or unconscious or belligerent. The book’s central character is a young American who was deluded by his beautiful Hebrew school teacher to believe that Israel was his birthright, and so he made aliyah, and became a black-ops warrior, only to find that Israel was committing indiscriminate massacres.

NYT op-ed describing Israel as a place of refuge is missing the word, Palestinians

Joseph Levine on

Rabbi Susan Silverman describes Israel as a place of refuge in a NYT piece denouncing plans to deport thousands of African refugees. But the piece never mentions Palestinian refugees. “We are the people who expelled over three quarters of a million people in our war of conquest in 1948,” Joseph Levine writes.

Israeli diplomat calls on American students ‘to restore the honor’ of vilified word– Zionism

Philip Weiss on

We have “a duty to restore the honor” of that most vilified word, the Zed word, Zionism, Israeli consul general Dani Dayan tells a pro-Israel group at Columbia University. He criticized U.S. foreign policy for “injustices” like Abu Ghraib and said that when Palestinians declare a day of rage over Jerusalem, it’s not as if the other days are “days of yoga.”

Roger Cohen misses the Palestinian reality

Darin Hussein on

Two weeks ago, New York Times columnist Roger Cohen entered my life and that of several Palestinians I introduced him to in the West Bank by having us believe that he sincerely wanted to hear our stories and know our reality.  But the column that came out of it, “It’s Time for Mahmoud Abbas to Go,” intentionally ignores the Palestinian reality.

Wilkerson says ‘Israel’s security’ was motive for Iraq war– though not in NYT op-ed

Philip Weiss on

Media redlines on the Israel lobby are still in force: Col. Lawrence Wilkerson publishes an op-ed in the NYT saying that the runup to a war with Iran reminds him of the falsehoods that paved the way for the Iraq war, but he never mentions “Israel’s security” as a motive for neoconservative analysts — points that are at the top of his mind when he is interviewed by the Real News about his op-ed.

The Insult: Six points toward clarification

Terri Ginsberg on

Controversy has arisen in recent weeks over the 2017 film, The Insult, Ziad Doueiri’s film and Lebanon’s submission to the 2018 Academy Awards. In a review, film scholar Terri Ginsberg says the movie is a vehicle for pro-Israel propaganda.

Pro-Israel Democrats concede ‘human rights’ issue is killing the brand

Philip Weiss on

Israel advocates Tamara Cofman Wittes and Daniel Shapiro concede that Israel is becoming politicized, and support for the country is draining out of the Democratic Party as young Democrats, including many Hispanics and African-Americans, look at the Jewish state through the “lens of human rights,” as an occupier and discriminator.

Thomas Friedman justifies slaughter of Arab civilians by ‘crazy’ Israel

Philip Weiss on

Tom Friedman of the New York Times ran a column justifying Israeli slaughter of civilians in neighboring countries. Israel needs to go “crazy” and pound civilian areas in which enemy combatants are “nested” “without mercy or constraint.” He is back to his days of praising Donald Rumsfeld in Iraq.