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US Politics

Israeli consul warns American Jews: ‘Our marriage is Catholic — no divorce’

Philip Weiss on

Israeli consul general Dani Dayan warns American Jews that recent differences with Israel must not lead to a divorce from that country. “We may be Jewish but our marriage is Catholic, there is no divorce in our marriage. We may need a lot and apparently we do need a lot of marital counseling, but– no divorce in our marriage,” he said.

Why a children’s book has Zionists losing their minds

Steven Salaita on

In this moment of nuclear proliferation, police brutality, resurgent Nazism, and stunning inequality, Zionists have managed to find the real enemy:  a children’s book.  The offending title is ‘P is for Palestine’, and Zionists have reacted as if it’s the Hamas charter. Why? Simply put, nothing threatens Israel more than the survival of Palestinian identity through successive generations, which is exactly what ‘P is for Palestine’ tries to accomplish.

Liberal Zionists confront, or deny, the ‘Doomsday settlement’

Philip Weiss on

Liberal Zionists are in crisis. Alon Ben-Meir says the left is alive and strong in Israel, and it will revive the two-state solution. While Danny Seidemann of Peace Now warns that Netanyahu has approved a “Doomsday settlement” that would cut off Bethlehem from Jerusalem for Palestinians, meaning the dream of a Palestinian state is dead.

Trump administration using unjust US law to pressure Palestinians

James Zogby on

Palestinian leadership has been told that the U.S. government is on the verge of decertifying their right to maintain an office in Washington because they had the audacity to complain to the International Criminal Court about Israel’s land theft and settlement activity in the occupied territories. James Zogby writes, “Imagine that you are a victim of a violent crime or theft but are forbidden from reporting it because Congress has passed a law that not only prohibits you from reporting the crime, but threatens punishment if you dare to do it. This is the situation in which the Palestinians find themselves today.”

Israel has more legitimacy than US because the bible mentions Jerusalem, not New York — says David Harris

Philip Weiss on

David Harris of the American Jewish Committee says Israel has greater legitimacy than the United States, because the U.S. doesn’t have the bible or the Balfour Declaration to affirm the connection of Americans to the land. The bible talks about Zion and Jerusalem, not New York and Washington. And Harris praises colonialism in the Americas and Australia/NZ in justifying Zionist claims.

The left must give thanks to… Donald Trump

Philip Weiss on

The Trump presidency as hateful and unpleasant and regrettable as it has been, has created great openings for the left. We are now living in a radical age, and the left is getting to offer its answers, on such matters as capitalism and the patriarchy. If Clinton had won, the sexual harassment wave wouldn’t have happened.

Shutting PLO office in DC could shut down Kushner-Greenblatt peace effort, Palestinian official warns

Allison Deger and Sheren Khalel on

Nasser al-Qudwa, spokesperson for the Palestinian party Fatah, said that if the Trump administration follows through on the congressional effort to shut down the PLO mission in Washington, D.C., “there will be a serious repercussion” — possibly the collapse of the efforts by Trump’s negotiating team of Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt to restart peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians.

It’s my ‘Jewish duty’ to put aside differences with Trump and advocate for Israel, says CEO of American Jewish Committee

Philip Weiss on

David Harris of the American Jewish Committee says it’s his “Jewish duty” to put aside political differences with Trump and advocate for Israel. Speaking to a liberal Westchester synagogue, Harris also took a shot at the president. Asked, “Has Jared Kushner sought your counsel?” he shot back: “You’d have to ask Moscow.”

Protest at ZOA Bannon gala shows, Zionism does not unify Jewish community

Abba Solomon on

Open Hillel, IfNotNow, and Jewish Voice for Peace, have all decentralized Zionism from Jewish political life, and the Zionist Organization of America’s gala honoring Steve Bannon is assisting that process. The drama of Zionist donors, cozying up to figures of Christian nationalism and regressive nostalgia, brings to mind Theodor Herzl’s attempt at collaboration with Russian anti-Semitic Interior Minister von Plehve.

Trump nominee Kenneth Marcus seeks to undermine the very rights he’d be enforcing

Nada Elia and Cynthia Franklin on

Kenneth Marcus, Trump’s nominee to head the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Education, actively works to pass and enforce legislation that suppresses civil and human rights and criminalizes constitutionally protected free speech. His nomination points to the increasing convergences of white supremacy, fascism, and Zionism.

Pro-Israel groups’ campaign against Linda Sarsour targets another progressive institution — New School

Philip Weiss on

On Nov. 28, the New School in New York is to host a panel on the use of the anti-Semitism charge to protect Israel from criticism. It features two activists who support boycotting Israel, Linda Sarsour and Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for Peace. The New School is under attack from pro-Israel groups; some fear that the panel could be shut down, as the Anti Defamation League accuse Sarsour and Vilkomerson of fomenting anti-Semitism. Just what the panel is about!

‘Struggle for basic rights within binational state has begun and we will win’ –Shulman in ‘NYRB’

Philip Weiss on

In an important new piece in the New York Review of Books, David Shulman says that the “heroic myth” of Israel as a savior of the Jews has been eclipsed by an awareness of the “terrible violence” inflicted on Palestinians and the need to give equal rights to all between the river and the sea. The anti-apartheid-style struggle for basic rights has begun, and “at whatever cost, we will win.”

Trump administration threatens to close Palestinians’ office in Washington DC

Kate on

The State Department threatened Friday to close the Palestinians’ Washington office unless they enter into direct negotiations with Israel. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has determined that the Palestinians have run afoul of a condition in the law that allows their mission to the U.S. to function which prohibits the Palestinians from requesting the International Criminal Court, or ICC, to prosecute Israelis for crimes against Palestinians.

‘Facebook’ ads are way more important than the children we slaughter in some poor country

Donald Johnson on

The domestic political fight that is Russiagate takes up all the media’s attention, while civilians killed by US bombs are like ants on the sidewalk. That’s because U.S. crimes against humanity are never seen as scandals, except maybe a century later. At most we just treat war crimes as policy disputes. Nobody expects a bipartisan investigation into our ties with the Saudis.

Bret Stephens equates anti-Zionists with white nationalists in the ‘New York Times’

Phil Weiss and Donald Johnson on

New York Times columnist Bret Stephens says that Jewish Voice for Peace is as anti-Semitic as white nationalists like Richard Spencer because it undermines “Israel’s right to exist.” This is a clever feat of propaganda for Israel: Stephens is saying that Israel has a right to discriminate against Palestinians. People need to call it out as racist claptrap.

Washing ashore in Hawaii

Steven Salaita on

Steven Salaita visits Hawaii to learn more about Kanaka Maoli resistance and to converse with local activists and intellectuals about Palestine. He writes, “Enough commonalities exist among the two nations for a shared political project: both suffer military occupation, land theft, foreign settlement, and structural racism. In fact, they contest the same colonial apparatus. This point may seem counterintuitive, but these days the United States and Israel differ only according to technicalities of nomenclature and color scheme. Collusion between the US and Israel is by now axiomatic. People needn’t be identical to know that it is foolish to oppose one of those powers while ignoring the other.”

First ever bill on Palestinian human rights introduced to U.S. Congress

Sheren Khalel on

United States Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) introduced on Tuesday a bill to the U.S. House of Representatives that seeks to bar U.S. government aid and funding from supporting Israeli military detentions of Palestinian children and their prosecution under Israel’s military court system. The legislation is said to be the first time a bill on Palestinian human rights has ever been introduced to U.S. Congress.

Antisemitism bill hearing reflects disagreement in Jewish community over dual loyalty

Kyle Stanton on

On November 7, the House Judiciary Committee held hearings over the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, a bill that would broaden the definition of antisemitism to include criticism of Israel. Dr. Barry Trachtenberg, the Chair of Jewish History at Wake Forest University, argued that the act’s definition of antisemitism was deeply flawed because it defines all accusations of American Jewish dual-loyalty as inherently antisemitic. Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center accused Trachtenberg of providing ”cannon fodder for antisemites”. In many ways, the exchange between Cooper and Trachtenberg mirrored the debate the American Jewish community has been having about dual loyalty since the establishment of Israel.

The goy and the golem: James Angleton and the rise of Israel

Philip Weiss on

No individual had as large a role in Israel’s shift from an embattled settler state to a regional power as James Angleton, the head of counterintelligence at the CIA in the 50s-70s, who relied on Israeli intelligence in his battle against communism. Angleton overlooked Israel’s acquisition of nukes, Jefferson Morley relates in his new biography of Angleton, The Ghost.