Gideon Levy says that Israeli idealists dreamed of the day when Israeli soldiers would tell their society about the occupation. Then Breaking the Silence came forward, and it was crushed, with the media’s help. Israelis live in denial. “No question marks.” Only outside pressure will force them to end the tyranny over half the population, the Palestinians.
Category Archives: US Aid to Israel
Israeli leftwing legislator Stav Shaffir’s appeals for the two-state solution at AIPAC sounded a lot like rightwing nationalist appeals. She said a Palestinian majority between the Jordan and the Mediterranean is a “danger” to Israel, that Trump made all Israelis happy by moving the embassy to Jerusalem, and that young American progressives are mistakenly falling for the “Palestinian narrative.”
The AIPAC policy conference has featured one prominent Democrat after another seeking to outflank the Trump administration in expressions of love for Israel. Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer took the prize by slinging mud at Palestinians and Arabs as the reason there is no end to the conflict. Schumer said the problem is the Palestinians “don’t believe in the Torah. So that’s the reason there is not peace.”
The Israel lobby group AIPAC kicked off its annual policy conference in Washington on the weekend, and speaker after speaker expressed fears that progressive Democrats are abandoning Israel. The speakers urged progressives to stay in the bipartisan fold of support for the Jewish state; they insisted that Israel is a progressive cause. But many also embraced Donald Trump and Nikki Haley– evidence of the rightwing character of Israel support, which is driving the partisan divide in our country.
The press is reporting that Jared Kushner’s days as a White House power may come to an end, due to a flurry of reports about his meetings as a Trump adviser with foreign officials and corporate execs who are in a position to help out his family’s troubled real estate company — as well as Kushner’s considerable innocence when it comes to foreign policy. The knives are out, and the latest reports are that Donald Trump himself wants his son-in-law to disappear.
Leftwing Israeli author Avraham Burg called for one state in Israel and Palestine and described some of his cousins as “literally speaking racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, homophobic, OK, a few other phobias”, and he got a less than hearty welcome for his remarks at B’nai Jeshurun, a progressive NY synagogue. The sad state of American Jewry.
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.
On a tour of the Muslim holy site, the Haram-al-Sharif, in the Old City of Jerusalem yesterday, a Colorado congressman’s wife advised messianic Jews that “seizure” of the site might be the best option. “Why not tomorrow– say it’s ours!” Jean Tipton said to zealots on the occupied site.
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.”
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.
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.”
The Ronen Bergman Israeli secret history show went to NPR’s Fresh Air, and it was shooting and crying from beginning to end. Bergman and interviewer Dave Davies practically gush over how clever the killers are and yes, also how moral they are. It’s “unheard of” to kill civilians, Bergman says.
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.
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.
In his State of the Union speech, Donald Trump extemporized to characterize countries that receive aid from the US but voted against our recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last month as “enemies of America.” That list includes France, Germany, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Indonesia and Pakistan.
The New York Times runs a long investigative piece by Ronen Bergman praising Israeli generals for not risking the lives of civilians in their efforts to target Arafat for assassination in the ’80s. The article glances over the hundreds of Lebanese civilians killed by Israel in bombing any building it suspected Arafat of hiding out in, war crimes you will not read about in the Times.
Henry Siegman’s landmark piece in the National applauds Trump for ending illusions. The two-state solution is dead and buried, Palestinians are making the right choice, a struggle for equal rights. And this will lead to a “significant exodus of Jews” as Israel faces a future as an acknowledged apartheid state or a democracy. Siegman’s defection from Establishment “scam” on these issues shows up Barack Obama, who endorses the same old illusions in NY synagogue appearance.
Jane Eisner of the Forward says the identification of Israel with one party, Republicans, is “terrifying,” and so Democratic Jews should support AIPAC, the Israel lobby. Liberal Zionists hate the occupation but they hate the threat to US support for Israel even more. She endorses the idea that the lobby is an instrument of Jewish influence.
Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn pleads guilty to lying to the FBI about reaching out to the Russians in 2016. But he did so at the president’s urging on behalf of Israel, to quash a Security Council resolution against settlements the Obama administration was allowing to pass. The Russians ignored Flynn’s advice. And the Israel lobby is still the elephant in the room.
After Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted a photograph of himself with a smiling Senator Kamala Harris, a progressive looks into her record on the Muslim ban, immigration reform, and Medicare for all and finds it stellar. Then discovers her unabashed support for Israel and is shocked.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Ron Brummer of the Israeli Ministry for Strategic Affairs says there’s no point in just boycotting the settlements because there’s only one economy between the river and the sea. “If you want to divest from the West Bank, Judea and Samaria, you have to divest from Israel, which means you boycott Israel completely.”