Category Archives:
US Policy in the Middle East

Deconstructing John Kerry’s address to the Gaza Donors Conference

Marc H. Ellis on
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during the Gaza Donor Conference in Cairo, Egypt, Oct. 12, 2014. (Photo: AP)

John Kerry’s address to the Gaza Donors Conference in Cairo on Sunday was remarkably vacant, if not disingenuous. Reading through Kerry’s address paragraph by paragraph is an exercise in futility. Yet the political ramifications are extreme. Everyone knows that after the Gaza war a profound reckoning is needed. Yet John Kerry – and the Gaza Donors Conference – isn’t even clos

It looks like Obama is checking out on Israel

Philip Weiss on
Obama in 2012

Martin Indyk says Democratic politicians are having less to do with Israel because the party base doesn’t support the country, and Obama’s recent indifference to Israel suggests he wants nothing to do with the country. He told Israel what it had to do years ago and Israelis ignored him.

Jewish New Yorkers to Schumer and Gillibrand: Enact the Leahy Law and stop US military aid to Israel

Jews Say NO! and Jewish Voice for Peace/NY on
New York Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand in 2012. (Photo: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP)

Jews Say NO! and Jewish Voice for Peace/NY write a letter to New York Senators Charles Schumer
and Kirsten Gillibrand asking them to to enforce provisions of federal law that require the termination of aid to any unit of a foreign military for which there is credible information that the unit has committed a gross violation of human rights.

Can Schumer evolve? Finally, some pressure

Philip Weiss on
Schumer, official portrait

Did Chuck Schumer just say, ‘My opinions on Palestine are evolving’? That is the aim of a new campaign aimed at the senator’s assertion that he is Israel’s guardian in the U.S. It’s time to talk about Israeli human rights violations. Demo on Monday at his NY offic

Burke and Lincoln would have hated the special relationship

Philip Weiss on
David Brooks

Glenn Greenwald’s latest revelation, that three former Treasury officials are involved in a neoconservative Zionist lobbying outfit, combined with David Brooks’s apparent belief that he’s an Israeli parent, shows how commingled the Israel interest is in our political culture, the type of sinister influence Lincoln and Burke both warned their democracies against

No Surprise Dep’t: David Brooks’s son is in Israeli army

Philip Weiss on
David Brooks

From the Jewish Journal two days ago. “David Brooks’ son is in the Israeli army. Does it matter?” One of the more interesting nuggets buried in a long, Hebrew-language interview with New York Times columnist David Brooks in the recent Ha’aretz magazine is the revelation, toward the very end, that Brooks’s oldest son serves in

US guilty of war crimes in Palestine

Sam Bahour on
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on July 23. (Photo: AFP)

The U.S. is not a neutral mediator in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; it is an active participant and is guilty of the crimes being committed by Israel against Palestinians, most recently, the mass killings and destruction Israel wrought on the Gaza Strip during the summer. The reality that the U.S. is an active supporter of unimaginable suffering may very well be the motivating force behind the U.S.’s adamant attempts to block the Palestinians from using any of the internationally recognized tools of accountability to hold Israel responsible, such as the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court. When an indigenous, stateless population is blocked access to opportunities for justice by superpowers like the U.S., something is wrong—deadly wrong

J Street can’t tie Israel’s latest ‘illegal land grab’ to cutting US aid

Philip Weiss on
J Street founder Jeremy Ben-Ami speaking at the group's conference in 2012. (Photo: J Street)

Jeremy Ben-Ami of the liberal Zionist group J Street says that the latest Israeli settlement “landgrab” should be the “straw that broke the camel’s back in Washington.” Like maybe the U.S. should stop giving money to the settler state? Nope. The US should undertake a “thorough review” of its policy on Israeli settlements

As Salaita’s case becomes a cause, U of Illinois issues declarations on ‘civility’

Philip Weiss on
Steven Salaita with his son

There have been several developments in the Steven Salaita firing case at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The university is obviously concerned that Salaita is becoming a cause celebre. Yesterday it issued two long statements describing Salaita’s alleged infraction as a violation of “civility.” Salaita is now without a job, a home, and health insurance.

‘Lesson: The Jews will defend themselves even if it means killing children’

Philip Weiss on

Yaacov Lozowick is the state archivist of Israel. A scholar who moved to Israel from Europe, he is a true believer in the necessity of Jewish nationalism. Scott Roth and I once met him in West Jerusalem and had a polite conversation that became more adversarial when it was continued on email in the months

Hillary Clinton’s 11th-hour diplomacy

Ed Moloney on

Imagine you are Benjamin Netanyahu and you have just really, really messed up. You started a war with Hamas with a lie about the murder of three Israeli teenagers and got caught out; the real motive, an attempt to sabotage a Hamas-Fatah alliance,  soon became clear and it exposed you as someone more interested in

With ‘anger grounded in law,’ Muslim group sues US gov’t over arbitrary ‘terror watchlist’

Annie Robbins on

The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) filed a lawsuit against the US government yesterday (pdf) on behalf of several Muslim-Americans challenging the legality of government policy regarding the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB), also known as the “Terrorist Watchlist” of “known or suspected terrorists,” arguing that they have been wrongly ensnared in a federal system that is free

When the smoke clears in Gaza

Robin D. G. Kelley on

“We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians” –Nelson Mandela Israel’s illegal, genocidal war on the people of Gaza has the characteristics of a massive tsunami. Waged with even greater ferocity than Operation Cast Lead or any other assault since the Nakba of 1948 or the 1967 War, its

Despite potential groundswell, Congress reluctant to recognize Palestinian rights

Sam Knight on

If the polls are to be believed, the days of unconditional US support for Israel are numbered. Younger American voters are increasingly blaming the IDF for the wanton havoc it wreaks in occupied Palestine. Those who have, for years, considered Palestinians to be their equals are probably wondering what took so long for this oft ahead-of-the-curve

Conflict Resolution 101: Talk to Hamas

Medea Benjamin on

The world awaits with bated breath to see if the interim truce negotiated by US Secretary of State John Kerry will lead to a long-term ceasefire. But if US mediation is to be sincere and effective, the American government needs to take Hamas off its terrorist list and allow Hamas to be fully represented at

Israel shells another UN school– and even the US is ‘appalled’

Annie Robbins on

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream As scenes of carnage fill the screen with news of another grotesque Israeli attack on a UN school this morning the thought crossed my mind, “This could not be, so soon after, it must be old footage.” But no, it is all too real and has happened again. Ten

Cease-fire breaks down: Israeli shelling kills 50 after reported capture of soldier

Alex Kane on

The cease-fire that was supposed to go into effect this morning in Gaza has completely broken down. There are conflicting reports as to who was the first who broke it: Israel or Palestinian militants, who are said to have captured a soldier. The U.S. and Israel are blaming Hamas, though the militant group pointed the finger

The threat of sanctions worked against Israel in 1956 — and it can work again

Jinan Bastaki on

In 1957, President Eisenhower addressed the US public: “Should a nation which attacks and occupies foreign territory in the face of United Nations disapproval be allowed to impose conditions on its own withdrawal? If we agreed that armed attack can properly achieve the purposes of the assailant, then I fear we will have turned back