Category Archives:
US Policy in the Middle East

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

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

Slaughter is not self-defense: The assault on Gaza and the corruption of language

David Lloyd on

We are witnessing the unspeakable, again. Are there any words left adequate to the abomination of Israel’s ongoing onslaught on Gaza, an assault that is proceeding with dismal predictability, and that is, in fact, a repetition and an escalation rather than a recommencement of violence? It is 2009 all over again; it is 2012 all

Assault on Gaza fuels surge of civil disobedience in protest of Israeli actions

Alex Kane on

When Israel pounded the Gaza Strip in 2008-09, activists across North America occupied Israeli consulate buildings in protest of Operation Cast Lead, which killed an estimated 1,400 Palestinians, the vast majority of them civilians. Now, as the death toll reaches Cast Lead-like levels, with over 1,000 Palestinians slain by Israeli forces, activists are once again ramping

PLO official Hanan Ashrawi: Israel’s assault on Gaza is ‘state terrorism’ and should be referred to the International Criminal Court

Alex Kane on

Israel’s assault on Gaza constitutes “state terrorism” and the state should be referred to the International Criminal Court, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Hanan Ashrawi charged in an interview Friday. “When you target civilians, this is terrorism, but it is state terrorism, because it is taken as a result of political decisions giving orders to

U.S. casts lonely vote against establishing war crimes inquiry in Gaza

Alex Kane on

The U.S. has cast the sole vote against establishing an investigation by the United Nations into war crimes committed in Gaza. Yesterday, the United Nations Human Rights Council voted 29-1, with 17 abstentions, to establish an inquiry. The United States was the only no vote. The European nations on the council all abstained. In a statement,

Video: ‘It’s a hell of a pinpoint operation’ — John Kerry caught criticizing Israel on hot mic during Sunday news show

Adam Horowitz on

Today, John Kerry made the rounds of the Sunday morning news shows following the Israeli massacre in the eastern Gaza City neighborhood of Shuja’iyeh which killed 63 Palestinians. Although Kerry defended Israel’s actions on air, he was caught with a hot mic off air telling an aide, ‘It’s a hell of a pinpoint operation.” Fox host Chris Wallace asks

Senator Rand Paul pens over-the-top pander to pro-Israel crowd

Alex Kane on

For months, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), the libertarian-minded son of former Representative Ron Paul, has sought to burnish his pro-Israel credentials as he paves a path towards the 2016 presidential election.  His latest attempt is an over-the-top column this week in the National Review calling on the U.S. to stop calling for Israeli “restraint” and to

The death by drone memo: a throwback to U.S. terrorism in Nicaragua

Rémi Brulin on

On September 30, 2011, Anwar al-Aulaki, a radical Islamist cleric and an American citizen, was killed in a targeted drone strike in Yemen. Among the many legal questions raised by such an act, a most important and intriguing one relates to the legal status of certain CIA activities given the existence of 18 USC 119,

The world was right about Iraq– though Israel got its ‘Clean Break’

Matthew Taylor on

In most circumstances, “We told you so” is a classless statement. But in this case, it’s justified. In 2003, in the largest global protest in human history, millions of us marched in the world’s streets, loudly proclaiming that invading Iraq would be an unmitigated disaster. Meanwhile, Israel’s neocon loyalists achieved exactly what they wanted: a