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!
Category Archives: US Policy in the Middle East
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.”
American politicians are responsible for are crimes against humanity, but those 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. So a domestic political competition– Russiagate– takes up all the media’s attention, while civilians killed by US bombs are like ants on the sidewalk.
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.”
David Brooks does a limited confession of his mistake in supporting the Iraq war. He was naive. “People like me used to advocate for spreading democracy around the world. Sometimes we were naive. And Iraq was Iraq and it didn’t work out. But at least it was a belief in essential progress.”
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.
Thirty years ago, Prince Charles said that U.S. support for Israel is a cause of terrorism and that the “Jewish lobby” tied an American president’s ability to address the issue. He wrote in a 1986 letter: “I know there are so many complex issues, but how can there ever be an end to terrorism unless the causes are eliminated? Surely some US president has to have the courage to stand up and take on the Jewish lobby in US? I must be naive, I suppose!”
The press is obsessed with the claim that absurd ads planted by Russians on Facebook bashing Hillary Clinton actually swayed the election. This is a form of propaganda about “our democracy,” exposed by the fact that our press fails to report on Saudi and Israeli meddling in our politics, a real factor in Washington. And though quick to seize on Russian war crimes, it has almost nothing to say about Saudi atrocities in Yemen, backed by the U.S. government.
Tzipi Hotovely, deputy Israeli foreign minister, says American Jews are threatening the existence of Jewry with “80 percent” rate of assimilation, and criticism of Israel, which is all that holds Jews together. Then she challenges Labor parliamentarian Merav Michaeli, “When’s the last time you went to the Kotel [the western wall], can you possibly tell me?”
The Balfour Declaration was a wartime play by the British government to win international Jewry to its side. This meant the Russian masses in the U.S., and banker Jacob Schiff, who were against American entry into the war. The British may have exaggerated Jewish power, but Zionists lobbied successfully for the declaration by citing such power, marking the entry of the Israel lobby on the world stage.
After Alan Dershowitz spoke at the University of California on “The Liberal Case for Israel,” a cartoon by Joel Mayorga appeared in the Daily Californian, savaging Dershowitz’s claim by showing his hand dripping blood from a corpse. The school’s chancellor said the cartoon was anti-Semitic and the newspaper retracted the image. Does any of this really matter?
Last week the UN’s rapporteur on the occupied territories called for sanctions against Israel in a report saying Israel has “driven Gaza back to the dark ages” due to denial of water and electricity and freedom of movement. Michael Lynk went on that there is a “darkening stain” on international law because other countries have treated the occupation as normal, and done nothing to resist Israel’s “colonial ambition par excellence,”
The Jenin Freedom Theatre production of The Siege, which featured Palestinian resistance fighters, was an unmitigated triumph in October in New York. It brought in an audience of 3500 over 10 performances; it drew scarcely any of the attacks/demonstrations/official smears that were anticipated, thereby completely vindicating NYU’s brave decision to go forward in spite of inside pressure; and it gave the Palestinian production company the thrilling realization that they were welcome at last in the American cultural scene.
Kenneth Marcus heads a lawfare organization that targets the Boycott Israel movement on campus as allegedly anti-Semitic and thereby violating federal laws against racial discrimination. Last week he was named to the top civil rights job at the Dep’t of Education, stirring fears that he will attempt to silence advocates for Palestinians.
Paul Singer, the megadonor hedge fund manager, funded the group that uncovered dirt on Trump in Russia, then turned around to help pay for Trump’s inauguration and visit the White House regularly. Why would Singer flipflop? His main issue is Israel, and he wants to influence the White House. And he already has, on the Iran Deal.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency says its briefs editor, Marcy Oster, moved to Israel in 2000. It airbrushes the uncomfortable truth: Oster lives in an illegal settlement deep in the occupied West Bank, Karnei Shomron, and has often acted as an advocate for that community, raising money for young Jews to buy mobile homes there.
Citing the separate laws and roads for Palestinians and Jews in occupied territories, CBC columnist Neil Macdonald says “Israel is already an apartheid state.” It’s about time liberal Zionists in the U.S. admitted what’s going on over there. But they can’t, they’re the firewall on the political mainstream, and U.S. support for apartheid Israel. Still, the list of apartheid-namers is growing.
Organized American Jewry has a tough job. It has to raise endless money for Israel and protect the country against all human-rights-abuse accusations and denounce Israel’s accusers. To be Israel’s vassal, in short. But the new anti-BDS legislation across the country will make some Jews reexamine the deal. They are being asked to sell out our country’s civil rights for the sake of Israel. And there’s sure to be a backlash against the Jewish organizations.
Retired Gen. Amnon Reshef tells a NY synagogue that the two-state solution is a dream that is years away and the only way to sell it to Jewish Israelis is: “They support separation. They don’t want to be a part of one state. They want to be separated. It’s a Zionist dream. They don’t care about the Palestinians.” Isn’t that apartheid by another name?
Trump gave red meat to the neocons in his Iran speech, using the word “regime” 29 times in an evident threat to change the regime. He needs their support politically, and Netanyahu and the Israel lobby are very happy with the result.
Cartoonist Eli Valley lost his job at the Forward after editor in chief Jane Eisner said “she wasn’t comfortable with a Jewish newspaper criticizing Jewish leaders,” he discloses in his new book, Diaspora Boy. And the New York Times runs a puff piece on Eisner and ignores the paper’s crisis over Zionism.
Susan Rice repeatedly groveled to the Israel lobby group AIPAC when she was in the Obama administration and trying to get its support for the Iran deal. Now when she is out of power she calls Bullshit on the group. A cynical-making glimpse of the Israel lobby’s power, and of its growing partisan divide.
Decertifying the Iran deal is all about Israel, as usual. Susan Rice calls bullshit on AIPAC over the Iran deal — now that she’s not in power. While Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies cribs Netanyahu’s line on the deal — Fix it or nix it — without crediting the prime minister of a foreign country. And even Rob Malley has to cite Israel’s claims in supporting the deal.
Esther Koontz, a Wichita public school curriculum coach and wife of a Mennonite pastor, endorsed Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel because she came to believe through her church that it will end the occupation, in the same way that boycott ended apartheid in South Africa. Now she is suing the state of Kansas over a law prohibiting contractors from boycotting Israel, saying it violates her First Amendment protection of political beliefs and associations.