A theme of a New York Times article on the nomination of Kenneth Marcus to be civil rights director in the Education Department is that the BDS movement against Israel pits “Jews” on the nation’s campuses against “students of color.” But there are many Jews who support BDS, who are invisible here; while Zionism is conflated with Judaism.
Category Archives: US Policy in the Middle East
A new documentary on the conflict, In the Land of Pomegranates, suggests that Israelis and Palestinians only need to understand the other’s narratives of victimization to overcome their differences and get along. But its portraits of young Palestinians and Israelis scarred by violence shows that only outside pressure and structural political change will allow the two peoples to get along, and the film’s politics are meaningless.
Palestinian-American business owner Amer Othman al Adi has been in the country nearly 40 years. Today the 57-year-old sits in the Geauga County jail awaiting deportation — the first time Adi has seen the inside of a jail cell, and a shock to his congressman and wife and family, who had been cooperating with immigration authorities.
Sarah Helm in the New York Review of Books joins David Halbfinger and Michelle Goldberg of the New York Times by honestly reporting on the discussion of one state with equal rights as an alternative to Israel’s neverending segregationist occupation. These pieces could initiate a real discussion of one state among US elites and put pressure on Israel at last to end apartheid.
There are many parallels between Martin Luther King Jr’s call for “direct political action” leading to a crisis for the Jim Crow South, in his letter from Birmingham jail in 1963, and Ahed Tamimi’s courageous slap of a soldier after her cousin was maimed in occupied Nabi Saleh last month, leading to her imprisonment for nearly a month already.
Vic Mensa bears witness to Israeli “oppression and abuse” in an essay in Time. He saw elderly women being “punched in the face” by Israeli soldiers, and children being harassed and detained. He was enraged by fetid water tank for refugees alongside a swimming pool for Israeli settlers. Yet Time obviously forced him to begin his article by swearing that he is “not anti-Semitic” and his words are not an attack on those “of the Jewish faith.”
J Street, the liberal Zionist group, has issued two statements expressing anguish about Ahed Tamimi slapping an Israeli soldier occupying her family property in Nabi Saleh. Neither mentions the fact that hours before the slapping an Israeli soldier shot her cousin in the face, apparently maiming him.
James Klutznick, chairman of Americans for Peace Now, dismissed the idea that Palestinians are now seeking equal rights in one democratic state by saying, that Israeli Jews will never allow there “to be civil rights for everybody and an equal vote.” So maybe Peace Now is advocating for the wrong side?
NYT columnist Roger Cohen justifies Israel’s human rights violations by saying,”If I, as a Jew, have lived a privileged life in the diaspora, it is in part because of the pride and strength that the new Jew of Israel forged.”He’s wrong. The era of Jewish exceptionalism is over.
Pro-Israel groups are working to save the Hebrew program at Evanston Township High School, north of Chicago, where enrollment has slipped in recent years to only 34 students. “The message of these Hebrew programs are clear: If you’re going to learn Hebrew, you’re going to learn to love Israel. No room exists for students to master the language while disagreeing with Israel’s policies”–writes Liz Rose, former Hebrew teacher in a Chicago area public school, who lost her job when she attempted to show students the Palestinian side of the story.
The Trump campaign’s friendliness with the Russians in the 2016 campaign suggests that the administration is “working to advance the interests of a foreign power” and against the “interests of the American people,” says David Leonhardt of the Times. Leonhardt leaves out the fact that the Russian collusion has been shown to have involved one foreign power’s interests: Israel, at the U.N., in 2016, in defiance of the Obama administration.
In a New York Times column suggesting that the dream of liberal Zionism is dead, Michelle Goldberg has the temerity not to quote any Jewish or Israeli leader. Only Mustafa Barghouti, talking about equal rights for Palestinians. What a breakthrough!
David Halbfinger does his job for the New York Times by reporting Palestinian leaders’ discussion of a one-state outcome, and Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations and Nick Kristof of the New York Times jump in to suppress the report by saying one state is not in Israel’s interests, thereby denying the 70 years of erasure and discrimination Zionism has meant for Palestinians.
The State Department denies knowledge of 300 Palestinian children being detained by Israel, though that fact is well-established. Heather Nauert of State was questioned by Said Arikat over the double standard the U.S. has for free speech and protest in Iran — where the U.S. is monitoring security forces’ response — and Palestine, where the U.S. doesn’t seem to care about protesters’ rights.
In 2016, Trump adviser Steve Bannon said that Benjamin Netanyahu and Sheldon Adelson were “all-in” on moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and letting Jordan take over the West Bank, according to Michael Wolff’s new book. So who is setting U.S. foreign policy– but a foreign leader, backed by a billionaire who gave $25 million to the Trump campaign. But the media keep talking about Russia.
“Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the state of Palestine and it is not for sale for gold or billions,” Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas says after Donald Trump says he took Jerusalem “off the table” and will now strip Palestinians of 100s of millions in U.S. aid for refusing to negotiate.
In a full-page ad in the Washington Post, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, an ally of rightwing nationalist Steve Bannon, has printed an all-out verbal assault on Lorde, the New Zealand singer who recently cancelled a show in Tel Aviv out of concern that she would be legitimating Israel’s occupation. The ad will only help the boycott movement, BDS, by causing other celebrities to steer completely clear of Israel gigs.
The US policy change on Jerusalem has been a hammer blow to the three main pillars supporting the cause of Palestinian statehood: the Palestinian Authority, the European Union and the Arab states. The burden now falls on them to accept the new reality, and assert a policy independent of the US. Some Palestinian leaders, like Hanan Ashrawi, already understand this. “Trump’s move is a new era,” she said last week. “There’s no going back.”
While the world may think that Jewish Israelis are raucously celebrating Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Jerusalem’s Jewish community appears split on their feelings towards not only the announcement, but also the US president himself.
Talia Sasson, a liberal Zionist, says that Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has fostered Palestinian “terror” but it can’t kill the peace process ’cause there’s no alternative to a Palestinian state. If Palestinians could vote, “Israel won’t be ever more the home nation of the Jewish people” and “Israelis will never accept that.”
Richard Plepler, the CEO of HBO, said he got his start in media humanizing the Israelis in a documentary during the First Intifada, when they were getting drubbed in the international press. He’s like a lot of other media execs and high-flyers, from Gary Ginsberg of Time Warner to David Cohen of Comcast, whose careers have included hasbara.
Here we go again. The neoconservatives are on the march for a war with Iran, and Trump’s delivery on the Jerusalem promise, raises the fear that he may also attack Iran. A reported cabinet shuffle would elevate militarists Mike Pompeo and Tom Cotton, giving power to the neocons, and even Bill Kristol has had a nice word for the president recently.
When Bret Stephens, the new super-Zionist columnist at the New York Times, states that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, the “ancestral Jewish homeland,” who can take him seriously? Joseph Levine states, “My roots can be traced back to Eastern Europe, and earlier than that is all speculation and conjecture, nothing that can compete with the Palestinians’ actual residence on the land for the past hundreds of years.”
New York Times columnist David Brooks has never come clean for the time that his neoconservatism trumped any conservative notion of government action and he supported the Iraq war. Once again he offered an empty apology, “We went into Iraq because we thought it would help for democracy around the world, and we overstepped in that case.”
The largest Jewish denomination in the US, Reform Jewry, showcased a leader of the dispossession of Palestinian lands at its biennial last week: the head of the Jewish National Fund. So the Union for Reform Jewry has embraced the violence inherent in Zionism, the group that covers up the Nakba with forests. Shouldn’t Jews debate this?