As Donald Trump wrapped his visit to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory yesterday, Gazans said they felt ignored. They do not expect the president’s travels will improve or lift the decade-long Israeli siege imposed on the coastal Mediterranean strip. Many noted Trump’s pro-Israel rhetoric during the later part of his campaign and first months of the presidency as a signal that their well-being is not on his agenda. Some cynically referred to the president as on an “elegant businessman’s” trip to Saudi Arabia, followed by less important stops to Israel and the West Bank.
Category Archives: US Policy in the Middle East
Phil Weiss shares a photo essay from when Donald Trump visited Jerusalem and the Old City. Israeli security wrapped sites he was visiting with white sheets ala Christo, to keep anyone from seeing him, or disrupting events. There were armed checkpoints for Jewish Israelis, and a surveillance balloon in the sky.
As Trump flies to the Middle East, he should consider: We’ve been at war there for 16 years. Israel may see that as a happy outcome, but we need to disentangle ourselves from Israel’s oppressive policies toward Palestinians if we seek a peaceful future.
In 1953, Joel Kovel had an epiphany as a Yale freshman that would ultimately determine his life’s course, against the US war machine and Zionism. He was tempted to return to Yale for his 60th reunion but thought better of it in light of the ordeal of Rev. Bruce Shipman.
Leaving aside the question that should strike any reasonable citizen — Isn’t the “secret” Trump gave the Russians a bit obvious? (gee, laptops; who would have thought)– the story is roiling the chambers of state-and-spycraft in Washington and Israel.
Haaretz newspaper in Israel gets death threats for its unblinking reports on Palestinian conditions, but the New York Times, once again moving mountains to support Israel, describes it as juvenile, antagonistic and contrarian, in a column by Shmuel Rosner.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released his harshest statement yet to the Trump administration yesterday suggesting the president was duped by “the Palestinian fantasy that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel.”
Netanyahu’s remarks were made after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told “Meet the Press” on Sunday that Donald Trump is still considering the effects of moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. Tillerson questioned if the move is “helpful to a peace initiative or perhaps a distraction.”
“You should never describe BDS as a movement,” Alan Dershowitz said in Scarsdale May 10. But in a 2014 screed against BDS, Dersh repeatedly refers to the “BDS movement.” I guess he hadn’t gotten the memo he hadn’t yet written.
When liberal cultural figures take a stand for Israel, they’re going to get punished by their own base. Just ask Ellen DeGeneres and PEN director Suzanne Nossel.
Speaking at the Jerusalem Post conference, Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton said the Jewish Diaspora serves as a global intelligence asset to Israel: “the worldwide relationships because of the Jewish Diaspora gives Israel some advantages that virtually no other country or institution anywhere else in the world has.”
Alan Dershowitz gave a pep talk on Jewish influence to an orthodox audience in Scarsdale Tuesday night. His theme? Jews earned their influence in the U.S. by contributing more to its success than others, so now use your influence: “We have contributed disproportionately to the success of this country. We have done so much for this country. When you think of how much better this country has become since our grandparents and great grandparents took the risk of coming, here, we have not only the right we have the obligation to speak out, and use every piece, every bit of power available in support of Israel.”
An “aggressive campaign of silencing, which we know too well from the extremist fringe in Israel, has made its way to the American Jewish community as well,” singer Noa says after synagogue in Detroit suburb cancels her May 18 concert after threats from rightwing Jews.
While President Donald Trump prepares to make his first trip abroad to Israel where he reportedly will announce his administration’s plan for the creation of a Palestinian state (without East Jerusalem as its capital), a new congressional caucus is calling for an alternative plan: “Israeli victory, Palestinian defeat.”
Palestinian cartoonist Mohammed Saba’aneh, now on a book tour in the US, spent five months in an Israeli prison, so he knows why 1600 prisoners are staging a hunger strike, and how much their families are suffering. Saba’aneh threw himself into documenting prison conditions during his solitary confinement.
In an appearance at Columbia University, former Clinton foreign policy adviser Jake Sullivan characterized Donald Trump as “a person who does not look at America’s role in the world as having a special positive-sum nature.” But what’s so great about America’s role in the world!
Roger Waters on BDS: “Palestinians… should have equal rights. And that is my only beef. Just as all the people living in the US should have equal rights, all of them, regardless of their color, creed, race or religion– that is what I want for the Palestinians. Nothing more, nothing less. I’m not trying to destroy Israel.”
The PEN World Voices festival is taking place in New York this week, without the sponsorship of the Israeli government, for once; and Patti Smith honored Rachel Corrie last night there.
Some Palestinians are looking to President Mahmoud Abbas’s visit to the White House as presenting real hope for a breakthrough in the 70 year impasse on the world’s promise to give self-determination to the Palestinian people. Jibril Rajoub, a Fatah leader, writes in Newsweek: Let us not miss the Trump opportunity!
We must admit we are living in the golden age of Jewish anti-Zionism. A young Maine director, Eric Axelman, is doing a film about the American Jewish responsibility for the occupation. US Jews have the “magic stick” to change Israel, a Palestinian tells him.
“No one in our family was ever as passionate about Israel as me, and now I’m the most critical.” Liz Rose meditates on her summer in 1986, at the Alexander Muss High School, when she fell in love with Jerusalem.
There is no proportionality applied to the question of foreign interference in U.S. politics. If there were, we would have a far more substantive investigation of Israel than Russia. But if anyone mentions the truth about Israel’s clout, the person is immediately smeared as “anti-Semitic” and targeted by Israel’s extraordinarily sophisticated lobby and its many media/political allies for vilification and marginalization.
A religious freedom watchdog mandated by Congress rebuffed repeated appeals from Christian Palestinians to investigate Israel and “bullied” sympathetic officials into dropping their cause, said outgoing member to the committee for religious liberties James Zogby on Wednesday.
Zogby is the director of the Arab American Institute and was appointed eight years ago to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) by President Obama. With less than three weeks left in his term, Zogby went public with his dissenting opinion to the religious committee’s decision to excuse Israel from an investigation.