If you are going to make a list of crazy UN speeches, you really have to twist yourself into a pretzel not to mention Benjamin Netanyahu’s theatrics. Rachel Maddow on MSNBC does the pretzel: she overlooks Netanyahu’s cartoon bomb and 44 seconds of silence, then cites Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader, wearing a gun to the General Assembly in 1974.
Category Archives: US Policy in the Middle East
The sound of the shofar at Rosh Hashanah in the synagogue is a “wake-up call” to Jews to support the “Jewish homeland” Israel, and fight the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, says David Harris, of the American Jewish Committee, completely conflating religion and Zionism in a way that fosters anti-Zionism.
Israeli PM Netanyahu was seen nodding during Donald Trump’s speech to the UN, and he later praised it to the skies. “I’ve listened to countless speeches in this hall, but I can say this: none were bolder, none more courageous and forthright than the one delivered by President Trump.” Netanyahu went on to offer red meat rhetoric of his own on Iran. He referred to the country by name 37 times and likened it to North Korea, saying it was conducting a campaign of conquest across the Middle East and threatens the world with ballistic weapons.
Amanda Taub’s smart piece in the NYT on ethnic cleansing as an inevitable consequence of national “self-determination” cites examples of Rohingya, Roma, Jews and Muslims. The glaring omission is the Nakba, the expulsion of 700,000+ Palestinians during the creation of Israel. The Nakba is an American issue; Bernie Sanders and historian David Myers agree on that. But the Times can’t address Palestinian conditions.
The Netanyahu-Trump meeting in a hotel at the sidelines of the United Nations in New York today was marked by Trump’s blather about the “fantastic” two-state solution and fulsome praise by Netanyahu of Trump clearly intended to show that the Obama days are past and gone. The relationship between the two countries has never been “stronger” or “deeper,” and some of that closeness has been behind closed doors.
A young operative from the heart of the pro-Israel community, Richard Goldberg, is pushing “regime instability” in Iran in a document circulating at the White House and in the Republican Congress. Goldberg has has worked with Stand With Us and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. The document calls on the president to threaten a “global economic embargo” of Iran so as to undermine the regime.
Jews in America “are of more influence economically, politically, culturally, than in any other place in the world in world history,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel tells Times of Israel, so they are obligated to help “victimized” communities, African-Americans and Mexican-Americans and aspiring Americans.
Liberal Zionists in the media set red lines on what can’t be covered. So the rejection of BDS in the Chicago governor’s race, or Steven Salaita’s career destruction, or Gary Ginsberg’s speechwriting for Netanyahu are all non-stories for the mainstream press.
“The status quo is no longer tenable.” Nearly 600 Conservative rabbis and leaders, most of them North American, wrote a letter to Benjamin Netanyahu expressing “dismay, anger and sense of betrayal” over official Israeli discrimination against non-Orthodox Jews. But not a word about Israel’s discrimination against Palestinians.
North Korea is helping Iran to become a threshold nuclear state, and Syria too, so “there needs to be an alliance against the axis of evil” between Israel and the U.S., says Israel Labor pol Erel Margalit speaking at Columbia University. Haven’t we heard that before?
“Boycotts have always been accepted as a legitimate form of nonviolent protest in the United States,” musician Roger Waters writes in the New York Times, from Montgomery, Alabama, buses to the North Carolina transgender restrictions. So it is perfectly legitimate to use this tool against Israel’s occupation. Waters’s 64-city tour has been marked by pro-Israel demonstrators.
Novelist Nathan Englander has a new political thriller called “Dinner at the Center of the World,” based on his efforts to imagine peace between Israel and Palestine, but asked if Israel should give up its character as a Jewish state and be a democracy, he says, “I’m a fiction writer… I have never even thought about having to take a personal stand like that as being imperative upon me.”
A rightwing campaign has begun against a Jewish organization, the Center for Jewish History, to fire its new executive David N. Myers, who has called for discussions of the Nakba and against demonizing the BDS campaign (boycott, divestment and sanctions). And happily, it appears that this campaign will fail.
This is an incredible story about the power of the Israel lobby inside Democratic Party politics, and in Chicago. Daniel Biss, a progressive state senator contending for the Democratic nomination to be governor of Illinois, has dropped his running mate, Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, over Israel issues — two days after Illinois congressman Brad Schneider revoked his endorsement of Biss, because Ramirez-Rosa had supported Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel.
US ambassador David Friedman and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu are a tag-team in supporting settlements and denouncing Palestinians, and even UN Sec’y General Guterres is caught up in blaming Palestinians. While the press goes to a farcical level to dignify a “peace process.”
Brad Schneider, Illinois congressman who once worked for AIPAC, rescinds endorsement of State Senator Dan Biss for Illinois governor because his running mate, Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, supports BDS. Biss is Jewish, and the news is evidence of the growing American Jewish divide over rightwing Israel.
When white nationalist Richard Spencer said there was a lot to admire in Zionism, he held up a mirror to Jewish nationalism’s contempt for Palestinian rights. Naomi Dann of Jewish Voice for Peace was right to seize on the affinity as a reflection on Zionism, as lived. While Jane Eisner of the Forward and Jonathan Greenblatt of the ADL are in denial about what their ideology has become.
Trump’s ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, refers to an “alleged occupation” in an interview with the Jerusalem Post, and says settlements pose no real obstacle to peace but Palestinians’ “culture of hate” does. Once again, the White House acts as Israel’s lawyer.
Conan O’Brien didn’t just flout the calls on artists to boycott Israel, he mock-trained with the Israeli army, making light of their deadly arms, and hung out with Benjamin Netanyahu, doing dog jokes at the Prime Minister’s house. “Conan in Israel” will air in September, but the damage to O’Brien’s brand is already happening, on social media.
Eleven years after Jimmy Carter was excommunicated for using the word “apartheid” to describe Palestine, the description is showing up in more mainstream places. The Israeli human rights organization Peace Now says that Hebron has an “apartheid system,” and Israeli journalist Avi Issacharoff says in the New Yorker that it’s only a matter of time before Europe says “No more apartheid!” to Israel.
The New Yorker runs a long article about an Israeli TV series involving an Israeli military unit in the West Bank, and it’s filled with the usual shooting-and-crying theme — the oh so sensitive but tough Israelis telling an American journalist about the occupation.
“The American Legion has looked at us with disdain and dishonor for years,” says Ernest Gallo, president of the USS Liberty Veterans Association, but last week pushed by its grassroots, the Legion’s convention voted to call on Congress to investigate the June 8, 1967 attack on the Liberty by Israel that killed 34 sailors. There has never been a U.S. government investigation of the matter.
The never-ending deathbed vigil for the two-state solution has reached a new stage. The Trump administration’s refusal to commit to the two-state solution is horrifying liberal Zionists who fear threats to the Jewish state, but Netanyahu is overjoyed. He celebrated the settlements this week: “This is the inheritance of our forefathers, this is our country… We came back here to stay forever. There will be no more uprooting of settlements in the Land of Israel.”
American Jews have “tremendous power” over the government of Israel, but they should never criticize the Netanyahu government on its policies toward Palestinians, just “stand up for” Israel in the U.S., says American-born Israeli politician Dov Lipman, at the American Jewish Committee forum in June.
Forward editor Jane Eisner argues that Israel, and the Jewish people, have a right “to maintain the hegemony of the dominant class” – privileging Jews over Palestinians, at the same time she decries the discrimination and occupation that resulted from such hegemony. The rest of us have a right to label such an order exclusionary and racist.