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US Policy in the Middle East

Philadelphia Jewish groups try to stop publication of article critical of Israel, insist on BDS training for Inquirer editors

Philip Weiss on

When Palestinian novelist Susan Abulhawa published a column in the Philadelphia Inquirer urging the Philadelphia Orchestra to cancel a trip to Israel because the country is slaughtering unarmed protesters in Gaza, Jewish leaders in the city flew into action, demanding that the paper publish a rebuttal and that editors take a training against BDS. The Israel lobby in action.

Palestinian group challenges Schumer to visit Gaza and call for end to blockade

Mondoweiss Editors on

The Council on International Relations, a Gaza-based NGO, issued an invitation yesterday to Senator Chuck Schumer to come to Gaza so that he can see that he and the Palestinian community share many attributes, from humble origins to a high value for education. Schumer has had nothing to say about Israel’s killings in Gaza, despite pressure from young Jewish progressives.  

Remembering Joel Kovel, a restless explorer

Philip Weiss on

Joel Kovel died April 30 at age 81 after a life of incomparable intellectual freedom. His restless spirit and brilliant mind produced groundbreaking works on white racism, climate change, and Zionism.

Netanyahu’s cheap theatrics fall flat, but alas, he has an audience of one — Trump

Philip Weiss on

The good news from Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech on Iran’s “secret atomic archive” yesterday is that it was so cheaply theatrical that it is being widely dismissed as vaudeville. He used the word secret 15 times, and in the encore pulled back a black curtain on his evidence. The bad news is that the world doesn’t matter; Netanyahu is pushing war against Iran in Syria to one person, Donald Trump, who loves cheap theatrics.

Young Jews won’t cry over the end of the Zionist dream, Beinart says

Philip Weiss on

Peter Beinart is a leader in the Jewish discourse of Israel. He says that when young American progressives call for a one-state solution, this will become a “very, very powerful” force in U.S. politics, and that these young people will not mourn “the end of the Zionist dream.” And offering the Palestinians a state without Jerusalem is like “creating a country in Westchester that can’t get into Manhattan.” 

Israel needs Palestinian violence to shift world opinion — and ‘The New York Times’ helps out!

James North on

Once again, the New York Times has turned over its coverage of the ongoing Gaza protests to Hasbara Central, Israel’s propaganda apparatus. Its article, on the fifth Friday of the Great March of Return, should be regarded not as a “report,” but as a prior justification for the full-scale massacre Israel is surely planning as the Gaza marches lead toward the May 15 culmination on Land Day.

Lieberman, commander of Gaza snipers, arrives in D.C. to take on Iran Deal

Mondoweiss Editors on

Just when Emmanuel Macron arrives in Washington to try and save the Iran deal, another county heard from! Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s defense minister, and commander of the Gaza snipers, flew to the U.S. to meet with John Bolton, the national security adviser and ardent supporter of Israel, to counter the European push for peace with Iran.

Portman’s move puts pressure on liberal Zionists to take a stand

Philip Weiss on

Natalie Portman’s decision to boycott an awards ceremony in Israel is putting pressure on other liberal Zionists to take real action to try and end the occupation, and scaring other liberal Zionists who fear that she is fostering the BDS campaign.

Roger Cohen scares his readers: ‘the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state’

Joseph Levine on

Roger Cohen argues in the New York Times that the right of return is code for pushing Jews into the sea. Joseph Levine issues a challenge to Cohen and other liberal Zionists: “It’s time to stop the scare tactics, stop using loaded language about “destruction” and “throwing into the sea” and face the consequences: either defend liberal democracy consistently or admit that one is willing to sacrifice it for ethnic nationalism.”

Come in, Natalie, the water’s fine

Jonathan Ofir on

Natalie Portman’s refusal to attend the Israeli Genesis Prize ceremony is a blow to Israeli pride. But her statements of support for Israel reflect liberal Zionist convictions. Will she go further with her critique?

Leanne Gale’s bold challenge to the Jewish community on BDS and anti-Zionism

Philip Weiss on

Leanne Gale, a Yale law student, came out of the heart of the Jewish community to all-but support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) at the J Street conference. She said BDS is the most important nonviolent Palestinian movement in the world, that anti-Zionism is a living tradition in the Jewish community as a response to anti-Semitism, and that Jews should not seek to marginalize or suppress or seek an alternative to BDS, but should engage it in an effort to make Israel a liberal democracy.

Israel and its Democratic Party friends complain — Trump gave Syria to Russia ‘on a silver platter’

Philip Weiss on

Liberal pro-Israel conference in DC featured hawkish statements on Syria. Susan Rice said Trump should have been “demonstrably unpredictable” with Assad to gain advantage. “For all our handwringing about President Trump’s temperament, he could have played those concerns to our advantage.” While Nancy Soderberg, a Clinton security aide running for Congress, said Trump had handed Syria to Iran “on a silver platter.”

Jewish leader refuses to debate BDS with young Jew, at J Street conference

Philip Weiss on

The shame of the Jewish establishment: Rep. Jan Schakowsky says she never used the word “occupation” before last year, while Jeremy Burton of a leading Boston Jewish organization brags of a policy of refusing to debate Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), even with other Jews. These people have their heads in the sand (or worse) and young Jews want none of it.

Dershowitz’s game

Philip Weiss on

Alan Dershowitz has become an advocate for Donald Trump on the airwaves at a time when the president has few legal chums. And Israel’s interests are close behind. Dersh is a conduit to Israeli PM Netanyahu, and the EPA set up a research agreement with an Israeli water company of which Dersh is a board member– at the prodding of Trump donor Sheldon Adelson.

Global outrage mounts over Israeli killing of Yaser Murtaja, from ‘NYT’ to Federation of Arab Journalists

Philip Weiss on

The killing by an Israeli sniper of Palestinian journalist Yaser Murtaja on April 7 at the Gaza fence is drawing mounting international outrage. The New York Times editorialized sternly about Murtaja’s killing, the General Federation of Arab Journalists wants the case prosecuted at the International Criminal Court, and Michael Moore calls on documentary filmmakers around the world to speak out against the crime.

Neocons and liberal interventionists are back in the saddle again — though ‘nobody wants a big war’!

Philip Weiss on

“Nobody wants a big war,” says Amb. Ryan Crocker, but the old foreign policy duopoly of neoconservatives and liberal interventionists certainly wants some kind of war with Iran in Syria. In tones reminiscent of the Iraq war runup, liberals call for bombing in the NYT op-ed page, while neocons call for joint operations with Israel that would bring “hellish consequences” to Syria’s Assad, as well as to Russia and Iran.

The search for ‘balance’ in the Gaza shootings

Robert Herbst on

Liberal Zionist Michael Koplow has condemned Israeli actions at the Gaza fence but called on the left for “balance” in acknowledging the terrorist threat to Israel in the protests. Robert Herbst says the power differential is so unbalanced in Palestine that it is unfair to state “that 30,000 unarmed protesters cannot march and expect to return home alive and uninjured unless they are prepared to take on the impossible task of identifying and removing the few ‘troublemakers’ who may also show up.”

Jews and trauma

Philip Weiss on

A mental health professional in Gaza once said, “We live in a cage, you can see that plainly. But the Israelis, they have a cage in their mind. They are more imprisoned than we are.” Jews need to deal with their historical trauma, in order to stop massacring Palestinians.

Israel just lost American Jews

Philip Weiss on

The silence of Jeffrey Goldberg, Bill Kristol, and Jennifer Rubin over Israel’s indefensible slaughter of Palestinian protesters on March 30, and the outspokenness against the atrocity of Bernie Sanders, David Rothkopf, Ayman Mohyeldin, and Chris Hayes, shows that the center has at last shifted in US discourse. American Jews have had it holding the bag for Israeli massacres.

Video appears to show Israeli shot ending Palestinian footballer’s career as he stands with selfie stick

Phil Weiss and Annie Robbins on

A video posted by a Gaza journalist today appears to show the moment that Mohammed Khalil, a young Palestinian football player, was shot in the leg, destroying his knee, and his career, evidently by an Israeli sniper while the young man was merely video’ing himself near the Israeli border last Friday. Israel killed 17 Palestinian protesters and wounded hundreds more.