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US Policy in the Middle East

The barriers

Philip Weiss on

A conversation about Israel at a dinner party of liberal media folks reflects conventional wisdom: support for the existence of a Jewish state and concern about women’s rights in Arab societies.

Trump appointed Bolton because Republicans desperately need Adelson’s money

Philip Weiss on

The simple truth about John Bolton’s appointment to national security adviser is that the Republicans need Sheldon Adelson’s money in order to be competitive in the coming midterms, and John Bolton is a tool of Sheldon Adelson. And Adelson cares about one thing, Israel. But only alternative media will connect these rather obvious dots.

War-loving, Muslim-hating John Bolton wants to give ‘pieces’ of Palestine to Jordan and Egypt

Philip Weiss on

Trump’s next national security adviser, the Islamophobic warmonger John Bolton, is realistic in declaring that the two-state solution is dead. Though his solution to the Israel Palestine conflict is not. It is for pieces of the West Bank to be deeded to Jordan and Gaza to be deeded to Egypt, on the theory that Palestine is “bits and pieces” of the former Ottoman Empire.

Ron Lauder’s two-state epiphany elicits rage and condescension in Israel

Philip Weiss on

After Jewish leader Ron Lauder wrote an op-ed in the New York Times saying Israeli settlement policy and “semi-theocratic” leadership are delegitimizing the country and fostering the assimilation of young American Jews, he was confronted in Jerusalem by rightwing minister Naftali Bennett. “What are you doing? What are you doing, Man?” the 45-year-old said condescendingly to the 74-year-old.

Dear Senator Harris, You have been drinking the pro-Israel Kool-Aid

Alice Diane Kisch on

Bay Area activist Alice Diane Kisch pans Senator Kamala Harris over her AIPAC speech: “Your support for Israel is the diametric opposite of a path to peace in the Middle East.  I am so sorry that you are not the politician that I was hoping you’d be.”

Schumer says he opposed the Iran deal because of ‘threat to Israel’

Philip Weiss on

“The greatest threat to Israel in the short term is Iran, we know that. That’s why I opposed the agreement, because Iran is such a danger,” Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer told the the Council of Jewish Organizations of Brooklyn yesterday. He also said he met for an hour alone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the greatest long term threat to the Jewish state: young Americans’ “support for Israel is declining, in every part of the country.”

Kenneth Marcus, Trump’s nominee for civil rights, has a long history of working against them

Abed A. Ayoub, Phillip Agnew and Harper Jean Tobin on

The Senate is about to consider President Trump’s nominee for Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the Department of Education, Kenneth Marcus. He is unfit for the job, given his extensive history of targeting constitutionally protected speech, of hostility towards affirmative action and civil rights, of anti-LGBTQ positions, and of lobbying for discrimination in university funding based on political viewpoints.

AIPAC is suddenly getting a lot of bad press, in Jewish papers and ‘Washington Post’

Philip Weiss on

In a sign of growing establishment distrust of the Israel lobby group AIPAC, several writers liken it to the NRA, and the Washington Post publishes an important article by Doug Rossinow saying that the lobby originated in American Jews rallying to promote Israeli “lies” about “awful knowledge”: the massacre of more than 60 Palestinians in Qibya in the West Bank in 1953.

For Bari Weiss, Israel advocacy was both ideology and good career move

Philip Weiss on

Pro-Israel activism gave journalist Bari Weiss quite a career. As a youth she bagged one Zionist fellowship after another, leading to opinion editing at The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times in her early 30s. Which is no surprise, given the Times’s employment of several pro-Israel columnists.

‘Someone is paying Trump to do it’ — Pompeo elevation shows neoconservative lock on foreign policy

Philip Weiss on

The nomination of Mike Pompeo to be Secretary of State means that Donald Trump has adopted an interventionist foreign policy and may kill the Iran deal. Neoconservatives are exulting. While Joe Cirincione of Ploughshares, who pushed the deal, says, “It’s almost as if someone is paying Trump to do it.” That would be Trump’s biggest backer, Sheldon Adelson, who also got the embassy.

American Jews need Israel to be safe — megadonor Paul Singer

Philip Weiss on

Neoconservative godfather Paul Singer explains why he gives to pro-Israel causes: “Israel may be the only insurance policy all Jews, everywhere, can rely upon for …safety.” He echoes Daniel Gordis and Roger Cohen, who say Jewish sovereignty has transformed Jews from victims to historical agents. An important argument. Is it right?

There are only two kinds of Jews, Schumers and Feinsteins

Philip Weiss on

It used to be that Jews were cosmopolitan, people of the world. But now the organized community is as provincial as can be, focused on the Jewish nation of Israel. This is the deepest divide in Jewish life, between the Schumers and the Feinsteins, those who think what is good for the Jews and those who think of what is good for the world.

Israel ‘made a desert bloom’ — and I helped — Kamala Harris to AIPAC

Philip Weiss on

California Senator Kamala Harris spoke at AIPAC this year for the second year running, in an indication that she intends to cultivate elites and alienate the leftwing base for political ambition. She bragged to the Israel lobby about helping to build forests on Palestinian lands. “As a child, I never sold Girl Scout cookies, I went around with a [Jewish National Fund] box collecting funds to plant trees in Israel.”

Gideon Levy on Israeli denial: ‘Anyone who raises a question is demolished’

Philip Weiss on

Gideon Levy says that Israeli idealists dreamed of the day when Israeli soldiers would tell their society about the occupation. Then Breaking the Silence came forward, and it was crushed, with the media’s help. Israelis live in denial. “No question marks.” Only outside pressure will force them to end the tyranny over half the population, the Palestinians.

Israeli left leader praises Trump and bewails ‘Palestinian majority’ and ‘Palestinian narrative’

Philip Weiss on

Israeli leftwing legislator Stav Shaffir’s appeals for the two-state solution at AIPAC sounded a lot like rightwing nationalist appeals. She said a Palestinian majority between the Jordan and the Mediterranean is a “danger” to Israel, that Trump made all Israelis happy by moving the embassy to Jerusalem, and that young American progressives are mistakenly falling for the “Palestinian narrative.”

Schumer and Dems outdo Trump at AIPAC– there’s no peace because ‘Palestinians don’t believe in Torah’

Philip Weiss on

The AIPAC policy conference has featured one prominent Democrat after another seeking to outflank the Trump administration in expressions of love for Israel. Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer took the prize by slinging mud at Palestinians and Arabs as the reason there is no end to the conflict. Schumer said the problem is the Palestinians “don’t believe in the Torah. So that’s the reason there is not peace.”

AIPAC panics over progressives abandoning Israel

Philip Weiss on

The Israel lobby group AIPAC kicked off its annual policy conference in Washington on the weekend, and speaker after speaker expressed fears that progressive Democrats are abandoning Israel. The speakers urged progressives to stay in the bipartisan fold of support for the Jewish state; they insisted that Israel is a progressive cause. But many also embraced Donald Trump and Nikki Haley– evidence of the rightwing character of Israel support, which is driving the partisan divide in our country. 

Avraham Burg speaks at Temple Israel in Boston

Harry Mairson on

There was no political opposition to Avraham Burg’s message of equal rights in Israel and Palestine at Temple Israel in Brookline, and that’s bad news. The political winds are blowing in such an opposite direction in the U.S. and Israel right now that those who object to his message don’t believe he is even worth pushing back at.

Jared Kushner’s swift rise and long, long fall

Mondoweiss Editors on

The press is reporting that Jared Kushner’s days as a White House power may come to an end, due to a flurry of reports about his meetings as a Trump adviser with foreign officials and corporate execs who are in a position to help out his family’s troubled real estate company — as well as Kushner’s considerable innocence when it comes to foreign policy. The knives are out, and the latest reports are that Donald Trump himself wants his son-in-law to disappear. 

AIPAC conference will feature lots of liberal Democratic speakers

Philip Weiss on

The premier Israel lobby group AIPAC fulfills its mission of guaranteeing bipartisan support for Israel by having many liberal Democratic speakers this weekend: Rep. Adam Schiff, Jake Sullivan, and Tamara Cofman Wittes. Even as the progressive Democratic base grows alienated from Israel, establishment Dems need to show support for the rightwing country so as to preserve their careers.