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September 2009

William Safire: Wars Made out of Words

David Bromwich on

“There were no thrills while he reigned, but neither were there any headaches. He had no ideas, and he was not a nuisance.” What Mencken said of Coolidge can be reversed in the case of Safire. There were plenty of thrills, and after the thrills, the field was littered with casualties. And he had tons […]

No statute of limitations on using the Holocaust

Philip Weiss on

On behalf of Roman Polanski that is. Bernard Henry-Levy’s letter at Huffpo, signed by a bunch of big hitters: Apprehended like a common terrorist Saturday evening, September 26, as he came to receive a prize for his entire body of work, Roman Polanski now sleeps in prison… Seventy-six years old, a survivor of Nazism and […]

Is Mark Green’s defeat the end of the Jewish meritocracy?

Philip Weiss on

Any visitor to this site knows that I care, too much, about who is Jewish. Lest I disappoint, I wonder if the lopsided defeats of two Jews, Mark Green and David Yassky, in runoffs in New York City yesterday for the Democratic nominations for public advocate and comptroller, respectively, aren’t a signal of the end […]

Why Obama’s gotten nowhere with Netanyahu

Philip Weiss on

American Jewish Committee poll says that 51 percent of American Jews are against a settlement freeze. Against. A settlement. Freeze. Not even dismantling settlements– what would the numbers be on that! But a freeze. Only 41 percent for it. This is in the end the soul of the Israel lobby: American Jewish opinion and American Jews’ belief […]

Religious leaders are timid on the moral issues in the conflict

Susie Kneedler on

A group of churchmen organized by the National Council of Churches, along with Churches on Middle East Peace, has called for "bold American leadership" to end the conflict: Both sides must take steps to move the process forward, and we support the President’s efforts to end Israeli settlement growth, to halt Palestinian violence and incitement. […]

Yom Kippur prayers can include Muslims

Philip Weiss on

I went to shul on the afternoon of Yom Kippur and was there for the "martyrology" section of the Conservative prayerbook. In which the rabbis who were slaughtered in the Crusades are eulogized, the pogroms in eastern Europe are invoked, also the women who killed themselves rather than submit to Nazis in Poland, and Mainz […]

Arianna’s friends

Adam Horowitz on

Arianna Huffington’s recent trip to Israel/Palestine has been getting some attention on this site and has done very little to displace the moniker Huffpep (progressive except Palestine). I hadn’t followed the trip very closely, but I did come across this interesting nugget on her last post: On my way to the airport in Tel Aviv, […]

Celebrated Palestinian director refuses to help build ‘Brand Israel’

Adam Horowitz on

More stories from the Toronto International Film Festival are continuing to come out. Al Jazeera English has a very interesting interview with Scandar Copti, director of the film Ajami. Copti is a Palestinian citizen of Israel, and his film just won best picture in the Israeli version of the Oscars. The film, and its success, […]

Sullivan says the lobby enables Israel to ‘give the U.S. the finger’

Philip Weiss on

I love our secret sharers. Sometimes they’re not so secret. Here’s Andrew Sullivan, fighting mad, and titling his blogpost, "Israel’s Veto": Robert Satloff reminds Obama of a cardinal rule of American politics: no pressure on Israel ever. Just keep giving them money and they will give the US the finger in return. The only permitted […]

For those wondering about the ‘Palestinian Gandhi’

Adam Horowitz on

Neve Gordon writing at In a recent report, the Palestinian human rights organizations Stop the Wall and Addameer document the forms of repression Israel has deployed against villages that have resisted the annexation of their land. The two rights groups show that once a village decides to struggle against the annexation barrier, the entire […]

Gen McChrystal and the difference between an insurgency and an occupation

Philip Weiss on

The other night "60 Minutes" did a heroic profile of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who’s heading the Afghanistan forces. One of McChrystal’s big themes was: No indiscriminate shooting at civilians. No airfire at towns to get at insurgents. This will alienate the people and we will lose the war. At one point there was a reference […]

Dimona on my mind

Philip Weiss on

Michael Desch asks a question about hypocrisy: Have you seen any mention of Israel’s nuclear program in the context of the Iranian facility at Qom or the missile test today?  I am stunned that anyone can talk about these events without mentioning Israel’s capabilities, as if they were irrelevant both as a cause of Iran’s […]

Eliding Safire

Philip Weiss on

How do you connect the dots if no one puts the dots down? There’s no mention of Israel in the surprisingly-short Times obituary for the columnist William Safire. None in the Washington Post either. But it’s the main event in Haaretz, in the headline on a short obit: "staunch defender of Israel." Safire was Horatio […]

Mark Green plays religion card, and Dershowitz card, in bid for Jewish votes

Philip Weiss on

Former Nader raider Mark Green’s in a runoff tomorrow against City Councilman Bill de Blasio to be the Democratic nominee for Green’s old job, Public Advocate of NYC; and Green is playing the religion card bigtime. He’s put out literature signalling to Jewish voters that he’s Jewish and a blind supporter of Israel and opponent […]

Neocons pushing regime change at point of a gun, again

Philip Weiss on

I was chagrined watching Chris Matthews on the Iran question tonight. He had Michael Rubin of AEI on (before sunset on Yom Kippur; wonder what Sandy Koufax would do?) pitching neoconservative religion and Robert Baer, the former CIA guy. All three were doomsday. And Matthews conducted the rapidfire session like a catechism of crisis. Ratcheting […]

Israel lobby bares its teeth

Philip Weiss on

I missed this line from neocon Eliot Cohen’s piece on Iran in the Wall Street Journal today. It’s the last line, and a threat to Obama about the power of the lobby. if, as is most likely, President Obama presides over the emergence of a nuclear Iran, he had best prepare for storms that will […]

Zionism vs. the 9-month-old baby with heart condition

Philip Weiss on

In his new book on the one-state solution Hussein Ibish says that too many people in my camp hate Israel and want it to go poof. I think he has a point, there’s a lot of anger. That said, Israel has displayed such monstrousness toward the Palestinians, and our own country has issued not a […]

On Yom Kippur

Adam Horowitz on

More from Rabbi Rosen on this day of atonement: As we approach Yom Kippur, I call on America’s Jews to examine the Goldstone findings, and consider their implications. In the spirit of the season, we must consider the painful truth of Israel’s behavior in Gaza, and understand that we must work, together, to discover the […]

‘New York Times’ mollycoddles neocons

Philip Weiss on

Profile of Israeli ambassador Michael Oren in Haaretz today, by Natasha Mozgovaya: [Oren] was, until recently, a research fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem (a research and educational institute with a neoconservative orientation that is funded by Sheldon Adelson and Ron Lauder, among others)… From yesterday’s New York Times profile of Oren by Mark […]

A prayer against coercion

Philip Weiss on

Debra DeLee, the head of Americans for Peace Now, seen at left with President Obama, sent out a disturbing letter for the high holidays. Here’s the key excerpt:

another prayer about Jewish censoriousness, from Rabbi Rosen

Philip Weiss on

Rabbi Brant Rosen, writing in the Chicago Tribune: Since the [Goldstone] report’s publication, the UN and commission chair Judge Richard Goldstone have been vilified and disparaged, by both the Israeli government and American Jewish leaders. There has been little consideration of the actual findings, or the fact that Israel refused to cooperate with the commission, […]

Get me rewrite– Washington man is trapped in Gaza. Sorry, no story

Philip Weiss on

Remember the journalists imprisoned by North Korea? Big story. The hikers held by Iran. Ditto. Well why isn’t Hani Almadhoun a story. He may not be in prison, but his situation is hardly different: he’s a grants administrator for the Jerusalem Fund in Washington, and he’s been trapped for over three months in Gaza, because […]