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If Debbie Wasserman Schultz wants a Palestinian state, why is she embracing Naftali Bennett?

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Wasserman Schultz and Naftali Bennett
Democratic Reps Engel (l) and Wasserman Schultz embrace rightwinger Naftali Bennett

The Obama trip to Israel and Palestine was a good reminder of how circumscribed American mainstream opinion is on Israel. Everyone on the big broadcasts spoke of the two-state solution as good and necessary and around the corner–as if it’s about to step out of a clamshell like Venus. There was little reflection of a fact that Obama himself emphasized, Israel is becoming more and more isolated (though Richard Engel did a good piece on NBC about Israel building walls around its alleged borders to keep out trouble, all those Arabs who evidently seek political rights).

A singular example of the happy talk comes from a powerful politician who traveled out to Israel on Obama’s plane: Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the head of the Democratic National Committee. Wasserman Schultz is generally a big liberal. Not on this issue. Below are some of her most thoughtful pronouncements: 

And they hugged him right back!/RT : Richard Engel on Meet the Press: “Obama went to Israel to give them a big hug.”

Western wall
Western wall
She seems to think that the Western Wall is in Israel. Another tweet, accompanied by Eliot Engel.

Accompanying the photo at the top of this post, she tweeted:

Wonderful mtgs w/ Israeli MK’s @NaftaliBennett, #YairLapid, Shelly @SYechimovich while here for #ObamaInIsrael trip. 

But as Wasserman Schultz says in her statement below, she is for a Palestinian state. Naftali Bennett opposes any Palestinian state. “I will do everything in my power, forever, to fight against a Palestinian state being founded in the Land of Israel,” he said.

Then here is Wasserman Schultz’s statement after the Obama speech, which she went to with Secretary of State John Kerry. “President Obama to Israelis: You Are Not Alone.” Not a discouraging word. Though yes, Israel is under attack once again: 

“As the President stated unequivocally in his speech to the people of Israel today, ‘Israel is not going anywhere… so long as there is a United States of America, ah-tem lo lah-vahd (you are not alone).’ President Obama’s speech and entire visit reaffirmed this message and the strong bonds of friendship between the U.S. and Israel – from our shared values and dreams, to our shared priorities of security, peace, and prosperity. His message restated America’s unwavering commitment to protecting the Jewish State – a commitment whose necessity we remember even today, as two rockets from Gaza landed in Israel this morning.

“Sharing his personal connection to the Jewish and Israeli story, President Obama touched on Israel’s origins and the long journey of the Jewish people to achieve their historic homeland. With this powerful backdrop, President Obama spoke directly about our shared vision for a just and peaceful future in the region, hopeful that as we continue bolstering Israel’s stability and security, Israelis and Palestinians can come together to achieve a lasting two-state solution through direct bi-lateral negotiation.

“As Jews, our tradition and history compel us to pursue justice and tikkun olam, in our own backyards and in our communities around the world. Like President Obama, I too believe we must unite to meet the challenges before us as we work to repair the world.”

I believe that Wasserman Schultz’s invocation of Jewish tradition at a time when Israel is occupying Palestinian land and denying any rights to millions of Palestinians will strike some Jews and non-Jews too as a very poor reflection on that tradition. Also, I wonder: Is she really this shallow, or is she just in the fundraising business and knows this is what some people want to hear?

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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33 Responses

  1. pabelmont on March 25, 2013, 12:36 pm

    Western wall is in Israel! Get it? By definition, definition having been made long ago (called “annexation”, slightly and hesitantly and meaninglessly questioned by UNSC which, tugging at its forelock, told Israel not to take any steps to alter important things, but UNSC’s fingers were crossed (by USA veto).

  2. marc b. on March 25, 2013, 12:37 pm

    Is she really this shallow, or is she just in the fundraising business and knows this is what some people want to hear?


  3. on March 25, 2013, 12:42 pm

    crooked steps by a crooked woman

    • Kathleen on March 25, 2013, 2:04 pm

      Soledad O’Brien took Wasserman Schultz down during the Dem Convention on “Jerusalem argument”
      Wasserman Schultz “I take my love of Israel to work everyday”

      Wasserman Schultz claims there were no questions about what Wasserman Schultz calls a “technical omission” Wasserman Schultz also says there never was a question in the Obama administration about “Jerusalem is and will always be the capital of Israel” Let’s remember Obama did not mention Jerusalem as the capital of Israel during his last trip
      O’Brien really took Wassermans spin down down down. Have always wondered if Wasserman Schultz had any thing to do with O’Brien kind of getting the boot over this take down by O’Brien. O’Brien was like a pit bull. One of the first times we have ever witnessed such a righteous take down over this issue on the main stream

      DNC Chair Torn Apart Over Removal Of Jerusalem From Platform

      • marc b. on March 25, 2013, 2:49 pm

        boy is she repulsive, wassermanschultz that is. my only criticism of o’brien is her failure to respond to the serial regurgitation by schultz of the ‘jerusalem is the forever capital of israel’ crap. so which countries have their embassies in jerusalem?

      • Kathleen on March 26, 2013, 10:42 am

        Wasserman/Schultz repeated that over and over again. But keep in mind President Obama did not say that while in Israel this time.

      • Sumud on March 27, 2013, 8:54 pm

        Interesting clip Kathleen.

        O’Brien did a great job and Wasserman Schultz is shitting bricks over the stunt they pulled with ignoring dissent in the room.

  4. on March 25, 2013, 12:48 pm

    israel supporters in the US are always liberals…till you say israel…

    then it is hard right neocon speak

    • Abdul-Rahman on March 25, 2013, 2:17 pm

      The photos in this article of the AIPAC fifth-columnist Wasserman-Schultz are definitely vomit worthy.

      As for what you said about; “israel supporters in the US are always liberals…till you say israel… then it is hard right neocon speak”

      You are completely correct. One of the main areas of this hypocrisy that immediately came to my mind, is how these American Zionist “liberals” are for a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants in the US (something I actually support as well); BUT then these American Zionist supporting “liberals” turn around and wholeheartedly support Israel’s racist, draconian anti-migrant laws (which have seen right wing fascistic Zionist politicians saying something has to be done against these mostly African migrants because they “threaten the Jewish character of the state” and are allegedly “a cancer” in the words of one right wing Ziofascist from the Shas party if I recall).

      As Mr. Weiss noted in an article here at Mondoweiss last year: “U.S. Jewish orgs are liberal on illegal immigration here, but intolerant of illegals in Israel”

      • annie on March 27, 2013, 7:02 pm

        neocons are neoliberals, that is why they like open an border policy. whereas real liberals support legalization for undocumented immigrants because we feel more secure about our democracy in a multi cultural society (or reasonings surrounding that and the ‘explanation’ of what america means to us, a country of immigrants). but neoliberals like it becasue it guarantees there will likely be a continued influx of undocumented workers that can be exploited.

        that’s my theory anyway.

    • ryan-o on March 26, 2013, 2:53 am

      Hmmm… Not sure about that. In my experience, Israel supporters are often conservatives who support Israel for millennialist reasons (among others) and have no idea what they are talking about. As far as neocons go, they’ve shown their cards recently while trying to insert liberal positions guerrilla-style into the GOP platform (in addition to warmongering, their primary purpose of course). The neocons are all but irrelevant. Irving Kristol is probably rolling in his grave!

    • James Canning on March 28, 2013, 2:27 pm

      jimmy – – You are forgetting the numerous followers of the RRev. John Hagee (and other TV evangelists).

  5. ritzl on March 25, 2013, 2:01 pm

    If I was Jewish, I’d be apprehensive in the extreme about both DWS and Israel.

    If DWS invokes her version of tikkun olam as the source of our/Israeli policies toward Palestinians, and, by extension as an example of what tikkun olam means, what are the rest of us to think about “Jewish Power” in the US and what it means for our own well being?

    She’s one messed up pol, fanning the flames of one messed up situation. Really. Bad. Stuff.

    • Rusty Pipes on March 25, 2013, 7:40 pm

      And we gave up Howard Dean’s grassroots leadership for this.

      • on March 28, 2013, 5:58 am

        “We”? Since when has the Demolican wing of the single-party dictatorship supported in any way or wise Palestinian Resistance? That “party” is more than obviously a Zionist creature, an enemy power center. “We” strongly resent that “we”.

      • ritzl on March 31, 2013, 9:25 pm

        @RP The more I read and am immersed in how things work in DC, the more I come to know that it wasn’t really a, popular or otherwise, choice of “giving up.” He was, via his completely irrelevant “scream,” simply dismissed.

        He was too considered on this issue, and all the other issues in 2008.


        This may be a completely nutty observation, but I’m starting to see the 2008 Dem presidential selection as a choice between the Chicago Jewish community preference/money and the NYC Jewish community preference/money, and by luck and relative historical import/attractiveness, the Chicago Jewish community won.

        Dean simply wasn’t involved.

  6. Don on March 25, 2013, 2:46 pm

    DWS …”the Jewish State”

    DWS…”the Jewish and Israeli story”

    Yet here we have Steve Hynd lecturing us on “lazy and sloppy language”, which confuses the state of Israel with Jews worldwide…

    “In addition to this I have come across lazy and sloppy language often confusing the state of Israel with that of Jews worldwide – not anti-Semitic in itself but a line of thought that when combined with vocal criticism of Israel’s actions in the occupied territories, can too often lead to anti-Semitism.”

    Gee, I cannot imagine why anyone other than an anti-semite could be so confused?
    What utter nonsense. You can’t have it both ways. You cannot make the connection (Jews and Israel) when it suits your purpose, and then shout Anti-semite! when that connection has been inculcated in non Jews.

    Actually, you can try and have it both ways…and what you end up with (as many others have pointed out) is dramatically weakening the concept (and the moral power of the accusation) of anti-semitism, since you have now made it partially non-sensical.

  7. James Canning on March 25, 2013, 3:08 pm

    She indeed is in the political fundraising business.

  8. American on March 25, 2013, 4:30 pm

    I think I have some love – hate thing about Debbie.
    Every time I hear her she seems so ‘sincere’…..even when she parrots lies about the US ‘moral obligation” to Jews and Israel….she seems to actually ‘believe’ what she says. Maybe she was raised with this Israel theme by parents and community and then jumping into politics and congress just planted it in her more.
    She’s probably the only I -Firster I don’t have the urge to hit in the head with a hammer…..the kind I think that could maybe be talked out of the cult and all the historical propaganda.
    Or maybe she’s just a good actress, I don’t know. But there is a naïve quality about her Israel love that seems like it could be challenged.

  9. on March 25, 2013, 5:13 pm

    wasserman gets to post 5773 over at huffpo…

    well i am posting 1958 here…my tribe start yr

  10. Nevada Ned on March 25, 2013, 5:26 pm

    The way the system works is that behavior like that of DWS gets rewarded. So we get more of that behavior.

    Meanwhile, some people really do learn from their experience. Did you know that way back in 1969, Vivian Gornick was once a secretary to Irving Kristol, the original neoconservative? She learned. Source: Running Commentary, 2010 book by Benjamin Balint.

  11. DICKERSON3870 on March 25, 2013, 6:24 pm

    RE: “If Debbie Wasserman Schultz wants a Palestinian state, why is she embracing Naftali Bennett?” ~ Weiss

    ANSWER: Because she is what Robert Naiman calls a “two state faker”!

    SEE: “Flotilla 3.0: Redeeming Obama’s Palestine Speech with Gaza’s Ark”, By Robert Naiman,, 3/25/13

    [EXCERPT] . . . Bibi doesn’t want an independent Palestinian state; Bibi’s government doesn’t want an independent Palestinian state; AIPAC doesn’t want an independent Palestinian state; and Congress – which defers to AIPAC – doesn’t want an independent Palestinian state. Of course, many of them mouth the words – not Bibi’s government, they don’t even do that – but those who mouth the words oppose any practical measure that would help bring an independent Palestinian state into existence. They’re “two state fakers.” Settlement freeze? Impossible. UN membership for Palestine? Can’t be done. No, according to the two state fakers, the only option on the menu in the restaurant for the Palestinians is to return to negotiations without a settlement freeze, negotiations that for 20 years have brought more land confiscation, more settlements, more restrictions on Palestinian movement and commerce, more oppression. And so, Obama was saying, my hands are tied. Don’t look at me. . .


  12. kalithea on March 25, 2013, 8:42 pm

    And Naftali’s parents moved from San Francisco to Israel, because surely they were so fearful and rejected in the U.S. they had to seek refuge in Israel (snark). But seriously, the truth is that they moved there to stake their far-fetched claim and ensure Palestinians who were actually born there never get a state of their own and continue to be ethnically cleansed. DWS should move there too and quit pretending her loyalties are to freedom, liberty and equality for all.

  13. Kathleen on March 26, 2013, 12:48 am

    Phil and Mondo Team Chris Matthews has continued to focus on the run up to the invasion of Iraq. Last Friday Matthews had David Corn and Ron Susskind on to talk about the run up to the invasion “Ten Years Later.” David Corn described the Bush/Cheney run up to the invasion of Iraq so accurately last Friday. Corn refers to Cheney as “psychotic” “a psychotic personality.”

    Corn nailed the run up to the invasion and the lack of shame or accountability “they (neocons) think they are above it. They don’t pay the cost. This is all a giant lab experiment for them.”

    Ron Susskind “did those young people die in vain. That is the question that crushes them.”

    Must watch last Friday, this Monday focused on the run up to the invasion and lack of accountability. David Corn and Ron Susskind wrap it up

    Then tonight (Monday) Chris continues to focus on the run up to the invasion “Sounding the drums of war, from neocons to the media”

  14. seafoid on March 26, 2013, 9:50 am!/2013/03/the-wests-growing-disenchantment-with.html

    “Max Hastings is a former editor of the Daily Telegraph. He recently gave a lecture describing the evolution in his attitude to Israel over the past forty years. Hastings reported from there on the 1973 Yom Kippur war and says “in those days I loved those people, and boundlessly admired their achievement”.

    Since then he has “progressively fallen out of love with Israel” as he “became persuaded that the arrogance of its faith in its own military power had induced its people to go far beyond a belief in defending their own society, to support a polity committed to perpetuating a great historic injustice against the Palestinians.”

    The problem for Israel is that Hastings’ disenchantment with Israel is characteristic of the West. The Holocaust of the 1940s cannot be used to justify grievous wrongs today.”

    Published in The Irish Daily Mail

    March 23rd 2013

  15. giladg on March 27, 2013, 6:05 am

    Debbie may not realize it yet but the reason Naftali Bennett makes so much sense and that peace is not possible at the moment, is that what Bennett is saying is that the Palestinians are not ready to accept a Jewish entity, especially in Jerusalem. Every time a Palestinian talks about Israel trying to turn Jerusalem into a Jewish city as if this is a negative thing, then you have your answer about the true intentions of the Palestinians. Kol Hakavod Debbie. Just do the right thing and don’t bend for the progressives, which is usually your home turf. They are dead wrong. Progressives have no sense of history, they only like to look forward and in the context of the Israel/Arab conflict, this is used to sweep Arab/Palestinian/Muslim mistakes under the carpet. Out of sight and out of mind. But thankfully many of us will not let you forget that easily, and so we shouldn’t.

    • annie on March 27, 2013, 7:05 pm

      gilad, there will never be two states sans a palestinian capitol in jerusaelm.

      • Sumud on March 27, 2013, 9:04 pm

        There’s no sensible conversation to be had with giladg – once the ziobots start using the bible to justify Israel’s criminal behaviour you know they are in lala land, forever.

        These are the religious extremists who will go nuts when Palestinians start lobbying for one-person/one-vote. Then the real drama starts over nuclear weapons in the Middle East, and what the messianic zionist nutjobs will do when they realise Israel is lost.

      • giladg on March 28, 2013, 7:35 am

        Annie, the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are trying to grab control over the Temple Mount. What is critical to understand is that they have never, ever, in all of history, controlled it. I repeat, never.
        If you had given Arafat, and now Abbas, the truth drug and asked them what the conflict is all about, they would say to you that gaining control of the Temple Mount is their number one objective. The Temple Mount as you well know, is the holiest site for Jews and it was holy for Jews long before it was holy or important for anyone else who is currently vying for it. Jews are not going to walk away from their holiest site.
        Therefore the best option would be to share and I keep bringing this up. Engineering and goodwill can find imaginative ways to share control. It is impossible to divide the holy basin between Muslim/Christian and Jew. Therefore whoever calls for Jerusalem to be the capital of Palestine needs to seriously consider what I am saying here. Whatever the state of Palestine will look like, it will be a full state in some aspects but limited in others. It won’t have an army with heavy weapons. It won’t have jet fighter planes. And it won’t have sovereignty over the holiest site for Jews. Sharing is the way to go. Start using this word. Empty slogans like Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine only complicate the issue because the devil is in the details. And what complicates the matter even more is that Shi’ia Islam has its eyes on Jerusalem as the key to return of their lost prophet. The Palestinians may not have the will to turn their backs on the Twelve-rs of Shi’ia Islam. They will be blamed for preventing the lost prophet from returning. You should read up a little on the prophet Mahdi. However much you think the conflict is over a settlement here or there, it is really a religious one. The ironic thing is that I would say (own opinion) that most of the Palestinian supporters care very little for religion.

    • Cliff on March 27, 2013, 8:10 pm

      What the hell are you talking about gulag?

      Anyone else able to make sense of this settler muck?

    • Kathleen on March 28, 2013, 11:00 am

      In the international community which created Israel Jerusalem does not belong to the Jews …an international city. One state, one person, one vote.

    • James Canning on March 29, 2013, 4:59 pm

      giladg – – I assume you mean that when Palestinians refer to Israeli efforts to “turn Jerusalem into a Jewish city”, you mean the Palestinians object to the effort to take East Jerusalem from Palestine. And you think their objection is unreasonable?

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