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Kerry’s wingmen Friedman and Beinart praise boycott, to pressure Netanyahu

Israel/Palestine
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Kerry mentions boycott of Israel in Munich

Kerry mentions boycott of Israel in Munich

American liberal Zionists have fallen in love with boycott. They are saluting BDS as a way to pressure the rightwing Israeli government to support the two-state deal that John Kerry is preparing to announce.

The liberal Zionists seem to be working with the secretary of state. Last Saturday, Kerry warned that Israel faces international illegitimacy if it can’t agree to having a Palestinian state alongside it, and cited “talk of boycotts” as one eventuality. Israeli officials flipped out, saying that Kerry was wrong to dignify an “anti-Semitic” campaign with even a mention.

But liberal Zionists are on the same page with Kerry. Speaking to the New Haven Jewish Community Center Tuesday night, Jeremy Ben-Ami of J Street said:

“It is precisely this oncoming isolation and potential for [Israel] becoming a pariah state in the international community that John Kerry has been warning so clearly and loudly about over the last few weeks and has been getting quite a blowback, for those of you who follow the Israeli press.”

Kerry has two other liberal Zionist wingmen: Tom Friedman and Peter Beinart have praised the boycott movement in forthright terms, in order to pressure the Israelis to stop the settlements and grab Kerry’s deal.

In Haaretz, Peter Beinart saluted BDS for its “brilliance” and said the US Jewish establishment is incapable of blunting the movement because it supports the Israeli government’s endless colonization process. His piece was directed at Americans, urging them to press Netanyahu:

the tactical brilliance of BDS becomes clearer with every passing month. At a time when their leaders are bitterly divided and their people are geographically fragmented, BDS has united Palestinians like nothing else in recent memory. ..

[B]y relying on international activists—not Palestinian politicians—it universalizes the Palestinian struggle, making it almost irresistible for a global left inclined to see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in colonial terms. But there’s one more factor that makes BDS so tactically shrewd: It exploits the mendacity of the “pro-Israel” establishment….

Many BDS activists oppose the existence of a Jewish state within any borders. Some might reluctantly swallow one if a viable Palestinian state were born alongside it. But what unites virtually everyone in the movement is their disgust with an American-led “peace process” in which they believe Palestinians lack the power to achieve their minimal demands. …

To stem BDS, the Jewish establishment needs to prove this contention wrong….

Were the mainstream Jewish organizations that reject BDS in the name of a negotiated two-state solution actually promoting a negotiated two-state solution, their strategy might have merit. But they’re not. …

In truth, establishment American Jewish groups don’t really support the two-state solution. Or, at least, they don’t support it enough to risk a confrontation with the Israeli government. Which is why they are more an obstacle than an asset to the American-led “peace process.” And why they can’t stop BDS.

What unites BDS activists, despite their divisions, is their fervent belief that someone must challenge Israel’s denial of basic Palestinian rights. Were establishment Jewish organizations to pose that challenge—even just rhetorically—their opposition to BDS might carry some weight. But they’re not, and BDS activists know it.

Beinart is wise; he has talked to young people and recognizes that BDS has gained traction because it is a moral response to outrageous conditions that governments and the Jewish organizations have supported blindly. Anyone who wants to do something about apartheid in Palestine knows what to do– BDS.

Friedman is more timid; writing for Americans, he calls the boycott movement “the third intifada” in a column that has been reported widely in Israel. Though he never cites BDS, he contends that the boycott effort is furthering the two-state solution, and that it’s led by Europeans.

[T]his Third Intifada isn’t really led by Palestinians in Ramallah. It’s led by the European Union in Brussels and other opponents of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank across the globe. Regardless of origin, though, it’s becoming a real source of leverage for the Palestinians in their negotiations with Israel.

Secretary of State John Kerry was recently denounced by Israeli leaders for warning publicly that the boycott and campaign to delegitimize Israel will only get stronger if current peace talks fail. But Kerry is right.

Finance Minister Yair Lapid told Israel Army Radio on Monday that if no two-state solution is reached with the Palestinians, “it will hit the pocket of every Israeli.” Israel’s economy depends on technology and agricultural exports to Europe and on European investments in its high-tech industries. According to Lapid, even a limited boycott that curbed Israeli exports to Europe by 20 percent would cost Israel more than $5 billion a year and thousands of jobs. That’s why he added: “Israel won’t conduct its policy based on threats. But to pretend that the threats don’t exist, or that they’re not serious, or it’s not a process happening in front of us, is also not serious.”

Just recently, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported that the Netherlands’ largest pension fund management company, PGGM, “has decided to withdraw all its investments from Israel’s five largest banks because they have branches in the West Bank and/or are involved in financing construction in the settlements.” And The Jerusalem Post reported that Danske Bank, Denmark’s largest bank, has decided to boycott Israel’s Bank Hapoalim for “legal and ethical” reasons related to its operating in the settlements.

This Third Intifada, in my view, has much more potential to have a long-term impact because, unlike the first two, it is coinciding with the offer from the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, as part of a two-state deal, to let Israeli troops stay for five years as they make a phased withdrawal from the West Bank to the 1967 lines and to then let U.S.-led NATO forces fill in any strategic void to reassure Israel.

To put it differently, the Third Intifada is based on a strategy of making Israelis feel strategically secure but morally insecure.

Friedman completely overlooks Palestinians, who issued the boycott call in 2005. Isn’t that racist? As Friedman has lately acknowledged, Palestinians had the right to resist oppression in ’87, the right to resist it in 2000, and the right to resist it now, too. And that resistance today is nonviolent.

These testimonials from liberal Zionists all raise an obvious question: if BDS is such a powerful tactic that they can use to pressure Netanyahu for a two-state-solution (and save their dream of a religious state that for some reason they don’t choose to live in), why shouldn’t Palestinians use the tactic to their ends? Why accept a deal for a fragment of the country you once lived in, negotiated by a collaborationist government? I put myself in the camp of BDS supporters who would back a just partition; so why not just keep up the pressure and ultimately force Israel to come to the table as an equal partner?

Thanks to Adam Horowitz.

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About Philip Weiss

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52 Responses

  1. seafoid
    seafoid
    February 6, 2014, 10:20 am

    “liberal Zionists Tom Friedman and Peter Beinart have been praising the boycott movement in forthright terms, in order to pressure the Israelis to stop the settlements and grab Kerry’s deal.”

    Stopping the settlements isn’t going to work. They have to be dismantled.
    Friedman with his world is flat thesis never saw Lehman coming either.
    He is a clown.

    Suck on that, Tom

  2. eljay
    eljay
    February 6, 2014, 10:30 am

    >> Many BDS activists oppose the existence of a Jewish state within any borders.

    And rightly so. “Jewish State” is a supremacist construct and no-one should be expected or required to recognize or accept it (or any other supremacist construct).

    >> Some might reluctantly swallow one if a viable Palestinian state were born alongside it.

    Let those who fellate the Zio-supremacist donkey do the swallowing. Everyone else should continue to oppose the existence of Jewish and other supremacist states.

  3. Cliff
    Cliff
    February 6, 2014, 10:46 am

    Beinhart’s excerpt above (first 1.5 paragraphs or so) is excellent.

    Perfect, honest summary of BDS.

    Compare that to the pathetic, inane, cynical concern-trolling of the Zionist shortbus crew here and elsewhere regarding SS’s magnanimity.

    He’s absolutely right about the way in which BDS allows us to unite w/ Palestinians and away from Hamas/Fatah. Away and against the network of Israeli apartheid that fragments Palestine.

    • seafoid
      seafoid
      February 6, 2014, 12:33 pm

      The settlers are not going to listen to 2 middle class pussies from the US. They need someone like Danon, suitably shellshocked to tell them the money runs out at midnight and electricity goes one hour later.

    • Chu
      Chu
      February 6, 2014, 4:55 pm

      ‘mendacity of the “pro-Israel” establishment’ That is the crux of it all. Zionists fund campaigns of political figures indefinitely, but they can’t have a fair and open public debate in American univesities, because they would lose. Lies are to easy to discredit today.

  4. bilal a
    bilal a
    February 6, 2014, 11:40 am

    The French JDL is calling for violence :

    • Sumud
      Sumud
      February 6, 2014, 12:49 pm

      bilal ~ could you please summarise what the interviewee is saying? Thanks in advance.

      • Walid
        Walid
        February 6, 2014, 2:01 pm

        Young vigilante group fed up of rising antisemitism in Paris and of hearing yelled at them “Jew, Jew Jew” whenever they pass by people and they have decided to take the law into their hands as the police are not doing enough and they aren’t everywhere to stop their group so this group is saying it fears no one and that others should be in fear of it much more than the other way around.

    • Walid
      Walid
      February 6, 2014, 1:54 pm

      It’s not their first outing, Bilal, about 2 years ago, ads were placed in French papers recruiting fighters to be armed and to protect the West Bank settlements. 55 young men were hired by the JDL and were stationed in WB settlements in groups of 5 and more were being recruited.

      http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2011/09/201192343750232386.html

    • Shingo
      Shingo
      February 6, 2014, 4:12 pm

      The French JDL is calling for violence

      Thus revealing who the real terrorists are.

      • American
        American
        February 7, 2014, 12:31 pm

        They are the valley people

        ”Listen, children, to a story
        That was written long ago,
        ‘Bout a kingdom on a mountain
        And the valley-folk below.

        On the mountain was a treasure
        Buried deep beneath the stone,
        And the valley-people swore
        They’d have it for their very own.

        Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
        Go ahead and cheat a friend.
        Do it in the name of Heaven,
        You can justify it in the end.
        There won’t be any trumpets blowing
        Come the judgement day,
        On the bloody morning after….
        One tin soldier rides away.

        So the people of the valley
        Sent a message up the hill,
        Asking for the buried treasure,
        Tons of gold for which they’d kill.

        Came an answer from the kingdom,
        “With our brothers we will share
        All the secrets of our mountain,
        All the riches buried there.”

        Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
        Go ahead and cheat a friend.
        Do it in the name of Heaven,
        You can justify it in the end.
        There won’t be any trumpets blowing
        Come the judgement day,
        On the bloody morning after….
        One tin soldier rides away.

        Now the valley cried with anger,
        “Mount your horses! Draw your sword!”
        And they killed the mountain-people,
        So they won their just reward.

        Now they stood beside the treasure,
        On the mountain, dark and red.
        Turned the stone and looked beneath it…
        “Peace on Earth” was all it said.

        Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
        Go ahead and cheat a friend.
        Do it in the name of Heaven,
        You can justify it in the end.
        There won’t be any trumpets blowing
        Come the judgement day,
        On the bloody morning after….
        One tin soldier rides away.

  5. BillM
    BillM
    February 6, 2014, 12:22 pm

    Great article. I’d add a lesser known but still important liberal Zionist, Matt Duss, who comes around to, as the “progressive position,” support for boycott of the settlements, but not of Israel itself.

    http://prospect.org/article/whats-responsible-progressive-position-israeli-settlements-boycott

    Duss’s article is important because of its target (progressives), but more so because he actually lays out the groundwork well for boycotting Israel as a whole, even while smearing those who actually practice it. He says:

    With Denmark’s biggest bank, Danske Bank, announcing earlier this week that it would no longer do business with Israel’s biggest bank, Bank Hapoalim, over the latter’s financing of settlements, those warnings are already coming to pass. Like the European Union’s announcement last summer of new guidelines prohibiting funding of Israeli organizations located in the occupied territories, these represent long-overdue steps to exact costs for an occupation that has continued for far too long. The aggressiveness of the debate—which is pretty pitched even on its best days—will only increase as the pressure increases. I think a responsible progressive position—which balances values with what is practically achievable—is one that marshals those pressures toward an end to the occupation and the creation of a Palestinian state in its place, alongside Israel.

    This is all absolutely correct, but the point is that the pressures is to “exact costs for the occupation.” This is done by pressuring Israel, the decision maker, not by pressuring the settlements themselves (i.e. the decision). This is the way pretty much all boycotts work. When activists boycotted Arizona because of its racist immigration laws, they did not boycott the police enforcing the laws, they boycotted the entire state. When farmworkers picking tomatos pressured Yum Brands (Taco Bell) for decent wages, they did not ask people to order their taco supremes with no tomatos, they called on people to boycott Taco Bell entirely. In every case, the target is the decision maker (in this case, Israel), and the method is economic and moral pressure across all their activities.

    Now that boycotts against the settlements have basically gained acceptance in much of the chattering class, it is important to explain why such a limited boycott does not actually put pressure on Israel to acheive a breakthrough.

    • Shingo
      Shingo
      February 6, 2014, 4:35 pm

      Now that boycotts against the settlements have basically gained acceptance in much of the chattering class, it is important to explain why such a limited boycott does not actually put pressure on Israel to acheive a breakthrough.

      Rest assured Bill, no explanation is necessary. Anyone with a beau knows that targeting only settlemts lets Israel entirely off the hook and provides a massive loophole.

      Those being dragged kicking and screaming to accept the targeting of all Israel know it.

      • tinywriting
        tinywriting
        February 7, 2014, 12:38 pm

        After all, it wasn’t the settlements that shot up the freedom flotilla and killed an American citizen.

  6. Krauss
    Krauss
    February 6, 2014, 12:29 pm

    They praise BDS because it cannot be ignored.

    They praise BDS because they are seeing the rest of the world understands that BDS is not a bunch of unreasonable anti-Semites(which is what the Israeli government likes to portray), but that the genuine fanatics and nutjobs reside in Jerusalem. The Sodastream incident surely must have drove home the point for them that they are losing world opinion.

    Their embrace of BDS is tactical, it is not based on moral values. They do it because they must, because they are smart enough to understand that it’s no longer about what kind of 2SS we’ll have, but if we’ll have one at all.

    They praise BDS because they understand that the problem is Israel, not Palestinian “rejectionism”. Nobody below the age of 60 who is in the liberal parts of MSM believes that anymore except hardcore PEP’s like Alterman who is rapidly losing influence in the conversation anyway.

    I find it hard to believe that the BDS movement will settle for a cramped “liberal” Zionist vision that is more about co-opting the movement to buy yet more time than a genuine peace deal.

    Phil, you are simply too sanguine. “Liberal” Zionists cannot be trusted. Look at their records. The Likudniks are honest, as Max Blumenthal likes to say, while the “liberal” Zionists hold the same convictions but hide it behind flowery language and concern-trolling.

    Over these past few days you have sounded almost like a lawyer for “liberal” Zionists, and it’s not helping. You shouldn’t forget their record. And you shouldn’t ignore that the 2SS is dead, BDS will not change that. There are structural forces within Israel to make sure it stays dead as they are gaining ground every day.

    • Krauss
      Krauss
      February 6, 2014, 12:35 pm

      Phil, just to add on the last point, do you really believe a just 2SS can happen with sufficient BDS pressure?

      And more importantly, do you really think “liberal” Zionists want a settlement that is just? Again, look at the history of “liberal” Zionists in Israel and understand that what passes for “liberal” in Israel is Ariel Sharon-loving, former Likudnik Tzipi Livni and war crime-guilty Ehud Olmert. These are the people who are “liberal” in Israel. Beinart doesn’t stand a chance.

      And even Beinart has said he is willing to live with an Israel that doesn’t grant Palestinians full citizenship. He has refused to call what happens in Hebron Apartheid.

      Phil, wake up from your doozy dream. The 2SS is dead and why I compared you to a “liberal” Zionist lobbyist the other day and today is that you’re trying to do the same trick as they do; namely ressurect a dead process in order to prevent what needs to happen: full democracy for everyone regardless of race, creed or religion.

      And the people you put your hope to are violently opposed to any kind of democratic solution. They showed their true colors in the Sodastream spectacle, they refuse to even criticize Ma’ale Adumim, even if its own mayor openly brags that the creation of the settlement will prevent a contigious Palestinian state.

      Who are you trying to fool, Phil? You know the cake is baked, so why lend yourself to lib Zionist propaganda by believing that the 2SS is possible? It’s not an innocent position to take. It’s not an amoral position to take. It is a very deliberate position to take, to obsfucate and derail any genuine discussion about real democracy.
      I’m not saying you somehow radically changed, but in these past few days you’ve come close to almost adopting a lib Zionist outlook on the conflict.

      • annie
        annie
        February 6, 2014, 2:43 pm

        Who are you trying to fool, Phil? You know the cake is baked, so why lend yourself to lib Zionist propaganda by believing that the 2SS is possible?

        you know what i can’t figure out, is why you (and others too) seem to believe phil is lending himself to propaganda when he reports on the news and what people are saying and analysing what’s going on. and you do all this sans even one quote from him.

        why shouldn’t Palestinians use the tactic to their ends? Why accept a deal for a fragment of the country you once lived in, negotiated by a collaborationist government? I put myself in the camp of BDS supporters who would back a just partition; so why not just keep up the pressure and ultimately force Israel to come to the table as an equal partner?

        and this is your idea of propaganda? why even read posts about beinart or friedman if all you can do is come away with complaints. i like reading this stuff.

        and your assumption (even tho i think there’s no more chance for a 2ss) that there simply are no self identified ‘liberal zionists’ who sincerely want a 2ss is just a fool’s errand. it’s no different that some rightwinger (or self defined lefty for that matter) claiming all BDS’rs are one staters. because they aren’t. just because you think people are wrong doesn’t mean you can presume their intent.

        and either way, it’s not my decision to make what palestinians accept, but i would absolutely stand with them (and phil) and back a just partition if that was their decision. i don’t even know if phil still believes that is possible, he may not. but lecturing him about stuff he didn’t write is not going to find the answer.

      • annie
        annie
        February 6, 2014, 3:00 pm

        and this: do you really believe a just 2SS can happen with sufficient BDS pressure?

        i think nothing will happen without bds pressure. that means for whatever reason it’s the right course of action. so whether people do it to bring about a 2ss or a 1 state it’s the right course of action. so my question to you would be why not support any and every person who advocates for bds? and wasn’t it omar barghouti who said ‘if you can boycott an egg boycott an egg’. i’d much rather have self identified liberal zionists boycotting the settlements than not. much rather. it’s not even relevant if i have faith in their intent if they’re taking a course of action that supports my ptv. and i do believe they(many) will come around to believing what i believe as i have said before. but they won’t get there over night and many of them will never get there. but they are not all likud, not every liberal zionist, they just are not.

      • American
        American
        February 6, 2014, 3:15 pm

        @ annie

        So what do you think would happen if boycott ever gets to the EU and others (officially) calling for sanctioning Israel itself?
        Would they go into hysterics and fight it or would they accept it as the final and only way to cure the occupation and get 2 states?

      • annie
        annie
        February 6, 2014, 4:33 pm

        hmm. good question. i think we could very well see some serious EU action in the near future. they’ll fight it, but in the long run it’s going to screw things up for israel. regardless of what people think i believe there are quite a few logical reasonable people in israel and more and more of them will just be motivated to emigrate. especially young people. i think as the cracks appear (like barghouti said they would) the crazies will start coming out of the woodwork, or be less easily disguised, and israel will have no where to hide.

        but other than that i don’t know what it will look like. something unexpected. but i don’t think anyone can put bds back in the box. it’s out in the open and will become more influential.

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        February 6, 2014, 4:40 pm

        I am not sure I agree with you about Phil being a “liberal Zionsts” enabler Krauss, but I do share your disturst of liberal Zionists.

        I suspect that those jumping on board BDS are hoping to act as gatekeepers – to steer the debate within a narrow set of parameters the same way J Street had done with the 2ss etc.

    • annie
      annie
      February 6, 2014, 2:54 pm

      Over these past few days you have sounded almost like a lawyer for “liberal” Zionists, and it’s not helping. You shouldn’t forget their record

      maybe you should preface your insults with a copy/paste so people don’t have to scan back and forth thru the article to find out what you are referencing.

      btw, i for one really like hearing about all the yapping going on about bds. do you know it wasn’t 2 months ago i’d mention it and people would say “what’s that?” so people won’t know about it unless it gets into the mainstream and gets bandied about.

      why even mj rosenberg, who’s been totally anti bds and said horrible things about people who supported it, said yesterday he thinks it just might work. so what’s wrong with following what’s being said? what’s wrong with that.

      and where are you going to draw the line in your judgment wrt when we agree with everything we write about vs talking about what people are saying?

      • MRW
        MRW
        February 7, 2014, 6:14 am

        Don’t whack Krauss too hard, annie. He’s making important points about ‘liberal Zionists’. The ‘Ah c’mon, Phil’ stuff is frustration.

    • American
      American
      February 7, 2014, 11:49 am

      http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21595948-israels-politicians-sound-rattled-campaign-isolate-their-country
      Krauss says:
      February 6, 2014 at 12:29 pm
      They praise BDS because it cannot be ignored>>>>>>

      Exactly. They have no choice except to go along with it or jump into the hard Zio
      pit.
      The world got way out ahead of them on BDS…they just now see the worm turning. The test for the Lib Zios will be when calls start going out for Israel itself to be sanctioned. And some of the sanctions already being applied re the settlements , the liquidiating of holdings in Israeli companies and banks will affect Israel economically. Israel can bluff and hype all it wants–this will sting.

      A campaign that is gathering weight
      Israel’s politicians sound rattled by the campaign to isolate their country
      Feb 8th 2014 | JERUSALEM | From the print edition

      ONCE derided as the scheming of crackpots, the campaign for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel, widely known as BDS, is turning mainstream. That, at any rate, is the fear of a growing number of Israelis. Some European pension funds have withdrawn investments; some large corporations have cancelled contracts; and the American secretary of state, John Kerry, rarely misses a chance to warn Israel that efforts to “delegitimise” and boycott it will increase if its government spurns his efforts to conclude a two-state settlement of its conflict with the Palestinians. Israel, says Yair Lapid, Israel’s foreign minister, is approaching the same “tipping point” where South Africa found itself in opposition to the rest of the world in the dying days of apartheid. “Let’s not kid ourselves,” he told a conference of security boffins recently in Tel Aviv. “The world listens to us less and less.”
      BDS has begun to grab the attention of some of the world’s largest financial institutions. PGGM, a big Dutch pension fund, has liquidated its holdings in five Israeli banks (though the Netherlands’ largest has affirmed its investments). Norway’s finance ministry has announced that it is excluding Africa Israel Investments and its subsidiary, Danya Cebus, a big building firm, from a government pension fund.

      The campaign is drawing support from beyond northern Europe. Romania has forbidden its citizens from working for companies in the West Bank. More churches are backing BDS. An American academic association is boycotting Israeli lecturers. The debate turned viral after Scarlett Johansson, a Hollywood actor, quit her role as ambassador for Oxfam, a charity based in Britain, in order to keep her advertising contract with SodaStream, an Israeli drinks firm with a plant on the West Bank……” continued

  7. Sibiriak
    Sibiriak
    February 6, 2014, 1:20 pm

    Krauss:

    do you really believe a just 2SS can happen with sufficient BDS pressure?

    A just two-state settlement? No. A two-state settlement? Yes.

    Perhaps a few 1SS advocates will learn to hate BDS.

  8. Sibiriak
    Sibiriak
    February 6, 2014, 1:34 pm

    Krauss:

    what needs to happen: full democracy for everyone regardless of race, creed or religion.

    Agreed. But a (not just) 2SS could well be be a step on the path to that goal–it’s not the end of history.

    Create a democratic Palestine; work to create a democratic Israel; then…

  9. American
    American
    February 6, 2014, 2:11 pm

    ”I put myself in the camp of BDS supporters who would back a just partition; so why not just keep up the pressure and ultimately force Israel to come to the table as an equal partner?”

    Israel will not come to the table–Israel is playing a ‘zero sum game’–they think they can play the zero sum game because of the US I-Lobby & congress.
    Define ‘just partition”.
    I would define ‘just’ as Israel withdrawing back to the original parameters in UN 181—-with compensation for Palestine refugees property —and while that is still not ‘fully just—I think Palestine and the Arab world would accept that.

  10. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    February 6, 2014, 3:44 pm

    Jeremy Ben Ami of J Street ““It is precisely this oncoming isolation and potential for [Israel] becoming a pariah state in the international community that John Kerry has been warning so clearly and loudly about over the last few weeks and has been getting quite a blowback, for those of you who follow the Israeli press.”

    Professor Mearsheimer has been saying this for quite some time

    Great piece Phil

  11. Citizen
    Citizen
    February 6, 2014, 4:17 pm

    Blurb snippets from eWallstreeter:

    ‘Haaretz’ analyst says surging BDS movement may be contributing to falling shekel
    Rafi Gozlan, the chief economist at Leader Capital Markets, one of Israel’s top investment banks, is speculating that the threat of boycott and sanctions against Israel, as well as the controversy surrounding Scarlett Johansson’s global ambassadorship for SodaStream, could have attributed to the weakening of the shekel.

    Bennett: Only Israel can defend itself as US has made mistakes
    Economy Minister Naftali Bennett pointed toward “wrong decisions” in regional diplomatic efforts made by the US as leading, in part, to the deluge of recent missile attacks on southern Israel emanating from Gaza. The Bayit Yehudi leader told Israel Radio Thursday that Washington’s insistence on new Palestinian elections has riled the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip and in turn has increased the threat of rocket attacks. While Bennett insisted that he had nothing against top US dip

  12. James Canning
    James Canning
    February 6, 2014, 7:55 pm

    I think more pressuree on Israel from BDS is in fact a good thing for Israel.

  13. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    February 6, 2014, 8:31 pm

    Front page alert over at Huff Po.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

    • Shingo
      Shingo
      February 6, 2014, 8:40 pm

      Thanks again Kathleen,

      Like I said, this is all the more amazing given that it is just before AIPAC’s annual, convention.

    • ritzl
      ritzl
      February 6, 2014, 9:29 pm

      Thanks Kathleen. By reversing “their” opinion on Iran sanctions, Menendez, Shumer, Cardin, et. al., but mostly Menendez, have shown just how much they are full-frontal stooges for AIPAC.

      One would think that this would cause them to ponder the wisdom of total subservience to such a fickle relationship on such a big issue, and how foolish they look as “leaders” ostensibly operating as people with their own minds. They really got thrown under the proverbial bus on this one.

      Ironically, Wasserman-Schultz appears to have come out of this looking modestly principled, in a political sort of way.

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        February 6, 2014, 9:39 pm

        Thanks Kathleen. By reversing “their” opinion on Iran sanctions, Menendez, Shumer, Cardin, et. al., but mostly Menendez, have shown just how much they are full-frontal stooges for AIPAC.

        True, and call me paranoid, but such an about face could be good or bad. It remains to be seen if AIPAC really did back down or whether they extracted a price from Obama for this shift.

      • ritzl
        ritzl
        February 7, 2014, 12:07 pm

        You’re not paranoid, Shingo.

    • MRW
      MRW
      February 7, 2014, 6:23 am

      AIPAC wants their midnight mushroom status returned, not to mention the sincere and deep anger among ordinary Americans–yes, even among those who understand zip about what’s going on–if diplomatic efforts with Iran are thwarted. Only Israel, AIPAC, and Israel-Firsters want war with Iran, and that’s something AIPAC can’t erase from common knowledge here. If anything untoward happens to Iran that involves the US, Israel is to blame. Period. At this stage, Joe Q Public knows it. We’ve cut food stamps, unemployment benefits–we’re impoverishing our people–but we’re still giving billions to Israel. This is a powder-keg.

      • American
        American
        February 7, 2014, 12:00 pm

        @MRW

        I agree. Let the lobby and politicos continue to ignore the American street at their own risk. They are totally oblivious to what the street citizens are saying because their opinions are shut out of the msm and national press.

  14. Henry Norr
    Henry Norr
    February 6, 2014, 8:49 pm

    Meanwhile, it turns out that Jews invented the BDS movement! A piece by Eva Illouz in tomorrow’s Haaretz includes this gem: “The initiators and leaders of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement are such respected academics as Judith Butler, Jacqueline Rose, Noam Chomsky, Hilary Rose and Larry Gross, all Jews.”

    Imagine that – all this time I’d been under the illusion that it was initiated by the 170 Palestinian civil-society organizations who released the BDS call in 2005 and that it’s led today by the (Palestinian) Boycott National Committee!

    Otherwise, the column, though excruciatingly long and in places tediously academic, is moderately progressive and somewhat interesting. Haaretz calls it 47 years a slave: A new perspective on the occupation” and gives it the following deck:

    Very few struggles in history have centered on how a nation should treat a third group of people, but there are strong parallels between black slavery and Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

    One excerpt:

    Without ever intending to, Israelis have become the Lords and Masters of a people, and the only interesting question about this is not how we got there (domination has its own internal incremental and implacable dynamic), but why so many Jews outside and inside of Israel are not more disturbed by this.

    The reason for this is that Israel has its own proslavery lobby, which is now in the corridors of power, shapes Israel’s policy and has successfully managed to make the occupation appear to be a containable casualty of war and nation-building. The settlers’ discourse – which only 20 years ago was marginal in Israeli society –has become mainstream, and one can only be struck by its resemblance to the 19th-century American proslavery ideology.

    And this bit could have come straight out of Max Blumenthal’s Goliath:

    The idea that Jews are inherently superior to Arabs is so widespread, deep and unquestioned, that it is hardly worth my time dwelling on it here. The idea of Jewish superiority exists everywhere in Israel, but is most blatant in the territories. Like the whites in the American South, Jews view themselves as obviously more moral, superior, civilized, technologically and economically far more accomplished than the inferior Arabs…

    • Shingo
      Shingo
      February 6, 2014, 9:12 pm

      Meanwhile, it turns out that Jews invented the BDS movement! A piece by Eva Illouz in tomorrow’s Haaretz includes this gem: “The initiators and leaders of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement are such respected academics as Judith Butler, Jacqueline Rose, Noam Chomsky, Hilary Rose and Larry Gross, all Jews.”

      I wonder if Fink will still argue that Chomsky is part of a cult?

    • seafoid
      seafoid
      February 6, 2014, 9:58 pm

      “The idea that Jews are inherently superior to Arabs is so widespread, deep and unquestioned, that it is hardly worth my time dwelling on it here.”

      It’s a standard operating procedure where there is apartheid. Northern Ireland Protestants were hardworking. Catholics were dirty.

      http://virtualmethodist.blogspot.ch/2009/09/coasters.html

      “You coasted along
      To larger houses, gadgets, more machines
      To golf and weekend bungalows,
      Caravans when the children were small,
      the Mediterranean, later, with the wife.

      You did not go to Church often,
      Weddings were special;
      But you kept your name on the books
      Against eventualities;
      And the parson called, or the curate.

      You showed a sense of responsibility,
      With subscriptions to worthwhile causes
      And service in voluntary organisations;
      And, anyhow, this did the business no harm,
      No harm at all.
      Relations were improving. A good
      useful life. You coasted along.

      You even had a friend of two of the other sort,
      Coasting too: your ways ran parallel.
      Their children and yours seldom met, though,
      Being at different schools.
      You visited each other, decent folk with a sense
      Of humour. Introduced, even, to
      One of their clergy. And then you smiled
      In the looking-glass, admiring, a
      Little moved by, your broadmindedness.
      Your father would never have known
      One of them. Come to think of it,
      When you were young, your own home was never
      Visited by one of the other sort.

      Relations were improving. The annual processions
      began to look rather like folk-festivals.
      When that noisy preacher started,
      he seemed old-fashioned, a survival.
      Later you remarked on his vehemence,
      a bit on the rough side.
      But you said, admit, you said in the club,
      ‘You know, there’s something in what he says’.

      And you who seldom had time to read a book,
      what with reports and the colour-supplements,
      denounced censorship.
      And you who never had an adventurous thought
      were positive that the church of the other sort
      vetoes thought.
      And you who simply put up with marriage
      for the children’s sake, deplored
      the attitude of the other sort
      to divorce.
      You coasted along.
      And all the time, though you never noticed,
      The old lies festered;
      the ignorant became more thoroughly infected;
      there were gains, of course;
      you never saw any go barefoot.

      The government permanent, sustained
      by the regular plebiscites of loyalty.
      You always voted but never
      put a sticker on your car;
      a card in the window
      would not have been seen from the street.
      Faces changed on posters, names too, often,
      but the same families, the same class of people.
      A Minister once called you by your first name.
      You coasted along
      and the sores supperated and spread.

      Now the fever is high and raging;
      Who would have guessed it, coasting along?
      The ignorant-sick thresh about in delirium
      And tear at the scabs with dirty finger-nails.
      The cloud of infection hangs over the city,
      A quick change of wind and it
      Might spill over the leafy suburbs.
      You coasted along.”

      The Jewish fingernail thing makes it even more complicated.

    • Kathleen
      Kathleen
      February 6, 2014, 10:04 pm

      “A piece by Eva Illouz in tomorrow’s Haaretz includes this gem: “The initiators and leaders of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement are such respected academics as Judith Butler, Jacqueline Rose, Noam Chomsky, Hilary Rose and Larry Gross, all Jews.”

      Just no end to the spin. Have often wondered how the fact that most Jews who have just become involved with this issue the last 10 years would be spun in the future. Just as we are seeing in this piece that you shared. “Leaders and initiators of the BDS movement are each such respected academics as Judith Butler, Jacqueline Rose, Noam Chomsky, Hilary Rose and Larry Gross, all Jews” What a piece of total horseshit. More hasbara. Folks should nail her lies down at that site. Just as Phil has tried to promote Peter Beinart (part of the better late than never crowd” as being so “brave.”

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        February 7, 2014, 1:23 am

        Kathleen/Henry

        If you overlook that tribal nod the article is pure dynamite. She is unflinching.

        http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/.premium-1.572880

        “Israel, the most security-conscious state on the planet, has failed to make its conflict with the Palestinians into a military one. Instead, it has been dragged into a humanitarian disaster that has provoked a moral war and unbridgeable rift within the Jewish people. The public relations strategies of the state will not silence this moral war.

        ***
        Conclusion

        What does it mean for a country to have created such conditions of slavery for a people, and yet fail to register it? The question here is not only about the (im)morality of the occupation, but, more fundamentally, about the increasing difficulty of articulating a moral language to grasp the very nature of the occupation – initially the result of a military conflict and now a humanitarian disaster. If 19th-century slavery was known as slavery to all involved, the occupation has not produced its own adequate moral label.
        We do not know what the occupation is, and we do not know what it is because language itself has been colonized. By defining it in military terms, Israelis fail to see what the world sees. Israelis see terrorists and enemies, and the world sees weak, dispossessed and persecuted people. The world reacts with moral outrage at Israel’s continued domination of Palestinians, and Israel ridicules such moral outrage as an expression of double standards. The world sees Israeli tanks and military technology against Palestinian, homeless people, but Israel sees these denunciations as self-hatred or anti-Semitism. The world wants a just solution, and Israel sees the demand for justice as a threat to its existence. ”

        For me it goes back to a walk I had once in Beit Sahour in the West Bank a while after they built Har Homa. I was looking over at the settlement

        http://www.palestineremembered.com/Bethlehem/GeoPoint/Har_Homa-10223.jpg

        wondering how a society could become so convinced that injustice was just. How could all property rights be suspended ? What was the process by which their thinking became so fucked up ? And how long would they get away with it for ?

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-X9JkM9Bgo

      • American
        American
        February 7, 2014, 12:13 pm

        “The initiators and leaders of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement are such respected academics as Judith Butler, Jacqueline Rose, Noam Chomsky, Hilary Rose and Larry Gross, all Jews”>>>>

        rotflmao…so typical.
        Yep , Jews led BDS, invented God, created the earth, founded the USA, established universal values, set the slaves free and are the world’s only light.
        And yet they cant even run a country the size of Vermont as a democracy with human rights.
        But of course thats just because everyone hates them so its not really their fault.

    • Shmuel
      Shmuel
      February 7, 2014, 3:11 am

      “The initiators and leaders of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement are such respected academics as Judith Butler, Jacqueline Rose, Noam Chomsky, Hilary Rose and Larry Gross, all Jews.”

      The list of names is shorter in the Hebrew edition: no Chomsky or Hilary Rose. My guess is that the English is a translation of an earlier version of the article, subsequently edited.

  15. seafoid
    seafoid
    February 6, 2014, 9:48 pm

    Numbers and balance have always fascinated me

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/06/scarlett-johansson-israeli-settlement-boycott-activists

    “Yair Lapid, the finance minister, has warned that even a limited European boycott could cost Israel $3bn a year and destroy 10,000 jobs.”

    $3bn is what they get from the US. Just fancy that !

    • February 7, 2014, 8:10 am

      You actually believe that Israel gets only $3 billion per year from the US taxpayer?

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        February 7, 2014, 9:25 am

        That’s it officially. Whatever. The point is that YESHA is now a liability.
        And that’s massive.

  16. Inanna
    Inanna
    February 7, 2014, 12:05 am

    Poor liberal zionists. Soooo deluded. Removing the settlers would start a civil war and Israeli Jews are not going to do that to themselves. Don’t they know that Israeli Jews would rather beat up on Palestinians than each other?

    • seafoid
      seafoid
      February 7, 2014, 12:10 am

      I think Zionism is doomed, Inanna, and that the dynamic has really sped up since Scarlett took the stage

      http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/.premium-1.572880#

      “We do not know what the occupation is, and we do not know what it is because language itself has been colonized. By defining it in military terms, Israelis fail to see what the world sees. Israelis see terrorists and enemies, and the world sees weak, dispossessed and persecuted people. The world reacts with moral outrage at Israel’s continued domination of Palestinians, and Israel ridicules such moral outrage as an expression of double standards. The world sees Israeli tanks and military technology against Palestinian, homeless people, but Israel sees these denunciations as self-hatred or anti-Semitism. The world wants a just solution, and Israel sees the demand for justice as a threat to its existence.

      In that sense, the debate dividing the Jewish people is more difficult than the debate about slavery, because there is no agreement even on how to properly name the vast enterprise of domination that has been created in the territories. If Britain at the beginning of the 19th century understood that it couldn’t keep claiming that it represented the enlightened values of freedom and humanity and engage in the barbaric commerce of slaves, Israel is more embarrassed, for in a way it doesn’t know that it’s engaged in an enterprise it cannot justify.

      Israel is dangerously sailing away from the moral vocabulary of most countries of the civilized world. The fact that many readers will think that my sources are unreliable because they come from organizations that defend human rights proves this point. Israel no longer speaks the ordinary moral language of enlightened nations. But in refusing to speak that language, it is de facto dooming itself to isolation. Israel will not indefinitely have the cake of “democracy” and eat it in the occupation”

      The Hebrew problem. They built their own language to justify the insanity and now they find nobody else speaks it.

      • American
        American
        February 7, 2014, 1:39 pm

        The Hebrew problem. They built their own language to justify the insanity and now they find nobody else speaks it.”

        Exactly…perfect description.

    • Sibiriak
      Sibiriak
      February 7, 2014, 12:18 am

      Inanna:

      Poor liberal zionists. Soooo deluded. Removing the settlers would start a civil war and Israeli Jews are not going to do that to themselves.

      Most liberal Zionists believe it will NOT be necessary to remove the vast majority of settlers in a two-state settlement. Could 20% or so of the settlers be given the choice of returning to Israel with very generous compensation or (possibly) becoming Palestinian citizens without a civil war being triggered?

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