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Jewish leaders’ excommunication of Sanders aide over Israel will only alienate young Jews — Open Hillel

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Last night the Sanders campaign suspended Simone Zimmerman as Jewish outreach director because she had written angry and scabrous messages about Benjamin Netanyahu on two occasions, when he slaughtered Palestinians in Gaza in 2014 and in 2015 when he tried to break up the Obama Iran deal in a speech to Congress. Zimmerman subsequently toned down her Facebook comments, to remove the F-bomb, but rightwingers had the screenshots and Abraham Foxman the former director of the Anti-Defamation League came out of retirement to blast Zimmerman for daring to criticize Netanyahu; and the Sanders campaign caved. What a shame. The Sanders campaign which has thrown no one under the bus throws a non-Zionist critic of Israel under a New York bus.

Here is a statement from Open Hillel, a movement that Zimmerman is a part of, lamenting the suspension and explaining the generational stakes.

“Open Hillel is saddened to hear that the Sanders campaign has bowed to pressure from organizations that suppress discourse on Israel and has suspended Simone Zimmerman from her position as Jewish Outreach Coordinator.

Simone is an accomplished and committed organizer — and longtime Open Hillel supporter — who has demonstrated her dedication to both the Jewish community and to social justice issues more broadly. The Sanders campaign clearly understood her to be highly qualified for this position; yet they caved to pressure from Abe Foxman, former head of the Anti-Defamation League; the World Jewish Congress; and relentless badgering from the right-wing press. These individuals’ and organizations’ efforts to discredit Simone mirror the sort of McCarthyism that “mainstream” American Jewish organizations consistently display in working to silence critics of Israeli policy and supporters of Palestinian human rights.

These Jewish leaders’ efforts to oust Simone will further alienate young American Jews, many of whom share Simone’s views on Israel/Palestine and many of whom deeply resent the idea that a small number of gatekeepers determine who is kosher within the Jewish community.

We call upon the individuals and organizations who claim to speak for the American Jewish community to recognize that our community contains a multiplicity of voices. And to engage with young American Jews rather than work to undermine us.


Speaking of further alienating young Jews, Daniel Gordis and Elliott Abrams have fantastic articles up at Mosaic saying that Israel’s problem is the religious benightedness of American Jews. I say fantastic because both these authors concede that young American Jews want little to do with Israel, and they’re freaked; but then they say the problem is the loss of Jewish communal life here. They want us Jews to be more religious, because religious Jews have no problem supporting Israel, generally, and in fact support for Israel is the new Jewish religion in their construction.

Gordis’s article is titled, “How American Jews Have Detached Themselves from Jewish Memory.” He says that Zionism is religiously-inscribed in Jews:

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of other Jewish religious practices that kept the dream of Zion alive for generations of Jews who had never seen the land and knew they never would. That helps explain why, in 1896, Theodor Herzl’s Zionist vision, articulated in The Jewish State, fell on such receptive ears and was published in seven languages in that year alone: for many Jews, Herzl was simply giving political shape to a dream they had cultivated for centuries.

Today, the largest part of American Jewry has dispensed not only with “regularized ritual affirmations of the transcendent” (in Hoffman’s words) but also with the wellspring of communal memory and purpose that long defined and inspired those affirmations. The current abandonment of Israel is in many respects an inevitable outgrowth of the loss of these moorings…

So this is where we find ourselves today: widespread ignorance about the Jewish past and an abandonment of the modes of Jewish communal behavior that once instilled in Jews of all kinds a reflexive commitment to peoplehood, coupled to a discourse in which the fact that Israel is beset by enemies still sworn to its destruction is regarded as not worth mentioning by alleged lovers of Judaism and the Jews. Add to all this the shallow universalism and fundamentally anti-intellectual narcissism of the campus and media left and you have a perfect witches’ brew of indifference flavored with animosity.

Can matters be turned around? I am genuinely not certain. It may just be that Jews, who held on to their ethnic identity longer than most other American groups, are destined—like the Greeks, the Poles, and the Italians—to blend into the woodwork. Ironically, Israel is the only Jewish issue that can still get many American Jews exercised today.

He’s surely right. Empowered American Jews are not going to stop marrying Hillary Clinton’s offspring and become more religious and support a state that practices apartheid on an ethnic basis. But look at the ignorance in his comments. Are young Jews really contemptuous of Judaism or are they actually building their own religious ideas on universalist ideals, which Israel torches every other day.

Abrams is much angrier. He’s always been choleric; and agreeing that it is a religious issue, bashes the intermarried. And says the American Jewish abandonment of Israel is the American Jews’ problem, not Israel’s problem. Abrams:

Are we really to believe that someone who chooses not to engage with any part of the organized Jewish community, who does not belong to a synagogue and considers himself (in the Pew study’s terminology) a “Jew of no religion,” who has never visited Israel, who has married a non-Jew who did not convert and whose children are not being raised as Jews, feels less attached to Israel than his parents or grandparents because of settlements or “the occupation”? Or that such a person would become a strong supporter of and frequent visitor to Israel if only the Labor or Meretz party were to win an election?

Are we really to believe that someone who considers himself a “Jew of no religion” would become a strong supporter of Israel if only the Labor party were to win an election?

Defending Israel and Israeli policies can be a task undertaken with gusto and commitment by American Jews. So can defending Israel while seeking to change or moderate certain policies or realities (like settlement policy, or the treatment of non-Orthodox Judaism); such is the practice in Israel itself of the Conservative and Reform movements, neither of which, despite the discriminatory treatment they receive there, has been led (in Waxman’s words) to “turn away from Israel in despair, or even disgust.” All too often, however, the default position of American Jews has been to see the defense of the Jewish state as a terrible burden that the ungrateful Israelis have placed on us and obstinately refused to lift.

Simone Zimmerman needs to call bullshit on Elliott Abrams and Daniel Gordis. Bull feathers anyway! Young American Jews, whoever they want to date and marry, are not going to be blackmailed by religious conservatives into supporting apartheid in the name of the Jews. This is clearly why J Street’s gala/conference this weekend is largely ceremonial, with big speakers such as the inevitable Stav Shaffir and Roger Cohen and Neera Tanden. Because if the rank and file were allowed to open their mouths, they would talk about Open Hillel and BDS and apartheid.

Philip Weiss

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

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36 Responses

  1. oldgeezer on April 15, 2016, 1:45 pm

    This entire episode has done wonders to show the power and nasty nature of the zionist establishment though. Toe the line or be destroyed.

    • Krauss on April 16, 2016, 11:59 am

      To contrast it with the so-called “Arab lobby” which has been exposed as weak and irrelevant once again:

      Notice how open the discussion is about Saudi Arabia’s role as a liability for the U.S.
      When will we have a discussion about the USS Liberty? When will we have a discussion about sending up to 5 billion dollars a year to an Apartheid state which never sends its troops to the wars that its lobby advocates for?

      Power is when you don’t have to answer for your privilege and your leeching. The NYT is a thoroughly Zionist newspaper, as is most of the rest of the American media.

      But the day will come when this discussion will be had over Israel, too.

  2. David Doppler on April 15, 2016, 3:08 pm

    Again, what exactly does “suspended” mean???? Is there now to be a war of supporters vs detractors???? Will she be given a chance to introduce herself in more depth to the world?

    I hope so.

    • JWalters on April 15, 2016, 6:09 pm

      I hope so too. I suspect the suspension was solely due to the expletives in her comments, because those could be used for bomb soundbites. It seems to me Sanders values her commitment and talent, and wants to find a way to put her back in the game.

  3. wondering jew on April 15, 2016, 3:34 pm

    The caption misidentifies Foxman as the current national director of the ADL, he is a former national director of the ADL who still has the world’s ear because of his previous status. or did he quit as international director and take up a post as national director?

  4. wondering jew on April 15, 2016, 3:55 pm

    European history from 1897 to 1945 established Herzl as a prophet.

    Israeli history from 1948 to 2016 establishes Judah Magnes as a prophet.

    At this point in time there is a scant population that is tribal (strong Jewish identity) but anti or non Zionist. Tribal as in Simone Zimmerman, but not Phil Weiss. Simone Zimmerman who takes photos of young Jews with payess (sidecurls) and calls them sweet little yids, words that one could never imagine being used by Phil Weiss.

    Zionism at this point in time is in very deep moral trouble and Magnes saw that from the start. It is very difficult to separate a strong Jewish identity from Zionism, though Simone Zimmerman is an example of someone attempting that separation.

    (One cannot expect such a person to be appointed as coordinator of Jewish outreach without there being a reaction from those who support Israel’s existence and disagree with Ms. Zimmerman’s opinions or language.)

    Phil Weiss has no problem separating a strong Jewish identity from Zionism, because his hatred for Zionism measures 100 on a scale of 100, whereas his Jewish identity is in the single digits closer to 1 than to 10.

    Read Irving Howe and see how his generation disdained their Jewish roots. This is the core intellectual leftist position that existed before WWII and continued through the 60’s and til today. The breakdown of Jewish identity has very little to do with Zionism’s problems, unless one would say that neither American Jews nor Zionism is true to their Jewish roots.

    • JWalters on April 15, 2016, 6:17 pm

      It seems to me the problem is not in being deeply engaged with one’s ethnic culture. The problem is when one feels one’s own ethnic group is inherently superior to all others. That inevitably leads to mistreatment of others, and the inevitable blowback.

      I deeply appreciate my favorite music, and I respect others’ right to have other favorite music. That works.

    • Marnie on April 16, 2016, 3:39 am

      “Phil Weiss has no problem separating a strong Jewish identity from Zionism, because his hatred for Zionism measures 100 on a scale of 100, whereas his Jewish identity is in the single digits closer to 1 than to 10. ”


    • Mooser on April 16, 2016, 10:29 am

      “It is very difficult to separate a strong Jewish identity from Zionism, though Simone Zimmerman is an example of someone attempting that separation.”

      Yup, that’s our “Yonah”! If you don’t like Netanyahoo you’re not a Jew anymore.

      “Yonah” please stop kicking people out of Judaism.
      There’s not that many of us. BTW, if you kick everybody else out, you as the sole surviving Jew, do not get all the money and land and power. It doesn’t work that way.

    • Mooser on April 16, 2016, 10:38 am

      “The breakdown of Jewish identity has very little to do with Zionism’s problems,” “Yonah Fredman”

      Okay, it’s not Zionism, which is the aspect of Judaism which has the most impact on others.
      Okay “Yonah”, so tell me, who is making these problems for the Jews. Who is causing (apart from Zionism, which affects other people) “the breakdown of Jewish identity”? Is it the Gentiles? The Muslimns? Is it anybody’s fault but ours?

      Wait, let me guess! The world owes us the destruction of the Palestinians, so we can preserve our Jewish identity!!
      Judaism is owed political anthropophagy, lest it starve!

    • Stephen Shenfield on April 16, 2016, 11:29 am

      Yonah Fredman: Well, why not say that?

      Anyway, how far back do we have to go before we get to roots? And why be true to them? Trees have roots but we are not trees.

      • wondering jew on April 16, 2016, 12:26 pm

        Stephen Shenfield- roots. The TV show. The dyed hair’s real color revealed by the roots. Be true to your school. Continuity. Anagram roost.

        The first two torah thoughts I have are sinai and the akeda. Sinai is complicated but the akeda is simple. Abraham was supposed to rebel against the command, but he was weak and succumbed. But this interpretation is a dissident interpretation a minority interpretation and the flow of Jewish history (We are not a tree but a boat in a river) is a history of fatalism and obedience and a dash or two of martyrdom too, so my rebellion interpretation is just one of many in the stream of history.
        If one separates the two main mitzvahs: love of God and love of man from all the wrapping and you are true to those two mitzvahs, who am I to criticize you.
        To most American jews hebrew is Greek to them. The torah was watered down to a fast and a meal and nothing to compare or compete with the incredible moment of history presented by Herr Hitler and modernity.
        In fact the historical moment is indigestible no matter how much or little torah.

      • Mooser on April 16, 2016, 1:31 pm

        ” roots. The TV show. The dyed hair’s real color revealed by the roots. Be true to your school. Continuity. Anagram roost.”

        Yes, “Yonah”, you have done a lot this morning to trivialize Judaism. I don’t know why you want to do that, but you seem to have a great need to do it.

      • Mooser on April 16, 2016, 1:36 pm

        “Jewish history (We are not a tree but a boat in a river) is a history of fatalism and obedience”

        ROTFLMSJAO!!!! “Fatalism and obedience”? The Jews? “Yonah” sometimes I wonder if you know what religion you belong to. Sure, that’s us, fatalism and obedience. That’s how we disappeared, like so many others, and became Christians. (or whatever)

        But I get it, everything happens to us, and it’s all somebody else’s fault, never ours. And no matter whose fault it is, it’s never, ever, our responsibility. You just fight it our on those lines, “Yonah” and we’ll go another 30 centuries.

  5. Citizen on April 15, 2016, 4:17 pm

    Americans who intermarried–like Phil, like myself, don’t we just love these self-made caricatures? It’s clear what they think of us.

  6. echinococcus on April 16, 2016, 12:31 am

    Last night the Sanders campaign suspended Simone Zimmerman as Jewish outreach director because she had written angry and scabrous messages about Benjamin Netanyahu on two occasions

    I was too fast in crediting Sanders with some smarts, in the absence of any other saving features, after examining Ms Zimmerman’s record.

    Now it’s obvious: Sanders is nothing but the usual opportunistic coward regularly trotted out to seduce the disgruntled voters back into the single-party fold. And a “Zionist Bloc” soldier (i.e. the most despicable of Zionists inasmuch as they don’t even have the courage yo acknowledge their practice.)

  7. JLewisDickerson on April 16, 2016, 3:49 am

    RE: “These individuals’ and organizations’ efforts to discredit Simone mirror the sort of McCarthyism that ‘mainstream’ American Jewish organizations consistently display in working to silence critics of Israeli policy and supporters of Palestinian human rights.” ~ Open Hillel

    SEE: “The New McCarthyism of Jewish Organizations: Where Is Our Murrow?”, by Bernard Avishai,, 12/26/12

    [EXCERPT] I am just old enough to remember grown-up disquiet when speaking of McCarthyism—the first thick book I read was Louis Nizer’s My Life in Court, which was largely about the libel case of Quentin Reynolds against Westbrook Pegler, the impresario of the scurrilous Red Channels—and I remember feeling a certain pride in the very large number of Jewish liberals who, like Nizer, helped bring America back to its senses.

    Let the galoots disgrace themselves attacking war-heroes like General Marshall. Let weird groups like the John Birchers and Daughters of the American Revolution and Republican Tafters impugn a man’s integrity, then repeat each others’ insinuations, then spread them to widening circles in captive media (where sympathetic pens were waiting). Let them point to the public doubts they themselves manufactured “out of whole cloth,” as my father used to say. Jews, and Jewish organizations, knew where they stood in the face of such smears. They stood for fairness, patience, sanity. We knew for whom an unfair, impatient, insane America would not “be good for.”

    There was Fred Friendly, who collaborated with Edward R. Murrow in challenging McCarthy on CBS. There was Arthur Miller, whose 1953 play, “The Crucible,” about the Salem witch trials, was a thinly veiled attack on the House Un-American Activities Committee. There was I.F. Stone who, forced to strike out on his own, proved the grandeur of the first amendment. There was Commentary Magazine before Norman Podhoretz lost his mind. In the America I knew, which only grew more so during the civil rights struggles of the 1960s, American Jews—with their worldly souls and experience of the social margins—were the natural opponents (because potential victims) of the fear, flocking, and fanaticism that produced political libels.

    Which brings me to Sen. Hagel. I think it is time to acknowledge, bluntly, that certain major Jewish organizations, indeed, the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations—also, the ADL, AIPAC, the American Jewish Committee, political groups like the Republican Jewish Coalition, along with their various columnists, pundits, and list-serves—are among the most consistent purveyors of McCarthyite-style outrages in America today. Are there greater serial defamers of public officials in fake campaigns against defamation? Starting with Andrew Young and the late Charles Percy, and on to Chas Freeman and (now) Chuck Hagel, the game has been to keep Congresspeople and civil servants who might be skeptical of Israel’s occupation and apologetics in a posture that can only be called exaggerated tact.

    Fault Israel and you are accused of faulting Jews in our collective state, or, the same thing, overlooking the venality of our enemies—things only an anti-Semite would do and, of all times, in the wake of the Holocaust. This is not a charge anyone in public life wants to suffer or try to deny. My Israeli friends love that old Borsch-belt joke, that anti-Semitism means disliking Jews more than necessary. For American Jewish organizations, the very idea that dislike is ever warranted is proof of bigotry, like Philip Roth’s early novels were proof of “self-hatred.” . . .


    • JLewisDickerson on April 16, 2016, 4:09 am

      P.S. ALSO SEE: “Board of Deputies Treasurer Laurence Brass Resigns to Speak Out on Israel” | by Tony Greenstein | | February 20, 2015

      Shocked by What he Saw on the West Bank

      The Board of Deputies of British Jews has an appalling record on most issues. In the 1930’s it told Jews to keep their heads down and stay indoors as Sir Oswald Moseley and his British Union of Fascists strutted through the East End. At the Battle of Cable Street, when Moseley and the BUF were prevented from marching, the Jewish population, in alliance with ordinary trade unionists, Catholic dockers and the unemployed, ignored them as 100,000 people defied the Metropolitan Police’s defence of the anti-Semitic BUF. Today the Met opposes ‘anti-Semitism’ as part of its attacks on Muslims.

      The Board of Deputies also has an appalling record when it comes to Israel. It sees, hears and speaks no evil. It defends Israel right or wrong and attacks all critics as ‘anti-Semites’. It is therefore doubly surprising that a senior officer of the Board, Laurence Brass, has spoken out against human rights abuses on the West Bank and settler attacks and now resigned. According to reports in Ha’aretz he received a standing ovation.

      Naturally he has been criticised by people like Gerald Steinberg of the McCarthyist organisation NGO Monitor, which is dedicated to supporting all attacks on Palestinian civilians. Steinberg, a fascist Professor, would have made an excellent PR advisor to a certain Adolf Hitler. Eric Moonman, who was a failed right-wing Labour MP, was another to criticise Brass for having the temerity to object to settler attacks on Palestinians.

      Laurence Brass is an asylum judge and certainly no anti-Zionist. He is a supporter of Yachad, which is the equivalent of J-Street in the US, which describes itself as pro-Israel and pro-Peace, i.e. a 2 State organisation which sees Israel as losing the propaganda war. Nonetheless Brass’s resignation is a significant step, not least in his criticism of the Board of Deputies’s silencing of all criticism of Israel.

      The Board of Deputies today opposes what it terms ‘anti-Semitism’ i.e. criticism of Israel, and loses no opportunity to identify British Jews with Israeli attacks on Palestinians, which is the main motor for anti-Semitic attacks such as we have seen in France and Denmark.

      SOURCE –

    • JLewisDickerson on April 16, 2016, 4:15 am

      P.P.S. AND SEE – “The AIPAC Politics of Smear: The Secret Section in Israel’s U.S. Lobby That Stifles American Debate” | By Gregory D. Slabodkin | Washington Report on Middle East Affairs | July 1992 | pages 7-8, 89-91

      [EXCERPTS] During the reign of terror that Senator Joseph McCarthy unleashed in the 1950s, when the reputations and lives of many loyal Americans were ruined by false charges of “communism” and “treason,” American Jewry was overwhelmingly opposed to the Wisconsin senator and his blackmail by blacklists. According to the Gallup polls of the time, the percentage of U.S. Jews who opposed McCarthy’s smear tactics was twice that of the rest of the population. Many Jewish organizations passed resolutions condemning McCarthy’s ruthless character assassination.

      Today, however, such national Jewish organizations as the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith (ADL) and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) are using the same tactics to stifle open debate of U.S. policy in the Middle East.

      • Secretly Circulated Lists

      To conduct this “neo-McCarthyism,” AIPAC operates a covert section within its research department that monitors and keeps files on politicians, journalists, academics, Arab-American activists, Jewish liberals, and others it labels “anti-Israel.” AIPAC selects information from these files and secretly circulates lists of the “guilty,” together with their alleged political misdeeds, buttressed by their statements, often totally out of context.

      Just as McCarthy’s permanent investigations subcommittee labeled criticism of specific policies of the U.S. government as “anti-American,” or “pro-Soviet,” AIPAC labels criticism of Israeli government policies “anti-Israel,” “pro-Arab” or “pro-PLO.” Still worse is the pro-Israel lobby’s redefinition of “anti-Semitism” to include any such criticism of Israel or its actions. . .

      . . . AIPAC’s “opposition research” department traces its roots to I.L. (Sy) Kenen, who founded AIPAC in 1954. As editor of AIPAC’s weekly Near East Report, he often attacked critics of Israel in his aptly titled column, “The Monitor.” Besides monitoring, analyzing, and responding to “anti-Israel” comment and activities in the United States, Kenen also kept files on AIPAC’s “enemies.” In his final year AIPAC began to expand its intelligence-gathering operations.

      Kenen’s memoirs, “Israel’s Defense Line: Her Friends and Foes in Washington”, record how AIPAC pooled resources in 1974 with the American Jewish Committee and other national Jewish organizations to create a “truth squad.” Its purpose was to combat “pro-Arab propaganda” and the emerging “Arab lobby,” which Kenen believed to be a growing threat to the U.S.-Israel relationship.

      “While vigorously defending Israel’s perceived interests, the organizations that created the truth squad turned into a kind of Jewish thought police,” journalist Robert I. Friedman explains. “Investigators—sometimes overzealous Jewish college students, sometimes sources with access to U.S. intelligence agencies—were used to ferret out critics of Israel, Jew or gentile, wherever they might be. At ADL and AIPAC, files were opened on journalists, politicians, scholars and community activists. Their speeches and writings were monitored, as were, in some cases, their other professional activities. And they were often smeared with charges of anti-Semitism or with the pernicious label of self-hating Jew. The intention was to stifle debate on the Middle East within the Jewish community, the media and academia, for fear that criticism of any kind would weaken the Jewish state.”

      When Kenen stepped down as executive director of AIPAC in December 1974, the task of monitoring Israel’s “enemies” was left to the department of research and information at AIPAC, where it has remained ever since. . .

      P.S. Gregory D. Slabodkin was an opposition researcher for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in 1990 and 1991.

    • JLewisDickerson on April 16, 2016, 4:18 am

      FINALLY SEE (OR LISTEN TO): “Why the U.S. Media Barely Covered Brutal Right-Wing Race Riots in Tel Aviv”, By Joshua Holland, AlterNet, 6/17/12

      [EXCERPTS] Several weeks back, Israel was rocked by a night of right-wing race-riots targeting African refugees. . .
      . . . The story received very little coverage in the. . . States. . .
      . . . Recently, Middle East analyst MJ Rosenberg appeared on the AlterNet Radio Hour to discuss the Tel Aviv riots, the stand-off over Iran’s nuclear program and how the Israel lobby helps narrow the discourse around Israel in the United States. Below is a lightly edited transcript of the discussion (you can listen to the whole interview here.)

      • JOSHUA HOLLAND: From your inside perspective on that organization [AIPAC], what did you see as far as their tendency to call out criticism that they think is illegitimate or beyond the pale?
      • MJ ROSENBERG: They [AIPAC] consider all criticism of Israel illegitimate. It’s all beyond the pale. I suppose their definition would be if by some miracle someone like Joseph Lieberman made a statement critical of Israel it would be legitimate. When I worked there in the ’80s, back before everyone had computers, they had a big war room where all they did was assemble every bit of data on members of Congress, on candidates, but also on writers, celebrities – anyone in the public eye.
      In those days they would just put them in these folders. They always had at hand all this negative information — what they considered negative information — to tar people as being anti-Israel or even anti-Semitic. That stuff would be given to reporters if something came up. They were either initiated on their own to give to reporters or some reporter called them because they had a treasure trove of information.
      They still operate that way. In those days they did it directly; now they have former staffers and people who are close to the organization in the blogging world and political world who do it for them. They do it so much. When you read that someone is anti-Israel they’re the ones putting it out there. They’ve got the data. . .
      • JOSHUA HOLLAND: . . . Speaking of our discourse, I want to talk about an issue that came up recently that’s gotten very little coverage in the United States. There were a series of violent race riots by right-wing Israelis against African immigrants in Tel Aviv. This was a big deal. I was looking at the US coverage and it was amazing at how little attention these riots received. . .
      • MJ ROSENBERG: . . . This is a common thing. When there are bad things going on inside Israel — the way they treat the Palestinians and in this case the way they’re treating these poor African refugees from loathsome regimes who wind up in Israel — these stories are … I don’t want to say suppressed in the United States, but it’s striking how much coverage they get in Israel itself and how a paper like the New York Times is too scared to touch it.
      I have to say they’re afraid to touch it. The reason is when an American outlet talks about Israel in any way that’s negative, or reports on anything negative about Israel, they will be inundated with complaints from powerful people who will tell them, “why are you picking on Israel?” They always say, “why is it that China is doing all these things and you’re not writing about that?” Of course, they do. You even see it in the blogosphere too, the intimidation. If you aren’t utterly secure in your position in the media then you don’t mess with Israel. More to the point, you don’t mess with the people here who are Israel’s enforcers…


  8. JLewisDickerson on April 16, 2016, 4:01 am

    RE: “Abraham Foxman the former director of the Anti-Defamation League came out of retirement to blast Zimmerman for daring to criticize Netanyahu . . .” ~ Weiss

    SEE: “Fire Foxman” | by Joey Kurtzman | | July 8, 2007

    [EXCERPT] . . . What’s surprising is how unabashedly forthright Abraham Foxman has become about what motivates him and his institution. In October of 2005, Foxman addressed a classroom of Jewish students at New York University. Young heads nodded and brows furrowed as Foxman riled them with his customary rhetoric: Isn’t it antisemitic for pro-Palestinian groups to seek divestment only from Israel, ignoring the far greater crimes of regimes like Sudan or North Korea? How do we describe this sort of selective flagellation of the world’s only Jewish state, if not as antisemitism?

    “What if the campus Free Tibet club campaigned for divestment from China? Would that be anti-Chinese bigotry?” asked Asaf Shtull-Trauring, a 20-year-old student and conscientious objector from the Israeli army.

    Of course not, answered Foxman, but it was preposterous to compare the two conflicts, what with the Jews’ experience of two millennia of murderous persecution. Shtull-Trauring responded with two questions: Did Foxman mean that selective treatment is okay so long as it’s not directed at Jews? And where did the Anti-Defamation League get off telling Jewish university students which opinions about Israel were acceptable and which verboten?

    The dialogue spiraled into a confrontation. Shtull-Trauring says Foxman, frustrated and under attack, placed his cards on the table, angrily retorting: “I don’t represent you nor the Jewish community! I represent the donors.”

    Foxman’s outburst was surprising not because of its content, but because of its candor. Foxman needn’t bother himself with the trifling concerns of American Jews who happen not to be multimillionaire philanthropists. If he makes the Jewish community less appealing to young Jews, if his theatrics turn us off and turn us away, that’s all beside the point. Foxman’s job is to keep the millionaire benefactors happy: the rest of us can go jump in the Kinneret.

    Without a meaningful mission to pursue, the ADL has resorted to scaremongering to fill its coffers and justify its existence. These efforts have grown increasingly bizarre and damaging. . .


    • JLewisDickerson on April 16, 2016, 4:27 am

      P.S. ALSO SEE: “The ‘Israel First’ Industry and CEO Profiteering” | by James Petras | | January 16th, 2014

      [EXCERPTS] During the first half of the 20th century, socially conscious Jews in the United States organized a large network of solidarity and charity associations financed mostly through small donations, raffles, and dues by working and lower middle class supporters. Many of these associations dealt with the everyday needs of Jewish workers, immigrants, and families in need. . .

      . . . Over the past fifty years a far-reaching transformation has taken place within Jewish organizations, among its leaders and their practices and policies. Currently, Jewish leaders have converted charities, social aid-societies and overseas programs for working class Jews into money machines for self-enrichment; converted charities funding health programs for Jewish refugees fleeing Nazism into the funding of colonial settlements for armed Zionist zealots intent on uprooting Palestinians; and organized a powerful political machine which buys US Congress people and penetrates the Executive in order to serve Israeli military aims. From defending human rights and fighting fascism, the leaders of the principle Jewish organizations defend each and every Israeli violation of Palestinian human rights – from arbitrary arrests of non-violent dissidents to the detention of children in ‘cages.’ Israel’s Kafkaesque prolonged administration detention without trial is approved by contemporary leaders. In the past Jewish leaders, especially labor and socially-engaged activists had joined forces with Leftists in opposition to political bigots, McCarthyite purges and blacklists. Today’s leaders practice the very same bully, blackmail and blacklist politics against critics of Israel and its Zionist appendages.

      In the past Jewish leaders of social aid organizations received modest salaries . . .

      . . . The moderately social liberal Jewish weekly, The Forward, recently completed a survey of the salaries of Jewish “not-for profits” leaders, with the aid of a professor from the Wharton School of Business (University of Pennsylvania). Among the leading profiteers was Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) earning $688,280, Howard Kohr of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) — $556,232, David Harris of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) — $504,445, Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) — $435,050, Janice Weinman of Hadassah — $410,000, Malcolm Hoenlein of the Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations (PMJO) — $400,815, Mark Helfield of the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society — $268,834 and Ann Toback of the Workmen’s Circle/Arbeter Ring — $185,712. These salaries and perks put the Jewish leaders of non-profits in the upper 10% of US incomes — a far cry from the not-too-distant past. According to the analysis by the Forward and the Wharton team, ‘most leaders (CEOs) are vastly overpaid – earning more than twice what the head of an organization of their size would be expected to make”.

      While the membership has declined in many organizations, especially among working and lower middle class Jews, the funding has increased and most important the plutocratic leaders have embraced a virulent militarist foreign policy and repressive domestic policies. Forward describes Abraham Foxman as “diverting the ADL from its self-described mission of fighting all forms of bigotry in the US and abroad to putting the ADL firmly on the side of bigotry and intolerance.” . . .

      . . . The overwhelming response of the Jewish readers to the Forward’s survey was one of indignation, disgust, and anger. As one reader commented, “The economic disconnect between their (CEOs) salaries and the average incomes of those who contribute to their charities is unacceptable”. Another indignant reader remarked succinctly: “Gonifs! (Thieves!)”. Many announced they could cut off future donations. One formerly orthodox reader stated, “I would rather give to a street beggar than to any of these”.

      The drop-off of donations from lower-middle class Jews, however, will have little effect in reducing the salaries of the ‘non-profit’ CEO’s or changing the politics of their ‘non-profits; because they increasingly depend on six and seven digit contributions from Jewish millionaires and billionaires. Moreover, the contributions by big donors are linked to the politics of repression at home and securing multi-billion dollar military aid and trade programs for Israel from the US Treasury. The billionaire donors have no objection to funding the millionaire leaders – as long as they concentrate their efforts on buying the votes of US Congress members and aligning their politics with Israel’s war aims. . .


  9. JLewisDickerson on April 16, 2016, 4:46 am

    RE: “Defending Israel and Israeli policies can be a task undertaken with gusto and commitment by American Jews. So can defending Israel while seeking to change or moderate certain policies or realities (like settlement policy . . .~ the disingenuous, choleric Elliott Abrams

    SEE: “The Settlement Freeze Fallacy” | By Elliott Abrams | | April 8, 2009

    [EXCERPT] . . . Is current and recent settlement construction creating insurmountable barriers to peace? A simple test shows that it is not. Ten years ago, in the Camp David talks, Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat approximately 94 percent of the West Bank, with a land swap to make up half of the percent Israel would keep. According to news reports, just three months ago, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered 93 percent, with a one-to-one land swap. In the end, under the January 2009 offer, Palestinians would have received an area equal to 98 to 98.5 percent of the West Bank (depending on which press report you read), while 10 years ago they were offered 97 percent. Ten years of settlement activity would have resulted in a larger area for the Palestinian state. . .

    SOURCE –

  10. dx on April 16, 2016, 10:11 am

    As a non-Jewish Southerner, I will never cease to be amazed at how familiar this all sounds. The arguments of Foxman, Abrams, and indeed pretty much all of the Israeli right are strikingly similar to segregationists. The religious arguments–yep, we heard all that, too. Anti-“mixing” arguments–yep. (Quite honestly, I’m Catholic and I still hear a lot of anti-Catholic/anti-intermarriage rhetoric from people who don’t know that I’m “one of them.”) It’s just so fascinating to me and my family. The parallels are so strong, we just shake our heads and wonder how can Americans be so blind? Someday, history is going to look back on all this, and it’s going to be rough going for all these pro-Israeli defenders and apologists.

    • Marnie on April 16, 2016, 11:16 am

      It is amazing. What amazes me even more is the fact that Jews outside of israel would look at the behavior of israeli jews, the gov’t they voted for, their beliefs that gaza wasn’t hit hard enough in 2014, their lehava and MKs foaming at the mouth wrt ‘miscegenation’ (in the 21st century), the continued occupation and apartheid conditions they’ve put Palestinians in, their continued theft of whatever minimal real estate was to be held for a future Palestinian state (which is now completely out of the question), their continued comparison of Arabs to animals and beasts, their civil courts for israelis and military courts for Arabs, their approval of murdering Palestinians who are no longer any kind of threat, arrests of children, etc, etc., etc.,; that American or European Jews could look at israeli Jews and feel any kind of sympatico with them, as in “Yes – I relate to these Jews!” to me is as unreal as it is unjust. Cut the non-existent cord already!

    • JLewisDickerson on April 16, 2016, 6:02 pm

      RE: “As a non-Jewish Southerner, I will never cease to be amazed at how familiar this all sounds.” ~ dx

      MY REPLY: Welcome South Brothers!!!*

      * SEE: “Tom Watson: Agrarian Rebel” (1938) | by C. Vann Woodward (Author)

      [EXCERPTS] . . . It would seem, then, in view of these facts and certain others that will appear later, that new masters were riding the saddle in the South. Whether or not the Civil War had been fought to work the ruin of the agrarian power of the South, and whether or not the Reconstructors had been the advanced missionaries of capitalism, the results—victory for the industrialists and unimpeded expansion—were the same. Nor, as has been seen, did the restoration of home rule mean the restoration of the old order: there were speedily found in the South willing and ready hands to carry forward the torch of “progress.” These willing hands were not all recruited in Georgia. A reexamination of the postwar careers of other Southern leaders of the time, might throw a new light upon this period.

      One is reminded that the new rulers were, and are still, called “Bourbons.” Are we laboring a mere matter of terminology? “Gov. Colquitt and Gen. Gordon,” writes one historian in perfect good faith, “stood as striking types of the most cherished sentiments and practices of our ante-war civilization” 24 Instead of a mere mistaken terminology, then, might not the confusion be more fundamental? Might it not be that a golden voice, a flowing beard, a courtly manner have been accepted at face value for “the most cherished sentiments and practices”? At any rate, it would seem wise to avoid the term “Bourbon.” In its place, and with the realization that all political epithets share the fault of slovenly thinking, the slogan adopted in 1872, the “New Departure” Democrats will be employed. For several reasons it seems more appropriate: the New Departure marked the Democratic party’s first acquiescence in a national platform in the policy of reconstruction; in Georgia it marked the delayed acceptance of Governor Brown’s advice to combine the “practical view of the business man” with the duties of the “statesman”; and it marked also loss of control of the party by such men as Toombs and Stephens, and incidentally the defeat of Stephens by General Gordon in the race for the Senate. It was, indeed, a “New Departure.”

      Having been kept away from the table like naughty children, the South, that is, a small but growing class of Southern men, now rushed in as if by signal to help themselves at the Great Barbecue. Some of them forgot their manners and snatched food with both hands, and all of them forgot that they were crowding out about ninety per cent of the home folks, the farm-

      24 1. W. Avery, op. cit, p. 604. Italics mine.

      ers, who were not invited, and got none of the ‘cue. But the New Departure was tacitly accepted as a blessing to all, and for a while the South followed behind its leaders, who bravely pushed forward into the era of progress.

      It is important to observe that the feud between the old leaders and the new rulers went on over the heads of the submerged masses of the state. Neither the old agrarian leader of the type of Toombs nor the new industrialist Brown was the spokesman of that forgotten majority. The agrarian masses, still leaderless, had not yet stirred from their sleep.

      The submissive loyalty that the leaders of the New Departure commanded in Georgia conformed to a pattern found in all Southern states after home rule was restored. “The ‘Solid South,’ ” wrote Henry Watterson in 1879, “is a reaction against proscription, attended by misgovernment, and a protest against the ever-recurring menace of Federal interference.” 25 Thus the new discipline was feudal rather than democratic. It was based upon fear—fear of the Negro menace, the scalawag menace, the Federal menace, menaces real and imaginary. As the price of protection, it demanded unquestioning allegiance. White men could not divide on lines of class interest, nor could differences over measures and candidates be expressed at the ballot box. Such matters were settled by the small clique that ran the machine. Democratic forms were observed, but their observance was entirely perfunctory. Party platforms contained nothing but such platitudes as all white men could agree upon. Incompetency and weakness in candidates had to be overlooked for the sake of white solidarity. Suspected graft in public office could not be exposed for fear of Negro domination. Ballot-box stuffing had to be tolerated when white supremacy was threatened. Such was the moral intimidation of this feudal discipline that it was widely felt that to scratch a ticket was “treason to the white race,” and to make open declaration of independence was “an effort to africanize the state.” 26 In this atmosphere national issues, to say nothing of local ones, were almost lost sight of; politics became a matter of personalities, and public affairs the business of a few politicians.

      25 Henry Watterson, “The Solid South,” North American Review, CXXXVIII (1879), p. 46.
      26 Holland Thompson, The New South, pp. 10-12; W. H. Skaggs, The Southern Oligarchy, passim, esp. pp. 107-108.

      When one recalls the long tradition of independence and political conflict behind these people, one is surprised that they submitted as long as they did. For not only had they seceded from the Union, but threatened secession from the Confederacy, and even the presence of an invading army could not stop these incorrigible individualists from casting ballots and debating the very existence of their state. Now that peace was restored, they were asked to render a blind obedience that heretofore they had refused even in war. . .

      SOURCE (Kindle Locations 1232-1282) –

      ■ P.S. Hillary Clinton is essentially a “New Departure” Democrat!!! No matter how flawed she may be, WE ABSOLUTELY MUST get together behind her, or risk being ruled by the likes of Cruz or Trump!

  11. RealityBites on April 23, 2016, 10:00 am

    Criticism about Israel. Fair enough BUT ONLY if the same standard of Criticism is also used against the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.

    Palestinians – where are the free multiparty elections? Where are the independent judiciary? Where are the constitutional rights? Freedom of Press, and Freedom of Religion?
    Why is the criticism of the Palestinian law the prohibits selling land by an Arab to a Jew on penalty of death?

    Where has all of the financial aid given to the Palestinians to build schools, hospitals, roads and public infrastructure been going?

    What is there to show for the billions of dollars sent to the Palestinian Government(s)?
    Why is it that Palestinian leaders both Hamas and in the PA are BILLIONAIRES?
    HOW did they become BILLIONAIRES?

    Are the Palestinians ruled by a Democratic Government?
    Do they really have individual rights within their own communities?
    How does the PA and Hamas treat Jews living within their areas outside of the protection of the IDF?

    When these questions are addressed and discussed in an honest and open manner in conjunction with criticism of Israel, I will accept such criticism of Israel as valid.

    But unless the Palestinians are subjected to the same level of criticism as Israel is; then such criticism of Israel only demonstrates the existence of Anti-Semitism.

    It is ONLY FAIR to apply the same Standards to ALL governments. Only by applying the SAME STANDARDS of Criticism can one be honest in their approach in regards to Human Rights.





    • Mooser on April 23, 2016, 11:06 am

      “I will accept such criticism of Israel as valid.”

      So nue, so sue. You accept, you don’t accept.
      Patsh zich in tuchis und schrei “hooray”

      (oh, BTW, your ‘shift’ key is stuck. Try to fix it.)

    • eljay on April 23, 2016, 12:16 pm

      || RealityBites @ April 23, 2016, 10:00 am ||

      I agree that both sides in the I-P issue – Israel and not-Israel (or whatever the other state is to be called) – must:
      – end their decades-long and on-going occupation and colonization of territory outside of their respective Partition borders;
      – honour their obligations under international law (including RoR of refugees);
      – accept responsibility and accountability for past and on-going (war) crimes; and
      – exist as secular and democratic states of and for all of their respective citizens, immigrants, expats and refugees, equally.

      Justice, accountability and equality, universally and consistently applied. I’m glad you agree.

    • echinococcus on April 23, 2016, 12:38 pm

      Excellent questions, Reality Bites. Please address them to the PA’s principals, the Zionist entity and the US Government. The PA doesn’t determine any of what it does, its boss does.

    • Sibiriak on April 23, 2016, 1:15 pm

      RealityBites: It is ONLY FAIR to apply the same Standards to ALL governments.

      True, but a “government” of an independent state is not at all the same as an externally sanctioned and controlled and/or severely constrained “government” of a territory under military occupation.

      • annie on April 23, 2016, 2:01 pm

        True, but a “government” of an independent state is not at all the same as an externally sanctioned and controlled and/or severely constrained “government” of a territory under military occupation.

        but can’t we just pretend for once so unreality can seem like reality? for example we could pretend like israel doesn’t outlaw palestinian political parties and we can pretend every time palestinians plan elections or try to create a unity government israel doesn’t start rounding up and imprisoning key politicians and legislators (at best) or bombing/killing palestinians (at worst). we can just pretend.

        we can just pretend israel would allow an independent palestinian judiciary and would have the power to arrest any person committing a crime in palestine — and allowed to offer them a trial! can you imagine if palestine had the power israel does, to abduct jewish settler children in the middle of the night and torture them? please!

        It is ONLY FAIR to apply the same Standards to ALL governments — BUT I SEE NO SUCH APPLICATION OF FAIRNESS WITH RESPECT TO ISRAEL.

        this reminds me how most americans don’t think the US should take sides. from wapo yesterday

        A CNN-ORC poll from 2015 showed that two-thirds of Americans said the United States should refrain from taking either side….. Although this sentiment is strongest among self-described Democrats (76 percent), a majority of independents (70 percent) and even a substantial number of Republicans (47 percent) agree.

        so if it is It is only fair to apply the same standards to both governments — why not give palestinians billions in defense funding so they can abduct and/or imprison israelis at will and bomb israel at will whenever they see fit? or stop funding israel to do these things?

        “BUT I SEE NO SUCH APPLICATION OF FAIRNESS WITH RESPECT TO ISRAEL” palestine. reality bites wants to pretend the oppressors are the victims or there is parity when there is none. that’s just silly. and there’s really no power in capitol letters when the information communicated is so delusional.

        Where has all of the financial aid given to the Palestinians to build schools, hospitals, roads and public infrastructure been going?

        salam fayyad, the oh so brilliant non elected appointed former Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority and Finance Minister was not even confirmed by the Palestinian Legislative Council but imposed on them by his backers, the US and Israel. he was in charge of spending money given to the PA to build roads to facilitate apartheid. imposing a finance minister on palestine to carry out the wishes of the occupation is transparent. it’s what a puppet government does. they spend money on infrastructure that serves the occupation. this has all been documented time and again. yes, reality bites. it’s just not the reality the poster who goes by this name wants us to see. instead he wants us to see anti semitism behind every rock! and palestinians have to beg and conform even to get their taxes back for israel. why do palestinians even have taxes collected by israel? let’s pretend they don’t. let’s just pretend.

    • talknic on April 23, 2016, 2:39 pm

      @ RealityBites April 23, 2016, 10:00 am

      If there was more criticism of the Palestinians Israel would adhere ot the UN Charter and International Law? Is that the theory….

      Your big wad of whataboutery is completely irrelevant to the fact that Israel is engaged in illegal activities as the Occupying Power over non-Israeli territories, in breach of International Law and the UN Charter and numerous UNSC resolutions reminding Israel of the binding laws those resolutions reaffirm and emphasize

      The Palestinians are not an Occupying Power over anyone elses territories. They don’t have tens of thousands of Israelis in Palestinian gaols. They’re not illegally dispossessing any Israelis. They’re not burning Israeli homes. They’re not destroying Israeli orchards or preventing Israelis from working Israeli farms, they’re not forcing Israelis in Israel thru hundreds of checkpoints, they’re not withholding Israeli taxes. They’re not preventing Israelis from getting to school or hospitals or their jobs. They’re not causing Israeli unemployment or illegally exploiting Israeli resources

      I very much doubt that any amount of criticism of the Palestinians is gonna change Israel’s ongoing ILLEGAL colonization of non-Israeli territories

    • oldgeezer on April 23, 2016, 4:06 pm


      Indeed which is why Israel should be forced to adhere to international law, IHL and the Geneva Conventions.

      Additionally Israel should be treated like Iraq, under Saddam Hussein over his attempt to annex Kuwait and Russia over it’s annexation of Crimea.

      I can only presume you are totally in favour of that since it’s equal treatment that you seek.

  12. MHughes976 on April 23, 2016, 1:34 pm

    Israel’s existence and all that it does are based on a principle that is widely accepted in the West, the belief that certain rights belong exclusively to people who are Jewish. I think that this principle is morally mistaken, indeed outrageous, in itself and moreover never stood a chance of being put into effect without extreme and continuing cruelty. The truth of these points is not affected by whatever dishonesty and anomie may be prevalent in the PA. The Palestinians have their rights, which are being grossly violated, including the right to a chance to sort out their internal problems in a genuinely independent polity. The Palestinians, whatever the financial probity of their leaders – not popular people on Mondoweiss – are not holding another population in these humiliating conditions. There are no such humiliations in this world which are a) being inflicted b) enjoying such support and approval, wild praise even, in my culture and my country.

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