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Some big Jewish donors to Clinton don’t seem to care about Israel. Hallelujah

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This election has seen a franker discussion of the power of Jewish donors inside the Democratic Party than ever before. Jeffrey Goldberg said in October “what I would delicately call the donor class” of the party is disproportionately Jewish and rightwing on Israel, J.J. Goldberg said in April that 13 of the top 14 Democratic donors are Jewish, and sociologist Steven Cohen said on Sunday that Clinton’s top five donors are all Jewish.

Granted, these observations were all made in synagogues. But I believe that the discussion will soon break out in the wider world, and it should. Because it will be good for America, and good for the Jews too. In fact, a discussion of the power of Jewish donors will foster a process we are already seeing inside the Jewish community: open disagreement about Israel.

I make this argument based on the Clinton campaign emails released by Wikileaks. These emails reveal often craven pandering to Jewish donors over Clinton’s foreign policy positioning– as I have conveyed in post after post based on the leaked emails. But they also show something else: Some American Jews really don’t care that much about Israel. A few big Jewish donors give lip service to Israel or ignore the issue entirely. They care about other issues a lot more. And the more this is brought to light, and we get Jews disagreeing publicly over this very question, the sooner we can end the stranglehold of the Israel lobby over US foreign policy.

I will divide my argument into two parts: 1, Rightwing Jewish donors have a lot of influence over the Clinton campaign. 2, Some Jewish donors don’t care about Israel. And then my hopeful conclusion.

  1. Rightwing Jewish donors have a lot of influence over the campaign.

The Clinton emails teem with demands and pressures from big Jewish donors re Israel, and the campaign’s responsiveness to these pressures. Megadonor Haim Saban pesters the campaign to distance itself from the Obama administration’s criticism of Israel and is constantly networking for the campaign to hire pro-Israel voices, such as Miami Beach mayor Philip Levine (link here). Stu Eizenstat acting as a channel to the Jewish community and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushes the campaign to come out against Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel in July 2015.

In a typical nudge, Eizenstat wields money to push pro-Israel issues with top foreign policy aide Jake Sullivan, in advance of Clinton’s endorsement of the Iran deal last summer:

Jake, After co-hosting a fundraiser today organized by Dave Marchick [former State Department official, now an insider lawyer] I had a good opportunity to talk with her on Iran, while escorting her to her limo. She seems comfortable with her poisiton, although I told her it would be very unpopular with the Jewish community’s mainstream leaders. Do you have a new draft on Iran?  Stu

The emails also show that– duh– the campaign leadership is incredibly sensitive about Israel when it comes to donors. For instance, campaign chair John Podesta says of an invitation to Hillary Clinton to go to the Union for Reform Judaism‘s candidate forum in November 2015 that it’s most important for Dennis Cheng to go, the campaign’s chief fundraiser:

Just to be clear, we don’t have to do this, just putting on the screen because it’s a super friendly Jewish audience. I would only think about it if Dennis could use time there. But not a priority.

Cheng later writes:

have we regretted this invitation? Another one of our donors, Arthur Schechter, brought this up to HRC last night.

Schechter, a former ambassador, is a supporter of Israel.

Campaign chair Podesta does a lot of coddling of pro-Israel donors. Podesta meets Haim Saban for meals in New York, and takes his urgent phone calls too. “Thanks for the lift on the fundraiser,” he writes to Michael Bronfein, a donor who is a pain in the neck about Iran, Israel, AIPAC and Lanny Davis too, and a promoter of neoconservative hack journalists. Podesta has a private meeting with Bernard Schwartz to try and get him to give more to Hillary’s campaign. Schwartz is on the Council on Foreign Relations, and a supporter of an Israeli university.

Some of the bending over backwards by top Clinton aides is pathetic. We have already cited Rhode Scholar Jake Sullivan’s deference to the fascistic views of “Bibi” Benjamin Netanyahu here and here.

Then there was Clinton aide Neera Tanden’s fawning to Netanyahu a year ago, in an adoring Q-and-A with the prime minister at Tanden’s thinktank, the Center for American Progress, months after he tried to blow up the president’s Iran deal. The emails now reveal what that fawning was all about. Tanden divided the thinktank in rancor, but a month later she landed Israel donor Jonathan Lavine, a leader of the Boston Jewish community, on the CAP board. “So Netanyahu was worth it :)” she crows to John Podesta.

Tanden’s deference to Lavine/Netanyahu is even more distressing when you consider how she announced Lavine’s coming on board to everyone else at CAP:

“Based on his distinguished career, philanthropy, and work on behalf of progressive causes, I believe he would be an excellent addition to our Board.”

So, diddlysquat about the core reason for Lavine coming on board: Israel and Netanyahu. Nope; he’s just a progressive.

Which touches on the last point I’d make about the power of the pro-Israel Jewish donors: Everyone knows about it inside the campaign, but no one would dare say a word about it publicly. That’s a real problem for our discourse: when something that is so important can’t be mentioned in front of civilians.

Here for instance, is a very-wired and important individual — Anne-Marie Slaughter, the former State Department director/former Woodrow Wilson school dean/CEO of the New America thinktank– being really blunt about the power of Jewish donors in an email to Hillary and the braintrust in May 2015:

Don’t let New York donors push you into doing an Al Gore…

I’m worried that the hostility toward Obama among donors who buy Bibi’s line about his commitment to Israel could cause you to run away from his (and your) overall foreign policy record, which would be a big mistake in the same way that it will squeeze you into a corner that you do not need to be in and prevents you from making a bold case for your success as Secretary of State…

Finally, the entire “Obama doesn’t care about Israel” narrative shifts attention from the real issue with Israel, which is that this government is missing one of the greatest opportunities in Israel’s history to move from pariah state to political broker and economic anchor of the Middle East.

This email is a good segue into Part 2, the donors who don’t give a flip about Israel. You can see that in Slaughter’s note. She knows that some donors don’t buy “Bibi’s line.” Also, Slaughter is married to a Jew; she knows that the rightwing Jews are putting their thumb on the scale here.

2. Some Jewish donors don’t care about Israel, or not that much anyway.

One of the pleasures of grazing through the emails for me was finding Jewish members-in-good-standing of the establishment who really don’t care about Israel and are pushing other issues.

Robert Wolf, for instance, is a Jewish financier who is President Obama’s golfing buddy, whom Obama courted on Israel back when the fat was in the fire. The Clinton team is desperate to cultivate Wolf too, because he can bring a lot of money, and he might be going to Joe Biden at one point. But what’s plain from the email traffic between Wolf and Podesta and Hillary Clinton is that Wolf cares about economic issues and hardly mentions Israel.

Here’s the one hat-tip Wolf does to Israel, in an email to Clinton bashing Bernie Sanders:

When Sanders hits you on your $15 million from wall street to your super pac, I believe he is wrong and your response can be much better (assuming you want to take the bait). When I look at your contributor list https://www.opensecrets.org/pres16/contrib.php?cycle=2016&id=N00000019&type=f a. the main target/ contributor is Soros and he is not giving to you because he wants anything – he is a staunch Democrat, supporter of Israel, supporter of human rights and well respected philanthropist. Using his wealth to give back

Wolf sees Israel as a good cause, but it’s clear from his many notes on economic issues that it’s not front and center to him. Here’s Wolf talking up his resume, to Clinton:

Recall, I was the one that called then Senator Obama in August ’08 and force him to change his course/voice from the war to the economy and unfortunately, this feels like it could be going that way again.

And here he is boasting about his access to Clinton to writer Gail Sheehy:

-I hosted a lunch for the Secretary on June 25th at 21 Club. – I attended the Marthas Vineyard event on August 16th – I had a 1-1 meeting with the Secretary on Sept 30th for almost 2 hours where we mainly shared economic policy ideas. – I have been having exchanges with the Secretary and her staff continuously on her economic agenda so haven’t felt it too necessary to attend events.

And by the way, Wolf’s wife Carol is a gun control advocate/fundraiser.

Then there’s New Hampshire yogurt entrepreneur Gary Hirshberg, who held a fundraiser for Clinton. Hirshberg is a dedicated environmentalist, whose core issues are chemicals in agriculture, and labeling Genetically Modified Organisms. He bugs the Clinton campaign about the issue earnestly and eloquently as only a sincere advocate can. Hirshberg once said this much about Israel several years ago:

I was raised in a secular Jewish family, but came of age and was bar mitvahed in the year of the Six Day War. As a result, I see my Jewish identity as being more rooted in politics than in religion per se.

He went on to talk about the clash of civilizations and intolerant Arab societies; but if Israel means anything to him, he’s not talking about it in his communications with the campaign.

Lastly, there’s Wendy Abrams. Abrams is a Chicago donor and environmental activist who has pushed for divestment from fossil fuels. Her Huff Po resume shows her concern about the planet: “Ms. Abrams serves on the National Council of Environmental Defense, NRDC’s Action Fund Board, the Union of Concerned Scientists’ National Advisory Board. She serves on the Board of Trustees for Waterkeeper Alliance; and is a trustee of The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.”

I’d bet the farm that Wendy Abrams has relatives who care about Israel but she doesn’t. Her son goes to Israel in the summer of 2014, and a number of emails between her and Podesta involve the fact that she is worried about him as the Gaza war begins, and Israel pounds Gaza. She frets to Podesta in July:

My son is in Tel Aviv and doesn’t feel the need to leave (he assures me the 90 second warning is plenty of time to get to the bomb shelter, which they did yesterday). His mother doesn’t have quite the same assessment of risk/reward. Am I being an overly anxious Jewish mother or a more rational mind than a 21 year old who feels invincible?

Podesta:

If he were my kid, I’d tell him to stay.

Wendy Abrams then gets off a good joke:

if it were your kid, he’d be in the IDF! [Israeli Defense Forces]

In the end she seems to accept her son’s decision:

i am going to stop trying to convince him that he’d have more fun at a topless beach in Mykonos

I won’t try to argue here that any of these people care deeply about Palestinians. But like the liberal Zionists Herb and Marion Sandler, who are also in touch with Podesta, they seem to care about a lot of issues more than Israel. Wendy Abrams’s IDF joke shows her sophistication, and her resume shows her sense of noblesse oblige: she’s watching out for the planet.

The impression I get from these worldly donors is what Steven Cohen said the other night in suburban New York: Secular American Jews list Israeli eighth among the issues they are voting on (Orthodox put it third), and some “serious” donors are turning against Israel because they are “deeply offended” or “annoyed” by Israel. I’d go further: I believe that many Jews are embarrassed by Israel. I read embarrassment in Wendy Abrams’s IDF joke. The IDF killed 500 Gazan children that summer, in the name of the Jewish state.

One way the Israel lobby has worked is by portraying the Jewish community as a, empowered and b, monolithic. The emails show that the Jewish community is empowered but not monolithic. But the problem is that the politicians don’t see it that way. As Anne-Marie Slaughter warns Clinton, “I’m worried that the hostility toward Obama among donors who buy Bibi’s line about his commitment to Israel could cause you to run away from his (and your) overall foreign policy record.” And then it happened: Clinton threw Obama under the bus, to please those donors.

And liberal Jews have let the rightwingers get away with it, just as they let the neocons push the Iraq war as a good thing for Israel.

The campaign emails, and Jeffrey Goldberg’s frankness (ten years after Walt and Mearsheimer broke the story), indicate that before long the mainstream media are going to start a conversation about the Jewish role in Democratic politics. When that power is openly acknowledged, there will be more and more pressure on secular rational worldly Jews to demonstrate that they don’t wield their influence for ethnocentric/nationalist ends. We know you’re out there. It’s time to raise your voice.

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About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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29 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    November 8, 2016, 3:07 pm

    If Jews are empowered and several are rich and are believed to be staunchly pro-Israel, why must/might it matter to Clinton (or other Dems) that some are NOT much concerned about Israel? If only one part of the group are yammering and thsoe are yammering pro-Israel, and all are giving, Clinton’s gonna stick with Israel.

    Now if some of this “donor class” were staunchly AGAINST Israel, you’d have a fight and Clinton and folks like her would have to choose. But they don’t have to choose, not today. Pro-Israel is a strong feeling, but pro human-rights (or ho-hum on Israel) are weak feelings: who do you think is gonna win?

  2. echinococcus
    echinococcus
    November 8, 2016, 8:24 pm

    I don’t really get it.
    Are these donors who don’t care about the Zionist entity ignorant of the Empress’ position re occupation, land theft, settlements, genocide and “daylight”? When they pay her, somehow they know what the money is going to be used for, surely?
    As long as that stands, all the rest looks like insignificant.

  3. Keith
    Keith
    November 9, 2016, 3:19 pm

    ROBERT WOLF- “…the main target/ contributor is Soros and he is not giving to you because he wants anything – he is a staunch Democrat, supporter of Israel, supporter of human rights and well respected philanthropist. Using his wealth to give back.”

    Color revolution financier Soros a supporter of human rights who doesn’t want anything? A philanthropist who uses his wealth to give back? Does Wolf really believe this? If so, how is it possible to be this out of touch with reality?

    • eljay
      eljay
      November 9, 2016, 8:21 pm

      || Mooser: I love tribal unity!!! ||

      … “People have attacked ADL on the right and on the left for many years based on our policies,” Segal told TPM. “Our consistent record of speaking out against bigotry and anti-Semitism and hatred is as relevant today as it has ever been and that’s not going to change. …

      Neither, he added, is our consistent record of not speaking out against the injustice, immorality and criminality of Zio-supremacism.

  4. CitizenC
    CitizenC
    November 9, 2016, 8:26 pm

    How will this mainstream epiphany take place when Jewish Voice for Peace attacks Alison Weir as anti-Semitic for her Israel Lobby argument, attacks Miko Peled for comparing the power of US Jews to anti-semitic stereotypes, and complains (after the Forward and ADL) that the presidential campaign was anti-Semitic because it talked about wealthy elites?

    No doubt there is a “Jewish debate” and that is exactly the problem, it will never become a general debate, because most of the Jewish critics won’t let it. It’s one thing to talk among themselves, and decline to donate to Israel. It’s quite another to let the Israel Lobby become a public issue, let a candidate for office charge that his opponent is too dependent on the IL, that the IL gets us into wars abroad and provokes terrorism against the US.

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus
      November 9, 2016, 11:36 pm

      Citizen,

      That’s precisely why tribally defined organizations won’t ever be able to shake off the suspicion to be Zionist-controlled. Even if they were not.

    • silamcuz
      silamcuz
      November 10, 2016, 2:36 am

      Let’s just stop bringing up JVP’s action towards Alison Weir and her organisation. All it does is stoke internal discontent and resentment of our allies in the struggle for peace and justice.

      JVP has never actively tried to stop Ms. Weir from continuing her brand of activism and preach to anyone interested in listening to her. So I don’t see why we are so offended at what essentially is a move to assert self-autonomy within the organisation.

      • CitizenC
        CitizenC
        November 10, 2016, 10:48 am

        What nonsense. JVP has indeed tried to stop Alison Weir; that was the whole purpose of their campaign against her with End the Occ. They and others have actively pressured various groups not to host her for speaking engagements. SJP is deeply influenced by JVP, rejected Miko Peled due to JVP, and would not consider Alison Weir because of JVP.

        It’s not just Alison Weir it’s the whole Israel Lobby critique. JVP recently hosted Mitchell Plitnick in NY, to promulgate “strategic asset” orthodoxy.

        The first, if not last, opponents of Palestine, of recognizing the Israel Lobby, as Phil claims is imminent, are the Jewish left, from Chomsky on down.

      • silamcuz
        silamcuz
        November 10, 2016, 11:17 am

        No, you are seriously spreading libelous nonsense. JVP, even if they wanted to, is completely powerless to dictate what Ms. Weir should do and how. Hence, Ms. Weir is still active in this field of activism towards Palestinian rights; organizing talks, distributing her writings, attending forums etc. She is far from having been stopped in her activism and her organisation, If Americans Knew is still one of the largest, most active pro-Palestine activist group domestically.

        All JVP did was sever its own working relationship with Ms. Weir for well explained reasons. Please note that JVP is runned by its members fully and thus, is accountable to them only. If they feel like not working with anyone, its on them to act on it anyway they feel appropriate.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        November 10, 2016, 11:25 am

        Look who rises up from the dead, Slamcruz.
        Why should “we” stop bringing up the JVP witch-hunt?
        If it can do character assassination on behalf of the Zionists, well, we can call attention to its alliance with the enemy, can’t we?
        Or to the fact that all Zionists are calling to stop the response, including Sillamcruz.

        Of course it does “stoke internal discontent and resentment”. Duh. Anyone called “allies in the struggle for peace and justice” would have thought a bit about what they were (repeatedly) doing before attacking allies for no good reason.

        As for “self-autonomy within the organisation”, what organization?

      • silamcuz
        silamcuz
        November 10, 2016, 12:20 pm

        echinoccus,

        If you feel so much for Alison Weir, please feel free to donate to her group.

        If you are so angry at JVP for whatever they did wrt the Alison Weir, leave the group and stop giving them any of your money.

        Incessantly condemning them in an online forum meant for activism and the pursuit of justice, however, seems extremely counter productive and narcissistic.

      • annie
        annie
        November 10, 2016, 12:30 pm

        speaking of “stoke[d] internal discontent and resentment of .. allies in the struggle”…..it’s odd to assert JVP “never actively tried to stop Ms. Weir from continuing her brand of activism and preach to anyone interested in listening to her” when they actively participated in getting her kicked out of the end the occupation coalition.

        as i recall, the initial complaint from the coalition, the list of allegations, were almost point by point what jvp had previously posted on their website (signed anonymously) leading many to believe they were the coalition member who brought the complaint to end the occupation. so claiming “All JVP did was sever its own working relationship with Ms. Weir” seems a weak argument.

        but i too am weary of this ongoing conversation and much more interested in the second part of citizen c’s comment:

        it will never become a general debate, because most of the Jewish critics won’t let it. It’s one thing to talk among themselves, and decline to donate to Israel. It’s quite another to let the Israel Lobby become a public issue, let a candidate for office charge that his opponent is too dependent on the IL, that the IL gets us into wars abroad and provokes terrorism against the US.

        leaving aside what “most of the Jewish critics” do or don’t do, what do you think of the Israel Lobby becoming a public issue? letting a candidate for office “charge that his opponent is too dependent on the IL, that the IL gets us into wars abroad and provokes terrorism against the US”? do you think that’s a valid conversation for the public? one that shouldn’t be just a “jewish debate”?

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        November 10, 2016, 3:21 pm

        Salamcruz,

        You crack me up every time.

        Stop insulting me by implying I ever was with JVP or even gave them any money or the time of the day. Again, if they weren’t Zionist tools you wouldn’t be out here clowning for them.

        “Incessantly condemning them in an online forum meant for activism and the pursuit of justice” is exactly what one does with that kind of outfit. Nobody forced them to start the sabotaging.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 10, 2016, 4:26 pm

        “Let’s just stop bringing up JVP’s action towards Alison Weir and her organisation.”

        Ummm, “Silamcuz”, have you frorgotten about the archives? They are still here. Your words:

        “Ms. Weir set herself up for breaking of professional relationships. She agreed to be interviewed by proven white supremacists, and engaged them in a friendly manner without calling out their problematic ideals and racism. JVP made the right move here. Anyone else who is serious about the fight for justice, which racial justice is an integral component of, would’ve done the same.” “Silamcuz” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/profile/silamcuz/?keyword=Weir#sthash.glmBkw2T.dpuf

        Plenty more vociferously condemning Ms. Weir, from you.
        Had a change of heart, or can’t keep your tricky little schtick straight?

      • gamal
        gamal
        November 10, 2016, 5:15 pm

        “tricky little schtick”

        lovely use of ethnoenglish and the t strangely enough is correctly placed, schickreen gudden as we say in arabo-yiddish.

      • silamcuz
        silamcuz
        November 10, 2016, 10:21 pm

        Mooser,

        It’s true that I along with many other progressives celebrated JVPs action to disassociate with Ms. Weir because I don’t feel she belongs in the movement for universal justice and peace with her pro-American state prejudices.

        However, I feel its really pointless and damaging to the movement as a whole to indefinitely dwell on this rather minor clash of philosophy and fester feelings of distrust and hostility between all parties involved.

        What is done is done. JVP shouldn’t be crucified for holding on to a certain set of principles, and discriminating who they choose to work with. Not after all that they have done in restoring justice in Palestine and the US.

      • silamcuz
        silamcuz
        November 10, 2016, 10:28 pm

        Annie,

        Public issue or not, why do we feel the need to single out the Jewish lobby as a possibly detrimental force to the public? Are Jews not members of the public as well, with full rights to political representation?

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 11, 2016, 11:45 am

        “lovely use of ethnoenglish and the t strangely enough is correctly placed”

        I use a reliable Yiddish glossary and Yinglish-grammar site.

      • Tchoupitoulas
        Tchoupitoulas
        November 12, 2016, 11:05 pm

        Silamcuz – I can see you’re not an Alison Weir fan. Okay. May I suggest you buy a copy of her book, “Against Our Better Judgment,” and read it? I have, and as I recall, the book is heavily footnoted. IIRC there are almost as many pages of footnotes as there are pages of text. Why don’t you go through them, and search out all the footnote references, and determine if there are any inconsistencies or even outright falsehoods in the text? Then report back here with your results, especially if you discover proof of Weir’s anti-Semitism.

        That would be more persuasive than unfounded innuendoes, or smears by association because Weir has been interviewed by people regarded by certain other people as anti-Semites, or whatever. No really; I’m interested. I’d love to hear what you find out. Do The Work. Please. I want to hear all about whatever you discover.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      November 10, 2016, 2:07 pm

      Ms. Weir wrote about how she got involved, anybody can read it online. Clearly, she writes as a humanist & US patriot of our best values. But she’s a goy, and some people just can not handle that, even though USA is 98% goy.

  5. Citizen
    Citizen
    November 10, 2016, 5:21 am

    I won’t hold my breath waiting for a public debate on cable TV news/infotainment shows regarding anything involving Israel and US support of its policies or conduct. A key to a US politician’s career is not to drive a wedge about this subject between the two US main political parties. That’s the only thing both parties’ leadership agree on. I think those who work always to keep this united front know if Joe and Jane Doe got a real factual whiff about Israel and what it does with all those US tax dollars, irate phones would be ringing in congressional offices.

  6. oneangrycomic
    oneangrycomic
    November 10, 2016, 8:25 am

    Meh – so a pack of vicious wolves is chasing you but you’re supposed to feel optimistic because 20% of them aren’t really that hungry?
    When someone like Hirshberg donates $$$ to JVP, Mondoweiss or (OMG) BDS, let me know. Otherwise, I’ll continue to question the impact and “agenda” of any big Jewish donors.
    I think that Phil’s sometimes overly optimistic view of things is necessary and I hope he continues to voice it. Trump sure confirmed how wrong assumptions about outcomes can be!

  7. russgreen
    russgreen
    November 12, 2016, 12:10 pm

    “silamcuz” said:

    “Please note that JVP is runned by its members fully and thus, is accountable to them only. If they feel like not working with anyone, its on them to act on it anyway they feel appropriate.”

    That is not true at all. I was a JVP chapter leader for years, and I can tell you that JVP is not run by its members at all. JVP is run by a small group of staff and board of directors at the top who make all the decisions. Decisions are handed down from the top to chapter leaders, and handed down from chapter leaders to members.

    JVP is not a democratic organization. JVP members never get to vote on any policy decisions, and certainly not on the decision to attack Alison Weir. Many members were shocked by the attack on Weir, and we asked why we were not informed or consulted before JVP made that public attack.

    Many JVP members are equally shocked by JVP’s recent attack on Miko Peled. That is why almost 100 of us JVP members and former members (along with over 200 allies who support Palestine) have created and signed this petition to pressure the JVP staff and board to stop attacking fellow activists.

    Please sign our petition and forward it widely. Anyone can sign it, whether you are a JVP member or not. This is an action we all can take to put some pressure on JVP:

    Petition:

    https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfhtKy6-pKbF3hRnEvrmE4ew39b8SrGDox5pums_mELW8VfUQ/viewform?c=0&w=1

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus
      November 12, 2016, 12:57 pm

      Russgreen,

      So why are you guys still with JVP where you have no control, helping policies you say you don’t approve, when you know that you’re not even deciding anything?

      There is no dearth of organizations to support Palestinian resistance.
      Outside, you might even join the general population and be much more effective, instead of writing petitions to an unaccountable group (I’ll abstain from speculating who they really are accountable to.)

      There’s something strange going on there.

      • russgreen
        russgreen
        November 12, 2016, 7:19 pm

        I did resign from JVP because it was unwilling to reconsider its decision to attack Alison Weir. I am now a former JVP member. I am a member of the general population now. Please suggest some other pro-Palestinians groups I could join. I am even thinking of starting another Jewish group in Kentucky that would be an alternative to JVP. Do you know of any such groups? The only one I have heard of is IJAN (International Jewish Antizionist Network). Is that a good one?

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        November 12, 2016, 8:02 pm

        Russgreen,

        Thank you for answering, and my congratulations on your decision not to conform silently with the vile attack on Ms. Weir.

        As to your question, I’m sure you are asking the wrong guy. I have no religion and I have no tribe. Also, I am vehemently opposed to organizing on an identity politics basis (which in this case risks considering Zionists as family members in a time of real war.) Sorry about that. Lots of people around here who identify themselves as Jewish, they might answer.

        As for groups, I know about the International Solidarity Movement, the Free Gaza Movement, Free Palestine Movement, If Americans Knew, different student groups… I’m sure you’ll hear about a lot of them here.

        Just curious, why would you start a Jewish solidarity movement when you can start a Kentuckian movement? You’re an American, after all, and what we want to do is inform the Americans. Not just tribe members.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 12, 2016, 11:13 pm

        The only method for ‘Jews as Jews’ to fight Zionism that is proof against co-opting is direct action.

  8. russgreen
    russgreen
    November 12, 2016, 10:30 pm

    Thanks for the suggestions. I think I am a member of If Americans Knew. Alison has spoken here at least twice, and she is one of the best, most persuasive speakers we have ever had.

    A Jewish Palestine solidarity group serves one important function. It provides excellent protection to the other Palestine groups in town against bogus charges of antisemitism, which the Jewish Federation here makes routinely. It really helps the other Palestine groups if they are able to say, “This event was co-sponsored by this Jewish group, and Jews helped organize this event.” That is usually enough to reassure the Provost of the university (for example) that the event should not be cancelled and the student group that sponsored it should not be reprimanded.

    That was the role our local JVP chapter always played. However, now that national JVP has gotten into the business of “fighting antisemitism” and is saying chapters cannot sponsor certain speakers (like Alison Weir), then the local JVP chapter may no longer be a reliable protector against charges of antisemitism. I think we need another Jewish group here that can be relied upon to support Palestine activists (rather than throwing them under the bus like national JVP has been doing).

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