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Former ‘Foreign Policy’ editor calls for boycotts against Israeli government

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David Rothkopf, Carnegie scholar and former editor of Foreign Policy, has expanded on his tweets saying that American Jews have “a duty to oppose Israel.” He penned a piece for Haaretz, calling for boycott of Israel’s government, and “all manner of pressure.”

But this government of Israel and what it stands for must be opposed in every way possible – including, given the absence of other effective options, boycotts.

To the extent that laws like the nation-state law remain the unaltered law of the land, Israel’s leaders must be challenged, communities of conscience everywhere and all manner of pressure mobilized against it on behalf of those denied their most basic human rights by the law.

Israel’s government chose this path. Its acts have not only undermined its legitimacy; it has parted ways with many of those who support was in decades past most essential to its survival….

Note the words “all manner of pressure” and the loss of legitimacy.

Rothkopf says that Israel is an apartheid society and an un-Jewish state. And no the nation-state of the Jewish people law wasn’t just a “mistake,” as Dershowitz says, or a source of sadness, as J Street says.

[W]e have reached a watershed…

The passage of the nation-state law attacks and effectively demolishes every reason for supporting the state of Israel that once existed for many American Jews and for an increasing number of Americans.

It puts the lie to the idea that Israel is a democracy by denying full-privileges of citizenship to long-time residents within the borders Israel controls.

It creates an apartheid society in which ethnic identity trumps fundamental human rights.

Hardest still for many American Jews, it flies in the face of cherished Jewish values and the lessons of Jewish history – so much so that it makes Israel in many respects, an un-Jewish state.

There are some hedges in Rothkopf’s piece. His tweet said American Jews have a “duty to oppose Israel.” Now it’s the Israeli government. And despite his 2014 denunciation of Zionism– “I find the response of Zionism [to modern historical challenges] to be exactly the wrong one” — the z-word doesn’t appear in this piece. Rothkopf seems a bit cowed by his Israeli host.

And though Rothkopf said frankly in his tweet last week that American Jews once had a duty to support Israel (a useful quote if ever there was one), he shilly-shallies on that assertion.

An increasing number of American Jews who were once almost seen to have a duty to support Israel now [in 2010 and later] found themselves, thanks to their American values – those that held democracy and tolerance and human rights dear – were now discovering they had a duty to question Israel’s top officials and the policies they embraced.

Yakov Hirsch says that the horse is out of the barn.

Every event, like the Rothkopf article itself, breaks another taboo in the discourse and there is no going back. No one is policing the Jewish discourse anymore. And since Israel and Netanyahu are going to continue to behave with impunity and immunity, in this new “war of ideas” era the Israeli “sacred bullshit,” that has worked until now, doesn’t stand a chance anymore. (Think the Forward under Batya Ungar-Sargon. She takes anything. Please read [Jeffrey Goldberg] when he didn’t like an Isabel Kershner piece in the New York Times; that Goldberg browbeating in 2012 is not possible anymore. We have glasnost in Israel Palestinian discourse. (Though not in “anti-Semitism” discourse but that will come as Israel’s behavior becomes more and more indefensible.) Every single day more people are moving over to the side that’s convinced that “moral clarity,” dictates being with the Palestinians. There is no going back.

Memo to Peter Beinart: David Rothkopf is getting out in front of you. Time to catch up!

Meantime, Rothkopf’s friend Jeffrey Goldberg is under attack from David Klion, who writes in Jewish Currents that the Goldberg regime in Jewish thinking is now over.

More than ever, Jeffrey Goldberg’s gatekeeping of opinion on Israel and world Jewry is in crisis… his approach seems exhausted, unable to respond to the scale of the disaster Jewish liberals now confront, from the ultra-orthodox, pro-settlement coalition firmly in charge of Israel to White House-approved antisemitism in the U.S. Obsessively shutting down, belittling, and discouraging genuine progressive voices has not helped contain the far-right, but instead allowed it to grow until it threatens core liberal values. Goldberg undoubtedly sees the threat, but like the rest of the liberal establishment, he has no idea how to counter it. Instead, he’s spent years squashing those on the left who might have some answers.

Though I would say Goldberg is an extremely protean character. The shapeshifter shut down his Israel promotion business when he became Atlantic editor with responsibility for the anti-Trump elites, and is soon to unveil Goldberg the anti-Zionist.

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12 Responses

  1. MHughes976
    MHughes976 on August 6, 2018, 5:03 pm

    Perhaps if someone of some distinction were to say that over here in the UK we could end the evil dream into which we are sinking.

  2. wondering jew
    wondering jew on August 6, 2018, 9:19 pm

    Rothkopf is encouraged to be true to his heart, but not everyone is required to hear the same call of duty. Sometimes in a quarrel someone gets up and leaves the room. This is an unfair tactic and in fact the end of the relationship if only suspended for a period of time. It is against the laws of dialogue, if one can imagine such laws.
    There are sufficient voices in the center of Israeli politics who oppose this nation state law for a variety of reasons and to make this law the basis of a divorce from not only bibi, but from them and from israel, must be a personal choice and most certainly will be a personal choice.
    those who were always outsiders to israel are not conversant in the nature of the relationship to israel in its varieties. just read yossi klein halevi on the issue.

    • wondering jew
      wondering jew on August 6, 2018, 9:22 pm

      oh, look. i got my old name back. (yonah fredman)

      • RoHa
        RoHa on August 6, 2018, 10:05 pm

        Be grateful you have a name. Most of us lost our for a while.

      • annie
        annie on August 7, 2018, 1:04 am

        i got my old name back.

        and a beautiful name it is — suits you.

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer on August 7, 2018, 9:13 am

        Didn’t work for me. I was hoping for “younggeezer” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    • Mooser
      Mooser on August 7, 2018, 11:23 am

      “Sometimes in a quarrel someone gets up and leaves the room. This is an unfair tactic and in fact the end of the relationship…”

      Don’t worry “Yonah”, Mondo will get along fine without you.

  3. Misterioso
    Misterioso on August 7, 2018, 10:14 am

    Not on topic, but, if accurate, this item further demonstrates how utterly f***ed up Israel is:

    “Israel Bans Condoms from Entering Gaza”

    “Posted by News Post August 7, 2018. From: Days Of Palestine

    “New Israeli regulations stipulates that condoms will not be allowed to enter the Gaza Strip as they might be used in violent actions, such as flying kites.

    “Times of Israel published last week a report with the title ‘Condoms, Kites and Birthday Balloons: ‘Silly’ Gaza weapons could lead to real war.’”

    “The report states that the Palestinians in Gaza are relentlessly flying a variety of airborne devices attached to flammable materials to be launched into Israel near the Israeli Gaza, causing hundreds of fires and millions of shekels in damage.

    “The report ignored the fact that the Israeli occupation army had killed 138 Palestinians and injured 14,700, including women, children, medics and journalists in Gaza since the beginning of the Great Return March on Palestinian land on March 30, 2018.

    “It is rather amazing how the rest of the world uses condoms to provide ‘protection’ from both pregnancy and STDs, whereas Palestinians use [Editor CEC inserts ‘are said to use’] it as a weapon against their ruthless Zionist occupiers.”

  4. Boomer
    Boomer on August 7, 2018, 12:04 pm

    Rothkopf deserves an attaboy, and no doubt this is a development worth reporting. He is more forthright than most. Still, I have to say that, as I read expressions of dismay about Israel’s new law from various liberal Zionists in the U.S., I am–for the most part–not favorably impressed. Time and again, the message seems to be that things were fine until that law was passed. “If only we could go back to the status quo ante, things would be so great.”

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso on August 7, 2018, 3:49 pm


      “I am–for the most part–not favorably impressed.Time and again, the message seems to be that things were fine until that law was passed. ‘If only we could go back to the status quo ante, things would be so great.’”

      Well and truly stated!!

  5. Roger S
    Roger S on August 8, 2018, 7:33 am

    The law only makes explicit what was always the case since 1948. The country was established as a racist state. Now they admit it. It was never the “only democracy in the Middle East”. It was always the only true racist state in the world! They perfected the meme. Racism as a reparation for racism? Sane people would have known that it would never work. But then we were not working with sane people here.

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso on August 19, 2018, 1:04 pm

      The entity known as “Israel,” i.e., west of the green line, is and always has been an ethnocracy, a political structure in which the state apparatus is appropriated by a dominant ethnic group to further its interests, power and resources. In short, apartheid.

      To wit:
      Hendrik Verwoerd, then prime minister of South Africa and the architect of South Africa’s apartheid policies, 1961: “Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state.” (Rand Daily Mail, November 23, 1961)

      Jacobus Johannes Fouché, South African Minister of Defence during the apartheid era, compared the two states and said that Israel also practiced apartheid. (Gideon Shimoni (1980). Jews and Zionism: The South African Experience 1910-1967. Cape Town: Oxford UP. pp. 310–336. ISBN 0195701798.

      “Former Foreign Ministry director-general invokes South Africa comparisons. ‘Joint Israel-West Bank’ reality is an apartheid state”
      EXCERPT: “Similarities between the ‘original apartheid’ as it was practiced in South Africa and the situation in ISRAEL [my emphasis] and the West Bank today ‘scream to the heavens,’ added [Alon] Liel, who was Israel’s ambassador in Pretoria from 1992 to 1994. There can be little doubt that the suffering of Palestinians is not less intense than that of blacks during apartheid-era South Africa, he asserted.” (Times of Israel, February 21, 2013)

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