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2 progressive Dem pols step away from BDS even as ‘NPR’ and ‘NYT’ run positive reports on movement

Media Analysis
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We try to keep up on the mainstream US discourse of Palestine, and this week there have been some positive and negative developments. The latest two Democratic progressive stars to win primaries were reported to have disappointing records on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS). While both the New York Times and NPR have run stories that were positive about BDS.

First those pols. Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, last week shocked the establishment by winning the Democratic primary in the Florida governor’s race.

Endorsed by Bernie Sanders, Gillum is a progressive except for Palestine (PEP). Says a Palm Beach paper:

Gillum has espoused unabashedly liberal policies, such as boosting Florida’s corporate income tax to 7.75 percent to fund education, raising the minimum wage to $15, abolishing the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and introducing single-payer health care.

But Gillum joins in with the McCarthyite suppression of BDS. From the Orlando Weekly:

Gillum has remained largely silent when it comes to Israel and Palestine, a highly polarized — yet bipartisan — topic many view to be a critical factor in weighing support for politicians and candidates. With an unapologetically progressive campaign, the Tallahassee mayor’s discreet but fervent support for Israel and objections to Palestinian dissent, based on a campaign position paper shared with Orlando Weekly, come as a surprise to his left-wing base but a nod to some of Florida’s Jewish voters — a coveted campaign-season demographic.

Gillum’s 413-word platform on the issue outlines his belief in a two-state solution, support for former President Barack Obama’s 10-year, $38 billion military aid package to Israel, and endorsement of strong anti-BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanction) policies that go as far as to include a bill preventing Florida “from investing in or doing business with” companies that protest Israel.

“I will continue to support anti-Boycott, Divest and Sanctions [BDS] legislation passed last year with overwhelming support in both houses of the legislature,” Gillum said, referring to Florida’s Senate Bill 86, which prevents the state from working with companies that protest Israel. The bill passed unanimously in the Florida senate in 2016 and requires the State Board of Administration to maintain a database of “scrutinized companies” boycotting Israel.

The Weekly also quotes an interview Gillum gave in which he criticized Israel’s slaughter of Gaza protesters in May as an “outsized response,” and criticized Trump’s moving the embassy.
“At the hands of this administration, we now have even incited more violence by recognizing Jerusalem to be the capital and also to locate the United States embassy there, again just adding more fuel to the fire,” Gillum said. “I think it was a provocation by the president that was unnecessary and has been costly from a human toll.”

In a measure of what Gillum is up against, the Republican in the race has seized on those comments as “radical”.

His opponent, Republican U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, said in a statement that the comments are “anti-Israel” and “consistent with Gillum’s radical, far left-wing ideology.”

Then there’s the Boston congressional primary that Ayanna Pressley, a Boston city councilwoman,  just won against incumbent Rep. Michael Capuano. Pressley is known for saying “Change can’t wait,” for advocating for poor women and girls in Boston, and for wanting to end ICE. But she avoided the BDS question. The Globe:

The Massachusetts Peace Action also pressed the two candidates for their positions on the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Pressley said she supports a House bill that would require the American government to ensure that none of its military aid to Israel would be used for reported “detention and mistreatment of Palestinian children.” …

The group’s questionnaire also asked the two candidates if they support a controversial House bill that would make it a felony to support a movement to boycott Israel and Israeli companies over the country’s treatment of Palestinians.

Capuano said he opposes the bill “on First Amendment grounds,” even if he is personally against the boycott movement.

“I do not support BDS, but I believe others should be free to advocate for it,” he wrote.

Pressley declined to provide a yes-or-no response on the anti-boycott bill question.

The Intercept reported that Capuano’s loss was a potential setback for anti-interventionists.

Capuano has been a forceful voice against U.S. involvement in foreign wars, while Pressley — as a municipal officer — is a relatively blank slate with respect to international affairs. In a questionnaire provided to both candidates by Massachusetts Peace Action, Pressley declined to answer whether she would vote to end military intervention in Afghanistan or support legislation prohibiting military forces from being stationed in Syria. Capuano answered yes to both.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the first big star of the Democratic progressive season for her defeat of a long time incumbent congressman in Queens/the Bronx, was outspoken about Israel’s “massacre” in Gaza but has been careful about not taking a stance on BDS.

Money is surely an issue in all these candidates’ tackings. Read Stephanie Schriock of Emily’s List and JJ Goldberg on the “gigantic” and “shocking” role of Jews in financing Democratic races. Schriock:

I started as a finance director… in the 90’s… And I would come on a congressional race… and you thought about where you are going to go to raise the money that you needed to raise to win a race. And you went to labor, you went to the choice community, and you went to the Jewish community. But before you went to the Jewish community, you had a conversation with the lead AIPAC person in your state…

Now let’s move to the press. Both the New York Times and NPR ran stories that were supportive of BDS in the last week.

Daniel Estrin of NPR reported on Israel’s deportation of BDS supporters trying to enter the country and offered a sympathetic portrait of a BDS backer.

In April, a pro-Palestinian activist named Emily landed in Tel Aviv and was taken to a room with three officers who started asking questions.

[Emily’s voice:] “And they turned directly to asking me if I support BDS.”

BDS is Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. It refers to various global campaigns to boycott Israeli institutions and businesses. Proponents say it’s a nonviolent way to promote justice for Palestinians. But Israel says their goal is to undermine Israel’s right to exist. Last year, Israel passed a law banning entry to foreigners who advocate a boycott. Emily says the Israeli officers accused her of working for boycott organizations.

Estrin goes on to quote Emily on her last encounter with Israeli officials before she was deported.

He looked at my paper and told me it was because I hated Israel. I responded that I don’t hate Israel. I just believe in peace and human rights, and I don’t support the Zionist-Israeli regime.

So an anti-Zionist is featured in the mainstream press in a positive light!

Meantime, in The New York Times, Joseph Levine penned a column for their philosophy blog, on the question of whether the BDS movement fosters “hate.” Levine identified himself as a “strong” supporter of BDS and said its goals are “reasonable” ones that deserve a public hearing. But that it is being smeared by those supporting anti-BDS legislation.

In my home state of Massachusetts, for example, where a hearing for one of the many state bills aimed at punishing B.D.S. activity took place in July 2017, those who testified in favor of the bill, along with their supporters in the gallery, wore signs saying “No Hate in the Bay State.” They took every opportunity to compare B.D.S. supporters to the alt-right activists recently empowered by the election of Donald Trump. (Full disclosure: I am a strong supporter of B.D.S. and was among those testifying against the bill.)

The aim of this activity is to relegate the B.D.S. movement, and the Palestine solidarity movement more generally, to the nether region of public discourse occupied by all the intolerant worldviews associated with the alt-right. This is an area the philosopher John Rawls would call “unreasonable.” But to my mind, it is the anti-B.D.S. movement itself that belongs there.

Notice Levine’s dismissal of Zionism!

[I]t seems obvious to me, and I bet many others when they bother to think about it, that claims to land stemming from a connection to people who lived there 2,000 years ago is extremely weak when opposed by the claims of those who currently live there and whose people have been living there for perhaps a millennium or more.

Levine says it is the anti-BDS argument that ought to be marginalized as unreasonable. He quotes Senator Chuck Schumer’s speech to AIPAC in which he said there’s no peace because the Palestinians “don’t believe in Torah” and don’t recognize the Jewish claim to the land.

Mr. Schumer then appeals to the Torah to justify the Jewish claim against them. But this is a totally illegitimate appeal as a form of public reason, no different from appealing to religious doctrine when opposing abortion. In fact, I claim you can’t find any genuine argument that isn’t guilty of breaching the limits of the reasonable in this way for the alleged right to establish the Jewish state in Palestine.

This almost certainly explains why opponents of B.D.S. are now turning to the heavy hand of the state to criminalize support for it. In a “fair fight” within the domain of public reason, they would indeed find themselves “delegitimized.”

Right; it’s not a fair playing field.

Finally, I can’t conclude a roundup on the discourse without mentioning economic correspondent Paul Solman’s report from Palestine for the PBS News Hour last week that offered the usual misrepresentation of violence in the occupied territories, the kind of misrepresentation that distorts US perceptions of the conflict.

In Gaza, the sometimes violent Palestinian protests of last spring still reverberate.

In April and May, more than 100 Palestinians were killed, many thousands wounded. Just last week, Israel closed the northern border crossing for several days after violence flared again, here, Palestinians launching flaming kits into Israel.

All those people were killed by Israeli forces. Imagine leaving that part out and characterizing Palestinians as “violent”! Jeez.

Paul Solman of the PBS News Hour

The piece overall was a “co-existence” piece: why can’t these people get along. It featured a business bootcamp organized by Israelis in Ramallah to make Palestine part of start-up nation. The program is Called Our Generation Speaks, sponsored by Brandeis University (Solman’s alma mater) and led by Ohad Elhelo, who also spoke at J Street this spring.

Solman said that the partnerships are vigorously opposed by some Palestinians.

Arab-Israeli collaboration is so charged, however, that many of the Brandeis fellows wouldn’t speak on camera, for fear of reprisal back home.

Maybe he should have explained why many Palestinians oppose normalization efforts, when the essential relationship between the two parties is still discriminatory, and Palestinians have been promised political freedom for 8 decades and gotten nothing.

H/t Adam Horowitz and Donald Johnson.

Philip Weiss

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

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69 Responses

  1. just on September 7, 2018, 2:13 pm

    Shame on them! Thanks for the report, Philip.

    OTOH~ check out the signatories on this:

    “Boycott Eurovision Song Contest hosted by Israel

    Artists from Europe and beyond support the appeal from Palestinian artists to boycott the contest next year …”

    Some humans ‘get it’, others are complete cowards…

  2. Kay24 on September 7, 2018, 6:08 pm

    They are desperate to win, and to do so, you have to kiss up to that big zionist behind. It is embarrassing to see our American politicians become obedient lapdogs afterwards.
    “So who is the superpower here” (Bill Clinton).

  3. Boomer on September 7, 2018, 7:06 pm

    Thanks for reporting the bright spots among the prevailing darkness. As an American, I don’t read Israeli news but, as an American who reads the U.S. news, I’m exposed to a lot of Zionist perspectives. It typically seems to describe a reality quite different from the one I see. A recent example is an op-ed in the WSJ, by Alex Joffe and Asaf Romirowsky titled, “Palestinians, You Don’t Have to Live Like a Refugee.” They effectively blame the victims and praise the oppressors. At some level, I suppose they believe this, but I have to suspect that at another level they must have doubts.

    I am not a psychologist, and I’m not capable of a full explication of this common pattern, but I wonder if such an analysis might be helpful. I recently heard a psychologist discuss a study of a different issue (why abused women so often take back their abusers, even recanting testimony in some cases that puts them in jail for lying to the police instead of the abuser).

    Understanding that dynamic could be helpful to a counselor and an abused woman. Perhaps something similar could be helpful in this very different context. That’s a vague aspiration, and I’m not too hopeful, but given the control wielded by Zionists in the world of Realpolitik, I can only clutch at straws.

    • on September 8, 2018, 10:48 am

      I see no parallel here, aside from the fact of abuse.
      The Palestinians’ are NOT “taking back their abusers.”
      What in the world are you talking about?
      This is more a situation of outright sadism by the Israelis, practiced on an imprisoned population.
      The actual parallel is with Nazi torturers, who killed only some of their victims, recall, not all . . .

      • Boomer on September 8, 2018, 2:47 pm

        Islander, I may not have been clear. I did not mean to suggest that the situations were similar, just wondering if understanding the psychology involved (which is different) might be helpful. Not being an expert, I was just looking for information. Frankly, I kinda doubt it. For one thing, I suspect the psychology may not be all that complicated. I’ve never been to the region, but years ago a friend who spent time there told me “it’s all about land . . . and the desire for more.” If you take something from someone, you are likely to justify it by dehumanizing them or otherwise distancing . . . saying they are evil, or whatever.

        I assume that tribalism has a lot to do with it. Tribalism can be mostly benign, if it is just about which football team to cheer for and identify with with. But often it is more than that. A few years ago I read Haidt’s “The Righteous Mind,” which discusses the role of tribalism to some extent and suggests there may even be evolutionary/biological reasons for it. More recently, I’ve read Robert Sapolsky’s “Behave” which suggests some similar ideas.

        I guess there are things one could in theory try to reduce tribalism. E.g., try to get people to identify with some broader, more inclusive group. Or get groups to work together to address some over-arching goal. But both authors seem to take it as a given in human nature. In the context of Israel/Palestine today, such techniques doesn’t seem very practical. Back at the time of Oslo, it seemed more feasible. Perhaps it never was, but at least it seemed so.

        Sorry I wasn’t clear. I hope that I’ve clarified things. I’m feeling about ready to check out from the hotel Mondoweiss. Not because I don’t admire the effort, but because I don’t see much reason for hope. My question was sort of a search for a reason to hope for a decent resolution.

      • on September 8, 2018, 8:24 pm

        Of course it is about land.
        Instead of relying on what your friend said years ago, why don’t you basically inform yourself as to the situation “on the ground.”
        You don’t “cure” Zionists of their drive to pursue their Eretz israel program, destroy Palestinian villages and farms and orchards and water and steal their land and build settlements on it and pen other Palestinians up in an open-air prison and starve them to death by navel gazing about why do these Zionists do it!!! Are they neurotic? Uh, no. As a bank robber answered the question why do you steal from banks? Because that is where the money is. Why do the Zionists dehumanize and steal from the Palestinians? Because the latter have the land that the former covet. End of story.
        You can start your reading to basically inform yourself before you blather on with
        Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.

      • Donald on September 9, 2018, 1:03 pm

        Boomer, your first post was confusing, but your second one clarified things. I suspect understanding the psychology of abusers might be of limited usefulness because we are talking about millions of people whose personal psychologies are going to be of all different types. The commonality with Israelis ( the Jewish ones, that is) is that they are presumably bombarded with the message that the system they were born into ( assuming they didn’t move there from elsewhere) is just and all the outside criticism is unfair or exaggerated or simply evil. An individual who might be personally kind and decent in their dealings with people they know might be irrational and unwilling to accept criticism when it comes to how Israel treats Palestinians. People in these situations almost never come to their senses without outside pressure. There are exceptional people who do, but they are, well, exceptional.

  4. ckg on September 7, 2018, 8:11 pm

    So are Rashida Tlaib and Julia Salazar the only active Democratic political candidates at state or national level to come out in support of BDS?

  5. ckg on September 7, 2018, 8:34 pm

    Cynthia Nixon too!

  6. eljay on September 7, 2018, 9:15 pm

    If Jews were being subjected to evils similar to those to which Zionists and their “Jewish State” construct are subjecting their non-Jewish victims, you can be sure that there wouldn’t be a Jew alive who wouldn’t rightly:
    – object to the acts of injustice and immorality being committed by the perpetrator; and
    – insist on the need for justice, accountability and equality for all victims.

    All of which makes the utter hypocrisy of Jewish supremacists (Zionists) that much more obvious and distasteful.

  7. echinococcus on September 7, 2018, 9:29 pm

    “Progressive” my @$$.
    What part of “Democrat” don’t you understand?

  8. Richard Baldwin Cook on September 8, 2018, 8:43 am

    Unless and until there is a muscular Boycott movement in the US, with weekend picketing , visits to retailers, house meetings, signs at hundreds of intersections – talk of a USA BDS movement is just that, talk. Politicians are indifferent and hostile to BDS because they see no downside. Right now, nationwide, there isn’t a political upside for supporting Palestine. BDS could and should be that engine. Can anyone name a single national organization that is doing regular, daily Face to Face organizing, putting pickets in front of stores?

    • catalan on September 8, 2018, 9:42 am

      “putting pickets in front of stores?” Richard Cook
      This is illegal in the United States. You are not allowed to physically prevent a customer to enter a store because of some point you are trying to make.

      • annie on September 8, 2018, 10:01 am

        illegal? strange, because i remember standing outside of veolia’s oakland office holding signs and chanting. HP headquarters too. an action at bed bath and beyond for selling soda stream. as far as i know this is still legal in the US.

      • catalan on September 8, 2018, 10:13 am

        “as far as i know this is still legal in the US.” Annie
        Holding signs and chanting is legal if it does not disturb the peace. However, “picketing”, as in using physical force to prevent a customer from entering a store is a criminal assault and a felony. But I guess now BDS is looking at blocking people from going to Walmart because they sell Nestle and Haagendazs. Now that’s a winning strategy. It just keeps getting better.

      • CigarGod on September 8, 2018, 11:26 am

        Just about everyone here can immediately spot a Straw man.
        Richard did not even imply “…physically prevent…”

        You should pal up with Dabaker.
        He likes to use a Fallacy of Relevance (thinking two wrongs make a right.)

      • Talkback on September 8, 2018, 11:40 am

        catalan: “But I guess now BDS is looking at blocking people from going to Walmart because they sell Nestle and Haagendazs. Now that’s a winning strategy. It just keeps getting better.”

        It’s just about making people aware. Something that brainwashed people don’t understand, do you?

      • catalan on September 8, 2018, 11:59 am

        “Richard did not even imply “…physically prevent…”” cigar
        Oh yes he did – by using the word “picketing” .
        From Wikipedia:
        Disruptive picketing is where pickets illegally use force, or the threat of force, or physical obstruction, to injure or intimidate or otherwise interfere with either staff, service users, or customers.

      • Maghlawatan on September 8, 2018, 12:33 pm

        You are hilarious Catalan

        « « Disruptive picketing is where pickets illegally use force, or the threat of force, or physical obstruction, to injure or intimidate or otherwise interfere with either staff, service users, or customers »

        In the Israeli army it may include

        – dropping something small on the roof to indicate wipeout in 10 Minutes
        -calling in white phosphorus
        -Using the neighbor as a human shield

        If it is good enough for Gaza surely it is good enough for committed Zionists (who should be committed)

      • eljay on September 8, 2018, 1:00 pm

        || catalan: “Richard did not even imply “…physically prevent…”” cigar
        Oh yes he did … ||

        No, you inferred that he did.

        || … by using the word “picketing” . … ||

        Correct, he used the word “picketing” and not the term “disruptive picketing”. So let’s have a look at Wikipedia’s definition of picketing:

        Picketing is a form of protest in which people (called picketers)[1] congregate outside a place of work or location where an event is taking place. Often, this is done in an attempt to dissuade others from going in (“crossing the picket line”), but it can also be done to draw public attention to a cause. Picketers normally endeavor to be non-violent. It can have a number of aims, but is generally to put pressure on the party targeted to meet particular demands and/or cease operations. This pressure is achieved by harming the business through loss of customers and negative publicity, or by discouraging or preventing workers and/or customers from entering the site and thereby preventing the business from operating normally.

        Nothing in the definition indicates that picketing necessarily involves physical interference.

        Nice – if somewhat sleazy – try.

      • catalan on September 8, 2018, 1:21 pm

        “In the Israeli army it may include – dropping something small on the roof to indicate wipeout in 10 Minutes” maghla
        Well I am not a big fan of any army – as I have said, I never served anywehere, never owned a gun and try to live a peaceful life. At issue was a proposal to physically brutalize Walmart shoppers in the United States (aka “disruptive picketing”) because they sell some type of bra, or Nestle, or Cocal Cola. The American police looks very unkindly towards physical aggression to make a political point (whether you are a Nazi, a communist, or BDS member). People that boycott brassieres to help the Palestinians probably don’t get this last point though.

      • MHughes976 on September 8, 2018, 2:19 pm

        I’ve done a bit of workplace picketing under fairly restrictive UK law. Unless usage is very different in the United States ‘picketing’ is the name for a permitted activity, regarded as aimed, in its permitted forms, at persuasion rather than intimidation.

      • catalan on September 8, 2018, 5:33 pm

        “Nothing in the definition indicates that picketing necessarily involves physical interference.” Eljay
        I think we have some cultural issues here. In most of the United States, stores are located on private property. For example to get to the entrance of a Costco or Walmart, you typically have to pass through a privately owned parking lot. Big cities sometimes have stores with street entrances. When the entrance is on private property you will typically see a sign that indicates that all types of religious, political, etc solicitation are prohibited. That makes shopping in America a fun experience – you cangenenerally rest assured that you can take little ones to Walmart without having animal rights, or Palestinian rights, or Jehovas witnesses bug you. No propaganda on the premises. If a store has the rare street entrance you can have an occasional gathering of loons. Just the thought of it makes me laugh though.

      • echinococcus on September 8, 2018, 6:11 pm

        That’s just “Catalan”, folks, talking about US law as if he had the foggiest idea of it. No need to paay attention.

      • CigarGod on September 8, 2018, 9:33 pm

        Catalan, you might want to use a legal definition next time.
        Trust me, in a dispute, no judge is going to use wiki.

        Btw, a store entrance is often the private parking lot. It is part of the store property.

        You might try being less slimey and more honest next time.

      • eljay on September 8, 2018, 9:45 pm

        || catalan: “Nothing in the definition indicates that picketing necessarily involves physical interference.” Eljay
        I think we have some cultural issues here. … ||

        Even if we do, it doesn’t change the definition of “picketing” or the fact that you inferred physical interference from Richard’s post.

        This try was much more lame than your last one.  :-(

  9. Citizen on September 8, 2018, 8:59 am

    Zionists are afraid of the rise of little Corbyns here in USA. Wonder what Bernie has to say about the Zionist attack on Corbyn in UK? Here, in USA, the Jewish community provides about 2/3rds of the total of donations to the Democrat Party.

    • echinococcus on September 8, 2018, 6:13 pm

      Sanders will say what he said for the 2014 Gaza massacre , of course: that Azrael has a “right to defend itself.”

  10. on September 8, 2018, 10:44 am

    Too many Jewish retirees in Florida.
    He doesn’t dare rile them.
    There is a huge disconnect for jews who hate Trump and support Israel.
    At some point the disconnect might begin to sink in, but not with older Jewish voters.

    • CigarGod on September 8, 2018, 11:34 am

      Yeah right, it’s a good thing Rosa Parks decided to -Tiptoe for Change-
      It’s just not prudent to be the only one sticking their head up in a crowd of Nazi’s.

      • Jon66 on September 8, 2018, 2:13 pm

        The same Rosa Parks who signed a letter that said,
        ““Zionism is not racism, but the legitimate expression of the Jewish people’s self determination…From our 400 year experience with slavery, segregation, and discrimination we know that Zionism is not racism.”
        (From a column by Bayard Rustin, Director of Black Americans to Support Israel Committee)”

        “We condemn the anti-Jewish “blacklist.”
        We have fought too long and too hard to root out discrimination from our land to sit idly while foreign interests import bigotry into America. Having suffered so greatly from such prejudice, we consider most repugnant efforts by Arab states to use the economic power of their newly acquired oil wealth to boycott business firms that deal with Israel or that have Jewish owners, directors or executives and to impose anti-Jewish preconditions for investments in this country.”

      • CigarGod on September 8, 2018, 10:30 pm

        Focus jon66, focus.
        Or you can just keep throwing chum into the water.

      • Marnie on September 9, 2018, 11:49 am

        jon 666
        Another thing I hate about zionists is their tossing around the names of civil rights heroes and martyrs as if you own ’em. I imagine your ancestors did, but you don’t and you have no right to use their names and their lives as if they were fighting for the jewish right to palestine. They weren’t. I don’t give a damn how many quotes you produce either. If you aren’t using their lives to justify the crimes and sins of the jewish state, you’re trashing them. You are shameless.

      • Jon66 on September 9, 2018, 12:11 pm

        Just taking the time to thank you for bringing up Rosa Parks so that we can understand that many of the giants of the American civil rights movement were supporters of Zionism.

      • Donald on September 9, 2018, 1:11 pm


        We have been through this before, with MLK. It is likely MLK and other Americans of that period were unaware of the Nakba. They probably didn’t know that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were ejected by force. They probably didn’t know that some Palestinian villages had nonaggression pacts with their Jewish neighbors and it didn’t necessarily save them. They probably didn’t know that in the years following the war, thousands of Palestinian refugees who tried crossing the border to return to their homes or even to farm their land were shot, according to Benny Morris.

        I mean, maybe MLK and Rosa Parks really knew all these things which most Americans of the time didn’t know and they cynically pretended otherwise, but I am going to guess they were misled by the absurdly one sided pro Israel propaganda history of the time that you can see in novels like Exodus or James Michener’s The Source.

      • Jon66 on September 9, 2018, 2:08 pm

        Just because you may disagree with Mrs.Parks doesn’t mean she did not support Zionism and Israel. This fact may disturb you but that doesn’t make it untrue. I wasn’t the one who first brought her up. Please talk with Cigar. It’s a shame for you that so many of the icons of American Civil rights were supporters of Zionism.

      • Maghlawatan on September 9, 2018, 2:12 pm

        A lot of decent people supported Israel pre 67, but then there was Sabra Shatila, white phosphorus, and blowing up the boys on the beach.
        Israel has real trouble engaging Millennials, because of all the gore.

      • CigarGod on September 9, 2018, 3:01 pm

        No jon66,
        Go look up the definition of “context.”
        You continually hop from one context to another, yet seem to think you are still focused on the original one.
        Perhaps you are bi-polar, other ailments…maybe simple hasbara technique.

      • amigo on September 9, 2018, 3:13 pm

        “Please talk with Cigar. It’s a shame for you that so many of the icons of American Civil rights were supporters of Zionism.” jon 66

        That was before they knew better ,and anyone who thinks these same Civil Rights supporters would support the racist zionist rogue entity of today are , well to put it mildly , off their rocker.

        And yes Zionism is racism.Just read the Nation State Law , for starters.

        Why are zionists such a self delusional bunch.

      • Talkback on September 9, 2018, 3:39 pm

        Jon66: “It’s a shame for you that so many of the icons of American Civil rights were supporters of Zionism.”

        It’s a shame that so many of the icons of American Civil rights were supporters of Zionism. But back then there was no Palestinian side of the story and only Zionist founding myths.

      • annie on September 9, 2018, 3:54 pm

        i don’t find their support back then disturbing in the least and it makes perfect sense given the dearth of information and propaganda. and it bears no relevance to what’s happening today jon. not sure if you’ve seen the new leaked undercover AJ investigation: ““The major problem with Israel is with the young generation of the black community — Black Lives Matter”.

        the israel gov recruiting old has beens to tarnish blm? it’s not going to work. and they keep meddling in our domestic affairs. the backlash from this already here.

      • eljay on September 9, 2018, 4:11 pm

        || Jon66: … It’s a shame for you that so many of the icons of American Civil rights were supporters of Zionism. ||

        It’s a shame that – like all Zionists – so many of the icons of American Civil rights were hypocrites.

      • MHughes976 on September 9, 2018, 6:07 pm

        MLK absolutely must have known from an early stage about the Nakba. He had – unlike most distinguished Americans of his day – visited Palestine, the Jordanian controlled part. He talks about the visit in fairly neutral terms in his Easter sermon of 1959. Many details were not common knowledge in 59 but the basic pattern of events must have been impossible to ignore, whatever judgement you made on them. When he became aware of Reinhold Niebuhr’s theological glorification of Israel I am not sure.
        The matter was to assume increasing importance for him as time went on, becoming a central part of the threatened but always just avoided split with Stokely Carmichael, as is recounted in Lenni Brenner’s memoir. He had plenty of time to move closer to Carmichael’s rejection of Zionism but chose, despite what he called his ‘questions of doubt’, very much otherwise and that choice resonates through the rather awful manifesto of November 23, 1975, signed by many of his most famous followers including Parks and Belafonte. I agree that even Carmichael, who had many Jewish friends and influences, didn’t start as an anti-Z, but then he had no experience of visiting Palestine. King cannot be excused by lack of information. He didn’t indeed lack concern. But he made a fateful choice with great subsequent impact.

      • Jon66 on September 9, 2018, 10:49 pm

        I agree. It’s ignorant and disrespectful to assume that these pioneers of civil rights were not educated enough to know the situation. They simply made a choice that most here disagree with. The fact that reasonable people can be Zionist drives some here to near madness.

      • CigarGod on September 10, 2018, 12:31 am

        Sorry MHughes.
        Even today the majority of the 3.6 million visitors to Israel are booked by Israel tour companies and carefully shepherded to the locations convenient to Israelis. There is very little opportunity for interaction. On this site, it was recently reported that the majority of Israelis don’t even know the details of todays history, let alone the true history of Israels founding decades.
        Since you like to speculate, do you think a country hosting a noted leader from America, would really show him the dark underbelly?

      • Donald on September 10, 2018, 7:48 am


        I think there is a difference between a very partial knowledge and suspicion vs a much greater understanding of the details. Everyone, for instance, knew of the Deir Yassin massacre, but it was thought, in Western circles, to have been an aberration, carried out by the bad Irgun and not the noble Haganah forces. In Western circles it wasn’t for decades acknowledged that there were many massacres carried out by the people who became the IDF. And everyone knew there were refugees, but the storyline was that they fled because their leaders ordered them to do so, even though the Zionists begged them to stay. Also, of course, people flee during wartime without deliberate expulsions. Israel had an image of idealistic socialist virtue surrounded by backwards Arab countries steeped in murderous antisemitism and of course there was the Mufti and some Arab leader did use bloodthirsty rhetoric. Americans knew the worst about the Arab side. They knew only a fraction about the Zionist side and it was smothered in propaganda, so what atrocities were known could be explained away as the actions of a few bad apples and over all of this is the shadow of the Holocaust, where Western liberals are feeling shame for the long history of antisemitism which culminated in genocide. So, again, it would have been easy back then for a well intentioned American to know part of the truth and completely misunderstand what had actually happened. It is easy for us to judge MLK— nowadays the reality of the Nakba is grudgingly accepted by the mainstream to some degree and Israeli historians have proven it occurred from Israeli archives.

      • Donald on September 10, 2018, 8:08 am

        One other point. I have the impression that in Britain there was a lot more knowledge of what Israel had done. But in the US anything that went beyond the very mildest criticism of Israel was seen as antisemitic. The PLO was seen the way ISIS is seen. And it was a cliche that British leftists who were critical of Zionism were antisemites. I don’t have sources to cite, but I used to see that and it came back with a vengeance recently with descriptions of Corbyn and Labour. In this country that idiotic Joan Peters book was treated with great respect by liberal intellectuals in the US and this was in the 1980’s.

        I think it is very easy for us to assume everyone should have known the truth about what Israel had done, but in the US this simply wasn’t the case, even with the supposedly well informed types.

      • eljay on September 10, 2018, 8:53 am

        || Jon66: … The fact that reasonable people can be Zionist drives some here to near madness. ||

        All reasonable people should be troubled by the hypocrisy of “reasonable people” embracing one form of supremacism while decrying others.

      • Maghlawatan on September 10, 2018, 11:34 am

        You can’t be reasonable and Zionist. Reasonable people are discerning and figure things out. Zionism is groupthink and pre programmed. Ask any Zionist about Gaza.

      • MHughes976 on September 10, 2018, 2:15 pm

        Cigar, King never visited Israel, only the Jordanian controlled part of Palestine. If he encountered any propaganda it would have been on the other side. Donald, I agree that there are different levels of awareness but King must have known and thought about the matter much more than most. He was many things, including a liberal Protestant intellectual at a time when liberal Protestantism had a strong pro-Israel streak, led by Niebuhr. It was this that led King to sign a remarkably pro-Israel manifesto at the time of the 6 day war. He did say in private that he ‘did have questions of doubt’ but all this indicates that he knew and thought about the matter enough to have doubts which in public he never expressed and in conversation/correspondence with pro-Israel people always overcame. He represents a certain faith-informed judgement on Israel, not radically insufficient information. As a young guy in the U.K. I was much misled by the clergy.

      • CigarGod on September 10, 2018, 4:11 pm

        So King and wife did not land in and visit Jerusalem in 1959?

      • Keith on September 10, 2018, 4:24 pm

        MHUGHES976- “He represents a certain faith-informed judgement on Israel, not radically insufficient information.”

        Perhaps he was somewhat influenced by Jewish support and funding for his Southern Christian Leadership Conference?

      • MHughes976 on September 10, 2018, 6:07 pm

        He landed in what he called, quaintly to our ear, ‘Jerusalem, Jordan’. I think, CG, that it is clear from the few paras of his Easter sermon, preached a few weeks later, that he never set foot in Israel.
        I’m sure, Keith, that his alliance with liberal Jews influenced him very seriously. They supported him personally and financially. That helped to quiet, if not answer, the ‘questions of doubt’. I’m sure he thought it was morally and theologically valid – you and I would disagree. In a way it was part of the convergence of liberal Judaism and liberal Protestantism at that period. But he was not an ill-informed Mr. Average or an innocent abroad.

      • RoHa on September 10, 2018, 6:49 pm

        Misleading the young, in one way or another, is the main occupation of the clergy.

      • CigarGod on September 10, 2018, 9:17 pm

        You’re not going to imitate jon66, dabaker and others with an attempted slimey dodge too, are you Hughes?

        On Easter Sunday in 1959, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. rose in the pulpit of his Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, to deliver a sermon that focused on his just-completed visit, with his wife, Coretta, to Jerusalem and its holy sites.

        King’s trip that month to eastern Jerusalem and the nearby cities of Bethlehem, Hebron, Nablus and Jericho, all of which were then part of Jordan, came at the end of a monthlong visit to India that he wrote about extensively later in his autobiography.

        However, little remains to us from his visit to Jerusalem, except for an audio recording and transcript of that late March sermon nearly six decades ago, which he titled “Pilgrimage to Non-Violence” and spoke movingly of walking in the footsteps of his two greatest inspirations, Mahatma Gandhi and Jesus. The sermon speaks of the deep impact of walking on the Via Dolorosa in the Old City, where Jesus was mocked and tormented, and how profoundly he connected Jesus’ vision of peace, love and justice with his own struggle for justice for African-Americans.

      • Marnie on September 12, 2018, 8:20 am

        @jon 666
        I don’t have a problem with Rosa Parks or MLK. My problem is with you and your ilk. Again I hate zionists and even more for pimping dead civil rights heroes. If they were alive, chances are pretty good they would condemn zionism in all of its hideous reality that was hidden from them as well as the rest of the non-jewish world for decades. You all have been bulllshitting the world with great success, even greater by the tried and true methods crafted to perfection since the end of the 19th century (executions, extortions, bribes – the trifecta of the ‘chosen’ volk).

      • Jon66 on September 12, 2018, 6:34 pm

        “Again I hate zionists”
        Rosa Parks and MLK were both zionists. I know it just kills you

      • Marnie on September 12, 2018, 11:51 pm

        @jon 666
        “Again I hate zionists”
        ‘Rosa Parks and MLK were both zionists.’

        Feel better? ‘Doc’ sorry to tell you but I feel okay. I can’t say the same for you though; you’re one sick MF and if you’d just get off the pipe you might have half of chance of not being the shame of your family. You have a bad case of apartheiphilia (how’s that rash?) and the only cure is stop cold turkey. Good luck with that ;^P.

  11. guyn on September 8, 2018, 6:03 pm

    How is it Ayanna Presley won the primary instead of Capuano who seems at least as much or more progressive than her.

    • on September 8, 2018, 8:30 pm

      Yes, I wonder that as well.
      I thought Capuano was pretty good. I seem to recall he was against the Patriot Act. Perhaps he was just getting too old. Perhaps he became complacent and didn’t bother to campaign.

    • Mooser on September 9, 2018, 1:45 pm

      “How is it Ayanna Presley won the primary”

      She got the electorate all shook up.

      • guyn on September 11, 2018, 9:37 am

        That’s what I think.

    • amigo on September 12, 2018, 8:19 pm

      “Rosa Parks and MLK were both zionists. I know it just kills you” jon66

      “Doggy, Doggy, where’s your bone?
      Somebody stole it from your home.
      Guess who! Maybe you…
      Maybe the monkeys from the zoo.
      Wake up doggy, find your bone.|”

    • amigo on September 13, 2018, 5:39 pm

      “Rosa Parks and MLK were both zionists. I know it just kills you.”jon 66

      Marnie , I suspect even if he is a doctor ,it is in the field of pediatrics .The doc spends most of his time around infants .Hence the infantile statement above.

      Best to ignore this clutz.

  12. Marnie on September 9, 2018, 11:44 am

    Maybe these 2 candidates are doing what everyone else does – saying the wrong thing to the right people in order to get elected and then when they are in office they’ll drop the BS and get down to business by supporting BDS. They probably won’t, but all politicians lie. Maybe these 2 are lying (about BDS) too.

  13. Boomer on September 11, 2018, 10:03 am

    Thanks to MHughes976 for his informative comments in this thread.

    • MHughes976 on September 14, 2018, 1:56 pm

      Thanks for kind words B.B.! There is a lot of info to be found in Lenni Brenner ‘The Black Civil Rights Movement and Zionism’ Martin Kramer ‘The War on Error’ Carys Moseley ‘Nationhood, Providence and Witness’ Caitlin Carenen ‘The Fervent Embrace’. I think it clear that King was well informed and very concerned about Palestine.
      The figure, in some ways the towering figure, of Reinhold Niebuhr needs to be considered. The brilliant student MLK was writing essays on N way back in 1952, not necessarily in awareness of his ‘fanatical Zionism’ (per Edward Said, in some ways an admirer). Ten years before N had written ‘The Jews after the War’, in which he advocated setting aside Palestine for the Jews, with the others ‘otherwise compensated’, ie relocated. Moseley reports that no less a figure than Stephen Wise thanked N for saying what Jews at the time could not say – which doesn’t prove that most Jews would have said it but is interesting evidence for the mindset of the Z’ist leadership.
      N wrote the first version of the Serenity Prayer, which is a capsule statement of his signature ‘Christian Realism’, whose political form extends to making the best of things even if there must be loss and suffering.
      15 years later N and King both signed a highly militaristic letter in support of Israel published in the NYT on June 4, 1967. King claimed that he had signed it without ‘having really read it’. But it should be noted that K did not sign N’s next declaration, opposing the return of any of Jerusalem after the Israeli conquest, did call for the return of territory in television interviews and did talk privately of his ‘questions of doubt’. There is a lot more to the story, of course. I don’t think that we can treat K as ill informed about the whole situation, Nakba included, or as free of the influence of the most radical liberal Christian Zionists. But if he was a Zionist on balance he was doubtful and unenthusiastic.

  14. catalan on September 12, 2018, 9:59 pm

    Here is a link to Annie’s retweet with a list of companies to boycott:
    It’s interesting as it includes 20 Century Fox, Gap, Nestle, Victoria Secret, Dr Pepper, Hugo Boss and McDonalds. Annie was embarrassed I guess so she accused me of lying. Also, be sure not to use the Kleenex facial tissue.

    • Maghlawatan on September 13, 2018, 1:22 am

      The way it works with boycotts is that public revulsion forces companies to dump their involvement . Companies are usually the last to react. If Kleenex have to shaft Israel they will.No multinational needs Israel. The very old problem. You can only be a member if your mother is..Never enough people to escape the Templ’e trashing. And the occupation is the biggest temple of all.

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