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Every day brings another sign that Democrats are dividing over Israel

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Every day brings another sign that there is at last going to be a wide-open debate about American support for Israel in US politics, as the old Democratic Party consensus disintegrates.

We chronicled the efforts of Senate Republicans to push anti-boycott legislation and paint the Democrats as the anti-Israel party. The Women’s March is now riven by the Israel issue, with the Democratic establishment distancing itself from the organizers.

The Democratic leadership is also plainly stunned that two new congresswomen, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, are both BDS supporters, and that star NY Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is critical of Israel. Tlaib tells the Intercept today that she wants to withhold American aid to Israel so long as it denies equality and dignity to her grandmother in Palestine.

Several mainstream figures are warning the Democratic Party not to let Israel divide them. Though Nancy Pelosi pooh-poohs the anti’s as a mere fringe: Don’t pay “attention to a few people who may want to go their own way,” she said last month.

A couple more signs. Buzzfeed has an article up by Emily Tamkin and Alexis Levinson titled, “Israel Will Be The Great Foreign Policy Debate Of The Democratic Primary.” It begins bracingly.

Some of the Democratic Party’s brightest new stars believe Israel is a rogue state that should be treated like apartheid South Africa.

It’s the latest sign that, after 50 years, support for Israel is no longer a bipartisan cause — a dramatic change that will be felt in the wide-open Democratic presidential primary. The young progressives who have ascended to power within the Democratic Party over the last few years want to force what were once fringe views into the mainstream, and significantly change US policy toward Israel.

“I think every 2020 presidential contender will be asked how can they stand by Benjamin Netanyahu when he openly supports Trump’s border wall and compares it to his own draconian policies,” said Waleed Shahid, communications director for Justice Democrats, an assertive progressive group that calls for more criticism of Israel, which rose to prominence in 2018 with its early backing of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The story recounts President Obama’s famous support for Jerusalem as Israel’s capital at the 2012 convention, when he defied the progressive rank-and-file and “personally intervened in response to donors and pro-Israel groups.” That’s honest, to cite the donors, who have traditionally dominated the Democratic Party’s positions on Israel.

And the article quotes Omar Barghouti and James Zogby– another sign that the Democratic Party is fielding the BDS debate at last.

In a radio segment on the women’s march today on WNYC, Brian Lehrer hosted New York Times writer Liz Robbins, who said that in addition to the Farrakhan issue, BDS and Palestinian rights were dividing organizers.

The BDS boycott divestment and sanctions–that’s also an issue. It came up in an article in the Nation in 2017 where Linda Sarsour said, “You either stand up for the right of all women, including Palestinians, or none.” So basically it was a zero sum game of feminism must include the rights of all women. Which, I don’t think thats an argument, but then she’s bringing in Palestinian women who are under occupation by Israel. So that’s a sticking point….  But these are the issues that are dividing the Jewish community both across the country and in New York.

Robbins referred to this exchange in the Nation between  Collier Myerson and Sarsour, when Sarsour said that Zionism and feminism were incompatible, and that Palestinian women were always targeted by Zionists.

“You’ve probably seen that any visible Palestinian-American woman who is at the forefront of any social-justice movement is an immediate target of the right wing and right-wing Zionists….

When you talk about feminism you’re talking about the rights of all women and their families to live in dignity, peace, and security. It’s about giving women access to health care and other basic rights. And Israel is a country that continues to occupy territories in Palestine,

The rights of women under occupation is clearly not a divisive issue for many Jewish women. They would applaud Sarsour’s concerns– certainly the women of JVP.

Robbins did not mention the Palestinian issue in her long piece on the divisions in the march for the New York Times. Though Amith Gupta did, at our site.

The issue in all these developments is: What is legitimate for debate in the mainstream? Is anti-Zionism coming in to that frame? Yes.

Yesterday, Russ Douthat, a conservative columnist for the New York Times, said that Democrats must debate anti-Zionism. In a piece on the Women’s March he warned Democrats that they can neither sequester the Palestine issue nor allow it to take over the party in a revolution. Douthat analogized anti-Zionism to populist rightwing sentiments that were suppressed by the globalist wing of the GOP.

By trying to simply bury the “America First!” ideas that Pat Buchanan ran on in the 1990s, they created a return-of-the-repressed scenario, where a big swathe of their own voters felt chronically unrepresented and ignored and turned eagerly to Trump.

For Democrats this dilemma is likely to play out over foreign policy, and especially policy toward Israel. Anti-Zionism isn’t necessarily anti-Semitism, but the difference can get blurry quick, and the Israel debate is the place where rhetorical poison seems most likely to infect left-wing politics. Which means that most establishment Democrats would prefer not to have debates about Israel at all, just as most establishment Republicans circa 2013 hoped to stop debating immigration.

But for a party whose base is clearly less sympathetic toward Israel than Democratic elders in D.C., repressing the debate would be a mistake — because then anti-Zionism is more likely to percolate below the party’s surface and then bubble up as bigotry. The challenge is to figure out how to quarantine those kinds of hatreds and also represent your voters — because if you fail at the second task, even with the highest of principles the quarantine won’t hold.

It is unfortunate that Douthat cannot recognize the bigotry on the other side of this issue: the routine expressions of disdain, discrimination, vilification of Palestinians that pass for mainstream discussion in our liberal mainstream. But his point that the Democrats cannot suppress this discussion is surely accurate.

Finally, here is Mehdi Hasan asking Rashida Tlaib about cutting off aid to Israel, at the Intercept.

And just on BDS, you and Ilhan Omar have come out in favor of BDS. The first-ever members of Congress to ever do so, what does that actually mean in practice for a member of Congress to be pro-BDS? Does that mean you can’t vote for any military aid to Israel?…

RT: I can tell you what I’ve been very specific about is that I will not be supporting aid to any country that is not for equality or justice. I have to tell you my grandmother lives there. By me supporting any aid to a country that denies her human dignity, denies her equality, the fact that she has to go and, you know, through checkpoints to get to the hospital for health care, the fact that she is felt as if she’s less than in her own country, that is something I will not be supporting.

MH: So you won’t be voting for the current annual U.S. military aid package —?

RT: It has to be for leverage. We do it to states all the time where we say: “Look, if we —” and I can tell you, I mean, people know this. If we are going to tell states they have to support the Civil Rights Act, they have to support the, you know, same-sex marriage, anything that we believe in, we say: “Okay, you want this money, then you’re going to have to support these values. You’re going to have to support the federal law.” If we’re not doing that to Israel, Saudi Arabia and other countries, then we’re not doing our job as a country.

The great surprise here is– in a Democratic discourse in which Bernie Sanders repeatedly tempered his criticisms of Israel — how unapologetic Tlaib is. Her stance instantly makes her a leader, and defines the left side of Democratic Party politics. People will flock to her.

Thanks to Donald Johnson.

philweiss
About Philip Weiss

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

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34 Responses

  1. annie
    annie on January 17, 2019, 5:31 pm

    thank heaven for Rashida Tlaib and Justice Dems.

    this is like music to my ears. from the excellent buzzfeed article (which i highly recommend)

    No candidate who has announced, or who is expected to announce, their candidacy for the 2020 Democratic nomination has come out in support of BDS. But support from individuals like Tlaib and Omar is pushing the progressive groups that back them to take more aggressive stances on the issue than they might otherwise, a posture which could make it a litmus test in 2020 defining what it means to be a progressive Democrat.

    • Citizen
      Citizen on January 17, 2019, 8:31 pm

      Music to my ears too!

    • Albert Westpy
      Albert Westpy on January 18, 2019, 4:01 pm

      As a card-carrying socialist I will vote for a progressive candidant from another party if there is not a socialist in the race. The problem as I see it is one of economics. I would like to take this time to invite every progressive to visit our website at : https://www.socialistpartyusa.net/platform too better understand who we are and too read our 2018 – 2019 platform.
      In solidarity !

  2. JWalters
    JWalters on January 17, 2019, 8:32 pm

    The Democrats are dividing over loyalty to the US Constitution (and the fundamental values it expresses), or loyalty to a very corrupt, very wealthy, banking and war profiteering oligarchy. The oligarchy has so much financial control over the political system (through campaign money and press coverage) that it takes truly exceptional courage to stand up to that corrupt power.

    • Citizen
      Citizen on January 19, 2019, 11:19 am

      Yes, neither main political party aims to end “the system.” Breaking up the TBTF banks, resurrecting the chinese wall between commericial and investment banking, auditing The Fed, taxing all Wall St transactions at ordinary income rates, ending the political campaign finance sub-system, ending the PNAC-based “regime change” foreign policy, especially in the ME, ending aid to Israel, drastically cutting the Pentagon budget–after a serious audit, & eliminating the cap on the social security tax; such things things prioritized up high–would be a good start to ending “the deep state” rule by the 1% oligarchy partners.

      • JWalters
        JWalters on January 20, 2019, 5:01 pm

        Good list. I would amend one thing. Nationalize the Fed. To comply with the Constitution it should not be owned by private bankers. Currently it is one of the biggest scams in history, and a millstone around the necks of every member of the American economy. This is explained in Ellen Brown’s book Web of Debt.

      • Citizen
        Citizen on January 22, 2019, 5:11 am

        Good point. The Creature From Jekyll Island is also highly informative about The Fed.

  3. gamal
    gamal on January 18, 2019, 3:50 am

    “I can tell you what I’ve been very specific about is that I will not be supporting aid to any country that is not for equality or justice. I have to tell you my grandmother lives there. By me supporting any aid to a country that denies her human dignity, denies her equality, the fact that she has to go and, you know, through checkpoints to get to the hospital for health care, the fact that she is felt as if she’s less than in her own country, that is something I will not be supporting”

    I have recently been recalling that who is it we beseech to protect the Ati, the troma tantra, the vima nyintig, none other than Ekazati a woman (yidam/dharmapala) fierce but in the heart of the practise we recall as recite/accomplish the Dupa

    “All Rishis, dogs, lower castes and pigs

    Together experiencing the one nature of enlightened intention

    The ultimate nature of all being

    Having abandoned desire and so forth

    Completely free of grasping and clinging

    I bow in reverence to the nature of “reality” such as it is”

    Ah la la ho (and then you eat the offerings)

    but it will be a bit more complex in the end for you, we are unconflicted about it

    “Amrita, torma and rakhta offered with a clear and joyous mind

    Dancing girls moving about coquettish and smiling

    A hundred thousand consorts offering the union of great bliss”

    Ekadzati mother of protection, she protects us from our own stupidity and venality, a thankless and apparently endless vocation. Respect Ms Tlaib.

    Ma Ma Hri Hri Balingta kha hi

    • Citizen
      Citizen on January 19, 2019, 11:22 am

      You lost me, gamal, because I have no clue what you are talking about.

      • annie
        annie on January 19, 2019, 12:51 pm

        i think gamal is likening Tlaib to Ekadzati, “one of the most powerful and fierce goddesses of Vajrayana Buddhist mythology” with references to the caste system…

      • Citizen
        Citizen on January 19, 2019, 3:06 pm

        AH, thanks, Annie. I wonder what the real de facto status of India’s untouchables is these days….

      • gamal
        gamal on January 19, 2019, 4:14 pm

        “You lost me”

        but why?

        “i think gamal is likening Tlaib to Ekadzati, “

        Ekadzati, mother of Mahakala, blue Tara herself, fierce yes, full of love that forgives no obfuscation, Dakinis expose our dishonesty, especially when we men, myself my cowardice always makes me lament if only could I be brave like women are, but i just a guy.

        om tara tutare mama ayu punyae jannu pushtu soha.

      • gamal
        gamal on January 19, 2019, 6:02 pm

        “om tara tutare mama ayu punyae jannu pushtu soha”

        there is a “ture” missing, sorry, drank rather too much tonight it is

        om tara tutare ture mama ayu punyae jannu pushtu soha….Tara for immediate help..Tara.

      • RoHa
        RoHa on January 19, 2019, 9:23 pm

        “there is a “ture” missing”

        Not to worry. We’ve all left a “ture” out at one time or another. It’s not like putting a comma after a subject clause.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on January 20, 2019, 1:55 pm

        ” It’s not like putting a comma after a subject clause.”

        A mistake, BTW, which no grammar program can correct automatically. It’s up to each one of us.

  4. Misterioso
    Misterioso on January 18, 2019, 8:39 am

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-as-an-american-israeli-i-am-thrilled-for-the-palestinians-and-for-rashida-tlaib-1.6824087

    “As an American-Israeli, I Am Thrilled for the Palestinians and for Rashida Tlaib”
    By Bradley Burston, Haaretz, Jan. 8/18.

    “Every day that Netanyahu chooses Trump and fundamentalism over the pro-democracy, pro-equality, pro-pluralism views of diaspora Jews, is a great day for the Palestinian cause.”

    EXCERPT:
    “As an Israeli and as an American, I want to congratulate Michigan Democratic socialist Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, the first Palestinian-American woman member of the House of Representatives.

    “I am thrilled for her, and for the Palestinian people, and for America.

    “I am particularly pleased for the large number of Palestinians in America who, over the years, have been told to their faces that ‘there’s no such thing as a Palestinian.’

    “I was delighted to see that in honor of her swearing-in last week, women and girls across America wore a traditional thobe, a hand-embroidered gown, often one made painstakingly by mothers for their daughters, which Tlaib herself wore to the ceremony at the Capitol.

    “‘I have been in the USA for 52 years and today I felt that her win is for every Palestinian-American girl and woman,’ said Alice Muaddi, who immigrated to the States from a Palestinian village, and who greeted Tlaib in her thobe after traveling from New Jersey to Washington. ‘She is an inspiration and a role model to all of us’ said Muaddi, whose daughter Susan Muaddi Darraj, a professor and novelist, was credited with creating the #TweetYourThobe hashtag on social media.

    “In the face of social media criticism that wearing a thobe to the swearing-in would be un-American, the counter campaign on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter was a strong statement that Palestinians not only exist, but have a deeply rooted culture which goes well beyond traditional dress.

    “As an ethnic minority, Palestinians in America have long been subjected – to paraphrase former Soviet dissident and Israeli leader Natan Sharansky’s definition of anti-Semitism – to demonization, delegitimization and double standards.

    “Which is why I find it especially heartening, not only that Palestinians have a uniquely vocal and visible advocate in Congress, but also that the efforts of the Netanyahu government to ‘manage’ the Palestinian cause into oblivion have been so spectacularly self-defeating.

    “No Israeli prime minister has ever tried harder or longer to quash any possibility of Palestinian statehood. No Israeli government has ever marshaled his arsenal of financial, political, diplomatic and media resources to discredit the Palestinian people and blunt non-violent campaigns to challenge occupation and highlight injustices against Palestinians.

    “And yet.
    “No Israeli prime minister, no Israeli government and no consortium of allies has done nearly as much – inadvertently, to be sure – to bring the cause and the grievances of the Palestinians front and center.

    “In Israel, every single day, the government and the settlers for whom it stands, underscore and lend new credence to pro-Palestinian arguments.

    “Witness the government’s treatment of Jewish youths who are suspects in the terror murder of a Palestinian, as opposed to Palestinian youth suspected of the terror murder of a Jewish Israeli. This week, Netanyahu’s own Minister of Justice took it upon herself to personally console the parents of 16-year-old West Bank yeshiva students suspected of the killing of a Palestinian mother of nine.

    “As leftist Meretz Knesset Member Mossi Raz tweeted, in a sardonic reference to corresponding Israeli treatment of the families of Palestinian youths suspected of terrorism: ‘I call on the Israeli government not to demolish the [family] homes of the Jewish terrorists accused of murder, not to deport their relatives, and not clamp a military closure on their settlements.’

    “Or witness the construction of what Israel’s Channel 10 news called in a red banner headline Monday night ‘THE APARTHEID FREEWAY’ – a new, high-speed highway linking Ramallah-area West Bank settlements to Jerusalem – but with a 26-foot-high concrete center-divider wall separating two complete and parallel roadways for settlers and Palestinians – with a checkpoint at the onramp.

    “Or witness a new Israeli government plan to build West Bank settlements in an internationally sensitive area – settlements which would surround the biblical town of Bethlehem.

    “Meantime in America, where Fox News Anchor Ed Henry last week dismissed Rashida Tlaib as a ‘leftist loon,’ AIPAC and Fox did their best to support controversial legislation which would criminalize backing for the BDS movement to boycott, sanction and divest from Israel.

    “In effect, the Israeli government whose crowning legacy so far is the proto-fascist nation-state law, has become the first Israeli government to seek to export anti-democratic legislation to the United States of America.

    “Israeli government officials and pro-Israel ‘explainers’ have gone out of their way to condemn BDS as ‘violent’ and as ‘terrorism’ against an entire people.

    “I am one of many people, Palestinians and Israelis alike, who have serious issues with BDS in the way that it’s run.

    “Allow me to suggest, though, that when Netanyahu goes all the way to Congress to lobby for crippling sanctions against the entire Iranian people, when he regularly orders and institutes collective punishment against all the Palestinian residents of Gaza and of the West Bank, he is on shaky ground when at the same time, he insists that boycotts of Israel are violent anti-Semitism – while sanctions driven by Israel are legitimate and statesmanlike and necessary.”

  5. Misterioso
    Misterioso on January 18, 2019, 9:10 am

    Just received from a Canadian friend:

    Somewhat off topic, but a classic MUST READ! AND AVAILABLE ON LINE!!

    https://theunholyland.wordpress.com/background/

    Now available online: “The Unholy Land,” – regarding the Zionist/Palestinian conflict.
    By Reverend A.C. Forrest, a remarkable man and among the first to witness and write about the horrors inflicted on the Palestinians by Zionists

    Background
    “The Unholy Land was originally published in 1971 and reprinted in 1972.

    “The author, Reverend A.C. Forrest was editor of The United Church Observer. He wrote The Unholy Land after a trip to the Middle East in 1969 subsequent to the annexation of the West Bank and Gaza by Israel after the 1967 war. His observations of the key elements of the conflict and the injustices suffered by the Palestinian people at that time are still very relevant today.

    “Attempts were made to ban the book and Coles pulled it from its shelves. Dr. Forrest’s integrity was attacked by the Canada-Israel Committee, the Zionist Organization of Canada and he was sued by B’nai Brith because he had the courage to reveal what he’d seen during his trip.

    “This online reproduction is dedicated to all people of conscience in Canada and throughout the world who have had the courage to speak against the grave injustice perpetrated upon the Palestinian people and suffered the consequences.

    NOTE:
    “This reproduction of The Unholy Land is taken from the clothbound edition: 0-7710-3163-7

    “The last edition of the Unholy Land was last printed in 1972. A telephone call to the publisher, McClelland and Stewart Limited in 2010 in regard to the copyright for this book revealed that the rights had expired and reverted to the Forrest family. Various unsuccessful attempts were made to contact the family. The book is therefore deemed to be in the public domain and published online solely for educational purposes and not for profit.”

    • oldgeezer
      oldgeezer on January 18, 2019, 3:00 pm

      @Misterioso

      I’ve copied it to my pc and started to read it. Well written and wish I had read it back then. I wouldn’t have wasted decades believing the trash propaganda that Israeli vomits daily.

      The writings were trashed by zionist groups in Canada at the time. No surprise there. No specific allegations or objections that I could find so far but just the usual a/s smear. Then facts rarely support zionist fiction so they have no legitimate arguments when it gets down to the brass tacks.

      Thanks!

    • lonely rico
      lonely rico on January 20, 2019, 8:16 pm

      Thanks Misterioso.
      I have now read this heartbreaking book, encourage everyone who is interested in the Palestinian question to read it too.

      From a short review of Forrest’s book: The Unholy Land by A. C. Forrest. Review by: John P. Richardson. Source: Middle East Journal, Vol. 27, No. 1 (Winter, 1973)
      The most significant consideration about Dr. A. C. Forrest’s The Unholy Land is not its bluntness in telling the less heard story of the Palestine refugees but rather the fact that it became a best-seller in Canada, where Dr. Forrest is editor of the United Church Observer. The book’s success was aided by a certain notoriety gained following published accounts of a large bookstore chain’s attempt to boycott it because of the subject matter.
      The Unholy Land is predominantly an account of Dr. Forrest’s travels and observations in the Middle East during several extended visits following the 1967 war. He readily concedes that his experiences caused him to change his views: “. . . I believe that Israel carries great responsibility for the present situation; and that it is Israel which could, with honor, take the initial steps that could lead to peace” (p. viii). The most vivid parts of the book deal with the Palestine refugees: their current status, their origins and their possible future. Dr. Forrest’s plea for justice for the Palestine refugees is coupled with the conviction that it must not be accomplished without regard to legitimate rights of the Israelis. This focus on the human factor at the core of the Palestine problem makes The Unholy Land a compelling document, despite the fact that its twenty-five chapters, ranging from 2-12 pages each, result in an uneven pace. Dr. Forrest has included all too brief chapters on complex subjects such as Islam and Israel in international law.
      Dr. Forrest closes with an appeal that might be more easily taken up in subjects other than the Middle East: a plea that Westerners, particularly Western Christians, more assiduously and courageously search out the facts on both sides of the Palestine question.

      Forrest was pilloried by the lovers of Israel/Zionism because he “assiduously and courageously search(ed) out the facts on both sides of the Palestinian question.”
      A lovely irony that their censure contributed to the book’s success.

  6. bcg
    bcg on January 18, 2019, 10:13 am

    And then there’s this in the Forward – “Bernie Sanders Has To Run – To Make Democrats More Critical Of Israel”

    https://forward.com/opinion/417706/bernie-sanders-has-to-run-to-make-democrats-more-critical-of-israel/

    Still, I hope Sanders runs, if only for one reason: To change the debate inside the Democratic Party about Israel….Polling clearly shows that in the Netanyahu era, Democrats have grown increasingly critical of Israeli policy. Yet Democratic leaders—from Charles Schumer to Nancy Pelosi to Joe Biden—rarely articulate that criticism.

    • genesto
      genesto on January 18, 2019, 12:55 pm

      “Yet Democratic leaders—from Charles Schumer to Nancy Pelosi to Joe Biden—rarely articulate that criticism.”

      Of course not! They are part of the corrupted leadership of a Democratic Party that lost the presidential election and paved the way for the Trump era. They are old in spirit, lacking in vision, increasingly detached from their constituencies, and completely subservient to those who line their campaign pockets. In the case of those like Schumer the ‘shomer’, of course, it goes beyond that to a love of, and commitment to, his homeland well beyond what he feels for the nation of his birth. But, the overwhelming majority of Democrats bow at the alter of the Israeli government simply because they are too fearful of facing the political consequences if they don’t. Bernie and the new, bright, TRULY progressive members of Congress, who are not beholden to the Israel lobby, offer us hope for the future, even though it will be a long and bitter fight before they and their allies can ultimately win.

  7. John Douglas
    John Douglas on January 18, 2019, 11:30 am

    In the NY Times Douthat agreed that anti-Zionism is not necessarily anti-Semitic, then tried to take it back in the next sentence. Here is my comment from the NY Times online.

    Ross writes, ” Anti-Zionism isn’t necessarily anti-Semitism, but the difference can get blurry quick …”
    Anti-Semitism is either horrible or it’s not. It is horrible. This makes that statement a terrible slander against those who protest the the vicious wrongs committed against the Palestinian people. If there is any truth to “… the difference can get blurry quick …” it this that the slanderous charge of anti-Semitism is leveled so “quickly” against critics of Israel’s crimes against Palestinians.

  8. pgtl10
    pgtl10 on January 18, 2019, 2:26 pm

    Russ Douthat wrote:

    “Anti-Zionism isn’t necessarily anti-Semitism, but the difference can get blurry quick”

    This statement is constantly told as a fact but no one ever seems to create standards or even debate it. If anything racists like Richard Spencer loves Israel and sees it as a model for racially exclusive countries.

    • Mooser
      Mooser on January 18, 2019, 7:04 pm

      “This statement is constantly told as a fact but no one ever seems to create standards”

      Israel and Zionism is not entitled to any standard of elocution and etiquette.

      Have you noticed the Zionists or Israellis shrinking from any description or analysis of Palestinians because they may be based on anti-Arab tropes or Islamophobia?

      • Talkback
        Talkback on January 19, 2019, 4:47 am

        Or increasingly based on modified anti-semitic tropes.

  9. oldgeezer
    oldgeezer on January 18, 2019, 3:02 pm

    While there are some democrats willing to speak out I think the democrats dividing over Israel is wishful thinking for the forseeable future. I sure hope I am wrong on that.

    • annie
      annie on January 18, 2019, 3:23 pm

      oldgeezer, a few days ago that was my opinion too, and i said as much in a conversation with henry norr. but the buzzfeed article phil linked to had this one passage (i bolded) that sort of surprised me:

      a number of Senate Democrats, including some considering presidential bids, like Harris, have said they oppose the bill because it would violate people’s First Amendment rights.

      “At the very least you need to support people’s rights to engage [in] BDS,” one progressive Democratic Senate aide told BuzzFeed News. “If people want to oppose the goal, they can do that, but what I do see becoming a Democratic consensus [is that] the right to boycott, the right to peaceful, nonviolent, economic protest is a protected right.”

      a democratic consensus? do they mean among (many) politicians in the party?

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer on January 18, 2019, 8:40 pm

        @annie

        Well that’s a good thing but they will still continue to support Israel to the hilt through other legislation.

        Granted it would be nice if a few or most of them decided the constitution was a priority.

        Zionists are attacking our hard won freedoms. They’re prepared to destroy our kids lives. And they pretend they identify with our societies values. They being zionists of all stripes.

      • annie
        annie on January 18, 2019, 11:08 pm

        i’d assume so oldgeezer but there’s a shift going on none the less. in that article (and others), they talk of presidential candidates shying away from outward support for israel makes me wonder what of other congresspeople up for reelection? the phrase i copy/pasted upthread

        a posture which could make it a litmus test in 2020 defining what it means to be a progressive Democrat.

        hmm. it remains to be seen. i can hope anyway!

      • Talkback
        Talkback on January 19, 2019, 4:56 am

        Annie: “do they mean among (many) politicians in the party?”

        Of course. It’s “Democratic” with a capital “d”. It refers to the name of the party instead of simply being an adjective. See also “one progressive Democratic Senate aide”.

      • annie
        annie on January 19, 2019, 4:36 pm

        thanks talkback. that was my hope anyway.

    • Mooser
      Mooser on January 18, 2019, 4:46 pm

      “democrats dividing over Israel”

      How about the Democrats unifying around, first, an objection to the anti-BDS bill on First Ammendment grounds, and second, extracting some compromises from Israel, even small ones, instead of the immunity and impunity Israel has enjoyed.
      Don’t see any need to divide the Democrats over that, it may even be something to unify around.

      • Citizen
        Citizen on January 19, 2019, 11:43 am

        Tlaib wants to withhold American aid to Israel so long as it denies equality and dignity to her grandmother in Palestine, & of course she thinks anti-BDS legislation violates the First Amendment. So she’s a good one to unify around. Brings up the problem BIG Time–who knows, maybe cableTV news will starting talking about it? Nothing Israel fears more than advancing into the public eye impact facts about Israel’s policies & conduct, noting US taxpayer lavishly pay for all that under the guise of “shared values,” and also advancing into the public eye that Zionists here & in Israel would gladly kill the First Amendment rights of US citizens to advance a foreign state’s hegemony in the Middle East.

  10. Kay24
    Kay24 on January 19, 2019, 5:42 am

    One nasty pro Israel GOP representative tries to block Palestinian American representative from taking Democrats to see the other side of the story (and the truth):

    GOP Rep. Seeks to Block Tlaib Palestine Congressional Delegation

    “Brian Babin, a congressman from Texas’s 36th district, is seeking to block Tlaib’s trip and that of her colleagues by attempting to get the Democratic leadership on the Hill to pull the money for it. Stopping powerful women from traveling to crucial security zones, as Trump stopped Pelosi from going to Afghanistan, seems to be a new plank of the Republican Party platform.”

    https://www.juancole.com/2019/01/1234567.html

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