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De Blasio speech at AIPAC is a monument of progressive Democratic racism against Palestinians

US Politics
on 23 Comments

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio gave the “simple, clear, progressive case for the state of Israel” at the Israel lobby group AIPAC this morning, and his speech was a monument in the Democratic Party’s racism against Palestinians.

The progressive mayor never mentioned Palestinian conditions under occupation, he never mentioned Palestinians’ second-class rights in Israel, and while touching again and again on the Jewish history of persecution and “exclusion” and “expulsion”, de Blasio never acknowledged that 750,000 Palestinians had been expelled from their lands at the birth of Israel in 1947-49. As such, his speech was also a monument of Democratic denial of the Palestinian Nakba, or catastrophe.

De Blasio mentioned Palestinians only once. His ten-minute-long speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference focused on rising dangers to Jews around the world from “nativism, fascism, and white supremacy” and therefore the need for a Jewish state.

“I know that antisemitism is dangerous,” he said. “That reinforces my commitment to the survival and the security of the State of Israel. Because the Jewish people cannot be safe without the state of Israel…. Israel at its core is there to shelter an oppressed people.”

Progressives fight oppression everywhere and support inclusion, de Blasio said. “The Jewish people have faced 1000s of years of exclusion and expulsion,” and he emphasized that that history did not end in 1948 with the establishment of the state of Israel.

That statement was a pointed denial of the expulsion of Palestinians.

De Blasio also said that as a progressive what he sees in Israel is not its technological and material achievements but “I see a multi-racial democracy,” one that guarantees health care. The mayor thereby denied Palestinian outrage at Israel’s 2018 nation-state law. That law states that only Jews have the right of self-determination in Israel, grants “national value” to “Jewish settlement” as opposed to Palestinian towns, and downgrades Arabic’s official status.

De Blasio’s appearance was especially fraught because many Democratic candidates for president have refused to attend the policy conference at the Washington, D.C., convention center because of AIPAC’s support for Netanyahu, even as Netanyahu makes anti-Palestinian statements in his reelection campaign. Many progressive groups called on politicians to boycott the conference, while the liberal Zionist group J Street called on those pols who did go to the conference to call out the “bigotry” of Trump and Netanyahu.

De Blasio ignored all these injunctions, offering only the mildest criticism of the Israeli government. “I have some real disagreements with the current Israeli government,” he said. But he quickly added that those criticisms do not detract from the “requirement” that Israel must be defended. Even “if I criticize some policies of the today’s Israeli government,” he said, it is because “I want the idea of the Israeli nation to thrive forever.”

Then the 57-year-old mayor launched into a full-throated attack on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), which he said is “contrary to the progressive imperative to protect all oppressed people everywhere and always” and “affronts the idea of Israel as a guaranteed refuge for the Jewish people.”

Throughout these remarks, de Blasio never mentioned the denial of Palestinian rights that caused Palestinian civil society to launch the BDS campaign. It was in speaking of BDS that he made his sole reference to Palestinians, stating that “I fear that [BDS] could undermine the Israeli economy” and demolish the two-state solution, which is the best hope for Palestinians.

“We must confront the threat to progress that is BDS,” he said.

De Blasio bragged of leading the most diverse city in the world, which includes a large population of Jews. His speech concluded with a memory of a Brooklyn sabbath dinner 15 years ago at which his host showed his daughter her tattoo from Auschwitz.

That memory, he said, means that we “must never ask the Jewish people to defend their lives alone… we must always stand beside you.”

Thanks to Donald Johnson.

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About Philip Weiss

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23 Responses

  1. eljay
    eljay
    March 25, 2019, 10:47 am

    Mr. De Blasio full-throatedly attacks BDS while deep-throating the Zionist donkey. His allegiance to Israel is impressive.

    … we “must never ask the Jewish people to defend their lives alone… we must always stand beside you.”

    When asked if we should also stand beside the Palestinians and help them defend their lives, he replied, The Palestinians can go f*ck themselves.

    • Jejasalo
      Jejasalo
      March 26, 2019, 11:57 am

      His reply is a good summary of US-Palestinian “policy” for the past 71 years.

  2. Ismail
    Ismail
    March 25, 2019, 11:48 am

    DeBlasio: “I know that antisemitism is dangerous,” he said. “That reinforces my commitment to the survival and the security of the State of Israel. Because the Jewish people cannot be safe without the state of Israel…. Israel at its core is there to shelter an oppressed people.”

    Think about it – basically, this guy is saying, “If Jewish Americans are confronted with antisemitic violence, it’s a good thing they have Israel b/c god knows we ain’t lifting a finger to help ’em”. Really? We won’t shelter our own friends and neighbors should things take an ugly turn? We have to offshore the protection of our own citizens to Israel?

    Imagine saying to African Americans in the pre-civil rights era, “Thank god for Liberia b/c there’s lots of hate and violence against our black citizens and they need a place to feel safe”.
    (Actually, Marcus Garvey took that tack and was met largely with yawns by the African American community, which wisely preferred to stand and fight for its rights to ducking out to Africa).

    DeBlasio’s repetition of this tired justification for Israel’s existence/colonizing expansion (and these are logically related, the latter following from the former like concavity follows from convexity) is problematic also for the violence it does to the idea of solidarity. At what point do American Jews say, “This country – my country – has shown an overwhelming dedication to vouchsafing the rights of its Jewish citizens. We have thrived here, we enjoy a level of prestige and influence unmatched in our history, and if the time comes that US policy takes an antisemitic turn, my neighbors will stand by us, as we and other whites threw ourselves into the fight for civil rights for African Americans”?

    And what does it mean for progressive solidarity for gentiles to feel that, to many of their Jewish co-citizens, they harbor a virus which will become a full-blown disease after the next recession or similar social stressor, that every gentile is an antisemite-in-waiting?

    Basically, the idea seems to be that there are simply no conceivable circumstances, no observations, no level of social development, that would lead someone like DeBlasio to say, “Why would any American need another country to feel safe? It’s our job to protect our citizens and that’s what we’ll do.”

    Unfortunately, instead of that, he basically affirms that you just can’t trust a gentile – call it the Goldhagen Axiom.

    Finally, doesn’t the idea that Israel is there to shelter the world’s Jews give the lie to the notion that Israel is ready to compromise for peace (not that most MW readers need any further proof of that idea’s emptiness)? After all, if there were a sudden influx of worldwide Jewry into Israel, where would they go? Israel already claims it’s running out of land, and the only places around it are – not Israel. So, Israel’s claim to be the potential home of all the world’s Jews is a pretty clear announcement to the neighbors that their land should be understood as theirs only so long as Israel doesn’t have an immediate need for it.

    • gamal
      gamal
      March 25, 2019, 1:16 pm

      ” (Actually, Marcus Garvey took that tack and was met largely with yawns by the African American community, which wisely preferred to stand and fight for its rights to ducking out to Africa).”

      oh i say that’s hardly fair, ducking out, when we consider Marcus Garvey words come to pass

      https://youtu.be/oGN3R49-CAE

  3. gamal
    gamal
    March 25, 2019, 12:05 pm

    “Throughout these remarks, de Blasio never mentioned the denial of Palestinian rights that caused Palestinian civil society to launch the BDS campaign. It was in speaking of BDS that he made his sole reference to Palestinians”

    That is very regrettable why one wonders does he feel able to get away with it, anybody likely to challenge or denounce him? Palestinians omitted but BDS, Hamas, terrorism, progress and morality were no doubt at the back of everybody’s mind, Benjamin being front and centre.

    In the ongoing brexit meltdown a Yorkshire blogger wondered

    “What if they treated White people like blacks” (or one might add Palestinians, and while he is initially playing the race card he uses the rest of deck as well, so no worries)

    “I’m actually a fan of David Schneider, and I’ve quoted him on my Facebook page too. It’s just that in this instance he’s said something really telling that reveals the blindness of so many liberal white progressives.

    I’m sure that he wrote “I’ll be marching with EU citizens worried they’ll be treated like the Windrush generation” with honest intentions, but the subtext here is actually really quite sickening if you try to see it from a black perspective.

    It’s not difficult to see the undertones.
    ‘I’m protesting against Brexit because I’m worried they’ll start abusing mainly-white European citizens in the way they have been treating black British citizens for years!’
    ‘I didn’t take to the streets to protest against the Windrush scandal, but I’ll invoke it now to publicise my own issue’
    ‘I’m going to objectify the unspeakable suffering of others, not to protest against it directly, but to use it as a proxy for what I actually care about’
    ‘I’m protesting about Brexit because thy might start treating white people like blacks!’
    Where were the million+ marching when it was revealed that Theresa May’s vile Hostile Environment policy had forced black Brits out of their jobs, denied them housing, and social security, and pensions, and banking services, and even urgent medical care?

    Where were the enormous protests when it was revealed that scores of black Brits had been deported from their own country, with many of them actually dying in exile overseas?

    There weren’t any comparable protests because so many white liberal progressive types just went “oh dear” and got on with their lives because Theresa May’s disgusting Windrush scandal didn’t affect them personally.

    The same goes for the sickening Tory mistreatment of sick and disabled people that’s been condemned by the United Nations as a grave and systematic human rights violation.

    After 9 years of this barbarity nobody has an excuse for not knowing about the disability denial factories, the slashed disability benefits and confiscated motability cars, the terminal cancer sufferers told to “get a job”, the mentally ill people asked why they haven’t committed suicide yet, the thousands who have died within weeks of being declared “fit for work”. ”

    https://anotherangryvoice.blogspot.com/2019/03/what-if-they-treat-white-people-like.html

  4. Kay24
    Kay24
    March 25, 2019, 12:48 pm

    Another shameless American politician making an ass of himself. Speaking of asses, Trump just signed Golan over to a gloating Crooked Bibi, making it even more difficult for his opponents to win that election. The UN and the rest of the world aren’t going to recognize Golan as belonging to the land thieves, hardly anyone even moved their embassy to Jerusalem when Trump and Jared took that away from any possible peace talks. Those who did either had their arms twisted, or wanted a favor done by the zionists. Jared will be the savior of the zionists, Trump will alway be looked at as the man Bibi flattered, and got all what Israel wanted, and now as more Palestinians will be killed, Bibi will look tough at a time when he is closer to being indicted, just in time for elections. We have to wonder what Trump and Jared will be getting in return.
    The Devil always takes care of it’s own.

    • Marnie
      Marnie
      March 25, 2019, 11:40 pm

      ‘Speaking of asses, Trump just signed Golan over to a gloating Crooked Bibi, making it even more difficult for his opponents to win that election.’ The devil’s been mighty busy up and down and across the world.

      How can that by any stretch of the imagination be anything more than a photo op? In what reality does the u.s. have the authority to give territory that doesn’t belong to the u.s. to a third party? And N’yahoo gloating and preening like a hillbilly who just found out granddaddy really is his granddaddy and not his actual daddy.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      March 26, 2019, 12:47 am

      The Devil always takes care of his own. Politically correct gender fluidity is a bit much even for him.

      • Kay24
        Kay24
        March 26, 2019, 8:12 am

        I stand corrected. :))

  5. Marnie
    Marnie
    March 25, 2019, 1:26 pm

    What do these zionists have on american politicians to make them so unabashedly grovel? It should be televised so everyone can see what they voted for – a bunch of already spoken for whores who don’t give a rat’s ass about their constituents – they have one audience and only one and it isn’t america.

    • RoHa
      RoHa
      March 26, 2019, 12:43 am

      “What do these zionists have on american politicians to make them so unabashedly grovel?”

      I suspect that, on those trips to Israel, the pollies stay in hotels with video cameras in the AC unit. And they meet some very friendly young Israelis.

  6. Marnie
    Marnie
    March 25, 2019, 1:28 pm

    ‘I’m protesting against Brexit because I’m worried they’ll start abusing mainly-white European citizens in the way they have been treating black British citizens for years!’

    White people being treated like black people would end racism in a heartbeat. israeli jews being treated like palestinians would do the same thing. I would sure hope.

  7. Marnie
    Marnie
    March 25, 2019, 1:31 pm

    Pence’s speech at aipac should guarantee him a spot on the docket with the other traitors of the united states. I watched for 2 minutes and became physically ill. I wonder what jews netanyahooo and company will offer up for the evangelical’s salvation?

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      March 26, 2019, 8:56 am

      Meanwhile:

      http://www.bdssouthafrica.com/post/church-leaders-representing-over-50-million-christians-urge-economic-pressure-against-israel/
      March 18/19

      “Church leaders representing over 50 million Christians urge ‘economic pressure’ against Israel”

      EXCERPT:
      “American and African Christian leaders, representing churches with over 50 million members, have issued a joint statement comparing the situation of Palestinians under Israeli occupation to that of black South Africans under Apartheid. The statement follows:

      “Pilgrimage Group Visit” to Israel-Palestine by a delegation of American and African church leaders. Part of the joint statement reads:

      “We visited Palestinian communities and homes where people are not allowed to have freedom of movement or self-determination […] We visited a refugee camp of displaced persons who still hold the keys to their homes confiscated over 70 years ago. We met and heard stories of men, women and children who have themselves or family members been victims of state sanctioned violence in the form of detention, interrogation, teargassed, beatings, forced confessions and death… We met with families who are fighting to keep their homes from being taken for Jewish settlements and developments […] we saw the patterns that seem to have been borrowed and perfected from other previous oppressive regimes [including] the ever-present physical walls that wall in Palestinians in a political wall reminiscent of the Berlin Wall […] roads built through occupied Palestinian villages, on which Palestinians are not permitted to drive; and homes and families divided by walls and barriers […] the heavy militarization of the [Palestinian] West Bank was reminiscent of the military occupation of Namibia by apartheid South Africa [and] the laws of segregation that allow one thing for the Jewish people and another for the Palestinians; we saw evidence of forced removals […].”

      “In their statement the church leaders conclude with urging for the option of ‘economic pressure’ and commit to ‘work alongside the oppressed Palestinian people, to advocating in our own countries among our governments for actions and policies that will help lead to a resolution of the conflict.'”

      • Marnie
        Marnie
        March 26, 2019, 10:12 am

        ‘evangelical’ christians are the most un-Christ-like followers ever. They hate the poor, love the rich and seem to embrace every evil that is in the world right now, most notably tRUMP’s reign of terror.

        50 million people can make a lot of noise.

  8. Citizen
    Citizen
    March 25, 2019, 2:37 pm

    Second session of Aipac conference today is on CSPAN3 at 430 PM EST. Pompeo leads the speakers, I think. Pence & Nikki were on this morning. I must be a mental masochist.

  9. Citizen
    Citizen
    March 25, 2019, 6:34 pm

    I’ve been watching the conference–it’s stunning how shallow and brief each American congress person is when answering the question: why do you support Israel? You can fit their answers on one hand at most, each finger being a standard slogan, e.g., Jews have been persecuted for centuries, surrounded by enemies, only democracy in ME, our most loyal ally, we share same values like freedom of religion, & protecting the oppressed,

  10. DaBakr
    DaBakr
    March 26, 2019, 1:58 am

    so far the guy is mayor of nyc. but I wouldn’t trust him with a ten ft. pole. I think he tries to present as a moderate ‘progressive’ but is merely an opportunist. surprise.

    • gamal
      gamal
      March 26, 2019, 11:11 am

      “but I wouldn’t trust him with a ten ft. pole”

      Afraid he might touch a Palestinian with it?

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        March 26, 2019, 5:11 pm

        @g

        no gamal. not afraid of him touching a palestinian. i touch them myself.

        i am suspicious that he is just another dickhead politician out to become a filthy rich millionaire/billionaire especially when they leave office and tap all their connections. i don’t know enough about his wife’s running an org that literally ‘couldn’t explain’ where about $10,000,000 in money for treatment went to say she’s directly involved. but the way its been working out for the ‘progressive’ branch of the democrat party is once out of office, welcome to th .01%. both clintons, both obamas. bernie, and not just dems, gulianani (the supposedly incorruptible) Gingrich -who reminds me of AOC (already showing indications that she will cash in)

        So, he’s about as authentic as a chinese CBGBs t-shirt. IMO, the (unelectable) Biden (I think he might be the ‘poorest’ -or least wealthy-senator that was in office in recent memory) is the genuine article though , like i stated, his party will not back him(because Pelosi has embraced the new ‘progressives’) and i doubt he wants to end his carreer a la hilary.

      • Keith
        Keith
        March 26, 2019, 6:38 pm

        DABAKR- ” but the way its been working out for the ‘progressive’ branch of the democrat party is once out of office, welcome to th .01%.”

        Indeed, corruption is rampant. I once again link to a video of economist Michael Hudson describing how the US government back in 1967 encouraged US banks to open offshore banking facilities in order to launder drug and other criminal money to shore up the balance of payments problem at that time. It is a 30 minute video, however, the first 10 minutes is the most critical. We live in an age of corruption led by a corrupt financial system in which drug money and money laundering are an integral part of the global economy.

        Link to michael Hudson interview on “The Spider’s Web : Britain’s Second Empire”

  11. umm al-hamam
    umm al-hamam
    March 26, 2019, 7:47 pm

    if the mayor of the largest Jewish city in the world (home to about ~1 million Jews, compared to about 500,000 in Jerusalem) claims that Jews cannot be safe in his own city, because it’s not part of an apartheid ethnostate, maybe……he should be replaced with a new mayor who *can* guarantee the safety of new york’s jewish population. just something to consider

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