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August 2019

‘Playing the Child of Holocaust Survivors card’ in the Canadian wine dispute

David Kattenburg on

In pushing the case in Canada to have settlement wines labeled as such rather than products of Israel, David Kattenburg was identified as a wine lover, educator, publisher, and child of Holocaust survivors. The last designation — CHS — has caused howls of outrage, but Kattenburg’s parents’ experience helped him to set his moral compass.

California ethnic studies curriculum delayed after attack on its comparison of Israel to South Africa

Michael Arria on
Berlin Radical Queer March, July 27, 2019, Berlin, Germany. (Photo: Facebook/Palästina Spricht)

A bill that would have required all California high school students to take an ethnic studies course will be delayed for at least a year after pro-Israel groups complained that the curriculum failed to address anti-semitism and singled “Israel out for condemnation.” Some of the backlash was initiated by an organization that is funded by the Israeli government.

Trump is parroting Zionist doctrine: U.S. Jews must be loyal to Israel

Philip Weiss on
Bari Weiss

Trump’s claim that Jews who vote Democratic are “disloyal” is ugly and dangerous, but he is only echoing Zionist indoctrination: that American Jews must give unconditional support to Israel. New York Times columnist Bari Weiss praises the idea that “Jews should be loyal to Israel,” while Trump aide Elliott Abrams says Jews, except in Israel, “must stand apart from the nation in which they live.”

Democrats have no problem criticizing Israel, but no specifics on holding it accountable

Michael Arria on

Democratic candidates for president love to criticize Netanyahu, but they don’t offer specifics on stopping him. Kirsten Gillibrand wants to hold Israel accountable for barring congresswomen from visiting, Bernie Sanders wants to leverage US aid “to end some of the racism that we have recently seen in Israel,” and Elizabeth Warren says, “Push hard.” But none of them has a plan.

Refusing to cross Israel’s ideological borders

Zachariah Barghouti and Nicholas Kattoura on
Photo from November 2018 of then congresswomen-elect Rashida Tlaib (left) of Michigan, and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. (Photo: Twitter/Rashida Tlaib)

Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar’s delegation proves that Israel’s borders are not just physical, they are political. They transcend lines on a map and constitute ideological values that stretch to the United States as well.

Trump’s game: bring on the Democratic Party’s ‘crisis’ over Israel

Philip Weiss on

Trump’s refrain that the Democrats are anti-Israel is a strategic effort to foster division among Democrats over Israel so that he can get Jewish donors and voters in 2020. That division exists. The party’s progressive base wants to strip US aid to Israel, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Israeli President Rivlin are leaping in to assure the Democratic establishment that Israel is above politics.

It’s fine to criticize Israel (so long as you say it’s a vibrant democracy and leave out the oppression of Palestinians)

Donald Johnson on
Thomas Friedman (Screenshot: MSNBC)

Israel’s defenders explain to Rashida Tlaib that it’s not anti-Semitic to criticize Israel, so long as you say it’s a vibrant democracy. So the oppression of millions of Palestinians is a golden opportunity for Israelis to show off their country. The bigotry is the same as justifying slavery by the fact that Lincoln and Douglas debated it, and Frederick Douglass was able to get in one word edgewise.

Trump saying he is ‘king of Israel’ is not that far off the mark 

Yossi Gurvitz on
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a speech before the newly-unveiled sign for the new settlement of "Ramat Trump", or "Trump Heights" in the Golan Heights on June 16, 2019.

Donald Trump took to Twitter to quote someone who claimed he is considered in Israel to be a king and the second coming of God. Yossi Gurvitz says that when you combine this with Trump’s claim that American Jews who vote Democrat are disloyal, you get a pretty accurate picture of what many Jews in Israel actually believe.

It is not Netanyahu or Trump who blocks Palestinians from Israel — it is Zionism

Nada Elia on
Rep Rashida Tlaib at a Shabbat service in a Detroit park arranged by Jewish Voice For Peace Action after she was denied entrance to Israel.

With national attention focused on the two US congresswomen who have been denied entry into Israel, members of Congress and even presidential candidates are not only openly criticizing Israel, they are considering ways to hold it accountable. At what is clearly a watershed moment, activists and organizers must be extremely cautious about steering the conversation in the right direction. 

If you are Palestinian, it’s just as difficult to leave Palestine as it is to enter it

Megan Giovannetti on

When US congress members Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar were barred from entering Israel it was shocking for many. Traveling for an American citizen is a privilege often taken for granted. But if you are a Palestinian living under Israel occupation it becomes almost impossible. “Most of our visas get rejected,” Malkon Marizian explains to Mondoweiss. “This is related to our status. It is all related to the occupation.”

When the going was good, with Batya Ungar-Sargon

Philip Weiss on

Batya Ungar-Sargon of the Forward is attacking our website on twitter, implying we’re anti-Semitic. But Batya once asked Phil Weiss to write for the Forward. He revisits the meeting she sought with him in 2017.

Building our power for a free Palestine

Jennifer Bing and Michael Merryman-Lotze on
Preparing for 2020: Advocating for Rights, Justice, and Freedom in Palestine and Israel

The last five years have witnessed unprecedented change in the struggle for justice in Palestine. These changes offer opportunities that our movement needs to act on, particularly during the 2020 election cycle.