The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is throwing mountains of money around in an attempt to derail the Iran nuclear deal. NPR says AIPAC will spend $20 million to $40 million to oppose the Iran deal, but that might be a conservative estimate.
Palestinian-American professor Steven Salaita was effectively fired from a tenured position in American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in 2014 for tweets critical of Israel. On August 6, a federal court upheld a Salaita against the university lawsuit on free speech grounds, ruling that the professor’s tweets “implicate every ‘central concern’ of the First Amendment.” In the midst of this ruling, Phyllis Wise, who faced harsh backlash for overseeing Salaita’s firing, resigned from her positions as UIUC chancellor and vice president, in which she had served since 2011.
The American Israel Education Foundation, the educational wing of AIPAC, is taking all but three freshmen US lawmakers on a tour of Israel in hopes of turning them against the Iran nuclear deal. In total over 50 US congresspeople will meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu in August over the course of two separate trips—one for Democrats starting August 3, and another for Republicans starting August 8. See a full list of the congresspeople headed to Israel.
Ben Norton remembers attending the 2014 Christians United for Israel summit held last summer at the height of the Israeli attack on Gaza. He writes, “a CUFI summit is a place where there is no distinction between church and state, between religion and nation, between faith and ideology. It is a place where the world is perpetually on the brink of absolute destruction, where Israel’s leaders—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Ambassador Ron Dermer—warn “Islamists” are mere moments from setting the globe ablaze, and yet all their steadfast Christian supporters can do is celebrate, dance, ululate under the ecclesiastical influence, that hallowed intoxication only the Holy Spirit can induce.”
“What we saw was not just war,” Rafah resident Iyad Ghaboun said of Israel’s summer 2014 attack on Gaza. “It was like a meat machine making mincemeat from people without mercy.” Israel carried out war crimes and “possible crimes against humanity” in its attack on Rafah, Gaza from 1-4 August, according to a new report by Amnesty International.
Greece’s ruling ostensibly left-wing Syriza party signed a “status of forces” accord with Israel on July 19. The Jerusalem Post explains that the agreement “offers legal defense to both militaries while training in the other’s country.” Only one other country in the world has signed such an accord with Israel; that country is the US, which calls its uncritical support of Israel the “special relationship.”
A guerrilla-style documentary video produced by Al Jazeera offers viewers a candid glimpse into the topsy-turvy world of American right-wing Christian Zionists.
Two American Jews were reportedly called a racial slur, detained, and subsequently deported by the Israeli government because they are black. “Once we were detained, we were never given any reason other than one female agent screaming at me ‘Eretz Yisrael isn’t a country for cushim [a racist Hebrew slur for black people],’” Idit Malka recalled.
Over 3,000 people were killed in Yemen in the first approximately 100 days of the Western-backed, Saudi-led bombing campaign. Roughly half of those killed were civilians, according to the UN.
The University of California (UC) Board of Regents, the governing body that oversees 10 campuses and approximately a quarter of a million students, is considering adopting the State Department definition of anti-Semitism, which conflates criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism. A variety of student organizations have pushed back against the regents’ initiative.