The late Israeli author Amos Oz thought that Palestinians who wanted to return to the homes their grandparents were forced to flee in Israel suffered from a disease called “Reconstritis,” as did settlers who sought a biblical transformation of the West Bank. At a Washington memorial service for the author, his daughter Fania Oz-Salzberger cited the malady in extolling Zionism as a force that saved millions of Jewish lives.
Police arrested 15 members of IfNotNow outside Birthright HQ in NY today after 100s of Jews demonstrated against the organization’s propaganda tours of Israel. Protester Yonah said that when he asked questions about Palestinians on his trip, his tour guide sat him down and said, “If you keep pulling this shit, I’m going to have to report you.” Yonah was “terrified” and shut up.
The polls from Israel are dispiriting. Netanyahu is the most popular leader, the young adore him; and even if the opposition wins, its government will be rightwing. And the occupation will not end. So the election will challenge Americans to stand up at last for Palestinian rights.
Anti-Palestinian racism is at last moving the needle in US politics. The demotion by leadership of NY City Councilman Kalman Yeger for his anti-Palestinian comments this week sends a message to the Democratic Party nationwide, that the profound political shifts that the left is generating on a host of issues, from sexual harassment to economic inequity, will include Palestine, too.
Rising Democratic star Pete Buttigieg went to Israel at the height of Gaza killings last May on an Israel-lobby-sponsored trip and came home praising the country for its “clear-eyed” decisions on security. He faulted fellow Democrats for making snap judgments of the country based on “90-second cable news versions of what’s going on over there.”
Cory Booker’s secret speech to AIPAC is so fulsome it’s hard to believe. Booker would cut off his right hand before abandoning Israel. There is no “greater moral vandalism” than seeking to divide the US and Israel. Booker lobbied black congresspeople not to boycott Netanyahu’s 2015 speech because we need to show a “united front” with Israel. And Donald Trump is endangering Israel’s security in Syria.
Netanyahu’s latest ad bashing President Obama is making liberal Zionists angry, but it’s a reminder of a simple truth: Israelis dislike Obama and love Donald Trump. So there is good reason that the bipartisan consensus on Israel is breaking up here.
In 2012, Mondoweiss publisher Scott Roth wrote of Israel/Palestine: “An unjust system backed by one-sided force is like a foolish boy on a horse. Something childish driven by something powerful.” Please donate today to help Mondoweiss continue documenting the distorted system that oppresses Palestinians, and their ingenious and unceasing resistance.
This weekend the New York Times breaks one of the biggest taboos, describing the responsibility of Jewish donors for the Democratic Party’s slavish support for Israel. Nathan Thrall’s groundbreaking piece says in essence that it really is about the Benjamins, as Rep. Ilhan Omar said. The donor class of the party is overwhelmingly Jewish, and Jews are still largely wed to Zionism.
The big story coming out of AIPAC is every one in the Democratic leadership dumping all over the first term Muslim congresswoman from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, while having nothing to say about Benjamin Netanyahu. In the process they have clearly damaged their own standing inside the progressive wing of the party, including among liberal Zionist advocates. When House Majority leader Steny Hoyer said Omar should accuse him of dual loyalty for his support for Israel, he seemed to confirm what she had said.