Pitzer’s College Council took a historic and overwhelming vote to suspend a study-abroad program in Israel following years of organizing by progressive faculty and students. President Melvin Oliver’s swift veto of the resolution shows the discomfort that the mainstream left is feeling about Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) and also the growing moral importance of the issue on the left.
Jonathan Greenblatt of the ADL will always cut Zionists a break on the standards he applies to others. Today he said of New Zealand mosque killings, “This act of violence really doesn’t have a precedent as far as we know, murdering people in a mosque.” He conveniently forgot the slaughter of 29 Muslims in Palestine by a Jewish settler in 1994.
Liberal Zionists have set out rules for how to criticize the Israel lobby without offending them. They are trying to obscure a 70 year pattern of Zionists influencing U.S. policy, from the recognition of Israel’s establishment by Truman, who depended on Zionist donors, to Trump trashing the Iran deal in deference to Sheldon Adelson.
Forty-seven years after 14 Irish protesters were killed on Bloody Sunday 1972, a British soldier faces charges in two deaths. The dead were unarmed protesters who were a threat to riot in British eyes. Very much like the thousands of unarmed Palestinians shot at the Gaza fence in the last year, shootings the UN and B’Tselem says are war crimes.
For years liberal Zionists have been saying that the fundamental problem with the Jewish democracy is the bogeyman of Netanyahu. But the April election now offers a real prospect that Netanyahu will be knocked off — and the new centrist governing coalition will be just as obdurate against a Palestinian state. That could be a crisis for liberal Zionists.
When the Democratic leadership backed down on its anti-Ilhan Omar resolution, it signaled that a movement for Palestinian human rights that has been crushed several times by the party in recent years now must be reckoned with as the mood of the progressive base. Leading presidential candidates support Omar, and Gallup shows that liberal Democrats are nearly as sympathetic to Palestinians as Israelis.
Hannah Arendt wrote in 1944 that by proceeding with contempt for their Arab neighbors, the founders of the Jewish state were setting up a situation in which Israel would be utterly dependent on Jews in the United States to maintain the superpower’s support for the state, thereby exposing American Jews to the charge of “double loyalty.” When Ilhan Omar questions the allegiance of some Israel advocates, she brings up a legitimate criticism of Zionism.
Amid attacks from Democratic colleagues in the House, Rep. Ilhan Omar says that she finds it “problematic” that “I am anti-American if I am not pro-Israel.” And she knows many Americans agree with her. “I just happen to be willing to speak up.” The progressive base of the party is behind her, in a sign that the party is dividing on Israel.
Saudi’s Prince Turki bin Faisal says Netanyahu is deceiving Israelis about warming relations with Arab monarchies. “Israeli public opinion should not be deceived into believing that the Palestinian issue is a dead issue. From the Israeli point of view, Mr Netanyahu would like us to have a relationship and then we can fix the Palestinian issue. From the Saudi point of view it’s the other way around.”
Ilhan Omar is accused of antisemitism in fostering a “hoary myth of dual loyalty” to Israel. But Jews from Joe Klein to Eric Alterman to Melissa Weintraub to MJ Rosenberg say that allegiance to Israel is actually an important factor in the support for Israel in the United States, to the point that some support Israel’s interests over America’s.