Author

Philip Weiss

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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.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) arrives for her victory party on election night in Minneapolis, Minnesota on November 6, 2018. (Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP/Getty Images)

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

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.”