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Mike Pompeo’s quid pro quo for Sheldon Adelson

Philip Weiss on

At the same time as he reversed decades of US policy on settlements, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly reached out to Sheldon Adelson for donor support to run for Senate in Kansas. And it’s not a scandal. Though the Israel lobby corrupts our foreign policy.

Now they tell us! Peace processors say enabling Israel settlements has been US policy for 4 decades

Helena Cobban on
Aaron David Miller

The New York Times gives Paul Wolfowitz a platform to criticize Trump on the withdrawal from Syria, and the fight against ISIS, without saying a word about the roots of ISIS in the destruction that his project of invading Iraq wrought throughout the region. Wolfowitz should be on trial for major war crimes, Helena Cobban writes, not featured in the New York Times.

The ‘stars aligned’ in Israeli politics (and a nameless Gaza family is massacred)

Jonathan Ofir on

The Israeli army has come up with story after story to explain away the “mistaken” massacre of a family of nine in Gaza Nov. 14th. Now the army chief of staff sends a pep-talk letter to all soldiers about the two-day assault on Gaza that leaves out the family’s names but assures that the matter is being investigated.

The root cause of the conflict is the Israel lobby

Philip Weiss on

Israel would have reached a deal with the Palestinians and allowed a Palestinian state years ago if it did not have blind American support to go on taking more and more Palestinian land. The Israel lobby, which has prevented criticism in both parties in the U.S., is the root cause of the conflict, and the lobby’s role as Israel’s supporter in western capitals is a fundamental principle of Zionism.

Teaching students the conflict is ‘incredibly complicated’ is guiding them into an epistemological and moral void

Joel Doerfler on

For all their talk of “complexity” and “ambiguity,” the contributors to “Teaching the Arab-Israeli Conflict” are in fact as politically and morally engaged as those putative classroom brainwashers and ideologues who serve as their whipping-boys. Instead of being more scrupulous and balanced in their pedagogy, these authors simply have a particular historical and ethical “take” on the subject. The Zionist-Palestinian conflict is not so very morally or politically ambiguous.

‘I would do it again’ — Tom Friedman stands by support for Iraq War in ‘personal crusade’ to change Arab world

Philip Weiss on

Tom Friedman of the New York Times says he supported Iraq war in part to keep Israel from being surrounded by chaos in Arab world. He assures a pro-Israel audience, “Israel had me at hello. Whatever you think folks– don’t worry. In times of crisis, I know where I will be. When the Jewish state is under threat–” Though he worries if the next foreign affairs columnist will get a “buzz” for Israel.

On ‘retaliatory strikes’ and ‘Israeli fear’

Denijal Jegić on
A photo from the Haaretz article 'Sunny With a Chance of Rockets: No Casualties but Plenty of Confused Tourists in Tel Aviv' with the caption: "The beachfront in Tel Aviv, November 12, 2019. Other than a few tourists, the area was relatively deserted — despite Tel Avivians getting an unexpected day off." (Photo: Daniel Bar-On/Haaretz)

Western media has rationalized the recent Israeli attacks on Gaza by focusing on on Israel’s fears. Denijal Jegic writes these “fears” are a reflection of the structure that underlies the relationship between the settler-colonial state and the indigenous population.

U.S. must save Israel ‘morally’ so as to save the U.S. — liberal Zionists’ circular argument

Philip Weiss on

Dan Shapiro and Michael Koplow say the U.S. made a “moral commitment” to Israel as a democracy against countless threats 71 years ago and the U.S. has a strategic interest in preserving Israel as a democracy, or the morality of the relationship will be undermined. The possibility that we should distance ourselves from Israel because it’s persecuting Palestinians is simply off the table for these liberal Zionists. Though progressive Democrats increasingly feel that way.

‘NY Times’ report on killing of Gaza family is part damage control for Israel’s military

James North on

While the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that the killing of an entire family in Gaza was a “mistake,” the New York Times allows the Israeli military to explain that “civilian casualties are unavoidable in Gaza’s teeming neighborhoods.” And, hammering home the propaganda point, the paper says Israel “takes numerous precautions to prevent unnecessary civilian casualties.”

Despite Trump’s Syrian withdrawal, the sun still never sets on the American empire

Nick Turse on
5th Special Forces Group (A) Operation Detachment Bravo 5310 at the Landing Zone at base camp Al Tanf Garrison in southern Syria, November 22, 2017. (Photo: Staff Sgt. Jacob Connor/Wikimedia)

The abandonment of about a dozen outposts across northeastern Syria hardly constitutes a substantial drawdown of U.S. forces in the region. With the president either reshuffling troops in Syria or merely relocating them elsewhere in the Middle East and a new contingent of American forces deploying to Saudi Arabia, there will actually be a net gain in U.S. troops in the region at this moment of supposed reduction.

‘Coffins off the plane’ — Dems split on Forever Wars

Philip Weiss on

We are actually having a debate about anti-war policy in the Democratic Party. Pete Buttigieg is soaring in fundraising in part due to strongly interventionist stances in last debate, while Sanders and Warren are getting slammed by establishment voices for alleged isolationism. And Tulsi Gabbard is smeared as a Russian asset for condemning “regime change” in Syria.

‘Forward’ opinion editor has nothing more to say, and doesn’t want to hear you

Jonathan Ofir on
Batya Ungar-Sargon (via Twitter)

Forward opinion editor Batya Ungar-Sargon’s claims of anti-Semitism at Bard college have been widely refuted. Yet she has doubled down on them – saying the response only confirms the truth of her allegation. This is dishonest, and also strategic, aimed at limiting criticism of Israel inside leftwing circles.

Trump’s Syria withdrawal is ‘disaster’ for Israel, leaving it on its own against Iran, supporters say

Philip Weiss on

Donald Trump’s decision to abandon former Kurdish allies in Syria has been a shock to Israel and its US lobby. Israel thought it had a very special place in Trump’s worldview, but the withdrawal appears to gives Iran far more leeway. We are on our own against Iran, several Israeli officials and Israel supporters conclude fearfully. War is more likely than ever, one expert concludes.