Nine members of Congress have signed on to a letter asking the Trump administration to suspend U.S. sanctions on Iran amid the COVID-19 crisis. The letter comes amidst a wider effort by activists to raise awareness of the issue and pressure the Treasury Department to take immediate action.
Trump has a political calculation in embracing Netanyahu’s annexation of the West Bank. He wants to get 40 percent of the Jewish vote, as Reagan did in 1980. And in a warning to Democrats, Haim Saban, Hillary’s big supporter, said he likes the plan.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is facing a primary challenge from New York City Councilman Fernando Cabrera, a centrist who was a registered Republican up until 2008. In an interview, Cabrera says he was inspired to run in response to Ocasio-Cortez’s “embrace of socialism” and her views towards Israel. “Even more than specific issues, like BDS, it’s the culture that she’s trying to shape that I think would be detrimental to the Jewish community,” said Cabrera.
Seffi Kogen of the AJC says IfNotNow is a “radical” fringe of Israel critics in a Jewish community overwhelmingly pro-Israel, but even his boss David Harris disagrees with him. “Every time I hear in a Jewish meeting concerns about our children and their lack of interest in Israel, their apathy about Israel, their hostility to Israel… I ask… What are we doing wrong in our homes? What are we doing wrong in our schools?”
White progressives in the Democratic Party are turning against Israel. They snapped during the 2014 assault on Gaza, and they are joining what Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calls a “generational” shift for progressives to criticize Israel. “Young Jews are sick of this.”
A resolution affirming that Americans have the right to participate in the boycott of foreign countries has four new cosponsors, including New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The number of cosponsors on the bill has more than doubled since the House overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning the BDS movement earlier this week.
When Trump called Ilhan Omar a “terrorist,” he was echoing an Israeli tactic against Palestinian dissenters. The charge has been used against sitting lawmakers, like when former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman called Hanin Zoabi a terrorist, and against poet Dareen Tatour and anti-occupation activist Ahed Tamimi.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been under fire for using the term “concentration camps” to describe US border detention camps. Speaking in 2015, Israeli journalist Amira Hass made a similar statement about Israeli policies toward Gaza. Jonathan Ofir says the two statements help clarify a reality that “is often far beyond the imagination.”
A number of lawmakers have come out in support of Congressional legislation that seeks to end Israel’s military detention practices against Palestinian children, including New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar. Introduced by Betty McCollum, the bill died in the last Congress with 30 co-sponsors.
Peter Beinart takes another brave step inside the Zionist community by endorsing conditions on US aid supporting Israeli atrocities, but he continues to count on US Jewish community to change US policy when the track record is miserable. Progressives have more diverse coalitions, and respect the fact that BDS originates from members of the oppressed group.