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Democrats have no problem criticizing Israel, but no specifics on holding it accountable

Michael Arria on

Democratic candidates for president love to criticize Netanyahu, but they don’t offer specifics on stopping him. Kirsten Gillibrand wants to hold Israel accountable for barring congresswomen from visiting, Bernie Sanders wants to leverage US aid “to end some of the racism that we have recently seen in Israel,” and Elizabeth Warren says, “Push hard.” But none of them has a plan.

Tulsi Gabbard has done the unpardonable: criticized US global hegemony

David Bromwich on

The NYT’s initial strategy was to starve Tulsi Gabbard out – no coverage, no candidacy. Now, because she’s still in and lately told a truth that weakened the Times choice Kamala Harris, they are giving her the Bernie 2016 treatment: i.e. this candidate is outlandish, absurd, unaccountably heartless, mystical, a tool of the wicked (she points out that Syria never went to war against the US) – and possibly a Russian agent.

The end is near (for Democrats and Israel)

Philip Weiss on

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 in Israel are sick of this.”

AIPAC and friends slam IfNotNow as ‘anti-Israel’ for asking Democratic candidates about ‘the occupation’

Philip Weiss on

The young Jews of IfNotNow are making Israel’s occupation an issue in the Democratic race, and the group Democratic Majority for Israel is fighting back, calling IfNotNow anti-Israel and advising candidates to avoid answering IfNotNow’s questions. IfNotNow says the Democratic Majority group is a front for AIPAC, the Israel lobby, which has long had a home in the Democratic Party.

Biden and Harris pal around with a politician called ‘racist’ by Sanders and O’Rourke

Philip Weiss on

Joe Biden has praised racist Israeli leaders Benjamin Netanyahu and Golda Meir on many occasions, but don’t expect Kamala Harris to score points off him for it, as she did over his fondness for southern racists. She has had a warm meeting with Netanyahu, refused to criticize Israel’s human rights record, and told the rightwing pro-Israel group AIPAC that she raised money for Israel as a girl and Israel’s story reminds her of the civil rights struggle in the U.S.

Senate Republicans are paving the way for a military escalation against Iran

Michael Arria on

Senate Republicans were able to stop an amendment that would have required President Trump to seek congressional approval for an attack on Iran, despite the fact that the majority of votes were cast in support of the measure. Then Republicans passed a measure assuring that Trump’s hands would not be tied, as Sen. Mitt Romney put it, in taking on Iran.

Iran is not a threat to the United States, say the Democrats

Philip Weiss on

Democratic candidates assail Trump’s Iran policy, while Miriam Adelson hails it in biblical terms at an Israeli conference alongside Netanyahu. But journalists never ask Trump whether his biggest donors, the Adelsons, are pushing war because they fear it will stoke anti-Semitism.

Bernie Sanders joins Democratic Party debate over US aid to Israel

Michael Arria on

During a appearance on CBS, Bernie Sanders implied that military aid to Israel might only come with conditions if he’s elected president. Combined with recent comments by Pete Buttigieg, and legislation introduced by Betty McCollum, Sanders’ comments are the latest indication that there may be a shift in how Democrats are viewing Israel heading into the 2020 election.

Liberal Zionists worry: Annexation will make Israel a political issue in presidential campaign

Philip Weiss on

Israel’s threat of annexation is a crisis for liberal Zionists because it makes them confront a reality: There is not going to be a two-state solution. Yesterday Jeremy Ben-Ami of J Street warned supporters: “Members of the Trump administration are opening the door to a one-state scenario where Palestinians will live as second-class citizens.” But that scenario exists right now, and liberal Zionists have done precious little to oppose it.

J Street — and Bernie Sanders — are loyal to the ‘democratic and Jewish homeland’ contradiction

Abba Solomon on
U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman being gifted with an altered image of the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount with the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock replaced with a Jewish temple, May 2018. (Photo: Israel Cohen/Kikar HaShabbat)

When J Street advocates for “Israel’s future as a democratic and Jewish homeland,” it is supporting a concept that has been a contradiction-in-terms since Israel’s establishment. Abba Solomon argues that J Street and Bernie Sanders too cannot face the fact that political Zionism means perpetual Jewish domination, or at best custody, of Palestinian lives.

As mainstream comes down hard on Palestinians, Sanders cites human rights violations in Gaza

Philip Weiss on

Israelis are the innocents, while Gaza militants are “terrorists” in countless statements about the weekend’s violence from U.S. Democrats and liberal Zionist groups. That makes Bernie Sanders’s call for an “evenhanded” policy and concern about human rights violations in Gaza remarkable for political courage. Sanders says he has been “criticized over and over again” for his stance.

Despite brave stances, Bernie Sanders is still to the right of Democratic voters on Palestine

Hamzah Raza on
Bernie Sanders speaking at a campaign rally

At a recent CNN town hall, Bernie Sanders courageously asserted that “Israel is run by a racist government” and called for “a level playing field” between Israel and the Palestinians. Hamzah Reza writes that while such rhetoric is a breath of fresh air, the reality is that Sanders has refused to take the tangible actions that a plurality of rank-and-file Democratic voters want him to take.

Bernie Sanders at CNN town hall: ‘Israel is run by a racist government’

Allison Deger on
Senator Bernie Sanders speaking at a CNN town hall in New Hampshire on Monday, April, 22, 2019.

Presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) told a room full of students last night during CNN’s marathon town hall in New Hampshire that Israel is headed by a “racist government,” and vowed to “level the playing field” between disparate American support for Israel and the Palestinians. 

‘Sanders smashes the Israel status quo,’ his new ad boasts

Philip Weiss on

A new Bernie Sanders ad highlights his criticism of Israel. Just as Sanders spoke out against South African apartheid ahead of others, says activist Shaun King, “today he speaks out against apartheid-like conditions in Palestine even though it’s not popular.” The progressive base wants that message.

Bernie Sanders: Still Progressive Except for Palestine

Robert Fantina on
Bernie Sanders speaking at a campaign rally

Robert Fantina asked the Bernie Sanders campaign for his position on Palestine and was told the candidate supports “diplomatic efforts to end the occupation and broker a two-state solution.” Fantina says that as Sanders continues to ride his populist wave across the dismal political landscape of the United States, he will continue to burnish his credentials as being progressive except on Palestine.