Israeli politician Benny Gantz raised the specter of dual loyalty of Jews in other nations when he said yesterday, “If there is one Jew in danger, anywhere in the world, then our mission is unfinished.”
Tag Archives: Israel Lobby
Under the Trump administration, AIPAC has maintained a strong relationship with Republican members of congress, far right-wing Israeli politicians, and Christian Zionist groups. But the organization is facing a serious challenge: It increasingly has no cred with young Jews.
Last week presidential candidate California Senator Kamala Harris said she was skipping the AIPAC policy conference. But yesterday she met with AIPAC executives and proudly tweeted the photo, and AIPAC exulted that shed attended the conference after all! The flipflop follows years of Harris kissing up to the Israel lobby and to Benjamin Netanyahu.
Even as pro-justice activists were celebrating the fact that many Democratic politicians– including the main 2020 presidential hopefuls–have skipped this year’s AIPAC conference in DC, a national campaign was hastily being launched to urge Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League) and Amy Everitt (California head of NARAL) not to speak there.
Pitzer College’s governing council voted March 14 to suspend a program in Israel for the same reason US institutions ended collaborations with Apartheid South Africa in the 1980s. Pitzer President Melvin Oliver’s veto of the resolution not only harms Pitzer but harms Palestinians and Jewish Israelis, as it blocks a material contribution to expanding the possibility of justice and peace for all, Pitzer Professor Daniel Segal writes.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio gave the “simple, clear, progressive case for the state of Israel” at AIPAC this morning. He touched again and again on the Jewish history of persecution and “exclusion” and “expulsion” and never acknowledged that 750,000 Palestinians had been expelled from their lands at the birth of Israel in 1947-49. As such, his speech was a monument of Democratic denial of the Palestinian Nakba, or catastrophe.
The AIPAC policy conference in Washington began Sunday on a defensive note, with the Israel lobby organization’s chief executive saying that Israel’s friends face a terrible new challenge: taking on “the scurrilous charge of dual loyalty” and declaring “The intense hatred of Israel is now creeping from the margins to the center of our politics.”
A few months after telling AIPAC that “it’s such a great feeling” for an Israeli to know that AIPAC has his back, New York Times reporter Ronen Bergman is about to have that great feeling again. He’s speaking at AIPAC on Sunday in Washington, though the organization doesn’t mention his affiliation with the Times.
Many Democratic candidates for president are skipping the AIPAC conference because it’s offering a red carpet to a racist, Benjamin Netanyahu. The Israel prime minister’s explicit slurs of Arabs have alarmed American progressives. But Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Bill de Blasio and the New York Times haven’t noticed.
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.
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.
For the first time in AIPAC’s history, the lobby group has invited a senior leader of the Yesha Council, an umbrella organization of municipal councils of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, to speak at its annual convention in Washington, D.C. this month.
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.
The US House of Representatives passed an extended resolution condemning anti-Semitism and other forms of racism, in response to the outrage concerning Ilhan Omar’s comments concerning Israel and its lobby. But Omar’s comments were not about Jews, and the resolution doesn’t address the problem, which is that allegiance to Israel can’t be questioned.
In 1944 Hannah Arendt warned that Israel’s founders were exposing American Jews to the charge of dual loyalty by their dependency on US support. When Ilhan Omar questions the allegiance of some Israel advocates, it’s 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.
Prominent Jews, including Molly Crabapple, Dave Zirin, Tzvia Thier, Naomi Klein, Ilan Pappe, Rebecca Vilkomerson, Shir Hever, and Moshe Machover sign a statement standing by Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar for her criticism of AIPAC. As long as the US gov’t stands behind Israeli crimes, the 229 signatories and counting will point to the outsize role of the Israel lobby.
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.
Many people have compared Palestinian conditions to the Jim Crow south, from Jimmy Carter to Condoleezza Rice to Rashida Tlaib. So it’s jarring to learn that Sen. Kamala Harris, in private comments to AIPAC last year, said the famous civil rights march on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma in 1965 inspires her to build a bridge with Israel supporters.
The essential dynamic at the core of the Israel lobby’s activities is American Jews’ belief that they are lesser than Israelis because they have easy lives and their kids don’t serve in the army in a tough neighborhood. So they must buy US political support for Israel no matter what it does. That guilt trip is finally coming to an end.
Former AIPAC official M.J. Rosenberg has confirmed that Ilhan Omar’s description of AIPAC as being “all about the Benjamins” is actually right. He describes how AIPAC manages to handle money without it being official. We should thank Rep. Ilhan Omar for keying the debate.
A Maryland software engineer and former state delegate is suing his state’s governor for signing an executive order into law which targets and penalizes supporters of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement (BDS), in what he says is a violation of his First Amendment rights.
The BDS campaign doesn’t want to destroy Israel but to end its Zionist regime, Yossi Gurvitz explains. No people have the right to self-determination in another people’s homeland. Yet this is precisely what happened in Israel, and this is precisely what Zionists are defending: a country based on denial of the rights of others.
BDS shakes up the House! Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s support for BDS “is inconsistent with our national values,” says a Republican congressman, while the Dems’ appointment of BDS-supporter Ilhan Omar to House Foreign Affairs shows “the days of the Democrats’ support-Israel-at-all-costs stance are numbered,” as the young Jewish group IfNotNow proclaims.
The Senate bill punishing support for BDS against Israel failed again yesterday. Israel has never been so openly politicized before, and many Democratic supporters are expressing the fear that the issue is going to divide the party leading up to the 2020 election.