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Republicans push BDS bill to paint Dems as anti-Semites, and party leadership falls for the trap

Josh Ruebner on
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) (Photo: Center for American Progress/Flickr)

On Wednesday, Republicans in the House of Representatives initiated a rarely-used legislative procedure to try to force a vote on a controversial bill that encourages states and localities to penalize individuals, nonprofit organizations, and companies that boycott for Palestinian rights. This is the latest GOP move in an ongoing, concerted effort to to portray themselves as the saviors of Israel and the Jewish people and paint the Democrats as an anti-Semitic, BDS-loving, radical left horde. And Democrats seem to be falling into the trap.

‘We ain’t got to walk around struttin’ talking about two state solutions’ — Marc Lamont Hill

Philip Weiss on

Marc Lamont Hill seems emboldened by his firing by CNN last year for daring to imagine equal rights in Israel and Palestine. On Wednesday night, he spoke of “Gettin’ rid of the settler colonial project altogether” and mocked the term, “liberal Zionist, whatever that is.” He will appear on a star-studded panel about Palestine on Saturday May 4 at UMass Amherst.

Jared Kushner on the two-state solution: ‘let’s just not say it’

Allison Deger on
Senior White House advisor Jared Kushner. (Photo: AP/Evan Vucci)

On Thursday evening Jared Kushner avoided confirming if his plan, which has been kept secret, will include a Palestinian state but spoke at length about an “economic visions for the region” and a “business plan” to address “what’s been holding” Palestinians “back economically.”

‘Send a message to Bibi, I love him’ — Joe Biden’s long ties to Israel

Philip Weiss on

Joe Biden has bragged of raising money from the Israel lobby group AIPAC, declared “Israel…the single greatest strength America has in the Middle East,” professed, “I’m a Zionist,” and in 2014 said he had told Netanyahu, “I love you. Read an overview of Biden’s remarks on Jews and Israel, including his belief that efforts to delegitimize the Jewish state, or even to protest the 2014 Gaza onslaught, are anti-Semitic.

McCollum reintroduces historic bill to promote Palestinian children’s human rights

Josh Ruebner on

Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) reintroduced yesterday her historic bill to promote the human rights of Palestinian children who face detention, interrogation, abuse and violence, including torture, and imprisonment by Israel through its separate-and-unequal military court system in the occupied West Bank. “Israel’s system of military juvenile detention is state-sponsored child abuse designed to intimidate and terrorize Palestinian children and their families,” McCollum said in a strongly-worded statement.

I was wrong about anti-Semitism going away

Philip Weiss on

For the past 25 years or so I have had a running debate with Jewish friends, Is anti-Semitism over? I’ve argued that it is, given the incredible Jewish inclusion. I was wrong. Anti-semitism remains an abiding hatred, and Poway shows it’s recurrent.

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. 

Why I’m glad Netanyahu won

James Zogby on
Netanyahu and Trump meet at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel on Madison Avenue. (Photo: (AP/Evan Vucci)

James Zogby writes a Netanyahu victory is good: “we will now finally be able to have an honest debate about the dreadful situation created by American complicity in enabling Israel’s continued oppression of Palestinians. This debate might have been aborted for a time had Gantz won.”

Why is this Seder different from all other Seders?

Ira Glunts on

A plan for an alternative Passover seder which is a reaction to the Israeli occupation and the Jewish religious rites deployed in its support: Ira Glunts’s Seder lo b’seder: the seder that skips the traditional seder, and supports BDS.

Mueller Report says ‘multiple members’ of Trump transition approached foreign officials to stop UN resolution against Israeli settlements

Philip Weiss on
President Donald Trump talks with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jared Kushner in Jerusalem, May 22, 2017.

The Mueller Report was released today, and one section reveals that “multiple members” of the Trump transition team, led by Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law, sought to undermine the Obama White House’s decision to allow the passage of a UN Security Council resolution in December 2016 that was sharply critical of Israeli settlements.

What motivates criticism of Israel by diaspora Jews? An interview with Bonnie Honig

Bruce Robbins on
Bonnie Honig

What motivates the criticism of Israel by Jews in the diaspora? Bruce Robbins talks with Bonnie Honig, one of the most insightful and original political theorists of her generation, who argues by targeting the Jewish diaspora in order to manufacture uncritical solidarity, Israel created, paradoxically, a sense of obligation to criticize Israel.

Supporting Israel is now ‘liability’ for Democrats, but ’60 Minutes’ doesn’t trouble Pelosi about it

Philip Weiss on
Nancy Pelosi meets with three former UK Labour MP's who left the party over Israel and alleged anti-Semitism. April 14, 2019. From Twitter.

On “60 Minutes,” Nancy Pelosi called herself a progressive and dismissed leftwing congresswomen as a mere “five people,” and Lesley Stahl never challenged her about the fissure in the party over Israel. Though more and more commentators are saying that Israel support has become the battleground among Democrats, and Pelosi is busy catering to AIPAC and Netanyahu.

Leading House Dems warn Netanyahu against promise to annex West Bank settlements

Allison Deger on
Jewish youth hold Israeli flags at the beginning of a rally march in the West Bank settlement of Itamar, near Nablus September 20, 2011. (Photo: REUTERS/Nir Elias)

Taking the unusual step of publicly criticizing Israel and Netanyahu, today Eliot L. Engel, Nita Lowey, Ted Deutch, Brad Schneider, all affiliates of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, issued a statement cautioning against any “unilateral steps” to declare occupied Palestinian territory part of the state of Israel.

For Palestinians, it doesn’t matter who wins the Israeli elections

Mohamed Mohamed on
Then-IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, left, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a Navy ceremony on September 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)

It is time that Americans recognize the true nature of the Israeli Jewish polity, Mohamed Mohamed of the Jerusalem Fund writes. Regardless who wins Israeli elections, the daily lives and political situation of Palestinians are unlikely to improve. As for the two-state solution, a tiny minority of Israeli Jews actually support real Palestinian sovereignty.

Liberal Zionists must drop the Zionism if they really want to build an Arab-Jewish political partnership

Philip Weiss on
Liberal Zionists discuss Israeli election, on April 10. From left to right, Yael Patir of J Street Israel, J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami, and Israeli journalist/pollster Dahlia Scheindlin.

The Jewish left in Israel “received the fewest votes that it’s ever received and shows real signs of potentially going extinct,” says Jeremy Ben-Ami of J Street. While other liberal Zionists call for leadership to build a liberal partnership with Palestinian voters. There is only one way to do so. Liberal Zionists must drop the Zionism, which is obnoxious to Palestinians, based on 100 years of exposure to the ideology.

Amos Oz’s daughter offers ‘the best possible justification of Zionism’ at DC memorial

Philip Weiss on
Fania Oz-Salzberger at her father's memorial in Washington, March 31. Temple Sinai, Washington. Photo taken from J Street's twitter feed.

The late Israeli author Amos Oz thought that Palestinians who wanted to return to the homes their grandparents were forced to flee in Israel suffered from a disease called “Reconstritis,” as did settlers who sought a biblical transformation of the West Bank. At a Washington memorial service for the author, his daughter Fania Oz-Salzberger cited the malady in extolling Zionism as a force that saved millions of Jewish lives.