Hasbara has died. The era of Israel being able to “explain” its actions to the world is over. The fair-minded have all made up their minds; Trump’s embrace of the country and its massacres have seen to that. So Israeli explanations are reserved for hard-core supporters. The hasbara is pure propaganda, aimed at rallying the base.
Category Archives: Israel Lobby
The Israel issue is heating up in American politics, with ABC News publishing a report that progressive Democrats are increasingly willing to criticize Israel and may “reap political rewards” by doing so. Those progressives include Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in NY, Scott Wallace in PA, Leslie Cockburn in VA, and Ilhan Omar running for Keith Ellison’s seat in MN.
Assimilation is decimating the diaspora, Miriam Adelson warns young American Jews in Israel. They should become “more committed Jews, have Jewish babies,” and become “soldiers” for Israel, lobbying governments and swaying public opinion “in favor of Israel.”
“It’s not acceptable in any way, to be the largest Jewish educational institution in the world and not talk about Palestine, and not engage with any Palestinian speakers” –Bethany Zaiman explains why she and four other Jewsh women deserted a Birthright trip to Israel after repeatedly challenging the program to talk about the occupation.
Alan Dershowitz says the fact he’s been socially banned on Martha’s Vineyard over his advocacy for Donald Trump is reminiscent of McCarthyism, and Norman Finkelstein reminds us that Dershowitz acted to try to ban his book in 2005 and then deny him tenure at DePaul University.
Eric Goldstein, the head of one of the largest Jewish philanthropies, calls on Jews to support the refugees who are coming to America’s borders. But when it comes to Palestinian refugees in Gaza, who are being shot at by Israeli forces, Goldstein expresses contempt, showing sympathy only for Israelis on the other side of the border whose fields are threatened by burning kites.
Tom Friedman once gave me permission to believe in Israel and believe it wanted peace with Palestinians. That liberal Zionist world is over, and Friedman needs to grapple with the fact that liberalism stands not just against Trump but for Palestinian human rights, Liz Rose writes.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez toppled Joseph Crowley, the fourth highest Democrat in the House, in the Democratic primary in NY yesterday. She has called on Dems to support Palestinian dignity, tweeting in May of Gaza shootings: “This is a massacre. I hope my peers have the moral courage to call it such… Palestinian people deserve basic human dignity, as anyone else. Democrats can’t be silent about this anymore.”
Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog’s comment that Jewish intermarriage in the U.S. is a “plague” shows his ignorance of U.S. reality. Jewish and non-Jewish Americans interact with no consciousness of religion. In many cases, couples become intimate before partners even know the religious preference of their counterparts. And that’s progress. When Robert Lord was younger, he saw friends and relatives lose once-in-a-lifetime relationships because family members shunned their non-Jewish partners.
Nick Muzin, a leading pro-Israel operative in D.C., says that Al Jazeera has “canned” its undercover investigation of the Israel lobby, completed last year, because of the intervention of Mort Klein of the Zionist Organization of America.
Phil Weiss visits Warsaw and Treblinka in Poland and feels a deep connection to the Jewish homeland that was erased: “For a long time I have had the words echoing in my mind, ‘Where were the Jews supposed to go?’ said by a friend with Polish roots, and have wanted to go to Poland to face the question. On my latest trip to the Middle East I threw in two days in Poland on the return. And now I want to go back.”
Progressive Democratic politicians and organizations are losing their fear of AIPAC and Haim Saban and starting to be openly critical of Israel. Few Democrats have defended Israel’s actions at the Gaza border, Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for Peace points out. While 13 senators have been critical.
Progressive Mal Hyman, in a South Carolina runoff for a Congressional nomination, has been outspoken about Israeli human rights violations. He blames the U.S. for supporting colonialism and sees U.S. failure in the Middle East as giving progressives an opening to bring in humane ideas. AIPAC has asked for a meeting and Hyman says, “Wonderful,” but we’ll disagree. His boldness on these issues is a sign of things to come in Democratic races.
Liberal Zionist scholar Shaul Magid served in the Israeli army but he has had enough of Israel. Ben-Gurion miscalculated the nature of Jewish relations to the world, and that’s why Israelis are now flocking to Berlin and L.A. Magid left for Indiana and says if he had to live in Israel now, “It would actually drive me insane.”
Most of the big Democratic donors featured in a NYT article on presidential hopefuls raising money in NY are pro-Israel. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren need $30 million for a campaign war chest, so they are unlikely to say anything critical of Israel. Both progressives have demonstrated as much during the Gaza massacre.
“There is no Judaism without Zionism,” Yossi Klein Halevi states flatly in his new book; and Jewish Voice for Peace and anti-Zionists are not part of the Jewish community. This intolerance has not stopped many liberal Zionists from embracing him, including J Street, Jodi Rudoren, David Gregory and Cokie Roberts.
Both houses of the California state legislature passed resolutions applauding Israeli democracy on its 70th anniversary and overlooking the carnage in Gaza. Despite these victories, pro-Israel forces are facing greater and greater resistance from progressive voices in California politics.
The New York Times echoes Israeli propaganda about slain Palestinian medic Razan al-Najjar, saying she was “more complex” than the innocent woman described in reports. If Russians issued such a cynical slander of a protester, the Times would be the first to denounce it. But it’s Israel, and the Times collaborates in blaming the victim.
From Tom Friedman to Bari Weiss to Bret Stephens to Shmuel Rosner, New York Times opinion writers have supported Israel’s massacre at the Gaza border. Only Michelle Goldberg has condemned it outright, while David Brooks and Roger Cohen have equivocated, and blamed Hamas.
Netanyahu’s famous lecture to President Obama in 2011, warning him not to have “illusions” about making peace, worked. It galvanized the leadership of the American Jewish community against the president, former Obama aide Ben Rhodes says in his new book. After the lecture, Rhodes was “given a list of leading Jewish donors to call, to reassure them of Obama’s pro-Israel bona fides.”’
Congressional candidates Leslie Cockburn in Virginia, Scott Wallace in Pennsylvania and Mal Hyman in South Carolina have all been critical of Israel or supported Israel critics. And the progressive Democratic base wants to hear that criticism. Aaron David Miller fights back, saying that supporting Israel is mom and apple pie, and Israel support must stay bipartisan.
NPR promoted the Israeli occupation TV show “Fauda” on Saturday and when Scott Simon suggested that Palestinians killed in Gaza were “innocent,” Lior Raz retorted that 60 had been killed — a lie — and that almost all were members of a terror group– the Israeli government line. Simon failed to mention the killing the day before of a Palestinian medic.
Trump once laughed at the efforts of the Republican Jewish Coalition, rightwing supporters of the Netanyahu government, to “control” politicians. But 2-and-1/2 years later the group has emerged as a hub for fundraising for Trump and for setting his foreign policy agenda on Middle East issues. A former board member, Elliott Broidy, shows up in the Mueller probe, working with Israel lobby groups and the UAE to punish Hamas.
Tom Friedman of the Times says that Palestinians in Gaza are responsible for their own suffering because they have not marched to demand a two-state solution that preserves the Jewish state. He’s been giving Palestinians that advice for 7 years and ignoring their suffering under blockade.
The generational break among Jews that is happening in the US has moved to Britain. About 50 mostly young people called ‘Jews against the killing in Gaza’ have slammed British Jewish leadership for blindness to Israeli human rights violations. The next step is recognizing that Zionism is a morally defunct ideology.