Journalists have relied on Wikileaks for years to show readers in riveting detail the extent of the State Department and the Democratic Party’s catering to Israel, for instance to undermine the Iran deal. Whatever you think of him personally, Julian Assange has been a critical journalistic source, allowing news organizations to show the public how our leaders actually make policy.
Category Archives: Media
The Palestine issue is going to be hot on the Democratic campaign trail. Solidarity activists disrupted Booker and Buttigieg launch rallies, while Beto O Rourke congratulated Netanyahu but said his alignment with “hateful” parties threatens two-state solution. And Kamala Harris is doubling down on her AIPAC support, her spox saying support for Israel is “central to who she is.”
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.
Prevented by the State Department from coming to the U.S., BDS activist Omar Barghouti was given a generous hearing in Washington at the behest of James Zogby and Peter Beinart. Barghouti was given a Skype soapbox for 90 minutes, to say that Israel’s identification of all Jews with Zionism is itself anti-Semitic.
Even NPR believes that Trump’s designation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization was a gift to the embattled Benjamin Netanyahu, who said it was one of his “requests” to Trump. How many other “requests” has Trump followed through on? He is surely doing so at the urging of his biggest donor, Sheldon Adelson.
Five Democratic presidential candidates criticized Netanyahu for his election tactics, and Israel lobbyists have jumped into the breach to prevent the two countries from dividing politically. Elliott Abrams calls on Democratic Party leaders to break bread with Netanyahu if he wins. And you thought Abrams was a Republican!
The polls from Israel are dispiriting. Netanyahu is the most popular leader, the young adore him; and even if the opposition wins, its government will be rightwing. And the occupation will not end. So the election will challenge Americans to stand up at last for Palestinian rights.
Anti-Palestinian racism is at last moving the needle in US politics. The demotion by leadership of NY City Councilman Kalman Yeger for his anti-Palestinian comments this week sends a message to the Democratic Party nationwide, that the profound political shifts that the left is generating on a host of issues, from sexual harassment to economic inequity, will include Palestine, too.
Rising Democratic star Pete Buttigieg went to Israel at the height of Gaza killings last May on an Israel-lobby-sponsored trip and came home praising the country for its “clear-eyed” decisions on security. He faulted fellow Democrats for making snap judgments of the country based on “90-second cable news versions of what’s going on over there.”
American Jewish organizations cultivated Zionism as a bulwark of Jewish identity and against assimilation, but the success of the indoctrination has created problems for American Jews. “Public antipathy toward Israel would all too likely spill over into hostility toward American Jews,” the American Jewish Committee warned in 1953.
The New York Times parrots claims by Benjamin Netanyahu and Mike Pompeo that Israel owns the Golan Heights because it was taken in a “defensive war” in 1967, ignoring the historical record. Israel launched the war, the Arab states did not want war. “We chose to attack them,” former premier Menachem Begin said.
This weekend the New York Times breaks one of the biggest taboos, describing the responsibility of Jewish donors for the Democratic Party’s slavish support for Israel. Nathan Thrall’s groundbreaking piece says in essence that it really is about the Benjamins, as Rep. Ilhan Omar said. The donor class of the party is overwhelmingly Jewish, and Jews are still largely wed to Zionism.
Israeli spymaster Rafi Eitan died last week and the New York Times obituary mentioned suspicion that he had played a role in diverting enriched uranium from a US facility owned by Zionists in the 1960s so that Israel could get the bomb. When a pro-Israel group complained the Times removed the assertion though the evidence is overwhelming in the eyes of experts, Jefferson Morley reports.
The big story coming out of AIPAC is every one in the Democratic leadership dumping all over the first term Muslim congresswoman from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, while having nothing to say about Benjamin Netanyahu. In the process they have clearly damaged their own standing inside the progressive wing of the party, including among liberal Zionist advocates. When House Majority leader Steny Hoyer said Omar should accuse him of dual loyalty for his support for Israel, he seemed to confirm what she had said.
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.
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.
A New York Times travel piece about Jaffa describing it as an “ancient neighborhood” of Tel Aviv now revived by Israeli chefs so erased Palestinian history that the paper had to issue a correction about its lapses. But the Debra Kamin article still says there are “accusations” that the city’s Palestinian history is being erased, an implicit denial of the Nakba.
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.
Progressive activists in North America have been inundated for weeks now with analysis and commentary about what happened to Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. But one voice that consistently seems to be missing from most of this debate is the voice of Zionism’s primary victims, the Palestinians.
“Israel has a right to exist” is a rationalization of ethnically cleansing Palestinians. “Israel has a right to defend itself” is a rationalization of slaughtering Palestinians. The mainstream is filled with dehumanizing anti-Palestinian tropes, and it has never occurred to any of the mainstream liberal critics of Ilhan Omar to write about them. They need to get out of their bubble and see how America looks from the Middle East.
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.
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.
Anti-semitism used to mean job discrimination in universities and leading industries and stigmatization of Jews as “kikes.” Today Jews are socially included, and the definition has shifted to mean any strong criticism of Israel. That’s because Israel supporters must do anything they can to prevent support for BDS from entering the political mainstream.
Saudi’s Prince Turki bin Faisal says Netanyahu is deceiving Israelis about warming relations with Arab monarchies. “Israeli public opinion should not be deceived into believing that the Palestinian issue is a dead issue. From the Israeli point of view, Mr Netanyahu would like us to have a relationship and then we can fix the Palestinian issue. From the Saudi point of view it’s the other way around.”