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US Aid to Israel

Possible Congressional move on Israel Anti-Boycott Act alarms activists

Peter Feld on
Congressman Peter Roskam of Illinois speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Pro-Palestine and free speech activists who have been mobilizing against the Israel Anti-Boycott Act are sounding an alarm about rumors of a secret attempt this week to slip the legislation, which the ACLU has declared unconstitutional even in its revised form, into the must-pass House spending bill before the blue wave comes into power.

A free Palestine ‘from river to the sea’: Marc Lamont Hill’s call for justice has consequences

Robert Herbst on

Robert Herbst responds to CNN’s firing of Marc Lamont Hill: “Hill’s provocative call for freedom for Palestinians in the whole of historic Palestine (or Greater Israel), in a single state guaranteeing rights for both peoples, did not mention Jews or Israelis, leaving him vulnerable to the false attack that he was advocating eliminating Jews from the Holy Land.”

CNN fires Marc Lamont Hill for pro-Palestine comments, but gives a platform to Israeli gov’t spokespeople

Amith Gupta on

CNN fires commentator Marc Lamont Hill for saying Palestine should be free “from river to sea,” but it allowed Israeli official Michael Oren to tell former AIPAC aide Wolf Blitzer to say that Palestinians fabricated video that children were killed by Israeli soldiers, even as an executive at CNN’s parent company was writing speeches for Benjamin Netanyahu, no problem.

Trump cites Israel’s interest in the Saudi-US portfolio — not Russia’s

Philip Weiss on

Donald Trump sought to defuse criticism of the Khashoggi murder by saying that Israel has an interest in the US and Saudi Arabia remaining friends, and Russia will be hurt. If Russia and Sheldon Adelson both bought Trump in 2016, Adelson came away with the prize. Not that the U.S. media is noticing.

Israel has a problem: eight new congresswomen of color

Philip Weiss on

Eight Democratic women of color newly elected to Congress appear to epitomize the progressive base’s ambivalence on Israel. Deb Haaland of New Mexico condemned the “murder” of Palestinians last March. Ayanna Pressley in Massachusetts backs a bill to withdraw US funds from Israeli detention of children.

The American Jewish establishment is terrified of Palestinians

Philip Weiss on

Jewish spaces in New York host one discussion after another this week featuring Jews arguing about the Jewish and Israeli future, and all these panels are segregated; because the Jewish leadership is terrified of actually hearing Palestinians speaking on their own terms.

Election of 3 Israel critics to Congress is historic, but far more new Dems’ commitment to Israel is ‘permanent as the sky’

Philip Weiss on

Last night’s midterm elections saw a historic opening for critics of Israel. Three women stars of the Democratic Party who have openly criticized Israel’s human rights record were elected to Congress. But the new Democratic faces include many big backers of US Israel special relationship: Max Rose in Staten Island, Mikie Sherrill in northern New Jersey, both in the Congress, and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

White nationalism and Jewish groups JVP and IfNotNow are ‘both sides’ of anti-Semitism, ADL’s Greenblatt said

Philip Weiss on
ADL's Greenblatt said white nationalism and Jewish groups JVP and IfNotNow are 'both sides' of anti-Semitism

Jonathan Greenblatt of the ADL, who has been everywhere in the media explaining Pittsburgh, has a history of accusing leftwing critics of Zionism of anti-semitism as “damaging” as white nationalism. Last January he accused IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace of anti-Semitism, and he said his former boss President Obama had made a “series of missteps” on Middle East policy.

US ambassador David Friedman presents himself as ambassador for Zionist Jews only

Philip Weiss on

David Friedman, Trump’s ambassador to Israel, seems to think of himself as an ambassador for Zionist Jews only. In a speech today in Tel Aviv, he described Israel as the “land of our national history,” and distinguished between the “country of our citizenship,” the U.S., and the country “we love so much,” Israel. He never mentioned Palestinians, nor the Christians and Muslims who feel a connection to Jerusalem.

Alqasem is free — and her representatives Wasserman Schultz, Rubio, and Nelson can take no credit

Philip Weiss on
Non of Lara Alqasem's political representatives spoke up for her after Israel denied her entry to study at Hebrew University.

Israel’s Supreme Court said Lara Alqasem, the 22-year-old Palestinian-American student detained for 15 days at Ben Gurion airport, is free to enter the country and pursue studies. Though championed by J Street and Americans for Peace Now, Alqasem got no public support from her representatives, Florida Senators Nelson and Rubio, and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Malcolm Hoenlein on fostering Jewish power, inoculating 5-year-olds for Israel, and preventing intermarriage

Philip Weiss on

Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents says there’s only one way to counter negative media about Israel swaying Jewish youth: “Inoculate” Jews in kindergarten about everything good Israel does. And wait till you hear about his program for Israel to host a “World Jewish Singles” event to bring Jews from around the world to Israel to meet and mate.

Detained by Israel for a week, with bedbugs, Florida student becomes a public-relations catastrophe

Philip Weiss on

Spending a week in Ben-Gurion airport under a deportation order has surely been uncomfortable for 22-year-old American student Lara Alqasem, but the detention has done a great deal to advertise the Israeli government’s intolerance of criticism. NYT conservatives Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss plead with Israel to release her lest the case alienate American Jews; while an Israeli government minister says Alqasem can come in if she renounces her earlier ideas.

Ocasio-Cortez and other new Dems ‘need to be educated’ on Israel, says Rep. Eliot Engel

Philip Weiss on

NY Congressman Eliot Engel told an AIPAC audience last night that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and three other progressive Democrats who may enter Congress “need to be educated” to support Israel. The event came on the heels of a New York Times article on the new wave of progressive Democrats who have “dared to breach what has been an almost inviolable orthodoxy in both political parties, strong support for Israel.”

US takes Israel’s interests into account, Israelis say overwhelmingly– while Germans, French, Brits and Russians feel left out

Philip Weiss on

Tearing up the Iran deal and moving the embassy to Jerusalem got rewards for the U.S. A new Pew poll of global attitudes says that while most countries see the U.S. as not considering their country’s interests in foreign policy decisions, Israelis see it the other way. Eighty-six percent of Israelis say the U.S. takes their country’s interests into account, compared to 27 percent of Brits, 19 percent of Germans, 18 percent of the French.

Israel practices ‘apartheid’ — Rep. Betty McCollum

Phil Weiss and Annie Robbins on

“The world has a name for that form of government that’s codified in [Israel’s] nation state law, and it’s called apartheid.” In speech, US Rep Betty McCollum, who represents St Paul, MN, and its suburbs demonstrates incredible leadership. The Democrat is also sponsoring groundbreaking legislation to cut off US funds that go to Israel’s detention and torture of children.

Trump channels Netanyahu at the U.N., as his top policy-makers meet with Iran-war-mongers

Philip Weiss on

Trump all but called for regime change in Iran at the UN even as his secretary of state and national security adviser addressed Sheldon Adelson’s outfit, United Against Nuclear Iran. The Times has noticed Adelson’s enormous influence but it would be helpful if the press discussed the right wing Israel lobby’s push for war.