With its new nation-state of the Jewish people law, Israel is now officially an apartheid state, with secondary rights for non-Jews. Liberal Zionists who have said they only boycott the occupation but not Israel are now challenged by this law to take action against discrimination inside the state of Israel (which the BDS boycott program has long targeted).
Category Archives: US Aid to Israel
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.
“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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Two leading figures on the American left, Rob Malley and Chris Hayes, cannot openly discuss the role of Israel in foreign policy-making, specifically Sheldon Adelson’s influence over Donald Trump’s historic and tragic decision to scrap the Iran deal, a landmark of international diplomacy.
When Palestinian novelist Susan Abulhawa published a column in the Philadelphia Inquirer urging the Philadelphia Orchestra to cancel a trip to Israel because the country is slaughtering unarmed protesters in Gaza, Jewish leaders in the city flew into action, demanding that the paper publish a rebuttal and that editors take a training against BDS. The Israel lobby in action.
The Council on International Relations, a Gaza-based NGO, issued an invitation yesterday to Senator Chuck Schumer to come to Gaza so that he can see that he and the Palestinian community share many attributes, from humble origins to a high value for education. Schumer has had nothing to say about Israel’s killings in Gaza, despite pressure from young Jewish progressives.
The good news from Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech on Iran’s “secret atomic archive” yesterday is that it was so cheaply theatrical that it is being widely dismissed as vaudeville. He used the word secret 15 times, and in the encore pulled back a black curtain on his evidence. The bad news is that the world doesn’t matter; Netanyahu is pushing war against Iran in Syria to one person, Donald Trump, who loves cheap theatrics.
Peter Beinart is a leader in the Jewish discourse of Israel. He says that when young American progressives call for a one-state solution, this will become a “very, very powerful” force in U.S. politics, and that these young people will not mourn “the end of the Zionist dream.” And offering the Palestinians a state without Jerusalem is like “creating a country in Westchester that can’t get into Manhattan.”
Leanne Gale, a Yale law student, came out of the heart of the Jewish community to all-but support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) at the J Street conference. She said BDS is the most important nonviolent Palestinian movement in the world, that anti-Zionism is a living tradition in the Jewish community as a response to anti-Semitism, and that Jews should not seek to marginalize or suppress or seek an alternative to BDS, but should engage it in an effort to make Israel a liberal democracy.
The shame of the Jewish establishment: Rep. Jan Schakowsky says she never used the word “occupation” before last year, while Jeremy Burton of a leading Boston Jewish organization brags of a policy of refusing to debate Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), even with other Jews. These people have their heads in the sand (or worse) and young Jews want none of it.
The silence of Jeffrey Goldberg, Bill Kristol, and Jennifer Rubin over Israel’s indefensible slaughter of Palestinian protesters on March 30, and the outspokenness against the atrocity of Bernie Sanders, David Rothkopf, Ayman Mohyeldin, and Chris Hayes, shows that the center has at last shifted in US discourse. American Jews have had it holding the bag for Israeli massacres.
Democratic Congresspeople Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff and 9 others met with Israeli leaders even as Israel announced it was sending “dozens of snipers” to Gaza border. Four days later they shot hundreds of Palestinians, killing 17. Pelosi and Schiff and the others have issued no criticism of the shootings. Did they give Netanyahu the OK?
Professor of philosophy Joseph Levine takes apart the argument that BDS is anti-Semitic because it establishes a “double standard” for Israel. There are many reasons to single out Israel as a target for boycotts, rather than other oppressive nations. Because Palestinians have issued such a call as part of their struggle. And because of western complicity in the history of colonialism.
Rabbi Arthur Waskow does not mention Palestinians in his very political Freedom Seder, he says, because he was focused on the “big empire,” the United States, not the “little empire,” Israel. But he said that many Jews are guilty of idolatry in their inability to criticize Israel.
A conversation about Israel at a dinner party of liberal media folks reflects conventional wisdom: support for the existence of a Jewish state and concern about women’s rights in Arab societies.
The simple truth about John Bolton’s appointment to national security adviser is that the Republicans need Sheldon Adelson’s money in order to be competitive in the coming midterms, and John Bolton is a tool of Sheldon Adelson. And Adelson cares about one thing, Israel. But only alternative media will connect these rather obvious dots.
Trump’s next national security adviser, the Islamophobic warmonger John Bolton, is realistic in declaring that the two-state solution is dead. Though his solution to the Israel Palestine conflict is not. It is for pieces of the West Bank to be deeded to Jordan and Gaza to be deeded to Egypt, on the theory that Palestine is “bits and pieces” of the former Ottoman Empire.
Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin says that Trump is especially threatening to Jews with his “blood and soil” ethno-nationalism. He reminds her of Hitler. “The Germans thought that they could use Hitler as well. We’ll control him. He’ll get us what we want. The other stuff he’s not serious about.”
Ronald Lauder, a stalwart of the Israel lobby as head of the World Jewish Congress, has published a landmark essay in the New York Times attacking Israel’s settlement program and intolerant political culture as threats to its existence, and to Jews worldwide. The tide is turning against Israel.