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US Policy in the Middle East

Quoting Orwell against Trump, Bill Kristol leaves out the anti-Zionism of ‘Notes on Nationalism’

Philip Weiss on

In taking on Donald Trump today, Bill Kristol has been tweeting about the dangers of nationalism, and quoting George Orwell’s great essay of 1945, “Notes on Nationalism.” He should be careful quoting from this essay. Orwell several times criticizes Zionism and the idea of Jewish superiority in his effort to counter nationalist thinking in English politics.

Khashoggi murder has set back US-Israel effort to confront Iran

Philip Weiss on
Donald J. Trump, Mohammed Bin Salman, Jared Kushner

Israel is already a big loser in the fallout from the Khashoggi murder, which has set back the effort to work with Saudi Arabia to confront Iran and impose a peace deal on the Palestinians. Trump negotiator Jared Kushner has been hurt by his association with the Saudis, and even rightwingers are supporting sanctions against Israel’s new ally.

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.

The value of Thomas Friedman

Donald Johnson on

Thank god for NYT columnist Tom Friedman for blurting out the elites’ real view of the Middle East: the likely murder of his Saudi friend Jamal Khashoggi was worse than the Saudi-perpetrated Yemen genocide. And PS, his newspaper was sponsoring a conference in Saudi Arabia.

Israeli right wanted Trump to be president, and it has reaped the rewards

Phil Weiss and Annie Robbins on

A NYT report that an Israeli intelligence firm with government connections reached out to the Trump campaign in 2016 to manipulate the election process is more evidence of rightwing Israeli interference in the 2016 campaign, supported by Sheldon Adelson’s millions. And Israel has reaped huge rewards: the killing of the Iran deal and move of the embassy to Jerusalem.

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.”

Goldberg, reinvented, asks Clinton zero questions about Israel

Philip Weiss on

Jeffrey Goldberg used to quiz our leaders about Israel as a representative of the Jewish establishment. But he had nearly 40 minutes with Hillary Clinton and never mentioned that parochial subject. The Atlantic editor understands, the brand is toxic.

Israel detains FL student with Palestinian ancestry at border, as Rep. Wasserman Schultz affirms Israel’s right to deport BDS supporters

Philip Weiss on

Floridian Lara Alqasem, 22, has a visa to study for a master’s degree at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem but was detained at the Israeli border Tuesday and Israel seeks to deport her as a BDS activist. She was also “asked about her ethnicity and the names of her father and grandfather,” both of whom are Palestinian. Her congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s first thought is to defend Israel, though she is looking into the case.

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.

I’d much prefer an honest Zionist to a ‘liberal’ one

Avigail Abarbanel on

Avigail Abarbanel calls on liberal Zionists such as Rabbi Daniel Zemel to stop pretending to be nice and say clearly and unequivocally that they believe that the Jewish people have more right to survive than the Palestinian people, that Zionist forces were justified to kick 750,000 Palestinians out of their homes to create Israel.

‘NYT’ columnist is one-trick-pony: being propagandist for Israel

Donald Johnson and Philip Weiss on

The anti-Palestinian racist viewpoint is adequately represented at the New York Times by Bret Stephens and Tom Friedman, who at least write about other things— Stephens wants war with Iran and doesn’t like Trump, Friedman loves CEO’s and occasionally says something sensible about global warming. But Shmuel Rosner can do only one thing: serve up rightwing propaganda for Israel.