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 Policy in the Middle East
“I saw conviction and hope in the Knesset this week,” Mara Lee, head of a liberal Zionist organization, said yesterday in a fundraising letter even as Israel passed the law stating that it is the nation-state of the Jewish people, and Palestinians are officially second class.
Trump and Putin’s efforts to praise Israel and validate its interests at their Helsinki press conference caused CNN to break a taboo in its coverage, and say Trump had Israel’s interests not American ones “on his mind.” No country has ever been closer to America than Israel, Trump says.
When the US was exposed interfering in the Ukrainian election in 2014, Obama aide Ben Rhodes expressed rage at the Russians for disclosing that face, in a violation of major power etiquette. His hypocrisy is typical. The US has intervened in 81 foreign elections since 1946, Russian or the Soviet Union only 36 times, per a leading study.
A week after five young Jews walked off a “Birthright” tour of Israel, eight more left two groups. “I was shaking. It felt like a big risk,” one says. Then the group met Palestinians and understood their risk was nothing compared to what Palestinians face every day.
Rising Democratic star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortex, soon to go to Congress from NY, all but apologized for using words “massacre” and “occupation” about Israel, saying she spoke as an “activist,” and she is no expert on the Middle East and is willing to “learn and evolve.”
First they came for me in Martha’s Vineyard,
But I was in Nantucket.
Then they came for me in Nantucket,
But I was in Cape Cod. . . .
Norman Finkelstein offers his support for Alan Dershowitz as he has become a social refugee in elite resorts across the Northeast due to his support for the Trump Administration.
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.
The New Yorker says Obama saw the light about the Israeli settlement process because of a “map that was never seen before” 2015 depicting disconnected islands of Palestinian population surrounded by Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank. And that’s why Obama let a settlement resolution go through at the UN. But any activist and anyone familiar with Oslo has seen this map or one similar before.
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.”
In an article criticizing the intersectional left at the Forward, Batya Ungar-Sargon continuously reinforces the false and dangerous notion that to oppose Zionism is to be against Jews: “Jews feel that when they do show up, there’s always something wrong with them.” Zionism is an ideology, Donna Nevel asserts; and even if Jews adhere to it, it is not “anti-Jewish” to oppose it.
To determine whether demonstrations in Gaza are “peaceful protests or violent riots,” New York Times reporter David Halbfinger imbedded himself with Israeli forces. The one-sided report follows a pattern, Norman Finkelstein says, in which Times writers rely on official Israeli statements to portray the encounters at the fence as armed confrontations in which Israeli snipers return the fire of protesters.
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.