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US Policy in the Middle East

Shimon Peres helped kill the two-state solution in the 1980s, Amos Oz reported

Philip Weiss on

Back in 1983, a settler leader explained to the writer Amos Oz that Defense Minister Shimon Peres had allowed the settler movement to thrive in the West Bank and they only needed to get to 100,000 settlers in five years to end the possibility of a Palestinian state “for good.” So why has the US establishment ignored this truth — there will not be a two-state solution — for 30 years?

Trump State Dep’t describes Palestine as part of Israel

Philip Weiss on
Al-Quds reporter Said Arikat and State Department Spokeperson Robert Palladino.

The Trump administration appears to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank. Asked yesterday about US service for Palestinians once the Jerusalem consulate is folded next month, the State Dep’t said “we have active involvement in all of Israel.”

The longer arc of US-Palestine relations

Helena Cobban on

In 1982 Jane Fonda could support Israeli troops invading Beirut because Israel still had some luster of its socialist beginnings. Now the ideological winds have fully shifted, Helena Cobban writes, and Israel’s supporters don’t use moral arguments to justify American backing, but “strategic” role in countering America’s supposed enemies.

The Israel lobby is built on the biggest guilt trip in the world

Philip Weiss on
Michael Oren in uniform, northern Israel, overlooking Lebanon, 2006. Photo by Michael Totten

The essential dynamic at the core of the Israel lobby’s activities is American Jews’ belief that they are lesser than Israelis because they have easy lives and their kids don’t serve in the army in a tough neighborhood. So they must buy US political support for Israel no matter what it does. That guilt trip is finally coming to an end.

Ilhan Omar and the anti-Semitic ‘trope/canard’ smear

David Samel on
Batya Ungar-Sargon (via Twitter)

When Batya Ungar-Sargon of the Forward landed on Rep. Ilhan Omar for an alleged anti-Semitic “trope” in calling out the Israel lobby’s use of money to influence politicians, she joined the army of slanderers ready to assign any criticism of Israel to one alleged anti-Semitic prejudice or another.

Don’t blame the Israel lobby on Christians and Republicans

Philip Weiss on

Jewish journalists like to project the power of the Israel lobby on to Christian evangelicals, when in fact the Democratic Party is beholden to the Jewish part of the lobby. The journalists shift the blame because they think a discussion of Jewish influence is anti-semitic, but by doing so they are denying plain facts.

Ilhan Omar says AIPAC influences Congress using money and Israel supporters erupt in fury

Philip Weiss on
Ilhan Omar

Does AIPAC use money to influence Congress, as Rep. Ilhan Omar said. Of course it does! Stephanie Schriock of Emily’s List said that before congressional candidates even have a campaign manager or a policy director, they go to AIPAC to get a position paper on Israel “because this is how we raise money” from the “Jewish community.”

Thank you Bret Stephens, for making anti-Zionism a subject for every dinner table, and BDS a household word

James North and Philip Weiss on

Bret Stephens’s long opinion piece in the New York Times equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism is a boon to the anti-Zionist movement. His claims that it is anti-Semitic to see “wickedness” in unending occupation and that all American Jews are Zionists are debating points he will only lose. The piece makes anti-Zionism a topic for every dinner table and turns BDS into a household word.

Jimmy Carter believed he lost a second term because he opposed settlements, alienating Jews — Eizenstat

Philip Weiss on
President Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter said he’d ‘commit suicide’ before he abandoned Israel, but American Jewish leaders did not trust him because of his parallel commitment to a “Palestinian homeland” and opposition to Israeli settlements, Stuart Eizenstat writes in a detailed memoir. Carter always underestimated the power of the Israel lobby. He came to believe that it helped cost him a second term, a lesson politicians have heeded ever since.

‘Combating BDS Act’ passes Senate, 77-23, as Dem presidential hopefuls vote No

Philip Weiss on

In a landmark of anti-Palestinianism, the Senate voted 77-23 to punish boycotts of Israel, though almost all Dem presidential hopefuls voted against the AIPAC-sponsored law and Republican Rand Paul said “Boycotts are fundamentally American,” and said many senators are “paranoid” about the Israel lobby.

‘The future of the Democratic Party’ is support for BDS — Michelle Goldberg

Philip Weiss on

NYT columnist Michelle Goldberg says progressives are afraid to speak up on Israel. They feel “I can’t speak out without suffering professional consequences… That taboo is real… I feel like it’s very difficult to speak kind of rationally and forthrightly about real human rights abuses in the West Bank.”

Mohammad Sabaaneh explains BDS: I will not exhibit with an Israeli artist so long as Palestine is under brutal occupation

Philip Weiss and Annie Robbins on

Palestinian cartoonist Mohammad Sabaaneh, who is developing an international reputation, explains why he supports boycotting Israel: “As long as we are under this occupation, and this atrocity, and brutality, I will not do any joint event with any Israeli artist or citizen. Because he is a soldier. Whatever his work– artist, doctor, engineer, journalist—he served in the IDF, or will serve in the IDF, or serves in the IDF.”

Dem presidential hopefuls vote against anti-BDS bill, as Van Hollen says it will ‘strengthen’ the peaceful BDS movement

Philip Weiss on

The good news from the anti-BDS bill’s progress in the Senate yesterday, 76-22, is that progressive Democrats are standing up against AIPAC for the right to “peacefully” protest Israeli policies, and almost all the presidential hopeful Democrats voted against the legislation, even Kamala Harris and Cory Booker. And Chris Van Hollen said the bill will “strengthen” the boycott movement.

New ‘progressive’ Israel lobby group is led by heroes of AIPAC

Philip Weiss on

Three leaders of a new group aimed at preventing the Democratic Party from splitting over Israel–Jennifer Granholm, Peter Villegas, and Ann Lewis –are affiliated with the Israel lobby group AIPAC, which has been panicked by the possible splintering of political support for the Jewish state.

After years of study and discussion, Jewish Voice for Peace rejects Zionism

Robert Herbst on
Jewish Voice for Peace

For 22 years after its founding Jewish Voice for Peace declined to take a position on Zionism. Now it has boldly stated that “Zionism has meant profound trauma for generations” and “We unequivocally oppose Zionism because it is counter” to “our vision of justice, equality and freedom for all people.” JVP member Robert Herbst writes that the landmark statement “helps restore in my Jewish heart and soul a modicum of pride.”

‘NYT’ editor hails Jewish community for ‘maintaining political support for Israel’

Philip Weiss on

Jonathan Weisman, deputy Washington editor of the New York Times, praised the American Jewish community’s role in “maintaining political support for Israel” because it “is a very small country in a very hostile neighborhood.” Weisman’s definition of the Jewish community was all Zionist organizations, leaving out the anti-Zionists of Jewish Voice for Peace; and he credited the view that anti-Zionists are anti-Semites.