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?
Category Archives: US Policy in the Middle East
Elizabeth Warren echoes the racist framing of Israel’s problems with Palestinian babies: “Over time realities are bearing down on Israel, demographic realities, births and deaths.” Imagine speaking of brown babies threatening the U.S.’s character. And no, she can’t mention settlements either.
The merger of centrists Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid in a joint party to take on Netanyahu in the April election has sparked “euphoria” for liberal Zionists who dream of ending the Netanyahu regime. Dubbed a new Labor Party, the merger gained strength from Netanyahu’s deal with a racist party that angered many American Jewish groups.
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.”
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 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.
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.
The overwhelming outrage toward Ilhan Omar from the Democratic Party is happening because she is challenging Zionism in the mainstream, and she is not a Jew or a Zionist. Much of that response is racist; but Omar’s challenge will not be defeated, no matter how many Benjamins — from Netanyahu to Gantz — come our way.
One snarky tweet about the Israel lobby buying politicians, and the sky falls in; Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is widely accused of anti-semitism. But no one in the political class sees it as a problem when Israel shoots Palestinian protesters. And that’s the sincere root of the US love for Israel: unconscious racism against Palestinians.
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.
The Democratic House leadership, which has appeared at AIPAC events, condemned MN Rep. Ilhan Omar for her anti-AIPAC tweets, calling them “anti-semitic.” The party leaders are clearly terrified that Israel is going to tear the party apart, as anti-Zionism takes hold in the progressive base.
Ilhan Omar was right to point out the impact of AIPAC’s money. AIPAC is seeking now to silence criticism of the inhumane occupation by screaming about anti-semitism and claiming that nobody may ever talk about how the Israel lobby uses money — Activist Ady Barkan relates a story from the campaign trail.
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.”
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.
Why do Americans take such a racist view of Palestinian rights without even realizing it? One reason is that New York Times writers deploy Eliot Engel and Bret Stephens as honest critics of the new congressional class of Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez when they are ideologues who do not see Palestinians as equals.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
A new book by former Carter aide Stu Eizenstat says that Barbara Walters boasted of love affairs with Israel’s foreign and defense ministers, Moshe Dayan and Ezer Weizman, in 1978-1979 while she was covering Camp David negotiations for ABC news.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Isaac Herzog, head of the Jewish Agency, says that anti-Zionism is as “dangerous” as white nationalism for Jews, they are two faces of anti-Semitism. Herzog said Jeremy Corbyn’s criticism of Israel “has nothing to do with political views and the State of Israel… I bet you had I been prime minister, Corbyn would have acted the same.”