person:peter beinart

  • Debunking the myth that anti-Zionism is antisemitic | Peter Beinart | News | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/mar/07/debunking-myth-that-anti-zionism-is-antisemitic

    If antisemitism and anti-Zionism are both conceptually different and, in practice, often espoused by different people, why are politicians such as Macron responding to rising antisemitism by calling anti-Zionism a form of bigotry?

    Because, in many countries, that’s what communal Jewish leaders want them to do.

    It is an understandable impulse: let the people threatened by antisemitism define antisemitism. The problem is that, in many countries, Jewish leaders serve both as defenders of local Jewish interests and defenders of the Israeli government. And the Israeli government wants to define anti-Zionism as bigotry because doing so helps Israel kill the two-state solution with impunity.

    #sionisme_antisémite #antisionisme


  • Réactions à l’assimilation #antisémitisme / #antisionisme

    L’antisémitisme ne passera pas !
    BDS France, le 18 février 2019
    https://www.bdsfrance.org/lantisemitisme-ne-passera-pas

    Du bon usage de l’antisémitisme en politique
    Michel Tubiana, Médiapart, le 18 février 2019
    https://blogs.mediapart.fr/michel-tubiana/blog/180219/du-bon-usage-de-l-antisemitisme-en-politique

    L’antisémitisme n’est pas le racisme le plus virulent mais le plus manipulé
    Michèle Sibony, Etat d’Exception, le 18 février 2019
    https://seenthis.net/messages/761116

    Antisionisme, antisémitisme et idéologie coloniale
    Alain Gresh, Orient XXI, le 19 février 2019
    https://seenthis.net/messages/761437

    Macron says France will define anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism
    Middle East Eye, le 20 février 2019
    https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/macron-says-france-will-define-anti-zionism-anti-semitism

    Intégrer l’antisionisme à l’antisémitisme, l’annonce polémique d’Emmanuel Macron
    Middle East Eye, le 21 février 2019
    https://www.middleeasteye.net/fr/news/integrer-lantisionisme-lantisemitisme-lannonce-polemique-demmanuel-ma

    Aux ordres d’Israël, Macron a choisi de diviser la France
    AFPS, le 21 février 2019
    http://www.france-palestine.org/Aux-ordres-d-Israel-Macron-a-choisi-de-diviser-la-France

    Redéfinir l’antisémitisme pour taire les défenseurs des droits des Palestiniens
    Plateforme des ONG françaises pour la Palestine, le 21 février 2019
    https://plateforme-palestine.org/Redefinir-l-antisemitisme-pour-taire-les-defenseurs-des-droits

    Priviously on seenthis sur ce sujet :

    https://seenthis.net/messages/337856
    https://seenthis.net/messages/580647
    https://seenthis.net/messages/603396
    https://seenthis.net/messages/604402
    https://seenthis.net/messages/606801
    https://seenthis.net/messages/690067
    https://seenthis.net/messages/700966
    https://seenthis.net/messages/716567
    https://seenthis.net/messages/718335
    https://seenthis.net/messages/760906
    https://seenthis.net/messages/761775

    #Palestine #censure #Liberté_d'expression #BDS #criminalisation_des_militants


  • The New Authoritarians Are Waging War on Women

    Donald Trump’s ideological cousins around the world want to reverse the feminist gains of recent decades.
    Peter Beinart
    January/February 2019 Issue

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/01/authoritarian-sexism-trump-duterte/576382

    The problem with both American-born story lines is that authoritarian nationalism is rising in a diverse set of countries. Some are mired in recession; others are booming. Some are consumed by fears of immigration; others are not. But besides their hostility to liberal democracy, the right-wing autocrats taking power across the world share one big thing, which often goes unrecognized in the U.S.: They all want to subordinate women.

    To understand global Trumpism, argues Valerie M. Hudson, a political scientist at Texas A&M, it’s vital to remember that for most of human history, leaders and their male subjects forged a social contract: “Men agreed to be ruled by other men in return for all men ruling over women.” This political hierarchy appeared natural—as natural as adults ruling children—because it mirrored the hierarchy of the home. Thus, for millennia, men, and many women, have associated male dominance with political legitimacy. Women’s empowerment ruptures this order. “Youths oppress My people, and women rule over them,” laments Isaiah in the Hebrew Bible. “My people, your leaders mislead you.”

    Because male dominance is deeply linked to political legitimacy, many revolutionaries and counterrevolutionaries have used the specter of women’s power to discredit the regime they sought to overthrow. Then, once in power themselves, they have validated their authority by reducing women’s rights.

    Commentators sometimes describe Trump’s alliance with the Christian right as incongruous given his libertine history. But whatever their differences when it comes to the proper behavior of men, Trump and his evangelical backers are united by a common desire to constrain the behavior of women. That alliance was consecrated during Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings, when Republicans raged against Judiciary Committee Democrats for supposedly degrading the Senate by orchestrating a public hearing for Christine Blasey Ford, who had accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

    Like Trump, Bolsonaro linked this counterrevolution to a counterrevolution against uppity women. When, as a legislator, he voted to impeach Brazil’s first female president, Dilma Rousseff—who had been tortured by Brazil’s military rulers in the early 1970s—he dedicated the vote to one of that regime’s most infamous torturers. In 2015, he told a Brazilian congresswoman, “I would not rape you, because you are not worthy of it.” Crowds at Bolsonaro rallies chanted that they would feed dog food to feminists. And, like Trump, Bolsonaro has intense support from his country’s growing population of evangelicals, who appreciate his fervent opposition to abortion and gay rights.

    In the Philippines, Duterte didn’t have an economic or corruption crisis to help him delegitimize the political order. (...) Also like Bolsonaro, Duterte has threatened violence against women. In 2017, he informed Filipino soldiers that because he had declared martial law on the island of Mindanao, they could each rape up to three women with impunity. In 2018, he told soldiers to shoot female rebels “in the vagina,” because that would render them “useless.”

    Duterte’s anti-feminist crusade—like Trump’s and Bolsonaro’s—has also featured the ritualized humiliation of powerful women. When Senator Leila de Lima demanded an investigation into Duterte’s drug war, he vowed to “make her cry.” The government then detained de Lima on drug-trafficking charges and leaked evidence supposedly proving, in Duterte’s words, that she was “screwing her driver” like she was “screwing the nation.” A congressman who would later become Duterte’s spokesman joked that de Lima wanted to be detained at an army base “because there are many men there.” Not even Duterte’s female vice president, Leni Robredo—a member of a rival political party—has escaped his taunts. At a public event in 2016, he noted gleefully that the skirts she wore to cabinet meetings were “shorter than usual.”

    One can see parallels in Italy, whose deputy prime minister, Matteo Salvini, a Steve Bannon ally noted for his authoritarian tendencies, in 2016 compared the female president of the lower house of parliament to an inflated sex doll. The Italian government is promoting a law that critics say would eliminate child support, and a government spokesperson said forthcoming legislation would prosecute women who accuse their husbands of domestic violence if the husbands are not convicted.

    Not all of the new authoritarians are this flamboyant. But they all link the new political order they seek to create to a more subordinate and traditional role for women. Orbán, who has accused his predecessors of permitting immigrants and Roma to undermine Hungary’s identity, has proposed “a comprehensive agreement with Hungarian women” to bear more children. He promotes debt-free education for women, but only if they have at least three children.

    For its part, Poland’s autocratic government has run ads urging Poles to “breed like rabbits” and banned over-the-counter access to the morning-after pill. In late 2017, after Polish women protested draconian new restrictions on abortion, the government raided the offices of women’s groups.

    #guerre_aux_femmes #patriarcat #autoritarisme #extrême_droite
    #USA #Philippines #Brésil #Pologne #Italie #Hongrie
    Et appels au #viol comme punition envers les femmes, @mad_meg.


  • Israel Should Release Lara Alqasem – The Forward
    https://forward.com/opinion/411749/israel-has-detained-an-american-student-for-a-week-but-no-one-cares

    That’s Alqasem’s problem: In both the American press and the American government, Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinian and Arab Americans is so normalized that it elicits merely a shrug.

    #Etats-unis


  • Just look at Ben-Gurion Airport - Opinion
    Haaretz.com | Gideon Levy | Aug 16, 2018 1:07 AM
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-just-look-at-ben-gurion-airport-1.6384896

    Look at Ben-Gurion Airport, and see us. Nothing reflects Israel 2018 better than that entrance gate, the place Israelis hold most sacred.

    Elaborately designed, efficient, modern, with a semblance of the epitome of freedom – here the “open sky” is the limit – while under the magnificent columns and moving walkways the injustices fester, well hidden, as usual, behind screens. The Ben-Gurion we love so much is an airport of segregation, an airdrome partially in the Shin Bet’s control, including a thought-police station. Welcome arrivals and departures: Peter Beinart is not alone.

    It begins long before the entrance. About two million residents, some of them living on the very outskirts of the airport, see it from their window but cannot go near it, not to mention use its services. Their Jewish neighbors are allowed, but they themselves are prohibited. They’re Palestinians. Have you heard of any other international airport that is closed to some of the state’s residents solely because of their origin? If this isn’t the port of apartheid, what is?

    As the permitted ones drive up to the checkpoint at the entrance, the ceremony of opening the window and greeting the security guard, armed with a machine gun – the most racist procedure there is – takes place. Everyone cooperates with this sickening act, intended to hear the passengers’ accent and ascertain whether they are Jews or Arabs.

    The security guards know what they’re doing. They also know what they’re doing at the security examinations in the airport. Invasive, intrusive questions that have no place in a free country, that have nothing to do with flight security. Not everyone is subjected to this, of course. Profiling is the name of the game, intended to make it easy for us, the privileged Israeli Jews, and deprive and degrade all the rest. Security, hush-hush, don’t ask questions.

    And then the numbers with the different endings on the sticker attached to your passport, separating one traveler from another, on the basis of his origin, or the extent of suspicion he raises. There are numbers whose digital endings mean complete nudity in front of the male or female examiner. This does not apply to the Jewish Israelis.

    Most of the suspicions in Ben-Gurion Airport arise because of origin or ideological affiliation. An American of Palestinian origin – suspicious. A Jew is not, of course, unless he’s a leftist. There are no suspicions of right-wingers. There’s no chance that an racist evangelist from Alabama, an “Israel lover” and believer in Armageddon, could endanger anything. Only the Norwegian tourist who took part, bad girl, in a tour of Breaking the Silence, is jeopardizing the flight’s safety or the public’s security. Only the activist of the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel is a potential plane hijacker, or a possible terrorist.

    No rightist supporter of the settlers, Jewish or Christian, has ever been held up at Ben-Gurion Airport and interrogated about his activity on behalf of the settlements, which are far more criminal than any demonstration, protest or act of solidarity with the Palestinians. Such a person, it seems, has yet to be born. In Israel, the fascist, even anti-Semitic, right is patriotic, and so it is in Ben-Gurion Airport too, the mirror of our homeland’s landscape.

    It will end only on the day Israelis are humiliated like that at the gateways to other countries. Until then the security excuse will be upheld and used for everything. And we haven’t yet said a word about the Palestinian citizens of Israel. Try once to think of the one standing in front of you or behind you in line, an Israeli Arab, director of a hospital ward or a construction worker. He has the same passport, the same citizenship as yours, in the nation-state of equality for all. Try to imagine the feeling of exclusion, the affront of deprivation. What does he say to the child who asks why we are here and they are there, how does he overcome the suspicious looks.

    On top of all this came the ridiculous, outrageous war on BDS, which turned Ben-Gurion border officials into duty officers of the thought-police. Beinart was its victim, but he’s a Jew and quite famous, so his interrogation was declared an “administrative error.” But this is no error: This is Ben-Gurion Airport. This is Israel. And now, to the duty-free shops.

    #BenGourion #expulsions #frontières


  • Israel’s Shin Bet detains Peter Beinart at Ben-Gurion airport over political activity
    The Jewish-American journalist wrote that he was pulled aside for questioning upon entering Israel ■ Netanyahu says he was told detention was ’administrative mistake’ and ’Israel welcomes all’
    Amir Tibon and Noa Landau Aug 13, 2018 8:27 PM
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-beinart-i-was-detained-at-ben-gurion-airport-over-political-activi

    Beinart’s interrogation is the latest in a series of incidents at Israel’s border entry and exit points that involved political questioning of Jewish Americans.

    Last month, a Jewish American philanthropist who donated millions to Israeli hospitals and schools was interrogated because security at Ben Gurion found a booklet about Palestine in his suitcase.

    Last week, two left-wing Jewish American activists were detained for three hours at the border crossing between Israel and Egypt. One of the activists, Simone Zimmerman, one of the founding members of the Jewish anti-occupation IfNotNow, claimed she was interrogated about her political opinions.

    Israel’s security service, the Shin Bet, stated in response to Zimmerman’s allegations that it did not recommend that she be questioned about her political leanings, but simply advised that she and activist Abigail Kirschbaum be questioned.

    Beinart mentioned Zimmerman’s detention and questioning in his article. He described Zimmerman’s questioning as part of an overall trend in Israel, noting that “the day before, Netanyahu all but incited violence against the New Israel Fund’s director in Israel.”

    The journalist also referenced the Israeli government’s passage of the contentious nation-state law as part of a process in which, in his view, “Israel is getting uglier.”

    Yael Patir, the Israel Director at J Street, responded to the Beinart’s detention on Monday, saying that “slippery slope has turned into a dark and dangerous abyss when every citizen who dares criticize the Netanyahu government can find himself interrogated over his opinions.”

    “The clerks of the Immigration Authority and Shin Bet interrogators become, against their will, become the obeyers of a regime that uses them as a tool for political persecutions,” she continued.

    “If the government of Israel wants some sort of connection to the vast majority of U.S. Jewry, as well as to preserve the Israeli democracy, the political interrogations ought to stop entirely,” Patir concluded.

    In May, the Shin Bet held Israeli peace activist Tanya Rubinstein at Ben-Gurion International Airport for half an hour in early May, Rubinstein told Haaretz. She is general coordinator of the Coalition of Women for Peace and was returning from a conference sponsored by the Swedish foreign ministry. Left-wing activist Yehudit Ilani was detained two weeks later on her way back from Europe after visiting a flotilla headed to Gaza in the coming weeks in her capacity as a journalist.

    The Shin Bet responded to the report on Beinart’s arrest as well, saying that it operates only according to law and for the state’s security. “Mr. Beinart’s detention was carried out as a result of an error of judgment by the professional official at the scene.”

    The Shin Bet also told Haaretz it was “sorry for the unpleasantness Mr. Beinart experienced. The Shin Bet chief has instructed that the case be looked into.”
    Amir Tibon

    #BenGourion

    • Israël : l’interrogatoire d’un journaliste américain était une « erreur » selon Netanyahu
      AFP Publié le lundi 13 août 2018 à 20h58
      http://www.lalibre.be/actu/international/israel-l-interrogatoire-d-un-journaliste-americain-etait-une-erreur-selon-ne
      Le Premier ministre israélien Benjamin Netanyahu a affirmé lundi que l’interrogatoire auquel a été soumis un journaliste américain à son arrivée en Israël était dû à une « erreur administrative », a indiqué son bureau dans un communiqué.

      Peter Beinart, un journaliste de The Forward, a décrit dans un article de ce journal juif américain publié à New York comment il a été interrogé sur ses opinions politiques dimanche pendant une heure par un agent du Shin Beth, le service de sécurité intérieure, à son arrivée à l’aéroport Ben Gourion.

      Partisan du boycott des produits en provenance des colonies israéliennes implantées en Cisjordanie, un territoire palestinien occupé par Israël, il a raconté avoir été interrogé « encore et encore sur les noms des organisations +répréhensibles+ » avec lesquelles il était associé.

      Le journaliste, qui a affirmé être venu en Israël pour des raisons familiales, a qualifié la conversation de « déprimante, mais pas effrayante ».

      « Le Premier ministre a appris que M. Beinart a été questionné à l’aéroport Ben Gourion. Il a immédiatement parlé avec les responsables des forces de sécurité israéliennes pour savoir comment une telle chose avait pu se produire. Il lui a été répondu qu’il s’agissait d’une erreur administrative », indiquent ses services dans leur communiqué.

      « Israël est une société ouverte qui accueille aussi bien ceux qui le critiquent que ceux qui le soutiennent », a assuré le Premier ministre.

      M. Beinart a réagi sur son compte Twitter en estimant que Benjamin Netanyahu « s’est excusé à moitié (..) ».

      « J’accepterai ses excuses lorsqu’il s’excusera auprès de tous les Palestiniens et des Palestino-Américains qui endurent chaque jour des choses bien pire ».

      En mars 2017, le Parlement israélien a voté une loi interdisant l’entrée en Israël des partisans du mouvement « BDS » (Boycott, Dé-investissement et Sanctions contre Israël) qui lutte contre l’occupation des territoires palestiniens.

      BDS s’inspire de la lutte menée contre le régime de l’apartheid en Afrique du sud.


  • Le refus de Natalie Portman est perçu comme un signal de désaffection à l’égard d’Israël
    Thomas Cantaloube, Médiapart, le 27 avril 2018
    https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/international/270418/le-refus-de-natalie-portman-est-percu-comme-un-signal-de-desaffection-l-eg

    L’actrice américano-israélienne Natalie Portman semblait la candidate idéale pour recevoir le « Genesis Prize », une récompense célébrant « les êtres humains exceptionnels qui représentent les valeurs juives dans leurs contributions au bien de l’humanité ». Même si ce prix est abusivement présenté comme le « Nobel juif » alors qu’il émane de trois oligarques russes cherchant à s’acheter une bonne conscience, il est jugé suffisamment important en Israël pour être remis par le premier ministre en personne.

    La star hollywoodienne, née en Israël et vivant depuis son enfance aux États-Unis, diplômée de Harvard et oscarisée, a rarement démérité dans ses actions caritatives variées (la cause des animaux, le micro-crédit) ou dans son soutien à la culture israélienne : elle a notamment regretté que le film Valse avec Bachir soit reparti sans récompense du festival de Cannes où elle était jurée en 2008, et son premier long-métrage en tant que réalisatrice, Une histoire d’amour et de ténèbres, est une adaptation du roman éponyme d’Amos Oz.

    Quand elle s’est vu attribuer le « Genesis Prize » il y a cinq mois, il n’y avait donc rien de polémique. Mais voilà qu’au moment de recevoir le prix lors d’une cérémonie en Israël, Natalie Portman a fait savoir qu’elle refusait de s’y rendre. Après avoir d’abord évoqué des « événements récents extrêmement éprouvants » l’empêchant de « prendre part la conscience libre » à la cérémonie, elle a détaillé ses objections dans un communiqué sur Instagram où elle explique qu’elle « ne veut pas donner l’impression d’approuver Benjamin Netanyahou qui doit faire un discours lors de la cérémonie. (…) Comme de nombreux juifs dans le monde, je peux être critique des dirigeants israéliens sans vouloir boycotter l’ensemble de la nation. (…) Israël a été créé il y a exactement 70 ans comme un havre pour les réfugiés de l’Holocauste. Mais les mauvais traitements infligés à ceux qui souffrent d’atrocités aujourd’hui ne correspondent pas à mes valeurs juives ».

    Là encore, ce communiqué prudent d’une comédienne en désaccord avec les gouvernants du pays dont elle possède la nationalité, n’aurait pas dû provoquer de polémique. Après tout, les « mauvais traitements » auxquelles elle fait référence sans les nommer, sans doute le sort réservé aux migrants africains en Israël et peut-être aux manifestants palestiniens tués par balles à Gaza, sont des indignations partagées par de nombreux Israéliens et de juifs dans le monde. Et pourtant, c’est une tempête de haine et de désaveu qui s’est élevée en Israël contre Natalie Portman. Elle a été suspectée de haute trahison et d’avoir « basculé du côte obscur de la force » (en référence à son rôle de mère de Luke Skywalker dans la saga Star Wars), un parlementaire a demandé sa déchéance de nationalité et, sans surprise, elle a été accusée d’antisémitisme par un ministre.

    Plus intéressant, le geste de l’actrice a provoqué de multiples débats, enflammés et argumentés, dans la presse israélienne et américaine sur le sens qu’il faut lui attribuer. Car, qu’elle l’ait souhaité ou pas, la décision de Portman est révélatrice d’une double tendance – certains préfèrent parler de menace – qui préoccupe fortement les dirigeants d’Israël, des travaillistes à l’extrême droite religieuse, et les organisations communautaires juives dans le monde : la progression du mouvement BDS (boycott, désinvestissement, sanction) et l’attitude des jeunes juifs de la diaspora.

    Même si la comédienne a bien pris soin de spécifier dans son communiqué qu’elle ne faisait pas partie ni ne soutenait la campagne BDS, son geste a fréquemment été interprété comme tel, aussi bien par les nationalistes israéliens que par les organisateurs de ladite campagne. Imen Habib, l’une des animatrices de BDS France, explique bien que « c’est la campagne BDS qui a préparé le terrain à Natalie Portman pour qu’elle sache que le boycott est une façon d’exprimer son courroux envers Netanyahou, et c’est aussi la campagne qui a rendu éminemment politiques ces actes de boycott ».. Car le désistement de la star survient dans la foulée d’autres annulations qui ont marqué les esprits, en particulier celle de la chanteuse Lorde qui a annoncé en janvier 2018, « après avoir mûrement réfléchi », qu’elle ne jouerait pas son concert prévu, qui devait être un des plus importants de l’année en Israël.
    Une pleine page de publicité dans le « Washington Post » pour dénoncer le refus de la chanteuse Lorde de jouer cette année en Israël.
    Une pleine page de publicité dans le « Washington Post » pour dénoncer le refus de la chanteuse Lorde de jouer cette année en Israël.

    Contrairement aux vieux routiers du boycott culturel comme Roger Waters, Brian Eno ou Ken Loach, le cas de Lorde a particulièrement irrité les Israéliens, dont une partie a réagi, comme contre Portman, de manière véhémente. Un rabbin orthodoxe américain s’est même payé une pleine page de publicité dans le Washington Post taxant la chanteuse d’antisémitisme et l’associant aux crimes de Bachar al-Assad (voir illustration ci-contre). Car Lorde représente la jeunesse (elle a 21 ans et son public le même âge) et l’impact croissant du mouvement BDS.

    Même si son ampleur est difficile à quantifier, la campagne de boycott et de désinvestissement sème lentement ses petits cailloux. Trois événements récents en attestent. Le premier, bien moins visible que les actions de chanteurs connus, est celui d’auteurs de théâtre britanniques qui refusent d’octroyer les droits de leurs pièces afin qu’elles soient montées en Israël. Une enquête du quotidien Haaretz raconte comment des dramaturges israéliens (pourtant généralement de gauche et opposés à Netanyahou) ne cessent de se heurter aux réponses négatives de leurs homologues anglo-saxons. Peu médiatisé, ce boycott se fait néanmoins sentir.

    Le deuxième événement est le vote par le conseil municipal de Dublin d’une motion soutenant des sanctions économiques contre Israël et le boycott de certains produits fabriqués sur place, dont ceux de Hewlett Packard et de ses filiales, accusées de « fournir une grande partie de la technologie qu’Israël utilise pour maintenir son système d’apartheid et sa colonisation du peuple palestinien ». Dublin est la première capitale européenne à rejoindre la position déjà adoptée par plusieurs dizaines de municipalités en France, en Espagne, en Irlande, en Norvège ou au Royaume-Uni, en dépit de lois nationales interdisant parfois le BDS (comme en France) ou d’actions en justice (comme en Espagne).

    Le troisième événement est le vote des étudiantes du Barnard College de New York, une des universités féminines les plus élitistes (et les plus juives, avec un tiers des inscrites de confession juive) des États-Unis. Mi-avril, un référendum estudiantin a été approuvé par 64 % des élèves demandant à la direction de se désinvestir des huit entreprises qui ont des activités en Israël avec lesquelles l’université travaille ou place ses fonds. Ce vote, qui n’est pas le premier aux États-Unis, est significatif à deux titres. Non seulement parce qu’il a largement été approuvé dans un établissement cher à la communauté juive new-yorkaise, et que le scrutin a été porté par une association juive, Jewish Voice for Peace. Mais aussi parce qu’en dépit de référendums similaires dans d’autres universités américaines où la direction a refusé de suivre la volonté des étudiants, Barnard College a été le premier établissement à couper les ponts avec des entreprises responsables du changement climatique, du fait de la pression des élèves.
    Une équation perverse a été mise en place : soutien à Israël = soutien au gouvernement d’Israël

    Selon la plupart des observateurs, cités dans la presse américaine et israélienne, ce qui s’est passé à Barnard montre que le mouvement BDS progresse, en particulier sur les campus américains. Cela est dû à une sensibilisation accrue des étudiants à la situation palestinienne, notamment grâce aux réseaux sociaux et aux chaînes d’informations qui diffusent beaucoup les images emblématiques de la répression des Palestiniens (à Gaza ou lors de l’arrestation d’Ahed Tamimi pour n’évoquer que les plus récentes). Mais aussi et surtout, à un basculement de la jeunesse juive au sein de la diaspora américaine (les États-Unis possèdent la seconde population juive au monde après Israël, voire la première lorsque l’on compte en termes de « population élargie », c’est-à-dire les non-juifs dans les foyers juifs).

    Un des piliers de la communauté juive américaine, Ronald Lauder, le président du Congrès juif mondial, s’est fendu d’une tribune dans le New York Times pour célébrer les 70 ans d’Israël dans laquelle il s’alarme « du nombre croissant de “millenials” juifs – en particulier aux États-Unis – qui prennent leur distance avec Israël en raison de politiques qui sont en contradiction avec leurs valeurs. Les conséquences ne sont pas surprenantes (…) : une érosion sévère de l’affinité de la communauté juive globale avec le foyer juif ».. Lauder ne spécifie pas sur quelles études il s’appuie pour justifier son inquiétude (il en existe plusieurs), mais il faisait sûrement référence à celle publiée en 2017 par Brand Israel Group, l’organisme chargé de « vendre » l’image d’Israël à l’étranger, qui a fait couler beaucoup d’encre car elle évalue que le soutien des étudiants juifs américains en faveur d’Israël a chuté de 32 % entre 2010 et 2016.

    Les leaders de la communauté juive américaine ont tendance à interpréter les résultats de ces études comme une désaffection à l’égard d’Israël. Mais, selon l’universitaire Dov Waxman, qui a disséqué les chiffres avec précision, « contrairement à l’idée commune selon laquelle les jeunes Américains juifs se sentent étrangers à Israël, je pense en fait qu’ils sont pour la plupart attachés émotionnellement à Israël, mais qu’ils sont très critiques des politiques du gouvernement israélien à propos du conflit avec les Palestiniens. Ils sont, par conséquent, plus ambivalents, voire plus tiraillés dans leur soutien à Israël que les juifs américains plus âgés dont le soutien à Israël est moins critique et davantage inconditionnel ».

    C’est évidemment une très mauvaise nouvelle pour les dirigeants actuels d’Israël et les organisations représentant la diaspora. Parce les jeunes juifs d’aujourd’hui seront les leaders de demain, c’est un lieu commun. Mais aussi parce que depuis deux décennies, c’est-à-dire depuis la domination de Netanyahou et de la droite sur le paysage politique israélien, une équation perverse a été mise en place : soutien à Israël = soutien au gouvernement d’Israël. Et sa version encore plus néfaste mais pourtant très prégnante : lutte contre l’antisémitisme = soutien à Israël = soutien au gouvernement d’Israël.

    La plupart des organisations représentatives juives dans le monde sont ainsi devenues des chambres d’échos du gouvernement israélien, y compris quand celui-ci est ultranationaliste et composé de multiples représentants de l’extrême droite, religieuse ou pas. Cet alignement où juifs de gauche comme de droite, laïques comme religieux, attachés à Israël ou indifférents se retrouvent derrière la même bannière communautaire, a permis à Netanyahou et à ses successeurs/prédécesseurs de réduire à néant le processus de paix, d’enterrer toute perspective d’État palestinien, d’accroître la religiosité de la société israélienne et, de manière générale, de museler toute critique trop appuyée. C’est cet alignement qui est aujourd’hui en train de se fissurer.

    La conférence annuelle de l’AIPAC, le plus important lobby juif de Washington et l’un des plus puissants après la NRA (défense des armes à feu), a été traversée en mars 2018 par un fort sentiment de paranoïa. Selon le journaliste Philip Weiss, spécialisé dans les relations entre Israël et les États-Unis, « c’était la panique cette année à la conférence de l’AIPAC où tous les intervenants se sont efforcés de vendre Israël comme une cause progressiste. AIPAC est inquiet car elle pense que la défection des jeunes va avoir un coût politique direct en autorisant les politiciens démocrates à ne plus soutenir Israël ».

    Le journaliste et auteur Peter Beinart, qui suivait également la conférence de l’AIPAC, a écrit dans The Atlantic un article où il estime que l’organisation, si elle continue sur le même chemin d’une défense inconditionnelle du gouvernement israélien, va devenir un repaire de conservateurs et perdre ses alliés à gauche et donc son poids politique. « Les jeunes juifs américains ont plus rarement eu affaire personnellement à l’antisémitisme que leurs aînés. Ils ont moins de parents qui ont survécu à l’Holocauste. Et ils n’ont pas assisté aux guerres de 1967 et 1973, lorsque l’existence d’Israël semblait en péril. Au contraire, ils sont entrés dans l’âge adulte en observant à la fois les juifs américains et l’État juif comme étant privilégiés et puissants. (…) Ils sont plus susceptibles d’hériter du progressisme de leurs parents que de leur sionisme. Les mêmes préoccupations pour les droits humains et l’égalité qui forgent leur position politique les éloignent des politiques d’Israël qui maintiennent des millions de Palestiniens sous occupation militaire sans droits élémentaires en Cisjordanie. »

    Cette analyse n’est guère éloignée de celle d’Omar Barghouti, le co-fondateur de la campagne BDS, selon qui « il y a un soutien croissant des jeunes juifs en faveur de BDS, qui représente une forme de solidarité avec les combat des Palestiniens pour la justice et l’égalité. Les jeunes juifs américains en particulier, qui sont très à gauche sur la plupart des questions, ne parviennent plus à réconcilier leurs valeurs juives progressistes avec celles promues aujourd’hui par Israël et le sionisme. Le mouvement Jewish Voice for Peace, qui est un de nos partenaires clefs aux États-Unis, progresse plus vite que n’importe quelle autre organisation juive dans le monde, en mettant en avant les valeurs de justice sociale de la tradition juive pour plaider en faveur des droits palestiniens ».

    C’est dans ce contexte que s’inscrit le désistement de Natalie Portman, actrice diplômée et progressiste israélo-américaine de 36 ans, qui, qu’elle le veuille ou non, représente ces deux tendances : la progression mondiale de la campagne BDS, et l’inflexion de l’attitude politique des jeunes juifs de la diaspora, en particulier américains, qui refusent de se solidariser coûte que coûte avec un gouvernement nationaliste, religieux et violent, au nom de la défense inconditionnelle d’Israël.

    Avant :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/688308
    https://seenthis.net/messages/688331
    https://seenthis.net/messages/688388
    https://seenthis.net/messages/689012
    https://seenthis.net/messages/689021

    #Palestine #Natalie_Portman #BDS


  • How America’s most controversial ’non-Zionist’ comic sparked outrage with his new ’bigoted’ book on Diaspora Jews

    Eli Valley’s goal with ’Diaspora Boy’ is to energize a ’besieged Jewish left’: ’We’ve been told we’re self-haters and Jewishly ignorant, and my book says, enough of that shit’

    Debra Nussbaum Cohen Aug 15,
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/features/1.806807

    NEW YORK – Eli Valley’s book is hard to read. His comics are dense and intense, a bloody steak compared to the amuse-bouches of The New Yorker’s single-panel witticisms. But, like after eating a steak, reading Valley’s “Diaspora Boy: Comics on Crisis in America and Israel” leaves you feeling sated. And maybe a bit nauseous.
    The dozens of cartoons Valley includes in the soft-cover, large-format book, which is out August 31 and includes a forward by political commentator Peter Beinart, are sardonic and ironic. Valley’s commentaries on contemporary Zionism as taught by the American Jewish establishment are bitter, not amusing. “I consider comics to be activism,” he told Haaretz in a recent interview.
    Valley takes aim at the Jewish world’s sacred cows, including American organizational leaders like Abe Foxman and Malcolm Hoenlein, tycoon Sheldon Adelson and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Since 2007 his cartoons have been published in outlets ranging from Jewcy and +972 Magazine to The Village Voice, Gawker and The New Republic. He was The Forward’s artist-in-residence from 2011 to 2013.
    Though in person an affable presence, Valley uses a pointed poison pen to create cartoons that are “alarming. Stark. Like a car accident you can’t look away from,” as Eddy Portnoy, a senior researcher and curator at YIVO in Manhattan, put it in an interview.
    To Portnoy, who wrote his doctoral dissertation on Yiddish comics, Valley’s comics resemble the Yiddish political cartoons that flourished from the late 19th century through the 1960s. “His work is really compelling,” Portnoy told Haaretz. “It’s a type of criticism that hasn’t existed since the advent of Yiddish political cartooning which was intensely communal, and extremely critical in similar ways to Eli’s.”


  • Re-quiem-pour-un-con
    http://www.dedefensa.org/article/re-quiem-pour-un-con

    Re-quiem-pour-un-con

    9 septembre 2016 – J’avoue, il m’a bien eu, ce Gainsbourg... J’ai lu plusieurs textes qui feraient bien l’affaire, je dirais même qu’il y a une foison à faire tourner la tête ; par exemple, lu hier de Peter Beinart ce texte de The Atlantic (numéro d’octobre), où l’auteur ne comprend pas une minute, pas une seconde voyez-ous, encore moins s’il le faut, pourquoi l’élan populaire ne se fait pas vers Hillary, cet océan de vertus, cette cascades diluviennes de capacités politiques, ce caractère de bronze au service d’une seule cause, cette extension solaire du domaine de la loi qu’il s’agit de respecter, ce sens presque divin de la grandeur de notre destinée, bref elle qui a tout ce qu’ ‘il faut pour faire un “grand”, “un très-grand hopmme politique“, – sauf, mazette, – et tout (...)


  • Le programme malhonnête des “Démocrates” étatsuniens concernant Israël
    paru le 25 juillet 2016 dans Haaretz |
    http://www.pourlapalestine.be/le-programme-malhonnete-des-democrates-etatsuniens-concernant-israel

    Peter Beinart, professeur associé de Sciences politiques à la City University de New York et commentateur politique pour la chaîne d’info CNN a analysé pour Haaretz le contenu du programme adopté par le parti Démocrate. Verdict : il porte l’empreinte de l’AIPAC, malgré quelques concessions de pure forme en faveur des Palestiniens.


  • Des militants juifs et palestiniens essaient de construire un cinéma à Hébron
    Dahlia Scheindlin | le 15 juillet 2016 | Traduction : J. Ch. pour l’Agence Médias Palestine
    http://www.agencemediapalestine.fr/blog/2016/07/19/des-militants-juifs-et-palestiniens-essaient-de-construire-un-c

    Sous le regard de soldats et de colons, des dizaines de Juifs étrangers rejoignent des Palestiniens dans la ville d’Hébron soumise à la ségrégation pour essayer de ‘rendre l’insupportable un peu plus supportable’. La police détient six Israéliens de ce groupe et en empêche d’autres de les rejoindre.
    (…) Parmi les Américains se trouve le journaliste et auteur Peter Beinart. Il reconnaît qu’il est plus habitué à lire et à écrire qu’à participer à des actions comme celle-ci, mais il est curieux de voir où elle pourrait le conduire. Une grande partie des jeunes Juifs américains est issue d’un environnement relativement traditionnel religieux, observe-t-il, ce qui signifie une sorte d’écart générationnel. « Cela fait qu’il est plus difficile de n’en pas tenir compte », dit-il. Et la combinaison d’un environnement juif traditionnel avec les valeurs anti-occupation représente une identité dans laquelle il se sent personnellement à l’aise, explique-t-il.
    Tous ne sont pas aussi à l’aise. Une autre jeune femme est une étudiante en premier cycle de retour chez elle où elle milite contre les incarcérations de masse et le racisme institutionnel, en plus du militantisme juif contre l’occupation. Elle voulait « mettre ses paroles en actes » en rejoignant les Palestiniens ici, mais elle aussi a demandé à ne pas être identifiée. Sa famille est religieuse traditionaliste et ne soutient pas ce qu’elle fait ici. Elle ne veut pas parler d’eux davantage. « Je veux respecter leur intimité. »

    #Centre_pour_la_Non-Violence_Juive


  • To Peter Beinart: We pro-BDS Jews Are Just as Much Part of the Jewish People as You Are -
    http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.718665


    The arguments for BDS attract ever more Jewish students, triggering the Jewish establishment’s frenzied counterattack, clinging to the status quo, while a seismic shift is underway in the U.S. Jewish community.
    Ben Lorber May 09, 2016 5:43 PM

    The stories of Jewish students who support the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) of Israel until it ends its violations of Palestinian rights are often painful stories of exclusion from the Jewish community.

    They tell me, in my capacity as Campus Coordinator with the pro-BDS organization Jewish Voice for Peace, that they can no longer attend Shabbat at Hillel without facing steely stares and cold shoulders from staff; that the rabbi of their synagogue back home devoted his entire Rosh Hashanah sermon to the “evils of the BDS movement”; that they can’t attend a family gathering without someone calling them a self-hating Jew.

    But there’s another kind of story they tell me as well. A wave of anti-occupation freshmen and sophomores just joined their JVP chapter; the president of their Hillel board just publicly criticized the occupation, and called for JVP to be given a seat at the table; their old friend from Hebrew school confessed in a private message that she, too, supports BDS as a tool to achieve justice for Palestinians, but is afraid to say so publicly.

    With this growing engagement, and the Jewish establishment’s frenzied counterattack, a seismic shift is occurring in the American Jewish community. The old consensus is crumbling, and a new Jewish world is emerging.

    So when liberal columnist Peter Beinart told me recently in Haaretz that Jews like me have broken ‘the bonds of peoplehood’ by embracing BDS, I heard an assertion that reflects the consensus of the old Jewish world, not the contours of the new. In Beinart’s view, while pro-BDS Jews like me do indeed hold strong Jewish identities and build robust Jewish communities, the fact remains that we have broken sharply with the mainstream Jewish communal consensus.

    For embracing a call for solidarity from Palestinians who experience daily violence from the Israeli state, we are denounced from the local synagogue bimah, denied jobs at the local JCRC, and ridiculed around the local mah-jongg table. We have prioritized our ethical values over the commandment, in Beinart’s words, to ‘protect other Jews’. And for making this choice, we have excommunicated ourselves from klal Yisrael (the Jewish collective).

    But whose ‘peoplehood’ have we broken, exactly? Who determines the boundaries of what Beinart calls the collective ‘family’? Mainstream synagogues, with their ‘We Stand With Israel’ banners facing the street and Israeli flags adorning the bimah, are struggling to find members under the age of 50. In many places, a growing majority of Jews don’t pass through the doors of their community JCRC or their campus Hillel. For a variety of reasons, institutions like these have for decades been inaccessible not only to pro-BDS Jews, but to queer Jews, Jews of color, Jews from interfaith families, working-class Jews, disabled Jews, and many others.

    More and more Jews today are leaving establishment Jewish institutions: they are flocking to independent minyanim, alternative havurahs and DIY ritual spaces across the country. In these heterogenous alternative spaces, they find not only many Jews who are against the occupation, but also many Jews who support BDS. Spaces like these, and organizations like JVP, are striving to create exactly what yesterday’s withering institutions cannot- a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, intergenerational, interfaith community centered around Jewish values of justice.

    What we see today is a phenomenon that has repeated itself throughout Jewish history- a movement of Jewish dissidents, who started agitating at the margins, have begun to transform the center of Jewish life. This should not surprise us. Jewish history, after all, is a tapestry woven through vibrant dissent, marked by passionate disagreement, shaped by outsiders and outcasts.

    To name but one example among many: the Zionist movement, for the first decades of its existence, was viewed as dangerous and marginal by most Jewish communities where it attempted to take root. Religious Jews warned that it uprooted Jews from Torah; liberal Jews warned that it uprooted Jews from the nations in which they strove to become full citizens; leftist Jews warned that it uprooted Jews from the movements for workers’ rights, social equality and national autonomy then sweeping the globe. Like pro-BDS Jews today, Zionists were seen by most, in the early decades of their emergence, as challenging Jewish unity, and even as encouraging physical and existential threats to the Jewish people.

    The truth is that we, the Jewish people, have not moved through history as a compact and homogenous entity, bound by stable borders. Rather, we are marked ‘from time immemorial’ by passionate, often foundation-shattering internal struggle. The boundaries and contours of our peoplehood are always in dynamic flux, and we are often propelled forward by outsider ideologies that, at first, are profoundly threatening to the majority. Things change. Ideas that, in one era, appear antithetical to our continuity as a community, later emerge as celebrated norms.

    Today, the American Jewish community is at a tipping point. There are growing numbers of Jews like me who support BDS as a strategic, accountable, nonviolent way to participate in the movement for justice for Palestinians, and a growing community of anti-occupation Jews who respect the use of those tactics even when their activism takes different forms.

    Those who are trying to expel us beyond the bonds of peoplehood are clinging to a status quo that is shifting under their feet. We know these bonds to be more elastic, this peoplehood more expansive, and this community more capable of transformation than they believe. Just as yesterday’s Jews would be shocked to see that it is considered more heretical for Jews today to question the State of Israel than to question belief in God, tomorrow’s Jews will inhabit a community that, to today’s mainstream, appears equally unrecognizable.

    Those of us Jews who support the tactics of BDS are not simply choosing to prioritize our ethical values over Jewish unity. Rather, we are working to transform our Jewish communities into ones that reflect our values. Pro-BDS Jews like me are not here to free Palestinians, or tell them how to free themselves. As we see it, our work is to align our community with a call for justice from Palestinians, and to contribute to the growing, diverse movement for equality and freedom.

    Ben Lorber works as Campus Coordinator with Jewish Voice for Peace. He has written articles for a variety of progressive publications, and has previously worked with immigrant justice and workers’ rights organizations throughout the United States. He lives in Chicago, IL.

    #BDS


  • The pro-Palestinian Jewish Activists on U.S. College Campuses - Source Haaretz.com
    http://www.haaretz.com/.premium-1.709425
    Supporting the Palestinian cause, as they see it, is not a betrayal, but rather an affirmation, of their Jewish values.
    Judy Maltz Mar 17, 2016 6:40 PM

    As pro- and anti-Israel groups battle it out on college campuses across America, much attention has focused on the successful efforts of Palestinian rights organization to recruit other groups to their cause – among them blacks, Latinos, LGBT and union activists. Less notice has been given to the preponderance of Jews among their ranks.

    A recent tour of college campuses across California – a hotbed of anti-Israel activity – shows that Jewish students have come to assume key roles in the Palestinian solidarity movement.

    Many are founding members or serve on the boards of their local Students for Justice in Palestine chapters. Others have been instrumental in pushing through motions in student government recommending that their universities divest from American companies that “profit from the Israeli occupation.”

    Yet others have been lending support to their Palestinian allies on campus through local student chapters of Jewish Voices for Peace, an organization that supports boycott, divestment and sanctions as well as the Palestinian right of return (an idea considered anathema by much of the pro-Zionist left). In fact, JVP and SJP often organize campus activities together.

    Some of these Jewish students come from families with roots in Israel and bring in-depth knowledge of the conflict to their activism. Others have never stepped foot in the country. Some have found their way into the anti-Zionist left following an initial flirtation with J Street U, a progressive Zionist organization that opposes the occupation.

    For quite a few, Israel’s last two wars in Gaza, in which thousands of Palestinian civilians were killed, were the trigger for their radicalization. On the whole, these activists are relatively non-committal when it comes to advocating for a particular solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but on one point they all agree: Supporting the Palestinian cause, as they see it, is not a betrayal, but rather an affirmation of their Jewish values.

    Who are these Jewish activists who have taken up arms in the pro-Palestinian struggle on United States college campuses? Here are some of their stories, as told to Haaretz:

    Eitan Peled
    A UCLA senior studying economics and public affairs

    Eitan Peled, who grew up in San Diego, is the scion of a prominent leftist family in Israel. His late grandfather Matti Peled, a general during the Six-Day War, served in the Knesset and was one of the founding members of the Progressive List for Peace, a Jewish-Arab political party that was among the first to advocate for dialogue with the Palestine Liberation Organization. His father, Miko Peled, is also an outspoken peace activist.

    The younger Peled serves today as a member of the SJP board at University of California, Los Angeles, where he is also active in JVP. Often on his childhood trips to Israel, he recounts, he would travel with family members to visit their Palestinian friends in the West Bank.

    “The imbalance was striking to me,” he says. “There were no swimming pools or parks there like there were in Tel Aviv, and my Palestinian friends had never even been to a beach because they weren’t allowed to go. That is what fueled my activism.”

    Asked if he had ever felt shunned on campus by fellow Jews because of his particular form of activism, Peled responds: “I’m not sure. But in any event, I’m proud of my activism.”

    Sarah and Elizabeth Schmitt
    A UCLA junior majoring in history, Sarah Schmitt, like Peled, is active in both SJP and JVP. Now her older sister is showing similar inclinations

    Growing up in a relatively unaffiliated Jewish family in conservative Orange County, Sarah Schmitt has never visited Israel. She first developed a keen interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict when she was barely a teen, during Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s 22-day offensive in Gaza that began in December 2008. “I just couldn’t understand the disproportionate nature of the killing, and that captivated me,” she says.

    As a student of history later on in life, Schmitt says, she began examining the conflict through the lens of Jewish history and became even further entrenched in her views. “It gave me a sense of disillusionment with the entity that presents itself as the Jewish state,” she says.

    Schmitt is not the only one in her family to feel betrayed by Israel. Her older sister Elizabeth, a history major at UC Santa Barbara, has shown similar inclinations of late. “I recently attended my first meeting of SJP here on campus,” she reports, “and although I wouldn’t call myself an activist, I’m definitely interested in getting more involved. I think the fact that Sarah has been so active has influenced me, but I’ve also been doing a lot of reading on my own about the conflict.”

    Asked how their parents have responded, she says: “It’s made them question their beliefs as well, to be honest. Definitely my mom – my dad, maybe not so much.”

    Melanie Malinas
    A doctoral student in biophysics at Stanford

    Melanie Malinas grew up in a Reform family in Ventura and took off a year before beginning her graduate studies to teach Hebrew school in Reno, Nevada. Never having traveled to Israel, her first exposure to the country came through a friend and fellow undergraduate at Oberlin College, who was active in a Zionist youth movement.

    “He got me interested, which prompted me to do my own research, and I started drawing my own conclusions,” she recounts. She had her first epiphany, she says, after reading an essay critical of Israel by writer and author Peter Beinart (today a Haaretz columnist). “It was like ‘wow,’” she says, “and it really sparked my interest.”

    As a first step in her activism, she joined J Street U, but was soon disillusioned. “It felt like it wasn’t in line with what I was feeling,” she says. So in 2012, she decided to attend the annual SJP conference.

    “I was blown away,” she recalls, “not only by their commitment to the Palestinian issue, but also to other forms of social justice.” As a core member of the SJP leadership team at Stanford, she helped push through a motion on divestment that was passed last year.

    Asked what sort of solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict she supports, Malinas says: “I wouldn’t say I’m in favor of a one-state or two-state solution, but I do support the right of return for Palestinians, and although I consider myself an anti-Zionist, I don’t think Jews should be expelled from Israel.”

    Michaela Ruth ben Izzy
    A Stanford sophomore and SJP activist on campus

    Michaela Ruth ben Izzy grew up in what she describes as a “culturally Jewish” home in Berkeley where her parents were active in the Reconstructionist movement.

    Although her grandparents live in Israel, and she has visited the country several times, “Izzy,” as she is known, says she was not well educated on the conflict until she began attending university. “There were a lot of things I simply didn’t know,” she says.

    As she began educating herself and forming her own opinions, J Street U seemed like it might be a good fit for her. “I wanted to get involved, and it felt like a good place,” she recounts.

    That was until last summer when during a trip to Israel to visit her grandparents, she decided to take a few weeks and travel around the West Bank. “Being able to see things from the other side really shifted my worldview,” she says. “When I got back, the first thing I did was join SJP.”

    “I see this as a very Jewish thing,” she notes. “Wrestling with the status quo has always been a Jewish value, and I think it’s in my Judaism to question these things.”

    Kelsey Waxman
    A Berkeley senior studying history and Arabic literature
    Kelsey Waxman was raised by social activist parents in urban Chicago where “great emphasis was put on applying Jewish values to daily life.”

    “Growing up in a very diverse neighborhood taught me not only the importance of diversity, but also to approach people with respect, wherever they’re from,” she says.

    Waxman learned about the other side of the conflict through her Palestinian friends in public school, and years later, when she spent two months on a study abroad program in Jordan, where she lived with a local family of Palestinian refugees. Initially, says Waxman, she thought J Street might be a good outlet for her activist tendencies, but after attending one of the organization’s conferences, found herself disappointed.

    After a summer spent volunteering at the Aida refugee camp outside Bethlehem, she says she realized where she belonged. “Members of my Jewish community back home had connected me to folks at JVP, but there was no JVP chapter here at Berkeley at the time,” she recalls. “So in September 2015, together with another student here, I founded the chapter.”

    Contrary to what might be assumed, not all the members of the Berkeley JVP chapter are Jewish. “We also have Palestinian, Muslim, Christian and Hindu members,” says Waxman.

    Why did she choose JVP over SJP, which already has an active chapter at Berkeley? “For me, it was important to speak about my experiences as a Jewish person because so much of what goes on in Palestine is justified by politicians who have the same religious identity as me,” she says.

    Tallie Ben Daniel
    A doctoral student at UC Davis

    Tallie Ben Daniel was born and raised in Los Angeles, the daughter of a Jewish-Iraqi mother and an Israeli father. Today, she serves as the academic advisory council coordinator at JVP.

    “I grew up with a lot of knowledge of Israel, having visited many times and having a lot of family there,” she says, “and I’ve always known that it’s a very complicated place.”

    It was during her undergraduate years at UC Santa Cruz, recalls Ben Daniel, that she made two important discoveries. “I had always thought that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was a conflict between two equals, but I suddenly understand that the two sides were not equal because one side was an occupier,” she relays. “The other thing I discovered is that there were many American Jews who did not want to have this conversation.”

    Because this was not the sort of conversation that could be had in a predominantly Palestinian organization like SJP, she and some like-minded friends at the time set up their own group called “Confused Jews.”

    “That lasted about six months,” she recounts, “but it allowed me to realize just how different our views were.” Only when she eventually joined JVP, recalls Ben Daniel, did she finally feel at home. “I realized that I hadn’t had a Jewish community until then, and it felt great. I especially loved the fact that it had such a big tent.”

    Elly Oltersdorf
    A history major at UC Davis

    The daughter of a Jewish-Australian mother and a non-Jewish German father, Elly Oltersdorf grew up in a very Zionist home in San Diego. When asked if reports of widespread anti-Semitism on her campus are true, the UC Davis junior responds: “The only time I felt uncomfortable as a Jew on this campus was when I came out as pro-BDS. In fact, today, some people even question my Jewishness.”

    For the record, her initiation into social activism began elsewhere. “When I first started university, I became involved in the movement against raising tuition and then in Black Lives Matter,” she relays. It was the 2014 war in Gaza that sparked her interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “That was a turning point for me,” she says. “I felt that something was severely wrong that needed to be addressed.”

    The president of the local chapter of JVP, Oltersdorf says her parents, and especially her mother, find it hard to accept her views. “For my mother, Israel is something so emotional that she has difficulty thinking rationally about it,” she says.

    Liz Jackson
    A graduate of Berkeley law school

    The only Jewish attorney at Palestine Legal, a non-profit that defends Palestinian rights activists, Liz Jackson is a graduate of Berkeley law school. Her dubious claim to fame – which goes a long way toward explaining where she is today – is having participated in the first ever Birthright trip to Israel.

    “I didn’t know much about Israeli history at the time, but this was so obviously a propaganda trip,” she says. “It was all about partying and getting free things, and it seemed to me that their main message was to find a Jewish man to marry. I was a serious kid, and that really disgusted me.”

    A prominent member of JVP, Jackson, through her employer, also represents student activists in SJP when they have a brush with the law. In the past year alone, she says, her organization has responded to 240 incidents, mainly involving false accusations of anti-Semitism and support for terrorism.

    Jackson, a 37-year-old mother of two, grew up in the Northeast, where she attended Brown University as an undergraduate. Before starting law school, she became involved in economic social justice work in Boston, where she says that “for the first time in my life, I felt that I had a Jewish community.”

    Operation Cast Lead began just as she was beginning law school and had become active in immigrant rights and other economic justice issues. “I became horrified and riveted and couldn’t look away,” she says.

    Not long thereafter, she joined a fact-finding trip to Israel and the West Bank for Jewish American peace activists. When she returned to Berkeley, she became involved in the divestment campaign at Berkeley that kicked off the BDS campus wars.

    Trying to explain what drew her to full-time professional involvement with the Palestinian cause, Jackson says: “I think that many people like me feel a connection because of our Jewish background. We identify with refugee rights and the underdog because such an important part of our Jewishness is overcoming oppression. That may sound cheesy, but it’s really been real for me.”

    David McCleary
    A doctoral candidate in molecular and cell biology at Berkeley

    David McCleary is a leader of the campus chapter of SJP, where he says about one-third of the core membership is Jewish. The son of a Jewish mother and an Irish-Catholic atheist father, McCleary, who grew up in Orange County, was raised Jewish and “nominally Zionist,” as he describes it, but never visited Israel.

    A long-time union activist, he says it was Operation Cast Lead that “opened my eyes” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and “what it meant to have a Jewish state.”

    “It made me realize something was wrong, and it made me question the Zionist narrative that the Jews needed their own homeland,” he says.

    No, he says, the Holocaust did not justify the need for a Jewish state because “the only thing that saved the Jewish people during the Holocaust was the world getting together and saying this is wrong – and since then a system of international law has been set in place to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

    But it took the 2014 Gaza war to turn him into a hard-core pro-Palestinian activist. “Those images of the destruction at Shejaiya [a neighborhood in Gaza particularly hard hit during the 2014 war], I asked myself if anything is worth that.”

    Asked if it is true that pro-Israel students on campus are meant to feel unwelcome in social justice organizations, he responds: “It’s totally true. You’re either for justice or against justice.”


  • Israel’s ’Jewish Majority’ Obsession
    What can we say about the Jewish majority if it’s a majority for fascism, racism and hatred of Arabs and foreigners?

    Gideon Levy Sep 13, 2015
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.675766 Haaretz
    http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.675766

    It’s all based on an obsession: Israel must be a Jewish state at any cost. Just or unjust, good or not good, flourishing or not flourishing — the main thing is that it be Jewish. And as with any obsession, few can explain why and no one is allowed to doubt it.
    On the day Israel shakes this obsession and becomes a country like any other, a democracy like any other, it will become a safer and more just place. For the time being, we have a major stumbling block.
    To celebrate the Jewish New Year this evening, there’s no need for a Jewish state. In New York, Johannesburg and Uman, Ukraine (and even in Tehran), the holiday will be marked the right way. To maintain a Jewish lifestyle there is no need for a Jewish state. Freedom of religion exists in many countries. But then things get complicated.
    Almost all Israeli Jews (and most of the world) think Jews deserve a national home; Jewish Israelis also want to live in a country where most of the citizens — preferably all the citizens — are Jewish. The first aspiration is legitimate and has come true, the second is illegitimate and nationalist. It also lacks real meaning.
    Peter Beinart explained in Haaretz Friday that there’s no such thing anymore as the American Jewish community: “In 2015, knowing that an American is Jewish doesn’t tell you much about how she lives or thinks either. There are today basically two American Jewish communities … each of which has more in common with a group of American gentiles than with each other.”
    These words are even truer regarding the Israeli Jewish community — it’s subdivided into loosely connected communities. And yet the obsession about the “Jewish majority” is intensifying, uniting the Jewish right and left.
    In most enlightened countries, no one dares ask what a person’s religion is. In Israel it’s key. When Zionist Union MK Nachman Shai says his goal is for “the percentage of Arabs in the country not to rise,” he’s expressing the height of Israeli political correctness. There are countries (and Israel should be one of them) where such a statement would be one’s last as a legislator. But when the name of the game is Jewish majority, such harmful words are no problem.
    There are no Jewish values or Jewish morals — there are universal values and universal morals. A mother should hope her son becomes a good man, not a good Jew. A Jewish restaurant is an Eastern European restaurant, and Jewish sites are ultra-Orthodox or religious in general. Israel must stop busying itself with its “Jewish character” and Jewish majority all the time. It must start worrying about progress, justice, morality and values.
    The Jewish state was established long ago; now is the time to establish a democratic, egalitarian and just state. It will not become this if it does not shake the obsession of its Judaism. A state that shakes its obsessive preoccupation with its Judaism will also shake its anxieties and stoke less hostility — it will be more just.
    And what can we say about the Jewish majority if it’s a majority for fascism, racism and hatred of Arabs and foreigners? What is Jewish character for most of us if it means a country of religion? Why should a liberal Israeli want to live in a country with a Jewish majority based on settlers and nationalists? Wouldn’t it be better to establish a community of democratic, liberal, secular people fighting the fundamentalists, anti-democrats and nationalists?
    Sixty-seven years after Israel’s founding, now is the time for the second war of liberation — a war of liberation from Israel’s Judaism.


  • #expulsions_frontières (d’israel)

    avec une petite recherche rapide et en français sur internet (en anglais avec « denied entry » on en trouve plein d’autres comme :
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/04/27/these-accounts-from-arab-americans-show-why-an-israeli-visa-waiver-p )

    Mohamed Omer, 2008
    http://www.info-palestine.net/article.php3?id_article=6860

    Edvige, 2008
    http://www.protection-palestine.org/spip.php?article6431

    Anne-Claire Delmas, 2008
    http://www.protection-palestine.org/spip.php?article6682

    Richard Falk, rapporteur de l’ONU, 2008
    http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/26D5CA4D5AB9024285257521006D8D6F

    Isabelle Martin, 2009
    http://www.protection-palestine.org/spip.php?article7732

    124 militants, 2011
    http://www.lexpress.fr/actualite/monde/israel-124-militants-pro-palestiniens-arretes-en-attente-d-etre-expulses_10

    Juan Marmot, 2012
    http://rue89.nouvelobs.com/2012/07/27/interroge-retenu-puis-expulse-mon-tres-court-voyage-en-israel-23417

    Gary Spedding, 2014
    http://www.air-journal.fr/2014-01-14-refoule-disrael-pour-ses-tweets-activistes-595945.html

    Maria Angela Holguin, ministre colombienne 2014
    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.626469

    Rashida Manjoo, rapporteur de l’ONU, 2015
    http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Because-she-asked-to-visit-Palestine-Israel-bars-entry-of-UN-official-to-West

    Mohamed Kadri et Soraya Misleh, 2015
    http://cspconlutas.org.br/2015/04/amanha-vai-ser-outro-dia-por-soraya-misleh

    Philomène Constant et Bastien Anthoine, 2015
    http://blogs.mediapart.fr/blog/virginie-rodde/240415/nuit-dhorreur-ben-gourion-pour-deux-etudiants-musiciens

    Jalys Chibout, 2015
    http://www.lexpress.fr/actualite/politique/retenu-48h-en-israel-puis-expulse-un-jeune-militant-du-pcf-cherche-a-compre

    Blade Nzimande, ministre sud-africain, 2015
    http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=765061

    #Palestine #Expulsion #Aéroport #Racisme #Douane #Frontière
    #recension


  • The three benefits of ending the U.S.’s cold war with Iran
    Nuclear deal between Iran and world powers signed Thursday is currently debated in detail. But ultimately, the details aren’t what matters.
    By Peter Beinart | Apr. 4, 2015Haaretz
    http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.650483

    Right now, a thousand pundits and politicians are debating the details of Thursday’s framework nuclear deal with Iran. That’s fine. I think the details are far, far better than the alternative—which was a collapse of the diplomatic process, a collapse of international sanctions as Russia and China went back to business as usual with Tehran, and a collapse of the world’s ability to send inspectors into Iran. But ultimately, the details aren’t what matters. What matters is the potential end of America’s 36-year-long cold war with Iran.

    For the United States, ending that cold war could bring three enormous benefits. First, it could reduce American dependence on Saudi Arabia. Before the fall of the shah in 1979, the United States had good relations with both Tehran and Riyadh, which meant America wasn’t overly reliant on either. Since the Islamic Revolution, however, Saudi Arabia has been America’s primary oil-producing ally in the Persian Gulf. After 9/11, when 19 hijackers—15 of them Saudis—destroyed the Twin Towers, many Americans realized the perils of so great a dependence on a country that was exporting so much pathology. One of the unstated goals of the Iraq War was to give the United States a large, stable, oil-producing ally as a hedge against the uncertain future of the House of Saud.

    What George W. Bush failed to achieve militarily, Barack Obama may now be achieving diplomatically. In recent weeks, American hawks have cited Saudi anxiety about a potential Iran deal as reason to be wary of one. But a big part of the reason the Saudis are worried is because they know that as U.S.-Iranian relations improve, their influence over the United States will diminish. That doesn’t mean the U.S.-Saudi alliance will disintegrate. Even if it frays somewhat, the United States still needs Saudi oil and Saudi Arabia still needs American protection. But the United States may soon have a better relationship with both Tehran and Riyadh than either has with the other, which was exactly what Richard Nixon orchestrated in the three-way dynamic between Washington, Moscow, and Beijing in the 1970s. And today, as then, that increases America’s leverage over both countries.


  • The three benefits of ending the U.S.’s cold war with Iran - Opinion - Israel News | Haaretz
    http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.650483
    By Peter Beinart

    Right now, a thousand pundits and politicians are debating the details of Thursday’s framework nuclear deal with Iran. That’s fine. I think the details are far, far better than the alternative—which was a collapse of the diplomatic process, a collapse of international sanctions as Russia and China went back to business as usual with Tehran, and a collapse of the world’s ability to send inspectors into Iran. But ultimately, the details aren’t what matters. What matters is the potential end of America’s 36-year-long cold war with Iran.

    For the United States, ending that cold war could bring three enormous benefits. First, it could reduce American dependence on Saudi Arabia. Before the fall of the shah in 1979, the United States had good relations with both Tehran and Riyadh, which meant America wasn’t overly reliant on either. Since the Islamic Revolution, however, Saudi Arabia has been America’s primary oil-producing ally in the Persian Gulf. After 9/11, when 19 hijackers—15 of them Saudis—destroyed the Twin Towers, many Americans realized the perils of so great a dependence on a country that was exporting so much pathology. One of the unstated goals of the Iraq War was to give the United States a large, stable, oil-producing ally as a hedge against the uncertain future of the House of Saud.

    What George W. Bush failed to achieve militarily, Barack Obama may now be achieving diplomatically. In recent weeks, American hawks have cited Saudi anxiety about a potential Iran deal as reason to be wary of one. But a big part of the reason the Saudis are worried is because they know that as U.S.-Iranian relations improve, their influence over the United States will diminish. That doesn’t mean the U.S.-Saudi alliance will disintegrate. Even if it frays somewhat, the United States still needs Saudi oil and Saudi Arabia still needs American protection. But the United States may soon have a better relationship with both Tehran and Riyadh than either has with the other, which was exactly what Richard Nixon orchestrated in the three-way dynamic between Washington, Moscow, and Beijing in the 1970s. And today, as then, that increases America’s leverage over both countries.

    Over the long term, Iran may also prove a more reliable U.S. ally than Saudi Arabia. Iranians are better educated and more pro-American than their neighbors across the Persian Gulf, and unlike Saudi Arabia, Iran has some history of democracy. One of the biggest problems with America’s Mideast policy in recent years has been that, from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan to Egypt, the governments the United States supports preside over populations that hate the U.S. Thursday’s nuclear deal, by contrast, may pave the way for a positive relationship with the Iranian state that is actually undergirded by a positive relationship with the Iranian people.

    Which brings us to the second benefit of ending America’s cold war with Iran: It could empower the Iranian people vis-à-vis their repressive state. American hawks, addled by the mythology they have created around Ronald Reagan, seem to think that the more hostile America’s relationship with Iran’s regime becomes, the better the United States can promote Iranian democracy. But the truth is closer to the reverse. The best thing Reagan ever did for the people of Eastern Europe and the U.S.S.R. was to embrace Mikhail Gorbachev. In 1987, American hawks bitterly attacked Reagan for signing the INF agreement, the most sweeping arms-reduction treaty of the Cold War. But the tougher it became for Soviet hardliners to portray the United States as menacing, the tougher it became for them to justify their repression at home. And the easier it became for Gorbachev to pursue the policies of glasnost and perestroika that ultimately led to the liberation of Eastern Europe and the disintegration of the U.S.S.R.

    Iranian President Hassan Rohani, like Gorbachev, wants to end his country’s cold war with the United States because it is destroying his country’s economy. And like Gorbachev, he is battling elites who depend on that cold war for their political power and economic privilege. As Columbia University Iran expert Gary Sick recently noted, Iran’s hardline Revolutionary Guards “thrive on hostile relations with the U.S., and benefit hugely from sanctions, which allow them to control smuggling.” But “if the sanctions are lifted, foreign companies come back in, [and] the natural entrepreneurialism of Iranians is unleashed.” Thus “if you want regime change in Iran, meaning changing the way the regime operates, this kind of agreement is the best way to achieve that goal.”

    The best evidence of Sick’s thesis is the euphoric way ordinary Iranians have reacted to Thursday’s agreement. They’re not cheering because they want Iran to have 6,000 centrifuges instead of 20,000. They’re cheering because they know that opening Iran to the world empowers them, both economically and politically, at their oppressors’ expense.

    Finally, ending the cold war with Iran may make it easier to end the civil wars plaguing the Middle East. Cold wars are rarely “cold” in the sense that no one gets killed. They are usually proxy wars in which powerful countries get local clients to do the killing for them. America’s cold war with the U.S.S.R. ravaged countries like Angola and El Salvador. And today, America’s cold war with Iran is ravaging Syria and Yemen.

    When America’s relationship with the Soviet Union thawed, civil wars across the world petered out because local combatants found their superpower patrons unwilling to send arms and write checks. The dynamic in the Middle East is different because today’s cold war isn’t only between Iran and the United States, it’s also between Iran and Sunni Arab powers like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, neither of which seems particularly interested in winding down the civil wars in Syria and Yemen. Still, a different relationship between the United States and Iran offers a glimmer of hope. In Syria, for instance, one reason Iran has staunchly backed Bashar al-Assad is because it fears the fierce hostility of his successors. The United States cannot entirely alleviate that fear, since some of the groups battling Assad—ISIS, most obviously—are fiercely hostile to Iran and to Shiites in general. But if Iran’s leaders knew that at least the United States would try to ensure that a post-Assad government maintained good relations with
    Tehran, they might be somewhat more open to negotiating a transfer of power in Syria.

    Clearly, the United States should push for the best nuclear deal with Iran that it possibly can. But it’s now obvious, almost three decades after Reagan signed the INF deal with Gorbachev, that it’s not the technical details that mattered. What mattered was the end of a cold war that had cemented Soviet tyranny and ravaged large chunks of the world. Barack Obama has now begun the process of ending America’s smaller, but still terrible, cold war with Iran. In so doing, he has improved America’s strategic position, brightened the prospects for Iranian freedom and Middle Eastern peace, and brought himself closer to being the kind of transformational, Reaganesque president he always hoped to be.

    This article was first published in The Atlantic


  • With Netanyahu’s reelection, the peace process is over and the pressure process must begin
    If Israelis have the right to vote for permanent occupation, we in the Diaspora have the right to resist it.
    By Peter Beinart | Mar. 19, 2015 | Haaretz
    http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.647682

    My entire adult life, American Jewish leaders have been telling Americans that Israel can save itself. Just wait until Israel gains a respite from terror, they said; then its silent, two-state majority will roar. Give Israelis constant reassurance; never pressure them. If they know “the United States is right next to them,” Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations promised Barack Obama in 2009, Israeli leaders will “take risks” for peace.

    Israel has been disproving that theory throughout the Netanyahu era. Now, with this election, Israel has killed it.

    This election was not fought in the shadow of terror, at least not the kind that traumatized Israelis during the terrible Second Intifada. Thanks in large measure to security cooperation with the Palestinian Authority, Israelis no longer shudder, thank God, before boarding buses or entering cafes. Nor was this election fought in the shadow of American pressure. Yes, Washington and Jerusalem are clashing over Iran. But the Obama administration has not come close to punishing the Israeli government for repeatedly rebuffing its efforts to broker a Palestinian state near the 1967 lines.

    This campaign, in other words, offered an excellent test of the theory that the American Jewish establishment has peddled for decades. And look what happened. In the absence of Palestinian violence and American pressure, Jewish Israelis at first pretended the Palestinians did not exist. “As Israeli election nears, peace earns barely a mention,” noted Reuters. During a 90-minute debate in late February, eight candidates, together, mentioned the word “peace” only five times. And three of those mentions came from the Arab candidate. 

    Then, in the campaign’s final days, the Palestinian issue surfaced. On March 6, former Mossad chief Meir Dagan warned that by deepening Israeli control of the West Bank, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was leading Israel toward “apartheid.” And Netanyahu proved Dagan right. The day before the election, Bibi gambled that if he explicitly repudiated a Palestinian state, Israelis would reward him. Then, on Election Day, he gambled again, warning, in a nakedly racist appeal for right-wing votes, that “the Arabs are voting in droves.” 

    It worked. Trailing in the polls by five seats, Bibi engineered a stunning comeback to win the election by six.

    The American Jewish establishment will never admit that its theory of change has been discredited. It will go on insisting, no matter how laughable that insistence becomes, that Israel is serious about creating a Palestinian state. The establishment’s disconnection from reality will gradually make it irrelevant. Already, the trend is clear: AIPAC, which claims Israel will end the occupation, is being supplanted by Sheldon Adelson, who celebrates Israel for entrenching the occupation. Adelson is not taking over the institutions of American Jewish life only because of his money. He’s taking over because he looks reality in the eye.

    We must too. “Power,” said the great American abolitionist Frederick Douglass, “concedes nothing without a demand.” For almost half a century, Israel has wielded brutal, undemocratic, unjust power over millions of human beings in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. And as this election makes clear, Israel will concede nothing on its own. This isn’t because Jewish Israelis are different than anyone else. It’s because they are the same. Which leaves just one question: how best to make the demand? The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement offers one path. In the wake of Netanyahu’s win, it will grow, gaining more mainstream support. But the logic of the BDS movement is toward a single binational state that, while tempting to some liberals in theory, would in practice likely mean civil war. It would also mean the end of the one state in the world that has as its mission statement the protection of Jewish life. Those of us who still believe in such a state, alongside a Palestinian one need another way.

    Our principle should be this: Support any pressure that is nonviolent and consistent with Israel’s right to exist. That means backing Palestinian bids at the United Nations. It means labeling and boycotting settlement goods. It means joining and amplifying nonviolent Palestinian protest in the West Bank. It means denying visas to, and freezing the assets of, Naftali Bennett and other pro-settler leaders. It means pushing the Obama administration to present out its own peace plan, and to punish — yes, punish — the Israeli government for rejecting it. It means making sure that every time Benjamin Netanyahu and the members of his cabinet walk into a Jewish event outside Israel, they see Diaspora Jews protesting outside. It means loving Israel more than ever, and opposing its government more than ever. It means accepting that, for now at least, the peace process is over and the pressure process must begin.

    For many Diaspora Jews, this transition will feel painful and unnatural. It certainly does for me. But there is now no other way. We know in our bones, even without Meir Dagan telling us, that Israel is headed toward moral disaster. We know that a non-democratic Israel is a dead Israel. We know that if Israel makes permanent an occupation that reeks of colonialism and segregation, an America that is becoming ever more black and brown will eventually turn against it. We know the BDS one-staters are winning. We know that if Israel continues on its current path, our children will one day live in a world without a Jewish state. We know that our grandparents’ generation of Diaspora Jews will be remembered for having helped birth the first Jewish country in 2,000 years, and that ours will be remembered for having helped destroy it.

    Yes, our influence is limited. But it is not irrelevant. Israelis have made their choice. Now it’s time to make ours.


  • Obama Met Privately With Top Journalists Before ISIS War Speech
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/13/obama-journalists-isis-speech_n_5816494.html?1410651263

    NEW YORK –- President Barack Obama met with over a dozen prominent columnists and magazine writers Wednesday afternoon before calling for an escalation of the war against the Islamic State, or ISIS, in a primetime address that same night.

    The group, which met in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in an off-the-record session, included New York Times columnists #David_Brooks, #Tom_Friedman and #Frank_Bruni and editorial writer #Carol_Giacomo; The Washington Post’s #David_Ignatius, #Eugene_Robinson and #Ruth_Marcus; The New Yorker’s #Dexter_Filkins and #George_Packer; The Atlantic’s #Jeffrey_Goldberg and #Peter_Beinart; The New Republic’s #Julia_Ioffe; #Columbia_Journalism_School Dean #Steve_Coll; The Wall Street Journal’s #Jerry_Seib; and The Daily Beast’s #Michael_Tomasky, a source familiar with the meeting told The Huffington Post.

    National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough also attended the meeting, according to the source.

    • Off-the-Record Session With the President on ISIS Raises Concerns
      By MARGARET SULLIVAN SEPTEMBER 17, 2014 3:15 PMSeptember 17, 2014 4:03 pm 3 Comments
      http://publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/09/17/off-the-record-session-with-the-president-on-isis-raises

      Tom English of Jackson Heights wrote, “to me, it really looks like the meeting was held to run talking/propaganda points by the media to see how best to sell the war.” Judith Abrams of Newton, Mass., asked, “how can I have confidence in the reporting in the Times when the government and the journalists appear to have such a symbiotic relationship?” And Eric Kodish, chairman of the bioethics department at the Cleveland Clinic, wondered about the ethics of using information from those who were not supposed to talk about what they had heard.

      (...)

      As I noted above, Mr. Obama didn’t invent these off-the-record sessions, not by a long shot. But such meetings shouldn’t be a substitute for allowing news reporters, on behalf of the public, to grill the president on the record – especially on a subject as weighty and important as impending military action. But increasingly, they seem to be just that. Readers are right to be troubled about the implications.


  • Gaza myths and facts: what American Jewish leaders won’t tell you

    Peter Beinart
    Ha’aretz

    July 30, 2014

    If you’ve been anywhere near the American Jewish community over the past few weeks, you’ve heard the following morality tale: Israel left the Gaza Strip in 2005, hoping the newly independent country would become the Singapore of the Middle East. Instead, Hamas seized power, ransacked greenhouses, threw its opponents off rooftops and began launching thousands of rockets at Israel.

    American Jewish leaders use this narrative to justify their skepticism of a Palestinian state in the West Bank. But in crucial ways, it’s wrong. And without understanding why it’s wrong, you can’t understand why this war is wrong too.

    Let’s take the claims in turn.

    Israel Left Gaza

    It’s true that in 2005, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon withdrew Israel’s more than 8,000 settlers fromGaza. (At America’s urging, he also dismantled four small settlements in the West Bank). But at no point did Gaza become its own country. Had Gaza become its own country, it would have gained control over its borders. It never did. As the Israeli human rights group Gisha has detailed, even before the election of Hamas, Israel controlled whether Gazans could enter or exit the Strip (In conjunction with Egypt, which controlled the Rafah checkpoint in Gaza’s south). Israel controlled the population registry through which Gazans were issued identification cards. Upon evacuating its settlers and soldiers from Gaza, Israel even created a security perimeter inside the Strip from which Gazans were barred from entry. (Unfortunately for Gazans, this perimeter included some of the Strip’s best farmland).
    “Pro-Israel” commentators claim Israel had legitimate security reasons for all this. But that concedes the point. A necessary occupation is still an occupation. That’s why it’s silly to analogize Hamas’ rockets—repugnant as they are—to Mexico or Canada attacking the United States. The United States is not occupying Mexico or Canada. Israel —according to the United States government — has been occupying Gaza without interruption since 1967.

    To grasp the perversity of using Gaza as an explanation for why Israel can’t risk a Palestinian state, it helps to realize that Sharon withdrew Gaza’s settlers in large measure because he didn’t want a Palestinian state. By 2004, when Sharon announced the Gaza withdrawal, the Road Map for Peace that he had signed with Mahmoud Abbas was going nowhere. Into the void came two international proposals for a two state solution. The first was the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, in which every member of the Arab League offered to recognize Israel if it returned to the 1967 lines and found a “just” and “agreed upon” solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees. The second was the 2003 Geneva Initiative, in which former Israeli and Palestinian negotiators publicly agreed upon the details of a two state plan. As the political scientists Jonathan Rynhold and Dov Waxman have detailed, Sharon feared the United States would get behind one or both plans, and pressure Israel to accept a Palestinian state near the 1967 lines. “Only an Israeli initiative,” Sharon argued, “will keep us from being dragged into dangerous initiatives like the Geneva and Saudi initiatives.”

    Sharon saw several advantages to withdrawing settlers from Gaza. First, it would save money, since in Gaza Israel was deploying a disproportionately high number of soldiers to protect a relatively small number of settlers. Second, by (supposedly) ridding Israel of its responsibility for millions of Palestinians, the withdrawal would leave Israel and the West Bank with a larger Jewish majority. Third, the withdrawal would prevent the administration of George W. Bush from embracing the Saudi or Geneva plans, and pushing hard—as Bill Clinton had done—for a Palestinian state. Sharon’s chief of staff, Dov Weisglass, put it bluntly: “The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process. And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda. And all this with authority and permission. All with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress.”

    It’s no surprise, therefore, that the Gaza withdrawal did not meet minimal Palestinian demands. Not even the most moderate Palestinian leader would have accepted a long-term arrangement in which Israel withdrew its settlers from Gaza while maintaining control of the Strip’s borders and deepening Israeli control of the West Bank. (Even in the 2005, the year Sharon withdrew from Gaza, the overall settler population rose, in part because some Gazan settlers relocated to the West Bank).
    In fact, Sharon’s advisors did not expect withdrawing Gaza’s settlers to satisfy the Palestinians. Nor did not they expect it to end Palestinian terrorism. Ehud Olmert, a key figure in the disengagement plan (and someone who himself later embraced Palestinian statehood), acknowledged that “terror will continue” after the removal of Gaza’s settlers. The key word is “continue.” Contrary to the American Jewish narrative, militants in Gaza didn’t start launching rockets at Israel after the settlers left. They began a half-decade earlier, at the start of the second intifada. The Gaza disengagement did not stop this rocket fire. But it did not cause it either.

    Hamas Seized Power

    I can already hear the objections. Even if withdrawing settlers from Gaza didn’t give the Palestinians a state, it might have made Israelis more willing to support one in the future - if only Hamas had not seized power and turned Gaza into a citadel of terror.
    But Hamas didn’t seize power. It won an election. In January 2006, four months after the last settlers left, Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem chose representatives to the Palestinian Authority’s parliament. (The previous year, they had separately elected Abbas to be the Palestinian Authority’s President). Hamas won a plurality of the vote - forty-five percent - but because of the PA’s voting system, and Fatah’s idiotic decision to run more than one candidate in several districts, Hamas garnered 58 percent of the seats in parliament.

    To the extent American Jewish leaders acknowledge that Hamas won an election (as opposed to taking power by force), they usually chalk its victory up to Palestinian enthusiasm for the organization’s 1988 charter, which calls for Israel’s destruction (The president of the New York board of rabbis said recently that anyone who voted for Hamas should be considered a combatant, not a civilian). But that’s almost certainly not the reason Hamas won. For starters, Hamas didn’t make Israel’s destruction a major theme of its election campaign. In its 2006 campaign manifesto, the group actually fudged the question by saying only that it wanted an “independent state whose capital is Jerusalem” plus fulfillment of the right of return.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that by 2006 Hamas had embraced the two state solution. Only that Hamas recognized that running against the two state solution was not the best way to win Palestinian votes. The polling bears this out. According to exit polls conducted by the prominent Palestinian pollster Khalil Shikaki, 75 percent of Palestinian voters—and a remarkable 60 percent of Hamas voters—said they supported a Palestinian unity government dedicated to achieving a two state solution.

    So why did Hamas win? Because, according to Shikaki, only fifteen percent of voters called the peace process their most important issue. A full two-thirds cited either corruption or law and order. It’s vital to remember that 2006 was the first Palestinian election in more than ten years. During the previous decade, Palestinians had grown increasingly frustrated by Fatah’s unaccountable, lawless and incompetent rule. According to exit polls, 85 percent of voters called Fatah corrupt.Hamas, by contrast, because it had never wielded power and because its charitable arm effectively delivered social services, enjoyed a reputation for competence and honesty.
    Hamas won, in other words, for the same reason voters all across the world boot out parties that have grown unresponsive and self-interested after years in power. That’s not just Shikaki’s judgment. It’s also Bill Clinton’s. As Clinton explained in 2009, “a lot of Palestinians were upset that they [Fatah] were not delivering the services. They didn’t think it [Fatah] was an entirely honest operation and a lot of people were going to vote for Hamas not because they wanted terrorist tactics…but because they thought they might get better service, better government…They [also] won because Fatah carelessly and foolishly ran both its slates in too many parliamentary seats.”

    This doesn’t change the fact that Hamas’ election confronted Israel and the United States with a serious problem. After its victory, Hamas called for a national unity government with Fatah “for the purpose of ending the occupation and settlements and achieving a complete withdrawal from the lands occupied [by Israel] in 1967, including Jerusalem, so that the region enjoys calm and stability during this phase.” But those final words—“this phase”—made Israelis understandably skeptical that Hamas had changed its long-term goals. The organization still refused to recognize Israel, and given that Israel had refused to talk to the PLO until it formally accepted Israel’s right to exist in 1993, it’s not surprising that Israel demanded Hamas meet the same standard.
    Still, Israel and the U.S. would have been wiser to follow the counsel of former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy, who called for Sharon to try to forge a long-term truce with Hamas. Israel could also have pushed Hamas to pledge that if Abbas—who remained PA president—negotiated a deal with Israel, Hamas would accept the will of the Palestinian people as expressed in a referendum, something the group’s leaders havesubsequently promised to do.

    Instead, the Bush administration—suddenly less enamored of Middle Eastern democracy—pressured Abbas to dissolve the Palestinian parliament and rule by emergency decree. Israel, which also wanted Abbas to defy the election results, withheld the tax and customs revenue it had collected on the Palestinian Authority’s behalf. Knowing Hamas would resist Abbas’ efforts to annul the election, especially in Gaza, where it was strong on the ground, the Bushies also began urging Abbas’ former national security advisor, a Gazan named Mohammed Dahlan, to seize power in the Strip by force. As David Rose later detailed in an extraordinary article in Vanity Fair, Condoleezza Rice pushed Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to buy weapons for Dahlan, and for Israel to allow them to enter Gaza. As General Mark Dayton, US security coordinator for the Palestinians, told Dahlan in November 2006, “We also need you to build up your forces inorder to take on Hamas.”

    Unfortunately for the Bush administration, Dahlan’s forces were weaker than they looked. And when the battle for Gaza began, Hamas won it easily, and brutally. In response, Abbas declared emergency rule in the West Bank.

    So yes, members of Hamas did throw their Fatah opponents off rooftops. Some of that may have been payback because Dahlan was widely believed to have overseen the torture of Hamas members in the 1990s. Regardless, in winning the battle for Gaza, Hamas—which had already shed much Israeli blood - shed Palestinian blood too.

    But to suggest that Hamas “seized power” - as American Jewish leaders often do - ignores the fact that Hamas’ brutal takeover occurred in response to an attempted Fatah coup backed by the United States and Israel. In the words of David Wurmser, who resigned as Dick Cheney’s Middle East advisor a month after Hamas’ takeover, “what happened wasn’t so much a coup by Hamas but an attempted coup by Fatah that was pre-empted before it could happen.”

    The Greenhouses

    Israel responded to Hamas’ election victory by further restricting access in and out of Gaza. As it happens, these restrictions played a key role in explaining why Gaza’s greenhouses did not help it become Singapore. American Jewish leaders usually tell the story this way: When the settlers left, Israel handed over their greenhouses to the Palestinians, hoping they would use them to create jobs. Instead, Palestinians tore them down in an anti-Jewish rage.

    But one person who does not endorse that narrative is the prime mover behind the greenhouse deal, Australian-Jewish businessman James Wolfensohn, who served as the Quartet’s Special Envoy for Gaza Disengagement. In his memoir, Wolfensohn notes that “some damage was done to the greenhouses [as the result of post-disengagement looting] but they came through essentially intact” and were subsequently guarded by Palestinian Authority police. What really doomed the greenhouse initiative, Wolfensohn argues, were Israeli restrictions on Gazan exports. “In early December [2005], he writes, “the much-awaited first harvest of quality cash crops—strawberries, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers and flowers—began. These crops were intended for export via Israel for Europe. But their success relied upon the Karni crossing [between Gaza and Israel], which, beginning in mid-January 2006, was closed more than not. The Palestine Economic Development Corporation, which was managing the greenhouses taken over from the settlers, said that it was experiencing losses in excess of $120,000 per day…It was excruciating. This lost harvest was the most recognizable sign of Gaza’s declining fortunes and the biggest personal disappointment during my mandate.”

    The point of dredging up this history is not to suggest that Israel deserves all the blame for its long and bitter conflict with Hamas. It does not. Hamas bears the blame for every rocket it fires, and those rockets have not only left Israelis scarred and disillusioned. They have also badly undermined the Palestinian cause.

    The point is to show—contrary to the establishment American Jewish narrative—that Israel has repeatedly played into Hamas’ hands by not strengthening those Palestinians willing to pursue statehood through nonviolence and mutual recognition. Israel played into Hamas’ hands when Sharon refused to seriously entertain the Arab and Geneva peace plans. Israel played into Hamas’ hands when it refused to support a Palestinian unity government that could have given Abbas the democratic legitimacy that would have strengthened his ability to cut a two state deal. And Israel played into Hamas’ hands when it responded to the group’s takeover of Gaza with a blockade that—although it has some legitimate security features—has destroyed Gaza’s economy, breeding the hatred and despair on which Hamas thrives.

    In the ten years since Jewish settlers left, Israeli policy toward Gaza has been as militarily resourceful as it has been politically blind. Tragically, that remains the case during this war. Yet tragically, the American Jewish establishment keeps cheering Israel on.

    #gaza #israël


  • Gaza myths and facts: what American Jewish leaders won’t tell you - Myth: Gaza is free. Fact: it has been under Israeli occupation since 1967 to this very day.
    By Peter Beinart | Jul. 30, 2014 | Haaretyz
    http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.608008

    If you’ve been anywhere near the American Jewish community over the past few weeks, you’ve heard the following morality tale: Israel left the Gaza Strip in 2005, hoping the newly independent country would become the Singapore of the Middle East. Instead, Hamas seized power, ransacked greenhouses, threw its opponents off rooftops and began launching thousands of rockets at Israel.

    American Jewish leaders use this narrative to justify their skepticism of a Palestinian state in the West Bank. But in crucial ways, it’s wrong. And without understanding why it’s wrong, you can’t understand why this war is wrong too.

    Let’s take the claims in turn.

    Israel Left Gaza

    It’s true that in 2005, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon withdrew Israel’s more than 8,000 settlers from Gaza. (At America’s urging, he also dismantled four small settlements in the West Bank). But at no point did Gaza become its own country. Had Gaza become its own country, it would have gained control over its borders. It never did. As the Israeli human rights group Gisha has detailed, even before the election of Hamas, Israel controlled whether Gazans could enter or exit the Strip (In conjunction with Egypt, which controlled the Rafah checkpoint in Gaza’s south). Israel controlled the population registry through which Gazans were issued identification cards. Upon evacuating its settlers and soldiers from Gaza, Israel even created a security perimeter inside the Strip from which Gazans were barred from entry. (Unfortunately for Gazans, this perimeter included some of the Strip’s best farmland).

    “Pro-Israel” commentators claim Israel had legitimate security reasons for all this. But that concedes the point. A necessary occupation is still an occupation. That’s why it’s silly to analogize Hamas’ rockets—repugnant as they are—to Mexico or Canada attacking the United States. The United States is not occupying Mexico or Canada. Israel — according to the United States government —  has been occupying Gaza without interruption since 1967.

    To grasp the perversity of using Gaza as an explanation for why Israel can’t risk a Palestinian state, it helps to realize that Sharon withdrew Gaza’s settlers in large measure because he didn’t want a Palestinian state. By 2004, when Sharon announced the Gaza withdrawal, the Road Map for Peace that he had signed with Mahmoud Abbas was going nowhere. Into the void came two international proposals for a two state solution. The first was the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, in which every member of the Arab League offered to recognize Israel if it returned to the 1967 lines and found a “just” and “agreed upon” solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees. The second was the 2003 Geneva Initiative, in which former Israeli and Palestinian negotiators publicly agreed upon the details of a two state plan. As the political scientists Jonathan Rynhold and Dov Waxman have detailed, Sharon feared the United States would get behind one or both plans, and pressure Israel to accept a Palestinian state near the 1967 lines. “Only an Israeli initiative,” Sharon argued, “will keep us from being dragged into dangerous initiatives like the Geneva and Saudi initiatives.”

    Sharon saw several advantages to withdrawing settlers from Gaza. First, it would save money, since in Gaza Israel was deploying a disproportionately high number of soldiers to protect a relatively small number of settlers. Second, by (supposedly) ridding Israel of its responsibility for millions of Palestinians, the withdrawal would leave Israel and the West Bank with a larger Jewish majority. Third, the withdrawal would prevent the administration of George W. Bush from embracing the Saudi or Geneva plans, and pushing hard—as Bill Clinton had done—for a Palestinian state. Sharon’s chief of staff, Dov Weisglass, put it bluntly: “The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process. And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda. And all this with authority and permission. All with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress.”

    It’s no surprise, therefore, that the Gaza withdrawal did not meet minimal Palestinian demands. Not even the most moderate Palestinian leader would have accepted a long-term arrangement in which Israel withdrew its settlers from Gaza while maintaining control of the Strip’s borders and deepening Israeli control of the West Bank. (Even in the 2005, the year Sharon withdrew from Gaza, the overall settler population rose, in part because some Gazan settlers relocated to the West Bank).

    In fact, Sharon’s advisors did not expect withdrawing Gaza’s settlers to satisfy the Palestinians. Nor did not they expect it to end Palestinian terrorism. Ehud Olmert, a key figure in the disengagement plan (and someone who himself later embraced Palestinian statehood), acknowledged that “terror will continue” after the removal of Gaza’s settlers. The key word is “continue.” Contrary to the American Jewish narrative, militants in Gaza didn’t start launching rockets at Israel after the settlers left. They began a half-decade earlier, at the start of the second intifada. The Gaza disengagement did not stop this rocket fire. But it did not cause it either.


  • Peter Beinart, think before you speak about Palestinians and Hamas -
    By Maher Mughrabi | Jun. 23, 2014 |
    Haaretz
    http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.600494

    Peter says that just as Jewish liberals must challenge Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, Palestinian liberals must publicly challenge Hamas. There is a crucial distinction here that appears to escape him. In the West Bank, Israel is a foreign power controlling a disenfranchised people. Both Samah and I might criticise Hamas and even stand opposed to them, but Hamas are not foreigners - they are part of the Palestinian community and they ran for election by that community. To call this abduction is to deny Palestinians agency and demean their choices. (I wouldn’t say that Shas or Habayit Hayehudi have “abducted” Zionism, for much the same reasons.)

    It’s certainly true that a democratic vote can produce a result people find repugnant. I recall the swearing-in of an Austrian government in 2000 that was immediately the target of sanctions from many European countries because it included the far-right Freedom Party led by Joerg Haider. Yet even if we were to accept such a comparison in the case of Hamas, the sanctions Austria experienced then did not deny the Austrian people freedom of movement or basic foodstuffs, nor did they prevent the Austrian parliament from meeting.

    At the Melbourne Town Hall, I told the audience that peace was about being able to build a house or a life without worrying about when a foreign power would undo one’s decision. I could just as easily have said “to cast a ballot.” There will always be divisions in Palestinian life, as there have been in Israeli life. Some of those differences will prove so difficult to resolve that they must be deferred, as David Ben-Gurion found with the question of religion, and some may demand immediate and even violent resolution, as Ben-Gurion found when he sank the ship called the Altalena. All over the world, we see that independence is not the end of a nation’s troubles but the beginning. We also see that the debates national communities have to have require an inviolable public space. As the poet Mahmoud Darwish, himself no great fan of Hamas, wrote at the height of the second intifada:

    و مختلفون على واجبات النساء

    :مختلفون على كل شيء. لنا هدف واحد

    … ان نكون

    و من بعده يجد الفرد متسعاً لاختيار الهدف

    “And we’ll disagree over women’s duties . . .

    “We’ll disagree over everything. And we have one goal:

    “To be . . .

    “After that one finds room to choose other goals”

    In the mid-1980s, the apartheid regime in South Africa offered Nelson Mandela his freedom if he would repudiate armed struggle. He turned down the offer, telling his jailers that “Prisoners cannot enter into contracts. Only free men can negotiate.”

    Peace between Israelis and Palestinians is a contract. Normalisation – if that is still what Zionists want – is a contract. Yet Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are not free. It is the repeated failure to address that fact that should be of primary concern to Peter Beinart – and all of us.

    Maher Mughrabi is foreign news editor of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald newspapers in Australia. The views expressed are his own.


  • Double standard? Netanyahu’s coalition wouldn’t pass Bibi’s test for Hamas
    By Peter Beinart | Jun. 3, 2014 |
    Haaretz
    http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.596904

    Which raises an intriguing question. Could Bibi’s own government pass the test he’s applying to Abbas’?

    Not likely. The Quartet’s first condition requires the Palestinians to recognize Israel’s right to statehood. But Israel’s current government is “supported by and dependent on” Economy Minister Naftali Bennett’s party, Habayit Hayehudi, which emphatically and unambiguously opposes the Palestinians’ right to statehood. Bennett’s not a big fan of adhering to past agreements either. He wants to annex 60 percent of the West Bank, thus depositing both the 1993 Oslo Agreement and the 2002 Road Map for Peace in history’s dustbin.

    But even if you overlook Jewish Home, Netanyahu’s government is “supported by and dependent on” an even larger party that can’t meet the Quartet’s conditions. It’s called Likud. Like Hamas, Likud has a history of opposing the two-state solution. In its 1999 platform, the party “flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river.” The website of World Likud, which represents the party internationally, features a 2006 platform that promises: “Talks on the establishment of a Palestinian State will cease effective immediately. Israel will declare its right to exist within its current borders, with no further surrender of territory.”

    To be fair, these documents preceded Benjamin Netanyahu’s 2009 speech at Bar Ilan University endorsing a Palestinian State. But Likud has still not issued a new platform reversing its prior opposition to the two state solution. And for good reason. As Elisheva Goldberg has detailed, most of the top candidates on Likud’s 2013 Knesset list publicly opposed a Palestinian state. Knesset member Miri Regev claims that most of her Likud colleagues oppose the two state solution now.  Among those opponents is current defense minister Moshe (Bogie) Yaalon.

    Likud’s record on respecting past agreements isn’t much better. Like Bennett, many of Likud’s top Knesset members want to tear up Oslo by annexing much of the West Bank. The U.S. (if not Israel) interprets the 2002 Road Map as obligating Israel to freeze settlement growth, yet virtually everyone in Likud vehemently opposes such restrictions. Then there’s Netanyahu himself, who in 2001 was caught on video boasting that he had “stopped the Oslo Accord” by finding loopholes that allowed him to welch on the territorial withdrawals that his predecessors had promised.

    Netanyahu is trying to enforce a double standard. Although kept in power by parties that oppose the two state solution, he wants the world to shun Abbas for doing the same. It’s not only intellectually dishonest; it’s self-defeating.

    Netanyahu likes the status quo. In the Palestinian Authority, Israel has a subcontractor in the West Bank. It helps the Israel Defense Forces prevent terrorism, and the U.S. and Europe pick up the bill. But it can’t last. The very thing Netanyahu likes about the Palestinian Authority—its willingness to cooperate with Israel on security without really challenging it politically—is the thing Palestinians loathe. And they won’t tolerate it forever.


  • First Israeli Intelligence Squared debate tackles the future of Jewish democracy - National Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
    http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/first-israeli-intelligence-squared-debate-tackles-the-future-of-jewish-demo

    Intelligence Squared, the renowned international debate forum, launched its Israel operations Tuesday night with a debate on the motion of “If Israel continues on its current course – it cannot remain both a democratic and Jewish State.”

    “Since the inception of Intelligence Squared in London there have been a succession of brilliant Israeli orators who have participated in our debates here in London,” John Gordon, one of the two media businessmen who founded the organization in the United Kingdom in 2002, told Haaretz.

    “It is therefore with great pride that the IQ2 style of debate - which is the hallmark of the democratic process and which speakers on all sides of the Israeli political spectrum have engaged in here in London with both passion and supreme skill - has been launched in Israel itself.”

    Moderated by Haaretz English Edition Editor Charlotte Halle, the filled-to-capacity evening event was held at Tel Aviv’s Museum of Art, and featured Peter Beinart and Michael Melchior for the motion, and Yoram Ettinger and Dan Gillerman against it. As prescribed by the format, which follows the Oxford Union style, the debaters were each given 12 minutes to present their arguments, after which questions were taken from the audience, and concluding statements were made. Voting on the motion took place twice: Once, informally, at the door, and later, at the end of the debate, via ballots.

    Opening the debate, for the motion, was Beinart, a New York based political pundit, the author of The Crisis of Zionism, a senior fellow at the New America foundation and editor of The Daily Beast’s blog “Open Zion. Beinart made four concise arguments, pertaining to the question at hand. One: Israel controls the West Bank. Two: Israel is not a democracy in the West Bank. Three: Israeli is making its control over the West Bank ever more permanent. And four: If control of the West Bank remains permanent, he argued, Israel will have impaired not only its democratic character but ultimately its Jewish character as well.

    Next up was Ettinger, a former minister for congressional affairs at Israel’s embassy in Washington DC, and a member of the American-Israel Demographic Research Group. Speaking against the motion, he suggested that Beinart, as a non-Israeli, did not understand Arabs, argued that this is a region where any agreement is “carved in ice” and not stone, talked tough on security and the critical need to maintain control of the “mountain regions of Judea and Samaria,” and veered off into lengthy lecture on demography.

    Melchior was the third speaker, on Beinart’s side. A rabbi, former cabinet minister and Knesset member, who today also serves as the chief rabbi of Norway, Melchior recounted Hillel’s famous lesson: “Do not do unto others that which is hateful to you. That is the entire Torah. The rest is commentary, go study it." Ultimately, Melchior argued, denying the Palestinians their right to self-determination will “empty the real content of what it means to be a true Jewish state.”

    Gillerman, a businessman who served as Israel’s ambassador to the UN during 2003-2008, spoke of Israel’s contributions to the world in the areas of science, high tech and culture. “No other country contributes so much to mankind,” he posited. As to the resolution, he said that, while he is a great “yearner and believer” in peace – he is unwilling “to be frightened into a doomsday scenario” when it comes to Israel’s democracy, and that while Israel’s leaders have risen to the plate when it comes to making peace – the Palestinians have offered up no leader whom Israel can trust.

    Before the debate, 44 percent of those attending said they agreed with the evenings motion that “if Israel continues on its current course – it cannot remain both a democratic and Jewish State,” while 26 percent said they did not agree with it. Thirty percent of the audience declared themselves undecided at the start of the debate.

    After listening to the speakers, those in favor of the motion were still more plentiful – at 50 percent. But a higher percentage of the undecided said that now disagreed with the motion, with 37 percent voting against it. Thirteen percent of those gathered said they remained undecided – and then everyone, for, against and unsure alike, headed out to the lobby for wine, nuts, more debate and small talk about the hot weather, on which everyone could agree.


  • Are young American liberal Jews ashamed of Israel?

    Haaretz

    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/features/are-young-american-liberal-jews-ashamed-of-israel-1.293443

    Peter Beinart is a Jewish-American lecturer, author and journalist whose essay “The Failure of the American Jewish establishment,” published in the June issue of the New York Review of Books, has raised a storm among the American Jewish establishment. In the article, Beinart accuses that establishment of sacrificing its liberal values in favor of support for Israel at any price, a strategy that his led it to lose the support of the younger generation of liberal American Jews.