Senators trying to slip through Israel anti-boycott law during lame duck session

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) speaks with reporters in Washington, DC, on Nov 27, 2018. (photo: Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call via AP)
The law would criminalize boycotting Israel.

By Ryan Grim & Alex Emmons | The Intercept | Dec 4, 2018

We understand the Senate is considering attaching a revised version of S. 720 to the end-of-the-year omnibus spending bill, and we urge you to oppose its inclusion.
— American Civil Liberties Union in a Dec 3 letter to congress

Democratic Senator Ben Cardin is making a behind-the-scenes push to slip an anti-boycott law into a last-minute spending bill being finalized during the lame-duck session, according to four sources familiar with the negotiations.

The measure, known as the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, was shelved earlier amid concerns about the infringement of free speech, after civil liberties groups argued that the original version would have allowed criminal penalties for Americans who participate in a political boycott of Israel. Some of the more aggressive elements of the provision have been removed under pressure, but the American Civil Liberties Union, which spearheaded the initial opposition to the bill, is still strongly opposed. . . .

Continue reading “Senators trying to slip through Israel anti-boycott law during lame duck session”

British Quakers divest from occupation, and are accused of “obsessive” tunnel vision for “the only Jewish state”

 

Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews. (photo: Marie van der Zyl)
The Quakers in Britain have taken time in reaching this decision advocating a different approach is needed to shift the dial.

By Robert Cohen | Mondoweiss | Nov 26, 2018

With the occupation now in its 51st year, and with no end in near sight, we believe we have a moral duty to state publicly that we will not invest in any company profiting from the occupation.

Last week Quakers in Britain became the first Christian denomination in the UK to adopt a responsible investment policy towards the Israeli Occupation of Palestinian land. It was the first denomination but I doubt it will be the last.

Within hours of the announcement, the Board of Deputies, the body which asserts its right to represent Jewish interests in Britain, had issued a statement of rebuke from its President, Marie van der Zyl, titled “Board of Deputies condemns Quakers’ Israel divestment policy.” In a few short paragraphs, van de Zyl gathered together all of the usual anti-BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) talking points and fired them in one almighty blast at the Quakers.

The Board’s statement is worth examining in detail since it reveals so much about the Jewish establishment’s mission to set the parameters of acceptable debate on Israel to the detriment of interfaith relations.
Continue reading “British Quakers divest from occupation, and are accused of “obsessive” tunnel vision for “the only Jewish state””

Freshman congresswoman bucks AIPAC’s Israel junket

Representative-elect Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) pauses to speak to media on Capitol Hill, Nov 15, 2018. (photo: Carolyn Kaster / AP)
Rashida Tlaib rejects Israel lobby’s influence over the incoming congressional delegation.

By Alex Kane &Lee Fang | The Intercept | Dec 3, 2018

Tlaib is clear about one thing: She wants her delegation to humanize Palestinians, provide an alternative perspective to the one AIPAC pushes, and highlight the inherent inequality of Israel’s system of military occupation in Palestinian territories.

Rashida Tlaib, a Democratic representative-elect from Michigan, belongs to a cohort of incoming members of Congress who’ve vowed to upend the status quo — even on third-rail issues in Washington like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. To that end, Tlaib is planning to lead a congressional delegation to the Israeli-occupied West Bank, she told The Intercept. Her planned trip is a swift rebuke of a decades-old tradition for newly elected members: a junket to Israel sponsored by the education arm of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, known as AIPAC, the powerful pro-Israel lobby group.

The AIPAC trips are among the lesser-known traditions for freshman members of Congress. They’re typically scheduled during the first August recess in every legislative session and feature a weeklong tour of Israel and meetings with leading Israeli figures in business, government, and the military. Both critics and proponents of the AIPAC freshmen trip say the endeavor is incredibly influential, providing House members with a distinctly pro-Israel viewpoint on complex controversies in the region. In recent years, the Democratic tour has been led by incoming Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md. Incoming Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., traditionally leads the Republican trip.

Continue reading “Freshman congresswoman bucks AIPAC’s Israel junket”

Israel says Trump’s Middle East peace plan to be rolled out in early 2019

 

President Trump meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Sep 18, 2017. (photo: AP)
Israel’s ambassador to the UN predicts the Trump administration will present its peace plan in early 2019.

Pamela Falk | CBS News | Nov 28, 2018

President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, and White House Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, have been drafting the Trump administration’s long-awaited plan for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, and they have touted its preparation several times since the White House’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Dec 6 and the opening of the new US embassy there in May.

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations said Tuesday that the White House intends to move forward with its much-anticipated Middle East peace plan early next year, before expected Israeli elections.

“We don’t know the details of the plan but we know that it’s completed,” Ambassador Danny Danon told a small group of reporters Tuesday in his office near UN Headquarters. He said the Trump administration has told the Israeli government that it is prepared to roll out the plan in early 2019.

President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, and White House Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, have been drafting the Trump administration’s long-awaited plan for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, and they have touted its preparation several times since the White House’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Dec 6 and the opening of the new US embassy there in May. Continue reading “Israel says Trump’s Middle East peace plan to be rolled out in early 2019”

Gaza hospitals overwhelmed by wounded in violence

A Palestinian receives medical attention in a hospital after being injured during a protest at the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel, east of Gaza City, Sep 14, 2018. (photo: Felipe Dana / Associated Press)
Doctors Without Borders says that thousands are in danger of infection and disability because Gaza hospitals cannot adequately treat them.

By Associate Press Staff | The Washington Post | Nov 29, 2018

Israeli snipers have killed about 170 people and wounded thousands.

A medical aid group says the vast number of patients treated for gunshot wounds from months of violent border protests have overwhelmed Gaza’s health care system.

Doctors Without Borders says that thousands are in danger of infection and disability because Gaza hospitals cannot adequately treat them.

Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers have been organizing weekly border protests since March in which demonstrators approach the border fence, throwing firebombs at Israeli troops and burning tires.

Continue reading “Gaza hospitals overwhelmed by wounded in violence”

Event: An evening with Alice Rothchild (Wednesday)

A Rothchild - final poster crop.jpg

Please join our brothers and sisters at University Congregational United Church of Christ for an Evening with Dr. Alice Rothchild who will discuss the current situation in Gaza with respect to human rights, social justice, and health care needs.

 

Date: Wednesday, Nov 28, 2018
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Location: University Congregational United Church of Christ
4515 16th Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98105
Information: Event information here →
Event Details

Alice Rothchild is a sought-after speaker on human rights and social justice on Israel-Palestine since 1997. She will be describing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Dr. Rothchild practiced Ob-Gyn for 40 years and until her retirement served as Asst. Prof. of Ob-Gyn at Harvard Medical School. She directed the documentary film, Voices Across The Divide. She is the author of Broken Promises, Broken Dreams and Condition Critical: Life and Death in Israel/Palestine.

More information here →

Frozen out by Israel, repelled by Trump, US Jews find more in common with Palestinians

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump with their spouses outside the White House, Mar 5, 2018. (photo: Bloomberg)
Israel has chosen to embrace Trump and serially antagonize US Jews.

By Avraham Bronstein | Haaretz | Nov 21, 2018

To be clear: We [US Jews] certainly benefit from far more privilege in our lives than the Palestinians we met. Still, our conversations caused me to reflect on how we could begin to relate to their feeling of being left behind.

Earlier this month, I toured Ramallah, East Jerusalem, and the Bethlehem area with a group of over 30 rabbis, educators, lay leaders, executives, and philanthropists from across the denominational and political spectrum.

It was a powerful, intense experience facilitated by Encounter, an organization that brings American Jewish leaders into direct contact with Palestinians for an on-the-ground perspective of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Over the course of the four-day trip, our group asked many of the Palestinians with whom we met what they hoped to gain by speaking with us. Some thought we might be able to influence others on their behalf — whether it was the US Jewish community, the American government, or even Israelis — whether at large, or in positions of power.

Continue reading “Frozen out by Israel, repelled by Trump, US Jews find more in common with Palestinians”

Event: An evening with Alice Rothchild (Wednesday)

A Rothchild - final poster crop.jpg

Please join our brothers and sisters at University Congregational United Church of Christ for an Evening with Dr. Alice Rothchild who will discuss the current situation in Gaza with respect to human rights, social justice, and health care needs.

 

Date: Wednesday, Nov 28, 2018
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Location: University Congregational United Church of Christ
4515 16th Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98105
Information: Event information here →
Event Details

Alice Rothchild is a sought-after speaker on human rights and social justice on Israel-Palestine since 1997. She will be describing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Dr. Rothchild practiced Ob-Gyn for 40 years and until her retirement served as Asst. Prof. of Ob-Gyn at Harvard Medical School. She directed the documentary film, Voices Across The Divide. She is the author of Broken Promises, Broken Dreams and Condition Critical: Life and Death in Israel/Palestine.

More information here →

Event: The Intersectionality of Justice and Peace in Palestine/Israel: Uncovering and Reporting the Truths (Saturday)

kairos ps logo

Please join our brothers and sisters at Kairos Puget Sound Coalition for this thought-provoking conference.
Date: Saturday, Nov 17, 2018
Time: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Location: Seattle Mennonite Church
3120 NE 125th St
Seattle, WA  98125
Information: Event information here →
Tickets: $15.00 general / $5.00 student
Brown Paper Tickets
Event Details

An overview of the current situation in Palestine/Israel with respect to the recently passed Israel Nation-State Law, the current condition of Gaza, and the challenges faced by the media in reporting these events. Internationally known speakers include:

  • Jonathan Kuttab, Palestinian human rights lawyer
  • Julia Pitner, Executive Director of Institute of Palestine Studies
  • Dr. Salim Munayer, Director of Musalaha
  • Dr. Yasser Abu Jamei, Director General of the Gaza Mental Health Program
  • Alison Weir, Founder of If Americans Knew

Event program here →

Event: The Intersectionality of Justice and Peace in Palestine/Israel: Uncovering and Reporting the Truths (Saturday)

kairos ps logo

Please join our brothers and sisters at Kairos Puget Sound Coalition for this thought-provoking conference.
Date: Saturday, Nov 17, 2018
Time: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Location: Seattle Mennonite Church
3120 NE 125th St
Seattle, WA  98125
Information: Event information here →
Tickets: $15.00 general / $5.00 student
Brown Paper Tickets
Event Details

An overview of the current situation in Palestine/Israel with respect to the recently passed Israel Nation-State Law, the current condition of Gaza, and the challenges faced by the media in reporting these events. Internationally known speakers include:

  • Jonathan Kuttab, Palestinian human rights lawyer
  • Julia Pitner, Executive Director of Institute of Palestine Studies
  • Dr. Salim Munayer, Director of Musalaha
  • Dr. Yasser Abu Jamei, Director General of the Gaza Mental Health Program
  • Alison Weir, Founder of If Americans Knew

Event program here →