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WITH “OTHER VOICES” SPECIAL

IsraelLobbyandAmericanPolicy.org www.wrmea.org • • •

March 2, 2018 at the National Press Club Must-Read Conference Proceedings Pro-Israel PAC Contributions

DISPLAY UNTIL 6/12/2018


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Table of Contents

The Israel Lobby and American Policy

INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 WelCOmINg RemaRks — Dale sprusansky . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 an Overview of the Israel lobby agenda — grant F. smith. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

PaNel: Israel, the lobby and the U.N. Does the U.s. support an apartheid state? — Dr. Virginia Tilley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 The Israel lobby and the U.N. — Ian Williams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 How support for Israel's Violations of International law Puts the U.s. on the Wrong side of History — Noura erakat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

PaNel: suppressing Free speech Challenging the anti-semitism awareness act: Pushing Back against Jewish exceptionalist Politics — Dr. Barry Trachtenberg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 How and Why the Israel lobby Is suppressing Free speech and academic Freedom on College Campuses — Dr. Rabab abdulhadi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 QUESTIONS & ANSWERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 When and How Did evangelicals Become Zionists? — Thomas R. getman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 QUESTIONS & ANSWERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43

keyNOTe aDDRess: The Zionist Tango: step left, step Right — gideon levy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 QUESTIONS & ANSWERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

The Palestinian BDs Campaign: What It Is, How It Is growing and Why the efforts to stop It Will Fail — andrew kadi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 QUESTIONS & ANSWERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56

Israeli vs. Russian media Influence — ali abunimah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 QUESTIONS & ANSWERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61

PaNel: american Foreign Policy CIa and mossad: Tradeoffs in the Formation of the U.s.-Israel strategic Relationship — Jefferson morley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 Is the U.s. Ramping up its military Presence in syria and Preparing to attack Iran for Israel? — Col. lawrence Wilkerson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 QUESTIONS & ANSWERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70

ClOsINg RemaRks — Delinda C. Hanley and grant F. smith

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eleCTION WaTCH: From the gun lobby to the Israel lobby: Will americans make the Connection?

— Janet mcmahon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 Pro-Israel PaC Contributions to 2018 Congressional Candidates — Compiled by Hugh galford . . . . . . . . . . . . 75

“OTHeR VOICes” sUPPlemeNT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79

Index to advertisers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Cover Photo Phil Pasquini

May 2018

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Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (ISSN 8755-4917) is published 7 times a year, monthly except Jan./Feb., March/April, June/July and Aug./Sept. combined, at 1902 18th St., NW, Washington, DC 200091707. Tel. (202) 939-6050. Subscription prices (United States and possessions): one year, $29; two years, $55; three years, $75. For Canadian and Mexican subscriptions, $35 per year; for other foreign subscriptions, $70 per year. Periodicals, postage paid at Washington, DC and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, P.O. Box 91056, Long Beach, CA 90809-1056. Published by the American Educational Trust (AET), a non-profit foundation incorporated in Washington, DC by retired U.S. foreign service officers to provide the American public with balanced and accurate information concerning U.S. relations with Middle Eastern states. AET’s Foreign Policy Committee has included former U.S. ambassadors, government officials, and members of Congress, including the late Democratic Sen. J. William Fulbright and Republican Sen. Charles Percy, both former chairmen of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Members of AET’s Board of Directors and advisory committees receive no fees for their services. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs does not take partisan domestic political positions. As a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli dispute, it endorses U.N. Security Council Resolution 242’s landfor-peace formula, supported by nine successive U.S. presidents. In general, it supports Middle East solutions which it judges to be consistent with the charter of the United Nations and traditional American support for human rights, self-determination, and fair play. Material from the Washington Report may be reprinted without charge with attribution to Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. Bylined material must also be attributed to the author. This release does not apply to photographs, cartoons or reprints from other publications. Indexed by ProQuest, Gale Ebsco Information Services, InfoTrac, LexisNexis, Public Affairs Information Service, Index to Jewish Periodicals, Ethnic News Watch, Periodica Islamica. CONTACT INFORMATION: Washington Report on Middle East Affairs Editorial Office and Bookstore: 1902 18th St., NW, Washington, DC 20009-9062 Phone: (202) 939-6050 • (800) 368-5788 Fax: (202) 265-4574 E-mail: wrmea@wrmea.org bookstore@wrmea.org circulation@wrmea.org advertising@wrmea.org Web sites: http://www.wrmea.org http://www.middleeastbooks.com Subscriptions, sample copies and donations: P.O. Box 91056, Long Beach, CA 90809-1056. Phone: (888) 881-5861 • Fax: (714) 226-9733 Printed in the USA

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Introduction

Introduction As Steve Rosen, the former director of foreign policy at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), once pointed out, “A lobby is a night flower; it thrives in the dark and dies in the sun.” AIPAC and other lobbies hope that Americans, in the midst of their busy lives, don’t see their imprint on policies that are often a matter of life and death for millions in this country and around the world. In an effort to shed much-needed light on the Israel lobby, the Washington Report and the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep) partnered for our fifth conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC on March 2. Hurricaneforce winds closed down the federal government and local schools, but they couldn’t stop the audience and speakers from attending the Israel Lobby and American Policy 2018 conference. Speaking on the first panel, Profs. Virginia Tilley and Noura Erakat discussed the reality of apartheid in Israel/Palestine and outlined Israel’s defiance and manipulation of international law. Washington Report U.N. correspondent Ian Williams highlighted the lobby’s efforts to pressure the U.S. at the U.N. “All across this country, people are writing checks to congressmen persuading them to vote in defiance of international law,” he noted. “As long as the U.S. is 100 percent behind Israel, and as long as the lobby keeps it that way, then the U.N. is never going to be a functioning international body.” Prof. Barry Trachtenberg discussed congressional efforts to criminalize criticism of Israel via the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, which he said seeks to “define opposition to Israel as antiSemitism, equate Judaism with Zionism, and to sanction schools which permit Palestinian human rights activism on their campuses.” On the same panel, Prof. Rabab Abdulhadi outlined the many ways groups like the Lawfare Project and the Canary Mission have worked to intimidate and target professors and students who dare criticize Israel in their scholarship. On the foreign policy panel, journalist Jefferson Morley noted Israel’s theft of nuclear material from the U.S. in the 1960s and the “feeble U.S. response to the [1967 Israeli] attack on the USS Liberty.” Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, offered a dire warning about the potential for a global conflict if the U.S. allows itself to be drawn into military conflict with Iran on behalf of Israel. While the mainstream media once again declined to cover our conference, millions of Americans were able to watch via CSPAN2, which covered all eight hours of the program live. Perhaps more importantly, C-SPAN replayed segments of our conference in between its live coverage of the AIPAC conference, offering important balance the media often fails to provide.

Conference speakers did not devote the entirety of their remarks to lament the power of the Israel lobby, however. Many offered words of hope. Andrew Kadi of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights provided a thorough overview of the BDS campaign, highlighting its many successes. Thomas Getman noted that many Christians, particularly in the evangelical community, are working to correct the flawed theology of Christian Zionism. “Social justice evangelicals are working to rehabilitate their brand—or, frankly, just desert it if necessary—in order to differentiate further from the [John] Hagees and [Mike] Pences and [Judge Roy] Moores of the world,” he said. Ali Abunimah, co-founder of The Electronic Intifada, noted the declining support for Israel among younger Americans. There is, he emphasized, a “generational shift that’s happening across different demographic groups, including American Jews [and]... young evangelicals.” He also cited recently introduced legislation, the Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act, which would prohibit U.S. aid to Israel being used for the military detention of Palestinian children such as Ahed Tamimi. “This is a good news story because all of us who want to go back and do something can go back to our members of Congress...and say we want you to join those other 21 members in supporting this bill,” Abunimah concluded. “So we are not powerless against this Israel lobby. We are capable of defeating it, and I am certain we’ll be able to do so.” Once again our audience was dazzled by our keynote speaker, Haaretz journalist Gideon Levy. Every major political party in Israel is committed to occupation, he stated. “When it comes to the occupation, which is part and parcel of Zionism, there is no meaningful difference between left and right in Israel,” he stated. “Nobel Prize winner Shimon Peres is the founding father of the settlements project. So what do we get out of this nice rhetoric except showing a nice face of Israel and doing the very, very, very same crimes?” After years of believing in two states, Levy said he now believes one state is the only just solution. “It’s time for us to talk about equal rights; about one person, one vote,” he said. “Let’s challenge Israel. Israel will say no. Then we can officially declare Israel as an apartheid state.” While all of our speakers agree there is much work to be done, they also agree that there is much worth fighting for. The dignity of our country—and of millions of lives across the Middle East— depends on our being unafraid to challenge and expose the Israel lobby. We hope these transcripts inspire you to keep on fighting and persevering until the night flower that is the lobby whithers under the daylight of public scrutiny. ■

A lobby is a night flower; it thrives in the dark and dies in the sun.

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THE ISRAEL LOBBY AND AMERICAN POLICY

Welcoming Remarks Dale Sprusansky

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cussion. The moderators like to be able to sort through the questions before the Q&A begins. We have an exhibition hall located next door. It will close at 4:30 this year, so please be sure to stop in during the breaks and visit our wonderful exhibitors. Our bookstore [Middle East Books and More] this year is located right behind you in the alcove. We have all sorts of books, pottery, olive oil and whatnot available for sale there. Book signings will take place at registration, except for the book signings taking place after the program—they will take place here in the main ballroom. Also near registration, there is an exhibit where you can go to pick up tickets for the reception afterwards. That will give you one free alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage of your choice during the reception, so please be sure to visit the booth to pick up your ticket. We ask, of course, that you don’t record any videos unless you are given prior permission. Wifi information is available in the back of your program. We encourage everyone to tweet at #israellobbycon, c-o-n. Today’s event is also being broadcast live on C-SPAN2, and we also encourage our online audience and TV audience to participate in the conversation. We also ask, of course, that you please refrain from talking and whatnot here in the ballroom. Take your conversations outside into the exhibition hall. Of course, we wouldn’t be here without our fantastic donors, so we have to give them our immense gratitude for funding today’s event and making all of this possible. We’re also happy to welcome numerous groups from around the country, students, as well as dignitaries from 12 embassies—Afghanistan, Algeria, the Arab League, Czech Republic, Egypt, Iraq, Kosovo, Morocco, Oman, the PLO, Russia and Tajikistan. Of course, many of you know the Israel lobby is more than a domestic issue. It’s also an international issue, so we’re sure they’ll find our first panel on Israel and the U.N. to be of particular interest. ■

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

PHOTO PHIL PASQUINI

Dale Sprusansky: Good morning, everyone. We’re go ing to get started promptly at 9:00 here. Thanks for being here on time, despite the 40-milean-hour winds outside. We’re glad that you’re all here. Winds of change, we hope. I’m Dale Sprusansky, assistant editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. On behalf of the Washington Report and the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy, we’d like to welcome you all to today’s conference. Once again this annual conference is convening on the eve of the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference, where a bipartisan group of congressmen and other officials will once again gather to reaffirm their unwavering support for the state of Israel. It is our hope that today’s event provides some context and insight into how the lobby functions and why its influence is worth talking about. Today’s event is also being held at a time when a national discussion is taking place about the role of special interest groups in the political process. In the aftermath of last month’s shooting in Parkland, Florida, Americans have engaged in a relatively open and healthy discussion about the role of the National Rifle Association. We believe that, as the most powerful foreign lobby in the United States, the Israel lobby’s actions must also be openly debated. We hope that today’s event will help facilitate such a discussion. Before we begin, just some information and ground rules for the day. We are expecting a pretty full room, so we ask that you do make sure all the seats are open and to not occupy them with bags or coats or anything like that. During the Q&A session, it will be done via note cards. There are note cards and pens in the bags you were given at registration. Please write down your question on the cards, then find an usher. They will be circulating throughout the presentations. And please don’t hesitate to give them to the ushers during the dis-


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Grant F. Smith: An Overview of the Israel Lobby Agenda

An Overview of the Israel Lobby Agenda Grant F. Smith

PHOTO PHIL PASQUINI

Dale Sprusansky: I would like to introduce Grant Smith of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy, a co-sponsor of this event. Grant and his organization are committed to uncovering and documenting how the Israel lobby works and operates through its research and its Freedom of Information Act requests. Grant is the author of several books on the lobby, his most recent being Big Israel: How Israel’s Lobby Moves America. That book is available for sale at our bookstore and is also now available online as an audiobook. So with that, I’d like to welcome Grant to the stage, who will provide an overview of the lobby and of today’s event. Thank you. Grant F. Smith: Thank you, Dale. Welcome, everybody. As he said, I’m going to be reviewing the Israel lobby’s agenda in some detail. It explains, I think, best why we’ve invited this particular group of experts to speak today. I’ll try to mention as many of them as I can as we review the stakes, the very high stakes, and challenges that are being presented here in the United States and globally which are higher than ever before. The Israel lobby, in terms of a nonprofit sector snapshot— and this is coming out of the database that was compiled for my book Big Israel—is an ecosystem of organizations that advance Israel at very many levels. This is on track to be a $6.3 billion industry in 2020. Nearly 500 separate medium-sized to major organizations—with, certainly, AIPAC and the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League and many others at the top—but if you add it up, it’s almost 17,000 employees, [as well as] half a million volunteers working in organizations that have the advancement of Israel as one of their primary objectives in the United States. Their designated voice, as Dale mentioned, leveraging the collective power of these grassroots integrated organizations, is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and it will of

course be meeting in its annual policy conference this weekend. So there’ll be a great deal of triumph in the achievement of one of its longest-term objectives, which was realized in President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The announcement was followed by a State Department announcement saying that the U.S. Embassy will be moved to Jerusalem in May. It’s something that, since its founding in 1948, Israel has wanted all countries to do—to give official recognition, locate their embassies in Jerusalem, rather than Tel Aviv. But of course the original 1947 partition plan of Palestine into Arab and Israeli states required that Jerusalem be internationalized. Both Palestinians and Israelis want Jerusalem to be their capital. So why is the U.S. doing this? In the 1970s, the Zionist Organization of America began sending 100,000-signature petitions to the president, asking him to withdraw from the U.N. agreements and also recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and locate the U.S. Embassy there. In the 1980s, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, the Christian Coalition all said that “we really ought to move the embassy, Mr. President. It’ll be popular, particularly with American Christians and Jews.” AIPAC got serious about passing a highly coercive move— the embassy law—in the 1990s. They did it to thwart the Oslo peace process, which had its own problems. But by creating facts on the ground, the Zionist Organization of America and AIPAC hoped that they could pre-empt any moves from the Oslo peace accords. They got their law—which had a presidential waiver provision, to avoid constitutional separation of power issues. President Clinton allowed the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 to pass without signing it. Then, for two decades, the Israel lobby pressed presidential candidates to promise to move the embassy as part of their May 2018

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THE ISRAEL LOBBY AND AMERICAN POLICY

campaign—and most of them, of course, did it. On the Democratic Party side: Joe Biden, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton. The Republican side: George W. Bush, Ted Cruz, Bob Dole. But every winner of the office signed a waiver every six months not to move the embassy, and so the Jerusalem Embassy Act again required that the State Department not be allowed to use its overseas construction budget until this was done. But presidents waived it every six months—until President Trump overturned all of that, and recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and said that the U.S. will move the embassy. Americans have never supported this. Upon the Trump administration’s announcement, only 36 percent of Americans polled by CNN said that they supported recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. When polled, 57 percent of Americans in January of 2017 said that they were opposed to moving their embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. So the U.S. is becoming Israel’s designated arbiter of territorial claims, I would say, via the power of the Israel lobby. George W. Bush even signed a letter to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon saying that he didn’t expect them to withdraw from certain territories if they didn’t want to. So this has been something that’s been a while in coming. But the question is, can the U.S. really be considered to be a legitimate actor in making these territorial declarations and bestowing legitimacy because the lobby wants it? The embassy move and related measures, such as cutting U.S. assistance to Palestinian refugees and the U.N. and others, is why we have a real panel of experts coming up to talk about the United Nations and other important issues. Agenda #2: The Israel lobby would very much like to pass a federal law mandating that criticism of Israel in some cases is equivalent to anti-Semitism. The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act is an expansive U.S. State Department definition of what anti-Semitism is—also crafted by Israel lobby organizations—which is designed to clamp down on criticism of Israel, particularly on college campuses. So Israel lobby organizations backing such laws want to be able to say that certain criticism under this State Department definition is anti-Semitism, and that federal funding should be withdrawn from higher education in certain cases if it’s allowed to happen. When advised that major American civil liberty groups such as the ACLU are opposed to this law, 61 percent of Americans also opposed this particular measure—cutting off assistance to higher education. To discuss this, we have Dr. Barry Trachtenberg, a Holocaust scholar and author of the new book The United States and the Nazi Holocaust, who testified before the House Judiciary Committee on Nov. 7th to discuss the real politics behind the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act. We’ll also hear from the eminent scholar Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi, who prevailed in a lawsuit filed against her which some people believe, including me, that she might not have if this federal law had been in place. 8

This is not the only Israel lobby gag law that’s in place. There’s a legislative rule with the force of law currently in effect through the Department of Energy that says any government contractor or employee cannot publicly say or write that Israel has a nuclear weapons program under penalty of losing their job, their security clearances, and being treated like a criminal. If you don’t believe that, simply ask former National Laboratory employee James Doyle. That de facto law is called WPN-136. It’s had a devastating impact on legitimate discussions of nuclear proliferation in this country, and many countries in the world don’t consider the U.S. to be particularly forthcoming as a nonproliferation partner. An expanded topic for this year’s conference is the role of Christian evangelicals as a force multiplier of the Israel lobby at the ballot box. The Israel lobby’s stewardship of this group has been underway for a very, very long time. AIPAC has been courting such groups since the late 1950s and early 1960s, when AIPAC was still just a little unincorporated com-

mittee inside a larger body called the American Zionist Council. The slide above reveals some of their secret internal communications and outreach plans from the 1960s, when its parent was under investigation and ultimately ordered to register as an Israeli foreign agent. It’s about cultivating religious leaders, generating positive press, and counteracting opposition. There’s a reason for all of this. Why are Christian evangelicals so important—more important than ever, today—to the Israel lobby? Well, it’s because most Americans aren’t avid members of the Zionist movement. If you ask them in the most anodyne of terms—and nobody ever has until June of last year—“a Zionist is a person who believes in the development and protection of a Jewish nation in what is now Israel”—most Americans, 70.3 percent, don’t consider themselves to be Zionists. However, the biggest challenge to the lobby is to maintain the illusion that there’s broad grassroots support across the United States for Israel and, therefore, that the policies that AIPAC pushes are broadly popular.

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Grant F. Smith: An Overview of the Israel Lobby Agenda

But today there’s a major partisan split. In this Pew Research survey slide of American adults in Jan. 10-15 of this year, we can see that sympathy among Democrats for Israel and Independents has tanked at 27 percent and 42 percent, respectively. A comprehensive Pew Research poll published in October of 2013 also indicated that 38 percent of American Jews, many of whom are Democrats, don’t believe the Israeli government is serious about a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Then only 17 percent agreed that the settlements were conducive to Israel’s security. And, according to a recent Brand Israel study group, “support for Israel among Jewish college students in the United States has dropped 32 percent between 2010 and 2016.” Among the Republicans, there’s near unconditional sympathy for Israel. It’s never been higher, in fact: 79 percent, according to the January Pew Research polling. So the Christian evangelical wing, which is highly supportive of Israel and overwhelmingly voted for Trump, has become absolutely vital to the lobby. Within the Israel lobby ecosystem it’s become a player. Christians United for Israel, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, are financially inconsequential, if you add it up, compared to the mainline Israel lobby support organizations. But their votes are not inconsequential. Again, according to Pew, we’ve got 80 million Christian evangelicals, and 95 percent of them say that Israel is a primary or important factor in selecting their presidential candidate. Americans, despite the wide partisan split—if you look at the last platform planks on Israel in the Republican and the Democratic Party—Americans who are no longer supportive of Israel and would like a less Israel-centric policy have nowhere to go. The U.S. approach to the Middle East in terms of the Republican and Democratic Party platforms in 2016 were nearly identical—Republican planks a little bit more strident, but they’re basically asserting shared values, no daylight in policymaking between the two governments, and essentially no choice for voters. So turning Israel into a topic that’s beyond all rational debates and pre-empting other considerations in such large religious organizations is something that’s

extremely important. For that reason, we’ve invited Thomas Getman, former head of World Vision, to explain exactly how this came to be. The Israel lobby expends a significant amount of resources pressuring the media in trying to shape the narrative. There are specialty organizations—such as the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, Facts and Logic About the Middle East and The Israel Project—that do nothing else, such as watching who comments on CSPAN every morning and then making a big deal out of it if it’s not particularly happy about U.S. Middle East policy. Last year, if some of you may remember, Al Jazeera undertook a major undercover investigation of the lobby and how it really operates in the United Kingdom. But they also had an undercover investigation of what was going on in the United States. This report, called “The Lobby,” presented a threat. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee and other groups were determined that Americans not be allowed to see the U.S. version. Their threats included getting the U.S. government to deny landing rights to Qatar Airways, a $10.6 billion organization with 43,000 employees. Their threats included having the Justice Department register Al Jazeera’s reporters as foreign agents, which would cut off their access to U.S. government officials and limit their access to government facilities. This pressure campaign has worked. You will not be able to see the U.S. version of “The Lobby,” which should have aired before the AIPAC meeting this year. But we’re happy to have two journalists who have withstood this kind of pressure: Ali Abunimah of The Electronic Intifada and Gideon Levy of Haaretz. Just as fierce as the battle to legally equate criticism of Israel as anti-Semitism is the drive to outlaw economic boycotts and other First Amendment activities targeting Israel to pressure it into better human rights comportment. It’s the subject of most major Israel advocacy direct mail fund-raising campaigns these days—crush BDS, BDS is anti-Semitic and should be made illegal, say these mailings. Although there have been some victories against some of these laws—one in Kansas by the ACLU, defending a contractor who wouldn’t sign a waiver saying that she would never boycott Israel in return for her contract with the Kansas State Education Department—the fight is far from over. So if you look at what’s behind the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, you’ll see that its key backer, Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland—among his donors, top 20 2017 donors, 86 percent of the individual contributors administer, run or belong to Israel affinity organizations, including Howard Friedman of AIPAC. Among his top non-Democratic Party donors are PACs—many of them stealth PACs which have misleading names, but really only inMay 2018

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Patrick Clawson said that, “gee, it’s really hard to initiate a crisis, but perhaps we can get some sort of naval provocation in the Persian Gulf against an Iranian submarine to provide crisis initiation.” So this is what’s going on. Then, finally, the Israel lobby’s biggest and most important ask on Capitol Hill will be for massive unconditional foreign aid and state funding. It’s interesting this year that USAID administrator Mark Green will be speaking at AIPAC, and there’s probably a reason for that. There’s a potential new pool of assets: this would be U.S. aid to all of the U.N. countries that voted against the United States and condemned the Jerusalem declaration. Maybe the $24 billion that they get in USAID aid is now on the table. In fact, it may well be—and 128 U.N. member states voted against the U.S., and maybe that’s the pot of money that they’ll be going after. There is a clear demand now that the $38 billion that the U.S. promised in the Obama administration MOU is not enough. When Americans are informed of the amounts of aid that’s given to Israel, 58 percent say it’s either too much or much too much. Particularly if they’re informed that it’s been $250 billion since 1948, which is far more than the U.S. spent even to rebuild post-World War II Europe under the Marshall Plan. This silent majority is certainly not going to be heard next week. At AIPAC, politicians’ names will be called. They will be asked to rise in support of increasing aid. They know that if they do not rise and enthusiastically support this, they’ll be seeing a primary challenger and others coming after them quite soon. So 58 percent of Americans are against it, and this is consistent. When you ask the question in a number of different ways, Americans are consistently of the belief that we simply give too much foreign aid to Israel. So what can we do about it? I’m going to be giving a few ideas in our closing remarks about what I think we can do about it. But first I think we’ve got a sufficient introduction here that I would like to call up our first panel, the United Nations panel, to discuss the U.N. and these policies. Thank you very much. ■

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vest in Israel’s lobbying agenda and AIPAC’s lobbying agenda—which provided 31 percent of his campaign contributions in the top 20. If we continue down the line, we see that members of Israel lobby organizations—looking at his donor lineup—rather than average Marylanders, are really behind Cardin on this Israel Anti-Boycott Act. There’s no popular support for it, but the lobby’s demanding it. They’ll be massing on Capitol Hill demanding that this pass. It can fine Americans up to $1 million and put them in jail for 20 years for violating it. It’s a complex law, and Americans are against it. When advised of the penalties and the fact that even the ACLU is fighting against it, 69 percent of Americans are against it. So if it does pass, the impact would be hugely consequential. Americans collectively will be pledged to defend Israeli exports from the illegal settlements, and their First Amendment activities will be severely curtailed. Finally, agenda item #6, provoking U.S. confrontations with Iran. It’s clear now that AIPAC and much of the lobby would like to see the U.S. in a major confrontation with Iran. The advocacy organizations that worked against the JCPOA, the Iran nuclear deal—AIPAC, ADL, AJC—are now the champion of a confrontation with Iran. They have a candidate in the White House who signed a Dec. 12 secret MOU [memorandum of understanding] to take military and intelligence actions against Iran. There’s a lot of assumption at the base of this secret agreement, if you believe the reports, and their de facto claim is that Iran has an active nuclear weapons program. Agitating for war, though, is not an easy sell, or popular. AIPAC’s operatives have worked behind the scenes and publicly to foment this confrontation. It’s important to not forget that Keith Weissman and Steve Rosen of the AIPAC espionage scandal of 2005 were essentially shopping around stolen intelligence to try to get the U.S. to attack Iran. That was the whole point of the exercise that led to their indictments. So they’re still hard at work. If you look at some public statements by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy,

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Dr. Virginia Tilley: Does the U.S. Support an Apartheid State?

Does the U.S. Support an Apartheid State? Dr. Virginia Tilley

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Janet McMahon: Hello. I’m Janet McMahon, managing editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. Since April 5, 1982, when we published our first issue, we have been covering all the activities of AIPAC and the greater Israel lobby. So it’s great to see such a wonderful turnout for our fifth conference on the Israel lobby. As you all know, there’s a very strong wind outside today. Thank you for braving that wind. It’s a wind that I do think is blowing in our direction. As a result of the last century’s two world wars, the majority of the world’s countries committed themselves to the principle of international law, which was embodied in the United Nations. But adherence to that principle and to the institution has not been guaranteed, and in some cases has been outright undermined. Our first speaker, Dr. Virginia Tilley, is a professor of political science at Southern Illinois University. She earned her MA and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin−Madison, and an MA from the Georgetown Center for Contemporary Arab Studies. She has conducted research in Central America, Israel-Palestine, post-apartheid South Africa, and Oceana. She is the author of The One State Solution, a pragmatic analysis of the two-state solution in Israel-Palestine; and editor of Beyond Occupation: Apartheid, Colonialism and International Law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Dr. Tilley is also the co-author, with Prof. Richard Falk, of a 2017 report commissioned by the U.N.’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia titled “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid.” Despite intense pressure from Israel and the U.S., the commission’s chair, Rima Khalaf, refused to withdraw the report and resigned in protest. The U.N. subsequently deleted the report from its website. Fortunately, however, we are about to benefit from the expertise which informed that report’s findings. Please join me in welcoming Dr. Virginia Tilley. Virginia Tilley: Thank you very much. It’s a distinct privilege to be here, especially in the somewhat daunting position of

first speaker, who has to set the tone. In this presentation, I’m not actually going to talk too much about the findings of the report. We really did write that report for a broad informed audience of concerned people and it is not hard to read, I think. You don’t have to be a legal scholar to do it. So I’m going to briefly summarize the report itself, and then talk about what I think is much more engaging at this point, to me, which is the implications of the report—implications for diplomacy and conflict resolution in Israel-Palestine. I was asked first to address the question of: Is the U.S. supporting an apartheid state in Israel-Palestine? Well, yes, it is. In short, Israel is an apartheid state. By the way, there is no such thing in international law as apartheid state, but Israel’s practices are consistent with apartheid, and I’ll come to that in a moment. But the deeper answer here is yes, the U.S. is supporting an apartheid state—and so are a lot of other people, including people who wouldn’t think they are. That’s what I wanted to come to in regard to the implications of this finding for questions such as the two-state solution. Essentially, those seeking partition are endorsing an apartheid state, and that is a bit startling, so I want to get to that. It raises this dilemma that if apartheid anywhere is inadmissible and destabilizing, it cannot comprise the basis for a just and stable peace. Now, this realization lifts us out of the question of whether you’re pro anybody and simply if you’re concerned about international peace and security, which apartheid is considered to threaten. So in this talk, again, I’m going to talk briefly about the analysis, the legal definition of apartheid, how it works, and why it requires Israel to sustain the occupation—there’s a particular point I’d like to bring forth here—and then move on to the implications and why it brings us directly to the question of reunification as the only viable mode of conflict resolution. This analysis is based on three sources. The first is my own book that I wrote narrowly on the question of whether Israel May 2018

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could be expected to withdraw from the occupied territories to allow a two-state solution. The second one was this really extraordinary experience of coordinating the team of international lawyers—I’m a political scientist, I’m not an international lawyer—through a project supported by the South African government. I believe this is on the desk out there. It is a legal analysis. Any of you who are familiar with international law should find it rewarding. Others of you might find it a bit dense. The third one, of course, is this wonderful experience I had—the privilege of working with Dr. Richard Falk on the U.N. report which was mentioned already. A lot of what I’m going to say here came out of that report, but a lot of what’s in that report relied on the previous one—“Beyond Occupation.” So the deeper legal analysis for the U.N. report is to be found there. So what is apartheid? Very briefly, the report gets into this in detail. We use apartheid very broadly—anything that strikes us as racist or segregationist may elicit this term. That’s perfectly fine as far as I’m concerned, that we use terms any way that are suggestive or useful for a particular analysis. But if we are going to argue that states are accountable under international law to act to end apartheid, then we must refer to the law which prescribes that obligation. That means we are brought to the relevant international law, and that is found in two major instruments—the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The first definition is far larger and much more detailed. It lists a series of acts, including segregation and reserves, that I’ll come to. But it says these are only acts of apartheid under certain conditions. They have to fit certain overarching conditions, and those conditions include, and may be similar to, practices in South Africa. The Convention is a universal instrument. Practices do not have to be exactly the same. The point is whether they have these other qualities of the law, that these are acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination. I call that the purpose clause. [It is] that it involves racial groups and a system of oppression—that it is not just a random collection of discrete laws, but a comprehensive institutionalized system—that distinguishes apartheid. The Rome Statute picks up on that by bringing in a new term, which is institutionalized regime. Political scientists get all flushed with pleasure when you talk about regimes, because we have loads of theory about regimes. We start to feel a little bit more on familiar land. All these elements of the definition are satisfied in the report. I’ll refer you to the report on this. Israel’s system is an institutionalized regime. It’s a comprehensive system of laws that ensures Jewish-national privileges. I want to stress that hyphenated construction here, the 12

idea that Jews are a nation, that as a people or a nation, that they have certain privileges. Those include policies similar to South Africa—but any policy variation there would not disqualify them, necessarily, but it’s nonetheless quite suggestive that they are similar. It is a racial conflict, according to international law defining what is racial discrimination, which includes groups defined by descent. In this case, the local construction of “Jewishness” and “Palestinianess” or “Arabness” is as descent groups. The key quality here which conveys special privileges to one group over another is postulations about their descent and, therefore, their rights to the land dating from antiquity, expressed particularly in the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel, which has the status of constitutional law in Israeli law. (I’m speaking kind of fast here about law, so if you’re getting a little like the wind outside, not to worry, it’s clarified in the report.) Crucially, the purpose clause is satisfied. There is this aim, this formal aim, to maintain Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. We have a cluster of laws and policies on the books to look at and to confirm that Israel has that purpose, if anyone was in doubt about it. So from a legal perspective, that is satisfied as well. What was more interesting to me when figuring out how Israel was pursuing its apartheid regime was the way it works, which is these crucial policy variations among four interwoven domains. Domain referring here to a territorial or geographic entity and a cluster of expectations, norms, rules, practices within that geographically defined ambit.

The first domain being Palestinian citizens of Israel. Now, what matters here most is the right to vote, because if you are going to have a Jewish and a democratic state, then it becomes important not to allow non-Jews to vote those laws out. That means that you have to constrain the vote. You can allow people to vote, but you can’t allow them to vote to change that point. In order to do that, you have to make sure that the nonJewish vote is never large enough to threaten those laws. So Palestinian citizens of Israel famously do have the vote—

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Dr. Virginia Tilley: Does the U.S. Support an Apartheid State?

which is often cited as the crucial difference with South Africa—but they are not allowed to vote against their own minority status. They are not allowed to vote against the Jewishnational character of Israel. Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, about 300,000 people, have no national vote. They can vote for the municipal government, but not for the national government. So they are carefully excised from that potential body of voters who could challenge the Jewish-national character of Israel. Palestinians in the occupied territories, of course, have no vote. They are not citizens. They can vote for the Palestinian Authority under the terms of Oslo, but they are carefully sequestered. Five-plus million people are carefully pushed out of any possibility of joining an electoral bloc that could challenge the state. Domain four is the Palestinian refugees outside of the country, outside of the territory under Israeli control, who clearly, obviously, don’t have a vote. Another way to think of this is as a system, one regime that is effectively composed of four tailored sets of laws covering each population to achieve the same goal, which is to ensure that Israel remains a Jewish and democratic state. [There are] all kinds of arguments about whether you can be a Jewish and democratic state or a white and democratic state, I recognize that, but we don’t have time to get into that now. What I would like to stress here is that this system requires that Israel maintain the occupation. Because if Israel does not keep the occupied territories under belligerent occupation, under military occupation, it faces the twin threat that a truly sovereign Palestinian state could form in those territories which would then threaten Israel’s capacity to prevent population mixing. Population mixing is the death knell for any racial state, because the neat division of populations begins to go away. When you have people mixing, they make babies and it all falls down. On the other hand, annexation or full integration would require providing citizenship to the Palestinians. So that cannot be allowed either. Current talk about annexation is reflecting that dilemma, but it’s better for Israel not to annex it. So what is the solution? Well, military occupation. So people would say, well, we must put apartheid to one side in order to look at the occupation. No, I think you have that the other way around. The logic of occupation is following the logic of apartheid. Speeding right along: Part 2, Implications for diplomacy. If apartheid, as it always does, destabilizes the whole region and threatens international peace and security, it must be stopped on those grounds alone. It is immoral. It’s morally untenable. It’s a crime against humanity, it must be stopped. But how?

The vision of two states is fatally flawed. My first book on the one-state solution got into this in some detail, just from a pragmatic point of view. I really only address that one thing. What does it mean, that we cannot anticipate that Israel would withdraw? It’s become an Emperor’s New Clothes kind of fantasy to think that that will happen. I don’t think that’s acceptable anymore. It requires a great deal of defense, and that defense fails. Sustaining Jewish statehood on part of the territory, this is the crucial thing. If you partition the land in order to allow Israel to remain Israel in one part of it and a Palestinian state to form in the other part of it, you are basically saying apartheid will continue in that part where Israel is now composed. So Israel will continue to be a Jewish and democratic state, it will continue to operate the way it is operating, it will continue to be an apartheid regime in a slightly different modified border, within different borders. Now my thought experiment to transplant that idea to South Africa: it would have been okay for white South Africans to sustain apartheid in part of the country and turn over the rest

of it to black South Africans? No one entertained such an idea. It was anathema. It is the same thing here. You can’t end apartheid by dividing the land and allowing it to continue on another part of the land. There are other aspects of this but, cutting to the chase, I would propose therefore that unification is the only way to end apartheid. Since there are so many reasons to do that, we have to take that very seriously. For activism—by activism, I mean every kind of activism, from grassroots to legal activism and diplomatic activity, and so forth. I just wanted to focus again on this angle of “end the occupation.” “End the occupation” is a mantra. It’s a slogan. It’s a sign people carry in marches. It’s also a legal argument. But how? Again, Israel’s withdrawal from the OPT [occupied Palestinian territories] cannot be anticipated. At best, it would be very partial. This is the Olmert plan, by the way, that you’re looking at [see p. 14], where all the yellow would be Israel and the white would be Palestine, with a little umbilicus between the West May 2018

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Bank and Gaza. This is obviously an unviable state building. You couldn’t control water. You couldn’t control agriculture. You can’t build a road that connects one part to another—you can’t. It’s unworkable. It would not end apartheid. Establish a state of Palestine to leverage withdrawal. Now, this is a very popular movement right now, a big diplomatic push in the United Nations to do this. However, my point here is that if we accept the apartheid analysis, that this is an apartheid regime, then such a state would be a Bantustan. It would lack the attributions of true sovereignty. Israel, as long as it is composed as an apartheid regime, cannot accept any Palestinian state that is not a Bantustan, because any truly sovereign state would threaten the Jewish-national character of Israel. This means that a Bantustan state, a state of Palestine formed under these conditions, would only secure Palestinian poverty, underdevelopment, frustration, insecurity and essentially sustain the conflict itself. I’d like to just take an extra moment here. (I’m going to destroy my time constraint. I hope not, and I will pray.) That little bit of extra attention to Bantustan is worthwhile. I frankly encourage everyone here to Google the Bantustans and spend 15 minutes looking at the Bantustans a bit more than we sometimes do. I went to South Africa to study this material, because I realized I didn’t understand it, and I found it fascinating as a comparison of the Palestinian Authority and the territorial and institutional constraints that it’s operating under. Let’s just think through the logic. Apartheid imperative—The imperative of apartheid, wherever it would appear, would be to prevent racial mixing. Otherwise, the whole logic begins to fall apart. If you can’t discretely have different populations, there’s 14

nothing to defend. In order to do that, you need strict geographic segregation. If you’re going to actually make this work, you need separate authorities within these territories. The South Africans interestingly called them black self-government authorities. Guess what Oslo called them? Palestinian self-government authority. A great deal of conversations between Israel and South Africa about the Bantustans, they took a lot of lessons from it. I learned that from the diplomats in South Africa, by the way. This channels Palestinian or black or indigenous political aspirations to the local authority, rather than to the dominant state. It’s very convenient for an apartheid state to displace the frustrations and ambitions and the quest for rights of the populations being dominated to their own leadership—

operating under very tight constraints, of course. The pictures you’re looking at on the top is a lineup of the Bantustan leaders in South Africa. There were ten Bantustans, but nine of these leaders were in this picture. There below is the Palestinian Authority. By the way, I don’t mean to impugn the integrity or political will of any of the Palestinian Authority people. My point here is a structural one, that they are put into a position where they are compelled to act like a Bantustan authority. From the point of view of the dominant state, the main function of this authority is to repress dissent. In the top picture [of another slide], you see the Bantustan armed forces. In the lower part you see the Palestinian armed forces doing exactly that, maintaining the Bantustan through proxy measures. The Oslo accords—we don’t have time to get into this. I wrote a separate article about this because I found it fascinating—the Oslo accords established the Palestinian Authority on terms almost identical to the South African Bantustan constitu-

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Dr. Virginia Tilley: Does the U.S. Support an Apartheid State?

tions blow-by-blow. If you put those next to each other, you’ll find almost exactly the same arrangements. And it’s interesting that the ANC perceived this as a trap, rejected it from the beginning and refused to have anything to do with it. In fact, I understand Nelson Mandela told Arafat: bad idea. Don’t go for this, this is not a good idea. And they went for it anyway. In short, the PA is now locked into being this self-government authority, and it cannot act independently of that role. The alternative, therefore, is if the partition can only sustain apartheid, then we must rethink the conflict, using South Africa not as a model but as an inspiration or a kind of a thought experiment. South Africans called it “colonialism of a special type.” It involves agreeing and admitting that a large population of peo-

ple has come in and indigenized, has settled, is not going to go away. This is called settler colonialism. Shift the model from a colonial to a settler colonial model, and that means that you do not end it by a partition—you can’t end settler colonialism and its power by partition. You have to end it by eliminating settler domination. Treating Palestine as a multinational state on the basis of race would only perpetuate a settler discourse. Because it is Zionism that has proposed that there are these identities that can’t—if you recognize them and institutionalize them, you’re essentially perpetuating apartheid. Treat the whole country as one country. Palestine wrongly divided by race. This was the South Africa formula. One country wrongly divided by race speeds reunifying mandate Palestine. There is a legal basis for doing this [top right slide], if we turn back to the League of Nations mandate. It always proposed that it was one country for everyone who lived there, that it would not be a Jewish state or anybody’s state. It would

be a secular democratic state. So there’s a nice fat legal argument to explore there. The hard part of this is that reunification does raise very serious questions of identity shifts to reconstruct the idea of the nation, reconstruct the idea of the groups. In this case, Palestine would stop being a foggy mandate reference or a dreamy future, but it would be one state that belongs to all who live in it. It would not be the exclusive geographic heritage of any one part of the population. It would not require the departure or exclusion of anybody—which is tough for people who have lost a great deal to it. Jewish has to be re-conceived as an ethnic group with full civil, social, and cultural rights. Not a people with superior rights to the land. Not as a nation with rights to self-determination. “Palestinian”—this is the toughest thing for me to say as a non-Palestinian—but returning to the idea that it is a multi-sectarian identity, it still is actually embracing everyone in the mandate territory [above left slide]. Not Arab in any sense that would exclude non-Arabs. This is one of the problems, that “Palestinian” became “Palestinian Arab state.” Under conditions of settler colonialism, you can’t do that without excluding non-Arabs. Therefore, unfortunately, that has to be re-thought deeply, not the racial ethnic construction affirmed by Zionism and imposed by apartheid. So that’s why the apartheid finding recasts everything, that’s why so many people don’t want to tackle it. I think it is crucial. I think it illuminates where we are and what is going on. The more I look at it, the more powerful an analysis I think it is. I do hope you will consider it seriously as a model for rethinking the conflict. Thank you very much. Janet McMahon: Thank you so much, Dr. Tilley. ■ May 2018

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The Israel Lobby and the U.N. Ian Williams

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the foreign minister over lunch one day, you’ll never get a clear title, ever, until you can get the U.N. to do it. And the U.N. won’t. So they fought it to a standstill—but in the end East Timor is independent. Only this week, and I don’t know whether you saw this, the European Court of Justice actually ruled that the European Union had no right to sign fishing treaties with Morocco that include Western Saharan fisheries. In fact, the European Court was legitimizing boycotts of produce from occupied territories. I think that one is something that should be played up a lot more, because I know it’s a contentious subject—we pointed out several times in the Washington Report that there is a separation wall in Western Sahara as well as in Palestine, that there are many parallels there. The other one, of course, is the Western Sahara—you’ll never see a map where it’s included in Morocco. The Moroccans cannot get clear title—and it’s the same with the occupied territories and Jerusalem. This brings us back to the ambivalence of Israel and the lobby. They have—how should I put this—it’s almost psychological psychoanalysis. They have a deep respect for law, but in a sort of the Talmudic way that makes the elevator stop on every floor on the Sabbath, so they can still take the elevator and obey the letter. Israel spends a lot of time trying to work its way around the laws. It very rarely completely denies them. So at the United Nations they and the U.S. spend a lot of time trying to create the sort of Sabbath elevator so that they can skirt within the law. But they are very scared of actual definitions of the law—that’s why they are so upset. If the U.N. were ineffectual, they wouldn’t devote so much effort to thwarting resolutions in there. Take Virginia’s subject: there is an Apartheid Convention. It’s like the Genocide Convention. There is a legal international binding commitment on member states to do something about an apartheid state. If Israel is declared to be an

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

PHOTO PHIL PASQUINI

Janet McMahon: Our next speaker, Ian Williams, is a native of Liverpool, England and has been the Washington Report’s U.N. correspondent since 1991—so it’s no surprise that he really knows the ins and outs of that world body. He has twice served as president of the U.N. Correspondents Association, and has won many awards for his exposés of U.N. malfeasance. At the same time, he has supported and defended the U.N. and its ideals, and has personally known four secretaries-general, as well as numerous international diplomats and officials. Ian has been a columnist for The Nation and the GuardianAmerican online, and an editor for the World Policy Journal. A senior analyst for Foreign Policy in Focus, he is the author of the U.N. for Beginners and the recently published UNtold: The Real Story of the United Nations in Peace and War. He and Dr. Tilley will be signing their books during the break that follows this panel. Please join me in welcoming Ian Williams. Ian Williams: It would be difficult to follow Virginia’s detailed academic exposé, but it’s worth remembering. One of the big problems with the United Nations is people [ask], what’s it good for? I’m pretty diffident about this. I tell people it’s the worst possible organization, except all the alternatives. And it does work that way. If we start off with a sense of realism about what the United Nations can do, what it stands for, then you don’t get disappointed too easily and you welcome its small successes. There are successes, and they’re very relevant here. There’s a very good reason why Israel and its lobby concentrate so much on the United Nations: what Kofi Annan called the unique legitimizing power of the United Nations. We’ve seen several results of this recently. Israel can never get a clear title of Jerusalem or the occupied territories without a U.N. say-so. That’s key, and it’s actually been proven since 1945. If you think of the occupations—East Timor, everyone had given up on East Timor, the Indonesians. I actually told


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Ian Williams: The Israel Lobby and the U.N.

apartheid state or practicing apartheid, there are legal consethere. It’s still Jerusalem. They won’t put Israel on there. So the quences that states have to follow. State Department does have some residual respect for internaIn another regard, if you remember, Jim Baker in Bosnia tional law that’s missing from the White House completely. and the State Department were very, very solicitous to make Let’s get these territories together, because the U.N. is like— sure the word “genocide” never appeared. Mass murder was the U.N. is a sort of cockpit for all of these things. All human life fine. Mass murder is something you can ignore. Genocide has is there, you’re watching it. And you have this ambivalent attia binding legal commitment under the Genocide Convention. tude. Most American Jews, as we know, are liberal, globalists. You have to do something about it. They support democracy and freedom. They like the United So it looks like we’re playing with words, but this is very, very Nations. They made an exception because of all this stuff serious. The Israelis know that. For a start, they deny it. But, in about Israel, and [the 1975 General Assembly resolution sayeffect, Israel is the only state that was actually created by a ing] “Zionism is racism.” They didn’t think it through, but you U.N. resolution. So you have the conundrum that they have know [that resolution] eroded the support—this helped erode been busily denying the efficacy of the United Nations, its legitithe support for the United Nations inside the U.S. macy, saying that the resolutions don’t apply. But their very exThe people who would automatically have been natural supistence depends on a resolution. You hear continually a theme porters of the U.N. were always ambivalent about it. You have that General Assembly resolutions aren’t binding. We could Jewish senators from New York, looking over their shoulders, say amen, because it was a General Assembly resolution that who will pass resolutions condemning the U.N., cutting the partitioned Palestine and set up the Israeli state. So you can funds. That’s one of the points that the lobby has been doing see you can have a whole joint conclave of Jesuits and Talmud in Washington, is to try to trim the U.N. to size by threatening scholars to work your way out of this particular fine print where to withhold funds, or actually withholding funds or pulling out you’re denying the basis for your own existence. of organizations, as we’ve seen recently. An effect of this isn’t It does have international complications, because the United just financial, it is a continual sort of attrition of the morale and States was a founding member of the United Nations. It’s still standing in the U.N. an indispensable part of the United Nations. It’s inconceivable We’ve seen secretaries-general now who realized that to get (Advertisement) that the United Nations would exist withon with the U.S., you have to pander to out the United States taking part in it. This the Israel lobby. All secretaries-general creates severe problems, because there’s have done this, to some extent in a pragalways the Israeli exception. Almost every matic political way. Kofi Annan was possilaw, every resolution that comes up is bly the most accommodating up until being weighed in the balance. then. Ban Ki-moon had a continual stream Nuclear nonproliferation—we saw with of the Jewish lobby organizations—B’nai Grant’s presentation earlier, the United B’rith, Conference of Presidents, they States is signatory to nonproliferation were coming into his office all of the time, treaties that say that no country, apart he always received them. They were from what is now the five permanent banging on the door. They were also in [Security Council] members, should have the U.N., and they were banging on the nuclear weapons, and then it condones doors of embassies. nuclear weapons in Israel. Because it All of these funny swing states, the does that, every other country in the micro states that only stamp collectors world—India, Pakistan, North Korea— know about, usually, will come up to supGifted Palestinian students say, hey, if them, why not us? You’re conport the U.S. and Israel on these crucial can reach their potential with tinually creating exceptions to your own resolutions. The two or three, six—the Payour generous donation. rules that other people walk in through. cific Trust Territories and a few others— (Tax is Applied for) ((T Tax Exemption p Now the settlements, in particular—the they come there. This is a result of intenU.S. has never actually approved them, sive lobbying by the Israel lobby here, on but they’ve changed the language so these states, to effect Israeli policy. AFBU often over the years that, as far as the At the moment we have a particular U.S. is concerned, Jerusalem is internasituation coming which will be almost American Friends of Birzeit University tional territory. The State Department, I laughable, except it’s so serious. I don’t believe—just showing this punctiliousknow whether you know, but Israel is acness about law—I think I read earlier this tually running for a seat on the Security year that the State Department is still reCouncil this year. On the face of it, this is Thank you in advance for fusing to issue passports with laughable. But we have to remember ki d ib b i “Jerusalem, Israel” to Americans born that Morocco was on the Security Coun-

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PANEL: ISRAEL, THE LOBBY AND THE U.N.

cil while occupying Western Sahara. Indonesia was on the Security Council while it was occupying East Timor. Rwanda was on the Security Council while it was massacring its own population. So it’s not totally unprecedented—but usually they didn’t actually say they’re defying the whole gamut of international law openly. Is this likely to happen? I don’t know. I don’t want to get too much into it, but they’re running for a seat in the West European and Other group, which is an imperial sort of hangover, because essentially it is Europe plus the White Commonwealth—Australia, New Zealand and Canada—plus the U.S. as a sort of ancillary member. The Asians wouldn’t have [the Israelis]. The Africans wouldn’t have them. So in the end, intense lobbying by the lobby through the U.S. came in and badgered the Europeans into accepting Israel as a sort of associate member so it could run for offices, which run on a rotatory basis. So Israel became vice president of the General Assembly, became chairman of obscure committees. Would you believe the Israeli ambassador, I think, is chairman of the Legal Subcommittee at the moment? Which is, well, it’s like putting Casanova in charge of the chastity committee. It does not compute. But this Israeli ambassador is actually very, very concerned about this bit. Then this was upgraded, very quietly, so that Israel became a full member. So it was allowed to run for the Security Council. The mechanics of this is, regrettably—I mean, it’s good for Western Europe. But for most of the countries, the Security Council seat rotate on a bug-in-the-sand basis. They have calendars going decades ahead, sometimes, of who occupies what position at the U.N.—which is why you get genocides in the Human Rights Committee, and now you might get Israel on the Security Council. 18

The reason for that is West Europe is the only [group] that actually has elections. If they don’t decide within their own group, then it goes to a general poll of all the members as to who becomes a temporary member of the Security Council. So Germany and Belgium are the current candidates, and Israel is running against them. I’ve been trying to sort of calculate the odds on this. It’s difficult. I can imagine the Israeli diplomats going into Berlin and saying, “You owe us so much. Why don’t you do the right thing? Why don’t you stand down and let us rule? How could you deny us? Do you want to compound your crimes?” And the Germans will say, “Well, we’ll give you another submarine. Shut up. We’re taking this one,” I suspect. But I am worried about Belgium. The other people will gang up on Belgium and say, you should stand down and do the right thing. Because that’s the only way to get in. If it goes to an open poll, Israel isn’t going to get it. But if it’s done and stitched up like this, if Belgium is leaned upon sufficiently by the other powers, it might just do it. So it’s worth watching, and it’s worth intervening. What’s the practical effect? A lot. You know, discussions in the Security Council, they do end up being crucial, the resolutions that come through. Even a temporary member in there can have considerable effect. While France was grandstanding over the Iraq war, it was the other, smaller countries with a respect for international law—like Jamaica, Ireland and others like that—who actually provided the bulk of the opposition to the Iraq war in there and stood their ground. Where do we get to with this [U.S.] ambassador? I think this is where it brings the lobby in as well. Because the U.N. is so unpopular in some parts of America—like the evangelical Christians, or with the diehard Zionists—it’s a great fund-raising gambit. I keep getting letters from various organizations

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Ian Williams: The Israel Lobby and the U.N.

saying, poor little Israel, the only country not allowed to be on the Security Council. Poor little Israel, continually victimized at the United Nations, send a check. I think it’s one of the dynamics. I think Grant touched on it before, these organizations are businesses. They’re self-sustaining businesses, so they want checks from people. If they can find an issue at the United Nations, they can raise money on the strength of it—and they do. But then it has a practical effect, because secretaries-general, U.N. staff, get pilloried. They get harassed to do the right thing, and we’ve seen that with the reports that have been squashed. They’ll just get dropped or they’ll be sidelined. I mean, look what happened to poor Richard Goldstone. He was personally harried into the ground until he gave up. I felt he was almost a tragic figure by the end, because he started up with such integrity. But with the U.S. it’s even worse, because it destroys the whole basis of the United Nations. The embassy move is in direct defiance of the U.N. Charter—[by] the U.S., the founder and drafter of the U.N. Charter. When the U.N. Charter was flown from San Francisco to Washington, the case had its own parachute. Alger Hiss, who was carrying the case, didn’t have a parachute. I think maybe they knew something or suspected something. But, I mean, that was how seriously the U.S. took the U.N. at the time, and this is setting it naught— international law, I mean—it’s being defied. This is the significance of it. Donald Trump has basically ripped up the U.N. Charter— we’re talking about people who can believe three impossible things before breakfast, like the Red Queen and Alice. They are now saying, ah, but Iran is in defiance of U.N. resolutions; therefore, we must take action against it. Because that’s the other fulcrum at the moment, the case for war against Iran is being made in the United Nations. Our current ambassador, Nikki Haley, she should get her credentials from Tel Aviv (not Jerusalem), because I’ve never heard her say anything that isn’t 150 percent in support of Israel. She really is, I mean, she’s devoted her full time and she gets their pledges. It gets down to the actual reason why the lobby is so important for these people. You want power in Washington? It goes through the lobby. You want to be president of the United States, as the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. most assuredly does, you go through the lobby. They will jump through any hoops at all to do it. They risk the organization—which, for all its faults, it’s a major but pragmatic conclusion: You may look at the U.N. and say it’s a failure, but as people now will tell

you, we haven’t had World War III yet. That’s the measure. But this is the road to World War III. If you dissolve the whole structure of international global law and security, that’s where we’re going. That’s what Donald Trump has started, and he’s done it on behalf of the lobby. He’s done it because all across this country people are writing checks to congressmen persuading them to vote in defiance of international law and to vote to revile the United Nations. The refugees will be going very, very hungry all across the Middle East soon, because Donald Trump has defunded UNRWA—which, by the way, has been doing the Israelis a favor. They have been very ambivalent. They like to revile it to keep it off balance. But you have to remember that UNRWA has been doing what Israel should have been doing as the occupying power. UNRWA has been paying for the health and education of occupied Palestinians when the occupying power should have been doing it, under the Geneva Convention. The Israelis have known this all along and they’ve reviled and shouted about UNRWA, but only so far. I think they are privately probably appalled that Trump has actually followed through on their bluff and cut the funding. “We didn’t mean it, Mr. President. We want the money, honestly. We just want to keep them under control.” So they have kept them under control to a large extent. They kept secretary-general after secretary-general under control to some extent, but it still comes back to it. Ban Ki-moon had all of these people from all of the Israeli organizations coming in. But once he’d been to Gaza and saw what was happening in Gaza, that was the key. The Israelis tried to stop him going to Gaza. As soon as he got there, you see, all of his statements, he stated very clearly the U.N. positions about the occupation, about Gaza. So, yes, he kept receiving them, but then he would tell them you’ve got to break the siege. You cannot keep on doing this. You’ve got to end the occupation. Guterres is in the same position. He’s instinctively pro-Israeli, like a lot of European social democrats, but he is now telling them gently, you’ve got to. But the terrible thing is, as long as the U.S. is 100 percent behind Israel, and as long as the lobby keeps it that way, then the U.N. is never going to be a functioning international body in a complete way, which is bad news for the world—all of us on every level, whether it’s climate change or whatever. It is an indispensable organization. I see I’ve entered the red light district now, so I better wind up. I always stay in the red light district if I can. But I’ll go and sit down. Thank you very much. Janet McMahon: Thank you so much, Ian. ■

The embassy move is in direct defiance of the U.N. Charter—[by] the U.S., the founder and drafter of the U.N. Charter.

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How Support for Israel’s Violations of International Law Puts the U.S. on the Wrong Side of History Noura Erakat

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I really appreciated Dr. Tilley’s presentation. But if my client were Israel, I could use the very same legal framework to come to a very different conclusion—which is why our reliance on law has to come with a great deal of skepticism and with a strategic vision. With that in mind, I want to build on what was said earlier to discuss occupation law—the way that occupation law has not failed to stem the proliferation of settlements and settlers within the West Bank and in Gaza. But instead, without occupation law, Israel could not have and could not continue to expand and entrench its settler colonial presence within the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and, frankly, throughout mandate Palestine. A quick note on framework. Dr. Tilley walked us through apartheid and said that this would recast how we envision this, to now think of it as settler colonialism. I want to urge the U.S. to think of this as settler colonialism first—a project that’s distinct from colonization, in that the settler who travels into the colony is traveling with their sovereignty with an intent to stay. That intent to stay in the colony and to assert their sovereignty also places an imperative to remove the native. So there are two processes at play. There is the removal of the native with the intent to replace them with the settler, and to establish a continuous, uninterrupted temporal and spatial presence. This is from Patrick Wolfe’s logic of elimination. So the Nakba and the removal of the Palestinians isn’t an event, but becomes an ongoing Nakba, as Palestinians have referred to it, but also fits in this theoretical framework. If, then, we begin with settler colonization as the framework, apartheid and occupation become two legal regulatory regimes that en-

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

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Janet McMahon: Our final speaker, Noura Erakat, is a noted legal scholar, human rights attorney, and activist. She is an assistant professor at George Mason University, a co-founder and editor of Jadaliyya e-zine, and an editorial committee member of the Journal of Palestine Studies. Prior to joining the George Mason faculty, she served as legal counsel for a House subcommittee, legal advocate for the Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, and as the national grassroots organizer and legal advocate at the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation—now the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights. Most recently, she released a pedagogical project on the Gaza Strip and Palestine, the centerpiece of which is a short multimedia documentary titled “Gaza In Context,” which positions Israel’s wars on Gaza within a settler colonial framework. She is also the producer of the short video “Black Palestinian Solidarity,” and is currently working on a book project tentatively titled Justice for Some: Law as Politics in the Question of Palestine. It’s a great pleasure to introduce Noura Erakat. Noura Erakat: Thank you, Janet. Thank you to all of you. I think you are very brave to come to this session which focuses on law—which, in and of itself, is meant to be obscurist in order to disempower people to take their lives into their own hands and, by its very definition, is indeterminate. What we believe the law to proclaim is going to be subject to our own mediation as well as judicial interpretation. So anything on its face that the law tells us can be subject to some sort of legal controversy depending on who the lawyer is representing.


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able and fulfill those settler colonial ambitions of removal and replacement. So Dr. Tilley discussed one approach, apartheid. I’ll discuss occupation. Here’s the map [at right] that you may be familiar with. Obviously Israel never defined its borders. These are the 1949 armistice lines established in March that have never been declared, in order to facilitate expansion. When Israel conquered the territories in 1967, 90 percent of Israelis polled wanted to maintain them mostly for religious reasons, with having an affectionate relationship to the West Bank as Judea and Samaria. But that religious relationship had no political legitimacy and, therefore, Israel had no basis to remain and was compelled to actually withdraw. But Israel wanted the territories, wanted to get around the law, and again, as was mentioned—how do you get through that elevator?—wanted to get around the law. It couldn’t annex the territories, even if it wanted to, because of the prohibition on annexation, which comes into disrepute in the late 18th century. Up until then territorial conquest was prohibited. Let’s say that it didn’t care about the laws: we’ve seen in its annexation of Jerusalem and otherwise, it didn’t want to annex the territory because it would have to absorb the Palestinian population, thereby disrupting a Jewish demographic majority that had been established in the aftermath of the Nakba and the removal of 800,000 Palestinian natives. So how, then? If it recognized the territory as occupied, it would have to revert the territory to its sovereign and maintain the territorial, demographic and political status quo. So here is the problem: It wants the land, but it doesn’t want the people on the land. If it annexes the land, it absorbs the population. If it doesn’t annex the land and acknowledges occupation, it has to give the land back. So instead Israel creates a new category in law and declares that this occupation is sui generis, or distinct and unlike any other category, and argues that because Jordan’s annexation of the West Bank in 1950 is not recognized by anyone besides Britain and Pakistan, and Egypt is only in authority of the Gaza Strip, and Palestinians don’t exist as a people, that the territories belong to no sovereign. As such, occupation law as enshrined by the Hague regulations, the Fourth Geneva Convention, as well as customary law, cannot be triggered. There is a sovereign void. This is not occupation by law, but shall be an occupation by fact. What does that allow Israel to do? It allows it the legal right to have presence in the territories without the legal obligation to maintain the status quo ante until the reversion of sovereignty. What does that allow for Israel? It allows it to incrementally take the land under two legal fictions: the legal fiction of military necessity and the legal fiction of temporality. As far as military necessity is concerned, the idea is that it is taking the land in order to create military encampments, and that all of the civilian presence is temporary. Obviously that’s a contradiction on its face, because you don’t place civilians in a military encampment—otherwise, you’re using your own civil-

ians as human shields. Or it is in fact permanent. That is the first legal fiction. The second legal fiction of temporality is what Meir Shamgar, the military advocate general and then chief justice for the Israeli High Court for two decades, describes as temporality. It’s a temporary presence of the civilians—but it is not, which is indefinite—which is the opposite of permanent—meaning that it is not permanent, but we do not have to declare an end to it. That is the opposite of permanency and therefore can be temporary. That is a legal fiction. But these legal fictions survive, because the law in and of itself—and especially international law, lacking a hierarchical adjudication system, lacking a reliable enforcement model— becomes subject to the political will of the international community, and therefore can vary by application, implementation and interpretation, as it does here. The United States is central to this interpretation, and it’s central to this interpretation despite the fact that its administrations from the Johnson administration to the present—well, not this administration—have recognized that occupation law apMay 2018

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plies as a matter of law—not fact. And, Israel is actually an occupying power, but has failed to implement its own interpretation of law for two reasons. One is, in the aftermath of the 1967 war, the Johnson administration determined the value of Israel as a Cold War asset in the Middle East as it vied with the Soviet Union to fill the power vacuum left by the European colonial powers. In that struggle to fill the power vacuum, what it decided and inaugurated after 1967 was a policy of ensuring Israel’s qualitative military edge over any single one of its neighbors or collection of its neighbors, so that it could prevail in a military confrontation should it arise. That’s policy one. Before that, the United States had maintained a stalemate policy of equally arming Israel and its allied Arab monarchical regimes. So qualitative military edge. The second policy that it inaugurates—and this is another piece of this framework of why this sui generis occupation works—is that the Johnson administration also inaugurates and helps to orchestrate the land-for-peace framework, which is enshrined in U.N. Security Council Resolution 242. At the time that Israel occupied these territories, as well as the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights, the U.N. is in session and is in agreement that Israel is an occupying power and should withdraw. If, in fact, its attack on Egypt’s air force—which had lain barren in the Sinai Peninsula and which was destroyed in two hours—if that initial attack was unprompted, then Israel has committed aggression— which is use of force that is illegal—and, therefore, has the legal obligation to withdraw without preconditions. If instead that was a pre-emptive use of force, or self-defense, then Israel has the right to remain as an occupying power—but under no circumstances to assert title or territorial conquest. Why does this matter? In the drafting of the Security Council resolution, Johnson personally himself wanted to ensure that Israel can maintain the territories as consideration in exchange with the Arab states for permanent peace as part of a contractual agreement. Johnson was senator during Eisenhower’s administration, when Eisenhower forced Israel, France and the UK to withdraw from the Suez Canal. Johnson thought at the time Israel should have been allowed to maintain the Egyptian territory and hold on to it until Egypt agreed to normalize its relationship with it and to establish a permanent peace. Here, in 1967, the opportunity arose again. Rather than apply international law and withdrawal as a legal obligation, instead it becomes reformulated as a political equation of a quid pro quo exchange of land when you give us peace. In the negotiations, there was disagreement. Israel wanted to keep it, so there was disagreement about which territories were to be withdrawn from. The debate then raged about the terms of withdrawal of immediacy. What would come first, withdrawal or peace? There was one other piece of the debate, which was the armistice lines being tenuous and not being the permanent lines. The Johnson administration as well as the UK urged 22

that the definite article “the” be dropped from the resolution in order to permit negotiation on the permanent borders but never, ever to actually change the territorial integrity. So here is one [top slide]. There were five draft resolutions at the time. This is the Latin American bloc resolution. You could see in every other draft resolution, besides the one that’s ultimately presented by the United Kingdom that becomes the language of 242, the definite article “the”—all the territories—is included. The U.S. votes for this, by the way. It doesn’t pass because there’s disagreement about the sequence of withdrawal or peace. This is the final resolution [bottom slide]. This is actually 242. You’ll see that the definite article is dropped. But in the preambular text there is the prohibition on the acquisition of territory by war. In the actual clause itself, it stipulated that it was occupied in recent conflict. We know that legal loopholes are coming, and state after state, including France, argue that this is to be understood as allowing for minor border modifications. But Abba Eban, who represents Israel to the U.N. during this time and is quite exceptional in his skills, explains very forthrightly the resolution means what it says and does not mean what it does not say. Another legalese that becomes consequential to this present day, together with Israel’s own logic of what it would need to establish permanent borders. Deputy Prime Minister Yigal Allon argued that defensible borders [would include all of Jerusalem]. There would be continuity between the interior of Israel as well as its border with Jordan. Israel would control almost the entirety of the eastern border. This is what it wanted, articulated in 1967. It has achieved far more than that. It has achieved far more than that into the present. So let me just also add here that this could not be possible in the present without Palestinian participation and acquiescence, as embodied and represented through the peace process that’s inaugurated in 1993, the Oslo accords themselves. Dr. Tilley referred that we should compare them to apartheid plans. I would urge you to compare them to the 1978 Middle East peace process framework established by Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin, that articulates a framework of autonomy without sovereignty. That is, verbatim, a replication of that document that never envisioned a state. A

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state was never part of the negotiations. This outcome is not because the law didn’t work. It’s because the law has worked perfectly well, and very effectively, that we have this outcome. How does that work? So here are the three parts. Israel is claiming that it is a sui generis occupation. Therefore, it has no legal obligation to apply occupation law, including the prescription on civilian settlement encapsulated by Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, also tantamount to a war crime. Under their presence, they can both take the land under military necessity and remain there under the legal fiction of temporality. Then why can they change the borders and not maintain the 1967 border? Because under Security Council 242, it says withdraw from territories but doesn’t specify from which territories, because of the lack of the definite preposition. Three, this would have totally failed as a legal argument, because it does not withstand any judicial scrutiny and has been rejected by the International Court of Justice, by the International Criminal Court, by the U.N. Security Council, as we’ve seen most recently in U.N. Security Council 2334, as well as by multiple human rights organizations. But nevertheless, it remains valid as a legal argument because of the third prong, which is the U.S. provision of political immunity and support despite its own policy imperatives, because it doesn’t want to

apply sanctions on Israel because that would diminish its qualitative military edge. And it doesn’t want to apply international law that would dictate the outcome, because that would actually diminish Israel’s negotiating hand in negotiations. So those three parts together, reinforcing, create this outcome today where Israel has taken the land but not taken the people, and has enabled it to remove the Palestinians, to concentrate them, and to dispossess them onto these plots of land. This scenario that we see in the West Bank very vividly also exists in the Gaza Strip. But even there, it’s a very large concentration. And it too has been reduced in size, the last time in 2014 by expanding the buffer zone by 40 percent. If I had the map—which I do not—of Israel proper, we can see the concentration of Palestinians similarly. I think it was the first zone that Dr. Tilley pointed out to you, both in the Galilee region, which is the highest concentration of Palestinian citizens of Israel—or natives, essentially—as well as in the Negev. The concentration of Palestinians in the Negev is what is driving Israel today to remove those Palestinians forcefully—approximately 70,000 Palestinians—to place them and to concentrate them into urban townships, remove them from their agricultural livelihoods, and to build an Israeli settlement within Israel in their place, in order to disrupt their ability to return or have a claim of

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that return. Fully fitting within a settler colouate the myth of disappearance of nial framework, which is what we are Palestinians and their indistinct nationalmarching towards. ity with surrounding Arab countries. 2018 Jack G. Shaheen In fact, by defunding UNRWA, what Thank you. Mass Communications Awards . 24 we’re doing is diminishing, one, the idea is Janet McMahon: Thank you. I’d like to to make them indistinct from the rest of thank all our panelists for their elucidation American Friends of Birzeit the Arab population so that they can be of a very complex topic. I’m glad that University . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 absorbed elsewhere in surrounding counGrant showed us his slide of Americans’ tries—and, therefore, further diminish the response when they are told that moving Barefoot to Palestine . . . . . . . . . . . 52 demographic threat, so to speak, and furthe embassy to Jerusalem is a violation Kinder USA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 ther the idea of establishing Israel’s Jewof international law. They opposed that ish settler sovereignty to be uncontested. move. So I think the more people underMashrabiya . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 That settler sovereignty to this day restand international law and what it is and Middle East Books mains contested because of the demohow we’re violating it, that’s what we can and More . . . . . Inside Back Cover graphic balance. Within Israel, it remains do to help educate people. an active frontier. Since we’re the first panel, I think we Middle East Children’s Alliance . . . 66 There are other settler colonies in the should stop on time and let the other panMondoweiss. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 world. Israel is not unique for this. The els hoist themselves by their own petard. United States is a settler colony. What So Virginia Tilley and Ian Williams will be Palestinian Medical Relief Society . 62 we see going on in the Dakota Access signing copies of their books at the regisUnited Palestinian Appeal Pipeline is actually the removal of natration table. Professor Tilley’s book is tives, and taking away of their lands, and going to be sold for $30, not $45. It’s the (UPA) . . . . . . . . Inside Front Cover obscuring the fact that they exist as a only book of hers we got in time today. people, and perpetuating a myth that the We’re taking a 20-minute break. Thank natives have disappeared in very similar ways that we perpetyou very much. We’ll see you shortly. ■

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21th Anniversary! Join the 71 previous recipients! Award Amount: $2,500.00

Applicants: Send hard-copy applications only to ADC's Research Institute, Attn.: Nabil Mohamed/ADC Vice President, 1705 Desales Street, NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20036. • A one-page statement explaining why you merit the scholarship, your goals, and a declaration that you are a U.S. citizen of Arab heritage. • Two original signed letters of recommendation from professors of Mass Communications. • Copies of your articles, DVDs, films, and so forth (Items will not be returned to you). • Official academic transcripts (minimum 3.0 GPA). • Your permanent home address and phone number, e-mail address, and your phone number during the school year, if different. Deadline: Friday, June 8, 2018 Incomplete or late applications will not be accepted; only hard-copy applications are accepted. For more information call (202) 244-2990 or e-mail: organizing@ADC.org. Awards will be presented at the 2018 ADC National Convention in Washington, DC. 24

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Dr. Barry trachtenberg: Challenging the anti-semitism awareness act

Challenging the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act: Pushing Back Against Jewish Exceptionalist Politics Dr. Barry Trachtenberg

Photo Phil Pasquini

Dale Sprusansky: All right. Ladies and gentlemen, once again, good morning. Thank you for your patience as we try and stay on time and on schedule today. Our next panel addresses an issue at the very heart of our country’s identity: the right to free speech. In an effort to control debate about Israel on college campuses and elsewhere, pro-Israel groups have increasingly sought legal measures to limit and even criminalize speech of those concerned about Palestinian human rights. Our two panelists will offer insight into these efforts and will explain how to push back against First Amendment encroachments. Our first speaker is Dr. Barry Trachtenberg, the Michael R. and Deborah K. Rubin Presidential Chair of Jewish History at Wake Forest University. A scholar of Jewish history and of the Nazi Holocaust, Dr. Trachtenberg earned his Ph.D. in history at UCLA and a postgraduate diploma in Jewish studies at Oxford University. Prior to joining Wake Forest in 2016, he was an associate professor and director of programs in Judaic studies and Hebrew studies at the State University of New York’s University at Albany, and interim director from 2010 to 2012 of the university’s Center for Jewish Studies. He is the author of two books, including the newly released 2018 book The United States and the Nazi Holocaust: Race, Refuge, and Remembrance, which he will be signing later today. On Nov. 7th of last year he testified before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on anti-Semitism on college campuses which sought expert opinions on legislation that, if passed, would legally define anti-Semitism in a way that many

fear is designed to curtail activity critical of Israel. Today he will address “Challenging the AntiSemitism Awareness Act: Pushing Back Against Jewish Exceptionalist Politics.” Dr. Barry Trachtenberg: It’s truly an honor for me to be invited to speak here today. It’s nice, because at Congress they give you a buzzer with just five minutes. So it’s nice to have 18 before the red light appears. It’s really an honor for me to be on this panel with Rabab [Abdulhadi], who has been a model of scholarly activism on the issue of justice for Palestinians and has been a target of an unrelenting campaign to discredit her work. So I’m very proud to be your warm-up act for today. As we know, for several years there’s been a global campaign to thwart the nonviolent BDS movement. This involves governments around the world—including, of course, Israel, and also the UK and France. And many state and local governments here in the United States have likewise declared that a citizen risks being punished for choosing not to do business with Israel. We know that these statutes are a clear violation of free speech guarantees. While they tend to not stand up to constitutional challenge, they’re enacted by politicians who are pandering to what they incorrectly see as American Jewish voters’ monolithic views of Israel. Now, though it’s a nonviolent form of protest, the boycott is frequently equated with terrorism, and its supporters are cast as extremists and anti-Semites. Just a quick aside to sort of highlight the absurdity of this legislation: New York State, where I used to live, is boycotting North Carolina, where I now live, over the bathroom bill that May 2018

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PHOTO PHIL PASQUINI

for this reason likely that the measure sailed through the Senate in the last legislative session. Yet the truth is that this legislation is also an attempt to suppress student activism and academic speech that is in support of Palestinian human rights. The effect of this bill is to define opposition to Israel as anti-Semitism, to equate Judaism with Zionism, and to sanction schools which permit Palestinian human rights activism on their campuses. Yet, as with legislation against BDS, this act would likely not withstand constitutional challenges. But it, too, is already shaping how college campuses talk about anti-Semitism and contend with political activism against the occupation. This legislation was prompted by growing activism on college campuses that challenge the Israeli occupation, by groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace, who are often working to pass BDS resolutions on their campuses. Backers of this legislation—such as the Anti-Defamation League, AIPAC, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Christian Zionist groups—have disingenuously portrayed campuses as ever more hostile and dangerous to Jewish students, and that American universities are hotbeds of anti-Semitism because of threats from pro-Palestinian activists. They’ve produced a set of “academic studies,” and I put that in quotes, that purport to document the rise of antiSemitism on campuses. Yet a close reading of most of these studies demonstrates that in each of them the researcher’s definition of anti-Semitism includes activities that are critical of Israel and American complicity in the occupation. Given that student activism against the occupation is on the rise, these studies are more accurately read as a testament to the tenacity of pro-Palestine students than of rising anti-Jewish hatred. To be clear, attacks on Jewish students for being Jewish are unquestionably repellant and must not be tolerated. The truth is that the old racist and religiously based anti-Semitism, such as what we saw in Charlottesville this summer, where torchbearing marchers carried Nazi and Confederate flags and chanted, “you Jews will not replace us” and murdered a protester, is still present in the United States and requires vigilance and persistant resistance. However, as their testimony before Congress attests, the backers of this bill care very little about combating white supremacy, for that would put them at odds with the current administration and supporters in Congress. It’s not what this legislation addresses. It’s primarily concerned with curbing political speech that threatens the continuing occupation of Palestine. The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act relies upon the State

discriminates against transgendered persons. Yet, that same year they passed the anti-BDS legislation saying that boycotts are inherently discriminatory. So there you go. However, regardless of whether or not this sort of legislation is constitutional, the effect of it is to suppress criticism of Israel and thereby sustain the occupation of Palestinians. As a consequence, scholars and activists regularly engage in self-censorship, a reluctance to criticize Israel, for fear of being slandered, in some cases even having their livelihoods threatened and destroyed, as we know. The campaign against BDS has also been effective at distracting our attention away from focusing on the brutality of the occupation itself. As a scholar and activist, Ayelet Ben Yishai has recently argued: while we argue about the merits of BDS, the occupation only intensifies, and too often we don’t recognize our own complicity within it—as American taxpayers whose government sends billions in U.S. military hardware, as scholars whose universities set up strategic partnerships with Israeli universities and businesses, and, speaking for myself as a professor of Jewish history, whose professional organizations are likewise implicated in support of the occupation. Another front in this campaign to restrict freedom of political expression was the attempt by members of Congress in the last year to introduce legislation called the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, which would amend Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by declaring that anti-Semitism is a violation under it. Though, on the face of it, the legislation looks encouraging and one might reflexively be supportive—particularly since the rise of the Trump presidency, which has emboldened white supremacists to once again target Jewish communities. And it’s 26

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Department’s classification of anti-Semitism, which is itself appropriated from the working definition of anti-Semitism of the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia—a definition that was created for the purposes of research, and not governmental policy. As well-intentioned as the State Department’s concern for anti-Semitism may be, it defines anti-Semitism so broadly so as to include criticism of Israel as a Jewish state, declaring Israel to be a racist state, or by refusing to accept that Israel is an expression of Jewish self-determination. Even the author of the original working definition, the free speech advocate Ken Stern, who is opposed to the academic boycott of Israel, has testified that the definition was not drafted, and it was never intended, as a tool to target or to chill speech on a college campus. In fact, the State Department’s definition upon which the legislation was based is so poorly constructed that it is entirely unusable. For example, it insists that an instance of anti-Semitism is: “accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide than to the interest of their own nations.” This, of course, is one of the founding premises of Zionism. It’s also one of the founding premises of the pan- movements that emerged in the beginning of the 20th century, such as pan-Germanism or pan-Slavism. Later we saw panArabism or pan-Africanism. The first half of the 20th century, in particular, showed us that, as with other marginalized groups, Jewish citizenship in any particular country cannot so easily be taken for granted. The founders of Zionism consequently concluded that, regardless of where in the world they live, Jews have more in common with one another than they do with non-Jews. Such arguments can be traced back to the founder of Zionism himself, Theodor Herzl, who argued in his seminal 1896 book The Jewish State that anti-Semitism is an inescapable fact of modern existence, and Jews are a people, one people, and that for that reason it’s useful for us to be loyal patriots. Elsewhere the definition states that denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination and denying Israel the right to exist is an example of anti-Semitism. This, of course, ignores the plurality of views that exist within the Jewish community regarding Israel. As much as the ADL, AIPAC and other groups testifying to Congress would like to assert, they’re unequivocally not the spokesperson for all of American Jewry—a majority of whom feel that the U.S. should not support Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. Indeed, since the first stirrings of Zionism in Europe, groups of Jews in America rejected Jewish nationalism. For some it

was a matter of faith. For others it was out of loyalty to the United States. For others it was out of a commitment to universalist ideals of equality and human rights. For many Jews today, and since 1948, the state of Israel is decidedly not an expression of Jewish self-determination. For another, the question of Israel’s right to exist is not the same thing as its right to exist as a Jewish state, if that existence is predicated on the displacement and oppression of the non-Jews within its borders. Given the flaws in the State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism, it has no place in campus speech codes. Although discussions around Israel and Zionism may often be uncomfortable for its supporters and detractors alike— something that I witness in my classes most semesters—it’s the responsibility of students and educators to foster dialogue and not to limit it, to understand the historical implications of our speech, and to allow for the meaning and definition of fraught terms to develop and change as a consequence of informed deliberation and debate. It is profoundly difficult to create a definition of anti-Semitism that can be used for legislative purposes. The root of the current debates on anti-Semitism lies in the seemingly intractable problem of how to critique Jewish collective power in a way that does not immediately resonate with a long history of anti-Semitism. Throughout the last thousand years of European history, Jews were regularly characterized as an incommensurate and exceptionist element who sought to undermine the established religious, political or economical order. They were accused of being killers of Christ and of seeking to repeat this offense with the murder of innocent Christian children. Such accusations at times led to blood libels, pogroms, forced conversions and exile. In the more recent centuries, Jews were characterized simultaneously as usurpers of national identities, as disloyal citizens, capitalist schemers and revolutionary subversives. Such allegations led to discriminatory legislation, riots, expulsions and physical violence. In the early 20th century Jews were branded as a biological and racial threat, and entire armies rose up to exterminate them. In each of these moments Jews were imagined as a united group that possessed power and authority far beyond their actual numbers. Yet in 1948, with the founding of Israel as a solution to antiSemitism, the situation changed dramatically. For the first time, a significant number of Jews identifying as a national group gained actual and not imaginary power. Today the state of Israel has borders, police, courts, a military, a nuclear arsenal, political parties and a marginally democratic system, at

It’s the

responsibility of students and

educators to foster

dialogue and not to limit it.

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least for its Jewish citizens. Like all other states, its actions are and must be permitted to be a matter of public debate and discourse both within the Jewish community and outside of it. Yet speech that’s critical of Israel strikes many still as inherently anti-Semitic. The problem in part is that we’re still learning how to talk about Israel’s actual power and repeated claims to represent Jews all over the world in ways that do not immediately echo much older and anti-Semitic depictions of imaginary Jewish power. This is in part because of the long history of anti-Jewish hatred in the West. But it is also because, as we see in legislative initiatives such as the AntiSemitism Awareness Act and the movement to stop BDS, to characterize any speech that’s critical of Israel as intrinsically anti-Semitic has been a highly effective tool employed by those who uncritically support every action of Israel and seek to stigmatize its critics. Considering the multiple and constantly shifting forms of anti-Semitism that have emerged since the term antiSemitism first appeared in Germany at the end of the 19th century, it’s wrong for Congress to establish legal authority on a definition of anti-Semitism that’s so contested. To insist that Israel cannot be protested or objected to, to mandate that Jewish collective power cannot be analyzed or debated, or to conclude that Jews, because they were once victims of one of humanity’s greatest genocidal crimes, are somehow immune from becoming perpetrators of acts of violence against other people, would only reinforce the anti-Semitic belief that Jews are a fundamentally different people. Moreover—and perhaps most dangerously of all—attempts to broaden the definition of anti-Semitism to encompass phenomena that are clearly not anti-Semitic can only make it more difficult to recognize, isolate, and oppose actual anti-Semitic hatred when it does appear. Although it appears that the legislation in Congress has stalled, it may be that its advocates will still get their way. Last month Congress affirmed the appointment of Kenneth Marcus, an Israel Lawfare strategist—the group that has been targeting Rabab—as head of the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. Over the objection of Democrats and civil rights organizations and attorneys, Marcus will now be in a position to implement the State Department’s definition and continue his decades-long effort to suppress academic speech and campus activism that’s critical of Israel.

To conclude, in the invitation letter we were asked to offer some signs of hope in these difficult times. It’s true, we were. So the first piece I want to say is that during the break I checked my phone, and I saw the news that Bibi Netanyahu was just questioned today for five hours by the police. So I take that as a good sign, you know. On the eve of the AIPAC conference, that seems to be a good thing. And, you know, Shabbat shalom for that. But I think if we’re serious about defeating actual anti-Semitism, we also have to commit ourselves to ending the occupation of Palestine. These are intertwined issues. These are intertwined struggles. We have to recognize that anti-Semitism doesn’t exist in a vacuum and to stop thinking of it in these exceptionalist ways. Instead we need to see that the history of anti-Semitism is part of the modern world’s legacy of racial discrimination and persecution. The present moment is no exception. Instead of perpetuating a narrative of Jewish exceptionalism by declaring that somehow the only country we cannot criticize on college campuses is Israel, we might instead draw from earlier periods of American history when Jews linked their faith to that of other oppressed people. Just as Italian and Jewish workers organized together to form labor unions, as Jewish philanthropists and community leaders contributed to the founding of NAACP, as Jewish college students participated in voter recruitment drives and desegregation campaigns with African Americans in the South, and religious figures helped foster post-World War II JewishChristian dialogues in the name of mutual understanding, Jewish Americans have an opportunity to forge alliances in the name of combating hatred and intolerance. It was a coalition of Palestinian rights organizations, both Arab and Jewish, that came together to stop the advancement of the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act in the House. The very next day, on Nov. 8th, a petition with over 20,000 signatures was delivered to the Anti-Defamation League by Jewish Voice for Peace, demanding that the ADL stop facilitating police trainings between Israeli and American law enforcement officials. That same day Lawfare’s suit against Rabab was thrown out by a judge who recognized the weakness of their complaint. So there are reasons to hope. We will keep fighting and continue working side by side with one another to create bonds of solidarity. Thank you. Dale Sprusansky: Thank you very much. ■

To insist that Israel

cannot be protested

or objected to would only reinforce the

anti-Semitic belief that Jews are a fundamentally

different people.

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Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi: How and Why the Israel Lobby is Suppressing Free Speech

How and Why the Israel Lobby Is Suppressing Free Speech and Academic Freedom on College Campuses Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi

PHOTO PHIL PASQUINI

Dale Sprusansky: Our next speaker is Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi. She is the director and senior scholar in the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas, and associate professor of Ethnic Studies/Race and Resistance Studies at San Francisco State University. She is a co-founder and editorial board member of the Islamophobia Studies Journal, for which she is co-editing a forthcoming special issue on gender, sexuality and racism. She is co-author of Mobilizing Democracy: Changing U.S. Policy in the Middle East, and coeditor of Arab and Arab American Feminisms: Gender, Violence and Belonging, which is for sale here today. Her work has appeared in seven languages in academic journals, and she was the winner of the 2012 National Arab American Nonfiction Book Award. As many of you are aware and as was referenced, she and San Francisco State University have been the target of a Lawfare Project lawsuit claiming that the school fosters a hostile environment for Jewish students. But that case was thrown out by a judge in November. As her bio and work show, she has not let this smear campaign define her career. We are pleased to welcome her to discuss “How and Why the Israel Lobby is Suppressing Free Speech and Academic Freedom on College Campuses.” Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi: Good morning. Thank you so much for having me—Washington Report on Middle East Affairs and the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy. I also want to begin by acknowledging that we are convening on indigenous people’s stolen lands. I want to acknowledge the people who are fighting day in and day out against all forms of racism

and racial discrimination—from the people who are fighting against white supremacy to the people who are fighting against anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, anti-Arab discrimination, as well as people who are trying to clean up Washington. Thank you for having me. Last week President [Leslie E.] Wong of San Francisco State University issued a statement saying that Zionists are welcome on campus. He had met with members of Hillel and he basically came out with the statement that—I can share the slide with people, the one for my presentation. I wanted to just answer a few questions. What does the statement mean— to welcome Zionists to the campus? What is the history behind President Wong’s statement? How does it relate to our discussion of the Israel lobby, and where do we go from here? Immediately after President Wong issued the statement, I issued a statement right away saying that San Francisco State is abandoning its social justice mission by welcoming Zionists. I called upon people to reclaim the social justice mission of San Francisco State as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1968 San Francisco State strike. I also argued, as Barry has argued before me, that there is no equivalence between Zionism, Israel, and anti-Semitism. They are not one and the same. What happened also, in addition to my statement, is that there were multiple statements that the General Union of Palestinian Students published. The Black Student Union published a statement, along with other black student groups on campus. A new group, Jews Against Zionism, has just emerged amongst students and published a statement. Jewish Voice for Peace published a statement condemning President Wong’s statement. May 2018

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This is something that we would not have seen 15 years ago or 11 years ago, when I joined San Francisco State. This is something that’s really important, and it also attests to the argument that Barry is making. Things are changing. The tide has turned, and I think we really need to keep that in mind. When we know that the tide has turned, we know that attacks are going to become more vicious and they will target us more and try to silence us. I also sent another statement last week also citing the words of Richard Spencer, who said on Israeli TV that “I’m a white Zionist,” as well as Yair Netanyahu, the son of Netanyahu, who basically trashed people who argued and organized against the white supremacy in Charlottesville, and said that actually organizers around Palestinian rights are more damaging. Obviously we know where the alliances are. So meeting with the Hillel, the president, what does Hillel stand for? I would just read a couple of points: Wherever we stand, we stand with Israel. Hillel, actually—as a national organization that is involved in silencing us—does not allow Jewish students to belong to it who are for boycott, divestment and sanctions. It is not allowed inside Hillel. One of the questions we are raising is, again, is Zionism, Israel, and Jewishness one and the same? Or, who owns Jewishness? Barry has talked about that, so I’m not going to get into it. But we have a history of silencing Palestine at San Francisco State. So what’s going on with the Lawfare lawsuit that the judge dismissed on Nov. 8th, but gave them leave to amend? So they may come back and amend, and they already said that they are going to be amending. The Lawfare Project is actually aided by a law firm in San Francisco that is almost a thousand lawyers, pro bono. I have two incredible 30

and amazing pro bono lawyers who are standing by me day in and day out, and I would not change them for anybody. So we are fighting, and justice is on our side. That’s really important. But who is attacking Palestine at SFSU? It is what we call an Israel lobby industry network. The International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network report of 2015 outlines who some of these donors are, and the fact that the Israeli government also has put in millions of dollars in this. So we are not talking about a cottage industry. We are talking about people who are quite organized. These are the list of the groups that I don’t have time to go into. The only two groups that have not directly attacked us, although we’re getting a public record request, is the Brandeis Center—Kenneth Marcus. I’m sure he’s on the horizon somewhere. Friends of the IDF have been involved, copied on e-mails, about attacking us, but they have not directly attacked—although we do have Israeli soldiers on campus that continue to be in active duty in the Israeli army. So we are calling this new McCarthyism. The reason we’re saying this is because it’s exactly as McCarthyism in the ’50s worked. What it does is that it attaches a terrorism label. It incites Islamophobia, uses Islamophobia by billing Arab Palestinians and Muslims as terrorists, so immediately it’s crossing people’s minds. It engages the anti-Semitic smear. It spreads misinformation and false allegation. The university invents new rules and regulations every single time they’d like to curb freedom of speech and our ability to organize and teach. They police activists, organizers and scholars. They try—as the Lawfare has done, as I will continue telling you—to ruin careers. Basically the Lawfare co-founder, Brooke Goldstein, said that we are going to make the enemy pay in a video in 2016,

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in which she also said there are no Palestinians and Islamophobia does not exist, and also said that San Francisco State University is one of their main targets. So by trying to ruin my career, they would like to teach a lesson to other junior scholars and recent Ph.D.s whose careers are on the line—watch out, this is what might happen to you— to silence people and engage in McCarthyist attacks to prevent people from speaking up, from organizing, from doing anything about justice. Basically stay away from Palestine. They also, at San Francisco State, one of the main targets has been to starve and defund our program—that is part of my contract when I came to San Francisco State in 2007—and rely on donors, pro-Israel donors who are pouring millions of dollars in the university and tell the university that we will continue funding you if you are able to discipline Palestinian students and silence Rabab Abdulhadi and basically shut down the AMED studies program. One of the ways that they do it is backroom deals, lack of transparency, no accountability. A lot of the stuff is happening in secret. They don’t even release the public record FOIA request that we submit. They don’t release, period. The reason we actually have the public record request is because the university gave it to Lawfare, and my lawyers asked the university to just give us a copy of the public record that they gave to Lawfare. They dragged their feet and finally gave us—we don’t know if they gave us everything. They’re claiming that the officer who does the compliance is not in touch with other people. You’d think with such a high-profile case in a federal court the university lawyers would be watching the whole question of compliance and what’s going on. But that’s what they claim. I’m not going to give you all of this history, but this is from at least 2002. It goes: Palestine has been silenced, intimidated, bullied, criminalized, policed and smeared at San Francisco State both by organizations within and outside the university. So when we talk about a war of attrition has been declared, we’re talking about groups outside of the university that are collaborating with groups within the university. We don’t see the two of them divorced from each other. In 2002, for instance, the San Francisco State president, after sanctioning clubs, Palestinian students said they asked him to remove the sanction and he said, why? So you guys can go start throwing bombs in January? He actually said that. It’s part of the university records. One of the things I really want to talk about is that in 2005-2006 the Palestinian students proposed to have a mural. San Francisco itself is known for murals. Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo lived in the Mission District, painted murals. San Francisco State has multiple murals on its walls, so Palestinian students wanted to build a mural. This slide [above] shows the first rendition that was proposed by two artists, Dr. Fayeq Oweis, a Palestinian artist, and Dr. Susan Greene, an anti-Zionist Jewish artist. If you notice, on your right side you see Handala, the cartoon character of Naji al-Ali, carrying a key. On it it’s written al-

Awda—return. In the other hand, he is carrying a pen, because the pen also signifies the Palestinian saying [speaks in Arabic]—my word is my sword—that, or my gun. Words are really important to emphasize the intellectual value of learning and teaching in Palestine. Because when you don’t have a passport, the only thing you have is your education, right, and you have to study. But the San Francisco State University president opposed Handala, the key, and the al-Awda. He wasn’t the only one— the Jewish Community Relations Council and other Zionist organizations did. He said that this cartoon, in particular, by Naji al-Ali where the kid, the cartoon character, the non-existent cartoon character, throws a stone at the Israeli flag actually gives him nightmares. It makes him wear a bulletproof vest and he has to have therapy. In the final approval of Handala and of the key, we had to remove in 2007 Handala, the key, and al-Awda, and basically put in its place a sabr, a cactus. Two things happened. One is that the cactus is long living. It doesn’t die. But, two, is that on the day of the unveiling of the mural, all Palestinian students and their allies came to the mural unveiling wearing T-shirts with Handala on them. Handala now remains part of our oral history. In 2006 it continues, with the JCRC also lobbying San Francisco State not to have a conference of al-Awda that was organized by students. In 2009, following the 2008-2009 war on Gaza, San Francisco State College Republicans and the Israeli team organized an event supporting Palestine by condemning Hamas. [The slides on p. 32 show] the approved poster—but also the unapproved poster that went up, that basically says, “throw a shoe at the Hamas flag and win prizes.” The poster stayed up, but students took it down. Palestinian, Muslim, black, Latinx, indigenous students, Asian—they all took it down. But the university, they are not going to take it down because there’s freedom of speech. Watch out to see what else. After the second anniversary of the mural, when Omar Barghouti came to speak about BDS, the San Francisco State president cancelled searches we were conducting for two facMay 2018

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ulty [positions] to build the program. His chief of staff testified they had the Board of Supervisors opposing the cause to lift the blockade of Gaza and obstructed a reception we were trying to do with diplomats from Arab and Muslim majority countries to ask them to send their children to our university to learn. The campaign escalates more in 2013, even though President Wong, the new president, met with the Arab community. After his investiture, he immediately took an all-paid trip to Israel. And we were gearing up to the AMED proposal. So the linkage between this is that we were building the program. They have already canceled the sessions. They have already started the program. The program now ends up being one person, one faculty member with no operating budget, no staff, no other faculty. Now is the time to go for the kill. So the attack escalates because we were about to institutionalize a program. Because once a program is institutionalized, it doesn’t matter if you have a person or you don’t have a person, it works. In 2013 Israel lobby groups called AMED, the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies initiative at the time, and accused us of glorifying the murder of Jews. The San Francisco State president did not investigate, but immediately condemned anti-Semitism, and for seven months stayed silent when I was being attacked left and right. He also condemned speech and he was reprimanded by free speech groups in San Francisco and collaborated with the Israeli consulate and the FBI investigating students. In 2014 I was going on a sabbatical and I led a delegation to Palestine in which we began to talk with An-Najah National University about setting up a

memorandum of understanding, collaboration, because our university president wanted the university to become a global university and engage with other institutions. So I was really acting upon his wishes, because I have relations with the Palestinian university. I don’t really need to formalize them in order to have them happen. I was doing it. Then they started again accusing me of terrorism, anti-Semitism, and also accused me of criminality—misuse of taxpayers’ funds to go to Palestine, because we’re not allowed to be going and learning about Palestine. Taxpayers funds should be used to build bombs and nuclear weapons and kill people and fund Israel and its occupation. They demanded a criminal investigation. I was audited by the College of Ethnic Studies, by the university administration, and every single audit came out saying that I did nothing wrong. All these allegations are unfounded. The university took 20 days to publish a public statement just to say these are the findings. Twenty days they resisted! In the meantime, the lobby wasn’t happy. So they petitioned the comptroller of the state of California to investigate me further. San Francisco State ordered a five-year audit of my international travel. Not a single question was about missing receipts or a penny. Every question was political. Why are you doing this? Why is there an MOU with AnNajah National University? What does this mean? Why does she travel to Palestine? At the same time, the provost revoked my trip to Palestine. That’s a week before the State Department issued an advisory not to travel. So this was not as a result of the advisory. It was before the advisory.

The lobby

petitioned the state of California to investigate me further.

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Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi: How and Why the Israel Lobby is Suppressing Free Speech

In the fall of 2014 we passed a memorandum of understanding, the president and the provost met with the College of Ethnic Studies. We discussed how the AMED studies program would be supported. The provost twice said to me, in front of everybody, we do not fund Holocaust deniers. No reason. That is no reason. I teach actually the Holocaust and Jewish history and Jewish studies in all my courses and so on. And the president wants to maintain silence. Nobody rose to my defense. We were able to approve the minor, but the Senate would unanimously approve it in the spring of 2015. President Wong promised to reinstate the faculty [positions], and we began to work on something called the Edward Said Scholarship. That was donated by one of the graduating students, who wanted his university to have a scholarship so that when his daughters go to the university, they can apply for it and have an excellent education. The main residents, the Zionist residents on campus, tried to obstruct the Edward Said Scholarship. But Mariam Said, with An-Najah, intervened and made it happen, and we now have the Edward Said Scholarship. In spring 2014, after we passed the minor—now we have a minor—we have the Edward Said Scholarship, we have the memorandum of understanding. How are they going to get rid of us? So they escalate further attacks. This happens during— we go on a delegation to Palestine—the Prisoner, Labor, and Academic Delegation. We held two conferences, one with the Birzeit University and one with An-Najah National University. We observed military tribunals of children who are being held in Israeli courts. We go to unrecognized villages in the Naqab and we come back and we report. We issue a statement. San Francisco, the university hosts Nir Barkat, the racist mayor of occupied Jerusalem, who slings a machine gun and calls for the killing of Arabs, so students attacked and protested. Other students organized a hunger strike. This slide shows the delegation meeting with the family of Mohammad Abu Khdair. Then we get put on the Canary Mission, myself and the students. They give away their home addresses, their work. Some of our students received sexual threats of violence. President Wong issued a statement to apologize to Nir Barkat and re-invites him to campus. In the summer the university hires an independent investigation who concludes that students, yes, did disrupt the speech, but it was against him and Israel and there was no violence involved. And it was not about anti-Semitism, it was against Israel. In the fall of 2016, we have this past year attacks after attack. Campus Watch of the Middle East Forum launched a petition to demand that An-Najah, the agreement with An-Najah, ends. They called Palestinian universities terrorist universities. They quoted the Anti-Defamation League, by the way. They accused me of terrorism. TruthRevolt also calls for me to be fired.

Then David Horowitz and the Canary Mission put out wanted ads, that basic wanted-style ads all over. Twenty-six posters were found. Students took them down. The police said there were no [surveillance] cameras. All of a sudden there were no cameras that day and there was nothing. They just saw nothing. Faculty was very supportive. The majority of organizations, I don’t have time to say. This is part of the campaign. This slide [below] shows the posters that appeared on campus, all over campus, including on the garage of the administration building, that everybody in the administration went to park and saw the poster and did not do anything about them. During that period, we got two courses approved, the Palestinian Mural as the Art of Resistance, and Edward Said. GUPS held its standing-room-only celebration of the mural. The students held weekly teach-ins to protest the coming of Trump. In February they held a Know Your Rights fair, which is now also under investigation and attack. They also organized events to support Palestinian prisoners who were on hunger strike in April. On May 3rd we have another set of posters, wanted-style ads, a second set of posters appearing on campus. In June the Lawfare lawsuit that you’ve heard about [was filed]. I actually only found out about it from Campus Watch tweets, because nobody in the university bothered to tell me. I was not appointed a lawyer until a month afterwards. That’s why I sought and found my lawyers. We refused to be derailed. We organized a big conference on Constitution Day. We co-organized with other colleagues at the university, and we had a very big participation. But on Sept. 21st Horowitz again puts up a poster. What’s the response? This is what the students did. They put up the Palestinian flag. They published posters: “Hate speech is not free speech.” They said, “we will not be silent”— and we will not be silent.

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What we do we continue to do. We continue to teach our classes that are full to capacity. We continue to do with no resources public education programs using the classrooms to bring the community, the faculty, the students, multiple people together to organize every single day, and we continue to teach Palestine.

I’m very proud to announce that in two weeks we will be holding two conferences, at Birzeit University and An-Najah National University, on teaching Palestine pedagogical practices and the indivisibility of justice, because we will not be silenced! We will not be stopped! We will not be derailed! Justice will prevail! Thank you. [Standing Ovation] ■

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Questions & Answers

Dale Sprusansky: Thank you very much. That was incredible. We have about 10 minutes or so for questions. So if you’re holding on to any cards, find an usher and do send them forward. We will begin with a question for Dr. Trachtenberg here. Someone wants to know if you could elaborate on the State Department definition of anti-Semitism. When was it adopted? What president or administration was in power when that happened? Was it done via a congressional action, and was it done without public knowledge? Barry Trachtenberg: I’ll do my best to answer that. I don’t know all the specifics. I think it began around 2009, so during the last administration. It was an appropriation of this working definition that had been undertaken by this European monitoring group. That was really just a working definition so that they could begin examining this phenomenon and trace anti-Semitism in Europe. But it became encoded into State Department policy. You could actually go online. I had actually peeked over your shoulder and saw that question, so I looked it up. If you just go to the State Department website, you’ll see it. The primary definition isn’t particularly offensive in any way. It says: “anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews,” which seems fairly straightforward. “Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antiSemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals, their property,” and so on. This in itself seems fine to me. 34

The problem is where they give you the examples of what contemporary anti-Semitism is. The first few are fine. It’s about demonizing Jews, making stereotypical allegations of Jews and so on. But then where it starts going, saying things like accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel or the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide. Then there’s a whole section on anti-Semitism related to Israel, and this is where that speech of exceptionalism begins to be encoded into policy. If the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act goes through, it will be encoded into law where—and it has this, what we call the three Ds: It’s about demonizing Israel, applying a double standard for Israel, and delegitimizing Israel. So it says that if you use symbols that are associated with classic anti-Semitism to characterize Israel or Israelis, and I tend to agree with that. But then it has other comparisons which are totally, in my mind, illegitimate, such as drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis. But this happens, of course, all the time among Jews. You know, I’ve been called a kapo. You hear Israelis talking to one another and accusing one another of acting like Nazis in all sorts of ways. So what they’re saying is, Jews can say things to Jews, but non-Jews can’t say those things to Jews without it somehow being anti-Semitic and thus a violation of the law. This is where that problem of exceptionalism comes in. Such comparisons began even prior to the creation of the state of Israel.

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Questions & Answers

years of my being at San Francisco State that that conference room of the college gets insured. First time! I objected before it happened. I said, this is constructing us as dangerous people when you’re saying students’ safety. Why is student safety being endangered? Actually we never had problems. People love—our only problem is we have too many people. We don’t have enough space on campus. Sometimes we have to go out to the yard to have events. So why is this being constructed? What this means is that now every single event that’s going to happen in the College of Ethnic Studies also has to be insured in order for them to show that there is no disparate treatment. So yes, it’s been really, really difficult. We’ve had rooms that were cancelled. Students are very afraid to speak up. Last week one of the students had an argument in one of the classes about Zionism. The Zionist student went and complained to the administration that they made her uncomfortable. As a result, the student was called to the chair’s office and she actually had to go with a lawyer from Palestine Legal because she did not know what’s going to happen, because students are being prosecuted left and right, even though that independent investigation came out saying that there was nothing anti-Semitic. There was no violence involved in the Nir Barkat protest. Nonetheless, the university, two days after the lawsuit was filed on June 19th, on June 22nd or 23rd came out with a statement saying that the Nir Barkat event shows the ugly face of antiSemitism. It doesn’t make sense. But the only way it makes sense is because San Francisco State University has only now one-third of funding from the state of California. So rather than going back to the state and saying fund education, what they are doing is they’re relying on donors, private donors. This is the defunding of the education. So the university becomes accountable to the donors, who say we’re going to give you $1.5 million in Koret Foundation funds and take it away if you don’t discipline Palestinian students, if you don’t stop the program, and so on. All of this stuff is actually making it very difficult. It’s not just the Canary Mission. The point is that it’s actually much bigger than that. One of the [things] that we’re demanding is transparency—transparency and accountability. Let’s get all of the

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There’s this famous letter that Albert Einstein and others signed when, I think it was Moshe Dayan, came to the United States. [Einstein], Hannah Arendt and others declared that [Dayan] is a fascist and he shouldn’t be allowed into the United States, making a clear comparison in the writing, I think this was in ’47, where the tragedy just occurred in Europe. So they’re making these comparisons. Jews have been doing this, really, certainly since the beginning of Nazism, making this kind of comparison. Interestingly, at the very end there is this little caveat. It’s in italics. It’s set aside from the rest of the definition. It says: however, criticism of Israel, similar to that leveled against any other country, cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic. So as long as you’re criticizing other countries along with Israel, it’s okay. But if you chose to sort of focus your attention on Israel, somehow it’s anti-Semitic, which is like saying that if you’re an organization that is trying to defend the human rights of North Koreans—and that’s the focus of your organization—somehow you’re anti-Korean for doing so because you’re just having a focus on one country. So again they’re insisting on this exceptionalism aspect to this code. Dale Sprusansky: I have a question for Dr. Abdulhadi. Someone wants to know the extent to which the Canary Mission has intimidated students on campus, and if you have noticed in your classroom and on campus a reduction in students willing to speak out for fear that it could jeopardize their career going forward. Rahab Abdulhadi: Yes, the Canary Mission has. The good news is that Twitter took down the Canary Mission account. So at least we know that there are some people that are holding folks to the same kind of accountability. But it wasn’t just Canary Mission. Canary Mission has definitely intimidated and scared people on campus. It also is the various ways in which what I call the Israel lobby industry within campus is working, in the sense that now students can’t even find rooms to reserve at a time when we want to have events. Now, the new head of risk management on campus is our main resident Zionist on campus. Now they forced the college to insure the room where we have an event, Palestine at San Francisco State, on Feb. 7th—which was the first time in 11

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stuff in the spotlight and let’s see who is actually following the law, and who’s violating the law, and who’s trying to silence us. If we are really wrong about our insistence on justice-centered knowledge production, let’s put it out there. When we put it out in public space, people support. As we know, this is what’s going on. Thank you. Dale Sprusansky: So now we have a question for Barry again. Do you believe in the concept of hate speech? Is it ever a good idea for the government to police hate speech? Barry Trachtenberg: I’m not a free speech expert or a hate speech expert. I mean, I do think there is hate speech, certainly when it’s targeted against particular groups based on racial identity, ethnic identity, sexual identity. I think there’s many categories of that. And I think that it makes sense for universities to be always debating these subjects. I am concerned about codes of speech, although I think there are times where they are necessary, such as what we’ve been seeing. We saw in Charlottesville, for example; It shouldn’t be allowed on college campuses. But I think these are really, really tricky questions. It’s very, very hard to identify often what hate speech is, especially in a case such as this one, where you have people who have instrumentalized speech against Israel and have been able to successfully make the case that it is a form of hate speech, and insisting on this association that Israel is the Jewish people, that Judaism is Zionism, when these things are not the case. Dale Sprusansky: Rabab, a question: Have Palestinian professors across the country developed communication networks to try and coordinate a plan to counteract the Zionist campus message? Rabab Abdulhadi: Can I answer that question and say something about Barry’s question? Dale Sprusansky: Of course. Feel free. Rabab Abdulhadi: Yes, there are networks. People interact with each other. But as we know, there has been a very big blow to Palestinian solidarity organizing in the U.S., both because of the fear that the Israel lobby—and I always say Israel lobby, by the way, this is not a code name for Jewish organizations. Because people think that this is not, as Barry has explained in his paper and as I’ve explained in many, many instances, but as a result of fear mongering, as a result of targeting people’s attacks and so on. We are in touch with each other. But it’s not just the Palestinians. I think it’s really, really important to emphasize that the people who are working for justice and for Palestine are not only Palestinians, Arabs, or Muslims. This is not a special interest group. This is a question that involves justice. This is a question that affects all of us. It affects all of us who are involved in justice for and in Palestine. It involves all of us who are interested in maintaining our campuses as spaces for critical thinking, for debate, for learning, for not being scared every single time, feeling policed if you want to say something. It’s really important for us to protect that, so it is not just about us. The whole McCarthyism is not about us. The stuff that’s 36

happening to professors is not only about Palestinians. I think the problem is that in our imagination we think about Palestine in one part of our brains and we think about other things in another part. But we really need to think about them together. If we think, if we institute the framework of the indivisibility of justice, then we can see how these things are connected. We have at San Francisco State the union. Our union twice passed a resolution. Now it went to the San Francisco Labor Council that passed twice resolutions supporting us— first time in history—resolutions on Palestine. This is really important and this is really significant. This connects the issue. The fact that young kids—last Friday, Palestinian students were on campus and I wasn’t on campus. When President Wong’s statement came out, it was other students who took it upon themselves to [react], to put on the grounds that Zionists are not welcome. Zionism is racism. It wasn’t us. It wasn’t even Palestinians, Arabs, or Muslims. Our coalition includes people. Jewish Voice for Peace practically lives on campus. People from the ’68 strikers, people from Black Student Union and the Panthers, people from the Japanese community, Asian community, from poor working people, from Latino communities. We have a huge coalition and I think it’s really, really important. I’m not going to, I’m not going to do your question. But I think this is really important to think that—one thing that I think we really need to remember is that the majority of the world community supports justice in/for Palestine. I think in the United States, because this is a warped place to think about Palestine because of the excessive support for Israel from the government—from the government, not the people—people do not realize that the people in the United States are joining the rest of the world community in supporting justice for/in Palestine. This is not an exception. The same thing happened during the apartheid era in South Africa. It takes a while for people in this country to join, judging by how—who voted for the person in the White House. I mean it’s not rocket science, but there are more and more and more people saying, no, this is not okay, and joining the world community. So I think it’s really important to say we’re not alone. Yes, we do get targeted. It’s very, very difficult and it’s really hard. But every single time you think about all the people who are struggling, all the people who are coming together, this is an amazing coalition for justice. It gives you power. I think the most important thing is that people in Palestine are steadfast and refusing to move. They are staying put. They are experiencing what we call sumud in Palestine. Those of us who are, and the rest of the world, are also responding to that and working according to justice. So I think it’s really important not to think only about Palestinians or Muslims or Arabs or Jews, but to think about a very broad community that comes together to build this indivisibility of justice. Dale Sprusansky: All right. We’re out of time. I think that’s a positive way to end the panel. Just to note, Dr. Abdulhadi and Noura Erakat will be signing their books by registration. Now it’s time for lunch. Lunch will be served behind those doors. And we’ll see you after lunch. Thank you. ■

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Thomas R. Getman: When and How Did Evangelicals Become Zionists?

When and How Did Evangelicals Become Zionists? Thomas R. Getman

very secular climate—but we also operate in an aura of the creation ordinances. And sometimes that’s forgotten. I cut my eye teeth on human rights in the Middle East because the likes of [Archbishop Desmond] Tutu and [Rev. Allan] Boesak and [Rev.] Beyers Naudé and people like that said to me, if I really wanted to prove my bona fides in terms of human rights, I should turn my eyes to the Palestinians. I really am grateful for that, because I was, truth be told, a complicit evangelical Zionist—like [Grant’s] polling data today showed—but unwittingly. I didn’t even know what it meant. But living and working in the Middle East for 5 years to begin with, and now 20 years all told, we see that there is a breaking forth of history that is beyond our usual comprehension of things. It’s good to be reminded, as we seek reasons for hope, that those who lay traps get their own feet ensnared. Those that do things in the dark haven’t come into the light. And there are things happening on college campuses today, university campuses today, because of the suffering of our sister [Rabab] from San Francisco State. What man means for evil, the transcendent order understands for good. So the topic today drives us to seek to understand. The question today is helpful to comprehend that American Christians, in particular, speak in two theological languages when it comes to Israel and Zionism. We are living in a troubling culture, with a culture war of darkness as a nation, and this may help us understand how we arrived here. The great majority of mainstream Christians—that would be Catholics, Protestants and Eastern Orthodox—and even more than 20 percent, now, of the 100 million evangelicals are rooted in a 2,000-year orthodoxy that was quantified during the creedal debates of the third century. It’s not just religion PHOTO PHIL PASQUINI

Dale Sprusansky: Our next speaker is discussing the topic of Christian Zionism. For those of you who don’t know, Christian Zionism is the belief that the establishment of the modern state of Israel in the Holy Land is the fulfillment of biblical prophecy, and thus deserves unrelenting support from Christians. When President Donald Trump announced in December his intention to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, many attributed his decision to the power of Christian Zionists, who are a key Trump constituency and have a powerful and devoted member in Vice President Mike Pence. But just how powerful the Christian Zionists are is up for debate, and we will address that today. There are also theological questions about Christian Zionism and the extent to which it is a legitimate interpretation of scripture and the extent to which it is heretical. I like that word. Finally, questions as to how it started, where it is going, and who is challenging the evangelical community. To discuss this today, we have Thomas Getman. He is a partner in a private consulting group that specializes in international, United Nations, and nongovernmental organization affairs. He got his start in South Africa, in fighting for justice there, and later discovered the Palestine issue. He has worked primarily, as many of you know, for World Vision, where he worked continuously for Palestinian issues in the West Bank and Gaza. With that, I would like to introduce him to discuss Christian Zionism. Thomas Getman: Good afternoon, everyone. Thanks to the wonderful organization of our sponsoring groups and for your being here to discuss these important issues with us. As the resident theologian today, I must tell you that, particularly this morning, I was reminded that we operate within a

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we’re talking about. It’s not just creedal material we’re talking about. We’re talking about social justice. On the other hand, Zionism, both Jewish and Christian, is rooted theologically in a 19th and early 20th century minority belief. In it, the Bible predicts seven dispensations of history— a real stretch to do this kind of cherry-picking—moving us toward the return of all Jews to Palestine—or, more appropriately, Jews to all of Palestine—in order to hasten the day of the end times. You may have noticed recently there have been some predictions about when it was coming, and I hope you got your stuff stored away. It’s been popularized by the Left Behind fictional series. This view purports Christians suddenly disappear, presumably to heaven. A final apocalyptic war, Armageddon, occurs against the evil anti-Christ, and a thousand-year peaceful reign of the Messiah begins. Everyone is judged as to their faithfulness to God’s plan—but, ironically, twothirds of all Jews are killed and the rest become Christians. The millennial reign, according to Zionists, began with 1948 and 1967. Zionism becomes dangerous when it aligns with empire and ethnic religious nationalism. Ethical guidance takes a backseat, especially with exceptionalism. This highly imaginative view is considered heresy in most of the theological circles. It’s no longer widely embraced by evangelicals, certainly not by rabbinic Jews or by main-denomination Christians, unless it’s without thought, without really knowing the issues. That’s where our responsibility comes in. Even Billy Graham said he was agnostic about the end times when he declared it will all pan out in the end. But silence in the mainstream church has allowed Palestine to be defined by Zionists. It is the basis of Christian Zionism, about which a straightforward definition is offered by Dr. Don Wagner—a Presbyterian, a former Zionist himself—when he states it is a movement within Protestant, now Catholic, fundamentalism that understands the modern state of Israel as a fulfillment of biblical prophecy and thus deserving of political, financial and religious support. Christian Zionism preceded by 50 years, and even influenced the emergence of, Jewish Zionism—surprised? When the British literalists cherry-picked biblical references to apply to a physical state for diaspora Jews, ultimately they helped to bring about what their adherents promoted, and now believe, is that state brought through an act of God in 1948. This nationalistic perspective can be seen as a key to understanding the troubling geopolitical field fire fanned by the Jerusalem an-

nouncement by the U.S. president, and the fawning and fumbling visit by the vice president. It explains the division of the House in Israel, which resulted in the damaging replacement of rabbinic social justice Judaism with secular Jewish Zionism. Recent history shows the resulting marriage of convenience for joint image protection by the Jewish-Christian lobby. So how did we arrive here, especially at this crucial juncture? It’s important to understand it. The 200-year progression of this history is at once instructive and frightening. We can see the consequences of rationalizing colonization and partisan politics influenced by religion. To exclude the rights of one group over another, the law of love is replaced by violence. South Africa’s former director of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Georgetown professor Charles Villa-Vicencio, explained it’s the fault line running through Western civilization. In the first century of the Common Era the church was born, and the synagogue was transformed in the midst of this issue...[about] religions separating groups, with the right of one group to dominate the other, or whether they bring humankind to the realization of our unity and connectedness as children of the Father, Abraham, and recipients of his promise to establish many nations. This is the central issue. The lobby, writ large, is the questionable combining of forces between the Israeli government and American Christian Zionists. Our government and our church people are complicit in this furtive enterprise, sometimes unwittingly. AIPAC is successful as an agent of minority Gentile sentiment, not just Jewish support. Sadly, the majority, as you heard from me earlier, has been silent. We must stir them up. I propose it is bad for Israel, as well as America’s place in the free world. It’s destined for failure. It is important to see the progression of Christian Zionism’s development. It has roots at least as far back as the 16th century European Reformation. The early literal readership of the local language translations like the King James Bible, later in Scofield Reference editions, had footnotes and commentary that promoted dispensational Zionism. It led to several centuries of anti-Semite Jewish persecution, ultimately the Holocaust, and all the way to the mid-20th century best-selling fictional works of The Late Great Planet Earth and Left Behind. The modern movement can be traced to the early 19th century, with a group of eccentric British Christian restorationists lacking formal theological training. They began to lobby for Jewish return to Palestine and the necessary precondition for the second coming of Christ—or the first coming of the Mes-

Silence in the

mainstream church has allowed

Palestine to be

defined by Zionists.

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THE ISRAEL LOBBY AND AMERICAN POLICY

did not, however, instruct about the dangers of Zionism in the churches to which he sent his converts. Even with his anti-Semitic misstep recorded with Richard Nixon, fortunately he founded Christianity Today magazine, a globally-minded modern evangelical publication that reflected his social justice abolitionist roots, and has had a series of progressive editors partnering with Anglican scholar anti-Zionist John Stott and the NGO-sponsored trips to the Holy Land. Sadly his son Franklin hasn’t taken the same path. The impact of the Holocaust in this era was a legitimate concern. Then, coupled with the guilt about U.S. capping Jewish asylum and turning away refugees, the U.N. partition resolution in November of 1947 was supported by Harry Truman.

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siah, as you wish. John Darby was their leader. The Darbyists gained traction from the middle of the 19th century, when Palestine became strategic to Britain, France and Germany, and their colonial interests in the Middle East. These Christian Zionists who preceded Jewish Zionism were some of Theodor Herzl’s strongest advocates and, ironically, were both clergy and lay people who embraced the anti-Semitic theology and genocidal images around racial nationalism. Herzl’s appeal to the British leadership was in part an understandable anger for what had happened to Jews in the previous centuries, but also undergirded by misinterpreted scriptures. In the early 20th century, evangelists Billy Sunday, D.L. Moody and others promulgated the Scofield Bible dispensa-

tional point of view to convert people by employing end-of-theworld fear. As early as 1917, the British bartered away Palestine with the Balfour Declaration. And the 1919 American King-Crane report urged caution about the Zionist intention of dispossession. But the report’s attention to the local population was either ignored or buried by President [Woodrow] Wilson for several years. This was concurrent with the Arab false appreciation that they would gain Palestinian liberation by their alliance with the Allies. Arthur Balfour and Lloyd George were predisposed toward Zionism in their support for a Jewish national home, but with mixed racist motives about white British superiority. Their primary goal was to advance British imperial interests with utilitarian politics. Zionism continued to reflect some of that strain into the middle of the last century and until today. After World War II the more urbane Billy Graham avoided the label Zionist with his approach, which stirred millions. He 40

He was influenced, certainly, by his dispensational beliefs, but likely even more by the looming re-election campaign considerations and the financial infusion from pro-Israeli donors. The fact was ignored that the Palestinians, as the 66 percent majority, owned 90 percent of the land. Christian Zionism was encouraged when, in ’48, Israel was assumed to be the sign of God and His personal intervention, with the anticipation of the end time battles of Armageddon, and was, as well, influenced by AIPAC’s predecessor, the American Zionist Council. It gained impetus after the return of Jews to what they call the eternal undivided capital in ’67, which encouraged the populous teaching of dispensational theology by Dallas seminarians and similar seminaries, especially throughout the South, in the Bible Belt. The more secular Israeli Labor Party had few relationships with Christian Zionists prior to the election of Likud’s Menachem Begin in 1977. Begin, however, saw the necessity of

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Thomas R. Getman: When and How Did Evangelicals Become Zionists?

the theo-political match made in heaven. Likud courted the relationship with leaders such as [Rev. Jerry] Falwell, [Pat] Robertson and other TV preachers who captured the TV time for most Christians, and from the booming fundamentalist Zionist churches in the South. In 1979, with great fanfare, Falwell was presented a private jet by Begin, purportedly to affirm the [televangelist’s support for] Israeli policies such as their impending 1981 bombing of Iraq’s nuclear site, but also to spread the Zionist action plan. The election of Ronald Reagan, who was converted to Christian Zionist beliefs, helped solidify Christian Zionism up to the center of the Republican Party and the White House, along with several Speakers of the House. Opposition began to be more public by well-known liberal ministers and scholars, and even [Sen.] John McCain called Falwell and Robertson “agents of intolerance.” Still, Jewish Zionists had few encounters with Christian Zionists before 2000. Even with the assumption by Christians that the ’67 war miracle was final proof to them for the return of Jesus, it took politics and necessity to drive the strange bedfellows together—helped, of course, by Jewish lack of faith in the Zionist Christian distasteful end-time creed. 9/11 sealed the marriage. The glue was that they both feared and hated Muslims. This hastened the growth of the so-called evangelical Zionism. In this present era, and especially with the election of Trump and the Republican Congress, encouraging movement in opposition to Christian Zionism has grown among mainstream political and religious entities. This has helped us to battle complicity. Those who lay the traps will have their own feet caught. As the Zionist profile became more public through the pro-Israel lobby of Christians and Jews—especially through John Hagee’s CUFI, Christians United for Israel—three factors were apparent. First, the lobby served to undermine peace and increase, and even encourage, violence. Second, their utterly biased and one-sided utterings and massive funding have been opposed by Jews as well as Christians. Finally, third, the United States is seen increasingly to be a party to injustice, rather than an honest broker for a just settlement of the conflict. The lobby’s goal to stand shoulder to shoulder for significant influence in Washington by portraying Israel in a positive light in public discourse is proving more difficult and counterproductive. The Israeli lobby is being seen as an agent of the foreign power, in part because of Mr. [Binyamin] Netanyahu’s demands and decline, thank God, and Mr. Trump’s ignorance and intrusion. A more open debate is happening on university campuses, as we’ve just heard, especially as BDS has

caused panic efforts in Congress and the Knesset to limit First Amendment freedoms, and print and broadcast media’s pro-Israeli editorial and news bias shows real signs of change. Greater understanding is occurring about faulty oppressive theology and excesses and American Christian complicity in illegal neo-colonial activity. There is an increasing awareness of severe demonization of Palestinians, Muslims and Christians. Treatment of other minorities within Israel and the region is stirring opposition, especially because of the horrors of Gaza, the expulsion of African refugees, and the church tax bank issues. Many more people, including the young, are traveling with alternative social justice agencies to the traditional Holy Land holy sites, but they’re spending a lot more time than has been traditionally the way in the West Bank talking to the Living Stones who are demanding liberation. The arc of history is being bent toward justice by young people. Polling and experience indicate that evangelicals, especially millennials, are more pro-immigrant and less Islamophobic, and increasingly concerned about the negative impact of occupation and annexation. Appreciation is growing for and in solidarity with influential progressive and modern Zionists, for instance, +972, Lara Friedman, Rabbis for Human Rights, and mainstream Israeli combatants for human rights as they seek help on their PTSD. Pilgrims even now, amazingly, some enlightened progressive dispensationalists, are embracing more of the true prophetic biblical declarations about responsibility toward the marginalized, poor, blind and oppressed, the strangers in the land. Genesis:12 has been the basis of much of Zionist propaganda that God would bless those who bless you—to Abraham—and, above all, the people you curse, He will curse. The fact is that promise wasn’t made to Israel. It was made to Abraham, the father of all of us. They forget that. There is a changing sensitivity. Increasingly people are understood to be chosen, as in the old children’s song, all the children of the world— red, yellow, black and white. My evangelical colleagues now say “Jews, Christians and Muslims are precious in His sight.” The more liberal and progressive social justice denominations and believers, including many Jews, align themselves with the 2006 statement on Christian Zionism by the Jerusalem patriarchs of the traditional faiths. They declared: “We categorically reject Christian Zionist doctrines as false teaching that corrupts the biblical message of love, justice and reconciliation.” The American National Council of Churches adds: “The theological stance of Christian Zionism adversely affects justice and peace in the Middle East.”

Jewish Zionists had

few encounters with Christian Zionists before 2000.

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Unusually, on Feb. 22nd, just past, in response to U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, 25 well-known senior evangelical leaders expressed concern—albeit too timidly, in my view—about unprecedented actions that may—may— jeopardize lives and future security of the people of the Holy Land. I hope they can be more concerned about current Palestinian suffering, but it opens the door for more White House dialogue. Therefore, it is questionable how much contemporary American theology and electoral politicking and legislating are being driven extensively by heretical dispensational understanding of Eretz Israel. Further evidence of it being challenged is because of actions by evangelical organizations such as Sojourners, Evangelicals for Social Action, and faith-based operational agencies which have some of their staff people in prison. These and other faiths groups are partnering with J Street, Jewish Voice for Peace, New Israel Fund, operational agencies, as well as the think tanks such as the Middle East Institute and the Foundation for Middle East Peace. Also great films—“With God on Our Side,” “Road to Apartheid,” “Occupation of the American Mind,” “Gaza: A Gaping Wound,” and Noura’s film, “Gaza in Context,” et cetera. Social justice evangelicals are working to rehabilitate their brand—or, frankly, just desert it if necessary—in order to differentiate further from the Hagees and Pences and [Judge Roy] Moores of the world, which has potential for impacting

the fall elections. Members of Congress who have expressed quiet opposition to Israeli policies are being more vocal regarding treatment of children—Betty McCollum’s (D-MN) bill on child prisoners—[David] Price (D-NC) and [Peter] Welch (D-VT)—and a hundred members’ action on UNRWA, which is a questionable pursuit. In conclusion, many prominent progressive leaders are helping to sharpen our thinking regarding Christian Zionists, for the god they portray looks to be militaristic, xenophobic, genocidist and would not sufficiently be moral enough to conform to the Fourth Geneva Convention. So has God turned from love and grace to be a great ethnic cleanser? Martin Buber, the great ethicist, said in his declaration of opposition to Zionism: “Hatred is bound to ruin us. Guilt and complicity are twins hard to separate. Those who pull the trigger and those who pay for the guns are inextricably bound.” Anglican theologian Naim Ateek states: “We must oppose Christian Zionism by asserting one clear principle. Any religion that does not promote justice, truth, peace, love, forgiveness and reconciliation among people has lost its rudder and is undeserving of respect. Their religion and their teachings are destructive, rather than a liberating force in the world. I would place Christian Zionists in this group,” he says. Having seen their impact personally while living in Jerusalem and in other places in the world, I do, too. Thanks very much. ■

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Questions & Answers

Questions & Answers fort to scare our people. I think the NGOs generally are in the target, big time. Some of our staff people are arrested for trumped-up charges that are just so counterintuitive as to be ridiculous. In talking to the lawyers about what happens to these people, he—an Israeli Jew—says, we all together must speak out more about this atrocity, because these folks are as innocent as the day is long. But the Israeli government finds them an easy target, and it can be used to stifle advocacy. When marketing plays such an important role for operational agencies—or for churches, for that matter—this has a huge impact. Enough said. Thanks. May I just add that if you want to see some of these films that I’ve mentioned, the lists are in the room. These are really worth going out of your way to see, or you can order them on Netflix. Thank you. Dale Sprusansky: Thank you very much. ■

PHOTO PHIL PASQUINI

Dale Sprusansky: Thank you very much. We have three minutes for questions, so I’ll shoot maybe two of them to you. If you can respond relatively quickly, that would be appreciated. One person asked, “Can you say something about Israel’s treatment of Palestinian Christians and Western Christian NGOs, such as World Vision, where you previously worked?” Another person asks, “What does it say about Christians United for Israel, the largest Christian Zionist lobby, that their executive director is Ehud Barak’s cousin and is not actually a Christian?” Thomas Getman: That says a lot. I don’t need to answer that. It shows—can I dare use the word evil?—of the kind of collaboration that happens around a political issue rather than moral and ethical issues. On the first question, I believe the NGOs are being stifled. They’re being shut up. They’re being arrested as a cooling ef-

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KEYNOTE

THE ISRAEL LOBBY AND AMERICAN POLICY

The Zionist Tango: Step Left, Step Right Gideon Levy

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It’s my third time here with these wonderful people and the third time—on one hand, I feel so much at home. I know so many faces. You all get younger, I get older. You all get more energized and more devoted, and I get more and more desperate. But it puts me also on a challenge because, already on my second time here I started my speech—as far as I can recall—with a concern that I’m going to repeat myself and bore you to death, because by the end of the day I’m a singer of one song and you’ve heard it already. But the organizers were sophisticated enough this time, and they gave a very strange title to my speech which doesn’t enable me to sing my song. I have to fit to a new song, so I’ll do my best. But I’m really, really so grateful for all the wonderful people who brought me here and Catrin, my partner. This day was so interesting for us, so enriching. In Hebrew we have this expression, “We came to strengthen and we came out strengthened.” And this is what I feel after a conference like this. Maybe you are holding the key for any kind of change, for any kind of hope, because, as I’ll try to claim later on, the hope for change within Israeli society is so limited. It’s nonexistent. When the United States is still so crucial, people like you really can make the difference. People like you can really be a game changer, and I mean it. Never before have Israel and the United States shared the same values as in these days. The only place on earth that Donald Trump is beloved, admired, adored and appreciated is Israel. The only place that Binyamin Netanyahu is admired, adored, beloved is the United States. If this is not shared values, what is shared values? Some of my ex-best friends are on their way now to the real thing, to the AIPAC conference which will start on this weekend—politicians, journalists, to what I call the annual drug dealer’s conference. They will discuss how many more drugs will they send to the Israel occupation-addicted state, how

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

PHOTO PHIL PASQUINI

Grant F. Smith: I’m very pleased to welcome back Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy. In his column in Haaretz, he’s called for greater Israeli empathy toward the suffering of Palestinians. He’s an extremely wellknown commentator because of his willingness to take on tough issues. Consequently, he’s no stranger to very intense opposition. His columns about politics, money, how Israel’s military occupation is changing Israeli society, and U.S.-Israel relations are very widely read, reposted and discussed around the world. Who doesn’t get in their inbox a Levy column once in a while? His vocal opposition to Israel’s last major invasion and bombing of Gaza took place against an enormous backdrop of widespread support for the military operation within the Israeli public, and so he gave voice to those who were secretly against the war but cautious about voicing such opinions openly. He was the recipient, with Palestinian pastor Mitri Raheb, of the 2015 Olof Palme Prize for their fight against the occupation and violence. He has also received the Peace Through Media Award at the 2012 International Media Awards, the Euro-Med Journalist Prize for 2008, the Leipzig Freedom Prize in 2001, the Israeli Journalists’ Union Prize in 1997, and The Association of Human Rights in Israel Award for 1996. I would like to encourage everybody to send in your comment cards. We have a number of students and interns who are circulating and picking those up so that we can have a very wide-ranging set of questions for Gideon when he finishes. His book, The Punishment of Gaza, was published in 2012 by Verso Publishing House in London and New York. He will be available to sign some copies of that book during the reception. But now please welcome Gideon Levy. Gideon Levy: Thank you. Thank you, Grant. I was wondering whom you were talking about. Can I stay here and not go back home?


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Gideon Levy: The Zionist Tango: Step Left, Step Right

much more friendship will they express, and how much more money and weapons will they supply. I can tell you in the United States, as an Israeli, we don’t have a bigger enemy than the Jewish lobby. We don’t have a bigger enemy for justice, for peace, for equality than those who think that if you supply the drug addict with more drugs you are his friend; that if you support him blindly and automatically whatever he does, you are a friend. No, my friends, those are not friends, those are enemies. I can’t tell you how happy and proud I am to be here today and not there tomorrow. The title of my lecture speaks about Zionism, and Zionism is one of the two religions of Israel. As a religion, as with any religion, you can’t question it. The second religion is obviously the religion of security. So between Zionism and security, anyone in Israel who dares to raise any kind of question mark is immediately perceived as a traitor. It’s impossible to describe to you what does it mean to say that you have some questions about Zionism. Imagine yourself if you question today the other religion, if you claim that the Israeli idea of the Israel Defense Forces [as the world’s most moral army] are not the most moral army in the world—let’s say they are the second most moral army in the world—how dare you! We are getting it with the milk of our mothers, even though my mother was not such a Zionist, I think. But it’s very hard to understand from the outside how an ideology became part of the DNA, how an ideology became something which must be taken for granted and there is no room for any question marks. I know it about myself. I know how I grew up. I know what I thought about those very, very, very few who claimed that they were not Zionist or, God forbid, anti-Zionists. They were the Satans, even though they were Jews and Israelis. I don’t recall one example on earth in which an ideology is so totalitarian, is so saintly, is so holy that you have no right to put any kind of doubts or question marks—nothing. Not about the past, not about the future, not about the present—nothing. It’s unbelievable when you live in a state in which, if you declare that you don’t accept this ideology, you are not part of the place. You are not part of society. You have no place there. Go to Gaza. Go to Damascus. Don’t stay here. This leads me to the title. Because when it comes to Zionism—and friends, we have to face reality—when it comes to Zionism, there is no difference in Israel between left and right. When it comes to the occupation, which is part and parcel of Zionism, there is no meaningful difference between left and right in Israel. When I mean left and right, I mean this socalled Zionistic left—Labor and others—and the right-wingers.

KEYNOTE

The difference is only by rhetoric. So those of you—and I know some of my Israeli friends who bought already some champagne bottles—ready to open them the moment that Binyamin Netanyahu will be impeached or even go to jail, and they will celebrate how Israel is coming from darkness to light, how freedom and peace is around the corner because we got rid of the tyrant, the right-winger, the fascist, and after this the light is around the corner, I have bad news for you. Because by the end of the day, when you judge the real policy—not the rhetoric—yes, Labor and left are having much more sympathetic rhetoric between other sins that I committed. One of my sins was working for Shimon Peres for four years. He didn’t stop talking about putting an end to the occupation. He didn’t stop talking about it’s not democratic and not justice that one people governs another people. Beautiful ideas that Binyamin Netanyahu and those right-wingers would have never said. But by the end of the day, Nobel Prize winner Shimon Peres is the founding father of the settlements project. So what do we get out of this nice rhetoric except showing a nice face of Israel and doing the very, very, very same crimes? I’m here not to spread optimism, as you might know me by now. But when it comes to the basic, Israel is really united. I still remember, Grant, those days in which the joke was that three Israelis shared—sorry, I spoiled it. That two Israelis share three views. Today three Israelis share hardly one view and it will be not only Zionist, but pro-occupation. As you might know, occupation is off the table in Israel. Nobody talks about it. Nobody discusses it. Nobody’s concerned about the occupation. It is like one of those things—like the rain, like the sun—force majeure. Some like it. Some like it less. But nobody thinks that anything can be done about it. It doesn’t bother us so much, that’s the truth. It’s only half an hour away from our homes, but who hears about it and who cares about it? The crimes are on a daily basis—really, a daily basis. The media hardly covers them. If they cover them, it will be always according to the Zionist narrative. A terrorist of 12, a girl of 14 with scissors in her hands, as an existential threat to the state of Israel. A girl who is slapping a soldier is someone who deserves a life sentence, not less than this. A girl that one hour before, her cousin was shot in his head 50 meters away from her home. So now the Israeli army claims that this was fabricated. I mean, even the Israeli propaganda has lost its shame. When Israel dares—dares—to claim that this child, Mohammed Tamimi—whom I met a few days after he was injured, he lost half of his brain—that he fabricated his injury,

When it comes to

Zionism, there is no difference in Israel between left and right.

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then you see that Israel is really desperate. If Israel needs this kind of level of propaganda, if Israel is getting so low in denying shooting in the head of a child of 15 and claiming that he fell from his bicycle, then you know that things are getting worse. Maybe it’s a hope for a new beginning, but right now look how low does it get there. All those are passing Israeli society as if nothing is happening. No question marks, very little moral doubts if at all, a cover up, living in denial like never before. I cannot think about one society which lives in such denial like the Israeli society. Again, it includes left and right, except for the very devoted extreme left activists, let’s remember them. But they are really small in [numbers] and totally, totally, delegitimized. So when I speak about left, I mean Labor: Yesh Atid—the new promise of Israeli politics, maybe the next prime minister—Yair Lapid and all the rest. In many ways they’re worse than the rightwingers because they feel so good about themselves, because they are so sure that they are so human and universal and moral. While the right-wingers at least don’t cover up, they say, yes, we are fascists. So what’s wrong about it? We are Jews and we have the right to be fascists. Because we are the chosen people, we have the right, and nobody’s going to tell us what to do. When it comes to the central left, as it’s called—I can hardly pronounce it, central left, what do those people have to do with the left? But when it comes to the central left, it’s a rare combination, you feel so good about yourself. You are not one of those fascists. You are not one of those nationalist racists, you are a liberal. But the occupation must go on, and the child—Ahed Tamimi—must stay in jail forever, and the crimes must continue because we have no other choice. Which brings me to the set of values which I see as the core of Israeli society nowadays, three or four sets of values which explain everything, in my view. The first very deep-rooted value, let’s face it, is the value that we are the chosen people. Secularists and religious [alike] will claim so. Even if they don’t admit it, they feel so. The implementation is very simple: If we are the chosen people, who are you to tell us what to do? Who are you? Who is the international community to tell Israel what to do? International law, wonderful thing—it doesn’t apply to us. It applies to any other place on earth, but not to Israel, because we are the chosen people. Don’t you understand it? Asylum seekers—88 percent of the Eritreans are recognized as refugees in Europe. You know how many of them in Israel? Less than 1 percent—less than 1 percent! Why so? Because we are a special case, you don’t expect us to absorb 40,000

asylum seekers. How can you expect us? We can’t. We can’t. We are the chosen people and we don’t need to prove it. The second very deep-rooted value is obviously the value of “we the victims”—not only the biggest victims, but the only victims around. I know many occupations which were longer than Israeli occupation, some were even more brutal, even though it’s getting harder and harder to be more brutal than the Israeli occupation. I don’t recall one occupation in which the occupier presents himself as the victim—not only the victim, the only victim. If to paraphrase here, if to quote here the late Golda Meir—whom I quoted also last time, I know, but it is so unforgettable I have to use it again. She once said that “we will never forgive the Arabs for forcing us to kill their children.” We are the victims. We are forced to kill their children—poor us. As the victim and the only victim in history, again, it [gives] us the right to do whatever we want, and nobody is going to tell us what to do because we are the only victims. To this there’s a third very deep-rooted value, and this is the very deep belief— again, everyone will deny it, but if you scratch under the skin of almost every Israeli, you’ll find it there: The Palestinians are not equal human beings like us. They are not like us. They don’t love their children like us. They don’t love life like us. They were born to kill. They are cruel. They are sadists. They have no values. No manners. Look how they kill us. This is very, very deep-rooted in Israeli society, and maybe that’s the key issue, because as long as this continues, nothing will move. As long as most of the Israelis don’t perceive the Palestinians as equal human beings—we are so much better than them, we are so much more developed than them, and we are so much more human than them. As long as this is the case, all our dreams—and we have some dreams, and I’ll get to them—all our dreams will never become true as long as this core issue will not change. So you have a society with a deep conviction in its justice, in its right way, with very, very few question marks. Anyone who dares to raise a question mark is immediately, in a systematic way, is immediately erased, demolished. It’s unbelievable how this machinery works in Israel. We are talking here about how efficient the Jewish lobby is here. Look at the Jewish [group], so-called in Israel: Breaking the Silence. For years we were dreaming about the day that soldiers will stand up and say the truth—not Gideon Levy, the liar, the traitor who tells us all kinds of stories about Israeli crimes. No. Soldiers who have committed those crimes will just come and testify about what they have been doing. And here it came.

Occupation is off the table in Israel. Nobody talks

about it. Nobody discusses it.

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the Israeli citizens who are Palestinians, 20 percent of the population. They are discriminated in any possible aspect of life, but they gain formal equal civil rights. They vote. They elect. They could be voted [for]. They can be elected. That’s the second regime. Obviously the third regime, which Israel is hiding, is the military occupation, the military regime in the occupied territories. Here I allow myself to say with no doubt that this is today one of the most brutal, cruel tyrannies on earth. Not less than this. I repeat it—the military occupation in the occupied territories is today one of the brutal, cruel tyrannies on earth. How dare someone call Israel the only democracy in the Middle East, when in its backyard there is one of the most cruel, brutal tyrannies in the world? How can you do it? Can you be half pregnant? Can you be half democratic? Can you be a democracy in the front and a tyranny in your backyard? Here comes the next lie that we should fight: the claim that it is all temporary. No, my friends, it was never meant to be temporary. It is not temporary and it will not be temporary, if it depends on Israel. There was never an Israeli statesman in an important position and in an influential position, prime minister or so, who really meant to put an end to the occupation—none of them. Some of them wanted to gain time in order to strengthen the occupation. Some others wanted to gain time by getting all kinds of interim agreements, just for gaining time. Some others wanted to be perceived by the world, to be hugged by the world, as people of peace. But none of them had the intention to put an end to the occupation. How do I

PHOTO PHIL PASQUINI

Over 1,000 testimonies of soldiers who in a very brave way gave their testimonies about what they have been doing in the occupied territories throughout the years. This should have been an earthquake in any healthy society. It’s our sons. But what happened? Nothing. Breaking the Silence was immediately delegitimized by the establishment, with the typical collaboration of the Israeli media. I’m afraid to say that Breaking the Silence is crushed today. This is just one example. Israeli society, especially in the last years, has a very clear intention to crush any kind of criticism from within and from outside. This is going through legislation, through campaigns, through the media. It’s just in its beginning. In this way, I must say, there might be a slight difference between so-called left and right in Israel, because the Israeli left has some kind of commitment, at least for the democracy for the Jews, because, as you might know, Israel is maybe the only place on earth with three regimes. We are having three regimes. One is the so-called liberal democracy for Jewish citizens, which has many cracks now, but it is still functioning. I have total freedom in Israel, this must be mentioned here. I write whatever I want. I appear on TV. I can’t claim that someone is shutting my mouth, except people in the street who wouldn’t like to see me or spitting at me or who are threatening me. But by the end of the day this freedom—which I don’t take for granted and might not last for long—this freedom is there. So that’s the first regime in the front. Then comes the second regime, a very discriminatory regime toward the Israeli Palestinians: the Palestinians of ’48,

KEYNOTE

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incentive? So as long as this balance is that Israel is either gaining out of the occupation or not paying anything for it, as long as any kind of Israeli doesn’t feel that the occupation is something you should think about, why should he be bothered? He doesn’t pay. He’s not punished. And even if he’s paying, he does not make the linkage. Because even if there were those years of the second intifada which were really, really bloody, with exploding buses and suicide bombers, nobody made the linkage to the occupation. If you dare to make the linkage, you will be immediately accused as a traitor, because how dare you, because you justify terror. So they explode buses because they were born to kill. It has nothing to do with the occupation. So there was no progress or change, even after the violence. So if life is so good, there’s really no reason to go for change. Therefore, the hopes for change from within the Israeli society are really, really very minimal. Again, with all due respect to those groups who are fighting, who are not giving up, who are struggling, who are going to demonstrate every Friday in another village against the fence, against the occupation, against all those things—wonderful people, including many, many young people—but, finally, it is a small group and delegitimized. Therefore, people like me, my only hope is from people like you. This is right now the only hope. We are hearing here today all day, including from Grant’s very, very knowledgeable lecture, figures that are depressing even to me. The Jewish lobby is so strong yet. But by the end of the day, let’s see it in a more realistic way. They are moving now the American Embassy to Jerusalem—big victory for Israel, big victory for the occupation. By the end of the day, what does it mean? It means that the United States has declared officially the death of the two-state solution. It means that the United States has declared officially what we knew for many, many years: that the United States is not and cannot be a fair mediator. It declared that the United States is officially the friend of the occupation, and only of the occupation. It declared officially that the funeral of the two-state solution and the funeral of America as a mediator in the Middle East went to its way already. For the long run, I see it as an achievement. End of the masquerade. End of the masquerade and of the lip service. I’m very grateful—you’ll be surprised—to Donald Trump, who brought us there. Now I just feel sorry for one person—but you know, this is not so much. I really feel so much sympathy, emPHOTO PHIL PASQUINI

KEYNOTE

know it? I don’t know what is in their hearts, I know only one thing: Israel has never stopped building settlements. Anyone who builds one house in the occupied territories has no intention whatsoever to put an end to the occupation! And those bluffs should be called. Here I come to you all, I’m very, very skeptical about change from within the Israeli society, because life in Israel is far too good and the brainwashing system is far too efficient. To have a dialogue today with most Israelis is, even for me, almost an impossible job. Really, many times I find myself together with Catrin, where we meet ordinary Israelis, good people, they would volunteer anywhere. But when you start to talk with them about the occupation, after two minutes you want to just tear your hair [out]. I mean, you don’t know what to do, you don’t know where to start, the brainwashing is so deep and the denial is so deep. The ignorance, the ignorance, they know nothing. Anyone in this hall knows so much more about the occupation than any average Israeli, including those who serve there in the army. They know nothing, and what they know is wrong. So to expect a change from within this society, when restaurants are packed, when life is beautiful, when there is hardly terror in Israel—I mean what they call terror, with those exploding buses and all those things. The only violent attacks are mainly now in the occupied territories. Not in Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv is living a very, very peaceful secure life. So, to expect this society to stand up and to say no more—out of what, what 48

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Gideon Levy: The Zionist Tango: Step Left, Step Right

pathy and sorrow for Ambassador David Friedman. He will have to move from Herzliya by the sea, from this lovely villa, to Jerusalem. Believe me, he deserves it. The ambassador of the settlements wears the costume of the American ambassador. He’s even not the ambassador of Israelis. He’s ambassador of the settlements project—and not of all settlements, just the extreme ones, if there is a difference—[who] will have to move to Jerusalem. What is a bigger gift for all of us than to see him among the Orthodox, among the tensions, among the border police at every corner, with all the violence and the tension and the occupation in every step you step in Jerusalem? What will be more of a gift for us than to see him there, rather than to see him in front of the sea of Herzliya? So we shouldn’t give up. If I may, with all my modesty, my ideas for what you should do—who am I to tell you? I hardly know what to tell myself to do—but still, I see it in three main issues right now. One must be to fight this unbelievable process of criminalization of criticizing Israel. This must stop, and we shouldn’t give up. We heard today that it’s not only about BDS anymore. Now it’s about any critic of Israel. The fact that someone who raises his voice for justice is criminalized is first of all a domestic problem. What kind of society is this? What kind of society is this that criminalizes those who support justice and praises those who support the violations of international law, the crimes? So this should be one of our goals, not to give up. When they call you anti-Semites—here it’s easier, in Europe they get paralyzed. If you call someone anti-Semite in Europe, he’s paralyzed. And they take advantage of it in a very manipulative way. Don’t let them. You should be proud in raising your voice. BDS right now is the only game in town. BDS is a legitimate tool. Israel is using it by calling the world to boycott Hamas, to boycott Iran. You have the full right not to buy products from sweatshops in South Asia. You have the full right not to buy products from a shop which sells meat. You have the full right not to buy products from a country or from an area that you feel that something is wrong there. What does it mean that you should apologize for boycotting something that deserves boycott? BDS, one can claim that it has not yet reported real success, economic successes, maybe. But we have one proof why BDS is the right thing to do: Look how Israel gets nervous about BDS. If they get so nervous about it, you can know that’s the right way. Grant, if you invite me next year again, or in two years, I’m not sure I will be able to say those sentences, because those

KEYNOTE

sentences very soon will become a violation of Israeli law. You are not allowed to call people to boycott Israel, but let’s challenge them. The second challenge that I see for you is to try to tear, especially in this country, the lie that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. We need it desperately. It’s all about the truth. It’s all about telling the people the truth. As I said before, a state which possesses one of the most brutal tyrannies on earth cannot be called a democracy—period. The last lie that you have to fight, or I allow myself to suggest to you to fight, is the lie that all of this is temporary. After 50 years of occupation—why would we say after 50 years? After 100 years of occupation or after 70 years of occupation—because ’48 never stopped, let’s remember it. It’s the same policy. Those are the same methods, same lies, same brainwash, same explanations and excuses. As long as this continues, nobody can claim that this is temporary. The occupation is there to stay and we should call the bluff and say this colonialistic project has no intention to come to its end, even though here and there are some statements or politicians who claim so. No, you never had an intention to put an end to it, and you don’t have it. As it says zero, zero, zero in my timer— is it an appreciation for my talk, Grant, three zeroes? In any case, my last sentence would be what should be the solution. It was mentioned here; therefore, I’m not getting into elaborating on it, but I just feel committed to say so. For many years I was a great supporter of the two-state solution. I saw that the two-state solution is a reasonable and achievable solution. Total justice will never be achieved in this part of the world, but I saw that this will be a relatively fair and just solution, even though a lot of injustice is about it. Above all, we are [talking] about 22 percent [of the land] to the Palestinians and 78 percent to the Jews. What we are facing today—I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the very dramatic fact that today, already today, between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, they are exactly 50-50: 6 million Palestinians and 6 million Jews. If you count 2.5 million in the West Bank, 2 in Gaza and 2 in Israel, you get over 6 million Palestinians, and there are 6 million Jews, roughly speaking. Maybe I’m wrong in some figures, but it is roughly half and half. Two peoples equal, right now. So if someone thinks that one people can dominate another people—and let’s get back to Zionism and to the title of this talk—the basis of Zionism is that there is one people which is privileged over the other. That’s the core. This cannot go on. If it goes on, it has only one name. Here we call it apartheid.

Can you be a

democracy in front and a tyranny in your backyard?

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KEYNOTE

THE ISRAEL LOBBY AND AMERICAN POLICY

So I totally join your analysis today [pointing to Dr. Virginia Tilley], which I learned a lot from, and others. Even if it sounds now like a utopia, even if it sounds now like something unthinkable, it’s time for us to change the discourse. It’s time for us to talk about equal rights; about one person, one vote. And let’s challenge Israel. Israel will say no. Then we can officially declare Israel as an apartheid state, because there is no other way. If you deny equal rights, you are not a democracy officially. It’s not a question of point of view, of opinion. It’s a matter of fact. Israel obviously will say no. But we shouldn’t give up, because by the end of the day I truly believe that Palestinians and Israelis, Palestinians, Jews, can live together. We tried it in the past. It is being tried today in all kinds of small frameworks. We can really live together, believe me.

I’d rather have a Palestinian prime minister than Yair Lapid or Binyamin Netanyahu. So by the end of the day we should be clear about the hope, about the vision. We should understand that the road is still very, very long to go. We’re just in the beginning. But unlikely, at least for me, unlikely in the last years in which I continued to say, almost in my sleep, twostate, two-state solution, two-state solution—knowing that it will never happen, knowing that no one is going to evacuate 700,000 settlers, knowing that nobody meant to do it, and knowing that it will not solve the basic problem. So we have a vision, we have meanwhile some goals. There’s so much work to do for you and for us, so let’s not waste more time on talking. Thank you very much. [Standing Ovation] ■

Grant F. Smith: We’ve got time for just a couple of questions. He managed to outpace a lot of these questions, so it’s rather easy. I’ll let him take a sip of water first. But one of the questions is, “could the occupation continue to exist without the United States’ support? Please elaborate.” Gideon Levy: Could the occupation continue? Yes. Could it continue without the United States? Not even for a few months. This must be clear: if there would have been an American president who would really like to put an end to the occupation, the occupation would have ended a long time ago. There was never an American president who wanted it so. Grant F. Smith: The other question is extremely interesting. An esteemed scholar made this argument to me last night. I’m not going to say who it was, but his first name starts with an N and the second name starts with an F. Anyway, this is his argument. It says, “what do you say to those who say that BDS furthers Israeli narratives about being victims and needing security?” Gideon Levy: This is a very good question. We know from the past that many times pressure from the outside united Israel—but only for the first time, for the first while, for the first period of time. By the end of the day, we have to confront the Israelis with their reality, because they are totally disconnected from reality. I want to see the Tel Avivian who will realize that if he wants to go to Europe, he needs a visa. If he wants to export some of his goods, he’s going to work very hard to do so—if at all. Then he will ask himself, is it worth it? Is it really

worth it? I can assure you that after the first rhetoric of “we are all united against the whole world, which is always against us, and they all hate us,” then rationality will come into the picture. I once thought that Austrian Airlines can bring peace. How can this be? Because in the last attack of Israel on Gaza in 2014, some airlines stopped flying to Israel, it happened to be that Austrian was the first one. I think it lasted like 20 hours—but in those 20 hours, Israelis went mad. I mean, Israelis lost their temper. It was crazy. Then I thought, imagine yourself that Austrian Airlines—that’s just a daydream—Austrian Airlines declares that as long as the occupation continues, Austrian Airlines is not flying to Israel. The occupation comes to its end within days. When Israelis will be prevented to get to Macy’s for their shopping or to get to Galeries Lafayette in Paris for their shopping, this will be the day that the occupation will be over. Grant F. Smith: Thank you. So this question says, “it seems many Israelis who become fully disillusioned simply leave Israel. Is there any hope of Israel changing from within when you have so many people with somewhat similar views to yours leaving?” Gideon Levy: Unfortunately, we can’t count on this. Yes, there are good Israelis who cannot take it anymore, and some of them are leaving. I hear more and more Israeli parents, which I never heard before, who wish that their children will not stay there. This I never heard before, because for parents it was always a catastrophe if some of their children would leave.

Questions & Answers

BDS right now is the only game in town. BDS is a

legitimate tool.

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You hear it more and more, obviously in very certain circles. But by the end of the day, when we look at the figures, those are not meaningful figures. Yes, there are some good ones who leave. Yes, many more are talking about it. But by the end of the day, this will not be a game changer, not for the time being. Grant F. Smith: Last question. It says, “You have many readers in Israel and abroad, and you can say so many things that journalists in the U.S. can’t seem to find a way to do. Why is it that you get to be Gideon Levy and nobody else does?” Gideon Levy: As if it is such a great fun to be Gideon Levy! I wish I wasn’t—I wish I was a restaurant critic, going from one restaurant to the other and writing my truths about the food that I had, and nobody would have raised this question. Really, it’s not for me to answer. As I said here last time, I always say, I was really a good boy in Tel Aviv. I was really raised up to be something else. Something went wrong, but now it’s too late to correct it. I’m trying, but I really don’t have any other choice but to continue. Many times people say, keep up your good work and so on and so forth and so forth. I don’t have really any other choice. It’s even not a question of choice. It’s—I’m doomed to it, yeah.

But seriously speaking, the fact that I can still raise my voice, as I said before, should not be taken for granted. If this regime, this government, or a very similar government, will continue in the same way, they will get to us as well. Haaretz is an island in Israel. Don’t get it wrong. Haaretz is not Israel. Haaretz is really an island in a very, very stormy ocean. They’ll do anything possible to close Haaretz down. The fact that I have such a wonderful home was such a—really, I don’t think there is one publisher in the world, when he gets a protest from a reader or a subscriber who is very angry at me, you know what he tells them? He tells them, “Haaretz is not the newspaper for you, don’t read it.” A publisher—a publisher who is really struggling for the existence of Haaretz, we are really struggling for each reader and each subscriber—and he says, you know, it’s not for you. It’s not for you. So these are really very little hopes, but maybe it’s good to conclude this afternoon with some kind of hope and optimism. As long as Haaretz is there, I will be there—hopefully. As long as this voice is still being raised, maybe there is a hope. I don’t know. But thank you so much again for coming today. Thank you. ■

The Palestinian BDS Campaign: What It Is, How It Is Growing, and Why the Efforts to Stop It Will Fail Andrew Kadi

system that is universally condemned. Here to talk about “The Palestinian BDS Campaign: What It Is, How It Is Growing, and Why the Efforts to Stop It Will Fail” is Andrew Kadi, an organizer and steering committee member of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights. Mr. Kadi is a blogger at The Electronic Intifada, a member of Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network, and he has written for, or appeared in, The Guardian, USA Today, the Forward, TRT, City-

PHOTO PHIL PASQUINI

Delinda C. Hanley: Gideon Levy led up to this wonderful topic we are about to start with. He said the Palestinians’ most potent weapon in their equal rights fight is Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, which is a global movement that aims to generate significant economic and political pressure on Israel that will ultimately force it to give Palestinians their equal rights. Israel and its supporters in the West view BDS as an existential threat because it takes aim at apartheid, a morally repugnant political

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Lab, Mondoweiss, the New York Daily News and the BBC. I’ve Then we come to 1993, when the PLO under Yasser Arafat heard him organizing Students for Justice in Palestine. For the conceded most of the historic Palestinian homeland for the past 16 years, Mr. Kadi has mobilized students and activists at promise of having a state on 22 percent of it—that led to the the grassroots level, and organized digital campaigns and formation of the Palestinian Authority. But instead, as most of raised awareness and advocated change. Please come to the you probably know, between 1993 and 2000 the number of podium, and we’re so happy to have you. settlers almost doubled, and by now it has nearly tripled. The Andrew Kadi: Well, thank you for having me here. I’ll see if agreement also made space for a lot of joint Israeli-Palestinian it’s feasible to have this water on the podium. It is. So, I’m just ventures in the name of peace, even though the military occugoing to jump right in. I do need to get my [slideshow]—everypation continued. body pray to the clicker gods. Wonderful. There we go. All In 2004, the International Court of Justice, or ICJ, ruled that right. Great. the Israeli wall had to come down due to its route, judging it illeUnarmed resistance to Israeli policies, repression and miligal and also reiterating that Israeli settlements are illegal. Notary occupation, including the martial law that was imposed on tably, there was not a state response to this. At this point, Palestinian citizens of Israel between 1948 and 1966, is nothPalestinians for the past couple of years had been meeting with ing new. In the 1930s, Palestinians carried out a general their South African counterparts and learning more and better strike, shutting down centers of commerce and bringing popuunderstanding the struggle against South African apartheid. lar protest to the street. In the 1980s, as most of you are In 2005, over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations deaware, the first intifada, or uprising, happened, and was a cided that it was time to enforce the ICJ’s ruling and called for wave of popular protest that included guerrilla schooling. So, a South Africa-style boycott. That call has three demands: meaning like, people sneaking around from house to house in equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel, an end to Israel’s milorder to be able to continue their education in light of Israel itary occupation and dismantling of its wall, and the right of reshutting down Palestinian schools. It also involved a boycott of turn for Palestinian refugees. As you can see, the modern day Israeli products and Israeli taxation. The first intifada was incarnation of this call is the Palestinian Boycott National mostly recognized, though, by images of young Palestinians Committee, which is maintaining the boycott and is a wide (Advertisement) throwing stones at armored Israeli solswath of Palestinian civil society, includdiers and vehicles. Some of you may reing trade unions, women’s organizations, member at the time that Yitzhak Rabin faith-based organizations, students and had this saying about how they will break many more. So this BDS coalition essentheir bones of those who are throwing tially represents hundreds of thousands, stones. (I didn’t mean to make that if not millions, of Palestinians through rhyme.) these organizations. Many Palestinians in the West Bank What is the value of BDS as a tactic? decided to stop paying the taxes deThe first and foremost value, I think, is manded of them by the Israeli military. that this focuses the discourse on what And then the town of Beit Sahour, they Israel is doing, and does not simply beactually decided that they would replace come a debate about whether there is or Israeli dairy products by using their own is not an occupation. It becomes a discows to produce them as depicted in the cussion of Palestinian rights. Ultimately, film, “The Wanted 18,” which hopefully through campaigns, you are actually some of you have seen. If you have seen able to educate people about these isThis novel grabs you, shakes up it, you know that the Israeli military desues—but with an end goal in mind, your mind, grips your heart and clared these cows a national security rather than simply having the debate, wrings it out. Cassie, a senior threat to the state of Israel and dispersed walking away, and nothing changing. English teacher, uses Shakethem in their popular protest. This is also a rights-based discourse, speare’s plays to help her In the 2000s, the second intifada broke right? This is no longer about solutions, students see the commonality in out, and though it was largely armed, it states, and just land. It’s about human man over centuries as it relates to the Palestinian-Israeli crisis during also saw unarmed protests spreading rights, a single Palestinian body, an inthe ’80s. Set in a private academy throughout Palestinian villages, particudigenous population. Right? The Palesin NJ, this epic tragedy proves the larly along the route of Israel’s proposed tinians are one people. This also aduniversality of man’s darker side wall. Those villages included Biddu, dresses our complicity in the U.S. and inwhen jealousy and hatred tranJayyus, Budrus, Bil’in, Ni’lin, Beit ternationally, because as you all know scend love and humanity. Ummar, Al-Masara, Beit Sahour, and and have heard here today, Israel is sinmany more, only to be crushed by heavgled out by the U.S. for some $4 billion a Amazon ($20.98); Kindle ($3.88) ily armed Israeli presence. year in aid, unlimited veto power—with 52

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Andrew Kadi: The Palestinian BDS Campaign

one exception recently—and nonprofit status for organizations that are actually funding the Israeli military and Israeli settlements. This is a tactic with history, as you all know, in Montgomery, in California with the grape boycott, and in South Africa most famously. In South Africa some of the successes that came about—a sevenyear campaign pressuring Polaroid to leave South Africa, led to them cutting ties. In the year 1986 alone, Barclays, CocaCola, IBM, General Motors and Kodak all either withdrew from South Africa or cut their ties and explicitly cited apartheid. Imagine, the corporations actually being honest about why they’re leaving! In fact, that year at least 22 U.S. companies cut ties to apartheid South Africa. In one instance when a company did not, the Shell Corporation was actually punished by New Jersey State, which refused to allow them to operate service stations on the New Jersey Turnpike—and that was as late as 1991. This boycott is one of the Israeli state, Israeli companies and international companies that are participating in Israel’s violation of Palestinian rights. And you could see above some of the corporations that have been targeted over the past 10 years. Caterpillar is one that I haven’t pictured here but has been prominently featured in boycott campaigns. That’s right, Hewlett-Packard isn’t featured here and has been a major part of campaigns recently. I’m going to start with a few cases, one of which is Lev Leviev, an Israeli businessman who Forbes Magazine described as the King of Diamonds, who has funded and built Israeli settlements. A campaign targeting him saw UNICEF, Oxfam, the UK government and celebrities all distance themselves from him. He was hit with divestment by one of the largest investment banks in the world, BlackRock, the Norwegian Pension Fund, and others. His company, after only three years of campaigning against them, announced they were no longer involved in settlements. Later, we discovered he was actually lying and continued to operate in Israeli settlements. But most recently, after 10 years of protest and creative actions in front of his stores, Leviev’s flagship New York City diamond storefront has closed, as have three other stores that he was operating from. Another company is G4S, a multinational security firm that you probably would see patrolling a local business, or an embassy, but you will also see working in U.S. prisons, for example. The company was helping operate Israeli prisons, providing equipment and services to Israeli military checkpoints, settlements and military and police buildings. The campaign targeting them saw the United Methodist Church sell shares in G4S, as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which remarkably sold over $180 million in shares after a campaign

pressuring them. Durham County, North Carolina stopped working with G4S after a local campaign that cost the company at least $1 million. And later a very large, I believe, $132 million contract with the BBC was lost after a campaign targeting the BBC. Eventually, G4S announced it was leaving and selling off its Israel operations,

and that has already started. Veolia is a French multinational that was involved in [building] the Jerusalem light rail that crossed the Green Line and was running waste management in Israeli settlements, if you can imagine that. That means dumping waste onto Palestinian villages. They lost over $20 billion in contracts due to boycotts. Actually, at some point a financial analyst presenting at the company’s shareholders meeting acknowledged that fact. They lost out on contracts across the globe, but those included St. Louis, Missouri, here in the U.S., where they became the subject of a mayoral debate. So that means two main candidates decided to debate over whether Veolia should or shouldn’t be allowed to operate. Eventually, Veolia announced it was selling off all of its Israeli assets. It was probably the $20 billion that did it. The boycott is also a cultural one. The boycott is cultural and academic, in addition to economic. Unlike in South Africa—I don’t know how many people are familiar with it—the boycott there was actually a blanket boycott, so there were no exceptions. But in this case there are exceptions on the Palestinian side. I can get into that in the Q&A. The biggest part of the South African boycott was actually a sports boycott, which meant a lot to South Africa, its standing in the world. Mind you, this is what normalizes South Africa within the international community, right, is that they were a major participant in cricket, in rugby, and at the Olympics. They were basically kicked out of the Olympics and also banned from the first two Cricket World Cups. I know most of us don’t watch cricket, probably. On the cultural side, artists across the spectrum decided to boycott South Africa. As you probably know, there was the famous Sun City song that was produced by Steve Van Zandt. So it is that we move to Israel. Brand Israel, which was launched in 2005 and expanded in 2009, after the war in Gaza, is basically a branding campaign for the state. In 2009, the deputy director general for cultural affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told The New York Times, “We will send wellknown novelists and writers overseas, theater companies, exhibits. This way you show Israel’s prettier face, so we are not thought of purely in the context of war.” After 2009, Israel started to do things like creating a brand ambassador. If you look up somebody named Joel Lion, he was the first Israeli brand ambassador. May 2018

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The boycott has actually been endorsed by a significant number of artists, including, as you can see, Elvis Costello, Roger Waters—who actually decided that he would perform in Israel and then later decided that that was actually a bad decision, and announced his support for a boycott of Israel—artist Cassandra Wilson, Santana—he canceled, I think, in 2010 and later decided to go back—and, of course, the moral beacon of the world, Snoop Dogg, canceled his concert in Israel. Additionally, you have profound authors like Junot Diaz, Cornel West, Naomi Klein and Alice Walker endorsing BDS. You have Stevie Wonder canceling—I mentioned the 501(c)(3) status—canceling a fund-raiser for the Israeli military that was tax-exempt, by the way. You have Lauryn Hill, one of the biggest cancellations to date, withdrawing from her show and actually explaining why to her fans. In just the past year, the two biggest cancellations have probably been famed singer Lorde—I was in Palestine for that cancellation, I saw the impact it had on Palestinians, I was inside what’s now Israel, and Super Bowl champion and ProBowler Michael Bennett of the Seattle Seahawks [applause]— yeah, he deserves it—who set the stage for half the delegation of NFL players to cancel an expenses-paid trip to Israel. It is also worth mentioning Vic Mensa, a rapper who recently penned an op-ed in Time Magazine entitled, “What Palestine Taught Me About American Racism.” Now, on the flip side, Israel also has its brand ambassadors who are cultural workers. As an example, Israel uses Idan Raichel, this artist that you see on the screen below. He is viewed as an artist in favor of peace and harmony, someone who is multicultural and inclusive, but he actually describes being part of the Israeli army as a key ingredient to an Israeli identity, which I’m sure Gideon would not appreciate but would maybe agree with. He’s played for soldiers attacking Gaza before, during and after Israel’s war. And he’s been working for the Israeli government through tours for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (you see [on the right side of the screen an article titled] “Raichel conquers Africa”), presentations to the Israeli Knesset, and more. So this is an example of where the state is actually sponsoring an artist and bringing him over here for propaganda. On the academic side, you had cancellations like Stephen Hawking deciding not to go to an academic conference despite 54

it being at the invitation of the Israeli president at the time. A number of academic associations have passed resolutions to endorse and participate in the academic boycott, the largest one being the American Studies Association, and ultimately you have other areas and approaches I realize I should at least mention, which are student groups, faith-based institutions, municipalities. Among faith-based groups, the Presbyterian Church and Friends Fiduciary have together divested over $21 million, and they are just two of over a dozen faith-based organizations that include pension funds, church regions and more that have taken action. Nearly 50 campuses, including nearly all of the University of California—shout out to Rabab— have passed student divestment resolutions, and one campus has actually divested funds. Across the globe, and not long ago in New York, groups of artists have signed on to boycott pledges proactively endorsing BDS and committing not to play in Israel. Most recently, the New Orleans City Council passed, and then rescinded, a resolution framed around ethical investment and avoiding human rights violators. Notably in that instance, defenders of Israel had to actually show up and argue that this entire thing should not be passed on the basis of just Israel being targeted—which I think there is an implicit acknowledgment there. There’s been endorsements across movements. So, for example, groups like MEChA representing Chicanos, the Movement for Black Lives, and other groups fighting racism and state violence have also announced their support for BDS. Given Rabab and Barry’s talk, I’ll probably keep this section pretty brief. Obviously BDS has drawn the ire of state and party actors across the U.S. and in Israel. As early as 2009, AIPAC’s executive director was describing BDS as a threat. The Israeli government response began with holding a conference that brought together government ministers, staff from NGOs, and intelligence officials to have a conference about BDS—essentially, what they called the growing anti-Semitism, without acknowledging that BDS includes lots of Jewish folks and it’s actually an anti-racist movement. The Israeli government commissioned a report by the Reut Institute—which you can see here and Ali Abunimah wrote

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about [top slide]—calling for sabotaging the Palestine solidarity movement, among other strategies. Netanyahu declared in a report from the Jewish People Policy Institute that he had assigned the overall responsibility for the campaign against “delegitimization” to the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, which included the coordination of efforts with NGOs in Israel and all over the world, and a role that will include the establishment of a professional special staff for countering “delegitimization,” which is mostly about BDS. The Israeli government was caught coordinating with StandWithUs, a U.S.-based group, such as in the instance of, I think, the Olympia Food Co-op boycott. Also the CEO of SodaStream, one of the companies that was a target of a boycott that led them to leave the West Bank settlement they were operating out of, made his way to the U.S. to be part of congressional anti-BDS hearings. You can just see some of what’s been happening at the state level [middle slide]. Right? I’ll talk a little bit about Trump’s pick, although folks did already. They talked a little bit about Kenneth Marcus and the use of Title VI, the idea of discrimination against Israel as a reason that you shouldn’t be able to boycott or even have free speech on campus, Hillary Clinton, a big supporter of AIPAC and also an outspoken critic of BDS. The approaches to fighting BDS so far have been trying to legislate against BDS. There’s been state-level legislation. There have been attempts to add clauses about boycotts of Israel in trade agreements in the U.S., and, as I mentioned, the use of Title VI complaints claiming discrimination. Again, the person who has headed those Title VI complaints is actually somebody who Trump wants to appoint to the Department of Education. They have also tried to defund organizations. So, for example, New York State tried to target public schools with an American Studies group within them if they were part of the American Studies Association. So they would try to defund

them somehow. As you also know, Governor [Andrew] Cuomo of New York issued an executive order banning working with companies that have actually participated in or endorsed the boycott, or decided to withdraw from Israel, as has Illinois and a number of other states. In 2010, a number of national Jewish-American organizations who identify as Zionist came together to put $6 million toward fighting BDS. Now, you see in 2015 a new campus group called the Campus Maccabees, formed by top Republican donor Sheldon Adelson in conjunction with top Democratic donor Haim Saban, and they put $50 million into place to fight BDS. So you can see the difference fiscally [bottom slide]. The latest Israeli government funding for anti-BDS work is reported to be $72 million. There are a number of covert efforts that have been underway, including the use of lawyers across Europe and the U.S. to try to file lawsuits and target BDS activists and institutions. The Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Gilad Erdan are now responsible for blacklisting groups, including the organization that I am proudly on the steering committee of. Canary Mission is a website that has been set up explicitly to blacklist and target activist scholars, and more along the same theme as previous organizations and websites that existed, like Masada 2000 and Daniel Pipes’ Campus Watch. For anyone who doesn’t know Daniel Pipes, he bears an eerie resemblance to Oscar the Grouch. I want to highlight these two articles here side-by-side here [see p. 56], where you can see that basically on one hand Israel says that the efforts are failing, and on the other hand it says that they are growing the efforts to actually combat BDS. By the way, that is similar to the idea of, like, there are no Palestinians but also they are trying to kill us. It’s like saying it doesn’t exist but then, Israel’s efforts have helped us actually to grow. The Center for Constitutional Rights, the ACLU and others have jumped in to fight the infringement of Palestine May 2018

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solidarity activist rights. Efforts to legislate have already started to be ruled unconstitutional, as in the case in Kansas that the ACLU worked on. And now we’ve also started to go on the offensive. So, Congresswoman Betty McCollum has actually put together legislation defending Palestinian children and calling for their rights to be recognized and for Israel’s aid to be conditioned, if they

are not able to sort of explain this and stop this practice of imprisoning and violating the rights of Palestinian children. Ultimately, we have a pretty long way to go. But, you know, I think as one journalist told me from South Africa, one day we thought we had 20 years left in the struggle against apartheid, and the next day I woke up and we were in negotiations for the end. So, thank you. ■

Questions & Answers Delinda C. Hanley: So there are a lot of questions that people have come up with: What is your answer to people who say that BDS is anti-Israel, anti-Semitic, anti-Jewish? Andrew Kadi: I mean, to me, the first thing I would say is I would suss those out, because those are different in many ways. But when people tell me that BDS is anti-Israel, my response is typically first and foremost to say that I think—well, I could say there is nothing wrong with being against the state. I don’t even understand that argument. You must really love states. Because I wouldn’t be called—if I fought for rights in the U.S., would I be called anti-American? But ultimately the idea is if you’re saying that forcing Israel to become a state for all of its citizens is antiIsrael, then what are you saying about the state of Israel? The other thing, I think, is when you say that it is anti-Jewish, one of the biggest questions that comes to mind is whether you’re recognizing that the majority of Jews do not live in Israel. I mean that’s a pretty offensive statement. Also it’s almost inherently anti-Semitic in a way, because you’re implying that all Jews have one monolithic politic and they all support one particular state. So that’s a disturbing idea. This is an anti-racist movement and the intention is not to target any one group of people but to target a state actor and its policies. Delinda C. Hanley: Was there legislation against BDS when it came to South Africa? Andrew Kadi: Admittedly, I do not know if there was. If I recall, I don’t know if folks have watched it, but there was a documentary called “Have You Heard from Johannesburg?” It’s brilliant, and I think when I was reading about it there were ef56

forts to legislate against the South African boycott in that film. Delinda C. Hanley: What can consumers do when it comes to Costco and Staples carrying Israeli products? Andrew Kadi: I would encourage people to connect first and foremost with national groups like ours, like the USCPR— the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights—Jewish Voice for Peace, and other groups that have been doing this work. There’s American Muslims for Palestine, there are a number of organizations across the country that have been doing this work. I would encourage folks to sort of tie in, first and foremost, and see what kind of resources and information you can get. For example, the American Friends Service Committee has a database of information about these companies. But the other thing is, I personally have found in a number of instances, I just wrote to companies. I started letter-writing campaigns. I started to challenge them. There was actually one targeting Costco a while back that got them to pull one or two products off their shelf. I think Ahava was one of them. So I think the key is being connected to folks in your area and maybe trying to start with one store, for example, and asking them why they sell it. Never be presumptuous and assume that because something is being sold somewhere, they are in full support. I’ve had a lot of success also with the small businesses locally, which is one more reason to support small businesses over large corporations. Delinda C. Hanley: Maybe you just answered this, is there is a list of items that we should not be purchasing somewhere on a website?

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Andrew Kadi: I’ll say this. Folks often ask that question. The first thing I’ll say is that it’s important to recognize that the power of BDS is not so much in presenting people with a list of a thousand items, but more in being part of targeted campaigns. Right? It’s like a domino effect. You’ve got to press in one place and keep moving. But in terms of the list, Adalah-NY, which I organized with in New York City, has a pretty useful list. I think the BDS movement itself, on the BDS movement website, may have a list now that’s new. This is not the thing you probably saw circulating 5 to 10 years ago. Their website is <bds movement.net>. But, yeah, I think most of the time I actually look companies up, so I Google them. I look up who the owner is, and that’s how I determine that a product is Israeli. Delinda C. Hanley: We’ve got two minutes left. Is boycotting states here in the U.S. that fight BDS going too far? How best to do it and publicize doing it? Andrew Kadi: Say that again. Delinda C. Hanley: Boycotting states in the U.S.A. that are fighting BDS. Andrew Kadi: I’ll just say I think that that’s expending a lot of energy. Delinda C. Hanley: Okay, let’s see. So how can Palestinian citizens of Israel support BDS? Andrew Kadi: So there is a newly formed group called BDS48, and that’s Palestinian citizens of Israel, and what they did is they launched a call. Now, ultimately, as Palestinian citizens, I don’t know. I mean, they are limited in what they can do. I know many Palestinian citizens of Israel for years have not bought Israeli settlement products, for example. But all in all, I think the key is actually being outspoken, but also organizing. To me, BDS is a movement that is more about the international community. It’s a solidarity movement in the sense that we’re the ones who are complicit. The majority of money that Israel uses to oppress Palestinians does not come from Palestinians. It comes from the U.S. It comes from Europe. So the onus is on us, mainly. Palestinians inside honestly have a lot of organizing to do and work. And I can say that Palestinian citizens of

Israel have been doing an amazing job recently of organizing themselves. Delinda C. Hanley: Okay. I’m having some handwriting difficulties here. But can you talk about the growing discussion or debate of pink washing feminist Zionists in a post-Trump women’s march community? Andrew Kadi: Sure. I guess I can say that pinkwashing, for folks who do not know, is the campaign by Israel to brand itself as an LGBTQ-friendly place. Obviously it erases Palestinian queers altogether. They’re sort of erased, the LGBT community is just disappeared. In reality—I think Gideon mentioned Tel Aviv as a bubble. It is, and when people talk about the LGBT community, and when Israel is marketing itself, it’s largely about Tel Aviv. To me Tel Aviv is the Sun City of Israel. I think that ultimately lifting up Palestinian LGBTQ folks who are protesting this is one way, but also recognizing that no matter what, whether it’s environmental or it’s LGBTQ issues or other issues—on one hand there is no reason to then be homophobic, by the way. But at the same time, we do need to actually highlight that these things don’t erase the crimes of the Israeli state, and that what they do is erase the Palestinians who are suffering under those crimes, who are themselves LGBTQ. I’ll just add that Israel’s military occupation and what it’s done to Palestinian citizens of Israel has removed a lot of the ability for Palestinians to have a civic infrastructure. To me that’s one of the most demeaning things, is when people ask me about, for example, LGBTQ rights in, let’s say, the Palestinian Authority, and I’m like, there is no Palestinian Authority. The PA exists as a function of what Israel wants it to do, by and large, and it governs a very small part of the West Bank. Delinda C. Hanley: Okay. And I’m going to try to have three questions with really fast answers because we are out of time. Andrew Kadi: Sure. Delinda C. Hanley: Should we only boycott settlement goods, or all of Israeli products and services? Andrew Kadi: So there is a common differentiation that’s made between settlement products and Israel’s goods in general. If you have ever read the reports of economists like Shir Hever or even read Gideon’s articles, actually, you’ll see that in May 2018

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fact there’s tons of commingling—like Israeli companies actually use lots of products from the settlements, and even the ones that avoid being labeled in Europe, for example, now as West Bank products are using West Bank goods. There are videos where Israelis have documented grapes coming from the West Bank and being brought into wineries inside of Israel to be used. So the reality is, actually, that there is not a whole lot of difference. If you look at Europe, Israeli banks were basically banned, and I think it’s, I don’t know, it’s a number of banks basically cut off Israeli banks because they realize how invested they were in the Israeli settlement trade, given Europe’s sort of, the EU’s new posturing—I used the word posturing, notice—around settlement goods.

Delinda C. Hanley: Okay. This is maybe a question and an answer in the same thing: “I’m ashamed of my senator, Ben Cardin in Maryland, his bill for introducing S.720. Can you talk about this 20 years in jail and up to $1 million in penalties and fines?” And then we have Mr. Jerome Segal in the audience, who wants to defeat Sen. Ben Cardin in the June primary in Maryland. So is that the answer? Andrew Kadi: I mean, I think that to some degree that is the answer. Yeah. Question answered. Delinda C. Hanley: Thank you very much. Andrew Kadi: No problem. Thank you guys for having me. Delinda Hanley: That’s the best BDS speech I’ve ever heard. Next speaker. ■

Israeli Versus Russian Media Influence Ali Abunimah

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car and run away at 5 o’clock. You need to stay for the reception. So please welcome Ali Abunimah. Ali Abunimah: Thank you. All right. Are you going to run that timer with 18 minutes on it? I received a letter several weeks ago from Grant informing me that I had 18 minutes to speak. I had never seen such a precise organization. Now it’s running. It’s very intimidating. Right. Well, I’m delighted to be here and among so many people who have been working hundreds of years, collectively—maybe thousands of years—on this issue, and a real depth of knowledge and commitment. I’m very glad to be among you. The title of the talk is really just to let me kind of have a starting point to say whatever I want. But of course it’s a good starting point, because here in Washington, a city I very rarely travel to, Russiagate is all the rage. If you turn on the television or look at The New York Times or MSNBC or CNN, that’s all they talk about. Of course, now, more than a year into the Russiagate hysteria, there’s nothing to the central narrative that there was collusion between Donald Trump and his team and Russia to steal the election from Hillary Clinton. I think

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Grant F. Smith: Our next speaker is Ali Abunimah. He’s been an active part of the movement for justice in Palestine for 20 years. He’s a journalist and the cofounder of The Electronic Intifada, which is a widely acclaimed publication. It’s a non-profit independent online publication focusing on Palestine. A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Chicago, he is a frequent speaker on the Middle East, contributing regularly to numerous publications. He is the recipient of the 2013 Lannan Cultural Freedom Fellowship. If you’re a reader of The Electronic Intifada or get the digest via e-mail, it quickly becomes quite obvious that covering censorship, debunking disinformation, and providing insights that are available nowhere else is really what it’s all about. He’s the author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse and The Battle for Justice in Palestine. He will be available to sign both during the reception. Before he comes up, I just want to remind you again, please send up the question cards. We’ll categorize them and get through them efficiently. And that reception is going to be a very, very big deal this year, so make sure you don’t just jump in the


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Hillary Clinton was very capable—in fact, I don’t want to take for a resolution on Palestinian rights. But the Obama policy credit away from her—she was entirely capable of losing that was to not veto it and to let it pass, and so to kind of give it a election on her own. wink. As I was thinking about what to talk about, I came across What Netanyahu wanted to do through Jared Kushner was this quote from Hillary Clinton from 2006, two days after the to undermine the Obama administration policy. The evidence Palestinian election that Hamas won. She was speaking in a of the collusion is right there for all to see. What was so interclosed meeting with The Jewish Press. That’s capital Jewish esting, what came out in the Michael Wolff book Fire and Fury Press, not “the Jewish press” in some kind of conspiratorial as well—which, again, was filling the airwaves for a couple of way. It’s the name of the publication. And she said: “I do not minutes or days or weeks, or however long a news cycle is think we should have pushed for an election in the Palestinian now—was that Steve Bannon said right there in Fire and Fury territories. I think that was a big mistake. And if we were going that the entire Trump administration policy on Jerusalem, on to push for an election, we should have done something to dePalestine, on Israel was from the very beginning dictated by termine who was going to win.” Sheldon Adelson, the pro-Israel billionaire, the casino billionAnd that’s what Russia stands accused of. But, unfortunately aire, who now wants to pay for the U.S. Embassy in for the faithful, the Russiagate faithful, there’s nothing there. Jerusalem. Basically a total privatization, outsourcing, of U.S. There is no there there. For this, I’m not going to go into a long foreign policy to a pro-Israel oligarch. exposition on Russiagate. But I really want to credit the journalNobody has found any Russian oligarch or billionaire who’s exists who have stuck to this and really shown that there’s nothing erted anything close to that kind of influence on the Trump adto it. There’s a few of them, but I’ll mention the two that I’ve ministration or any other U.S. politician. Sheldon Adelson is doing learned from the most on this—Max Blumenthal and Aaron it to the point where he’s going to actually buy the U.S. Embassy. Maté—Aaron Maté at The Real News, who’s here. It’s a great, This is treated as something completely normal and unremarkgreat independent source of information. They’ve really shown, able, practically. Instead, we’ve got MSNBC going crazy about inthey’ve just gone after this and shown that dictments of a few people at the troll farm (Advertisement) there’s nothing there. in St. Petersburg—I still call it Leningrad— But the big story that the mainstream and who had zero impact on the U.S. elecmedia and the Democratic so-called retion. sistance—that’s big D, Democratic soThere are some serious implications to called resistance—doesn’t want to talk all of this Russiagate hysteria. I want to about is what we can call Israelgate. focus on one of them, because time is Here there’s lots of evidence of collusion, short. Actually the part that’s been relalots and lots. Just take, for example, the tively unexamined is that the Russiagate indictment of Michael Flynn, the plea hysteria, which is being pushed by the deal of Michael Flynn back in December so-called resistance and also by many on that was hyped up in the media that, the left—unfortunately people go along aha, finally some evidence of Russian with it because it’s kind of this easy nocollusion! cost way to oppose Trump—but it’s helpWell, it was nothing of the sort. What ing the Israel lobby in some very material the Michael Flynn indictment showed, or ways. It’s reinforcing the Israel lobby. the plea deal or the proffer—whatever it’s [Audience member asks “how?”] I’m called in legal terms—was that Michael going to just—give me a minute, I’ll get Flynn had talked to the Russian ambasthere. sador on behalf of Israel. What all the Part of this Russiagate hysteria was to papers and the reporting show is that he go after RT. It used to be called Russia had done this on behalf of Israel at the Today, now it’s called RT. They’re just behest of Jared Kushner, who was doing down the street. I was there at it at the request of Binyamin Netanyahu. lunchtime, I gave them an interview. And This Israeli interference was to try to unas part of the Russiagate hysteria, they dermine the policy of the sitting adminiswere forced to register under FARA—the tration at the time, which was still the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which, Obama administration—this was during mysteriously, AIPAC has not done. This the transition—in order to undermine the was generally applauded by a lot of libObama policy of allowing—of course, erals, a lot of Democrats. And, lo and beObama never had the courage to stand hold, Grant mentioned this morning the up to Israel, really, certainly not to vote Al Jazeera documentary. May 2018

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THE ISRAEL LOBBY AND AMERICAN POLICY

The one that was done by Al Jazeera last year on the British Israel lobby was very important. It showed the underhanded tactics. There was undercover film of an Israeli Embassy agent plotting to bring down a British government minister who was perceived as too critical of Israel. He had criticized the settlements, so they wanted to bring him down. That plot, I don’t know how far they got, but Al Jazeera busted it with this undercover investigation. And the British establishment swept it under the carpet. But it’s very important for the public to know. Then, back in October, Al Jazeera revealed that they had done a similar long-term investigation in the United States, an undercover investigation. We can glean some of the organizations that they have focused on because some of the names floated around. But the point is, they got into some of the key Israel lobby organizations. As Grant said, they’ve gone all-out to suppress this. Qatar reportedly promised top Israel lobby officials that they would suppress this film. Qatar has denied it. Who knows? What we do know is that four months after Al Jazeera announced that the film would be broadcast very soon, it still hasn’t been aired. And what we know is that the Israel lobby and the pro-Israel members of Congress are now circulating a letter to the Justice Department demanding that Al Jazeera be forced to register as a foreign agent, and citing the registration of RT as the precedent. So Russiagate created the precedent to suppress the Israel lobby documentary. We need to see that connection. We also need to see the connection that some of the top Russiagate pushers in Congress, like Sen. Ben Cardin—who is the main sponsor of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, who claims to be against Russian interference—is one of the main proponents of Israeli interference in American politics in this way. We also need to understand the bigger picture around the 60

Israel lobby documentary, which is that Qatar and the Gulf states see the Israel lobby as the way to Washington’s heart. So when you want to show yourself to be the best pupil in Donald Trump’s heavily armed classroom, you suck up to the Israel lobby. Qatar is doing that in spades, with inviting—They just had the head of the Zionist Organization of America, how do you like that, on an all-expenses paid trip to meet with the emir of Qatar. Alan Dershowitz came back singing Qatar’s praises and comparing Qatar to poor little Israel, boycotted and besieged. Another thing about Russiagate came out a few days ago in The Washington Post: that Jared Kushner, that four countries discussed how to use his business interests and business problems as leverage to pressure him. Four countries. Guess what? One of them was Israel, and none of them was Russia. So there’s quite a toxic mix going on there. But this morning Grant said that he thinks this is going to work, that we’re not going to see the Israel lobby documentary. Grant, I’m going to say I bet you’re wrong. One way or another, we’re going to see it. We have to keep up the pressure. We have to keep demanding sunshine on this Israel lobby interference—Israelgate, let’s call it. Now I think that as one of the speakers, Barry, mentioned this morning, we were asked to come with good news, I think there is good news. I think that we can beat the Israel lobby, in short, and I think we already have. I think we already have an important sense that the Israel lobby itself is admitting that it is incapable of stopping the momentum for Palestinian rights. Last April our publication, The Electronic Intifada, published a leaked report from two important Israel lobby groups, the Anti-Defamation League and the Reut Institute, which is an Israeli think tank. In this report which was circulated—they were very careful, by the way. They didn’t want you to read any of

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this, so they circulated it only in hard copy to top Israel lobby leaders. There were no copies floating around on email. Well, that doesn’t stop The Electronic Intifada. And this report said that— these are their words—that despite increasing their spending 20-fold in the past six or seven years to try to suppress the BDS movement, they’ve been unable to stem its “impressive growth and significant successes.” They go in the report into great detail about that. The key point is where they are hemorrhaging support is among decent people, all decent people, and particularly people who support human rights, progressive people. Where is the support being concentrated now for Israel? It is becoming more and more an extreme right, a white supremacist cause, so that— as was mentioned this morning—Richard Spencer calls himself a white Zionist and says he looks to Israel for guidance as to how to model the Aryan ethno-state he wants in the United States. And we see that love being reciprocated from Israel to the far right in the United States and in Europe. We also see the opinion polls others have mentioned, which show the crash of support for Israel among young American Jews. Really, it’s a generational shift that’s happening across different demographic groups, including American Jews; including, according to another recent survey, among young evangelicals. That’s important to know, because that may be a constituency we think there’s no point talking to—they’re too far gone, let’s not waste our time. The message is that we should be talking to everyone. The good news is that, you know, I used to be—just a couple of years ago I thought, let’s not waste our time with Congress, because it’s such a hostile territory for Palestinian rights that we’re better off doing something else. I have to say, I’ve changed my mind because of the efforts of the No Way to Treat a Child campaign, which is a campaign that many people across the country have taken part in, but spearheaded by the American Friends Service Committee and Defense for Children International-Palestine. Because of their grassroots work over several years, over several years, what we saw is Betty McCollum of Minnesota introduced the—I have to look up the name. I wish they’d come up with one of these names, like the PATRIOT Act, where it’s a word, but not the PATRIOT Act. It’s called the Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act. What this bill does is it prohibits U.S. aid to Israel being used for the military torture, abuse and the detention of Palestinian children. Of course, like Ahed Tamimi, like Mohammed Tamimi, and like the 300 other Palestinian children who are now—right now as we’re here—in Israel’s military dungeons being tortured and being brutally deprived of their childhood

by the so-called only democracy in the Middle East. So this is a good news story, because we can all go back—this bill now has 21 co-sponsors, which is not nothing. So this is not nothing, 21 co-sponsors in this Congress, in this country. And there are some surprising names—but this is a good news story because all of us who want to go back and do something can go back to our members of Congress. Organize people to write to them, to go to them and say we want you to join those other 21 members in supporting this bill. So we are not powerless against this Israel lobby. We are capable of defeating it, and I am certain we’ll be able to do so. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time. ■

Qatar and the Gulf states see the Israel lobby as the way to Washington’s heart.

Questions & Answers Grant F. Smith: Thank you. We have a number of questions here. I guess one of the first to come in—okay, this came in from one of our many students, I believe, who are attending today. “Do you believe we will see significant gains for Palestinian rights in our lifetime?” And he says, “I’m 21.” Ali Abunimah: Yes, I absolutely do believe that. That’s what keeps me going. I believe it’s in our power. I think we live in a paradoxical situation that we have for many years, that we are winning the argument but we are losing on the ground, in many ways. I think that’s perhaps what explains the pessimism of someone like Gideon Levy, who is there chronicling what’s happening on the ground. It’s very hard to be optimistic in that situation. But in my lifetime I’ve seen enough examples in this world of sudden and dramatic change. Nobody knows the exact moment it will come, but it’s because the ground has been laid for it for so many years. So I believe that our work will bear fruit, and I believe it will happen in our lifetimes. And I think it could come sooner than many of us think. Grant F. Smith: This question is kind of about the lack of balance in terms of giant philanthropists. It says here, “Ali, would I be wasting my time—you mentioned Sheldon Adelson in the news—would I be wasting my time to send books by you and Miko Peled, et cetera, to Bill Gates and Warren Buffett? Who do we send these to?” Ali Abunimah: Well, I definitely encourage you to send my book—and the many other good books that are available at the bookstore—to whoever you like. They make great gifts! Let me say something about the issue of philanthropy, because I know that sometimes it’s like, oh, wouldn’t it be great May 2018

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if there was a Palestinian Sheldon Adelson not doing evil but doing good? But that’s not really the answer. What I think I have learned, speaking personally, with The Electronic Intifada and with my colleagues there, is what makes us rock solid against the thuggery and bullying and intimidation and censorship of The Electronic Intifada is that we are independent. What that means in practice is we have a very broad base. We’re not reliant on one big donor or one big funder. We have a broad base made up of people across the country and around the world, and that’s the strong base of what we do. So when you’re reliant on just a small number of people—and now, if there are any billionaires out there, I’m not saying you shouldn’t give your money. But I’m saying that it’s very important for people to understand that our efforts are cumulative and they do add up. Your efforts in support of local groups, in support of local campaigns, in support of work that you see independent media—whether it’s, you know, The Real News Network, or whether it’s The Electronic Intifada, whether it’s IRmep or [the Washington Report], that have brought us together today—that is the bedrock of what we do. It’s what makes us impervious to their bullying, because they can’t go after thousands of people. But if it’s one or two institutional funders, they can and do go after them. That’s how they get the universities. That’s how they do the kind of harassment, and censorship, and silencing that Professor Abdulhadi was

talking about. Hence, the importance of everyone doing what they can, whether it’s in terms of time or whether it’s in terms of money, supporting the efforts in this movement. Grant F. Smith: Well, I think we have just a quick question here. I think it’s pretty easy for you. It says, “local newspapers have a lock on the op-ed pages and never reiterate these issues. They always seem to go to the same pro-Israel views. How can we overcome being locked out of the op-ed pages and become regular contributors which would give the public an opposing view?” Ali Abunimah: Well, I would say that we are more locked out of the so-called mainstream media now than ever before. In my estimation, I think back to the second intifada, which was 15, 20 years ago, I used to get invited on MSNBC. I used to get invited on CNN. I used to get invited on other mainstream networks. On Fox, I was on “Hannity & Colmes” once or twice, believe it or not. Yeah. Now that would never happen. Now it’s Al Jazeera. It’s RT. It’s The Real News Network. It’s not even “Democracy Now!” anymore. You have to go overseas to be able to talk to other people in this country about what’s going on. That’s one element. The other element, I think, is that the so-called mainstream media is less relevant. Yes, it’s still powerful. Let’s not delude ourselves, there’s still a lot of influence and reach that they have. But we have more influence and reach than ever before through our independent media. That’s why The Electronic Intifada exists, to bypass the op-ed pages, to reach people directly, to put information in the (Advertisement) hands of activists and journalists and educators directly. So we have broken their monopoly. They’re still strong, but we have broken their monopoly. I believe that when we reach people directly, it works. I mean, with all the concentration of Palestinian Medical Relief Society, a grassroots communitymedia power that still exists, the opinion based Palestinian health organization, founded in 1979 by polls are terrible for Israel and getting Palestinian doctors, needs your support today. worse—and that’s when we’re just working from the edges. So the message is, it’s Visit our Website <www.pmrs.ps> to see our work in action. very easy to be pessimistic about the situation, but I would not get up every day and Mail your U.S. Tax-Deductible check to our American Foundation: do this work if I didn’t see it having an imFriends of UPMRC, Inc pact and believe that it’s within our capabilPO Box 450554 • Atlanta, GA 31145 ity to fundamentally change the situation. Grant F. Smith: Thank you very much. For more information call: (404) 441-2702 or e-mail: fabuakel@gmail.com Ali Abunimah: Thank you. ■

The Israel lobby

itself is admitting

that it is incapable of stopping the

momentum for

Palestinian rights.

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Jefferson Morley: Cia and Mossad: tradeoffs in the Formation of the u.s.-israel strategic Relationship

CIA and Mossad: Tradeoffs in the Formation of the U.S.-Israel Strategic Relationship Jefferson Morley

Photo Phil Pasquini

Delinda C. Hanley: We have the last panel, and it’s going to be a really interesting one about American foreign policy. Jefferson Morley will speak first, and he’ll talk about the “CIA and Mossad: Tradeoffs in the Formation of the U.S.-Israel Strategic Relationship.” Jefferson Morley is a veteran Washington investigative reporter and the author of The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton, which is flying off the shelves of our Middle East Books and More bookstore. He’ll be signing his book at 5 o’clock. His latest must-read book sheds new light on Angleton’s close relationship with Israeli intelligence, citing such cases as Israel’s 1967 attack on the USS Liberty and the diversion of U.S. government-owned weapons-grade uranium from Apollo, PA to Israel in the ’60s. A native of Minneapolis, Morley attended Yale University and worked as an editor at The New Republic, The Nation, and Spin Magazine before joining The Washington Post in 1992, where he worked for 15 years. His reporting has appeared in The New York Review of Books, Reader’s Digest, The New York Times Book Review, Rolling Stone, the Los Angeles Times, The American Prospect and Salon. You are going to want to buy his book after hearing his talk. Thank you. Welcome. Jefferson Morley: Thank you, Delinda. Thank you all for coming. Thanks to Grant for inviting me. Thank you, Gideon, Noura and Ali, whom I made friends with for the first time last night. Thank you for being my friends. This is my first time at this conference, and everybody has made me feel very welcome. Thanks, too, to our live stream audience for paying attention. Please share this video on social media. You have

your orders, push that thumbs up button early and often! Since the publication last October of The Ghost, my biography of James Angleton, I’ve spoken to many people all over the country about this protean, unique and, some would say, sinister character. But I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to a group this large, so thank you all for coming. If you do like this talk, I hope you will buy the book. In fact, I’ve been told that it’s an iron law of this conference that if you like the talk, you are obliged to purchase the book. So I’ll be signing here afterwards, and you know what to do. James Angleton’s story is a story for the ages, but it’s also a story of our time. I want to emphasize that in sketching a little bit about him personally, especially the very earliest days of the U.S.-Israeli relationship. When I started writing The Ghost in January 2015, the term “deep state” was pretty much unknown publicly, save to a handful of political scientists. When I finished the book two years later, in the spring of 2017, I was informed by an ABC News poll that 48 percent of Americans agreed that there is such a thing as the deep state, which was defined as military or intelligence officials who secretly manipulate U.S. policy. I realize that Angleton, who was a Cold [War] warrior and a zealous defender of America’s leadership role in the postwar world, was also an avatar of this so-called deep state. I don’t mean that in a kind of conspiratorial or spooky way. I mean that in a very specific and concrete way. Angleton embodied and shaped the CIA’s operational ethos and its internal procedures, especially in the realm of counterintelligence. His theories of Soviet penetration dominated the thinking of Western intelligence agencies, and their legacy can even be seen in the counterintelligence investigation into the May 2018

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Trump campaign and allegations of collusion with Russia. I want to emphasize that I only use the term “deep state” as a colloquial shorthand term for the array of U.S. national security agencies that operate under the shroud of official secrecy. Let’s not forget there are a dozen—at least a dozen—such agencies based here in Washington. The CIA, with its $15 billion a year budget, is the largest. The NSA, with a budget of about $10 billion, is the second largest. The Defense Intelligence Agency is about $4 billion. Then, along with some other obscure but still very large agencies like the NGIA—never heard of the NGIA? I didn’t think so. The National GeospatialIntelligence Agency is a $4.9 billion-a-year agency. Collectively, these agencies spend probably $50 billion to $60 billion a year, which makes them a very small, but powerful, potent sector in the American scheme of power. Want to know how the NGIA spent your $4.9 billion? Good luck. Want to see a line item budget of CIA activities in Africa last year? Move along. It’s true that Congress nominally has oversight powers over these agencies. Our elected officials do have their security clearances that we don’t have, so they can go in and look at selected operations. But the intelligence oversight system is very weak, as even its defenders will admit. The intelligence committees, polarized and politicized, can’t even agree on what kind of secret activities they’re supposed to monitor. The FISA court system is supposed to protect Americans from surveillance by their government, but it largely functions as a rubberstamp of the secret agencies. A secret government is the norm in America in 2018, which is why the discourse of the deep state has such currency today. Angleton, I’m going to put to you, was a founding father of what we call the deep state. So who was he? Born in December 1917, James Angleton grew up as the oldest son of 64

James Hugh Angleton, a brash self-made American businessman who moved to Milan, Italy during the Depression and made a fortune during the time of Benito Mussolini selling cash registers. Angleton attended private school in England. He went to Yale College, and then to Harvard Law School. He was a precocious, good-looking young man with sophisticated manners and a literary frame of mind. As an undergraduate, he befriended his fellow expatriate— Ezra Pound—in Italy. Pound was the modernist poet in the mad tribune of Mussolini’s fascism. In their correspondence, which I found at Yale, Angleton sometimes aped the anti-Semitic rhetoric of Ezra Pound—for example, criticizing the Jewish book merchants who he thought overcharged for Pound’s books. In 1943, Angleton was recruited into the Office of Strategic Services, America’s first foreign intelligence service, [and was] stationed in Rome during and after World War II. He excelled at secret intelligence work. I tell a story in The Ghost of how he rescued a leading Nazi and a leading Italian fascist from postwar justice. Among other tasks, he reported on the flow of Jews escaping from Germany and heading for Palestine. The revelations of the Holocaust transformed his disdain for Jews into something like sympathy. He began to develop sources among the leaders of the Jewish and Zionist organizations— including Teddy Kollek, who was a British intelligence agent, and a German operative named Arthur Pier, who later became known as Asher Ben-Natan. With the passage of the National Security Act in July 1947, Angleton went to work at the CIA. The CIA came into existence and Angleton became the chief of the foreign intelligence staff, with responsibility for intelligence collection operations worldwide. In those days, the CIA was right here in the heart of Washington. It’s hard for people to believe now, but the CIA was lo-

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cated in a series of temporary buildings along the reflecting pool next to the Lincoln Memorial. The tempos, as they were called by CIA people, were drafty in the winter, hot in the summer, and devoid of charm year-round. But this is where Angleton worked, at what was known as the Office of Special Operations. Angleton, while sympathetic to Jewish suffering, was still very wary of Israel when he started his career at the CIA. Before the 1948 war, the Jewish army had been largely armed by Czech arms manufacturers and communist Czechoslovakia. The Soviet Union was the first country to recognize the state of Israel in 1948. Angleton initially feared that the Soviets would use Israel as a platform for injecting spies into the West. The Israelis, for their part, were looking to cultivate American friends. Stalin’s anti-Semitic purges in 1948 showed that his allegiance to the Jewish state was superficial at best. In 1950 a man named Reuven Shiloah, the founder of Israel’s first intelligence organization, came to Washington. He visited the CIA and he came away very impressed with how it was organized. He went back to Israel and, in April 1951, he created out of a very fractious collection of security forces what was known as the Institute for Intelligence and Special Tasks—inevitably known as Mossad, Hebrew for “institute.” In 1951 Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion came to the United States and brought Shiloah with him. Ben-Gurion met privately with President Truman, and Angleton arranged for Ben-Gurion to also have lunch with his friend Allen Dulles, who would shortly become the director of the CIA. The purpose of this meeting, Efrain Halevy, a retired director of the Mossad and a longtime friend of Angleton’s, told me in an interview in Tel Aviv—the purpose was, in Halevy’s words, to clarify in no uncertain terms that, notwithstanding what had happened between Israel and United States in 1948, and notwithstanding that Russia had been a key factor in Israel’s survival, Israel considered itself part of the Western world and would maintain the relationship with the United States in this spirit. Shiloah stayed on in Washington to work out the arrangements with Angleton. Shiloah, according to his biographer, soon developed a “special relationship”—and Angleton became the CIA’s exclusive liaison with the Mossad in 1951. Angleton returned the favor by traveling to Israel often. He was introduced to Amos Manor, chief of counterespionage for Israel’s domestic security service known as Shabak, or Shin Bet. Manor headed up Operation Balsam, which was the Israelis’ conduit to the Americans. “They told me I had to collect information about the Soviet bloc and transmit it to them,” Manor recalled about the Americans. “I didn’t know exactly what to

do, but I had the idea of giving them material we had gathered a year earlier about the efforts of the Eastern Bloc to use Israel to bypass an American trade embargo. We edited the material and informed them that they should never ask us to identify our sources.” From such arrangements, the CIAMossad relationship began to grow. Manor would be friends with Angleton for the rest of his life. In 1963 a man named Isser Harel was succeeded as the chief of Mossad by a military intelligence officer named Meir Amit. Amit found Angleton to be a little eccentric, but he noted that his “identification with Israel was a great asset for Israel.” Asher Ben-Natan, Angleton’s source dating back to the OSS days, was playing a key procurement role in the secret Israeli program to obtain nuclear weapons. Teddy Kollek, one of Angleton’s closest contacts and friends in Washington, later became the mayor of Jerusalem. Angleton’s Israeli friends, in short, were really the architects, some of the architects, of the Zionist state. As I came to learn his story from talking to CIA veterans and Israelis, and reading a lot, a couple of things stood out to me. First of all, the Israeli recruitment of Angleton was extremely astute. In the early 1950s, Angleton was a rising star at this new agency, the CIA—but he was not a senior figure, and not even particularly powerful. The Israelis recognized the latent qualities that would make him powerful. Second, Angleton’s creative intellect and his operational audacity inspired deep feelings of loyalty among the Israelis. While Angleton’s counterintelligence vision would become very controversial and bitterly divisive within the CIA, he was widely admired in Israel as a stalwart friend. He still is to this day. In 1954 Angleton became the chief of the CIA’s counterintelligence staff, the first one. In 1956 Amos Manor passed him a copy of Nikita Khrushchev’s secret speech to the Soviet Communist Party in which he criticized the cult of personality around the deceased dictator, Joseph Stalin. This intelligence coup made Angleton a legend within the CIA and a power within the agency as well, and it was very much made possible by the Israelis. Angleton’s formative and sometimes decisive influence on U.S. policy toward Israel can be seen in many areas—from the impotence of U.S. nuclear non-proliferation policy in the region, to Israel’s triumph in the 1967 Six-Day War, to the feeble U.S. response to the attack on the Liberty, to the intelligence failure represented by the Yom Kippur War of 1973. I tell a lot of the story in The Ghost, but the story of Angleton in Israel is really so large and so profound that it probably deserves its own

In 2017, 48 percent of Americans

agreed that there is such a thing as the deep state.

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book. I could certainly not do justice to it in the 18 minutes that I have, so I’m going to confine myself to one narrow question about the tradeoffs that became implicit in this arrangement between the CIA and the Mossad, and its implications for us. The question which was put to me by Grant, but is right on point, was: why didn’t the CIA help the FBI investigate the diversion of U.S. weapons-grade material from the United States to Israel in the 1960s and 1970s? The short answer is because Jim Angleton didn’t want to. Angleton played a key role in enabling Israel to obtain nuclear weapons, and he did so in a subtle way that characteristically left few fingerprints. He was not a man to investigate himself. Many of these details are now known thanks to Grant Smith, Roger Mattson, John Hadden, Jr. and others. I want to just give you a sense of how this transpired. So, the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation, otherwise known as NUMEC, started processing highly-enriched uranium in the United States in 1959. NUMEC had been created by David Lowenthal, a Zionist financier who financed the postwar boatlift from Europe to Palestine that was romanticized in the book and movie Exodus. He hired Zalman Shapiro, a brilliant young metallurgist, to run the company. At that time, the U.S. government owned all of the supplies of nuclear fuel, which private companies, like NUMEC, were allowed to use, but ultimately had to return to the government. Within a few years, the Atomic Energy Commission noticed worrisome signs that the Apollo Plant—NUMEC had a plant in Apollo, Pennsylvania—that the plant’s security and accounting were very deficient. Unexplained losses of nuclear material did happen at other companies, but NUMEC’s losses were proportionately much larger. By October 1965, the AEC estimated that 178 kilograms of highly-enriched uranium had gone missing from the NUMEC facility. By March 1968, that figure was 267 kilograms. (Advertisement)

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John Hadden was the CIA station chief in Israel from 1964 to 1967. He worked very closely with Angleton throughout this period. He would later concur with the near unanimous assessment of the CIA’s nuclear scientists that Israel had indeed stolen fissile material from NUMEC and used it to build their nuclear arsenal. This story is now very well documented. In the spring of 1965, a technician working on the night shift at NUMEC went out on a loading dock for a breath of fresh air, and saw an unusual sight. Zalman Shapiro was pacing on the dock while a foreman and truck driver loaded cylindrical storage containers, known as stovepipes, onto a flatbed truck. The technician saw a clipboard saying that the material was destined for Israel. It was highly unusual to see Dr. Shapiro in the manufacturing section of the Apollo nuclear facility, the technician said. It was unusual to see Dr. Shapiro there at night, and it was very unusual to see Dr. Shapiro so nervous. The next day, NUMEC’s personnel manager visited the technician and threatened to fire him if he did not keep his mouth shut—that’s a quote—concerning what he had seen. It would be 15 years before the employee told the story to the FBI. What did Angleton know about NUMEC? Well, he knew that the AEC and the FBI were investigating starting in 1965. As the Israel desk officer at the CIA, he talked about the NUMEC case with liaison agent Sam Papich, who was monitoring the investigation for the FBI. He also spoke about it with his colleague John Hadden. On the crime scene particulars, Hadden defended his former boss. “Any suggestion that Angleton had helped the Israelis with the NUMEC operation was totally without foundation,” he told journalists Andrew and Leslie Cockburn. But Hadden didn’t deny that Angleton had helped the Israeli nuclear program. Why would somebody whose whole life was dedicated to fighting communism have any interest in preventing a very anti-communist nation from getting the means to defend itself? Hadden asked. The fact they stole it from us didn’t worry him in the least, he went on. I suspect that in his inmost heart he would have given it to them if they had asked. Hadden knew better than to investigate any further. “I never sent anything to Angleton on this—the nuclear program—because I knew he wasn’t interested,” Hadden later told his son, “and I knew he’d try to stop it if I did.” With the fissile material diverted from NUMEC, Israel was able to construct its first nuclear weapon by 1967 and become a full-blown nuclear power by 1970—the first, and still the only, nuclear power in the Middle East. Angleton, it is fair to say, thought collaboration with Israel was more important than U.S. nonproliferation policy. He believed that the

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results proved his point. When he started as chief of the counterintelligence staff in 1954, the state of Israel and its leaders were regarded warily in Washington—especially at the State Department. When Angleton left government service 20 years later, Israel held twice as much territory as it had in 1948, the CIA and Mossad collaborated on a daily basis, and the governments of the United States and Israel were strategic allies knit together by expansive intelligence sharing, multibillion-dollar arms contracts and coordinated diplomacy. Angleton’s influence on U.S.-Israeli relations between 1951 and 1974 exceeded that of any secretary of state, with the possible exception of Henry Kissinger. His influence was largely unseen by Congress, the press, other democratic institutions, and much of the CIA itself. He was empowered by his own ingenuity and the clandestine arrangements rationalized by doctrines of national security and counterintelligence. The arc of his career breathes life into the concept of the deep state.

I thought of this story when I visited one of the memorials to Angleton in Israel in 2016. The memorial is located on a winding road outside the city of Mevaseret Zion, which is now really a suburb of Jerusalem. Historically, control of this high ground has been seen as key to the control of Jerusalem and of Palestine itself. The nearby ruins of a castle built by 12thcentury Christian crusaders for exactly that purpose stand in mute testimony to the importance of its strategic location. The Angleton memorial consists of a pedestal of stones topped with a black plaque. To James Angleton, a friend, it says. This plaque was dedicated in 1987, a few months after Angleton died, and it has been maintained by his Israeli friends ever since. It’s still in perfect condition. The location is no accident. In the course of his extraordinary career, Angleton, more than any other American, enabled the [Israelis] to gain and hold this strategic high ground in the Middle East. He was, as his friend Meir Amit said, the biggest Zionist of the lot. Thank you. ■

Is the U.S.Ramping up its Military Presence in Syria and Preparing to Attack Iran for Israel? Col. Lawrence Wilkerson

of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA and he’s working on a book about the first George Bush administration. Welcome. Lawrence Wilkerson: Thank you. Thank you all for being here. I’m the last speaker. I get that dis tinction. If this were a military audience, I’d ask you to stand up and do five minutes of calisthenics just to make sure you don’t doze off. I have to identify myself with the remarks that were just made. Over some 400 students, graduate and undergraduate, and 12 years on two university campuses and six years with about 1,000 students at two of the nation’s most prestigious war colleges, we have determined, although it would be probably difficult to prove—and that’s the reason we have covert PHOTO PHIL PASQUINI

Delinda C. Hanley: Col. Lawrence Wilkerson is up next, and his bio is incredibly long. He has a lot to talk about, so I’m going to shorten it. He is going to talk about: “Is the U.S. Ramping up its Military Presence in Syria and Preparing to Attack Iran for Israel?” His last position in the government was as Secretary of State Colin Powell’s chief of staff from 2002 to 2005. Before serving at the State Department, Wilkerson served 31 years in the U.S. Army. He retired from active service in 1997 as a colonel and has taught national security affairs in the Honors Program at George Washington University. He’s currently a distinguished visiting professor of government and public policy at the College

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operations—that Lyndon Johnson not only knew the gory details of the Israeli attack on USS Liberty in the Eastern Mediterranean, he also knew about what was just told you. That’s to say he knew the uranium was being diverted, he knew Israel was building a bomb, and he chose not to do anything about it. That’s not my subject today, although I could talk on that sort of thing forever, as I’m sure Jefferson could too. These days, I believe one gets the best insights into Israeli security policy, and perhaps even into Israeli policy writ large—which you’ve heard a lot about today—from a Russian émigré to Israel, a former foreign minister, now its defense minister: Avigdor Lieberman. Whether he is calling Arab members of the Knesset war criminals, or declaring that Jewish people should leave France, or claiming that the next military action against Hamas in Gaza will be the last, or contradicting his own military chief by denying there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, or stating categorically that the IDF will stop at nothing in order to win—reminding me a great deal of Dick Cheney—Lieberman is the living face of Bibi Netanyahu’s Zionist policies. I sometimes think he would have rather remained in Russia, so long as it was the Soviet Union and so long as he was in a significant position of power there. In addition to reminding me of Cheney, he is reminiscent of, and indeed might well be a latent version of, Joseph Stalin. As an aside, it is intriguing, and I think well outside the usual conspiracy theory, to consider whether or not Lieberman, as has been intimated of our own President Trump, might be an NKUD, GRU, KGB, FSB, you-name-it, plant—that is, an agent of Vladimir Putin. He has more or less forged most of the one million Russian émigrés since 1991 into a formidable political force, forming the political party that has more than once played kingmaker in the Israeli political scene. What a strategic coup for Vladimir—the master chess player in the world today, in my estimation, while everyone else plays a really lousy game of checkers. It would be quite a coup for him. Of far more concern at the moment—and readily provable, unlike what I just said—Lieberman exemplifies where Israel is 68

headed: toward a massive confrontation with the various powers arrayed against it, a confrontation that will suck America in, and perhaps terminate the experiment that is Israel, and do irreparable damage to the empire that America has become. Lieberman will speak in April in New York City at the annual conference of The Jerusalem Post. The title is “The New War with Iran.” It is clear that he’s in the forefront of promoting this war. Nowhere does my concern about such a war focus more acutely at the moment than in Syria. As president of France Emmanuel Macron described it recently, “The current rhetoric of the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Israel is pushing the region toward conflict with Iran.” In that triad, no state is doing that more than Israel. Listen to Netanyahu in January at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem: “The greatest danger that we face of hatred for the Jewish people and the Jewish state comes from Iran. It comes from the ayatollah regime that is fanning the flames of anti-Semitism.” This anti-Semitism bit, of course, as we’ve heard today, is almost always a weapon of choice for Israeli politicians under stress, hurled, in this case, at the country whose Jewish population—by the way, the largest in the Middle East outside Turkey and Israel—lives in Iran in reasonable peace. And don’t forget that these words were uttered by the man who is, as we’ve heard here today briefly, doing everything he can to expel dark-skinned African refugees, largely from Eritrea and the Sudan, from Israel, where most have come as legitimate refugees. President Trump’s wall on the Mexican border is nothing compared to Bibi’s actual policies. More recently, Bibi’s performance at the Munich Security Conference bordered on the infantile—and yet was effective when you think about the audience to whom he’s speaking— as he held aloft an alleged piece of an alleged Iranian drone and asked Minister [Javad] Zarif if he recognized it. Of course, Mr. Zarif later took his occasion at the microphone to characterize Netanyahu’s performances like that of a circus clown—a pretty good characterization, as a matter of fact. But I like the comment of Lebanon’s defense minister even better. It went to the point. He said that he had an Israeli drone over his head virtually 24/7. That comment put the hypocrite that Netanyahu is in the right perspective. Of late, of course, Tel Aviv is increasingly using Iran’s presence in Syria, its support for President Bashar al-Assad and its alleged drive—and I love this one, my military comrades love it too—for a Shi’i corridor from Tehran to Aden as the hoary beast that must not be at any cost—including, of course, American treasure and lives—as his probable cause and existential prompt for action. That Israel has in support such disparate figures as Nikki Haley at the United Nations, Jim Mattis at the Pentagon, Rex Tillerson at State, as well as the usual suspects from outside the world of warmed-over neoconservatives, is indicative of such policy. But it’s not just the usual suspects from the world of neocons—about whom I know quite a bit, having experienced them in 2001 and 2002 and 2003. Take, for example, my fel-

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low South Carolinian, [Sen.] Lindsey Graham, speaking four days ago after a breathless trip to Israel. A bipartisan trip, he called it. I don’t know how anybody could use that term. I caution—don’t laugh, because Lindsey was serious, I think—but anything bipartisan with regard to Israel, I call it unanimity, call it absolute unanimity, anything but bipartisan. In fact, the proper words are probably overwhelming and unprecedented unanimity. In fact, it’s the only issue that does unify the United States Congress, other than mom and apple pie. But Graham had this to say: “Any time you leave a meeting where the request is ammunition, ammunition, ammunition, that’s probably not good.” That’s Lindsey. I know Lindsey well. “This was the most unnerving trip I’ve had in a while,” he said breathlessly again. Graham went on to assert, “When they tell you, ‘we want help to deal with the blowback that might come from attacks on civilian targets where Hezbollah has integrated military capability…,’ that was so striking. That was striking.” Then Sen. [Chris] Coons, who up until this time I’ve had some respect for, a fairly sane and sober senator from Delaware, reported that, “The tempo in terms of potential for conflict in Syria has gone up astronomically. The technologies Iran is projecting into Syria and southern Lebanon has gone up. Iran’s willingness to be provocative, to push the edges of the envelope to challenge Israel has gone up.” Coons reported this almost as breathlessly as Lindsey. With the highest tech nation on earth in Syria—the United States of America— that is all Coons could derive from his visit: that the country [Iran] that spends less than 1 percent of what the U.S. spends on its national security has introduced new technologies in Syria. Technologies that threaten the country Israel, to whom the U.S. bounty is limitless? This is Joseph Goebbels territory. Karl Rove is envious. The Foundation for Defense of Democracies, as the heir to the Project for the New American Century, Bill Kristol’s Iraq-bound think tank, leads that pack of wolves disguised as warmed-over neocons, lavishly funded by the likes of Paul Singer. It has even spawned the Institute for the Study of War. A fascinating Orwellian title if there ever was one. It should be the Institute for War. I’ve been asked, “Why is it that you ascribe to FDD and now the ISW such nefarious motives?” I was asked this by the New York Times’ editorial staff when they published my op-ed on Iran a few days ago. My answer is simple: because that is precisely what FDD is attempting to do. Just as Douglas Feith, undersecretary of defense for policy, Office of Special Plans, did in 2002 and 2003 for Richard Bruce Cheney to lead us into war with Iraq. I’ve been there, done that. I don’t need the tour. The salient question, though—why do you believe that America is headed for a struggle with Iran?—needs an answer. Certainly, America’s unquestioning support is required,

as has been the case from George W. Bush, to Barack Obama, to the rapture-seeking Mike Pence, and the Tweeterin-Chief Donald Trump. But it seems that recently Lieberman and Netanyahu and their acolytes in this country, amongst which I put up at the top Nikki Haley, have determined that it would be best if American troops also participated in the overthrow of the Tehran regime. From one point of view, I suppose this is understandable— the crassly opportunistic point of view: that is, that it’s better to squander your own allies’ blood and treasure than your own. But it’s certainly not in the character that I’m used to with regard to the state of Israel, and certainly not with regard to the Israel Defense Forces. That that force could handle anything Iran threw at it militarily is undeniable. Any military professional will tell you that. And that Israel’s more than 200 nuclear warheads could decimate Iran is equally undeniable. So, why this attempt to suck America into this conflict? I believe the answer is fairly clear once you push aside the cobwebs that surround it. The legitimacy of great power is what I call it, and that is precisely what Netanyahu and Lieberman desire. It’s also what Riyadh desires, especially with the new boy king, Mohammad bin Salman, now an erstwhile ally of Israel. In short, the IDF could defend Israel, but it could not attack Iran—not successfully, anyway. It would be damned internationally as well. Thus, isolated even more than it already is today, perhaps devastatingly so. But America is already damned by well more than half the world—a poll showed at least 4 billion people think we’re the number one threat to their security in the world. Think about that for a minute. We’ve already done Iraq, Libya and Syria, Afghanistan. We’d just be seen as continuing the trend. Besides, America has the military capacity—and here’s the long pole in the tent—to project the power needed to unseat swiftly the regime in Tehran. Swiftly in terms of Saddam Hussain, for example, not swiftly in terms of taking care of 75 million people post-hostilities, each one of which, in a very rugged and strategically deep terrain, would want to kill every damn American in the country, along with probably half the rest of the millions of Arabs also in the area. So there’s more than one significant hang up that I see with this strategy that Netanyahu and Lieberman are pushing. Embroiled in his own legal problems that just might send him to jail—as such problems would likely have sent Arik [Ariel] Sharon to jail had he not been in really bad shape at the end of his prime ministership—Netanyahu might welcome a war. But it’s a war he cannot consummate. For that he needs the United States. They will use Iran’s presence in Syria, an allegedly existential threat to Israel—which is becoming even more so, from a military perspective, every day; Hezbollah’s accumulation of

I fear we might

have the stirrings of 1914.

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some 150,000 missiles, if we believe our intelligence agencies; and the need to set Lebanon’s economy back yet again. That last is important. Look at what they’re deliberating right now with regard to the new, very, very rich gas find in the Eastern Mediterranean, with Israel claiming Section 9 and Lebanon claiming Section 9. Take that, Lebanon. We’re going to bomb you, then you’ll let us have it. And that will be their excuse. We’re looking at them taking on—and this is a point that all military people understand—a country [Iran] that couldn’t beat Iraq in eight years of brutal bloody war, an Iraq that we beat in 19 days. So this is the “colossal threat” that they’re up against, and men such as H.R. McMaster are helping them. The much heralded author of Dereliction of Duty—a great title—and a man who knows about as much about Iran as I do about the 8th planet in the 95th solar system in the 50th galaxy past our own. Here’s a hope I have: Let’s hope that the chess master-inchief, old Vladimir Putin, who ruins elections from Paris to Peoria, is smart enough to once again not let this happen. I fear he will not be, and we might have the stirrings of 1914, as utterly stupid as we now know those stirrings to have been. People to whom I mention such possibilities, people who are critically analytical and normally fairly sound in their thinking, respond that, well, don’t you consider that sort of dreary prognosis a little bit overdrawn? My rejoinder is usually something a bit too clever, perhaps, but along these lines: don’t you think a number of people said that in the summer of 1914? Ah, they respond, but have we not learned so much since then? I’ll let you be the judge of that, and inform you only that, in my considered view, we have learned very little, and there are the ingredients right now for Turkey, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Saudi

Arabia—losing dramatically in Yemen right now—and the United States and Russia at the peak of all of this, to get engaged, a very distinct possibility. I looked at this from the perspective of the political parameters: what is it that we’re confronting today in this country? This took me down an entirely different path as I tried to figure out just how this team of McMaster, Tillerson, Kelly, et al., and Trump at the top of it, will face this sort of decision-making process. The only place I could find that remotely resembled where we are today in our past was the period 1850 to 1860. So about six months ago I started reading as voraciously as I could on that period. I had done some reading in the past, but I needed to really do a lot more. It is stunning, the similarities between that period and now, particularly in the political situation, where one side of the country wouldn’t talk to the other side of the country and vice versa. In my reading about that period, I was struck by some of the comments that were made by the political participants. In fact, some of today’s political commentary resembles eerily those past comments, particularly those that were made by politicians from my region, the states that would comprise the Confederacy in our Civil War—my state fired on Fort Sumter, after all, back in those days. If that is the sort of political situation in which this government will do its national security decision-making, then we are in deeper trouble than even the prospects of a regionwide, and perhaps even bigger, war in the Middle East portend. The country that will have started it all—the relationship, unbalanced as it is, that will have made it possible—is Israel. That’s the danger we face. ■

Delinda C. Hanley: You were supposed to give us some hope. What happened to that? Okay. We are running out of time, but we do have a lot of questions. “Is Mossad actively operating in U.S. institutions versus the power of AIPAC and the charitable Israeli institutions?” Jefferson Morley: It’s a good question, and I don’t exactly know the answer. But my sense is that AIPAC is an effective enough organization that the Mossad doesn’t have to do its work there. It can confine itself to the usual intelligence tasks. There is a lot of concern in the CIA about the possibility of Israeli spying on the CIA. There are factions within the CIA that have different views about Israel. But my sense is that it’s not the Mossad that does the Israeli government’s work in Washington. It’s AIPAC. Delinda C. Hanley: This is for Col. Wilkerson: “What could and would Iran do in response to an attack?” Lawrence Wilkerson: This has been war-gamed ad nauseam, almost, by the U.S. military. There are a number of differ-

ent scenarios. There’s one where the U.S. round-the-clock three-carrier battle groups bombing does so much damage that Iran is, as you might well imagine, pretty shocked in those 14 to 21 days of bombing—much the way you saw Saddam Hussain in the first Gulf war. Then Iran comes out from the dust, so to speak, counts its casualties, mans its hospitals and so forth, and essentially goes into guerrilla war. That means if we want to do anything other than just bomb them, which is simply going to drive their nuclear program underground and speed it up— they’ll coordinate with the North Koreans, they’ll have a nuclear weapon in 18 months—and then watch us hesitate to invade, because that’s what they know they’ll be doing by building that weapon. We’ll have forced them to make that decision. Then, if we follow the bombing with invasion later, we’re going to be confronting a country that is huge and in possession of nuclear weapons. If, on the other hand, we invade immediately, following the bombing, we will still have a very dicey situation. I’ve done the

Questions & Answers

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war planning for it when we were planning in the ’80s for the Russians to break out of Afghanistan and come on down to Chabahar and Bandar Abbas—the two ports, the warm water ports. We actually thought that was a possibility. We didn’t think the Russians came into Af ghan istan to just be in Afghanistan. Then, of course, they got bogged down there and couldn’t come, even had they wanted to. But Iran is a tough country. So either way, an immediate invasion is going to take $5 trillion or $6 trillion and 10 years of occupation to even begin to say that we’re in control of the country and have eliminated their nuclear program. Look at Iraq. It’s roughly one-fourth the size of Iran. An invasion of Iran is going to probably put red bull’s eyes on the back of every soldier and Marine in the country, red bull’s eyes that every terrorist group will flock to engage. Delinda C. Hanley: “Any thoughts on Jared Kushner as an intelligence effort?” Then there’s another one, the same. All these questions I want to know your answers. “Any thoughts on assistance Israel might have generated to the Trump campaign? Any thoughts on Israel’s large purchases of U.S. stocks possibly to prop up the market?” Jefferson Morley: I don’t know anything about that last question. Jared Kushner is so incompetent that it doesn’t look like the work of any professional intelligence organization, what he’s doing. The man is deeply in debt and desperately trying to figure out a way to get out of it. So while he’s very close to the Israelis, and using Israeli contacts and Qatar and Saudi Arabia to solve his financial problems, I don’t really see intelligence agencies being involved in that. I don’t know why they would want to get involved in that. Delinda C. Hanley: For Col. Wilkerson: “How far do you think Russia will go in helping, on the side of Syria, Iran, et cetera, in the Syrian conflict?” How much further, I guess. Lawrence Wilkerson: The difficulty there is the imponderable. As [Helmuth] von Moltke pointed out, no plan outlasts the first bomb being dropped. Once you start killing Russians, once you start shooting Su-27s down and they start shooting the F-16s, F-15s and F-22s down, you have a whole different dimension. You’ve got a real problem. In controlling that, escalation theory says you’re probably not going to be able to control that. So that’s what really worries me. Now, that having been said, Putin realizes that. Putin has shown that he knows he doesn’t have a lot of assets behind him compared to the assets that the United States could bring to bear where it’s serious. So he’s been very careful about the way he moves in the gaps, exploits them, moves back and so forth. He’s getting ready to do it in Kosovo right now. Mitrovica,

the northern province, is being infiltrated by the Serbs. Watch that. McMaster and others aren’t even aware it’s happening. But Putin’s very smart. So the thing that ought to be happening right now is that the United States and Moscow, despite all this mess that’s been created between us, ought to be cooperating to bring the two parties that really need to talk—Riyadh and Tehran—and get them to deal with their problems diplomatically, and then turn that diplomatic success on to the Syrian conflict, which is being fueled principally by Saudi money, with Prince Bandar in charge. Delinda C. Hanley: Here is a question for you, Mr. Morley: “How important was the cooperation between CIA and Mossad in places like Central America and Zaire?” Jefferson Morley: Well, in the case of Central America, in the 1980s, there was a significant Israeli role. The Reagan administration—barred from military aid to the counterrevolutionary forces in Nicaragua, restricted in aid—the other military regimes turned to outside actors—their own aid network—but also to the Israelis to ship arms and ship money. It was never clear to me whether it was a formal Israeli intelligence operation or whether these were sort of Israeli contractors who were simply allowed to operate in the region. But the CIA and the Reagan administration relied on them quite a bit for what they called counterterrorism work—for shipping arms and expertise into the region in order to prevail in the civil war. So in that time the Israeli role was definitely significant. I am not well informed about the CIA and Mossad role in Zaire, so I can’t really comment on that. Delinda C. Hanley: We have three minutes left, I think. This is not a fun question to end the conference with: “Based on the incredible increasing trend of impunity among aggressive military action, like in the Levant, and genocidal warfare, what stops Israel from launching a similar final solution to the Palestinian people?” Lawrence Wilkerson: You want me to take on that? Delinda C. Hanley: Either one of you. Lawrence Wilkerson: At this point, I don’t think Lieberman or Netanyahu or any of the more ultra-right-wing characters in the Zionist political movement—Israeli government, whatever we want to call it—are suicidal. I don’t think they’re that fatalistic, either. I think they really think they can wind up—or some subsequent prime minister can wind up—with Jordan, with probably pieces of Syria, certainly the Golan, and Israel can be Greater Israel. They’re willing to back off from some of that as powers interpose themselves and give them a problem with that.

My sense is that it’s not the Mossad that does the Israeli government’s work in Washington. It’s AIPAC.

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But they want a Greater Israel for a number of reasons—security reasons, you know, the old biblical prophecies, and so forth. So I think they’re going to try to keep this in the air to start with. You’re going to see some bombing. I think you’re going to see, in the next six months, they’re going to take Lebanon on. They’re going to take Hezbollah on in Syria and Lebanon. When that doesn’t work—or when Hezbollah presents them, as they did in July 2006, with some new options in terms of what Hezbollah can do to them, and maybe even the Lebanese Armed Forces do, too—it might get tricky. Then there might be armored formations, ground units, infantry and so forth. That’s when the door opens for general conflict. There is a question asked, too, about the base. [In Sept. 2017 the U.S. opened Mashabim Air Base near Dimona, Israel.] Here’s why I think we put the base there: because the last time I spoke here [in 2016], I said we didn’t have any hard power in Israel—so the Pentagon responded and put the base there! (I’m joking.) We put the base there for the same reason we have tripwire forces in other places. We put the base there so that there can be no question in the minds of the American people when the president directs U.S. forces into Israel equipped to go into Syria—because we will have been attacked. The disposition of that base is that it’s just sitting on an Israeli air base, and we put the Stars and Stripes up and declared it a U.S. air base. It’s four Patriot batteries, as far as I know. But it’s there, and it’s U.S. territory. So when missiles start flying or—God forbid—the IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] actually tries to put guerrillas into Israel proper, then we are being attacked, too. So when we go to Congress, if Trump feels like he has to go to Congress—he isn’t going to have to, probably—Congress is going to be demanding that the president take action. Delinda C. Hanley: Well, that’s a very sobering end here. Okay. Another question? We are out of time, but one more. “What are the possibilities of a 9/11 Mossad op-type strike to propel us into Iran like it did in Iraq?” I don’t know who wants to take that. Lawrence Wilkerson: I think we’ve got the adequate ingredients right now. We have about 3,200 troops in Syria. You’ve got Secretary Mattis and Secretary Tillerson both saying we’re staying there because we need to confront the Iranian elements that are trying to establish this corridor and are too close to Israel. You’ve got the president of United States contradicting them and saying, no, when we’re done with ISIS

we’re leaving. Of course, that’s an ambiguity. When are you done with ISIS? You could say you’re never going to be done with ISIS, not completely. The policy is not clear right now, but there are all the ingredients in place, including Russian-U.S. aircraft being deconflicted on an hourly basis by direct communications. You’ve got all the ingredients for a wider war and for a “bang” moment [snapping fingers], like that, that suddenly becomes much bigger instantly—you’ve got the same thing in the South China Sea when the Chinese sink a U.S. aircraft carrier. What are the American people going to do when 5,000 souls and $14 billion is on the bottom of the ocean? Because the Chinese are going to sink a U.S. aircraft carrier, I guarantee you. What are we going to do? Is it going to be over Taiwan? Are we then going to defend Taiwan? Probably not—most Americans will probably get anxious about that. But this is what we’re courting in the world now, at a time when our power has been dramatically reduced from what it was in 1945, and we don’t recognize that. We simply don’t recognize that— too many enemies. Delinda C. Hanley: I think we will end this panel at this point. Thank you so much. You have depressed us beyond words. ■

Anything bipartisan with regard to Israel, I call it unanimity, absolute unanimity, anything but bipartisan.

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Closing Remarks Delinda C. Hanley and Grant F. Smith

Delinda C. Hanley: Once a year, supporters of AIPAC come together for, as Gideon Levy said, a “drug dealers” conference at the Washington Convention Center, to press for more money and wars in the Middle East. This week we’ll see a steady stream of American and Israeli legislators portray Israel as a morally upright David taking on an evil Goliath, and they’ll proudly exchange promises of unconditional support and more U.S. taxpayers’ money. Once a year for the past five years, this Israel Lobby conference has gathered experts to provide an alternative point of view. At last year’s conference, Prof. John Mearsheimer described the Israel lobby as just another powerful interest group, like the National Rifle Association, the pharmaceutical lobby, or the AARP. He says it operates pretty much the same way as those other interest groups do. This lobby, like quite a

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Closing Remarks

few others, Mearsheimer and today’s speakers agreed, has pushed policies that are neither in Israel’s nor America’s national interests. Growing numbers of Americans, especially young people, are questioning the corrupting role of lobbies on our political system—lobbies that donate millions to congressional campaigns and spend millions more on national political advertising. Kids want to make the world a better and safer place. They’re frustrated by adults who accept the status quo and say it’s too hard to get legislators to change their mind on immigration, civil rights, guns, health care, endless wars, and occupation. Kids are telling leaders who take lobby money that their time is up. One of the Israel lobby’s main goals is to prevent an open conversation in the media and among legislators about Israeli policy, the U.S.-Israeli relationship, and the lobby itself. This conference and the speakers we gather each year are sparking the conversations AIPAC doesn’t want us to have. Community leaders, activists, researchers, educators, students and future leaders have spent the day meeting, exchanging ideas, and forming relationships as they map out a new direction for the United States. This open conversation will continue in publications like The Electronic Intifada, Haaretz, +972, Antiwar.com, Mondoweiss, The Link, Middle East Policy, Middle East Report and the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. But all of us need support from you, our readers, to help us inform more Americans about Israeli policies and behavior and our own government’s responsibility. Mearsheimer said that groups that make up the lobby do not agree on every issue. But we’d argue that when AIPAC comes to DC each year, they do present a unified front. This should be our own model, our goal, as we work together to end automatic and unconditional U.S. support for Israel’s occupation of Palestine. Palestinians, like young Ahed Tamimi, deserve no less. Please continue to support the American Educational Trust by subscribing to the Washington Report, which will publish transcripts from this conference in its next edition, and buying books from Middle East Books and More. Thank you to our audience, speakers, donors, advertisers, and exhibitors who made today’s Israel Lobby conference such a success. Thank you to our volunteers, art director Ralph Scherer, and conference organizers Janet McMahon, Dale Sprusansky, Nathaniel Bailey, Charles Carter, Sandra and IRmep’s Grant Smith for the months of work it took to put together this memorable day. Grant F. Smith: So I too, like Delinda, wanted to thank our many, many financial backers for this conference. Like Ali Abunimah said, it’s the effort of many of you—particularly purchasing tickets, providing extra donations, maybe more than one, at all levels, $10, $100, $1,000 or more. One person sends faithfully $20 wrapped in paper every year, so that’s wonderful. I also want to say that today is a great day, full of insight and exchange. You made it happen. I want to thank the speakers.

They went through a lot to be here today. They traveled. They do incredible work. This event involves sacrifices, time away. We appreciate what they did to be here. We had excellent exhibitors this year. I hope that you managed to go and see all of them. I’m not going to list all of them. There were many in the exhibition hall. Hopefully, you carried away something from them that expands your knowledge with a bit of new history or something about culture you didn’t understand. I have to thank the co-organizer, the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. They have owned this issue for 36 years, so they deserve a lot of credit for this conference. Today, with intensified attention on lobbying organizations, it’s well warranted. Sometimes, nonprofit corporations can distill the very worst inclinations of their biggest fringe extremists and donors and inflict actions harming millions of others. It happens. And so focusing on these nonprofit corporate lobbies really takes the focus off individuals. It really puts it on corrupt practices—and nonprofit corporations can be de-chartered just like they can be chartered, so they make a very good focus of opposition. I want to encourage everybody to pay attention to what happens at AIPAC this weekend. It’s easy to lump them into a fuzzier agenda of the military industrial complex or U.S. empire, but they deserve their own spotlight at this point. It’s a mistake, it’s easy, to work on other things instead of challenging the lobby directly. They file lawsuits, we can file lawsuits. They call out politicians, we can call out politicians, too, especially bureaucrats who’ve been captured and inserted into positions that they have no qualifications whatsoever occupying within government. So this is needed, this focus is very needed. The lobby, as I mentioned this morning, has an agenda that is harming this country more than ever before. There are many activists gathered here. Not all of you are activists, but some who are really give me a great deal of hope. You have a commitment to human rights. You have a commitment to redressing past wrongs, exposing corruption, educating those of us who don’t know about these issues, and spreading unbiased reporting once again from Haaretz, Ali Abunimah’s Electronic Intifada on unpopular topics. So your defiance is needed, and your unwillingness to swallow carefully crafted dialtested Frank Luntz-ian narratives that come out is important. You’re really forming a backbone to this country, so you give me hope. You create hope, and keep doing what you’re doing. Now to say it one more time, we’ve said this five years running, the single most important part of this whole conference has nothing to do with what happens up here. It has to do with what happens out there. You have a chance now to meet people that represent organizations that you’re not going to see back home. So I strongly recommend that you get to know the speakers, many of whom have continued to make themselves available, and really get to know each other, because although you’re traveling very different circumstances in some cases, you can really unite under some common purposes that have been expressed today. So thank you for coming and let’s have that networking reception! ■ May 2018

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Election Watch

From the Gun Lobby to the Israel Lobby: Will Americans Make the Connection?

“S

By Janet McMahon

ince Columbine in 1999, there OP EN AND AREER ECIPIENTS OF have been 25 RO SRAEL UNDS fatal, active school shooting incidents at elementary and Compiled by Hugh Galford high schools in America,” Fox HOUSE: CURRENT RACES SENATE: CURRENT RACES News host Shep Smith told his audience on Feb. 14, Royce, Edward R. (R-CA) $26,950 Casey, Robert P., Jr. (D-PA) $54,000 2018. That was the day of the Deutch, Theodore E. (D-FL) 23,200 Manchin, Joe, III (D-WV) 49,900 25th shooting, at Marjory Roskam, Peter (R-IL) 22,200 Fischer, Debra S. (R-NE) 37,700 Zeldin, Lee M. (R-NY) 20,000 Menendez, Robert (D-NJ) 35,012 Stoneman Douglas High Curbelo, Carlos (R-FL) 18,500 Sinema, Kyrsten (D-AZ) 33,750 School in Parkland, Florida. Lamborn, Douglas (R-CO) 17,500 O’Rourke, Robert (Beto) (D-TX) 25,410 This time, however, the Schneider, Bradley S. (D-IL) 16,250 Cardin, Benjamin L. (D-MD) 23,700 students who survived that Hoyer, Steny (D-MD) 16,000 Wicker, Roger F. (R-MS) 23,400 Kohl, Dan (D-WI) 15,350 King, Angus S., Jr. (Ind-ME) 21,270 horrific tragedy reacted by Lowey, Nita M. (D-NY) 11,500 Nelson, Bill (D-FL) 19,500 calling out a powerful AmeriTester, Jon (D-MT) 19,500 can lobby. In the words of Emma Gonzalez at a rally in HOUSE: CAREER SENATE: CAREER Fort Lauderdale three days Engel, Eliot L. (D-NY) $409,418 McConnell, Mitch (R-KY) $592,392 later: “To every politician who Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana (R-FL) 348,740 Durbin, Richard J. (D-IL) 403,421 is taking donations from the Hoyer, Steny (D-MD) 320,025 Wyden, Ronald L. (D-OR) 366,962 NRA, shame on you.” Lowey, Nita M. (D-NY) 258,623 McCain, John S. (R-AZ) 265,693 Royce, Edward R. (R-CA) 157,857 Menendez, Robert (D-NJ) 250,330 These Americans not yet Pelosi, Nancy (D-CA) 149,150 Murray, Patty (D-WA) 225,523 old enough to vote themDeutch, Theodore E. (D-FL) 140,250 Nelson, Bill (D-FL) 204,871 selves put their fingers on the Levin, Sander M. (D-MI) 136,827 Shelby, Richard C. (R-AL) 201,825 problem: a Congress that is Hastings, Alcee L. (D-FL) 125,550 Grassley, Charles E. (R-IA) 193,523 Sherman, Brad (D-CA) 124,630 Stabenow, Debbie (D-MI) 184,206 beholden to the wishes of organized lobbies, rather than to the constituents they were elected to represent. mestic needs of these very same Americans are ignored. Gonzalez and her fellow students, however, are mad as hell Israel most recently used this military aid to kill at least 17 and are not going to take it any more. “When we've had our Palestinians and wound hundreds more as they rebelled say with the government,” she emphasized, “and maybe the against their besieged existence. As a headline in the March 31 adults have gotten used to saying ‘it is what it is,’ but if us stuWashington Post read: “‘I don’t want this life’: 30,000 protest in dents have learned anything, it's that if you don't study, you Gaza.” Responding to an audience member’s question at the will fail. And in this case if you actively do nothing, people conMarch 2 Israel Lobby and American Policy conference, Israeli tinually end up dead, so it's time to start doing something.” journalist Gideon Levy said: “Could [the Israeli occupation] conIn the case of the Israel lobby spearheaded by the American tinue without the United States? Not even for a few months.” Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the dead include not The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students who only thousands of Palestinian civilians, but American soldiers spoke at the March for Our Lives rally in Washington, DC on sent off to fight the countries on Israel’s enemies list. MeanMarch 24 also inspired Americans not to simply say, “it is what while, for the next 10 years, at least $3.8 billion a year in it is.” Vowed Delaney Tarr: “If they continue to ignore us, to American taxpayers’ dollars will be spent on military aid for a only pretend to listen, then we will take action where it counts. nuclear-armed country that attacks its neighbors and refuses We will take action every day in every way until they simply to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty—as the many docannot ignore us any more.” “Politicians, either represent the people or get out,” warned Cameron Kasky. “Stand for us or beware: The voters are comJanet McMahon is managing editor of the Washington Report on ing.” ■ Middle East Affairs. 74

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PRO-ISRAEL PAC CONTRIBUTIONS TO 2018 CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES State Alabama

Arizona

California

Colorado

Connecticut Delaware Florida

Office District S S S H H S S S H H S H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H S H H H S H S S S H H H H H H

5 6 3 8

2 3 5 7 9 11 13 14 18 19 26 27 28 29 30 31 33 38 39 41 47 53

1 5 7

5

6 7 9 10 13 18

Candidate

Jones, Doug† Moore, Roy† Strange, Luther J., III† Brooks, Mo Palmer, Gary Flake, Jeff* Sinema, Kyrsten*# Ward, Kelli* Grijalva, Raul M. Franks, Trent Feinstein, Dianne* Huffman, Jared Garamendi, John Thompson, Mike Bera, Amerish McNerney, Jerry DeSaulnier, Mark Lee, Barbara Speier, Jackie Eshoo, Anna G. Lofgren, Zoe Brownley, Julia Chu, Judy Schiff, Adam Cardenas, Tony Sherman, Brad Aguilar, Pete Waxman, Henry A. Sanchez, Linda Royce, Edward R. Takano, Mark Lowenthal, Alan Davis, Susan A. Bennet, Michael F. DeGette, Diana L. Lamborn, Douglas Perlmutter, Edwin G. Murphy, Christopher S.* Esty, Elizabeth Carper, Thomas R.* Nelson, Bill* Rubio, Marco DeSantis, Ronald D. Murphy, Stephanie Soto, Darren Demings, Valdez (Val) Crist, Charlie J. Mast, Brian

Party D R R R R R D R D R D D D D D D D D D D D D D D D D D D D R D D D D D R D D D D D R R D D D D R

Status I N P I I N O O I N I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I N I N I I I I I I I I N I I I N I I I I I

2017-2018 Contributions 2,500 1,000 17,500 1,500 500 5,000 33,750 500 1,000 2,000 2,000 2,000 1,000 2,000 50 1,000 2,000 100 2,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 6,000 2,500 2,000 350 3,248 2,000 26,950 500 2,000 2,000 1,500 1,000 17,500 1,000 17,375 1,000 2,500 19,500 1,000 5,000 1,000 5,000 500 5,500 3,000

Career

2,500 1,000 17,500 4,000 4,000 28,250 48,750 500 18,550 12,100 159,342 13,500 21,500 16,500 23,160 34,600 7,010 11,400 13,000 13,760 13,750 24,570 5,500 108,917 16,100 124,630 13,685 87,395 36,950 157,857 9,180 23,200 23,173 55,930 11,510 39,500 14,224 32,375 3,560 62,900 204,871 55,100 8,500 4,000 17,000 3,500 5,500 15,000

Committees HS

AS, FR B FR

A (D), I

AS W FR C

A (FO), B AS, I C

W I C FR A

W FR

AS

C AS

A (FO), FR (NE)

HS AS, C A (FO), FR (NE), I FR (NE) AS

HS

FR (NE)

KEY: The “Career Total” column represents the total amount of pro-Israel PAC money received from Jan. 1, 2009 through Dec. 31, 2017. S=Senate, H=House of Representatives. Party affiliation: D=Democrat, R=Republican, Ref=Reform, DFL=Democratic Farmer Labor, Ind=Independent, Lib=Libertarian, WFP=Working Families Party. Status: C=Challenger, I=Incumbent, N=Not Running, O=Open Seat (no incumbent), P=Defeated in primary election. *=Senate election year, #=House member running for Senate seat, †=Special Election. Committees (at time of election): A=Appropriations (D=Defense subcommittee, FO=Foreign Operations subcommittee, HS=Homeland Security, NS=National Security subcommittee), AS=Armed Services, B=Budget, C=Commerce, FR=Foreign Relations (NE=Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs subcommittee), HS=Homeland Security, I=Intelligence, IR=International Relations, NS=National Security, W=Ways and Means. “–” indicates money returned by candidate, “0” that all money received was returned.

MAY 2018

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State

Office District

H H H H H Georgia H H H H H H Hawaii S Illinois S S H H H H H H H H H H H H H H Indiana S H H Iowa H H Kansas S Kentucky S H H Louisiana H H H H H Maine S S H Maryland S H H H Massachusetts S H H H H H Florida

76

20 21 22 26 27 2 4 5 6 6 12

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 14 16 17 2 7 1 4

3 6 1 2 3 4 6 1

5 7 8

1 2 5 6 7

Candidate

Hastings, Alcee L. Frankel, Lois J. Deutch, Theodore E. Curbelo, Carlos Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana Bishop, Sanford D. Johnson, Henry C. (Hank) Lewis, John R. Handel, Karen Christine† Ossoff, T. Jonathan† Allen, Richard W. Hirono, Mazie K.* Duckworth, L. Tammy Durbin, Richard J. Kelly, Robin Lipinski, Daniel W. Gutierrez, Luis V. Quigley, Mike Roskam, Peter Davis, Danny K. Krishnamoorthi, S. Raja Schakowsky, Janice Schneider, Bradley S. Foster, G. William (Bill) Bost, Michael Hultgren, Randy Kinzinger, Adam Bustos, Cheri Donnelly, Joseph S.* Walorski Swihart, Jackie Carson, Andre Blum, Rodney King, Steve Moran, Jerry McConnell, Mitch Yarmuth, John A. Barr, Garland A. (Andy) Scalise, Steve Richmond, Cedric L. Higgins, Clay Johnson, James Michael Graves, Garret King, Angus S., Jr.* Collins, Susan M. Pingree, Chellie M. Cardin, Benjamin L.* Hoyer, Steny Cummings, Elijah E. Raskin, Jamie Warren, Elizabeth* Neal, Richard E. McGovern, James P. Clark, Katherine Moulton, Seth Capuano, Michael E.

Party D D D R R D D D R D R D D D D D D D R D D D D D R R R D D R D R R R R D R R D R R R Ind R D D D D D D D D D D D

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Status I I I I N I I I I N I I I I I I N I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I

2017-2018 Contributions 5,500 5,000 23,200 18,500 9,000 2,000 2,000 1,250 5,500 1,491 500 2,500 (100) 2,250 1,000 10,200 1,000 3,000 22,200 2,000 2,000 5,400 16,250 (100) 3,200 3,450 1,000 7,250 12,700 10,000 2,000 500 500 1,500 10,000 2,000 3,500 2,700 2,000 750 3,200 2,300 21,270 4,000 1,000 23,700 16,000 2,182 2,000 2,500 2,000 2,150 500 1,000 2,000

Career

125,550 37,800 140,250 59,500 348,740 9,510 52,200 82,500 5,500 1,491 500 14,000 59,104 403,421 6,950 32,800 42,561 22,400 71,732 23,510 2,500 45,545 73,950 28,950 7,200 14,400 23,000 25,110 37,700 23,700 10,110 7,000 500 32,200 592,392 27,020 9,000 50,700 10,500 750 3,200 10,300 38,270 152,900 16,676 172,395 320,025 31,192 5,550 10,000 23,750 20,225 4,615 3,850 16,010

Committees FR (NE) FR (NE) W FR (NE), I A

W

AS C A (D, FO) FR A, I W W

B, C FR (NE) C, FR (NE)

AS W I

A (D, FO), C A (D, FO), I B C HS HS

AS, B, I A (D), I A FR (NE) AS W

A AS, B MAY 2018


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State

Office District

S H 5 H 8 H 12 H 13 H 14 Minnesota S H 4 H 5 H 8 Mississippi S Missouri S H 1 H 7 Montana S H At-L. Nebraska S H 2 Nevada S S S H 4 New Hampshire H 2 New Jersey S S H 3 H 4 H 5 H 6 H 7 H 10 H 12 New Mexico S H 1 H 3 New York S H 1 H 6 H 7 H 9 H 16 H 17 H 20 H 22 H 25 North Carolina H 1 H 4 H 11 H 12 North Dakota S Ohio S S H 4 H 6 H 9 H 14 Michigan

MAY 2018

Candidate

Stabenow, Debbie* Kildee, Daniel T. Slotkin, Elissa Dingell, Debbie Conyers, John, Jr. Lawrence, Brenda Lulenar Klobuchar, Amy* McCollum, Betty Ellison, Keith M. Nolan, Richard M. Wicker, Roger F.* Hawley, Joshua D.* Clay, William L., Jr. (Lacy) Long, Billy Tester, Jon* Quist, Robert E.â&#x20AC; Fischer, Debra S.* Bacon, Donald J. Heller, Dean* Rosen, Jacky*# Cortez Masto, Catherine Kihuen, Ruben Kuster, Ann McLane Menendez, Robert* Booker, Cory A. MacArthur, Thomas Smith, Christopher H. Gottheimer, Josh Pallone, Frank, Jr. Lance, Leonard Payne, Donald M., Jr. Watson Coleman, Bonnie Heinrich, Martin T.* Haaland, Debra Lujan, Ben R. Gillibrand, Kirsten E.* Zeldin, Lee M. Meng, Grace Velazquez, Nydia M. Clarke, Yvette D. Engel, Eliot L. Lowey, Nita M. Tonko, Paul D. Tenney, Claudia Slaughter, Louise Butterfield, George K. Price, David E. Meadows, Mark R. Adams, Alma Shealey Heitkamp, Heidi* Brown, Sherrod* Mandel, Joshua A.* Jordan, James D. Johnson, Bill Kaptur, Marcy C. Joyce, David P.

Party

D D D D D D DFL DFL DFL DFL R R D R D D R R R D D D D D D R R D D R D D D D D D R D D D D D D R D D D R D D D R R R D R

Status I I C I N I I I I N I C I I I N I I I C I N I I I I I I I I I I I O I I I I I I I I I I N I I I I I I N I I I I

2017-2018 Contributions 12,600 1,000 1,000 2,000 2,000 2,000 17,500 1,000 1,000 100 23,400 5,000 2,000 700 19,500 0 37,700 500 10,000 9,000 500 1,000 2,750 35,012 1,000 500 5,000 11,000 3,500 2,000 2,000 500 17,782 250 2,000 2,500 20,000 2,675 6,750 2,000 5,000 11,500 2,000 5,000 1,010 2,000 1,000 1,500 500 7,000 9,060 18,500 1,000 750 2,000 2,500

Career

184,206 35,675 1,000 7,010 17,010 7,000 99,835 18,750 12,110 17,768 89,800 5,000 29,010 18,200 62,724 0 57,200 3,000 33,000 24,500 45,605 7,473 16,210 250,330 38,327 7,500 82,750 14,500 112,550 13,000 43,250 23,535 52,537 250 14,000 84,950 57,000 12,100 8,250 5,510 409,418 258,623 16,000 5,500 71,240 9,000 72,327 9,500 3,510 16,000 108,565 32,500 1,500 1,750 9,300 17,000

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Committees B

C C A (D) AS, C C A (D, HS), C AS, C AS, HS C AS C

FR (NE) FR (NE)

FR

C C HS HS AS, I

C AS FR (NE) A (FO)

C C, FR A (FO) C

C A (FO, HS) FR (NE)

HS

B, C A (D A 77


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State

Office District

S S H 3 H 4 Pennsylvania S S H 7 H 12 H 13 H 14 Rhode Island S South Carolina H 2 H 5 H 6 Tennessee S H 8 H 9 Texas S S H 1 H 9 H 10 H 12 H 20 H 28 H 29 H 30 H 35 Utah S H 3 H 4 Vermont H At-L. Virginia S S H 2 H 5 H 8 H 11 Washington S H 5 H 10 West Virginia S H 2 Wisconsin S H 1 H 4 H 6 H 6 H 8 Wyoming S Oklahoma Oregon

Candidate

Inhofe, James M. Merkley, Jeffrey A. Blumenauer, Earl DeFazio, Peter A. Casey, Robert P., Jr.* Bartos, Jeffrey A.* Muroff, Daniel Rothfus, Keith Boyle, Brendan F. Doyle, Michael Whitehouse, Sheldon* Wilson, Joe Connelly, Chad† Clyburn, James E. Corker, Robert P., Jr.* Kustoff, David Cohen, Stephen I. Cornyn, John O’Rourke, Robert (Beto)*# Gohmert, Louis B., Jr. Green, Alexander McCaul, Michael Granger, Kay Castro, Joaquin Cuellar, Henry R. Green, Raymond E. (Gene) Johnson, Eddie Bernice Doggett, Lloyd Hatch, Orrin G.* Herrod, Christopher† Love, Mia Welch, Peter Kaine, Timothy M.* Cantor, Eric* Taylor, Scott W. Garrett, Thomas A., Jr. Beyer, Donald S., Jr. Connolly, Gerald E. Cantwell, Maria* McMorris Rodgers, Cathy Heck, Dennis (Denny) Manchin, Joe, III* Mooney, Alexander X. Baldwin, Tammy* Ryan, Paul D. Moore, Gwendolynne S. Grothman, Glenn S. Kohl, Dan Gallagher, Michael J. Barrasso, John A.*

Party R D D D D R D R D D D R R D R R D R D R D R R D D D D D R R R D D R R R D D D R D D R D R D R D R R

Status I I I I I N O I I I I I P I N I I I C I I I I I I N I I N P I I I N I I I I I I I I I I I I I C I I

2017-2018 Total Contributions: Total Contributions (1978-2018): Total No. of Recipients (1978-2018): 78

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

2017-2018 Contributions 1,000 1,075 11,350 2,100 54,000 2,500 1,600 500 7,500 1,000 15,500 10,000 2,500 1,000 2,500 1,000 1,000 1,000 25,410 500 2,000 5,000 2,500 1,000 2,000 5,000 1,000 1,000 5,000 3,500 6,000 1,000 12,070 2,000 1,000 750 500 1,000 3,500 2,500 2,000 49,900 6,000 15,030 1,000 2,000 1,000 15,350 3,200 14,500

Career

138,800 40,725 28,860 23,710 132,900 2,500 1,600 2,000 25,000 10,510 131,000 15,250 2,500 36,610 38,000 6,000 36,510 90,580 26,410 4,500 11,000 18,000 51,000 1,000 5,500 21,800 14,000 14,310 80,200 3,500 12,000 17,500 32,771 239,605 1,000 750 9,610 32,510 14,844 33,850 5,500 86,400 20,250 44,160 49,450 7,000 1,000 15,350 5,200 41,991

Committees

AS, C A (FO), B, FR W

B, FR (NE) C B AS, FR B, FR (NE) I AS FR, HS A (D, FO) FR, I A (D, HS) C

W

C AS, B, FR (NE) A (HS) FR, HS

FR (NE) C C I A (HS), I

A (D, HS), C House Speaker

B

AS, HS FR

$ 1,150,090 $61,244,922 2,581 MAY 2018


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OTHER VOICES F R O M T H E M I D D L E E A S T C L I P B OA R D Compiled by Janet McMahon

Palestinians Will Not Cease to Demand Their Rights BY BASEM NAIM

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he West has long been enamored with the specter of passive resistance with tens of thousands of unarmed demonstrators facing off against a heavily armed and ruthless force in pursuit of justice. Today hundreds of thousands of peaceful unarmed demonstrators marched towards the rim of the sealedoff Gaza Strip. They got no closer than several hundred yards from Israeli snipers before shots rang out, leaving hundreds of Palestinians injured and at least 10 dead. This is not a movie. It is Gaza. It is Palestine. For more than 70 years Palestinians have tried by all means possible to obtain their rights as guaranteed under international and humanitarian law. Over these decades dozens of resolutions have come from a wide range of international bodies, associations and NGOs in support of our fundamental rights to freedom and self-determination and a return to our homes, from which we were forcibly expelled in 1948. Despite a romantic rewrite, dozens of respected historians and journalists, including Israelis such as Ilan Pappé and Gideon Levy, have documented the coordinated Zionist attack on hundreds of age-old Palestinian villages in 1948 as the onset of a calO THER V OICES

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culated project of ethnic cleansing that continues unabated today. To suggest that almost a million Palestinians voluntarily left their homes, schools, mosques and churches in 1948 is little more than to proclaim the earth

is flat. The hurried desperate mass flight of Palestinians from the paramilitary assault upon our age-old communities is beyond honest debate or dispute. Despite near unanimity among international jurists about our cause, the

VOL. 21 ISSUE 3—MAY 2018

TABLE OF CONTENTS Palestinians Will Not Cease to Demand Their Rights, Basem Naim, www.counterpunch.com OV-1

It’s Time for AIPAC to Register As a Foreign Agent, M.J. Rosenberg, The Forward OV-13

Israel Sniggers at a Cowardly World, Linda S. Heard, Gulf News OV-3

One Man Has Taken Over a Historic Organization. Is It Good for The Jews?, Josh Nathan Kazis, The Forward OV-14

Killing Palestinian Protesters Turns Into a PR Debacle for Israel, Philip Weiss, http://mondoweiss.net OV-4 Is Trump Assembling a War Cabinet?, Patrick J. Buchanan, Creators Syndicate, Inc. OV-5 Trump’s Choice of Bolton Satisfies His Biggest Donor, Eli Clifton & Jim Lobe, http://lobelog.com OV-6 Trump’s and Pompeo’s Path to Nuclear Crisis, Paul R. Pillar, http://nationalinterest.org OV-7 We Made a Documentary Exposing the “Israel Lobby.” Why Hasn’t It Run?, Clayton Swisher, The Forward OV-9 U.S. Officials Demand Al Jazeera Register as Propaganda “Agent,” Peter Van Buren, The American Conservative OV-11

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What Will Happen When Muslims Outnumber Jews in The U.S. by 2040?, Dunia El-Zobaidi, The Arab Weekly OV-16 Palestinian Teen Ahed Tamimi Reaches Plea Bargain, to Serve 8 Months in Israeli Prison, Yotam Berger, Haaretz OV-16 You Bet It’s Apartheid, Gideon Levy, Haaretz

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Take a Look Around. This Is What Annexation Looks Like, Michael Omer-Man, 972mag.com OV-18 Sderot, “Bomb Shelter Capital Of the World,” not as Heroic As Israel Claims, Stuart Littlewood, www.redressonline.com OV-19 There Is No Justice in Our World, Eric S. Margolis, ericmargolis.com OV-19

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world community has been unable or unwilling to provide justice for Palestinian people who live in walled-off Bantustans in our own homeland or in a forced diaspora as so-much stateless refugees throughout the world. Meanwhile Western states have openly embraced policies that not only favor and protect Israel but empower it to continue a now decades-old illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories. No state has been more supportive of this historical injustice than has the United States. Not satisfied with more than 250 billion dollars in direct government aid to Israel, the USA has used its veto more than 70 times in the Security Council to prevent passage of resolutions condemning Israeli policies. Among its unprecedented financial support for Israel, the U.S. has provided many tens of billions of dollars in military aid and equipment that has subsidized Israeli control over the legitimate rights and aspirations of millions of Palestinians and inflicted widespread death and destruction among our communities. Tens of thousands have lost their lives, many more been injured or crippled, and even more detained for years on end in a military “justice” system which denies Palestinians any modicum of justice. Recently, in an effort to further punish Palestinian civilians for the temerity of their political will, the U.S. administration cut more than $300 million in aid out of what was its $360 million annual share to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). This international aid effort provides health, education and food benefits to some 5 million Palestinian refugees worldwide who represent some 40 percent of the total population of 11.5 million Palestinians inside and out of Palestine. For the last 25 years, Palestinians have tried in good faith, and in vain, to achieve their legitimate aspirations through participation in a long, complex and counter-productive negotiation process. Because of the fundamental imbalance of power on the ground and an ever-present international pro-Israeli OV-2 M AY 2018

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bias, Israel has exploited this “negotiation” as little more than dilatory cover while it has continued its agenda of illegal annexation of Palestinian land in the West Bank. Not satisfied with flooding the West Bank with hundreds of thousands of illegal “settlers,” Israel has continued its systematic attack upon fundamental rights of Palestinians throughout all the occupied territories, including Gaza. What, then, has been the result of this 25-year-old unilateral Israeli stall? Have we not seen the destruction of any meaningful opportunity for stability and de-escalation of violence that, predictably, has spilled over throughout the region? Has not the delay, by design, challenged the remaining hope for our people for freedom, an independent state and a return to the homes they have been displaced from over these many years? And what of the daily life of Palestinians under occupation, whether in the West Bank that is divided into controlled cantons or the besieged Gaza Strip? Both have been turned into an unbearable hell, for all to see but for us to taste. Murder, imprisonment, siege, land seizure, house demolitions, poverty, unemployment, and denial of medical treatment and travel have become the daily way of life for millions of Palestinians. Like the rest of the world, Palestinians are a people who love life, community and family and seek only a better future for our children. However, it seems as if our collective and lawful aspiration is unacceptable to some of the world, which stands by with idle interest and even less action as the occupation and injustice unfolds in plain view. It seems few at the table of nations have felt the need to confront the Israeli aggression and its occupation which, by any definition, offends all standards of decency and international law. Having considered our various options, as well as our lawful right to resist, Palestinians in Gaza have decided to launch peaceful marches near the

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segregation barricades that deny us any meaningful scrap of self-determination. This campaign will demand an end to the occupation, an end to the siege of Gaza, and recognition of the right of Palestinians to return to their homes in accordance with U.N. Resolution 194, issued in December 1948. These events, which begin today, coincide with the anniversary of “Land Day,” in which six Palestinians were killed in 1976 while defending their land as it was seized by Israeli authorities in the Galilee area. In the tradition of passive resistance, our activities will be peaceful and continue on the borders until May 15th, the 70th anniversary of the “Nakba,” when upwards of a million Palestinians were expelled from their homes. All Palestinians in our homeland and diaspora, including men, women and children, will participate in these marches and related demonstrations that share a common theme of justice, opportunity and freedom. Our activity will be overseen by a national committee which represents all Palestinian forces and factions as well as civil society and independent Palestinian figures and supporters. The Committee has circulated numerous publications and directives for participants in the marches, which emphasize the peacefulness of this particular movement and the need to avoid violence or any provocative escalation by Israel. The Committee has also designated various on-site representatives to oversee our collective efforts and to ensure that our message is heard through powerful and peaceful means. Notwithstanding our best efforts, we full well expect provocation by Israel during our protests and will do all that we can to ensure its inflammatory efforts will pass without any response. Despite our best efforts, once again, this fear proved to be reality today, as Israel unleashed hundreds of rounds of live ammunition and canisters of tear gas at first sight of peaceful demonstrators armed with nothing more than their voice and self-determination. Ultimately, Israel has long feared and challenged any and all efforts by Pales-

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tinians to expose the reality of the occupation and the siege of Gaza, which certainly puts the lie to its claim as the only democratic state in the region; one that respects and protects human rights and honors the fundamental right to freedom of expression. Against this chant stands the daily practice of occupation forces that show a completely different face…one built of racism, violence and systematic violation of human rights. Recently, the arrest and detention of now 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi in the West Bank because she slapped a heavily armed Israeli soldier who broke into her home is but one of hundreds of like stories which depict life and death in Palestine. Not long ago, wheelchairbound Ibraheem Abu Thuraya was shot and killed by an Israeli sniper for little more than waving a Palestinian flag on the Gaza border in plain view of Israeli soldiers, who control who and what may go in and out of the beleaguered home to some two million people. Given a long and well-documented history of violence in furtherance of the occupation, Palestinians have a well-founded fear that despite the peaceful nature of these marches, Israel will use them as a pretext to kill and injure more of our people. In the past, occupation forces have been quick to provoke nonviolent expressions of protest into violent confrontations in which our communities and children have paid a dear price for their voice. Once again, today’s Israeli attack upon our peaceful people proved that history is often the most certain indicator of what is yet to come. Nevertheless, we will not be deterred by Israeli aggression as we exercise our fundamental rights to resist and to demonstrate so as to ensure that the path for our children will lead to a better, just and equal future.

Basem Naim, who resides in Gaza, is the former minister of health and adviser to the Palestinian prime minister on international relations. This article was first posted on <www.counterpunch. org>, March 30, 2018. Copyright © CounterPunch. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. O THER V OICES

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Israel Sniggers at A Cowardly World THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE HAVE BEEN ABANDONED BY AN IMPOTENT AND SYCOPHANTIC INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY. BY LINDA S. HEARD

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aced with Israel’s crimes against humanity, Western leaderships mirror the proverbial see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil Wise Monkeys bending their heads before the chest-beating Goliath on Pennsylvania Avenue. Those self-appointed champions of human rights, those whose outrage knows no bounds over the poisoning of a traitorous double agent in the UK, shrink from any criticism of the Jewish state. After all, who dares to risk being branded anti-Semitic, like the leader of Britain’s Labour Party, poor old Jeremy Corbyn! Or worse, being the recipient of tongue-lashings and threats from Trump’s enforcer in the United Nations, American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) darling Nikki Haley. Israeli army snipers mowed down up to 1,400 unarmed Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip peacefully protesting close to the border fence with Israel last Friday to mark “Land Day.” Seventeen were killed, including children. Evidenced by videos on social media, several were shot while fleeing from the hail of bullets and clouds of tear gas. All the estimated 30,000 protesters were on their own side of the border when they came under this vicious attack, which if committed anywhere else on the planet would have been called what it was, a massacre. What was planned to be a peaceful occasion complete with picnics, social interaction and traditional dances was described by Danny Danon, Israel’s odious ambassador to the U.N., as an organized provocation forcing Israel

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“to defend its sovereignty”—as though this military state masquerading as the only Middle East democracy requires defending from civilians whose only weapons are stones. The BBC reports I watched on Friday evening referred to “clashes,” a term which usually implies that both sides were armed, and neglected to make mention of the numbers of dead and injured. Israel’s prominent human rights organization B’Tselem was more forthright than any of Israel’s allies; its spokesman characterized shooting at unarmed demonstrators as “manifestly illegal,” noting that some Palestinians were shot in the back. Kuwait requested an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council. “Let us be clear here, what happened today was a peaceful demonstration to express their desire for their legitimate rights,” said the Kuwaiti representative, adding, “These were defenseless people.” The UK and France uttered mealy mouthed expressions of “concern.” The meeting ended minus any official statement. No surprise there! In a statement, the U.N.’s Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged an independent and transparent investigation. He did his duty, but that’s because Israel will not cooperate. It never has. The Israeli government, supported by the U.S., accuses the United Nations of anti-Semitic bias. Just days ago, Haley said the United States would withdraw from the U.N. Human Rights Council over resolutions condemning Israel, accusing the body of being “grossly biased.” In December, the U.S. cut $285 million from its share of the U.N. budget. Let’s not beat about the bush, folks. Only weak states outside the higher echelons of the Western club are obliged to comply with human rights laws that are frequently cited as a weapon with which to beat them into compliance. As for Israel, it enjoys absolute immunity from any legal challenge. It would have been provided impunity from censure, let alone prosecution, even if it had used its 100-plus IDF snipers to murder 5,000 or 10,000 M AY 2018 OV-3


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Palestinians in cold blood. Israel, for all its nuclear might and America’s slavish diplomatic cover, remains the eternal victim. In short, the Palestinian people have been abandoned by a cowardly, sycophantic international community. Very soon Donald Trump’s plan to relocate the U.S. Embassy to [occupied] Jerusalem, which he calls Israel’s eternal capital, will reach fruition, hammering the last nails into the coffin of even a semblance of a Palestinian state. While it is true that Hamas’ takeover of Gaza has been a disaster for the 2 million people caged inside the world’s largest open-air prison camp, deprived of basic necessities, blockaded by land, sea and air, that should not mean that the population is open to being treated worse than penned cattle. However, many Palestinian residents of occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank are only marginally better off, faced with apartheid walls, checkpoints, house demolitions and land grabs. Their ongoing plight is a dark stain on the community of nations and the ever more impotent body founded in the aftermath of the Second World War to safeguard human rights and freedoms. Time to say it like it is. The U.S. and Israel have got Western democracies by the jugular.

Linda S. Heard is an award-winning British political columnist and guest television commentator with a focus on the Middle East. This op-ed was first published by the Gulf News, April 2, 2018. Copyright © Al Nisr Publishing LLC 2018. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

Killing Palestinian Protesters Turns Into a PR Debacle for Israel BY PHILIP WEISS

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omething has shifted in the discourse of Israel since the Friday killings of 17 Palestinian protest-

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ers in Gaza, many of them plainly unarmed, by Israeli snipers from across a security fence: the hasbara—Israeli propaganda—is not working. The country has plainly done something indefensible. The usual defenders are silent, and the criticism from the left/center is stronger than ever. Sen. Bernie Sanders’s sharp criticism is actually leading the U.S. discussion of the event. Ori Nir of Americans for Peace Now captures the moment, tweeting in Hebrew (roughly translated): “National Public Radio” Morning Edition, the United States’s largest radio network, opened its news: Israel says it will not investigate the circumstances of the 15 Gaza residents killed in Friday’s clashes. Another propaganda achievement of the government whose army is the most moral in the world. “A pro-Palestinian narrative” is dominating international media, The Times of Israel reports; and fingers are being pointed throughout the Israeli government about who allowed Israel to be led into this PR “trap” by Palestinians. Michael Oren, who can spin anything, can’t spin this one. Michael Oren, for one, the deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Office who is responsible for diplomacy, said Israel was patently unprepared for the crisis on the diplomatic and media battlefield, and that the word he was getting from abroad was that the Israeli narrative is losing “big time” to the Palestinian narrative. A crisis indeed. Usually vehement Israel defenders in the U.S. are keeping quiet. They surely hope this will blow over. Bill Kristol has nothing to say about the killings. Neither does the voluble Bret Stephens. Jennifer Rubin has been silent on Twitter. The liberal Zionist group Ameinu sent out a Passover greeting today with talk of the African refugees, but not a word about the killings. As for J Street—bupkus on Twitter. Nothing on the blog, either. Jacob Magid of The Times of Israel dismisses the effort by the Israeli government to justify the killings by saying the army identified 10 of the 15 killed as “Hamas activists.” As if “this in and

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of itself was enough a reason to shoot them dead,” he said. If the IDF wants to put out a statement saying the men were in the middle of carrying out an attack when soldiers engaged, that’s one thing but saying they were “Hamas activists” means little The Republican Jewish Coalition is also reduced to slinging pathetic, patently-false story-lines. It tweets: Gaza March Used Civilian (Including Children) Human Shields to Trap Israel While AIPAC tweets an article by David Horovitz in The Times of Israel that brims with Israeli paranoia: Gaza’s terrorist rulers make no secret of their agenda. They are out to destroy Israel. Suicide bombers, rockets, and tunnels have failed. So now it’s mass marches on the border. It is a sign of the discourse shifting that the Republican Jewish Coalition is now fastened on—Bernie Sanders. Violent, militarized “protesters” were attempting to cross the Gaza border fence, but @SenSanders would have the Israelis sit back and take it. That isn’t leadership, it’s cowardice. You’d think Sanders would be beyond the pale. But no, the moral leader of the left in the U.S. is at center stage. Sanders took a little while to condemn the killings, but he has been extremely strong. Here is Ynet’s report: Sanders attacked Israel on Saturday with a tweet, saying, “The killing of Palestinian demonstrators by Israeli forces in Gaza is tragic. It is the right of all people to protest for a better future without a violent response.” In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Sanders was asked if he accepted Israel’s version that most of the Palestinian dead were terrorists who directed attacks against Israel under the cover of protesters. “No, I don’t,” Sanders responded. “My understanding is you have tens of thousands of people who were engaged in a nonviolent protest. I believe now 15 or 20 people, Palestinians, have been killed, and many many others have been wounded. So I think it’s a difficult situation, but my assessment is that Israel overreacted on that. Yet more evidence of the fact that Israel is getting thrashed in the international response is, the New York Times

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op-ed page has had nothing to say about these atrocities, while a Washington Post foreign affairs writer, Ishaan Tharoor, is condemning them outright: “For Israel, there’s little political cost to killing Palestinians.” Tharoor’s article is clear about the moral outrage here, and about the reason, Israel’s impunity. “These are the predictable outcomes of a manifestly illegal command: Israeli soldiers shooting live ammunition at unarmed Palestinian protesters,” said Amit Gilutz, a spokesman for B’Tselem, a Jerusalem-based leftist organization that monitors human rights abuses in the occupied territories. “What is predictable, too, is that no one—from the snipers on the ground to top officials whose policies have turned Gaza into a giant prison—is likely to be ever held accountable.” The Israeli leadership had reason to feel comfortable in its defiance. The most vocal criticism from abroad came from Iran and Turkey; censure from either country is more likely a source of relish for Netanyahu than unease. And at the United Nations, the Trump administration blocked the Security Council from issuing a statement that called for an “independent and transparent investigation” and affirmed the Palestinians’ right to peaceful protest. Tharoor links to Eric Umansky, deputy managing editor of Pro Publica, who has produced a lacerating and eloquent series of tweets on the optics of the murders: 1/ I know our capacity for outrage has been sapped, but the images coming from Gaza are truly shocking. 2/ Here’s a video—shared by The Washington Post—of a young man shot and killed as he was *rolling a tire away from the border* 3/ Here’s a video of a man shot as he was praying with others 4/ Israel says videos are fabricated. Except multiple videos show same thing. 5/ Here’s another young man who was shot in the head as he was watching the protests and puffing a cigarette. 6/ Sixteen Palestinians were shot to death, hundreds more wounded. You’ve heard of Bloody Sunday, right? That’s when British troops killed 14 protesters in N. Ireland. I wonder how history and we will remember Gaza, if at all. 7/ There may be plenty left to know about O THER V OICES

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what happened. But Israeli officials aren’t interested in finding out. An investigation? Defense Minister Lieberman said, “There won’t be one” He said “all the soldiers deserve a medal.” Finally, even mainstream Israeli figures are jumping ship. A leading radio host might be fired for saying he’s “ashamed to be Israeli.” Haaretz: Top Israeli radio host Kobi Meidan has been silenced on Army Radio after posting on Facebook that he’s “ashamed to be Israeli” after 15 Gazans were shot dead during mass Gaza protests along the IsraelGaza border last week. After talking with the media personality, Army Radio commander Shimon Elkabetz ordered the station to no longer broadcast Meidan on the air, but it remains to be seen whether temporarily or permanently. We will of course be closely monitoring the international response to the killings, including in official forums. But the media narrative is hardening, Israel went way too far. No wonder a local friend asked me yesterday, Has Israel lost its mind?

Thanks to Ofer Neiman, James North and Todd Pierce. Philip Weiss is founder and co-editor of Mondoweiss.net, where this article was first posted April 2, 2018. Copyright © 2018 Mondoweiss. Reprinted with permission.

Is Trump Assembling a War Cabinet? BY PATRICK J. BUCHANAN

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he last man standing between the U.S. and war with Iran may be a four-star general affectionately known to his Marines as “Mad Dog.” Gen. James Mattis, the secretary of defense, appears to be the last man in the Situation Room who believes the Iran nuclear deal may be worth preserving and that war with Iran is a dreadful idea. Yet, other than Mattis, President Donald Trump seems to be creating a war

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cabinet. Trump himself has pledged to walk away from the Iran nuclear deal—“the worst deal ever”—and reimpose sanctions in May. His new national security adviser John Bolton, who wrote an op-ed titled “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran,” has called for pre-emptive strikes and “regime change.” Secretary of State-designate Mike Pompeo calls Iran “a thuggish police state,” a “despotic theocracy,” and “the vanguard of a pernicious empire that is expanding its power and influence across the Middle East.” Trump’s favorite Arab ruler, 32-year-old Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman, calls Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei “the Hitler of the Middle East.” Bibi Netanyahu is monomaniacal on Iran, calling the nuclear deal a threat to Israel’s survival and Iran “the greatest threat to our world.” U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley echoes them all. Yet Iran appears not to want a war. U.N. inspectors routinely confirm that Iran is strictly abiding by the terms of the nuclear deal. While U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf often encountered Iranian “fast attack” boats and drones between January 2016 and August 2017, that has stopped. Vessels of both nations have operated virtually without incident. What would be the result of Trump’s trashing of the nuclear deal? First would be the isolation of the United States. China and Russia would not abrogate the deal but would welcome Iran into their camp. England, France and Germany would have to choose between the deal and the U.S. And if Airbus were obligated to spurn Iran’s orders for hundreds of new planes, how would that sit with the Europeans? How would North Korea react if the U.S. trashed a deal where Iran, after accepting severe restrictions on its nuclear program and allowing intrusive inspections, were cheated of the benefits the Americans promised? Why would Pyongyang, having M AY 2018 OV-5


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seen us attack Iraq, which had no WMD, and Libya, which had given up its WMD to mollify us, ever consider giving up its nuclear weapons—especially after seeing the leaders of both nations executed? And, should the five other signatories to the Iran deal continue with it despite us, and Iran agree to abide by its terms, what do we do then? Find a casus belli to go to war? Why? How does Iran threaten us? A war, which would involve U.S. warships against swarms of Iranian torpedo boats, could shut down the Persian Gulf to oil traffic and produce a crisis in the global economy. AntiAmerican Shi’i jihadists in Beirut, Baghdad and Bahrain could attack U.S. civilian and military personnel. As the Army and Marine Corps do not have the troops to invade and occupy Iran, would we have to reinstate the draft? And if we decided to blockade and bomb Iran, we would have to take out all its anti-ship missiles, submarines, navy, air force, ballistic missiles and air defense system. And would not a pre-emptive strike on Iran unite its people in hatred of us, just as Japan’s pre-emptive strike on Pearl Harbor united us in a determination to annihilate her empire? What would the Dow Jones average look like after an attack on Iran? Trump was nominated because he promised to keep us out of stupid wars like those into which folks like John Bolton and the Bush Republicans plunged us. After 17 years, we are still mired in Afghanistan, trying to keep the Taliban we overthrew in 2001 from returning to Kabul. Following our 2003 invasion, Iraq, once a bulwark against Iran, became a Shi’i ally of Iran. The rebels we supported in Syria have been routed. And Bashar Assad— thanks to backing from Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and Shi’i militias from the Middle East and Central Asia—has secured his throne. The Kurds who trusted us have been hammered by our NATO ally Turkey in Syria, and by the Iraqi army we trained OV-6 M AY 2018

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in Iraq. What is Trump, who assured us there would be no more stupid wars, thinking? Truman and LBJ got us into wars they could not end, and both lost their presidencies. Eisenhower and Nixon ended those wars and were rewarded with landslides. After his smashing victory in Desert Storm, Bush I was denied a second term. After invading Iraq, Bush II lost both houses of Congress in 2006, and his party lost the presidency in 2008 to the anti-war Barack Obama. Once Trump seemed to understand this history.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever. This article was first circulated March 27, 2018 by Creator’s Syndicate, Inc. Reprinted by permission of Patrick J. Buchanan and Creator’s Syndicate, Inc.

Trump’s Choice Of Bolton Satisfies His Biggest Donor BY ELI CLIFTON AND JIM LOBE

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ast August, shortly after John Kelly replaced Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff and Steve Bannon was fired as the president’s chief strategist, John Bolton complained that he could no longer get a meeting with Donald Trump. Just three months later, however, on the eve of Trump’s belligerent address to the United Nations, Bolton was once again in direct contact with the president. How did this turnabout take place? The reconnection was reportedly arranged by none other than Sheldon Adelson, the Trump campaign’s biggest donor. Politico reported that the most threatening line in Trump’s U.N. speech— that he would cancel Washington’s

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participation in the Iran nuclear deal if Congress and U.S. allies did not bend to his efforts to effectively renegotiate it—came directly from Bolton and wasn’t in the original marks prepared by Trump’s staff. The line was added to Trump’s speech after Bolton, despite Kelly’s recent edict [restricting Bolton’s access to Trump], reached the president by phone on Thursday afternoon from Las Vegas, where Bolton was visiting with Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson. Bolton urged Trump to include a line in his remarks noting that he reserved the right to scrap the agreement entirely, according to two sources familiar with the conversation. Some analysts have suggested that Bolton, an anti-Iran über-hawk, has the visit to Washington of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to thank for his imminent elevation. But Adelson, a huge supporter of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, likely played a critical role in Bolton’s ascendancy.

HISTORY OF SUPPORT Adelson’s promotion of Bolton dates back at least to the days immediately after Trump’s November 2016 election. According to The New York Times, Adelson strongly supported Bolton for the position of deputy secretary of state as Trump was putting together his cabinet: Mr. [Rex] Tillerson has expressed misgivings about having Mr. Bolton as his deputy, according to a person who has spoken with Mr. Trump in recent days. But Mr. Bolton remains under consideration for the job. And he enjoys a powerful ally in Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate and Republican megadonor who favors the kind of hard-nosed posture that Mr. Bolton would bring. Mr. Adelson’s backing has gone an especially long way with Mr. Trump’s son-inlaw, Jared Kushner, who is expected to take on an important but still undetermined role in the new administration. Tillerson won that battle at the time in no small part because of the prospective difficulty of getting Bolton confirmed by the Senate (although it’s also likely that mainstream foreign-policy

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Republicans like Condoleezza Rice, Robert Gates and James Baker—to whom Tillerson owed his surprise nomination as secretary of state—believed Bolton would constitute a clear and present danger to national security). Despite a Republican majority in the Senate, Bolton failed to gain confirmation as George W. Bush’s U.N. ambassador in 2005 as a result of his extreme foreignpolicy views. Trump didn’t always like or identify with Adelson’s hawkish and pro-Likud views or even his money. Indeed, Trump told a December 2015 audience at the Likudist Republican Jewish Coalition, where Adelson serves on the board of directors and is, no doubt, its biggest funder: You’re not gonna support me because I don’t want your money. You want to control your politicians; that’s fine.…I do want your support, but I don’t want your money. Trump even mocked his primary opponent, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), for seeking Adelson’s financial support, tweeting: Sheldon Adelson is looking to give big dollars to Rubio because he feels he can mold him into his perfect little puppet. I agree! Trump has since not only accepted Adelson’s money—and given him a prize seat just behind Vice President Mike Pence at his inauguration—but aligned his positions on the Middle East with Adelson’s. His contempt for Rubio now seems highly ironic. As we’ve documented on LobeLog, Trump dramatically changed his message on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in particular. At the outset of his campaign, for example, he pledged to be “sort of a neutral guy” between the two sides and even suggested that Israeli policies were themselves a major obstacle to reaching a settlement. As he closed in on the Republican nomination, eventually securing Adelson’s support for his general election campaign in spring 2016, all that had changed. Among other things, Trump had promised to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, to depart from decades of U.S. policy opposed to Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, and to “dismantle the disasO THER V OICES

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trous [nuclear] deal with Iran” as his “number one priority.” Trump met Adelson in Las Vegas in early October 2017. One week later, Trump announced that he would no longer certify that Iran was complying with the Iran nuclear deal, even though the U.S. intelligence community and all of Washington’s European allies, as well as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), had found no evidence that Tehran was cheating. One month later, Adelson used his own newspaper, The Las Vegas Review Journal, to express his frustration with Trump’s failure to quickly redeem his promise to move the embassy. Two months after that, Trump reversed a half-century of U.S. policy by formally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. According to Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury, Steve Bannon credited Adelson for Trump’s decision. Since the embassy announcement, the administration has aligned U.S. policy ever more closely with Israel’s right-wing government.

WAR WITH IRAN? The Iran nuclear deal is another issue near and dear to Trump’s biggest campaign backer and may have played a crucial role in Bolton’s appointment. Adelson’s ultra-hawkish views on Tehran are remarkably close to Bolton’s. In 2013, Adelson called for Washington to detonate a nuclear bomb in an “Iranian desert.” If that did not persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear program, he said, the U.S. should drop an atomic bomb on Tehran, a city of more than 12 million people. Two years later, Bolton, who has long favored a military solution to Iran’s purported nuclear aspirations, penned an oped titled “To Stop Iran, Bomb Iran,” in which he argued: The inescapable conclusion is that Iran will not negotiate away its nuclear program. Nor will sanctions block its building a broad and deep weapons infrastructure. The inconvenient truth is that only military action like Israel’s 1981 attack on Saddam Hussain’s Osirak reactor in Iraq or WASHINGTON R EPORT

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its 2007 destruction of a Syrian reactor, designed and built by North Korea, can accomplish what is required. Time is terribly short, but a strike can still succeed. Adelson got his wish to move the embassy to Jerusalem, but he still hasn’t succeeded in pushing the U.S. into a military confrontation with Iran. Trump and the GOP’s biggest donor may now have installed their man in what is perhaps the most powerful foreign-policy position in the U.S. government, besides the presidency itself. As a result, the likelihood of a new U.S. war of choice in the Middle East has risen dramatically.

Jim Lobe served for some 30 years as the Washington, DC bureau chief for Inter Press Service and is best known for his coverage of U.S. foreign policy and the influence of the neoconservative movement. Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and U.S. foreign policy. Eli previously reported for the American Independent News Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service. This article was first posted on <http://lobelog.com>, March 24, 2018. Copyright © 2018 LobeLog. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

Trump’s and Pompeo’s Path to Nuclear Crisis BY PAUL R. PILLAR

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he prospective replacement of Rex Tillerson with Mike Pompeo clears one of the last apparent hurdles between Donald Trump and his destruction of a significant diplomatic achievement that has been squarely in the interests of the United States, of nuclear nonproliferation, and of the containment of conflict in the Middle East. This is, of course, the multilateral agreement that restricts Iran’s nuclear program, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). There is ample reason to worry that such destruction is a step toward an even worse consequence: a new U.S. war in the Middle East. Even if events stop short of that neocon M AY 2018 OV-7


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dream, Trump and Pompeo are charting a course toward endless conflict, escalating tension, and an upsurge in weapons proliferation. And they are doing it for all the wrong reasons. Tillerson certainly is no Iran-hugger. He came into his (short and unhappy) job as secretary of state with no identifiable ideological or political obsessions that could be expected to shape his thinking one way or another about policy toward Iran. He counseled Trump against destroying or pulling out of the JCPOA because any dispassionate and objective analysis leads to the conclusion that a strict and rigidly enforced set of limits on Iran’s nuclear program to keep that program peaceful, which is what the JCPOA is all about, is squarely in the interests of the United States, of nonproliferation, and of the containment of conflict in the Middle East. Now Trump has one less subordinate to annoy him with advice that is based on dispassionate and objective analysis. Trump’s crusade against the JCPOA is based mainly on what has been all along one of the two major drivers of opposition to the agreement, which is to oppose and destroy anything Barack Obama accomplished. Trump’s urge to do the opposite of whatever Obama did has probably been the single most consistent thread in his otherwise inconsistent and erratic presidency. The urge repeatedly has taken precedence, as have the faux-populist memes and applause lines that energize Trump, over anything that bears resemblance to careful consideration of the national interest (as illustrated in recent weeks by trade policy). The other major driver of opposition to the JCPOA—the bending to whatever the right-wing government of Israel says and wants—has been a slightly less consistent thread for Trump personally but also a factor, as illustrated by other administration policies such as the move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. As for Trump’s soon-to-be (if confirmed) partner in destruction, Mike Pompeo, his unrelenting hostility to the JCPOA is rooted in his record as a congressman who was one of the most OV-8 M AY 2018

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rabid partisans on Capitol Hill. His determination to destroy this foreign policy accomplishment of Obama is of a piece with his role as leading attack dog against Obama’s first secretary of state and would-be successor, Hillary Clinton. Pompeo also has a long record of Islamophobia and Iranophobia that is more visceral than cognitive. The extreme to which Pompeo is willing to go to act on his obsession about Iran is perhaps best illustrated by his tendentious and irregular effort—taking a page from the playbook of those who sold the Iraq war to the American public— to conjure up an alliance between Iran and al-Qaeda, even though no such alliance has existed and those two players are on opposite sides of most sectarian and geopolitical divides that matter.

IRAN AND NORTH KOREA One possible remaining complication along the path to destruction involves the implications that policy toward Iran and the JCPOA may have for policy toward North Korea. Many commentators have observed that the time frame for a prospective summit between Trump and Kim Jong-un is similar to that for the next scheduled U.S. presidential waiver of sanctions on Iran. A failure to waive would be a clear violation of U.S. commitments under the JCPOA, in the face of what has been Iran’s consistent observance of its obligations under the accord. One line of analysis is that U.S. compliance with the JCPOA is important for getting any concessions out of Pyongyang regarding its nuclear program, both because the North Koreans need to believe that the United States will keep whatever bargain it strikes with them and because U.S. violation of the JCPOA would antagonize other parties to that accord whose support is necessary to maintain economic pressure on North Korea. The analysis makes sense. North Korea has no incentive to concede on anything if it suspects that the Trump administration will renege on its promises, and nothing will feed this suspicion more than for the United States to renege on its commitments in another nuclear agreement.

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An alternative scenario is that the prospect of negotiations with North Korea may give Trump more of an incentive to rip up the agreement with Iran because, as one pro-Trump exponent of this scenario explains, “Kim is going to learn that if he thinks he is going to cut a deal, it’s going to have to be way more ironclad than the JCPOA.” As a negotiating strategy this makes no sense at all, because of the disincentive to the North Koreans to strike a deal that they will have all the more reason to believe the United States will not observe. As a U.S. objective it also makes no sense, especially given the differences between the Iranian and North Korean situations. The biggest difference, of course, is that North Korea has a substantial arsenal of nuclear weapons and Iran has none. No conceivable agreement with Pyongyang at this point, even one that everyone could applaud as a positive contribution to stability on the Korean peninsula, would go as far as the JCPOA goes. An agreement identical to the JCPOA would have been great to have several years ago, before Pyongyang built its arsenal. Such an agreement would have avoided the fix the world is in now with the problem of Kim’s nuclear weapons. Today, an agreement with North Korea that is identical to the JCPOA would be wonderful—it would mean getting rid of all the North Korean nukes—but that is beyond the reach of even the most self-confident deal-maker.

TRUMP’S COURSE That an approach makes no sense does not mean Donald Trump won’t take it. Besides, the more he thinks about it, the more he may not even want a deal with North Korea, just as he probably is having second thoughts about the summit meeting with Kim to which he impulsively agreed. Even after purging advisers who try to talk sense to him, Trump probably will realize that any feasible nuclear deal he could reach with North Korea would be less extensive and less restrictive than the agreement with Iran that he has excoriated so long and so loudly. Rather than make an agreement with North Korea

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that, by his own implied standards, would be subpar, it might look better from Trump’s perspective just to keep fulminating about how his predecessors had left such messes and about how he is putting more pressure on adversaries than ever before, while he goes ahead with pulling out of the JCPOA. That would mean two nuclear crises and not just one, but in Trump’s universe that is not necessarily seen as a setback. The least bad outcome for the JCPOA as a result of Trump (and Pompeo) gunning for it is that the other six parties to the agreement would keep some version of the accord going after a U.S. pullout. But that may not happen. This week the Iranian deputy foreign minister said, “If the U.S. quits the nuclear deal, we will also quit it. We have told the Europeans that if they can’t keep the U.S. in the deal, Iran will also leave it.” That means all the restrictions that the JCPOA had put on what previously had been an accelerating Iranian nuclear program—restrictions that shoved that program backward—would come off. That eventuality would underscore how much the talk about getting a “better deal” and correcting “flaws” in the JCPOA has been a charade covering efforts to kill the agreement outright for other reasons. (Here’s a lesson from Diplomacy 101: nearly all international agreements are “flawed” in that they are the result of negotiations in which neither side gets everything it would like.) Those complaining about Iranian missiles or other non-nuclear activities would see just as much of those activities as before and an expanded Iranian nuclear program. Those calling for the most sweeping inspection access imaginable in Iran would see the departure from Iran of the additional inspectors placed there under the JCPOA and less scrutiny of the Iranian program. Those expressing worry about what Iran would do a decade from now after “sunset” dates are reached will see Iran doing some of those same things right away. Besides all that, there would be the broader harm to U.S. interests from a world that sees the United States not O THER V OICES

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observing its agreements and sees a U.S. foreign policy in which destruction trumps productive diplomacy.

Paul R. Pillar is non-resident senior fellow at the Center for Security Studies of Georgetown University and an associate fellow of the Geneva Center for Security Policy. He retired in 2005 from a 28-year career in the U.S. intelligence community. This article was first posted on <http://nationalinterest.org>, March 14, 2018. Copyright © 2018 The National Interest. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

We Made A Documentary Exposing the “Israel Lobby.” Why Hasn’t It Run? BY CLAYTON SWISHER

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ou never know who you’re going to spot at the Doha Four Seasons in Qatar. So I was only somewhat surprised when I found myself standing next to Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz in the omelet line last Saturday. It was a fortuitous meeting. Dershowitz had recently played a small role in an episode that was threatening the reputation of my long-time employer, Al Jazeera. So naturally, I leapt at the opportunity to defend it. The circumstances of the threat were these: In 2016, the award-winning Investigative Unit I directed sent an undercover reporter to look into how Israel wields influence in America through the pro-Israel American community. But when some right-wing American supporters of Israel found out about the documentary, there was a massive backlash. It was even labeled as anti-Semitic in a spate of articles. This uproar came at a time when due to an arbitrary blockade on Qatar imposed by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, Qatar had been pursuing an end to its siege by appealing to the U.S. According to reports, Qatar

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sought to offer its own side of the narrative in this conflict by hosting thought leaders, including from the American Jewish community. From reports in the Israeli press, I learned that Dershowitz had been brought to meet with the Qatari emir, and that the American Jews had brought up what they saw as Al Jazeera’s “antiSemitism” in those meetings. Of course, our documentary is not anti-Semitic. It is an exploration of how Israel, a foreign government, influences U.S. foreign policy. But I decided to show it to Dershowitz to get his point of view, and I was pleased when he obliged. “I have no problem with any of the secret filming,” Mr. Dershowitz told me after watching nearly half of the documentary. “And I can even see this being broadcast on PBS. What I do take issue with is the lack of balance this program has, for example, not having a voice like me.” [Editor’s note: When asked about this by The Forward, Dershowitz said he did not specifically ask to be in the documentary himself, and that he brought up PBS for its use of undercover reporters.] I understood Dershowitz’s remarks as a qualified seal of approval, which heartened me. And yet, our documentary has now been elevated to the center of an international scandal, with Al Jazeera’s reputation in America seemingly hanging in the balance. Indeed, if the documentary doesn’t air soon, it might prove to be the ammunition sought by a group of zealous U.S. politicians who wish to declare Al Jazeera a foreign entity, and label us journalists as “spies.” Since moving to Qatar in 2007, my professional life has been devoted to creating Al Jazeera’s first professional investigative unit, leading a team of committed journalists striving to challenge conventional wisdom rather than report the obvious. I am proud of how in such a short span of time, since our 2011 establishment, we have broken several important stories that have dominated the global news agenda, and even changed the course of history. You might recall our “PalesM AY 2018 OV-9


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tine Papers” leak of confidential meeting minutes from the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations under Bush and Obama, or the investigation I led into Yasser Arafat’s death, resulting in his exhumation and the discovery of Polonium 210 in his corpse. We have tackled a breadth of subjects and controversies, from exposing the depth of the Boeing 787’s battery problems to genocide in Myanmar to presidential corruption in the Maldives to a recent exposé on pedophilia in British youth football. And we’ve won awards, including the Foreign Press Association, CINE Golden Eagle, One World Media and the New York Film Festival, as well as prestigious nominations in Europe’s top contests, including BAFTA, Monte Carlo and the Royal Television Society. Even though our network is a private company funded by the government of Qatar, my unit operates independently and without government interference. If that weren’t the case, I have every confidence our staff— comprised of mostly British and American journalists—would walk. And rightfully so. From time to time, when other investigative tactics won’t work, we escalate our efforts to include undercover reporters and secret filming. This practice is used by many international broadcasters, including BBC and CNN, and is carefully managed, through multiple layers of legal and editorial review, to ensure it is performed consistently with local laws, industry regulations, and our own Code of Ethics. This tactic helped us to uncover sports doping at the highest levels of American professional athletics and, more dangerously, to expose South Africa’s illegal and gruesome rhino horn trade, which implicated the country’s own minister of state security. It was under these auspices that our Investigative Unit placed concurrent undercover journalists in both Washington, DC and London to expose the clandestine efforts of Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs to counter the global boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. OV-10 M AY 2018

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The UK Edition of “The Lobby” aired in January 2017. We captured on hidden camera an Israeli official, Shai Masot, manipulating domestic British NGOs and threatening to target pro-Palestinian MPs. Masot, whose business card read “Senior Political Officer” with the Israeli Embassy in London, threatened to “take down” the Foreign Office’s number two, Sir Alan Duncan, a critic of Israeli settlements. A British civil servant entertaining the plot, who we secretly recorded, was summarily dismissed. The UK edition of “The Lobby” was of such public importance that it resulted in a formal apology from Ambassador Mark Regev. Masot resigned. Most significantly, a parliamentary inquiry was launched into foreign interference in UK foreign policy. Frustratingly, despite all these proofs of the importance of our work, we were met with accusations of antiSemitism. The Jewish Chronicle anonymously quoted a “communal figure” saying “the documentary revealed an ‘anti-Semitic’ mindset among those who made it.” A number of pro-Israeli activists brought complaints against us, leading to an extensive regulatory investigation by Britain’s top broadcast regulator, Ofcom. But even that investigation cleared Al Jazeera of any foul play, including anti-Semitism. The lengthy verdict, issued last October, found that our work yielded “a serious investigative documentary” that was in the public interest. “Surreptitious filming,” Ofcom confirmed, “was necessary to the credibility and authenticity of the program because without it, the program makers would have had to rely on second-hand accounts.” We could not have agreed more. Our journalism got at the heart of the crucial question of foreign interference in the UK government, and it was of vital public interest. It was this same question—whether the Israeli government was funding or involved in lobbying efforts in the U.S. under the guise of a domestic lobbying group—that we sought to answer in the American edition of “The Lobby.”

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Nowhere are these lobbying efforts more prominent than in Washington, DC, where we had a second undercover concurrently embedded to report on how the groups in America really work. We explored American pro-Israel lobbyists and their relationships with Israeli entities, like the Israeli Embassy or Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs. Given the high volume of footage we obtained, it took us until early autumn 2017 to carefully ready the U.S. edition for broadcast. After our journalism was validated and upheld by Ofcom in October, we assumed that the U.S. edition of “The Lobby” would be aired in just a matter of weeks, as I said in a series of interviews at the time. It was to be made available in the U.S. on YouTube. There was a final step to the process. As a UK-regulated entity, we are obliged to send formal “right to reply” letters to anyone caught on our secret cameras, which I proceeded to do in January. This late stage formality is done in every project to notify unwitting people of our intention to broadcast. These letters clearly state the essence of our findings, providing the subjects the opportunity to respond. I duly instructed our reporter to proceed with sending the letters, which he did. More than 70 letters went out. To this day, our letters yielded only a paltry three replies. Instead we faced a spate of articles by right-wing pro-Israel news sites in America, harshly attacking our work. They came from the likes of the “Foundation for Defense of Democracies,” whose staff was included in our secret filming, and who, according to earlier leaked e-mails, has aligned its pro-Israeli advocates with the United Arab Emirates government to smear Al Jazeera’s work as “an instrument of regional instability.” Others, like Noah Pollak from the Committee for Israel, impugned our journalism as a “professional espionage operation carried out by Qatar on American soil.” Rather than reply to our letter inviting him to challenge our findings about him, Pollak and other “leaders of Jewish American organizations” instead

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took meetings with the State of Qatar’s registered agent and lobbyist, a former aide to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz named Nick Muzin, to “see if he could use his ties with the Qataris to stop the airing.” Muzin, it seems, told them he could. In February, Muzin told Haaretz that “he was discussing the issue with the Qataris and didn’t think the film would broadcast in the near future.” One anonymous source even boasted to Haaretz that “the Qatari emir himself helped make the decision” to spike our film. These same zealots are now lobbying Congress to pressure the Department of Justice to require our network to register as “foreign agents” under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (or “FARA”). In a letter circulated on Capitol Hill last week, some lawmakers even raised alarm over “reports” that our undercover had “infiltrated American 501(c)(3) and (c)(4) nonprofit organizations” in the course of our journalism. I was outraged. When the network launched in 1996, it was set up to shine the light of transparency across the Arab and Muslim world. Established powers hated us, and on any given day, still do. Even the Bush administration contemplated bombing our headquarters during the second Iraq war. It was incredible to hear just a few years later then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defending Al Jazeera as “real news” in testimony before Congress. I defy any journalist who truly values her or his craft to say that Al Jazeera has not been a force for good in our troubled planet. Al Jazeera has without question expanded press freedoms throughout the Arab and Muslim world. And yet, I have to admit that someone has been hard at work putting the kibosh on our film. For since October, we’ve faced a series of unexplained delays in broadcasting our project, the likes of which I’ve never experienced. I was repeatedly told by everyone I asked to “wait,” and was assured our documentary would eventually see the light of day. Then, as now, I took my O THER V OICES

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senior management at its word. To my own specially trained ears, “wait” did not constitute “stop.” In fact, it must not constitute “stop.” For if our documentary does not air, it may well lend credibility to the claim these 14 U.S. politicians have used and defamed us with—that Al Jazeera is indeed a foreign agent, at the direction and control of Qatar’s government. I confess my own disappointment with Al Jazeera’s non-response to these attacks. In part because of this deep frustration and my inability to get any real transparency about the decision to delay our broadcast, I asked for and received a sabbatical, which I began this week. Meanwhile, the attacks against us continue. Although Al Jazeera is a world class media organization that wins awards and has changed history and the Arab world so much for the better, our shortcomings remain being way too shy (and late) to tell our own story. Worse, we often let others who have an agenda against us to tell it for us. I am distressed to find that our investigation into America’s pro-Israel lobbyists may represent the most important test yet of Al Jazeera’s independence, and whether our network still has space to thrive amidst the unjust blockade against our Qatari host. I pray those outside our network do not seek short term political expediency and inappropriately interfere with our professional work, which we have zealously guarded and worked long term to preserve and uphold. Nothing less than free speech and democratic values are at stake here.

Clayton Swisher is a Doha-based investigative journalist on sabbatical leave from Al Jazeera Media Network and author of The Truth About Camp David and The Palestine Papers. The author speaks for himself and not for Al Jazeera. Follow him on Twitter @claytonswisher. The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward, where this article was first published March 8, 2018. Reprinted with permission. WASHINGTON R EPORT

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U.S. Officials Demand Al Jazeera Register as Propaganda “Agent” BY PETER VAN BUREN

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bipartisan group of lawmakers has called for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate whether Al Jazeera, the news outlet connected to the Qatari government, should register with the Justice Department as an agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). This will have broad implications for the First Amendment, our access to dissenting opinions, and even how the rest of the world views us. The lawmakers include Representatives Josh Gottheimer, (D-NJ), Lee Zeldin (R-NY), and 16 other House members. Senator Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, also signed the letter to Sessions. The letter claims Al Jazeera “directly undermines American interests” and broadcasts “anti-American, anti-Semitic, and anti-Israel” material. If forced to register, Al Jazeera would join Russian outlets RT and Radio Sputnik, Japan’s Cosmomedia, the Korean Broadcasting System, and China Daily as acknowledged foreign state propaganda outlets. The DOJ has also been asked to look into a range of other Chinese media. Ironically, the bipartisan request to force Al Jazeera to register comes amid a controversy over the network’s filming of a documentary critical of pro-Israel lobbying in the United States. For that exposé, the network used an undercover operative to secure footage revealing possibly illegal interactions between advocacy groups and lawmakers. The Foreign Agents Registration Act was never intended to regulate journalism. In fact, the legislation includes finely worded exemptions for journalists, scholars, artists, and the like, who are not required to announce themselves as “agents of a foreign principal” regardless of what they do. The law was created in 1938 in response to German M AY 2018 OV-11


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propaganda, specifically Nazi officials and those they employed who were delivering pacifist speeches in then-neutral America to organize sympathetic German Americans. By requiring those working for the Nazis to register and report their finances and spending, U.S. counterespionage authorities could more easily keep track of their activities. FARA doesn’t even prohibit straight up propagandizing, though it does seek to limit the influence of foreign agents by labeling their work, apparently to help out Americans who otherwise would not be able to tell the difference on their own. The law specifically says that “disclosure of the required information facilitates evaluation by the government and the American people of the statements and activities of such persons in light of their function as foreign agents.” Indeed, the Atlantic Council claims these actions “do not suppress freedom of speech; instead, it serves the First Amendment by supplementing information available to the public.” Here’s a use of FARA in line with the law’s original intent: the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, whose job is to lobby Americans on behalf of a foreign government—in this case, to take vacations in Abu Dhabi—is a FARA registrant. That way, when the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority says they have decent beaches you should visit, you know who is up to what. Other typical registrants might include an American lawyer hired by Saudi Arabia to lobby Congress in favor of more arms sales. Being a foreign agent is very legal and very popular with former congresspeople and government bureaucrats; you just need to announce who your employer is. But FARA can also serve a more nefarious purpose: as a catch-22 prosecution (a “compliance statute”) for those the U.S. wants to declare as foreign agents but who resist. Once the feds want to taint you as a foreign agent, you either agree and register or face jail time. That is what happened in the cases of RT and Radio Sputnik. Following the 2016 election, frightened officials demanded that the Russian organizations OV-12 M AY 2018

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register as propaganda agents. RT’s editor-in-chief maintained her network was an independent news outlet, but chose to comply rather than face criminal proceedings, adding “we congratulate the American freedom of speech and all those who still believe in it.” Critics then swung RT’s snarky comment on free speech into “proof” that it unfairly criticizes America. The use of FARA to allow the government to declare which foreign media outlets produce “news” and which produce “fake news” and propaganda is “a shift in how the law has been applied in recent decades,” said the Committee to Protect Journalists. “We’re uncomfortable with governments’ deciding what constitutes journalism or propaganda.” As the Justice Department wields its FARA weapon, here’s what Al Jazeera’s journalists could face. Designation under FARA requires that a media outlet label its reporting “with a conspicuous statement that the information is disseminated by the agents on behalf of the foreign principal”: in other words, a nutritional label for journalism. It also means the outlet must open its finances to the Department of Justice. It means Americans who choose to watch that media, or participate in its talk shows, or who work legally for those outlets, open themselves to accusations of “treason” (one political staffer was fired after being interviewed by Radio Sputnik). It adds credence to the muddy cries of “fake news” used to shut out dissenting opinions. It gives credibility to groups like PropOrNot, which lists websites it “determines” are Russian propaganda, and Hamilton 68, which does the same for Twitter. Subjecting journalists to FARA sends a message about America. It encourages other governments to impose their own restrictions (Russia has already passed a law requiring outlets like CNN to register as foreign agents). It uses the full authority of the American government to declare that Al Jazeera, a network that reaches 310 million people in more than 160 countries, has no place within a free press because its broadcasts are

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“anti-American, anti-Semitic, and antiIsrael.” In the specific case of Al Jazeera, it seemingly extends American law to cover anti-Israeli propaganda as well. As with attempts to claim Wikileaks is espionage and not journalism, this particular use of FARA looks to be another instance of laws wielded to harass those with “un-American” opinions. The employment of FARA to restrict foreign journalists also adds to the growing sense among too many already frightened Americans that our freedoms are being used against us. “The U.S. is at a huge strategic disadvantage when it comes to the New Media Wars because our information environment is so open and rich,” said one former CIA deputy director of intelligence. Perhaps too many dissenting voices isn’t a good idea. The Internet is just too much freedom to responsibly allow. Maybe the government should become more involved in what we say, hear, watch, and read, as Facebook and Twitter (which banned RT from advertising) do now—you know, for our own protection. Our open society is a vulnerability, not a strength. The roots of our most basic rights can be found in the freedom of the press written into the First Amendment. The press must be unfettered in reporting so citizens can make informed decisions when voting, protesting, and petitioning their government. Government should play no role in designating good journalists from bad, in licensing who can report on or access a broad range of ideas. Sorting out the marketplace of ideas—opposing opinions, bias exposed and hidden—is supposed to be our task as an informed citizenry. We should reclaim that mantle and do the job ourselves.

Peter Van Buren, a 24-year State Department veteran, is the author of We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People and Hooper’s War: A Novel of WWII Japan. Follow him on Twitter @WeMeantWell. This article was first published by The American Conservative, March 27, 2018. Copyright © The American Conservative 2018. Reprinted with permission.

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It’s Time For AIPAC to Register As a Foreign Agent BY M.J. ROSENBERG

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his weekend, 18,000 Americans from all over the country are coming to Washington to participate in the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference. AIPAC is one of the leading forces behind the Israel lobby, joined in recent years by the ascending Christians United for Israel. Other Jewish “pro-Israel” organizations are niche affairs, representing particular constituencies on the left or right. But it’s AIPAC that is the registered lobby on Capitol Hill, and it is AIPAC whose clout on matters relating to Israel exceeds the clout of the National Rifle Association on matters related to guns; while the NRA’s sway is almost entirely over Republicans, AIPAC has historically drawn its support from both parties. Is there any place but AIPAC that not only gets Mike Pence, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi in the same room, but also gets to hear them in near total agreement? But there’s something strange, too, about AIPAC. Consider Vice President Mike Pence’s remarks at last year’s conference: “Every freedom-loving American stands with Israel—because her cause is our cause, her values are our values and her fight is our fight.” How can America’s representatives declare that any other country’s fight— even one as close to us as Israel is—is our fight, its cause our cause, its values our values? It’s precisely this kind of overidentification that George Washington warned against in his 1796 farewell address. “A passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils,” Washington said. “Sympathy for the favorite nation, faO THER V OICES

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cilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists…betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification.” To protect against this kind of passionate attachment, the United States has laws in place that forbid foreign governments from wielding certain kinds of influence or lobbying. Every foreign country represented in Washington by foreign agents must register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Under its terms, the country in question is absolutely banned from participating in or influencing American elections. Every contact the agents have with Congress must be reported to the Department of Justice, along with how and where they spend their resources. This law applies to Canada as much as it does to Russia (although Russian interference in our political process is now one of the biggest issues in our political life). It also applies to Israel. But it does not apply to the Israel lobby as represented by AIPAC, which is heavily involved in our political system, funding candidates who are perceived to be “good on Israel,” and defunding incumbents who fail to subscribe to the favored foreign state’s agenda. How does AIPAC get away with it? It gets away with it because AIPAC’s founder, I.L. Kenen, came up with a legal loophole by which AIPAC is defined not as a lobby for a foreign state but for Americans who support that state. It’s a critical distinction that makes AIPAC’s dominance over U.S. Middle East policy possible. I worked at AIPAC directly for Kenen, back in the 1970s before moving on to Capitol Hill. He told me that he came up with the AIPAC formula— AIPAC as an American organization lobbying for Americans—so that AIPAC would be legally permitted to engage in politics and not have to reveal its activities. A devoted American and liberal Democrat, Kenen believed American and Israeli interests and valWASHINGTON R EPORT

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ues weren’t likely to diverge anyway, so what’s the problem? After Kenen retired, Israel and AIPAC took a rightward turn, and he saw the mistake he made. Toward the end of his life, Kenen was outraged by the AIPAC leadership with its unquestioning support of the occupation of the West Bank and the blockade against Gaza, and other right-wing Israeli policies. He hated what he saw as AIPAC using its political power to keep the United States government and other influential Americans and, perhaps most important, the media from straying from the Israeli line. Not only was AIPAC making it hard for the United States to restrain the Israeli government, but it was also weakening forces inside Israel that were trying to do so. The Israeli peace camp needed the United States on its side, but thanks to AIPAC, the United States could not help our natural Israeli allies. Of course, when Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was actively seeking peace and an end to the occupation, that was the moment AIPAC chose to separate itself from Israel, resulting in Rabin’s blistering exhortation that it get the hell out of his way. By the time of his death, Kenen was thoroughly alienated from the organization. Now is the time to undo Kenen’s mistake. It is time to require AIPAC to register as what it is: a foreign agent. It will still be able to advocate for Israel, but as an Israeli lobby, which admits to getting its marching orders from the Israeli government. What it would not be able to do is direct campaign money to politicians. Let’s see how many vice presidents, senators and representatives show up at its conferences then. Let’s see how many of its Israel-right-or-wrong resolutions pass the House 435-0. Let’s see if presidents are still afraid to say what they think about the occupation and the denial of democratic rights to Palestinians. I began this piece by referring to AIPAC as the major component of the “pro-Israel” lobby. Actually, it isn’t. It is a lobby for the Israeli right and for a M AY 2018 OV-13


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status quo that has turned Israel into an international pariah. That is not the way it has to be. In 1995, when the peace-seeking Rabin was gunned down by a rightwing Israeli zealot, more foreign leaders attended his funeral than had attended any similar rite since John F. Kennedy’s. Poll after poll showed Rabin, the man who negotiated honestly and directly with the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, to be among the most admired people in the world. Today, Netanyahu and AIPAC (which has kept the United States government firmly behind Netanyahu’s policies) have turned Israel into a source of dissension even among American Jews. No, AIPAC is not a “pro-Israel” lobby. It’s the Netanyahu lobby and our laws should treat it as such, for Israel’s sake even more than our own. As for the thousands of Americans gathered in Washington this weekend, they need to know one thing: They are not supporting the dream of a secure, democratic Israel at peace with its neighbors and the world. They are, unwittingly, supporting a right-wing political agenda that is placing Israel in ever-deeper peril and, frankly, jeopardizing its very existence.

M.J. Rosenberg worked at AIPAC from 1974 to 1976 and from 1982 to 1986. He worked on Capitol Hill for 15 years and was a Clinton political appointee at USAID. Find him on Twitter @mjayrosenberg. This article was first published by the Forward, March 2, 2018. Reprinted with permission. The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

One Man Has Taken Over a Historic Organization. Is It Good For the Jews? BY JOSH NATHAN-KAZIS OV-14 M AY 2018

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n 2010, the American Jewish Congress announced it was shutting down. This past summer, it started sending out fund-raising e-mails. Lots of them. At times in 2017 they arrived almost daily. The e-mails posed a puzzle: Why was a defunct Jewish organization trying to raise money? And why was it selling a Tshirt with the phrase “Make Hanukkah Lit Again” across the front? It turns out that instead of shutting its doors, a wealthy Jewish businessman named Jack Rosen had quietly transformed AJCongress into his own private Jewish State Department, taking meetings with presidents and expounding on Jewish policy. Now, he’s bringing it out of the shadows. “For the purpose of talking to leaders around the world and getting them to support our views on Israel, it doesn’t take a huge staff,” Rosen told the Forward. “We prefer to be sort of smaller.” In fact, AJCongress is pretty much just Rosen. Though its name and history imply that it speaks on behalf of some sort of representative body, Rosen answers to only a small board that includes two of his sons. But the story of AJCongress is not as unusual as it might seem. Many Jewish groups have shed their grassroots structures amid a focus on major donors. AJCongress is an extreme example of the phenomenon that’s changing the face of the Jewish establishment. “The notion that you have democracy in American Jewish life is not championed by any organization in American Jewish life today,” said Deborah Dash Moore, a leading scholar of American Jewish history at the University of Michigan. Founded in 1918, AJCongress was a secular, liberal-leaning activist group organized democratically. Led for decades by Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, it favored popular protest and vocal public advocacy, and was active in litigation in support of civil rights and other domestic causes. Grassroots members set the organization’s policies through a complex internal process. AJCongress collapsed in 2010 after decades of decline and catastrophic

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losses resulting from Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. Rosen took over the organization under terms that included the abolishment of its network of local chapters and its membershipdriven model. The group is now run by Rosen and a board of 10 people. A new executive director was hired in late 2017; he has three staff members working for him. “The theory is, you don’t have to have 500 people show up at a convention to vote on every issue and every resolution, or overturn everything that was done in the prior year,” Rosen said. Today, most of the activities of AJCongress consist of Rosen taking meetings. Rosen said that the group’s unwritten mission statement is to find the 500 most important decisionmakers on issues relating to Israel and to get to know them. He does most of that relationship building. A lot of it seems to happen around the dinner table at his apartment near Manhattan’s Central Park. One night in 2016, Rosen had the Argentine president, Mauricio Macri, over for steaks. Macri brought his foreign minister. Rosen invited a Wall Street Journal columnist, “a couple of senators, congressmen [and] a whole bunch of Jews,” he said. Partway through the dinner, Rosen interrupted to criticize Argentina’s vote in favor of a UNESCO resolution despised by pro-Israel groups. Macri agreed that it was a bad vote. Weeks later, when another version of the same resolution came up again, Argentina abstained. “Somebody has to talk to them, and I don’t think what you need to talk to them is 500 people working for you and a staff of lawyers,” Rosen said. Some former leaders of the old AJCongress don’t like what Rosen has done with the group. “I think it unfortunate that an organization with the history and the remarkable success over the course of 100 years has been decimated, and now appears to be controlled by one individual,” said Jay Umansky, a former member of AJCongress’s governing council and the former president of its St. Louis branch.

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In recent weeks, Rosen has been making efforts to shore up AJCongress’s image. In January, Rosen invited a Forward reporter to the marble-floored office of Rosen Partners, his investment firm, in an art deco office building with a grand piano in the lobby, just down the block from Trump Tower. “Ban Ki-moon and Kofi Annan have been to dinner at my house several times,” he said, referring to the former secretaries-general of the United Nations. Rosen is known as an assiduous cultivator of relationships. He was a friend of the Clintons and close enough to President George W. Bush that the president gave him the nickname “Rosie.” He’s had Robert de Niro over for dinner. “You’re in New York, you come across all kinds of people,” he said. Born in a displaced persons camp in Germany—the same DP camp where Zionist Organization of America President Morton Klein was born—Rosen grew up in the Bronx with a real estate developer father. Rosen, too, is a real estate developer, though the interests of his firm, Rosen Partners, are sprawling. He has close ties to the Russian Jewish billionaire oligarchs behind Alfa Group, Mikhail Fridman and German Khan, forming a massive joint investment venture with them in 2012 and serving as a member of the advisory board Altimo, their telecommunications investment firm. He also owns a number of large Manhattan buildings. In one instance, Rosen’s business interests have messily intersected with his leadership of AJCongress. In 2012, AJCongress brought Allentown, Pennsylvania’s mayor, Ed Pawlowski, on its annual mayors’ trip to Israel, called the International Conference of Mayors. Later, Pawlowski solicited political donations from Rosen while trying to drive a city contract to a security firm Rosen controlled. Pawlowski was indicted in July 2017 on federal corruption charges over this and other incidents and is currently on trial. Rosen has not been accused of any wrongdoing, and though he donated to Pawlowski’s aborted U.S. Senate campaign, the city contract never went through. O THER V OICES

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Rosen said that he had never gone into business with any mayor whom AJCongress had invited on the International Conference of Mayors. “We get it all the time,” he said. “We get everybody, including U.S. mayors, who want people to invest. We’re successful businesspeople. I don’t believe I’ve ever done a deal with a mayor” he met through the conference. The meetings that Rosen takes with world leaders are undeniably highlevel. He has met with the controversial new crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman (“He’s a very interesting guy”) and with the emir of Qatar. He attended the wedding of the son of the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. In an e-mail, a spokesman for AJCongress said that the organization had other programs besides Rosen’s diplomatic work. Most of that appears to consist of op-eds and statements by Rosen on anti-Semitism, Iran and U.S.-Israel ties. Abraham Foxman, the former leader of the Anti-Defamation League, said that Rosen has earned his position as a spokesman for the Jews. “Jack Rosen earned his stripes, both in time and in money and in effort,” Foxman said. “The organization disappeared. But that doesn’t mean that he has to disappear. He’s not a fly-by-night.” Still, the current AJCongress is a far cry from its former self. In 2015, the most recent year for which tax filings are available, the group raised $340,000 and spent $503,000. At the end of that year, the organization was deep in debt, with liabilities that amounted to a halfmillion more than it had in the bank. In its persistent fund-raising e-mails and its public statements, AJCongress focuses almost exclusively on Israel, a historical departure for the organization. While AJCongress was staunchly Zionist from its earliest incarnation, it concentrated during its heyday on domestic advocacy. It fought for abortion rights, women’s rights and civil rights. Its legal efforts were largely responsible for the end of the quota system in college and university admissions. As groups like the American Jewish ComWASHINGTON R EPORT

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mittee focused increasingly on foreign affairs, AJCongress specialized in domestic matters. It differed, too, in its tactics. In contrast to the elite-driven philosophy of AJC, which preferred to seek backchannels through which its wealthy leaders could influence policy, it worked through public advocacy and organizing. The organization had tens of thousands of members and regional offices across the country. Its members had a direct hand in setting the policies of the organization through conferences and resolutions. Today, AJCongress is the epitome of the elite-driven model. The grassroots model, meanwhile, has been abandoned. Broad-based groups like B’nai B’rith and Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America have shriveled, while AJC, which has always emphasized elite leadership, has grown, and had nearly $70 million in revenue in 2016. Meanwhile, Jewish federations across the country have emphasized fund-raising from wealthy donors. “Everybody wants to maintain the appearance of larger representation, but increasingly actual decision-making is confined to a relatively small number of people,” said one long-term observer of the Jewish communal scene, who asked not to be named. “The model of the grassroots, policy-determined-by-democratic-vote national organization is, for better or for worse, in eclipse now on the American Jewish scene.” Foxman said that the legitimacy of a spokesman for the Jews is always in the eyes of the beholder. “It’s always been an issue,” he said. “Where do you get your credentials?…To a large extent, it’s been what the outside world sees.” For some younger Jewish activists, that may not be enough. “To me it’s emblematic of the out-oftouch establishment,” said Yonah Lieberman, a leader of the leftist Jewish group IfNotNow, which has a young grassroots constituency. “There’s dozens of old white Jewish guys who are attempting to speak for the entire community. And for too long we’ve let them do that.” M AY 2018 OV-15


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This article was first published by the Forward, Feb. 12, 2018. Reprinted with permission.

What Will Happen When Muslims Outumber Jews in the U.S. by 2040? BY DUNIA EL-ZOBAIDI

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stimates from the Pew Research Center indicate that by 2040, Muslims will replace Jews as the second-largest religious group in the United States after Christians. By 2050, the U.S. Muslim population will total 8.1 million people, nearly double what it is today. How will this growth affect the way America views Muslims? Will they be more of a threat or less? Besheer Mohamed, the lead author of the Pew study, said Muslims will be more influential in American society. “People who know more Muslims personally can have more positive views toward Islam and Muslims than people who don’t know Muslims. So, if there are more Muslims, then there will be more Americans that know Muslims personally,” Mohamed said. Many Muslims in the United States are rising to the top of their chosen careers, and many more are entering high positions in the federal government and in the ranks of state governments across the country. “As Muslims will be here longer and become more established, we will see more Muslims in all walks of life with larger amounts of influence, such as in Congress. We have already started to see it, as there are more Muslims in Congress now than 10 years ago,” Mohamed said. Muslims in the United States tend to be as well off as the general U.S. public; 24 percent of Muslim households in the U.S. earn more than $100,000 a year, compared to 23 percent of the general population. However, U.S.-born MusOV-16 M AY 2018

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lims are also more likely to start on the lower end of the salary scale, with 40 percent of Muslim households averaging less than $30,000 a year. “Muslims are a younger population than the public overall, so they would have just finished their college degree and are looking for their first job, so they won’t be earning as much as someone who has been in the field for 20 years,” Mohamed said. “So, this is not a trajectory. It’s just where they are in their life at the time. “Many U.S.-born Muslims are AfricanAmerican converts. African Americans, in general, tend to have lower incomes.” The path a foreign-born Muslim takes to a high-paid job is usually different from the one of a U.S.-born Muslim. “Many foreign-born Muslims in the United States are here because they have skills that are in high demand. They are here with a high-paying job. Institutionally, they have good connections abroad, so they have been fasttracked into success,” Mohamed said. For U.S.-born Muslims, success can depend on the extent to which their immigrant parents know how to navigate the American system. However, 24 percent of U.S. Muslims have U.S.-born parents. Many of them are children of converts. Mohamed said the latter group has the advantage of knowing the system. For all the positive indicators for American Muslims, they are perceived negatively in some quarters. Mohamed’s 2017 survey indicated that 50 percent of Americans do not see Islam as a part of mainstream society. “They think there is a conflict between Islam and democracy. So, there is tension,” Mohamed said. One respondent said: “There is no democracy in Islam.” Some say there is a misunderstanding, as the public does not understand Islam or that terrorists give Islam a bad name. “A lot of people do not understand Islam. They think it is [the Islamic State] and that is not true,” one respondent said. Others, however, said Islam’s teachings about gender and sexuality are not compatible with democracy. A respondent said: “Islam is not for freedom of women.”

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Republicans and those who lean toward the GOP tend to hold much more negative views about Muslims and Islam than Democrats and those who lean towards the Democratic Party; 68 percent of Republicans asked said Islam is not part of mainstream American society, compared to 37 percent of Democrats. Republicans are twice as likely as Democrats to say there is a natural conflict between Islam and democracy, survey data indicated. White evangelical Protestants are more reserved about Muslims and Islam than those in other religious groups. Nearly three-quarters of white evangelical respondents said there is a natural conflict between Islam and democracy, and approximately half or fewer of those in other major religious groups express that view. Older Americans and those with relatively lower levels of educational attainment tend to be more negative than others in their views about Muslims and Islam. “Americans have a mixed set of views on Muslims and Islam,” Mohamed said. “The majority of Americans feel there is a great amount of discrimination against Muslims. They think there is more discrimination against Muslims than toward Blacks, gays, Jews or any other group we have asked about.” Mohamed’s full 2017 survey of U.S. Muslims can be found on the Pew Research Center’s website.

Dunia El-Zobaidi is an Arab Weekly correspondent in London. This article was first published in The Arab Weekly, Feb. 19, 2018. Copyright © 2018 The Arab Weekly. Distributed by Agence Global. Reprinted with permission.

Palestinian Teen Ahed Tamimi Reaches Plea Bargain, to Serve 8 Months in Israeli Prison BY YOTAM BERGER

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alestinian teen Ahed Tamimi reached a plea bargain with military prosecution on Wednesday, according to which she is to be sentenced to eight months in prison. The military court handling her case approved the plea agreement on Wednesday, making it an official court order. As part of the agreement, the 17year-old pleaded guilty to four counts of assault, including the videotaped slapping of an Israeli soldier. In addition to the eight-month jail sentence, she is to pay a fine of 5,000 shekels ($1,437). The prosecution also reached plea agreements with Nur and Nariman Tamimi, Ahed Tamimi’s cousin and mother, both of whom were involved in the videotaped slapping of the soldier. The agreement, which the court has also approved, sentences Nur Tamimi to time served—16 days in prison—and a 2,000 shekel ($575) fine. Nariman Tamimi’s sentence is eight months in prison and a fine of 6,000 shekels ($1,725). Ahed Tamimi’s case has been conducted behind closed doors. The military court rejected a request that she made this week to hold proceedings in public. Earlier Tamimi’s lawyer, Gaby Lasky, confirmed that a plea agreement had been reached. “The fact that the plea agreement provides for the dropping of all of counts of the indictment that made it possible to detain her until the end of legal proceedings is proof that Tamimi’s arrest in the middle of the night and the legal proceedings against her were steps designed to settle scores,” Lasky said. Before the ruling was confirmed by the court, sources told Haaretz that according to the plea bargain, Tamimi would be found guility of the assault that was videotaped in December, incitement to violence for the posting of the video, and two other assaults on soldiers. Additional charges for assault and stone-throwing were to be dropped. According to one source, the punishment in Ahed Tamimi’s case is not O THER V OICES

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considered particularly lenient or particularly severe. The Israeli military felt the need to end the legal matter, the source said, as it damaged the army’s reputation in the media and internationally, which may be why the plea bargain was intensively promoted. Tamimi’s initial January indictment included 12 charges going back to 2016. The indictment included five counts of assault against security forces, including stone throwing. She was charged with assaulting a soldier, threatening a soldier, interfering with a soldier in the line of duty, incitement and throwing objects at a person or property. Tamimi’s mother, Nariman Tamimi, was also charged with incitment on social media—she filmed the slapping incident—and with assault. Tamimi’s cousin, Nur, was indicted on charges of aggravated assault. Nur Tamimi said she and Ahed slapped the soldiers in part because they had invaded Ahed’s yard on Dec. 15, the day they were filmed—but the main reason was that they had just read on Facebook that a cousin, Mohammed Tamimi, had suffered an apparently fatal head injury from an Israeli soldier’s buillet. He actually survived the shooting. Bassem Tamimi, Ahed’s father, said that his wife and daughter had done nothing wrong and are “fighting for freedom and justice.”

This article was first published by Haaretz, March 21, 2018. Copyright © Haaretz Daily Newspaper Ltd. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

You Bet It’s Apartheid BY GIDEON LEVY

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hey might not have intended it—this is too big for them, and perhaps even too big for their arrogance, but they are the initiators of the regime, or at least its harbingers. They studied law and went to work (“to serve”) in the military

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courts. They were promoted and became military judges. That’s what they call the clerk-officers who work for the moral army as judges of the occupied in the occupied territories. They work in a military unit with a biblical name: the “Judea Military Court,” and they decide people’s fate. No doubt they’re certain they’re working in a legal system, like they were taught at university. There are, after all, prosecutors and defense attorneys in it. There’s even a translator. Most of the work attracts no attention. In Israel, who cares what happens in the prefabs at the Ofer military base? They have sent thousands of people to an aggregate tens of thousands of years of imprisonment, and almost never exonerated anyone; at their workplace, there’s no such thing. They have also approved hundreds of detentions without hearings, even though there is no such thing in a country of law. Day after day, it’s just another day at the office. And then Ahed Tamimi came to them. Almost two million people around the world signed a petition calling for her release. And the forces of Israeli military justice just kept at it, clerks devoted to the system. Now they must be thanked. This time they exposed to the world the naked truth: They are working for an apartheid system. They are its harbingers. They are its formulators. They are its contractors, small cogs in a big machine, but reflective of reality. The three officers who judged the teenage girl in various military courts, Col. Netanel Benishu, president of the Military Court of Appeals (there’s no shortage of titles here), who approved the hearing in the dark behind closed doors; Lt. Col. Menahem Lieberman, president of the Judea Military Court, who approved the plea bargain by which Tamimi and her mother would serve eight months in prison for nothing, or for her heroism; and Lt. Col. Haim Balilty, who approved her remaining in custody throughout the trial. One day they’ll be appointed to the Supreme Court. A colonel, and two lieutenant colonels who told the M AY 2018 OV-17


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world: There’s apartheid here. Only by chance were the three all religious, a kind of innocent coincidence. We don’t know who among them is a settler, but that of course means nothing either. They went to work in a military court of the occupation to protect human rights in the territories, in the name of the Lord of Hosts. After their rulings on Tamimi, there are no fair-minded people left in the world, not even in brainwashed Israel, who can seriously claim that an apartheid regime does not exist in the territories. The BDS movement should congratulate the officers who lifted all doubt from those who still had any doubts. The legal system that has one law for Jews and another for Palestinians, without apology, without whitewashing, should be appreciated for its honesty. A legal system that sentenced a soldier who shot a wounded man to only one more month than its sentence for a teenage girl who slapped a soldier—this is a system that openly admits it considers slapping the occupier equal to the murder of a person under occupation. Only one month separates the two. A system that could not conceive of arresting, interrogating, indicting and certainly not sentencing to many months in prison a girl from the settlements who slapped a soldier, threw garbage at him, punctured the tires of his vehicle, threw stones at him or struck him—such a system sent Tamimi to eight months in prison. Need we say more? Her attorney, Gaby Lasky, could do nothing but agree to the plea bargain. Lasky, too, like two million people around the world, wants to see Tamimi free. And perhaps Tamimi’s sentence is proper. Thanks to it, Israeli propaganda can no longer argue with the world against the charge of apartheid without ridicule. The colonels from Judea have exposed the truth, which has long been known. You bet it’s apartheid.

This article was first published by Haaretz, March 25, 2018. Copyright © Haaretz Daily Newspaper Ltd. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. OV-18 M AY 2018

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Take a Look Around. This Is What Annexation Looks Like BY MICHAEL OMER-MAN

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he annexation of Palestine will not come one day, it is happening every day, and this is what it looks like: legislating mundane changes about higher education councils. There will be no definitive moment, event or a point in history, when we can say that annexation happened. Israel’s annexation is a process—a deliberate process—which has been carefully planned, began a long time ago, and which will continue for years to come. It is hard to get too excited over small steps toward annexation, such as a law that moves a university from the jurisdiction of one council of higher education to another. The international community will not raise a storm. The U.N. Security Council will not hold an emergency session. The EU will not threaten sanctions. Yet this is precisely what the annexation of Palestine will look like. The Knesset on Monday passed a law that places Israeli universities in the occupied Palestinian territories under the aegis of the Israeli Council for Higher Education, a civilian body created by Israeli law to oversee universities and colleges in Israel. Settlement colleges and universities were previously supervised by the Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria, a military body created specifically because the civilian council’s jurisdiction did not extend beyond the State of Israel’s borders. This was not the first time the Knesset decided that it could legislate beyond the boundaries of the territory over which the state claims sovereignty. Israel rules over the West Bank not with the laws of its elected civilian government but rather with a military regime, in loose accordance with those parts of

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international law that deal with occupied territories. The wholesale application of civilian law to an occupied territory amounts to annexation. There are many other small steps toward annexation being planned in the near and long term. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday stressed the need to advance those plans in an organized manner, and not as ad hoc proposals from individual politicians looking to make headlines. “With regards to the question of the application of Israeli law in Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley,” the prime minister said in a Likud faction meeting, referring to the entirety of the West Bank, “…it should be government-sponsored legislation and not private legislation. This is a process with historic consequences…We will act intelligently.” The media immediately latched onto a different part of Netanyahu’s statement, in which he claimed Israel is coordinating and holding ongoing discussions with the United States regarding annexation plans. The Prime Minister’s Office was forced to retract that part of the statement, which made for even better headlines. The prime minister openly and unabashedly describing how he plans to apply Israeli law to the Palestinian territories, however, is barely news anymore. It has fully penetrated the mainstream discourse. And that is the point. Annexation is no longer a topic that the Israeli right whispers about in closed meetings and fringe conferences. The Israeli government no longer feels bound by the conventions of the past few decades, according to which it constantly reassures the world that it is working to achieve a two-state solution—even if only years down the road. Ironically, the only world leaders who are willing to call out that false sincerity these days are those, like Donald Trump, who were never invested in a two-state outcome to begin with, and those, like John Kerry, who have left public life for good. Annexation is spoken of as if it is an outcome in and of itself. But annexation is not the goal. The goal is simply to strengthen and cement Israel’s con-

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trol over the entire area between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea (minus the Gaza Strip, at least these days). Annexation is merely a tool for accomplishing that. We can expect to see more and more pieces of legislation pass through the Knesset in the coming months and years that move the process of annexation along—like the higher education law, or the so-called Regularization Law, which regularizes the theft of privately owned Palestinian land by Jewish settlers. Some of these laws may grab the world’s attention enough to garner up a few statements of protest. Many will be so seemingly insignificant that nobody will notice, and if they do, they likely will not understand what, if anything, these laws actually change. And the truth is, most of these small bills and policies don’t really amount to much when taken individually. Taken in the aggregate, however, this is what annexation looks like.

Michael Omer-Man is the editor-in-chief of +972 Magazine and a regular contributor of both reporting and analysis. Prior to joining +972 he worked as the news desk manager for JPost.com. This article was first posted on <https:972mag.com>, Feb. 13, 2018. Copyright © 2010-2018 +972 Magazine. Reprinted with permission.

Sderot, “Bomb Shelter Capital of The World,” not As Heroic as Israel Claims BY STUART LITTLEWOOD

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BN News has run a story with the headline “Israel Takes Diplomats on Tour along Gaza Border,” in which Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely tells them it’s her duty to let them “see the real challenges on the ground.” Sderot, which has become known as “the bomb shelter capital of the world,” O THER V OICES

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is a compulsory stop on these propaganda tours. Being only a mile from the Gaza Strip, residents have little time to take cover, though very few have been killed by Gaza’s erratic garden-shed missiles. The story of brave Sderot is told ad nauseam to brainwash the media and their own people, besides the coachloads of gullible foreign politicians and tourists. The Israeli authorities have studiously counted and broadcast the number of homemade Qassam projectiles, claiming that more than 15,000 “terrorist” rockets have “rained down” on Sderot since the Israeli occupier pulled its citizens and troops out of the Gaza Strip in 2005, saying they were making a concession of territory designed to bring peace. Of course, it didn’t. Why? For several reasons. Israel’s “concession” was the handing back of territory that didn’t belong to them in the first place. Furthermore, the pull-out on the ground has still left Israel occupying Gaza’s territorial waters and airspace, and in control of all land crossings—including the one into Egypt. The Zionist regime has thus maintained a vicious blockade on the tiny coastal enclave for the last 10 years. Hotovely and her regime colleagues, who preach non-stop about Israel’s right to self-defense, fail to understand that the Palestinians have the same right and are entitled to mount an armed resistance against their illegal occupier. What Israelis never admit to is how many missiles, bombs, shells, mortar rounds and other high-tech ordnance launched by their F-16s, helicopter gunships, drones, tanks and navy gunboats have slammed into crowded Gaza, causing horrendous slaughter and reducing homes and vital infrastructure (much of it paid for by European Union and American taxpayers) to rubble. And there’s another little fact that Hotovely is careful not to mention. Sderot is built on the lands of a Palestinian Arab village called Najd, which was ethnically cleansed by Jewish terrorists in May 1948, before Israel was declared a state and before any Arab armies entered Palestine. The 600-plus WASHINGTON R EPORT

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villagers, all Muslim, were forced to flee for their lives. Britain, the mandated government, was on watch while this and many other atrocities were committed by rampaging Jewish militias. Arabs owned over 90 percent of the land in Najd and, according to U.N. Resolution 194 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, they are entitled to return home. But, as we have come to expect, Israel refuses to recognize the rights of others and will not allow them back. Anyway, what is there for them to return to? The 82 homes there were bulldozed. Najd was one of 418 Palestinian villages and towns ethnically cleansed and wiped off the map by Zionist Jews. Its inhabitants became refugees in Gaza and their families are probably still living in camps there. The irony is that some of them may be manning the rocket launcher! When Barack Obama visited Sderot he spouted the well-worn mantra backing Israel’s right to protect its citizens from rocket attacks. “If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I would do everything to stop that, and would expect Israel to do the same thing.” Well said, Obama. But let’s hope you wouldn’t be so stupid or arrogant as to live on land you stole from your neighbor at gunpoint.

Stuart Littlewood is the author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation.This article was first posted on <www.redressonline. com>, March 13, 2018. Copyright © 2018 Redress Information & Analysis. Reprinted with permission.

There Is No Justice In Our World BY ERIC S. MARGOLIS

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gathering of rich oil Arabs pledged $30 billion this week at a meeting in Kuwait to start rebuilding war-shattered Iraq. Sounds nice but these kinds of conclaves are notorious for offering big but delivering little. M AY 2018 OV-19


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The event was billed as helping Iraq repair war damage caused by ISIS. In fact, most of the damage from that short-lived conflict was caused by U.S. bombing and a few Russian air strikes. ISIS, as this column has long been crying in the wilderness, was largely a paper tiger confected by the U.S., Britain and France to justify their military re-entry into Syria. Iraq’s government says it needs at least $88 billion to rebuild war damage. What the U.S.-imposed client regime in Baghdad won’t or can’t say is that the damage to Iraq is far greater than $88 billion and was largely inflicted by U.S. air power in 1990-1991 and 2003. Iraq was ravaged, as I saw myself while covering the wars. This small nation of 23-25 million souls, a third of whom were in permanent revolt against the Baghdad government, was pounded into rubble by U.S. air power and cruise missiles. First in 1990-1991, then in 2003, everything of value was blown to bits: hospitals, schools, food factories, chemical plants making insecticide, bridges, and communications. In short, all the attributes of a modern state. Most shocking to me was the destruction of Iraq’s water and sewage treatment plants by U.S. air strikes. Their destruction resulted in epidemics of cholera and other waterborn diseases. Children were the primary victims. The U.N. asserted that over 550,000 Iraqi children died as a result of contaminated water. U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright later notoriously asserted that these deaths were “a price worth paying.” I call them a war crime. In 2003, 900,000 U.S.-directed troops massed in Kuwait, invaded Iraq to finish off, it was claimed, the “work that the first President Bush failed to achieve,” the overthrow and lynching of Iraqi President Saddam Hussain. If Saddam had any nuclear or broadarea biological weapons, the invader’s buildup in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia would have been a dream target. But Saddam Hussain had no nuclear weapons, contrary to U.S. and British OV-20 M AY 2018

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claims. I discovered in Baghdad a group of British scientific technicians who had been sent by the UK Ministry of Defense to build outlawed biological weapons at Salman Pak. These included deadly anthrax and Qfever—but only for use against Iran if a second Iraq-Iran war erupted. It is now widely accepted that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction pointed at the West, as George Bush and Tony Blair incessantly claimed. But this was the excuse for going to war against Iraq and destroying it.

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When no such weapons were found, the story from Washington and London was changed to “oops, it was an intelligence failure. Sorry about that.” Journalists like myself who asserted that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction were fired or marginalized. I was blacklisted at CNN after the White House told the network to fire me at once. All the “presstitutes” who acted as government boosters for the war were promoted and lauded. Welcome to the new Soviet media. Since Iraq, one of the Arab world’s most developed countries, was laid waste by U.S. bombing, and since the war was deemed a big mistake, who is responsible for trying to repair Iraq to its pre-war condition? The money offered last week in Baghdad by the Gulf Arabs was a drop in the bucket and designed to bring Iraq into the forming anti-Iran alliance. If this war crime was being properly litigated, Washington would likely end up being assessed something like $100 billion in damages just to replace physical infrastructure destroyed in the two wars, never mind the deaths of so many Iraqi civilians. Iran would also have a claim against Iraq’s Western and Arab backers for Baghdad’s 1980-1988 war of aggression against Iran that caused an estimated one million Iranian casualties. “Oops, I’m sorry we destroyed your country and children” is not a sufficient mea culpa. The Western leaders who engineered this criminal war against Iraq deserve to be brought to book. So far, they have gotten off scot free. In fact, the same terrible fate has since befallen Syria, Yemen and parts of Somalia. Were these disasters also mistakes due to faulty intelligence?

Eric S. Margolis is an award-winning, internationally syndicated columnist and the author of American Raj: Liberation or Domination? Resolving the Conflict Between the West and the Muslim World (available from AET’s Middle East Books and More). This article was first posted on <https://ericmargolis.com>, Feb. 17, 2018. Copyright © 2018 EricMargolis.com. Reprinted with permission.

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American Educational Trust Washington Report on Middle East Affairs P.O. Box 53062 Washington, DC 20009

May 2018 Vol. XXXVII, No. 3

More than 35,000 Palestinians protest along Gaza’s border with Israel on Land Day, March 30, 2018, with Israeli soldiers seen in the foreground. Israel deployed more than 100 sharpshooters, who killed at least 18 and wounded 758 Gazans on the first day of protests scheduled to continue until May 15, the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding and the Palestinians’ Nakba, or catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were uprooted in 1948. Land Day marks the killing of six Israeli Palestinians during 1976 demonstrations against Israeli confiscations of Arab land. (JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Washington Report - May 2018 - Vol. XXXVII, No. 3  

Interpreting the Middle East for North Americans • Interpreting North America for the Middle East

Washington Report - May 2018 - Vol. XXXVII, No. 3  

Interpreting the Middle East for North Americans • Interpreting North America for the Middle East