When President Barack Obama signed the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill last week, a precedent was set. The bill included a provision that “…requires the U.S. Trade Representative to discourage European Union countries from boycotting ‘Israel or persons doing business in Israel or Israeli-controlled territories’ during free-trade negotiations between the U.S. and the EU.”
In effect, this amendment treated Israeli settlements, for the first time in American history, as being part of Israel and therefore deserving the same protection. It was a small step; there is no enforcement mechanism in the bill.from boycotting ‘Israel or persons doing business in Israel or Israeli-controlled territories’ during free-trade negotiations between the U.S. and the EU.”
However, it cracked the dam and opened the potential for a flood. This small amendment was a first step in reversing long-standing American opposition to the settlements, and its support for the two-state solution. Read more at Talking Points Memo
Posted in BDS, Congress, Settlements | Tagged AIPAC, Barack Obama, BDS, Fast Track, Settlements | Leave a Comment »
The United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) report on last summer’s fighting between Israel and Hamas came out on June 15. Before the ink on it was even dry, the Israeli government was condemning it as biased, and accusing the UN of trying to prevent Israel from defending itself.
The allegations, both against Israel and by Israel against the report, are very familiar and very serious. We need to consider soberly the points raised by the UNHRC report as well as the rebuttals Israel has made. Read more at the FMEP blog
Posted in Gaza, United Nations | Tagged Gaza, UN Human Rights Council, William Schabas | Leave a Comment »
Yair Lapid, Israel’s former Finance Minister, told a hawkish “pro-Israel” gathering in New York that the leaders of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement (BDS) are anti-Semites and their followers are “bleeding heart, so-called intellectuals.” Lapid went on to say that European citizens and American students “…are cheering for the people and values that brought 9/11 to this country. You are supporting people that kill gays and suppress women.”
Lapid is far from alone in elevating the movement to a threat on par with Israeli descriptions of Iran. Whether it was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu placing a high-ranking Likud Member of the Knesset in charge of battling BDS or grandstanding on the issue by prominent members of Congress, the “threat” of BDS has never seemed greater. Read more at the FMEP blog
Posted in BDS | Tagged Americans for Peace Now, Anti-Zionism, antisemitism, BDS Movement, Occupation, Peter beinart | Leave a Comment »
Israel’s new government does not support a two-state solution. But don’t take it from us. Listen to the words of the leading figures in Israel’s government. Read more at the FMEP blog.
Posted in Two-State Solution | Tagged Ayelet Shaked, Benjamin Netanyahu, Danny Danon, Israel, Miri Regev, Moshe Ya'alon, Naftali Bennett, Palestine, Silvan Shalom, Two-state solution, Tzipi Hotovely, Uri Ariel, Yosrael Katz, Yuval Steinitz, Ze'ev Elkin | 3 Comments »
In the wake of the collapse of the last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks last April, it’s become widely accepted that the continuing growth of Israeli settlements is a key obstacle to an agreement. This has created difficulties for those inclined to support the Israeli government’s ability to do whatever it wants. One way to make it easier to defend the settlements and the occupation that sustains them is to obscure the difference between them and Israel proper. As I wrote last month, a method that lobbyists like the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) have been employing lately to accomplish that is to target the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS).
Several recent pieces of legislation demonstrate how this is accomplished. In Illinois, a billprohibiting Illinois from contracting with businesses that are boycotting Israel passed unanimously in both the State Legislature and Senate. The language of the bill specifically includes “territories controlled by the State of Israel” – that is, territories occupied by Israel after the 1967 war, which no country in the world, including the U.S., recognizes as part of Israel. Read more at the FMEP blog.
Posted in Settlements, US-Israel Lobby | Tagged AIPAC, Arab League Boycott of Israel, BDS, Eugene Kontorovich, European Union, Fast Track, free speech, PCUSA, Presbyterian, Settlements, TPP, Volokh Conspiracy | Leave a Comment »
After Benjamin Netanyahu’s surprising victory in Israel’s national elections in March, he took until the last possible minute to complete the process of forming the government for his fourth term as Israel’s prime minister. For all the time he invested, despite making it just under the wire, Netanyahu ended up with a fragile, ultra-right-wing coalition and more work ahead of him to bring in at least one more party.
The government Netanyahu presented to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin was a bare majority of 61 seats out of the 120-seat Knesset. There are no fig leafs in this coalition, no Tzipi Livni or Ehud Barak for Netanyahu to send to talk fruitlessly with the Palestinians. One might think this would make the coalition more stable, since it consists entirely of the right wing. In this, one would be wrong. Read more at LobeLog.
Posted in Elections, Israel, Knesset | Tagged Avigdor Lieberman, Ayelet Shaked, Benjamin Netanyahu, Habayit Hayehudi, Isaac Herzog, Israel, Mitchell Plitnick, Naftali Bennett, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Palestine, Reuven Rivlin, settlers, Uri Ariel, uri Elitzur | 1 Comment »
The shell game is a tried-and-true method of persuading people to give their money to the person running the game. In political terms, it’s also a reliable method of persuading people to buy into the political stance of the man running the game.
Elliott Abrams is a master of the shell game. He provides what seems like a serious and sober analysis, with just enough cherry-picking of facts and omission of detail to convince you of his point of view. That is a big reason why this man, who is responsible for some of the greatest foreign policy fiascos in American history, continues to be considered a legitimate source for foreign policy analysis. Read more at LobeLog
Posted in Settlements | Tagged Americans for Peace Now, Ariel Sharon, B'Tselem, Benjamin Netanyahu, Elliott Abrams, Foreign Affairs, Israel, Lara Friedman, Mitchell Plitnick, Occupied Territories, Palestine, Settlements, Two-state solution | Leave a Comment »