Power Woos Critics with Pro-Israel Charm Offensive

Samantha Power is certain to win confirmation for the post of Ambassador to the UN. Her execrable testimony at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday all but sealed the deal. And why now, when a so-called human rights defender has the support of people like Alan Dershowitz, who advocates the destruction of entire Palestinian villages, and other notable bleeding hearts like John McCain, Joe Lieberman, Max Boot and others. I report for IPS here.

Brooklyn College Faculty Union Speaks Out in defense of BDS Event

The absurd events at Brooklyn College continue to roll along. The thought police, led by the great promoter of anti-Semitism (through his ceaseless efforts to dehumanize

Judith Butler and Omar Barghouti, the speakers whose appearance at Brooklyn College has sparked controversy

Judith Butler and Omar Barghouti, the speakers whose appearance at Brooklyn College has sparked controversy

Palestinians), Alan Dershowitz insist that any and all programs involving the Israel-Palestine conflict must present Israel’s point of view. One cannot miss the fact that they show no such concern when only the Israeli view is represented, as happens often on campuses and community centers across the country. And, to be sure, there is nothing wrong with that view being presented. But neither is the view of those who are working in support of the Palestinian civil society call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel due to its 45-year old occupation.

That this issue even arises shows the absurdity of the debate on this issue in the United States. The fact that some New York City politicians are actually threatening to cut Brooklyn College’s funding should send a chill up anyone’s spine who believes in free speech and democracy, whatever their views of Israel, Palestine and BDS. But the university president is holding fast to the view that an institution of higher learning, whether privately or publicly funded, has a first duty to present a diversity of views and not every such presentation needs to be in a debate format. And she is being defended by her staff, in the form of their union.

Pasted below is the letter the union sent to a long list of cowardly, clueless or bigoted politicians who are trying to shut down a legitimate, non-violent Palestinian view from being heard. It doesn’t matter what you think of BDS, or which side, if any, your heart lies on with regard to the Israel-Palestine conflict. This is about free speech and academic freedom. And for that, a hearty BRAVO to Brooklyn College’s president, Karen Gould, and the union, as represented by Dr. Barbara Bowen.  Continue reading

No Zionists Here: Demystifying Israel Firsters

I’ll be publishing my weekly Souciant pieces on Friday, at least for a while, instead of Wednesdays, so today there’s a new one up there. I discuss the experience of MJ Rosenberg and his use of the term Israel Firsters to describe so-called “pro-Israel” advocates in the US who place Israeli interests over the US’, as most of them from AIPAC and rightward do. In my view, some of the most powerful of that crew actually are pursuing an agenda which cares about neither Israel or the US. Check it out.

Beating the Bullies

In this week’s piece for Souciant, I look at how the radical supporters of Israel’s worst policies, out of necessity, employ bullying tactics to silence others. I may not always agree with those others, but they have a right to be heard free of censorship and intimidation.

And, for the record, so do supporters of Israel’s worst policies. The only difference is that no one is able, or trying, to bully them into silence.