Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Progressive Israel Network Opposes Netanyahu’s Annexation Pledge

Statement by network of (mostly) American Jewish Zionist organizations against the annexation of the West Bank.

September 10th, 2019

Progressive Israel Network Opposes Netanyahu’s Annexation Pledge

Responding to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement of his intent to extend Israeli sovereignty over large parts of the West Bank, the Progressive Israel Network released the following statement:

A democratic and peaceful future for Israelis and Palestinians requires national self-determination for both peoples. Any step to unilaterally impose Israeli sovereignty over Palestinian people and territory in the West Bank is a step away from the two-state vision and toward the formalization of two separate and unequal legal systems. Both Israelis and Palestinians want and deserve to live in peace, with justice and dignity. Israelis deserve to live in a healthy and vibrant democracy. Palestinians deserve to live free from occupation.

Netanyahu’s suggested move would entrench Israel’s military occupation in the West Bank. It harms millions of Palestinians living under occupation and poses an existential threat to Israeli democracy. Israeli democracy cannot endure without putting an end to the 52-year occupation.

Our vision for Israel and its relationship with the U.S. includes:

* A strong and democratic Israel that ends its 52-year occupation and that provides for all its citizens justice, dignity and equal rights. An Israel that seeks peace, rather than entrenching occupation and inequality.

* Strong US leadership towards a two-state solution, which opposes unilateral Israeli annexation of the West Bank.

* A US-Israel relationship that reinforces our countries’ shared democratic values and institutions.


The Progressive Israel Network is a coalition of the ten leading organizations representing Americans committed to pursuing democracy, equality in Israel and to peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The coalition speaks with a unified voice in support of democracy and equal rights, religious freedom and pluralism, and a two-state solution. The network’s founding members areAmeinu, Americans for Peace Now, Habonim Dror North America, Hashomer Hatzair, The Jewish Labor Committee, J Street, The New Israel Fund, Partners for Progressive Israel, Reconstructing Judaism, and T’ruah. This statement is further joined by the National Council of Jewish Women.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Valerie Plame and antisemitism

Valerie Plame is running for Congress for the third district of New Mexico. Yair Rosenberg writes about her: "Many know Plame as a former CIA officer who rose to anti-war fame in 2003. (Her cover was blown after her then-husband, diplomat Joseph Wilson, publicly questioned the U.S. rationale for going to war in Iraq.)" 

She's recently posted a video pushing her candidacy, and some of my friends have been wowed by her.

A couple of years ago, however, Plame was discovered to have published tweets with blatantly antisemitic content. The Forward reported on this earlier this year:
One early obstacle for Plame Wilson, should she choose to run, is an anti-Semitism controversy: She was criticized in September 2017 for tweeting links to anti-Semitic articles, including a column titled “American Jews Are Driving America’s Wars” and another called “The Dancing Israelis” that insinuated the Mossad was involved in the 9/11 attacks. Plame at first defended her sharing of the “Jews drive wars” article, arguing, “many neocon hawks ARE Jewish.” [Links to both articles are below].
Here are the two tweets that were discovered, one from 2015 and one from 2017:

After her tweets were discovered, she apologized:
(JTA) — Former CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson resigned from the board of the Ploughshares Fund days after she retweeted an article accusing American Jews of pushing the U.S. into a war with Iran. 
Wilson, who[se] paternal grandfather was Jewish, made the announcement on Sunday in a series of tweets. “Actions have consequences, and while I have been honored to serve on the board of the Ploughshares Fund…to avoid detracting from their mission, I have resigned,” Wilson said in consecutive tweets. “I take full responsibility for my thoughtless and hurtful actions, and there are no excuses for what I did.” 
She also tweeted that she was “horrified and ashamed” for retweeting articles from the Unz Review website “without closely examining content and authors.” 
The article, titled “America's Jews Are Driving America’s Wars,” included several anti-Semitic tropes including that American Jews are guilty of dual loyalty to Israel, and that Jews control the media, the entertainment industry and politics. 
Ploughshares Fund, where Wilson has served as a board member, issued a statement condemning Wilson’s original tweet of the article. Ploughshares works to reduce nuclear threats and to prevent a new arms race.
Yair Rosenberg's comments are apposite here:
At the time, Plame defended her tweet, calling the article “provocative, but thoughtful.” She later apologized, claiming that she hadn’t read the piece whose contents she’d just been defending. Of course, given that the headline—which she tweeted—was “America’s Jews are Driving America’s Wars,” this was not a very convincing excuse. Moreover, as the indefatigable journalist Yashar Ali quickly uncovered, this was not the first time Plame had shared anti-Semitic material. In another instance, she had promoted the notorious conspiracy theory that a group of Israelis celebrated while 9/11 transpired (a canard that candidate Donald Trump later revived and applied to Muslims). [I added the link to the "America's Jews are Driving America's Wars" article].
She linked to the first article named in Rosenberg's article on September 21, 2017 - that's the one that forced her to resign from the board of Ploughshares and delete her Twitter account. The second one, about 9/11, was from 2015.

Both of these articles were published in the Unz Review, which is published by Ron Unz. It's clear that she didn't suddenly discovered this "news" source in September, 2017, since she also tweeted the article about the conspiracy that five Israelis in New York celebrated the 9/11 attacks (link to this article -

Both articles were written by Philip Geraldi, a prolific contributor to the Unz Review, and an obvious antisemite and Holocaust denier. Here's a sample of his Holocaust denial:
The imposed holocaust narrative is full of holes and contradictions in terms of who was killed and how, but it is impossible for genuine academics to critique it if they want to stay employed. Books like Wiesel’s “Night” are largely works of fiction. The narrative exists to perpetuate the belief in Jewish suffering, which brings with it a number of practical advantages....
Third, holocaust guilt is used in the United States to counter any criticism of what Israel and Jewish groups are up to, as they use their wealth and access to power to corrupt America’s institutions and drive the country to needless wars. One might well ask, when confronted by the taxpayer funded holocaust museums that appear to spring up like mushrooms, why so much interest in a possible crime that has nothing to do with the United States? 
Why was Valerie Plame reading and posting articles by Philip Geraldi? His antisemitism is hardly hidden in these articles. I don't believe her apology that she hadn't "closely examined content and authors" - something obviously drew her to Geraldi's articles, and to the Unz Review itself. Why was someone who claims to be a progressive even reading the Unz Review? It's not a progressive publication. Plame may have a Jewish grandfather, but that doesn't seem to have sensitized her to the existence of antisemitism. If I lived in New Mexico, I wouldn't vote for her - and I'm certainly not giving her any money.

Monday, September 09, 2019

In memory of the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto - the fighters and martyrs

Ghetto Wall in 1943
The Ghetto was cut off from the rest of Warsaw on November 16, 1940.
Approximately 360,000 Warsaw Jews and 90,000 Jews from other towns
lived in an area of 759 acres. Nearly 100,000 died of starvation.
Beginning in May 1942 and extending through the summer, about
300,000 Jews were deported to the Treblinka death camp, where they
were murdered. On April 19, 1943, the uprising against the Nazis
began, and lasted through May.
Model of the Ghetto, showing the large and small ghettos in 1943

Memorial for the fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto
"The people of Israel - for its fighters and martyrs"
(In Hebrew, Yiddish, and Polish)

The martyrs of the Ghetto, on their way to death
(on the other side of the memorial)
April 19, 1946 (third anniversary of the beginning of the Ghetto uprising)
To the heroes who fell victim in their tremendous war for the honor and freedom of the Hebrew people, for the liberation of Poland, and for the redemption of humanity.
Remnants of the Jews of Poland.
(in Polish, Hebrew, and Yiddish)