All in With Chris Hayes, MSNBC
J Street’s president Jeremy Ben-Ami speaks with Chris Hayes and Mehdi Hasan about the need for a robust and open discussion of US policy towards Israel and the Palestinians — and the perils of shutting it down with weaponized accusations of anti-Semitism.
“‘We are concerned that the timing of this resolution will be seen as singling out and focusing special condemnation on a Muslim woman of color as if her views and insensitive comments pose a greater threat than the torrent of hatred that the white nationalist right continues to level against Jews, Muslims, people of color and other vulnerable minority groups,’ said J Street, a nonprofit that says it’s a home for ‘pro-Israel, pro-Peace Americans.’”
Progressives come to Omar’s defense, The Hill
“J Street, which describes itself as a ‘pro-Israel, pro-peace’ advocacy group, issued a statement on Tuesday endorsing the effort to rebuke anti-Semitism but questioned the effectiveness of targeting Omar. ‘At the same time, we are concerned that the timing of the resolution will be seen as singling out and focusing special condemnation on a Muslim woman of color — as if her views and insensitive comments pose a greater threat than the torrent of hatred that the white nationalist right continues to level against Jews, Muslims, people of color and other vulnerable minority groups in our country,’ J Street said in the statement. ‘By narrowly focusing on progressive critics of Israeli policy and the politics surrounding Israel-related issues, much of our current debate bears little relation to the reality of anti-Semitism in the United States today. This plays directly into the hands of the president and his allies, who act in bad faith to weaponize the debate for political gain,’ J Street’s statement added.”
“J Street is dismayed by some of the rhetoric and imagery used by some critics of Israeli policy. Harmful language that echoes long-standing stereotypes and anti-Semitic tropes concern us deeply. It is also our view that the far greater threat to the Jewish community – to its security and its values – comes from the surge of ethno-nationalism and racism that forces on the right, including President Trump, have unleashed here and across the globe. We agree with and support the sentiments expressed in the resolution which House Democratic leadership plans to introduce this week in opposition to anti-Semitism. We support members voting for this resolution to show their agreement with these sentiments. At the same time, we are concerned that the timing of this resolution will be seen as singling out and focusing special condemnation on a Muslim woman of color – as if her views and insensitive comments pose a greater threat than the torrent of hatred that the white nationalist right continues to level against Jews, Muslims, people of color and other vulnerable minority groups in our country.”
Senators Dick Durbin and Tom Udall write, “Sixteen years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, we are again barreling toward another unnecessary conflict in the Middle East based on faulty and misleading logic. The Trump administration’s Iran policy, built on the ashes of the failed Iraq strategy, is pushing us to take military action aimed at regime change in Tehran. We must not repeat the mistakes of the past, and Congress must act urgently to ensure that….That’s why we plan to soon reintroduce draft legislation by a bipartisan group of senators that would restrict any funds from being spent on an unconstitutional attack against Iran. Our Prevention of Unconstitutional War with Iran Act would rebuke Iran while affirming congressional war powers and preventing the president from dragging us into another needless conflict. Unless we demand that Congress act immediately and decisively to block the president’s path to war, we will be doomed to repeat the mistakes of our past. Once again, we would all pay the price.”
Bernard Avishai observes, “The charges seem more sordid in the black-and-white of the prosecution documents than they did in the whispered leaks of colorful pundits. Polling conducted by major television channels after the charges were announced show Blue and White winning a half-dozen more Knesset seats on April 9th than the Likud. More important, in the polls, the Likud’s bloc now falls just short of a Knesset majority. The finance minister Moshe Kahlon, the leader of Kulanu, one of the parties on which the Likud relies, is hinting that he would entertain joining a government led by Blue and White.”
“A vote on a resolution condemning anti-Semitism in response to controversial comments by Rep. Ilhan Omar is set to slip past Wednesday amid intensifying pressure from the left both inside and outside the House Democratic Caucus. An array of progressive groups declared their support for Omar, while both the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Progressive Caucus — two of the most important factions among House Democrats — wanted more time to review the situation, lawmakers and aides said. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said in a closed-door meeting Tuesday that the vote would likely happen Thursday. They also said a draft resolution would be updated to include additional language rejecting anti-Muslim bias, although some Democratic sources believe that an entirely new document might be crafted.”
The Islamic authority that oversees Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem rejected Tuesday an Israeli court order to close a contested religious area that has ignited tension between Palestinian worshipers and Israeli police in recent weeks. Sheikh Abdelazeem Salhab, chairman of the Waqf Council appointed under agreement with Israel by neighboring Jordan, said that the area in Jerusalem’s Old City beside the Gate of Mercy would “remain open for Muslims to pray,” despite Israel’s ultimatum to close the site by next Monday.
A delegation of senior Egyptian intelligence officials arrived in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday to meet with senior Hamas leaders in an attempt to ease tensions along the border and return to the understandings reached in the past between Hamas and Israel, Palestinian media outlets reported Tuesday. Hamas says Israel has not kept its part of the understandings, including easing the blockade on the Gaza Strip, extending the area allowed for fishing and advancing infrastructure projects in Gaza, such as electricity production.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez weighed in on the Ilhan Omar controversy, saying it is “hurtful” that colleagues have reprimanded her fellow House freshman over alleged anti-Semitic remarks but have been less forthcoming about bigotry aimed at other groups. Ocasio-Cortez, the New York Democrat who has become a party superstar, counseled a less confrontational approach in dealing with comments like Omar’s. “One of the things that is hurtful about the extent to which reprimand is sought of Ilhan is that no one seeks this level of reprimand when members make statements about Latinx and other communities,” Ocasio-Cortez said Tuesday morning on Twitter.
The Blue and White party platform will include a commitment to implement a currently frozen deal to expand the pluralistic prayer pavilion at the Western Wall and establish a first-of-its-kind body made up of non-Orthodox Jewish leaders to oversee the site, a party source said Tuesday. The policy proposal comes as part of a “specific commitment to rehabilitating the relationship with the Diaspora, born out of a sensitivity to the specific to the needs and views of Diaspora Jewry,” a Blue and White source said.
The UN Human Rights Council intends to publish in the coming months its conclusions regarding the creation of a list of companies operating in Israeli settlements, the council’s high commissioner said Tuesday. The list, part of Resolution 31/36, is intended to discourage companies from forging business ties with settlements. The Palestinians and Arab representatives had requested that the conclusions be during the council’s next conference in Geneva.
A new election poll predicts that the center-left bloc will have 61 seats in the new Knesset, against the right-wing bloc’s 59. According to the Channel 12 News poll published on Tuesday, Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid’s Kahol Lavan party is in the lead with 36 seats, and Likud behind them with 30. Despite Kahol Lavan’s lead, respondents still say they preferred Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister. Of those polled, 40 percent want a Netanyahu government, while 34 percent preferred Gantz.
Daniel Estrin reports, “This is the Trump administration continuing to change the symmetry in how it deals with the Israelis and Palestinians. The State Department is saying this is for efficiency’s sake and reflects no policy change. But what is drawing a lot of attention here is that the top U.S. diplomat now in charge of Palestinian diplomacy is the ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, a close ally of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a longtime supporter of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, which is occupied territory. And in the diplomatic community, former and current U.S. diplomats are objecting to this. I’ve even been told an official in the Jerusalem consulate sent a diplomatic cable dissenting to this straight to Washington.”