USC Students for Justice in Palestine

history, analysis, news, and event updates on the struggle for justice in palestine

Juan Cole: Israel’s Netanyahu et al. Throw Trump-like Tantrums after UNSC Slam

Posted by uscsjp on December 31, 2016

PM Binyamin Netanyahu of Israel and his cabinet ministers are trying to punch above their weight. He wants to punish the UN, and apparently even the United States. Netanyahu has forbidden Israeli officials to travel to 12 of the countries on the UN Security Council who voted last Friday to condemn Israeli squatter settlements in the Palestinian West Bank (including in East Jerusalem, which Israel illegally has tried to annex).

Netanyahu also summoned the ambassadors of these countries in Tel Aviv on Christmas Day, producing some irritation, according to the Guardian; one diplomat observed, “What would they have said in Jerusalem if we summoned the Israeli ambassador on Yom Kippur?”

This sort of temper tantrum reminds us of Donald J. Trump’s petulant twitter wars with his critics. It is for the benefit of the Israeli right wing, since none of the 12 countries really cares whether Likud Party officials visit them or not.

Netanyahu also seems to have threatened to withdraw from the United Nations. What is ironic is the effort the Israeli government has put in to combating the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel’s Apartheid policies toward the stateless Palestinians. IF the BDS supporters could get 12 countries to refuse to see the Israeli ambassador and could get the UN to kick Israel out, they would be ecstatic. Netanyahu is self-BDS-ing, via his tantrum.

Israel is a small country of 8 million people, only 6 million of them Jews, and its annual gross domestic product, at around $300 billion, is similar to that of Denmark and Ireland (both less populous countries, so Israel is poorer than they per capita). Nobody much really cares in world affairs if Denmark gets in a snit about something, though to be fair the Danes haven’t really gotten in many snits in recent centuries.

I suppose center-right Danish PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen is capable of making noise about issues he cares about, but I haven’t ever even once seen him on American television.

One difference between Denmark and Israel is that the US Israel lobbies have extorted from the American people something on the order of $124 billion in aid for Israel, and President Barack Obama just authorized another $38 bn for Tel Aviv over the next ten years. Israel thus has an enormous military arsenal and a stockpile of several hundred nuclear warheads. The figures do not count all the indirect ways the US aids the Israeli economy. Although the Israel lobbies maintain that the US gets security help from Israel in the Middle East in return, actually Israel has sat out the Gulf War, the Iraq War, the Afghanistan War, the recent struggle against Daesh/ ISIL in Syria and Iraq, etc., etc. It is only fair to say that the US would not have wanted Israeli participation, because its reputation is so poisonous in the region that such participation would do more harm than good. But nevertheless, if Israel couldn’t help in any of these crises, it isn’t actually very useful. Worse, Israel’s often creepy policies against the stateless Palestinians cause security problems for the United States.

BBC Monitoring translated a broadcast of Chanel 2 TV in Hebrew, quoting the words of Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Yuval Steinitz (Likud). Steinitz fulminated, Trump-like, “This is not a resolution against the settlements.”

It was literally a resolution against the settlements!

Steinitz is making up his own false news. He then continued, “This is an anti-Israel resolution against Israel, the Jewish people, and the state of the Jews.”

The resolution isn’t anti-Israel, doesn’t mention anything about Jews, and doesn’t challenge the Jewish state. It just points out that Israelis are not at liberty to steal Palestinian land. The United Nations Charter forbids the acquisition of territory by military force, so Israel’s conquest of the Palestinian West Bank in 1967 is no warrant for it to colonize said territory or to expropriate and keep in a condition of statelessness the people who live there.

Steinitz then turned to the United States’ role, “The United States tonight simply abandoned its only friend and ally in the Middle East. This is no way to treat a friend. I do not think that Russia would abandon a friend in the Middle East this way.”

So Steinitz seems to be suggesting that Israel would be better off allying with Putin. If that’s how he feels, could he please give us our pledged $38 bn back? In fact, if he’d please just give us back all the money we’ve given the Israeli government on the false pretense that Israel makes America more secure in the Middle East, that would be a nice year-end bonus for American families.

Steinitz intimated that the US should not have allowed the resolution to pass because there are more urgent issues in the Middle East, which is “burning around us.” This argument is pure propaganda. That there is a civil war in Syria or an air war in Yemen does not have any impact on whether the Council should speak up about illegal Israeli actions against the Palestinians. The demand that Israel’s crimes be dealt with last after all other issues in the region is the definition of special pleading. Most of us learned in kindergarten that two wrongs do not make a right.

Steinitz’s proof that the settlement issue did not drive the resolution (against settlements!) is that the resolution affects Israeli land theft in annexed East Jerusalem. News flash: It is illegal to annex occupied territory or to flood your own citizens into such territories. Steinitz is demanding that the UN Security Council recognize an illegal act.

Steinitz owns a house. If he went on vacation and came back to find that strangers had moved into his house and were alleging that they were the real owners, he could go to the police and the courts in Israel and they would uphold his property rights. Palestinians living in the Palestinian city of al-Khalil (Hebron), however, don’t have the same deal. They see Israel bringing in tens of thousands of Israelis to live in their city, disadvantaging and stealing from Palestinian owners. When Palestinians complain, they are arrested and charged with terrorism.

He criticized President Obama: “The heart aches that after eight years of friendship and cooperation with the Obama Administration — a friendship that did see some disagreements over the Iranian issue and other issues — this is the parting shot; a painful, unpleasant, unfair one.”

So let’s see. Barack Obama sent George Mitchell out to negotiate between Netanyahu’s cabinet and the Palestine Authority of Mahmoud Abbas. The Palestinians asked for a settlement freeze, otherwise it would be like negotiating over a pie while the other person was eating it. Netanyahu got a settlement freeze, but then abruptly cancelled it in the fall just when the talks were getting started. The Palestinians rightly felt disrespected and the talks began collapsing. Netanyahu began announcing settlement expansion to coincide with the visit of high American officials, just to humiliate them. Later on in another round of talks, Secretary of State John Kerry was publicly insulted as “messianic” for trying to pursue the negotiations. In the end they collapsed. In the meantime, Netanyahu publicly humiliated President Obama on several occasions, lecturing him at a joint appearance at the White House, openly campaigning for Romney in 2012, and then trying to get Congress to derail Obama’s Iran negotiations. Netanyahu actually ran the last time on the issue of no Palestinian state, and has made it clear he wants to send hundreds of thousands more Israelis into the Palestinian West Bank, where they will steal Palestinian land.

Steinitz and his colleagues have been about the most unpleasant supposed allies the US could possibly suffer with. They successfully blunted Obama’s attempt at kick starting the peace process. They want annexation, Apartheid, and colonization. They are open about it.

Obama simply let the world body have a say on whether these crimes against humanity are acceptable. They are not.

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U.N. Resolution Condemning Israeli Settlements Is Approved; U.S. Abstains

Posted by uscsjp on December 23, 2016

UNITED NATIONS — Defying extraordinary pressure from President-elect Donald J. Trump and furious lobbying by Israel, the Obama administration on Friday allowed the United Nations Security Council to adopt a contentious resolution that condemned Israeli settlement construction.

The administration’s decision not to veto the measure broke a longstanding American tradition of serving as Israel’s sturdiest diplomatic shield.

It came a day after Mr. Trump personally intervened to keep the draft measure, proposed by Egypt, from coming up for a vote on Thursday, as scheduled. Mr. Trump’s aides said he spoke to the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Both men also spoke to the Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Egypt postponed the vote.

But in a show of mounting frustration, a group of other countries on the 15-member Security Council — all of them relatively powerless temporary members with rotating two-year seats — snatched the resolution away from Egypt and put it up for a vote Friday afternoon.

It passed 14 votes in favor, with the United States abstaining.

Document: U.N. Security Council Draft Resolution on the Middle East Peace Process

The departing Obama administration has been highly critical of Israel’s settlement building, describing it as an impediment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Mr. Trump has made clear that he will take a far more sympathetic approach to Israel when his administration assumes office in a month.

Mr. Trump’s comments on the issue amounted to his most direct intervention on United States foreign policy during his transition to power.

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, had urged the American delegation to block the measure.

“This resolution is a Palestinian initiative, which is intended to harm Israel,” he said in a statement.

–The New York Times, 23 Dec. 2016

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Netanyahu Romances Candidates

Posted by uscsjp on September 26, 2016

Israeli PM Netanyahu Meets Trump, Clinton in New York

SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

H9 trump netanyahu meet

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on Sunday in closed-door meetings. Trump hosted Netanyahu at his New York penthouse, where his campaign said Trump compared Israel’s separation wall favorably with his proposed wall along the Mexican border. Netanyahu later met with Hillary Clinton, whose campaign said she expressed support for the new U.S. military aid package to Israel of $38 billion over 10 years.

–Democracy Now!, September 26, 2016


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VETO AB 2844 – CodePink

Posted by uscsjp on September 4, 2016

Dear Governor Brown,

We urge you to veto AB 2844, an unconstitutional and costly attack on Californians’ free speech and the movement for Palestinian human rights.

AB 2844 chills free speech by falsely associating legal and time-honored boycotts for human rights with unlawful discrimination, and by creating a vague new crime in the process. The bill could cost California taxpayers over $140 million (Department of Finance estimate) and unknown additional sums for fielding complaints and lawsuits.

Although the title and some of the content of AB 2844 have changed over time, its intent remains the same: to stigmatize and suppress protected political speech, especially advocacy for Palestinian human rights through the nonviolent tactics of boycott, divestment and sanctions.

Stop this attack on Californians’ free speech. Veto AB 2844.


Sign the petition here:

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The Times of Israel: “Israel and US say ‘gaps closed,’ progress made on aid deal”

Posted by uscsjp on August 5, 2016

After three days of talks in Washington, negotiators close in on agreement for unprecedented 10-year defense package

BY RAOUL WOOTLIFF, August 4, 2016, 8:58 am

US President Barack Obama, right, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hold a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, November 9, 2015. (AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB)

Israel and the US have made significant progress in negotiations over a 10-year American military aid package, with a final agreement expected to be signed soon, Israeli government sources said Thursday.

Following three days of closed-door discussions in Washington, “progress has been made and gaps have been closed” between the two sides, an Israeli diplomatic official said.

“Israel and the US are hoping to arrive at an agreement soon,” the official added.

Sources in Washington had similar assessments of the talks.

“We’ve made progress and closed many of the remaining gaps. We hope to be able to reach a final agreement soon,” a senior official told Reuters after the talks concluded on Wednesday night.

Brigadier General (res.) Yaakov Nagel, the acting head of the National Security Council, has been meeting with his American counterparts to work on the final draft of a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) set to come into effect in 2018, when the current one expires.

Negotiations on the deal have been going on for months amid tensions over the Iranian nuclear deal reached last year, which Israel vociferously opposed. Israel has charged that the accord signed between Tehran and six world powers, including the US, poses an existential threat to Israel and warrants increased aid to the Jewish State.

The Prime Minister’s Office said last week that Israel “places great value on the predictability and reliability of the military assistance it receives from the United States and on honoring bilateral agreements.

“Therefore, it is not in Israel’s interest for there to be any changes to the fixed annual MOU levels without the agreement of both the US administration and the Israeli government,” it added.

Netanyahu also said last week that he hoped to conclude the aid negotiations under the Obama administration, which ends in January 2017.

The US offer currently on the table, outlined to members of Congress earlier this month in a letter from US National Security Adviser Susan Rice, includes a pledge to substantially increase the aid package, now worth some $30 billion, and ink a new one that would constitute “the largest pledge of military assistance to any country in US history.” The letter was sent in response to a missive signed in April by 83 out of 100 senators calling on President Barack Obama to increase foreign aid to Israel and sign the new deal.

Under the existing agreement, Israel is permitted to spend about 25 percent of the aid it receives outside the US and another 13% on fuel for its aircraft — allowances no other recipient of US aid is granted.

That arrangement originated in the 1980s to build up Israel’s defense industry, which has thrived, helping Israel to become among the top 10 arms exporters in the world — and in some fields a competitor with US firms.

In an apparent concession, Israel will reportedly not request supplemental funding for the entire 10 years, and in the second half of the decade, will incrementally increase the amount it spends in the US per annum, until the entire amount of aid is invested in the American domestic market.

Israel has already indicated that it will not seek additional military funding for 2017, which still falls under the terms of the previous 10-year package. The defense aid for 2017 currently stands at $3.1 billion.

Cliff Churgin and Raphael Ahren contributed to this report.


Read more:


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Posted by uscsjp on July 29, 2016

The Gaza 5K is an annual walk/run hosted by UNRWA USA. This event raises funds for UNRWA’s Community Mental Health Program (CMHP) to support thousands of refugee children in Gaza affected by PTSD and other psychological trauma.


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TOMORROW: Protest RE/MAX in Venice Beach

Posted by uscsjp on July 12, 2016


Join Jodie Evans and the LA CODEPINK team to protest RE/MAX’s selling homes on stolen Palestinian land.

When: Wednesday, July 13 12:00-1:00 PM

Where: RE/MAX Venice Beach: 155 W Washington Blvd, Venice Beach, CA 90292

Join CODEPINK to protest at the Venice Beach RE/MAX office to demand that RE/MAX completely cease their involvement in Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine. The Presbyterian General Assembly recently passed an overture calling on RE/MAX to stop selling homes in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. Just prior to the assembly, RE/MAX LLC made a statement admitting that settlement sales are problematic. Now we are asking them to act on that statement and completely extricate themselves from Israel’s settlements enterprise.

Learn more about the Remodel RE/MAX campaign to get RE/MAX to stop selling homes on stolen Palestinian land and sign the letter to RE/MAX CEO Dave Liniger.

We look forward to seeing you there!

In peace,

Baheya, Chelsea, Jodie, Mariana, Patricia, Rodas, Sam, Susan and the entire CODEPINK team

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This Palestinian Writer’s Diary From Gaza Should Be Required Reading (Alternet)

Posted by uscsjp on July 12, 2016

“Individuals aren’t the targets, but residences, family houses. They’re bombed until there’s nothing left.”

Posted in Analysis, Culture, History | Leave a Comment »

Palestinian Kids Are A Miracle Too. Santana, Cancel Your Tel Aviv Concert!

Posted by uscsjp on June 29, 2016

by Ramah Kudaimi
June 29th, 2016

Musician Carlos Santana is scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv on July 30. Santana is committed to the welfare of children and founded the Milagro Foundation in 1998, whose name means miracle and was inspired by the image of children as divine miracles of light and hope. On June 28, staff at the foundation’s office refused to open the door when a delegation, including local Palestinian families with children, attempted to deliver a petition signed by 25,000 people urging him to cancel.

In 2010 Santana honored the call from Palestinian civil society for cultural boycott and cancelled a planned concert. Join the efforts to calling on him to respect the boycott call once again!

Watch and share this powerful video urging him to stand on the right side of history.


Post these memes on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, and other social networks. Use #BelieveInMiracles.

There are also sample tweets included, which you can automatically tweet by clicking on them. The messages can also be posted on his Facebook page.

More Sample Tweets:

– See more at:

Posted in Activism/Divestment, Culture | Leave a Comment »


Posted by uscsjp on June 17, 2016

There’s a debate raging within the Democratic Party Platform Committee about its position on Palestine. Traditionally, thanks to AIPAC, the platform has showed unconditional support for Israel.But now times are changing: there’s a possibility of getting the platform to recognize the human rights of Palestinians!

Join us to call on Rep. Elijah Cummings, head of the Democratic Party Platform Committee, and Barbara Lee to include language that:

  • supports Palestinian rights;

  • calls for an end to the occupation;

  • affirms our right to boycott Israeli products!

Please sign:


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