Yossi Alpher is an independent security analyst. He is the former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, a former senior official with the Mossad, and a former IDF intelligence officer. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.

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Legislative Round-Up- December 9, 2022

Produced by the Foundation for Middle East Peace in cooperation with Americans for Peace Now, where the Legislative Round-Up was conceived.

1. Bills & Resolutions
2. Hearings & Markups
3. Media & Members (general)
4. Media & Members (Elex & The Next Congress)
5. Members on the Record (Israel & Palestine)
6. Members on the Record (Iran)
7. Members on the Record (the rest of the region)

New from FMEP:

1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters

(DISSOLVE UN INQUIRY ON ISRAEL!) S. Res. 862: Introduced 12/7/22 by Cardin (D-MD) and Hagerty (R-TN), “A resolution calling for the dissolution of the biased United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel.”  As its title makes clear, the resolution delegitimizes/bashes the COI, the UN, and the UN Human Rights Council, alleging that the COI is “biased,” “serves to discredit the only Jewish state,” and “is likely to further fuel anti-Semitism worldwide.” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. Also see: Press release

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APN's Year-End Letter

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Recording- How Should President Biden Respond to Israel's New Government?

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Legislative Round-Up- December 2nd, 2022

1. Bills & Resolutions
2. Hearings & Markups
3. Media & Members (general
4. Media & Members (The Next Congress)
5. Members on the Record (Israel & Palestine)
6. Members on the Record (Iran)
7. Members on the Record (other countries)

New from FMEP:

1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters

(IRAN HUMAN RIGHTS) H. Res. 744: Introduced 10/25 by Deutch (D-FL) and having 87 bipartisan cosponsors, “Condemning the Government of Iran’s state-sponsored persecution of its Baha’i minority and its continued violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.” Passed 12/1/22 (with an amendment) under suspension of the rule. Also see: HFAC press release; Tweets – Meeks (D-NY-5), Cicilline (D-RI-1)




2. Hearings & Markups

December 7, 2022: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a business meeting to (among other things) take action on:

  • S. 4996, Syria Detainee and Displaced Persons Act, with an amendment in the nature of a substitute
  • S. Con. Res. 47, A concurrent resolution commending the bravery, courage, and resolve of the women and men of Iran demonstrating in more than 80 cities and risking their safety to speak out against the Iranian regime’s human rights abuses.
  • S. Res. 730, A resolution remembering the 30th anniversary of the bombing of the Embassy of Israel in Buenos Aires on March 17, 1992, the 28th anniversary of the bombing of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association building in Buenos Aires on July 18, 1994, and recommitting to efforts to uphold justice for the victims of the attacks

December 6, 2022: The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa, and Global Counterterrorism will hold a hearing entitled, “Confronting Yemen’s Humanitarian and Political Crises Without a Ceasefire“. Scheduled witnesses are: State Department Special Envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking, and USAID Assistant to the Administrator for Humanitarian Assistance Sarah Charles.


3. Media (general)

Times of Israel 12/2/22: US senator says Biden working to limit Smotrich and Ben Gvir influence in next gov’t

Washingon Free Beacon 12/1/22: Welcome, Bibi: Blinken To Headline Anti-Israel J Street Conference [“The conference kicks off this weekend, with Blinken set to address the confab on Sunday, alongside former Bernie Sanders adviser and longtime Israel critic Matt Duss, Daily Beast writer Wajahat Ali, a cadre of pro-Palestinian activists, and several Democratic members of Congress, including Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D., Md.) and senator-elect Peter Welch (D., Vt.).”]

Jewish Insider 12/1/22: Senate Democrats discuss U.S.-Israel ties, domestic antisemitism with Jewish leaders

Jewish Insider 12/1/22: Cardin convenes antisemitism working group with administration, lawmakers, outside groups

The New Yorker 12/1/22: A Right-Wing Zionist [the ZOA’s Mort Klein] Digests Trump’s Anti-Semite Dinner Party [“Is there anything else you would like to say about fighting anti-Semitism more broadly? I think one of the reasons that Jew-hatred and Israel-bashing has been legitimized and mainstreamed is that there have been no negative consequences for the dozen or so overt Jew-haters in Congress: Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, A.O.C., Ayanna Pressley, Betty McCollum, Cori Bush, Jamaal Bowman, and others. A year ago, Joe Biden made a speech profusely praising Rashida Tlaib. I mean, imagine if somebody would praise David Duke. We’d all go crazy, as we should. Do you think Rashida Tlaib and David Duke are sort of in the same Yes. They’re both overt Jew-haters. That’s correct.” What was her overt Jew-hatred? ‘We should stop funding Israel. We should boycott Israel. Israel is not an ally. We should have nothing to do with Israel.’ That’s overt Jew-hatred of the David Duke variety? Yeah, it’s overtly Jew-hatred.”]

+972 Magazine 11/30/22: Can the U.S.-Israel relationship survive a far-right government?

Jewish Currents 11/29/22: What the FBI’s Investigation of Shireen Abu Akleh’s Killing Won’t Resolve [“Not content to wait for the State Department to act on its own, members of Congress are now applying pressure.”]


4. Media & Members (The Next Congress)

Times of Israel 11/30/22: Pro-Israel Democrat Jeffries elected first-ever Black House minority leader

Responsible Statecraft 11/30/22: When it comes to foreign policy, Hakeem Jeffries will bring more of the same

Middle East Eye 11/30/22: New House Democrat leader’s staunch ties to US-Israel groups

Al Jazeera 11/30/22: Who is the new US Democratic House Leader Hakeem Jeffries?

The Guardian 11/29/22: Hakeem Jeffries’ likely elevation set to please US pro-Israel groups

The Hill 11/25/22: With the elections over, the US-Israel relationship faces new tests   

Jewish News Syndicate 11/24/22: Kevin McCarthy must remove Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from all committees

Report from Americans for Justice in Palestine Action, 11/21/22: Rightwing Zionist Money & Its Influence on US Elections


5. Members on the Record (Israel & Palestine)


Omar (D-MN-5) 12/01/2022: Retweet of @LailaAlarian – “In May, an Israeli sniper shot our Al Jazeera colleague Shireen Abu Akleh in Jenin. @AJFaultLines interviewed eyewitnesses and asked the White House and State Department if the US will investigate her shooting in our film “The Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh” How the US handled the killing of a Palestinian-American journalist by Israeli forces | Fault Lines

Tlaib (D-MI-13) 12/01/2022: Retweet of @LailaAlarian – “In May, an Israeli sniper shot our Al Jazeera colleague Shireen Abu Akleh in Jenin. @AJFaultLines interviewed eyewitnesses and asked the White House and State Department if the US will investigate her shooting in our film “The Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh” How the US handled the killing of a Palestinian-American journalist by Israeli forces | Fault Lines

Tlaib (D-MI-13) 12/02/2022: Retweet of @theIMEU – “Israeli militias expelled 750,000+ Palestinians from their homes in a systematic, violent campaign to erase the land of its indigenous population. This is known as the Nakba (catastrophe) of 1948. The film #Farha beautifully and bravely works to keep that history alive. Link to quoted tweet

McConnell (R-KY) 12/1/22: floor statement on the Judiciary and free speech, including putting into the record a 12/20/22 speech by Laurence H. Silberman, entitled, “Free Speech Is the Most Fundamental American Value” which among other things states: “…although it is certainly reasonable for parents to argue about the curriculum of public schools, it is intolerant to seek to ban library books on critical race theory, at least at the high school level. By the same token, efforts to prevent persons such as Linda Sarsour from speaking on college campuses in support of BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) directed against Israel are equally intolerant. As a onetime special envoy in the Middle East I regard BDS and Sarsour’s views as particularly obnoxious, but I deplore the effort of Jewish groups to prevent her from speaking at universities.

McCollum (D-MN-4) 11/29/2022: Retweet of @FCNL – “On this #PalestineDay we are asking #Congress to support @RepAndreCarson’s #JusticeForShireenAct #HR9291 & @BettyMcCollum04’s #NoWayToTreatAChildAct #HR2590. By supporting these bills, members can demonstrate they support fundamental human rights and equality for Palestinians. Link to image

GOP Antisemites/Nazis? BUT WE LOVE ISRAEL. & WHATABOUT… critics of Israel?

Greene (R-GA-14) 11/29/2022: Tweet – “Of course I denounce Nick Fuentes and his racists anti-semitic ideology. I can’t comprehend why the media is obsessed with him. Do you actually report real news or just use CNN for your political activism? Have you questioned Democrats if they denounce Israel hating Ilhan Omar? Link to quoted tweet

Bacon (R-NE-2) 11/26/2022: Retweet of @mikepompeo – “Anti-Semitism is a cancer. As Secretary, I fought to ban funding for anti-Semitic groups that pushed BDS. We stand with the Jewish people in the fight against the world’s oldest bigotry.

Torres (D-NY-15) 11/29/2022: Tweet – “There is not a hint of Antisemitism in Donald Trump meeting with Antisemites like Kanye West and Nick Fuentes? What are you smoking? Link to quoted tweet

Casten (D-IL-6) 11/28/2022: Twitter thread – “Opposing white supremacy and antisemitism doesn’t make you a leader. It is damned close to a bare-minimum requirement of US public service. And yet it is too high a bar for @GOP so-called leadership. Link to quoted tweet This in particular is a damning (if all too predictable) non-response from the weakest man in DC, @kevinomccarthy. Brave Sir Kevin will always run downwind, and as long as his caucus is full of white supremacists, he’ll be right there with them. Link to image A final comment: during the Trump era, whenever he said something anti-Semitic you could count on his Congressional enablers to post “I STAND WITH ISRAEL” signs – because Zionism is too often the way anti-Semitism is hidden in DC. Will be on the lookout for new signs this week.

Schatz (D-HI) 11/26/2022: Tweet – “Being dedicated to Jerusalem as the eventual location of the rapture does not make you a friend of the Jewish people. It means you think we are all going to eventually convert to your religion.” Retweeted by Escobar (D-TX-16)

Swalwell (D-CA-15) 11/26/2022: Tweet – “You proudly worked for a guy who just called an Anti-Semite a great guy. You’re not going to be able to pussyfoot your way into the White House, Mike. Call Trump out by name or spare us the trite nonsense. Link to quoted tweet

Denouncing Terrorist Attack in Jerusalem

Espaillat (D-NY-13) 11/26/2022: Twitter thread – “I pray for the victims and all who were injured during the terror attack that recently occurred in Jerusalem and stand in solidarity with the people of Israel. Daughter of New Jersey rabbi injured in Jerusalem blasts that killed…… | nypost.com Rezo por las víctimas y todos los que resultaron heridos durante el ataque terrorista que ocurrió recientemente en Jerusalén y me solidarizo con el pueblo de Israel.

Torres (D-NY-15) 11/25/2022: Twitter thread – “Hamas and the Taliban are terrorist organizations. Period. There is such a thing as objective reality. Link to quoted tweet If you deny the terrorism of Hamas or the Taliban, trying testing your hypothesis and living under the rule of either one. Something tells me the experiment wouldn’t end well.” Retweeted by Torres (D-NY-15)

Cassidy (R-LA) 11/23/2022: Tweet – “If this is a terrorist attack, history shows that killing Israeli civilians hardens Israeli resolve, as it should. It also hardens the resolve of the United States to stand with Israel, as it will. Link to quoted tweet

Clarke (D-NY-9) 11/23/2022: Tweet – “Today’s terrorist attack in Jerusalem is horrific and heartbreaking — my prayers are with the victims of this heinous crime. America simply must do more to stand against anti-semitism, both in our own nation and across the world. We must stand with Israel against this terror.

Cruz (R-TX) 11/23/2022: Tweet – “The images and accounts of today’s terrorist attacks in Israel are absolutely horrific. Heidi and I are praying for the families affected and for the recovery of those injured.

Frankel (D-FL-21) 11/23/2022: Tweet – “My prayers are with the those killed and injured in the horrific attacks in Jerusalem overnight. I unequivocally condemn these acts of terror and stand with Israel and reaffirm the US’s ironclad commitment to Israel’s security. Explosion at bus stop near entrance to Jerusalem; 7 injured, 2 critically… | timesofisrael.com

Langevin (D-RI-2) 11/23/2022: Tweet – “I am appalled by the news of another deadly terrorist attack in Jerusalem. My heart goes out to the family of Aryeh Shechopek, and I pray for the speedy recovery of those who were injured, including two U.S. citizens. One person dead after two explosions rock Jerusalem, Israeli police say | CNN

McCaul (R-TX-10) 11/23/2022: Tweet – “LR @RepMcCaul: “I am horrified by the recent terrorist violence against civilians in Israel, including the Jerusalem bombings that killed a child and injured 20 people, including two Americans. The American people support Israel as it defends itself from terrorism.”

Meng (D-NY-6) 11/23/2022: Tweet – “I denounce in the strongest terms this morning’s two deadly terror attacks in Jerusalem that has so far claimed the life of one teenager and injured many more. My sincerest condolences go out to all the families impacted. Explosion in Jerusalem injures 7, Israeli emergency services say | CNN

Titus (D-NV-1) 11/23/2022: Tweet – “I strongly condemn the bombings in Jerusalem. Wishing a speedy recovery for those injured and offering condolences to the families and friends of those lost. Link to quoted tweet

J St. Conference

Cruz (R-TX) 12/01/2022: Tweet – “Of course Secretary Blinken is going to J Street, an anti-Israel activist group that also criticized the Abraham Accords, loathes Netanyahu, and regularly calls for investigations against Israel. It’s both disgraceful and predictable. Blinken To Headline Anti-Israel J Street Conference… | freebeacon.com

Cruz (R-TX) 12/01/2022: Retweet of @Kredo0 – “.@SenTedCruz tells me: “The Biden administration is filled with partisans who hate Israel and Benjamin Netanyahu.” Blinken To Headline Anti-Israel J Street Conference… | freebeacon.com   Link to image   Link to quoted tweet

Jackson (R-TX-13) 12/01/2022: Tweet – “Why is Anthony Blinken headlining a conference for the anti-Israel J Street group? America’s top diplomat is attending an event that disparages one of our STRONGEST allies. It’s absolutely disgraceful. Biden’s foreign policy has been a nightmare for the WHOLE WORLD!!

Jackson (R-TX-13) 12/01/2022: Retweet of @Kredo0 – “JUST IN: Blinken Decision to Headline J Street Confab Set to Deepen Diplomatic Crisis with Israel– A “blatant and obvious attempt to stick Bibi in the eye,” State Dept source tells me Blinken To Headline Anti-Israel J Street Conference… | freebeacon.com

Israel – general

Cruz (R-TX) 11/30/2022: Floor statement bashing Biden admin, including: “…it took Biden a full week to call and congratulate Benjamin Netanyahu, who had just won election to be the next Prime Minister of our dear friend and ally Israel.”

Cruz (R-TX) 11/27/2022: Tweet – “ICYMI: Sen. Cruz Responds to Biden Administration Weaponizing DOJ Against Israel: “Everyone Involved With this Debacle Should be Fired or Impeached”   Sen. Cruz Responds to Biden Administration Weaponizing DOJ Against Israel: “Everyone Involved With this Debacle Should be Fired or Impeached” | U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas


6. Members on the Record (Iran)

[excluding tweets solely related to US win in World Cup]

Cassidy (R-LA) 12/01/2022: Retweet of @SenateGOP – “December is National Human Rights Month. From the victims of the Chinese Communist Party to the political prisoners of the Iranian regime, we stand for the freedoms of all human beings. Link to image

Costa (D-CA-16) 12/02/2022: Retweet of @EPWashingtonDC – “And we are off: 85th EU-US transatlantic legislators dialogue meeting has started with a warm welcome from @RepJimCosta. Ukraine, Iran, trade and energy security are among the topics on the agenda #TLD85 Link to image

Ernst (R-IA) 12/01/2022: Tweet – “The Iranian regime’s attempts to kidnap and murder Americans and dissidents have been prolific and persistent. The Biden administration’s continued silence has only encouraged more attacks on our shores. We need to pass my #PUNISH Act now. Link to quoted tweet

Fallon (R-TX-4) 12/01/2022: Tweet – “It’s simple — the nuclear deal Rob Malley & the Biden Admin negotiated and still offers Iran will only increase Iranian aggression, supercharge their terror funding, and will not prevent the regime from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Menendez (D-NJ) 12/01/2022: Tweet – “Proud to see the grace & sportsmanship of @USMNT after a hard-fought game with Iran. An important reminder that our differences are with a repressive regime that brutalizes its own people, not the Iranian people themselves. #IRNUSA Link to quoted tweet

Smith (R-MO-8) 12/01/2022: Tweet – “President Biden’s radical position on US energy is bought and paid for by the wealthy environmentalists that run the Democrat party. He would rather send US jobs to a South American dictatorship that is allied with Iran than support American oil production.” Retweeted by Long (R-MO-7)

Allred (D-TX-32) 11/30/2022: Tweet – “Democracy is always worth fighting for. From Iran to China to Ukraine, hope for freedom is alive… | dallasnews.com

Buchanan (R-FL-16) 11/29/2022: Tweet – “Time to beat Iran on the world stage. Let’s go USA! #USAvIRN

Cicilline (D-RI-1) 11/29/2022: Tweet – “This investigation is not only warranted but also a necessary first step in holding the Iranian regime accountable for its brutal human rights abuses and persecution of its own people. We cannot allow the violence against peaceful protestors to continue unabated. Link to quoted tweet

Cramer (R-ND) 11/29/2022: Tweet – “.@POTUS is making deals with adversaries like Venezuela and Iran rather than turning to American producers and workers in the Bakken. These deals acknowledge we need oil, but this Administration would rather ask dictators and dirty producers for it. U.S. gives Chevron go ahead to pump oil in Venezuela again… | axios.com

Cruz (R-TX) 11/30/2022: Tweet – “When you speak out for freedom, that terrifies the tyrants in China, Russia, Iran, and Venezuela. But what does Joe Biden do? He appeases and shows weakness to all of them! Link to video

Graham (R-SC) 11/29/2022: Twitter thread – “Like all Americans, I am pulling for #TeamUSA in today’s World Cup match against Iran.   However, I do admire the Iranian players. They took a brave stand at great personal risk against a brutal regime when they refused to acknowledge the regime’s national anthem. In their world, this is a major statement, putting their families in harm’s way.   My hope is that the ultimate winner over time will be the Iranian people, who one day will be freed from the oppressive regime run by the Ayatollah and his henchmen.   Freedom for Iran.

Graham (R-SC) 11/29/2022: Tweet – “Congratulations to #TeamUSA for a big win over Iran in the World Cup. To the Iranian players: You fought hard, and I wish freedom, prosperity, and better days ahead to you and the Iranian people.

Graves (R-LA-6) 11/29/2022: Twitter thread – “President Biden’s bone-headed energy policies continue to be wildly popular in Venezuela, Iran and Saudi Arabia – where these countries profit. (1/3) GOP lawmakers blast Biden for turning to Venezuelan dictator for oil while curbing domestic production… | foxbusiness.com Unfortunately, it’s Americans that can’t pay the bills for fuel and utilities because our own president refuses to produce American energy and build the pipelines needed to bring prices down. (2/3) This latest move to produce more oil and gas in Venezuela only reinforces that this White House prioritizes foreign countries over America. (3/3)

Jackson Lee (D-TX-18) 11/29/2022: Twitter thread – “A goal for democracy, human rights and freedom was heard around the world. The USA men’s soccer team beat Iran in the World Cup! The team is truly our champion and represents our values of a democratic society along with good sportsmanship, skill and determination. Link to image America is truly USMNT proud! Congratulations to all of the members on the United States Men’s Soccer team. Go USA!

Johnson (R-OH-6) 11/29/2022: Tweet – “Good luck to Team USA this afternoon. Beat Iran! And when the game is over, the USA will continue standing in solidarity with the women of Iran fighting for their freedoms.

Long (R-MO-7) 11/29/2022: Retweet of @bennyjohnson – “Iranian Reporter Calls America ‘Racist’ – Black US Soccer Team Captain NUKES Him In 60 Seconds Link to video

Malliotakis (R-NY-11) 11/29/2022: Tweet – “The people of China, fed up with communism, are protesting the authoritarian Xi regime. The leader of the free world must stand with them in their quest for freedom & liberty. We’ve had a silent @WhiteHouse before as those oppressed & abused in Iran & Cuba risked their lives.

Mast (R-FL-18) 11/29/2022: Tweet – “Tehran’s trying hard to get Team USA kicked out of the #WorldCup. After we beat them, it won’t be a problem anymore. But they’ll still have to deal with the thousands protesting their brutal regime. A better use of time would be making govt reforms to respect basic human rights.

McCaul (R-TX-10) 11/29/2022: Tweet – “TUNE IN: LR @RepMcCaul is about to join @SandraSmithFox on @FoxNews to discuss the protests in China and Iran – and the implication on U.S. national security. Link to image

Menendez (D-NJ) 11/29/2022: Tweet – “As #Iran demands the US be kicked out of the #FIFAWorldCup, it also threatens its athletes & their families with torture & worse. We stand with women & men risking everything to protest the regime’s #HumanRightsViolations. The world is watching in support of #IranProtests. Link to quoted tweet

Menendez (D-NJ) 11/29/2022: Tweet – “On Intl #WHRDDay, we recognize the bravery & resilience of women human rights defenders from Iran to Myanmar to the DRC who risk their lives for freedom. Deeply committed to continue to amplify their voices & make every effort to support them as they realize their visions. Link to quoted tweet

Menendez (D-NJ) 11/30/2022: Tweet – “Tehran’s move to blame outside powers for #IranProtests is a transparent attempt to undermine Iranians’ legitimate objections to rights abuses & to provide cover for bloody crackdowns. The world should neither be fooled nor deterred from calling out this dangerous misinformation. Link to quoted tweet

Merkley (D-OR) 11/29/2022: Twitter thread – “Great goal, @USMNT! Let’s keep it going all the way to the round of 16! Link to quoted tweet @USMNT I want to commend the Iranian team for their courage in standing up to a regime that has shown time and again it does not respect basic human rights and equitable treatment of women.

Pfluger (R-TX-11) 11/30/2022: Twitter thread – “Europe’s current dependence on Russia and other adversaries for energy should be a wake-up call. Our allies should be heating their homes and running their businesses with American-produced energy. Read MORE about my bill, the LNG for Allies Act: Pfluger: Bipartisan bill aims to expedite LNG export licensing… | mrt.com Thank you to my fellow Texan @RepCuellar for joining me in introducing this bipartisan, commonsense legislation that will allow our partners and allies to rely on energy from Texas and the United States—not Russia, Iran, or China.

Risch (R-ID) 11/29/2022: Tweet – “What a win for #TeamUSA at the #WorldCup. This is a moment to celebrate but not forget that the regime denies this very platform to its users — despite the Ayatollah’s constant propaganda @Twitter machine.

Scott (R-FL) 11/29/2022: Tweet – “Maybe @JoeBiden can host @USMNT at the White House to learn a thing or two about standing up to Iran. Link to quoted tweet

Sherman (D-CA-30) 11/29/2022: Tweet – “A great victory for the #USMNT! Looking forward to more victories for our team in the #FIFAWorldCup knockout stage — and for a victory for Democracy advocates in #Iran. We stand with the women and men of Iran. Link to quoted tweet

Biggs (R-AZ-5) 11/28/2022: Tweet – “The Biden Administration cannot be getting our oil and gas from Russia, Iran, and Venezuela. These are our adversaries—not friends. Let’s drill at home.

Booker (D-NJ) 11/28/2022: Twitter thread – “I have been closely following the weeks of protests in Iran, and am inspired by the bravery of the protestors, especially the women and young people standing for liberty. I stand shoulder to shoulder with the Iranian people in the face of brutal repression. The actions to suppress these voices for change not just in Iran, but around the world demands our attention and our solidarity with these protestors. Iran targets Iranian journalists abroad as it faces uprising at home… | washingtonpost.com The demonstration by the Iranian National Soccer team at the World Cup shows that this movement is not fading and that it will take more focus, more voices to bring an end to these brutal crackdowns. Iranian World Cup squad declines to sing national anthem, backing protests… | reuters.com

Burchett (R-TN-2) 11/28/2022: Tweet – “We should take her advice. Niece of supreme leader asks world to cut ties with Iran… | yahoo.com

Cassidy (R-LA) 11/28/2022: Tweet – “Iranians are peacefully rebelling against an oppressive authoritarian regimen which kills those who dare ask for freedom. The U.S. stands with the Iranian people! Opinion | The West is finally waking up to the real problem in Iran

Crenshaw (R-TX-2) 11/29/2022: Tweet – “Today Team USA plays against Iran. Let’s root for Iran to lose this one, then go back home and win the real fight for their freedom from tyranny. Sound good?

Doggett (D-TX-35) 11/29/2022: Tweet – “Powerful op-ed in @statesman in support of powerful protestors. “Women’s rights and children’s rights are human rights. The abuse of women and children is the abuse of humanity…the responsibility to rescue them falls to the powerful. That means us.” Iran’s horrific situation feels a world away. It’s not. We must take a stand for women…. | statesman.com

Fallon (R-TX-4) 11/28/2022: Tweet – “This Administration’s Russian-brokered negotiations with Iran have had a predictably disastrous consequence for the free world — an emboldened Iran.

Gallagher (R-WI-8) 11/28/2022: Tweet – “Rep. Gallagher on an Iranian reporter’s criticism of the United States at the World Cup: “Quite a lot of chutzpah for the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism to be criticizing us.” Watch more below. Link to video

Gonzales (R-TX-23) 11/29/2022: Tweet – “As demonstrations continue in Iran, the U.S. must stand in support of human rights and the people of Iran by holding this evil regime accountable. I stand in solidarity with these brave protesters.

Hinson (R-IA-1) 11/28/2022: Tweet – “I support the brave protestors in Iran who are standing strong against the regime’s oppression and fighting for their fundamental rights. The U.S. stands in solidarity with these freedom fighters.

Larsen (D-WA-2) 11/28/2022: Retweet of @stuholden – “Tyler Adams mispronounced Iran and was called out by an Iranian journalist – who followed up with a question on discrimination in the United States. His response: An all time classy answer- Captain & Leader. #USMNT Link to video

Larsen (D-WA-2) 11/28/2022: Retweet of @GrantWahl – “I can’t tell you how impressive Tyler Adams was facing questions from Iranian media at today’s press conference. Link to video

McMorris Rodgers (R-WA-5) 11/28/2022: Tweet – “President Biden continues to turn to anywhere but home for more energy. OPEC, Russia, Iran, China, and now Venezuela, are emboldened because he is shutting down American energy and ceding our global leadership to these corrupt regimes. Opinion | Biden’s Dirty Oil Deal With Venezuela

Waltz (R-FL-6) 11/29/2022: Tweet – “Not your average soccer match today… Link to quoted tweet

Wicker (R-MS) 11/29/2022: Tweet – “Fearless Iranians continue to lift their voices in opposition to the brutal murder of Mahsa Amini, and the suppression of thousands of women like her. We must recognize the cruelty of the Iranian regime for what it is and support our freedom-loving friends.

Cornyn (R-TX) 11/28/2022: Tweet – “via @NYTimes Iranian Weapons Built With Western Semiconductors Despite Sanctions… | nytimes.com

Gonzales (R-TX-23) 11/27/2022: Tweet – “Free Iran Link to image

Gooden (R-TX-5) 11/28/2022: Tweet – “The Chinese people are standing up to Xi Jinping’s zero-Covid policy. Iranians are protesting the regime’s women’s rights abuses. Ukrainians are destroying Putin’s army. Freedom is winning across the globe.

Cornyn (R-TX) 11/27/2022: Tweet – ““The Regime’s Legitimacy Is Eroding”: Iran Protests Continue Despite Brutal Repression “The Regime’s Legitimacy Is Eroding”: Iran Protests Continue Despite Brutal Repression… | spiegel.de via @derspiegel

McCaul (R-TX-10) 11/27/2022: Retweet of @saletan – ““Iranian drones are going into Crimea, and the Ukrainians can’t hit those Iranian drones unless they have the longer-range artillery,” says @RepMcCaul. @MarthaRaddatz: “Does it further incite Russia” if we send that artillery to Ukraine? McCaul: “Crimea’s not part of Russia.”

Merkley (D-OR) 11/25/2022: Tweet – “I support @UN_HRC’s special session to address the alarming state of human rights in Iran. The Iranian regime’s human rights violations against protestors are unacceptable—good to see the U.N. take this step to establish facts and condemn the regime’s violence. Link to quoted tweet

Castro (D-TX-20) 11/24/2022: Retweet of @KianSharifi – “Iranian media report that outspoken footballer Voria Ghafouri was arrested earlier today for “insulting and undermining the national football team” & “propaganda against the establishment”. Ghafouri, an ethnic Kurd, has supported the protests & condemned the crackdown on Kurds. Link to image

Menendez (D-NJ) 11/24/2022: Tweet – “Spilling the blood of protesters should never be normalized. The intl community cannot be silent, & must unequivocally condemn the Iranian regime’s violent repression of #IranProtests, the latest in a long record of human rights abuses, during the @UN_HRC special session. Link to quoted tweet

Quigley (D-IL-5) 11/25/2022: Tweet – “During UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, we must take a hard look at the realities women around the world face—especially in places like Iran. We must press for change and bring an end to the abuses taking place.

Trahan (D-MA-3) 11/25/2022: Tweet – “Today is the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Yet, a violent Iranian dictatorship continues to oppress women & strip them of their rights. We stand with the Iranian people, particularly the women and young girls, standing up & demanding better.

Fallon (R-TX-4) 11/23/2022: Tweet – “The Biden Administration’s approach to Iran has been flawed from the onset. Rob Malley is not trusted by Iranians or Americans and the Ayatollah’s regime does not fear him. He must go. Read my latest op-ed discussing the issue further! Iranian reset should start with Biden firing Special Envoy Malley… | foxnews.com

Waltz (R-FL-6) 11/23/2022: Tweet – “Venezuela/Iran: 1 Biden: 0 This will line Iran’s pockets as well as Venezuela’s. The IRGC is neck deep there. Link to quoted tweet


7. Members on the Record (other countries)


Takano (D-CA-41) 12/02/2022: Retweet of @RepColinAllred – “Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq, and Lebanon – it was an honor to join a delegation led by @RepMarkTakano to travel across the Middle East this past week to meet with foreign officials, military leaders and to spend Thanksgiving with our service members. Link to image

Saudi Arabia

Sherman (D-CA-30) 11/29/2022: Twitter thread – “#SaudiArabia is not a neutral player in #Russia’s war in #Ukraine️. #KSA invested $500M in Russian oil before the war and is exporting its own oil for profit. OPEC’s reduction in oil keeps gas prices high. (1/2) Ostracized by the West, Russia Finds a Partner in Saudi Arabia… | nytimes.com The rest of the world is condemning #PutinsWar, but #KSA is getting rich allowing #Russia to avoid international sanctions. (2/2)


Swalwell (D-CA-15) 11/26/2022: Tweet – “As a congressman to one of the largest Muslim-American constituencies in the country, it’s with immense pride that we watch the first Arab-hosted #WorldCup. The play on the pitch has been phenomenal — but it’s been matched by Qatar’s showcasing of the region’s religion & culture.


Allred (D-TX-32) 11/24/2022: Retweet of @VetAffairsDems – “Chairman @RepMarkTakano, @RepColinAllred, @RepSlotkin, and @RepKatiePorter visited @ASG_Jordan to meet with servicemembers stationed at the Joint Training Center and learn more about the operations and activities that support the region’s security. Link to image” Also retweeted by Takano (D-CA-41)

Allred (D-TX-32) 11/24/2022: Tweet – “It’s such an honor to join this delegation over the Thanksgiving holiday to visit our service members. We visited @ASG_Jordan to meet with folks serving at the Joint Training Center and learned more about their important work to strengthen the region’s security. Link to image

Takano (D-CA-41) 11/24/2022: Retweet of @VetAffairsDems – “While in Jordan, Chairman @RepMarkTakano, @RepSlotkin, and @RepKatiePorter met with King Abdullah to talk about strengthening the ongoing partnership between the United States and Jordan. Link to quoted tweet


Risch (R-ID) 12/01/2022: Tweet – “Of @UN contracts in #Syria, 47% go to highly risky entities with ties to #Assad or gross violators of #humanrights. The UN & Biden Admin must do better & ensure our support to the Syrian people doesn’t fuel continued Assad regime atrocities. #Caesar New Study Says UN Aid to Syria Benefits Rights Abusers… | voanews.com


Sullivan (R-AK) 12/01/2022: Retweet of @SenTomCotton – “General Jones is right. No American victim of terrorism should be forgotten. While our debt to the Marine victims of the 1983 Beirut Marine Barracks Bombing can never be fully repaid, my bill with @SenDanSullivan will deliver some measure of justice. Beirut bombing victims and their families deserve support and justice. Congress must do the right thing… | foxnews.com


Kinzinger (R-IL-16) 11/24/2022: Retweet of @DavidLawler10 – “New: SDF commander Gen. Mazloum speaks with Axios after 4 days of Turkish strikes. -Turkey is preparing a ground offensive, but stronger US pressure could stop it, he argues. -Says Biden has a “moral duty” to do more after Kurdish efforts against ISIS. U.S. has “moral duty” to prevent Turkish incursion in Syria, Kurdish commander says… | axios.com

Pallone (D-NJ-6) 11/24/2022: Tweet – “We cannot allow Erdogan to avoid accountability for his continued aggression in Syria. His intentional actions led to civilian casualties and endangered the lives of U.S. personnel. Calling for deescalation is not enough. It’s past time we reevaluate our relationship with Turkey. Link to quoted tweet

Menendez (D-NJ) 11/23/2022: Tweet – “Turkey’s airstrikes in Iraq & Syria, including against US partner forces in the SDF, have already killed civilians & destroyed critical civilian infrastructure while threatening to undermine the fight against ISIS. These are not the actions of an ally. Turkey Bombs Kurdish Foes in Iraq and Syria, Likely Killing Dozens… | nytimes.com


Slotkin (D-MI-8) 11/28/2022: Twitter thread – “After serving Thanksgiving lunch to U.S. forces in Kuwait, our congressional delegation headed to Iraq — somewhere I’ve worked on and off since 2004, and the place of origin for thousands of Michiganders. 1/ Link to image 2/ We visited with the small number of U.S. forces focused on both Iraq & Syria, but our visit was largely to meet with the new Iraqi Government and with Iraqis of all stripes who are part of the mix of Shia, Sunni and Kurdish leaders needed for this place to succeed. Link to image 3/ After a day in Baghdad, we headed to Erbil to meet with officials from the ethnic and religious minorities that have had to bear the brunt of ISIS and the instability before and after. Link to image 4/ Leaders from the greater Iraqi Christian community, particularly the Chaldeans, travelled from from their villages and parishes to meet with us and describe what amounts to nearly half their population leaving Iraq over the last few years. 5/ We also met with Yazidi leaders, the group who ISIS specifically persecuted, raped and, for many, forced into literal slavery. All of these conversations were sobering, and so important to understand the experiences of our fellow Michiganders at home. 6/ I’ll have more to share about our delegation in the coming days, but for now, I’m happy to be making my way home.

Slotkin (D-MI-8) 11/25/2022: Retweet of @VetAffairsDems – “Happy Thanksgiving!   This year, Chairman @RepMarkTakano, @RepColinAllred, @RepSlotkin, and @RepKatiePorter served Thanksgiving meals to servicemembers stationed at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait – a small gesture of gratitude on behalf of the United States. Link to image” Also retweeted by Allred (D-TX-32), Porter (D-CA-45)

Allred (D-TX-32) 11/24/2022: Twitter thread – “I was honored to spend Thanksgiving in Camp Arifjan in Kuwait with our service members, and to hear directly about their current service and how as a member of @VetAffairsDems, I can ensure they have everything they need in civilian life once their service has ended. Link to image Our service members stationed abroad sacrifice so much, including being away from their families and friends on holidays. I know I join all my fellow North Texans in saying how thankful I am to these folks for all they’ve done for our nation. Have a happy & restful Thanksgiving! Link to image

Slotkin (D-MI-8) 11/24/2022: Twitter thread – “Today, I got to have Thanksgiving lunch with Michiganders serving in Kuwait. Our active duty military & guardsman from Michigan are working every day — including today — to give us the opportunity to be with our families & enjoy the holiday. 1/2 Link to image Afterwards, in what has become an annual tradition, members of the Veterans Affairs Committee served the meal to our troops. As you celebrate today with your loved ones, raise a glass to those who are missing their families and working for us, far from home. 2/2

Menendez (D-NJ) 11/24/2022: Tweet – “Proud to meet with our partners from the government of Kuwait. Home to one of the largest deployments of US servicemembers in the world, our partnership is enduring & multi-faceted. Look forward to our continued work together. Link to image   Link to quoted tweet


Kinzinger (R-IL-16) 11/27/2022: Retweet of @visegrad24 – “International press reports that Belgian fans are rioting in Brussels after Belgium lost 2-0 to Morocco at the World Cup in Qatar an hour ago. Videos seem to suggest that it is rather Moroccan fans who are rioting. Link to video

Gearing up for a Third Intifada, or Has it Started Already? (Hard Questions Tough Answers- December 5th, 2022)

Q. The First Intifada transpired from late 1987 to 1993-94. The Second, 2000-2005. Is there some law of nature, or of the conflict, that dictates a Third Intifada now?

A. No law of nature, but lots of worrisome signs and developments. These begin with the weakening of Palestinian Authority rule in the West Bank as PA leader Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) ages, and conclude with the fascist, racist nature of Israel’s emerging new government, particularly where West Bank settlement and Jewish ‘values’ are concerned.

In between, there are lots of less compelling signs that, taken together, also become compelling. Gaza-based Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are concentrating their energies, with Iranian backing, on cultivating violence against Israelis on the West Bank while maintaining relative quiet in the Strip. They have ostensibly overriding economic and social reasons for quiet in Gaza: the income and stability generated by the employment of nearly 20,000 Gazan day-laborers in Israel. Remarkably, senior Hamas official Mahmoud a-Zahar stated in October, “I am against conducting periodic wars in Gaza [against Israel], but there must be periodic wars in the West Bank.”

Even without encouragement and bankrolling from Hamas and PIJ, or possibly with their behind-the-scenes backing, we are witnessing spontaneous efforts among young Palestinians on the West Bank to create new, ostensibly ‘unaffiliated’ paramilitary and terrorist units: first the ‘Lions’ Den’ in Nablus, and more recently the “Jenin Brigade’.

Not surprisingly, the level of violence has risen sharply; the IDF has killed more Palestinians on the West Bank in the past year than since 2016; 12 over the past week alone. The year 2022 has thus far witnessed a tripling of live fire incidents on the West Bank compared to 2021, with the vast majority involving attacks on the Israeli military, not civilians.

Sixty-five percent of IDF combat units have seen service in the West Bank since the current ‘Breaking the Waves’ campaign began in March of this year in response to a wave of lethal attacks inside Israel. Small wonder the IDF is planning to call up more cohorts of reserves in the months ahead, for deployment on the West Bank.

Apropos those young West Bank Palestinian men who are signing up to mysterious new ‘independent’ para-military units, note that most are too young to recall the Second Intifada, hence are not directly deterred by memories of the punishment the IDF inflicted on Palestinians back then in response to suicide bombings. Indeed, the young Palestinians are almost certainly energized and encouraged by the popular displays of support for the Palestinian cause and the enmity toward Israel that Israeli soccer fans have encountered on the streets of Doha over the past two weeks. Gulf governments may be prepared to work with Israel, but the soccer World Cup has been a reminder that the Arab ‘street’ remains loudly pro-Palestinian.

Q. How central are issues of morale and ideology to a new intifada?

A. On the Israeli side, not a few IDF troops in the West Bank are apparently inspired by prospective finance minister Bezalel Smotrich and prospective ‘national security’ minister Itamar Ben Gvir to adopt a more militant attitude toward Palestinians. And the ‘hill youth’ who populate the settlement outposts that are about to be legalized are also more likely now to adopt militia-like behavior. Their challenge? With official or semi-official backing, to expel Palestinians and take their land.

On the Palestinian side, the anger this inspires is bolstered by a generally militant attitude among youth who are increasingly despairing of the goal of a two-state solution. Here it is useful to recall Palestinian attitudes during the First Intifada, which caught the IDF completely by surprise after 20 years of ostensibly peaceful occupation.

At the time, I was drafted to adopt a non-Israeli journalist persona and interview newly-jailed Palestinian demonstrators, rock-throwers and their leaders. My mission? Find out how they describe their goals and demands to an ostensibly non-partisan outside observer. My finding? To a man, they all demanded a two-state solution. Nothing more.

Back then, Hamas was just emerging and PIJ was nonexistent. Both oppose a two-state solution and advocate Israel’s disappearance. Today, after 55 years of occupation and two intifadas, I have no doubt that a similar exercise would produce far more extreme demands from Palestinian youth.

Q. How are Abu Mazen’s age and weakening grip making matters worse?

Palestinian Authority security forces, which normally cooperate with the IDF and the Shin Bet in maintaining order in the West Bank, are losing both motivation and confidence in Abu Mazen’s capacity to back them up. They have to a large extent lost control over the northern West Bank where Jenin and Nablus are located, in favor of Hamas, PIJ and ostensibly independent armed Palestinian militias. This helps explain why the IDF needs so many reserve reinforcements.

Then too, thanks to the Abraham Accords the PA is no longer readily able to call upon Arab leaders to back up its demands vis-à-vis Israel. The Palestinian powers-that-be in Ramallah duly noted the message sent by the warm reception for Ben Gvir at the UAE ambassador’s annual independence day reception. That was a message to Washington, too: in view of your perceived withdrawal from the region, we may just have to live with the Israelis as they are: warts (of occupation and messianism) and all; we need them as insurance against Iran.

Q. Lets move to the anticipated effect of the incoming Israeli government on Palestinian readiness to escalate to a full-fledged intifada. What are the trigger issues?

A. Two widely anticipated actions likely to be undertaken at an early stage by the fascist-racist wing of the new Netanyahu government should be understood as serious provocations in Palestinian eyes: legalizing some 70 already violent outposts, and escalating the Jewish presence, presumably for prayer, on the Temple Mount.

Incoming minister of finance (with responsibility for settlements) Smotrich is planning to legalize the outposts, all in Area C (60 percent) of the West Bank. This will energize the settler movement to create additional outposts, and will energize the outpost settlers to project even greater violence against their Arab neighbors. That is one almost certain provocation.

As for Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, a move trumpeted by Ben Gvir, Palestinians are already gearing up to oppose it violently. Note that the Temple Mount is understood, esplanade and all, by the Palestinians as constituting in its entirety a mosque--al-Aqsa Mosque--and that Jewish prayer in this, the third holiest site of Islam, even in open areas, is understood as a virtual casus belli. Here is Akrama Sabri, chief preacher of the al-Aqsa Mosque and former mufti of Jerusalem, declaring that the Palestinian people will not allow Israel “to violate the sanctity of the mosque”. Recall that it was Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount esplanade alone in September 2000 that triggered the Second Intifada.

Then too, opposition to Netanyahu’s new government on the part of that half of the Israeli public which did not vote for it, could be a factor contributing to escalation of a new intifada. Incoming prime minister Netanyahu is well aware that his extreme right-wing coalition partners plan to change not only the West Bank, but Israeli civil society as well: the education system, LGBTQ rights, Jewish pluralism, the right of return for Diaspora Jews, etc. Indeed, it is these demands by Ben Gvir, Smotrich and their allies that generate the most anger among secular, traditional and moderate Orthodox Israelis.

Accordingly, Netanyahu is reassuring Israel and the world that in these areas he will restrain his coalition partners. So where will he give Ben Gvir and Smotrich a freer hand? In East Jerusalem and the West Bank, where Israelis opposing Netanyahu rarely tread. If violence there escalates to an intifada, many Israelis won’t feel the difference: only reservists being called up, along with the contractors building the West Bank security fence ever higher and stronger in the hope of keeping growing Palestinian violence out of the Israeli heartland.

Q. Bottom line?

A. A new intifada will not be about a two-state solution. No one in either the West Bank or Israel expects the incoming government to in any way get involved in a new political process directed at ‘solving’ the conflict. No one in Washington expects a new peace process. Nor will any Palestinian officially declare an intifada. It will just evolve. It has probably already begun.

The First Intifada relied primarily on demonstrations and rock-throwing. The Second, on vicious suicide bombings among civilians deep inside Israel. What weapons will a Third Intifada employ? So far, Palestinian militants are mainly shooting at settlers and IDF soldiers, almost entirely within the confines of the West Bank. Food for thought.

Washington still possesses a lot of heavy levers of influence that it can potentially use against an Israel seemingly bent on causing a serious deterioration in its relations with the Palestinians. US Ambassador Tom Nides was cautious and circumspect in a recent interview with Israel TV Channel 12. Clearly it is too early to predict American reactions to Israeli fascist ministers and their decisions when the ministers have not yet even taken office.

Then too, the US reaction will be determined to no small extent by both the next round of elections in America and the reaction to an intifada by the Arab world.

Transcript: The Creation and Shattering of America's Consensus on Israel- Eric Alterman on his New Book (11-22-2022)

Ori Nir  00:00

Is it? Okay? All right. So I'm going to count to three, and we will start. 123 Hi, everyone, welcome to this Americans for peace now webinar. I'm orange here and with me is my colleague Maxxe Albert-Deitch. Hi, Maxxe.

Maxxe Albert-Deitch 00:21


Ori Nir 00:23

You're joining us today from Atlanta, right?

Maxxe Albert-Deitch  00:27

Yes I am technically about 45 minutes north, but yes!

Ori Nir  00:30

got it. So before we start, the two usual housekeeping notes that you're probably all familiar with the webinars recorded, the video will be posted on our YouTube channel, and the audio on our podcast PeaceCast. And if we're already mentioning piece cast, I've kind of give you a quick alert to look for tomorrow's conversation, which I'll probably post sometime over the Thanksgiving weekend. A Conversation with Professor Daniel Berta, who's an expert on the psychology of the conflict, you can call it that. So that's my that's the first comment. And the second housekeeping comment is that you are welcome. In fact, encouraged to ask questions. As you probably remember, the way to do it is to use the q&a tool that's at the bottom of your screen, not the raise hand tool. And please keep your questions short. So we are honored today to have Eric Alterman as our guest, I'm sure that most of you know Eric are familiar with his name, whether before because of his journalistic work, or because of the many books that he's published. We're especially honored that Eric agreed to join us for a conversation on the day, the actual day in which his new book was published, it's today, the book addresses an issue that is at the core of APNS mission, which is the debate inside the United States over Israel, over Israel Palestine. And we'll get to that in a conversation of particularly interest interest to us is the recent and current shift in American public attitudes toward Israel, which again, is the is I guess, the main topic of the book. So Eric, Hello, and thanks for joining us.

Eric Alterman  02:30

Hi, pleasure to be here.

Ori Nir  02:32

Congratulations on the new book.

Eric Alterman  02:34

Thank you very much.

Ori Nir  02:36

So I wanted to start by asking you to talk a little bit about the title and about the book itself. The title of the book, which I should say is, we are not one, the history of Americans fight over Israel, we are going to put a link in a moment in the chat to the book on Amazon. So I'd like to ask you two related questions. First, why the title? And second why the book. What I mean by that is that my shelves, and I'm sure that your shelves, we can see them behind you, as you write in the foreword to your book, are loaded with books about Israel and its relationship with America. So what's what makes this book unique, special?

Eric Alterman  03:25

Well, the second questions, they're both actually pretty easy to answer for me, because I spend a lot of time thinking about them, but the second one has a simpler answer than the first one. The second answer is that this is the only book that anyone's ever written about the debate itself. So it's not about how to solve the conflict. It's not about the conflict itself. It's not about us Israeli relations, or America's role in the Middle East or in conflict between Israel Palestine, it's about the debate in the United States over Israel and and therefore over Israel, Palestine, but for the with a much heavier focus on Israel itself. So no one's written that book. And, and that's what I do. I write about discourse in it, but not in a way like, it's like , it's about this course, you know, in a way that that people actually experience it in mainstream media and the conservative media and the left wing media, but not in an academic way. As for the title, I'm very happy about the title took me a long time to come up with a good title. And this title does for me three things. One is we are not one by we're not one. I mean, first off America and Israel are not the same place. They're not the same country. They have different, very different kinds of countries. In fact, I'm sure our listeners will be shocked to hear that Israel is a very small country in the Middle East, surrounded by Arab countries that was founded in 1948. America is a superpower. In fact, it's until recently the world's only superpower for a while anyway. And it stretches from the Gulf stream waters to valleys. From New York, California, 340 million people. And yet many people, including most pro Israel, argument, people argue in the United States, that there should be no daylight at all between the United States and Israel's foreign policy. And by and large, there hasn't been by and large, the United States has supported Israel, in every international fora and everything Israel does, every once in a while it gets mad about some action taken by some Israeli prime minister. But basically, United States is cool with whatever Israel does, even if it's against US foreign policy, like settlements, for instance, then like the settlements, but don't do anything about the second meaning of the of the second sharper meaning of the title is that Israeli Jews and American Jews are not one. They're very different. They have very different experiences, in terms of their lives, and how they've grown up and what is meaningful to them. And they've come to have very different politics, Israel has become a right wing country, no argument about that. There's even in the last government, which was the good government, compared to the current one or the previous one, it was 72% of people elected to the Knesset were conservatives or right wingers. And that was the good government. Now, we got a much worse government and the number is higher, I don't know exactly what it is. So America, American Jews and Israeli Jews are not one, Israel is a red country, American Jews are a blue country. And third, American Jews are not one. American Jews have enormous differences, particularly over Israel. I would say that there's a there's a slight advantage in numbers of the view of Americans for peace now and J Street, over those of AIPAC and other legacy organizations. But that's not at all represented in the politics. We'll get into that. But in terms of the opinion polls that are published by Pew, and by the polls that J Street pays for. Most Americans do not support settlement policy, they do not support aggressive actions. by Israel, they certainly don't support Israel, consorting with anti semitic governments, or with Donald Trump. And yet, about 25% of Americans do. And a lot of those 25% are very wealthy Republican funders. So they get a lot more for their they're vastly over represented in American politics, compared to most American Jews. They run virtually all the legacy Jewish organizations, and they are very powerful in Congress in a way that vastly again over represents their numbers. And that's in part, a function of the weakness of American democracy and the power of money that in our system, similar to the way the NRA gets what it wants. So those are the three main ideas. American Jews disagree on a lot of things, not just Israel, but particularly about Israel. And those are those are the three messages I'm trying to get across with this title. And then I go back to the beginning of the story, which goes all the way back to 1896 or seven, to Dr. Hertz on the first Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland. And I tell the story of how we got from there to here.

Maxxe Albert-Deitch  04:33

So, first of all, I'd like to echo Ori's congratulations on the new book. I mean, I've been a longtime admirer of your writing, I've read a bit of this one. It's I mean, it's excellent on surprising to all of us.

Eric Alterman  09:04

Let me just say it's a little surprising to me. 12 books, I've written 12 books. I think they're all pretty good. I don't apologize. I like them. But I've never written a book that I feel like I've done everything I could that it's 100% as good as it could be. And I've never really said, I'm really proud of this work in a way that I am. So sorry, but I'm gonna say it.

Maxxe Albert-Deitch  09:27

I've got two questions for you about it. you frame the whole discussion of we are not one as a starting point. But you said that it took you a while to get to the title. So did you approach the book with a thesis in mind or just with a plan to explore the discourse in the debate?

Eric Alterman  09:45

You know, I've been writing the book. I signed the contract for this book in 2015. But I've been working on in my head literally for 40 years, no exaggeration. I spent a semester at Tel Aviv University In 1980, right when the peace deal was signed with Egypt right afterwards, I took one of the very first day buses with my friends from Tel Aviv to Cairo. Because of our trouble, we're lucky that we didn't screw up relations when we were in Cairo. And, and I had a great Tel Aviv University had a great faculty of Gnosis and and it's more Rabinovich and Shimon Shamir and Chaim Choquette, and professor named Gutfeld, who I became close with, and I came back to college for my junior and senior years. And I wrote, and I was already to be a Jewish intellectual, a New York Jewish intellectual, and I discovered when I got there, I was 20 years old, that this tradition of Jewish intellectuals had been hijacked by neoconservatives that, that they were very well funded, that they had a lot of outlets, that they had their own magazines and columns and jobs and in Congress, and so forth. And then Reagan administration, and they were wrong about everything. And I was I was, I was angry about this, I felt like my place in the world had been taken away from me before I had a chance to claim it. So I looked into this, and I say, How did this happen? And I looked into the effect, I had this idea that it happened because of the 67 War, that everybody was against Vietnam, because it was so stupid, and America was getting people killed and killing people for no good reason. And then Israel became part of the American empire, by with its disruption of the Egyptian military and its occupation of these lands that had previously been Palestine and four kind of nobody really knew who they belong to after. And they decided that, number one, military power was a good thing. And number two, that American power was a good thing because Israel needed America on its side. And so I looked for sort of a flip overnight, on Vietnam, I did this honours thesis, it's pretty good. I looked at the intellect, six different intellectuals, writings about it. And I'm such a nerd, you can sort of tell by my sweater and my books, that I saved my note cards for 42 years. And some of those note cards and interviews I did and research I did are in this book. I did the same thing. 10 years later, when I when I was getting my doctorate at Stanford, and I spent a year writing about the creation of the State of Israel and its effect on American liberalism. Now, the thing about anyone who has a doctorate knows there's really only one thing you're supposed to do with your PhD thesis. And that's prove that you know, everything there is to know about the topic, you already know that no one has written anything that you're not aware. With Jews, you can't do that they're writing down too much too many Jews writing about Israel and liberalism software. So I spent a year on I gave up because I said this is not a dissertation topic. And I wrote my book about presidential life. But I saved those notes too. And, and I've been thinking about it ever since I've written many columns, about Israel and the American discourse and criticize some of the people who are criticizing this book for years. I've taken some crap from American Jewish organizations as a result. So for some reason, this has been very dear to me this topic, the relationship between Israel between Israel, American Jews, and between Israel, United States. And again, I've written now 12 books, they're all kind of about the same thing, except the one that is about Bruce Springsteen. And I can make the case that this one is to that one is to, they're all about how do ideas affect actual behavior on the part of nations? So that's what this book is to it's about how does how does look,  Habermas calls the public sphere, how does the public sphere translate itself into action so that it affects people's actual lives? And so that's, that's what this book is. And that's why I feel like I know what I'm doing, because I've been at this topic and the topics that comprise it for 40 years.

Maxxe Albert-Deitch  13:57

Absolutely. So that leads into my second question, which is, you know, you started working on this 40 some odd years ago, it's clearly something that's very near and dear to you. What surprised you as you started working on this one working on it now as opposed to when you started?

Eric Alterman  14:12

I'll be honest. I suppose I should be prepared for this question and prepared to answer it, but Israel treated the Palestinian Israelis much worse than I understood before 1967. They Nakba is a real thing. We don't have the numbers, but I quote one document that has the Israeli the IDF, taking credit for expelling 700,000 Arabs, before 1940 Like leading up to 90 and then they passed the law in 1950, where they have expropriated all of their property and kept it for the state. And it was if I'm correct me if I'm wrong, but it was the 1966 that they were living under martial law. and couldn't go from one place to another without registering with the military authorities. And this is the golden era of Israel before it was carrying out an occupation. So I was I was disappointed to learn to learn how badly how the degree to which Palestinian Israelis have always been second class citizens have kind of an afterthought. And the degree to which Zionism mainstream Zionism wanted them to just go away the talk of let's all be friends and let's let's build this country together. Some people believe that some people were dedicated to it but not the leaders of mainstream labor Zionism. The other thing is going to sound a little . But and it's kind of unfair to the to the Arabs, but, man, they've had terrible leadership forever, beginning of the 1920s, when the British offered them a deal that would have given them control over the over the, for Palestine, with some participation by the Jews. And their refusal to even participate in the UN with the UN winscombe The Commission to decide what was to be done when the British left in 1948 through the present, where they are, this strategy is all about BDS, which is a terrible strategy and is doing nothing for the Palestinians who need help. They it's it's a shame that this quote keeps getting quoted because it's such a cliche, but they do not miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. That's a quote from me on here. The UN representative about even I've added and, and and now they're good reasons. Let's talk about if you want, the Palestinians have a real problem in terms of their competing constituencies. And the know is a lot is a lot. It's a lot simpler for them than the yes. But But what I've discovered, I think I am the first chapter, the introductory chapter, quoting Aaron, David Miller, who gives me a beautiful blurb for the book, and I never met him in my life. So I'm pretty proud of it, there's never really been conditions for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. What you need is both sides really wanting to being ready to give up what they need to give up. And the American American president who's willing to push them to do it. And we've ever had all three things at once. So that's the other thing that I'm disappointed. Well, that I learned. Most people think there could have been peace, we were so close. We're so close with not one other Camp David, but with under Bill Clinton when Arafat refused to accept Baraks offer. And then, and then later on, in the negotiations have followed that, and so close with the when, with the Camp David Accords, when, you know, at the White House ceremony, where, by the way, I was on the lawn that day, and I was incredibly moved and incredibly optimistic. But actually, we were never very close. And, and, and we're further away today than we've ever been, or at least as far away as we've ever been. So I came away, I'm sorry to say, because you're supposed to sound optimistic and give people hope. more pessimistic about both sides, then I went in.

Ori Nir  18:30

I'd like to ask you to comment on three terms that are often mentioned, in relating in relationship to the Israel us relationship, in relation to the relationship. One is, which you already mentioned before the issue of daylight. And it may be a good, good opportunity to tell a little story here was the first time that President Obama met with Jewish leaders. They sat around the table. This was just shortly after he was he, I think shortly after he was elected. And at some point, the person who was then the head of the ADL said, there should be no daylight between Israel in the United States. And President Obama said why it was he was surprised by this, which everyone was completely horrified by that, you know, it was like a, something you're not supposed to say. So it's maybe a little bit about this issue of the expectation among American Jewish leaders and Israeli leaders, that there should be no daylight. That's one one term. The other is a special relationship. When in how was this special relationship forged and what were the the building blocks of it? And then the third term is the issue of special of shared values, which is has been regarded for many years as the foundation like the ethos was that this is the the this is the foundation of the special relationship, the alliance. And we've been witnessing recently I think that there aren't that this the shared values have have weakened over time. So long, long question.

Eric Alterman  20:30

Yeah. I mean, you guys can just take a break. Now. There's a lot to say, well, you know, the issue of daylight, quote, unquote, daylight. It's an odd one, because I said, we are not wander between different countries with different interests. But Israel, you know, there's a quote of Bibi Netanyahu said that he said in private, but he was, he was videotaped, unbeknownst to him. And he was speaking to a group of settlers, and he said, Don't worry about America. America is a country that can be easily moved. And, and I think this has been the view of all is that, that if you just weighed out America, you'll get what you want, regardless of what Americans say, or think they are going to do. And I think this has been true, even it was even true under the the only American president who ever took on Israel and public, which was Dwight Eisenhower, after the 1956 War. He went on television, and he said, we're going to cut off all not only all aid, we're going to come all trade to you. We're not going to let Americans give you any money, if you don't withdraw from Egypt. The French and the British withdrew immediately the Israelis, the Israelis waited him out. And even though again, he spoke about Israel in a way no ever no American president ever has before says he caved on the on the main things on the main demands that the Israelis were making. And by and large, if you look at all the fights that have made the headlines, the Israelis always get what they want from the United States. I'm so sorry. You told the story about Obama. I'll tell story about Obama. The beginning of the Obama administration, Ben Rhodes, who was his deputy national security adviser came into Obama's office, and he had just seen a liberal democratic congressman. And he was very upset. And he said, Why says, Well, this guy's really upset because he's very uncomfortable with you demanding Israel freeze its settlements. And and Obama says, but he's against the settlement. And Ben Rhodes says yes, but he's more against doing anything about so. And I say that this began as a position of a liberal democratic congressman who's not named, and it ended up becoming the position of the Obama administration itself. The Israelis, they, when they, when they when they say, we're not going to, you know, we don't want to do something, they don't do it. It's one reason. I mean, it's impossible for me to imagine that United States would ever try and force Israel to do anything that Israel. So it's fundamentally against its own security, like, turn itself into a completely democratic country from the river to the sea, and therefore give the Palestinians the majority. It's impossible to before imagine that America would ever demand such a thing. It's one reason I think BDS is ridiculous from a strategic standpoint. But it's even more impossible for me to imagine that Israel would do it, if in some other alternative universe, the United States didn't demand that Israel is going to do what Israel thinks it's best for Israel, and it will tell the United States to go to hell if it needs to, although it prefer to do it quietly. So this issue of daylight is, is way that that American Jewish leaders quote unquote, daylight keep America keep American politicians from overtly criticizing Israel, but they don't really have to worry about American leaders doing anything contrary to Israel's security, because they're not going to do it anyway. It's there's no there's no percentage and there's nothing to be gained by it. They can they can every once in a while. It's so much anger, you know, when when, when begin, go on hikes they were angry when when begun, attack the nuclear plant in Iraq and flute and ignored everybody's rights by flying over their airspace. Americans American president was angry but they didn't do anything about it. They just they got over it, Bibi Netanyahu is right about that. That's that's I can't remember the election now. I'm old. What was second one?

Ori Nir  24:48

So we talked about special relationships and, and about the idea of what was... I forgot, especially shared values, the thing that I was most interested in,

Eric Alterman  25:10

well special relationship. It's a very long story, I would say. It began, it's always sort of been a special issue. But it began, the one we are living in now, I would say began in the 1980s. Under President Reagan, when AIPAC after AIPAC lost the fight over trying to prevent the US from selling AWACS special radar system to Saudi Saudi Arabia. It became instead of a small but effective organization that mainly lobbied congressmen, it became a nationwide organization with grassroots and very public and it became a lobbying powerhouse.One thats along with the NRA, and maybe the, the retired people's lobby, it's the most powerful, single most powerful lobby in the United States, certainly the most powerful foreign policy lobby there has ever been. And at the same time, the Christian conservatives, they always liked Israel for a long time when American Jews were anti Zionist. The eventual Christians were the pro Zionist people in America, American Jews came around between 19 the 1920s and, and after the Holocaust and becoming pro Zionist. Before that they were mostly anti Zionist. But the Christian evangelicals has always been pro Zionist. But in in the 1980s, they became much more political and be much more pro Zionist. The reasons for that, you know, are kind of disturbing, like, they're looking forward to the Book of Revelations when Armageddon takes place, and all Jews go to hell, and they are lifted to heaven, but in the meantime, they're they're doing, they're cool with whatever Israel does. And so they came to prominence in the 1980s. And so did the neoconservatives, who never conquered American Jewish American Jewish politics. They're still they've always been a minority of no more than 30%. But they, they, they were able to speak on behalf of American Jews to American Christians, as if, as if they represented American students, and they took the same positions that the American Jewish organizations took, which is that Israel is always right. And, and, and the media. This is one of my many criticisms of the mainstream media, they treat these people as if they speak for American Jews . So around the same time and the 1980s, the rabbis were kicked off a stage as Jewish leaders and replaced by the head of the agency, the head of the President's coalition, the head of AIPAC and, and so and so these people created this sort of iron, wood, what is it Avi Shlaim who wrote the book, The Iron Triangle, he had a different definition of it, but this is this, these people define what was responsible to be able to say about Israel and Palestine. And what's so interesting to me is that you could get in so much trouble if you went beyond the borders, but the borders are always changing. So President Kennedy was not allowed to say the word Palestinian, according to his advisors. And President Carter was not allowed to say the word Palestinian homeland He got, he caught hell for that. And, and a young President Carter's black representative to the UN, the only most high ranking black person in the cabinet, lost his job and was kicked out for meeting with the PLO, who, what she was doing, actually, on behalf of Israel, it's complicated story, but an interesting one. And those were the only people that could deliver peace. It's ridiculous. And Jimmy Carter was against the policy that said that they couldn't talk to the PLO, but Kissinger has made this promise to the Israelis and, and the American Jewish organizations were enforcing it. And so they, and the young was forced out of administration, very much to the detriment of black Jewish relations and the future of American liberalism. And there's always been a conflict between American Jews liberalism and their Zionism. And until recently, the Zionism as one, and this is one change. And I guess it leads to your next point. Now, the liberalism is winning. And that's, and that's one reason why Israel is becoming far less popular than it used to being with Democrats, and particularly young democrats who are the most liberal group in the country, and Jews. So So that's what's changing. The other the other part of it now this idea of shared values Well, for a long time, Israel, you know, Israel, which is when the argument was saying, we're the only we're the only democracy in the Middle East number one and number two, our Arabs have life much better than any other Arabs. So even though They're not equal. Would they rather go live in Syria? Is that what they want? Or Libya? And, and now we know that Israel is not it's definitely as Who am I quoting when I say Israel is democratic and Jewish, but Jewish, if you're Arab,

Ori Nir  30:20

the Knesset member  said that,


Eric Alterman  30:22

okay. It's just a smart thing to say it's not in the book. But but so it's not a democratic country, for if for 20% of its citizens, and most Americans, I think, until recently, probably today, had no idea that that figure is so large, I mean, black Americans are only 12% of the United States. And it was a terrible crisis when they were not given their rights. And people really cared deeply about this. And yet 20% of Israelis have very limited rights. They can vote, but they have very limited rights in other ways. And particularly if you include Jerusalem, as part of Israel, those people 350,000 People do not have political rights, the way Israeli Jews. So it's a debt, it's a democracy with a big, very big asterisk next to it. Now, the thing is, is that historically, Israelis have looked and felt like America, they're, they, they, they don't look like Arabs, they don't look like they don't they look, they don't look foreign, they look other, they look like us. And in fact, they look better than us. You know, we have this idea of the founders of Israel. Out of the movie accidents really were Paul Newman was the avatar. But um, you know, they would work in the fields in the morning, and then they would argue about Dostoyevsky And, and, and philosophy in the afternoon, and then they would go and fight in the evening. And then make love to their girlfriends at night and then do the same thing. The next day. They were they were overmatched. They were Superman. And they and they were they were different kinds of Jews. They were a Jew that American Jews fell in love with, you know, they were not Philip Roth Jews. They were these Leon years, imaginary Jews. And an American Jews love that they lived vicariously through these Israelis. But then, beginning in 1977, with the election of Manachem Begin, it became clear that this was no longer Israel, Israel became a lot more a lot more like America. I went to Israel the first time in 1974. And I and I have a 14 year old and I fell in love with this idea too. And, and the idea that out of the ashes of Holocaust came is new, proud, strong, virile Jew, was just wonderful. Everybody loved it. They loved it before 67 When they had this, they didn't think about it much. But they had this sort of dignified, later exercised view of Israel, and then they they continued to love it for a long time. Again, the power of the Holocaust has remained very strong for a long time. And the idea of Israel being beleaguered, small country surrounded by a hostile power. But that has by and large disputed. So David has become Goliath and vice versa, in today's world, and so the the idea that shared values hold , either American Jews and Israeli Jews together or American Israel together, that no longer holds water at all. Because some, you know, Bibi Netanyahu and Donald Trump have shown face but we hate Donald Trump we Americans use and most Americans hate. I think I quote not on Sharansky and Gil Troy, saying Israelis are angry at American Jews because they love Trump. And and the American Jews are angry at Israeli Jews because we love Obama, American Jews love them. And and that's that's just not that's not a coincidence. That's very real. Israel is the only democratic country in the world that preferred Trump to Obama and prefer Trump to Biden. And that's the exact opposite of most Americans. So Israel has shared values with evangelical Christians, and with orthodox American. That's important. I don't, I don't quite do justice to this in the book. Today, 10% of American Jews are Orthodox, and this is ultra orthodox. So not that many modern Orthodoxy is disappearing in America. But, but they have. I read a statistic that they have 40% of the babies in New York now. So the mainstream, secular American denominations are in crisis. Conservative Jews, conservatism has lost a third of its membership in like the past 15 years, and reformed Jews have lost about 15%. They would have lost more except that conservative Jews are becoming reformed. Young people are disappearing from both. And I think a big reason for that is that these mainstream organizations have have become Zionist. Not that they're that they're people are objective support for Israel, but that's all they do. They they've, they've replaced the things, they've replaced theology, they've replaced social justice, they've replaced social service and replace, thinking about what it means to be a Jew in the diaspora, with support for Israel, Holocaust remembrance and anti semitism. And there's no there's no substance to that there's no reason to be Jewish. anymore. There used to be work for me when I was I was born in 1960. And when my Bubby and zeyda and my parents said to me, you you got to support Israel because of the Holocaust. I got it. And people my age up to my age got it maybe a little younger than me got it. But now people are getting what why do I support Israel? You know, they're paddling around with with, with Orban and Hungary and, and that Brazilian guys, Bolsanaro, Trump, I don't want anything to do with that. And the Holocaust. While your whole course was terrible, no doubt about it. But so a lot of things been terrible. And you know, what about? What about Cambodia and 1970s and, and other mass murders? What about, you know, Bosnia? And I'm not comparing these things to the Holocaust. They're all their own things. But, but the idea that, that what happened in Germany, in the 1930s and 40s, there in Eastern Europe should dictate a person's identity. Today, it's not it's not compelling. It's not convinced. And to be honest, well, there is an upsurge of anti semitism in the United States. Some of it a great deal of which, by the way, is attributable to people who are angry about Israel. There's really no problem with being Jewish in America the way there once was. There are no barriers really, anyway, we, you know, we Jewish politicians, Jewish lawyers, Jewish presidents of universities, it's fine to be Jewish. It's not it's not dangerous to be Jewish in America is it's as good as anything. We're totally, you know, we're totally part of the establishment today. So, so the idea that we need a refuge from from anti semitism is not convincing either. So so the the what is more rests on today, politically speaking, is the support of Christian conservatives. And the support of the the political system, which to some degree rests on the donor base, which is quite conservative for these Jewish organizations like AIPAC. And and the and the fact that the, the political system is very slow to respond to democratic. When it comes to foreign policy, I wrote a book about democracy and foreign policy almost 25 years ago, in fact, 24 years ago, there's very little effect of this verbal democratic impact on US foreign policy. And it certainly would take a long time before it reaches down Israel. So for all the talk, I'm sorry, yeah, give me a second long answer. But for all the talk about the Democratic Party is no longer on Israel side and the squad, its danger to Israel. Well, when you had after the war, the 2021 War in Gaza. And after the United States had signed $38 billion memo of understanding what Israel over a 10 year period, Congress decided what to give Israel another billion dollars on top of the 38 billion to make up for the money spent on the Iron Dome missile system. What was the vote, it was eight votes against one, abstention from AOC, and five, whatever 538 minus 499 mean 529. Four. So that's the danger Israel faces now that it might, it might be 510, against 20, on day, but the political system is still very much in Israel's court, even though this idea of shared values is a thing of history.

Maxxe Albert-Deitch  39:23

So you've touched on this a bit already. But there's a chapter in your book titled Coming Unglued, which, and again, you've talked about this a bit already, suggests that the big break among non conservative Americans and Israel took place under Donald Trump's four years in the White House. And then with that, the closest association being that between a very conservative Netanyahu led Israel and the Trump administration. I'm going to take it from your last answer that that is a correct depiction. But what do you I think happened during that period, particularly among progressive American Jews in terms of that separation. And then I have a follow up for that as well. But I'd like to give you a chance to answer that first.

Eric Alterman  40:11

I think, you know, the, the threat of Donald Trump, if you would call Donald Trump a fascist, shortly after he was elected, you'd be considered ridiculous, you know, you'd be outside of responsible discourse. But he was it wasn't a sort of homegrown American fascist that we learned, you know, he tried to overthrow the election violently, as well as any other way he could think. And, and this was the greatest threat America has faced to its democracy since the Civil War. And we still face it. So American Jews or their Americans first, in most cases, I'm not saying I'm not talking about myself, but I'm saying the there. Israelis, by the way, have contempt for American Jews, in part because they think they're just sort of playing Judaism. And they'll either be they'll either be assimilated into Christianity or or they'll be anti semitism will frighten them into giving up their Judaism. But, um, a separate issue, although one we should probably talk about. But Donald Trump was terrifying, and still is. And the fact that Israel didn't care about American Jews most fundamental political concern and just allied themselves with this evil threat to what American Jews held most dear, like I said, Before Trump, you could you could sort of balance your Zionism and your liberalism. But under Trump, he no longer could. And Trump himself says he says, What do you American Jews doing by not supporting Israel? Because I support Israel and the Democrats don't. And Netanyahu is he's remarkably similar to Trump. He's a lot smarter than Trump. He's not nearly as crazy as Trump, but he's just as focused on him on his own political movement, which is every bit as racist, and exclusionist. And, and potentially violent and certainly corrupt, as Trump says, so they have very similar interests. They also weirdly have sons who are, even if possible, more offensive than they are. I don't mention that in the book. But I mentioned that today because I saw a tweet from er, er, Netanyahu that that was really nice to Kanye West. Yesterday. Anyway. So so the the alliance between Netanyahu and Trump really made this very stark because Trump is the enemy of 75%, of American Jews, enemy in a way that no Republican president has ever been, since the founding of the State of Israel. He's an enemy of not just our not just our party, but our, our most fundamental values, and, and of our country's democracy. And, and, and Israel's leader and Israel's population, and bracelets, and bought into it. So, so, so this made an unbridgeable break between Israel and the majority of American Jews. And and today this week, as, as of the past week, that that break has broken out into the mainstream discourse, because Israel is bringing in these Israeli Government appears to be bringing in the really objectionable people into the government, the federal parties who are, you know, pro terrorist, and they talk about expelling the Arabs from the country and, and the issue over the killing of Palestinian American journalist is another issue that is, is demonstrating that the break is now out into the open. So, so this coming unglued? When I wrote that chapter, and I called it that it was more about how the politics and both countries were simultaneously coming unglued. Netanyahu was obviously so corrupt, but he was going to get he was getting away with it, because he had such strong support from same thing. And but but you could, it has this double meaning now that the that the relationship is coming unglued because of Israel is moving further and further in this extreme direction. United States we don't know what's going to happen. But clearly American Jews and American liberals and the people who have always been there for Israel are can't go along with it. The head of the reform movement, Rick Jacobs, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, he issued a statement about Ben Gvir, etc. that no American Jewish leader has ever said before about Israel. It was much harsher than anything they've ever allowed themselves to say in the past and that I think has it even happened yet. If it does happen, and the Israelis take that direction that they seem to be going on, then then we're going to see a dislocation between the two. That has no precedent.

Maxxe Albert-Deitch  45:16

Sure. So that was the follow up: where do you think this reality might be headed considering what I've sort of been referring to as the extreme-ification of politics? The most recent Israeli election, a sort of return to a conservative Netanyahu led Israel with more controversial further extreme leaders? I think the question in the chat about Orthodox community being the fastest growing Jewish population in the US is relevant in there as well.

Eric Alterman  45:43

Yeah, I haven't looked at chat. I've been focused on our conversation. I will once we turn it over to questions. So listen, so Joe Biden, when it comes to Israel, he is definitely... when the when when Democrats had their primaries, his two competitors, Joe Biden was the only one of the top three, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, who said, We will never condition aid Israel, on its behavior, we're gonna give them the aid, they can do what they want. We're not going to use aid as a lever to get them to stop building settlements, or stop letting the settlers beat up Palestinians who are trying to plant olive groves. And we're, when Biden goes, that will be a thing of the past, in the Democratic Party, that that's now it's now a mainstream position to say Israel's the only American military aid to a lot of countries. Israel is the only one that doesn't have to account for how expensive that's one of the great victories of AIPAC, etc, that Israel gets the most amount of American aid, military aid, and yet they do whatever they want. Every other country has to account for exactly where that aid, aid went. So in the future Israel, that that relationship with that aspect of tuition will change. Now, under Biden, you know, Biden's election coincided with Bibi losing the last election. And everybody was thrilled that they didn't have to deal with Bibi. And I quote a I forget who it was a columnist. I think I know Haaretz, who said that the Americans were terrified of this bear in the basement. And they did everything they could to avoid opening the door so that the bear could get out. And then they'd have Bibi back. So so the Bennett government was able to really do whatever it wanted, without the Biden administration, making any kind of public problem they did. They said, Please don't build on area C. They said a few other things. But they basically turned a blind eye to what was going on in the West Bank, with the settlers. So with Bibi in power, and the Democratic Party, having no sympathy at all, for Bibi. And even worse, you know, to the right of Bibi, there will be a lot of conflicts. And it will be just like everything in America, which will be you know, the Trump and Republicans party will attack the Democrats and call them anti Semites, while at the same time exploiting anti semitism, and the Democrats will be divided. And the American Jewish organizations will by and large, come down on the side of Israel, and therefore lose more and more support among Democrats and particularly young democrats. And, you know, it's, I'm a historian, so, you know, to get me to predict the future. But because anything could happen, you know, who knows? But But clearly, these two trends are not going anywhere, the trend that is becoming more and more of an extreme right wing country, and the United States, American Jews are moving to the left, young American Jews. young Israelis are more right wing than their parents and young American Jews are more left wing than their parents, and so are young American Democrats and young American people. That's why Democrats hold on to the Senate because of young people, Generation Z. So these two trends are embedded in the world. Something could change it, but nothing looks like it's about to and you can expect a great deal more conflict. And just to add on to this. I think this is worth thinking about. And not in none of these. It almost I can't find a single example, where Israel changed its policy review because American Jews said don't do it. Sometimes the American government would say don't do it, although that's pretty rare too but American Jews Yeah, there's a famous quote, When Golda Meir who was prime minister at the time, met with American Jews, and because Golda Meir's governor was supporting Nixon and American Jews were supporting McGovern. And they were unhappy. And, and, and golden said, where are your phantom jets? It's just like when Stalin said, how many troops does the pope have? So, so Israel, I think, will continue to get what it wants from Congress and from the presidency because they control the levers of power. Number one, remember to because the Palestinians are so bad at politics, at least they're so bad at American politics. They have no, they have no levers power. And, and they're not and they're not and the Palestinians themselves in, in the West Bank and Gaza, you know, Israel facing the whole list. You're asking us to make peace, make peace with who they are, right? The the the Palestinian Authority is illegitimate. It has an election in 16 years, it's corrupt, it has very little support. You can't make peace with Abbas. I agree with that. So so the Israelis have this opportunity. And they're using it to to make sure that peace, instead of making sure that they're creating the conditions for lasting peace that they can live with. And, and I think that I think, again, elections, but I think history will look back on that as enormously short sighted.

Ori Nir  51:36

We are I'm looking at the clock here. And we're kind of approaching the end of our conversation. There are a couple of things that I wanted to ask you before, we want to make sure we don't leave out. So I'm looking at the questions that are being asked in the QA and q&a, we're not going to be able to address all of them, one of them. And some of some of them reflect the kind of ruffling of feathers of some of our participants. One is asking why do you think that? BDS is ridiculous? Why did you refer to it as ridiculous?

Eric Alterman  52:11

Well, BDS has, I think one main value, which is it, it tells the Palestinians, we haven't forgotten you. We are thinking about you. We, you know, Israel, as the Arab world has basically moved on. It's fine with what Israel does. But the Palestinians have, you know, no, no, no real friends, diplomatically speaking. But there is a group of people who really care and we're going to march for you, we're going to protest on your behalf. But that's it. Barely BDS has no theory of actually improving the lives of Palestinian people. Again, BDS says we're going to conquer American politics, and then America is going to force Israel to turn itself over to a Palestinian majority. Never Never, never, never give anyone a million to one odds that that doesn't happen in any of our lifetimes. The the most recent poll numbers, first of all know most Americans have never heard of 4% of Americans support BDS. 2% supported strongly, that's after 14 years. Again, it has a few. It has it has a few academic organizations. It has a few left wing magazines, no labor unions, no corporations, no local governments, certainly no national government. These the Israelis don't even notice it from an economic standpoint, if you want to compare it to the South African boycotts, so and No, no, no supporter of BDS can explain you how it's actually going to work. They all say, well, people have to get on the right side of history or look at South Africa, the only two things you've ever hear. I've spent a lot of time trying to get really smart people to tell me how do you expect BDS to work? Now I I have I spent a few hours oncein a refugee camp in East Jerusalem. It was the worst place I've ever been in my life. And my life was threatened the Israeli soldiers who led me and said you're crazy to go in there. And I kind of was, but there was there was, you know, feces and urine, running, walking running in the street. Kids with snot coming out of their nose, dressed in rags, it was horrific. Now, I care about these people. I mean, I'm not I'm not I'm not saying they're my main concern, but I don't want those people. This was a long time ago. 1980s. So those those those are the grand parents of the kids who were being born now who are still living there and whose grandchildren will also be born there. And BDS and the Palestinian movement does nothing for these people. Now again, I'm sympathetic to the Palestinians. Contemporary today for the following reason, like I understand why they refused the relatively generous offer that Barak made relative to previous offers. And later on. Palestinians have impossible constituencies to solve now. Now, if Arafat had wanted to make that deal with under Clinton, with Clinton and camp, David with Barack, he was being offered. He was he was told that he better not by the leaders of both Saudi Arabia and Egypt, it probably would be upset, he probably imagined he'd be assassinated, if he tried. So that sort of took it off the table, because Israel wasn't willing to part with the parts of Jerusalem that the Arab world felt it needed for a deal. But even if so, you've got that constituency, then you've got the people I just described living in refugee camps, then you've got the people living under occupation, then you've got the people living in exile, who aren't allowed to come back to their homes, but would like to, and are just trying to make a living, or in the Gulf States or the United States. And you've got people who are living quite comfortable lives because they've settled down for generations, or they have good education and good jobs. And, and they talk about Palestine and how beautiful it was, and their gardens, their grandparents, and so forth. But they don't really want to go back, they want to have an identity of Palestine, much like American Jews talk about Israel, they don't want to go live there. So So these constituencies are impossible to satisfy simultaneously. And so just by saying, the only way you can keep them together is by saying no, because then you don't have to deal with their their competing needs. And and so this is one reason why I think peace is impossible for the, for the future, that, that the concessions that would be made to help the people in the refugee camps are the people who I think are most desperately needing help, or the people living under an increasingly brutal occupation by Israel, and at the mercy of these horrific settler violence settlers of late. These people are ours kind of a secondary thought. And the BDS movement, which has marches on campus and speeches at meetings of professors and editorials in the Harvard Crimson. What does it do for these? It's not you know, it's not, America is not going to demand ever, that it's nothing like South Africa. You can call as we haven't talked about the word apartheid, probably, it's best not to talk about it, because it's complicated, and you need a lot of time for it. But Israel is nothing like South Africa. And the BDS movement is nothing like the global movement that helped for South Africa to turn over its country to its oppress majority. So, so I'm, I'm extremely critical of the Palestinian leadership and Palestinian supporters for embracing it. On the one hand, on the other hand, you might say to me, Eric, well, then what should they do? I don't have a good answer. I mean, I do have an answer. They're not asking me. I think a nonviolent a strictly nonviolent movement couldn't be very successful. Because American Jews were horrified by Rabins policy of breaking bones when they were throwing rocks in the First Intifada. And I think if they had like, a strike, like, like we had in civil rights movement, and in Birmingham, and, and all the Arabs stopped working and sat down, and the Palestinians sat down and said, Go ahead and hit us, whatever we're not, you know, we want our rights, we want to one man, one vote, I think that the world wouldn't let Israel the world might, and American Jews might say that Israel is, we can't live like this anymore. You can't, we can't support. It might work. It's the only I can think of but but I and I'm no expert on on Palestinian psychology or Palestinian politics. The book, I should say, is much improved by a reading I got from Dr. Hussein , who read it quite late, but explained a lot of things to me that I wouldn't have otherwise understood. But I think that the power of machismo in in Palestinian and Arab life would make such a thing impossible. And that the idea of resistance and fighting back is so ingrained in Palestinian life that even though it has no hope, of improving their lot, and in fact, it's certain to make it worse, because Israel is always going to respond. You know, many times over. Nevertheless, it's it's fundamental. So, you know, I look at the situation. That's what I've learned. I've learned that American Judaism needs to save itself, that the Israelis are not the Israelis are not, they don't, they're not really interested in what American Jews think. And American Jews, whatever you think about Israel, maybe everything is all done is absolutely necessary and correct. And it's fine. It's still it's still an incident, it's still a vicarious experience for American Jews. That is not consistent with their luck with the way they live. And, and, and the, the meaning the meaningfulness of America of Jewish life and America has suffered for its its wholehearted embrace of Zionism alone. Now, I think it was probably almost certainly the right thing to do in 1940s, there were hundreds of 1000s of refugees that didn't know where to go, the only way they could go is if you created the State of Israel, I get it. I'm ith him. The Likud movement was not realistic. But, um, but at some point, American Jews had to recognize the fact that they were living entirely different lives and the Israelis, and that the heroism that they witnessed was not their heroism. It was it was somebody else's heroism. And, and, and they needed to chart their own path. And the intensity of the embrace of Zionism, and the Holocaust, have stood in the way of that. And so to the degree that I have a conclusion, as an American Jew, rather than as a historian, that's my conclusion that, that American Judaism has been hollowed out by its embrace of Zionism. And that and that it needs to save itself quickly. Because like I said, the numbers have been disappearing, and they're worse among young people than any other. So that that's sort of my, to the degree that I that I have any anything optimistic and say instead, I think that many American people, young American Jews in in in rabbinical academies and cantorial students, that they're realizing this, and American Jewish leaders are, are, are finding a new path. Young, Young, future American Jewish leaders, they're being resisted by contemporary American cheerleaders. And that'll be a very interesting struggle in the future.

Ori Nir  1:02:05

Fascinating, thank you very much. And thanks for ending with some, you know, with a conclusion. I want I was going to quote, but we're, you know, we're out of time was going to quote, the beautiful quote that you, you are quoting in the conclusion of the book of Joan Didion, where she she talks about what the discourse about Israel is like in the United States, but I'll leave it for the reader for the participants, for them to explore when they when they read the book...

Eric Alterman  1:02:32

Right. That's gotta be the whole book to get to that, because it's the very last sentence.

Ori Nir  1:02:37

I very much recommended. Eric, thank you so much for joining us. I want to wish you and all the people who joined us today, Happy Thanksgiving. And hopefully, we'll host you again. Later on.

Eric Alterman  1:02:53

It was a genuine honor for me and I really appreciate the opportunity and I appreciate the work of Americans piece. Now. I joined it, I think when I was in college when the soldiers first came to the United States for the very first time from Shalom Achshlav, and I'm thrilled to have this opportunity as having written this book. So thank you,

Ori Nir  1:03:11

thank you very much. Okay. Thank you everyone for joining. And bye now. Bye bye.


Yossi Alpher is an independent security analyst. He is the former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, a former senior official with the Mossad, and a former IDF intelligence officer. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.

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Legislative Round-Up- November 23, 2022

1. Bills & Resolutions
2. Media (general)
3. Media & Members (The Next Congress)
4. Members on the Record (Israel & Palestine)
5. Members on the Record (Iran)
6. Members on the Record (Saudi Arabia)
7. Members on the Record (other countries)

1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters



(END IRAN DIPLOMACY) Scott letter to Biden: On 11/22/22, Sen. Scott (R-FL) sent a letter to President Biden urging him to “immediately announce that the negotiations will not move forward at any time during your administration.” The letter frames this demand in terms of standing with Iranian protesters, but its core argument is: “We must acknowledge the evil and murderous Iranian regime wants to produce nuclear weapons. The United States must protect ourselves, and all our allies and partners, including Israel, by working to ensure that threat never actualizes.”

Also see:

  • Scott press release
  • Scott Twitter thread, “The brave words and actions of the Iranian people are an inspiration to all freedom-loving people. (1/2) It’s time for @JoeBiden to stand with them in word and deed and announce that his administration will never resume nuclear deal negotiations with the evil Iranian regime. (2/2)”

(UN OVERSIGHT ON YEMEN) Omar-Castro et al letter to Blinken: On 11/18/22, Reps. Omar (D-MD) and Castro (D-TX) led a letter, co-signed by 11 Democratic House colleagues, to SecState Blinken, urging the Biden Administration to “use its influence at the United Nations Human Rights Council to work towards the establishment of an independent, international investigative mechanism on Yemen at the earliest opportunity…

Also see:

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APN Strongly Condemns Jerusalem Terror Attacks

Americans for Peace Now strongly condemns the two bombings in Jerusalem today.

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