Mohammed Dahlan, the United Arab Emirates, and Fatah’s Intergenerational Struggle

July 21 2016

Once the Palestinian Authority’s security chief for Gaza, and later Mahmoud Abbas’s national-security adviser, Mohammed Dahlan had a falling out with his boss in 2011. Since then, he has been living in exile, receiving protection and financial support from the United Arab Emirates. Abbas sees him as his major rival, and reportedly has become obsessed with preventing Dahlan’s rise to power, while Dahlan has recently assailed Abbas in the Arabic press. Khaled Abu Toameh argues that more than a personal squabble is at play:

The rivalry between Abbas and Dahlan is emblematic of the power struggle between the old guard and young guard in Fatah, the largest Palestinian faction that dominates the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

This is a power struggle that has been raging for the past three decades. Dahlan is a representative of the young guard, whose members are strongly opposed to the continued hegemony and monopoly of the old guard over the decision-making process. Dahlan and the young guard are mostly from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, grassroots leaders who have long been complaining that they have been marginalized by the veteran leaders of the Palestinians who came from Lebanon and Tunisia after the signing of the Oslo Accords and who continue to block the emergence of new and younger leaders.

This power struggle will not end with Abbas’s departure. The next Palestinian president will surely be one of Abbas’s current loyalists. This in itself will drive Dahlan and his ilk to continue railing against the old guard. . . .

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More about: Fatah, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority, Politics & Current Affairs, United Arab Emirates

Zionists Can, and Do, Criticize Israel. Are Anti-Zionists Capable of Criticizing Anti-Semitism?

Dec. 12 2018

Last week, the New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg defended the newly elected anti-Israel congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, ostensibly arguing that anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism aren’t identical. Abe Greenwald comments:

Tlaib . . . has tweeted and retweeted her enthusiasm for terrorists such as Rasmea Odeh, who murdered two American students in a Jerusalem supermarket in 1969. If Tlaib’s anti-Zionism is of the Jew-loving kind, she has a funny way of showing it.

Ilhan Omar, for her part, once tweeted, “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel.” And wouldn’t you know it, just because she believes that Zionist hypnotists have cast global spells masking Israeli evil, some people think she’s anti-Semitic! Go figure! . . .

Goldberg spends the bulk of her column trying very hard to uncouple American Jewishness from Israel. To do that, she enumerates Israel’s sins, as she sees them. . . . [But] her basic premise is at odds with reality. Zionists aren’t afraid of finding fault with Israel and don’t need to embrace anti-Zionism in order to [do so]. A poll conducted in October by the Jewish Electorate Institute found that a majority of Americans Jews have no problem both supporting Israel and criticizing it. And unlike Goldberg, they have no problem criticizing anti-Semitism, either.

Goldberg gives the game away entirely when she discusses the discomfort that liberal American Jews have felt in “defending multi-ethnic pluralism here, where they’re in the minority, while treating it as unspeakable in Israel, where Jews are the majority.” She adds: “American white nationalists, some of whom liken their project to Zionism, love to poke at this contradiction.” Read that again. She thinks the white nationalists have a point. Because, really, what anti-Semite doesn’t?

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More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel & Zionism, New York Times