Bernie Sanders Denounces AIPAC’s “Bigotry” after Headlining a Conference of Bigots

The Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has declared that he won’t attend the annual conference of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which begins this Sunday, because of the “platform [it] provides for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights.” While Sanders has no qualms about libeling AIPAC—until recently a regular stop for political candidates of both parties—he has never attended one of its gatherings. Last year, however, he was the speaker for the annual conference of the Islamic Society of North America, where, writes Asra Normani, no small amount of bigotry was given a platform:

[The conference’s] theme was, “What’s your super-power for social good?” Some [of the] “super-powers” suggested at the conference: . . . the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks a “one-state solution” with a “right of return” for Palestinians so that they outnumber Jews; the elimination of Israel from “the river to the sea,” as [endorsed by Sanders’s] ally Marc Lamont Hill; and violent hate, including a book, Reliance of the Traveler, which I bought in the conference bazaar for $39.99, sanctioning jihad as “war against non-Muslims” and “war upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians.”

[At the same conference], Sanders’s champion, Representative Rashida Tlaib, who supports BDS, [also] spoke. [And] the activist Linda Sarsour slipped into the Grand Ballroom to cheer “Uncle Bernie.” She has [also] backed the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who condemned “Satanic Jews” and claimed to be an “anti-termite,” rather than an “anti-Semite.” The year before, at the same conference, I heard Sarsour say it’s a “problem” to “humanize” Israelis.

This past week, [meanwhile], Sanders said it is “an honor” to be endorsed by Emgage PAC, whose chief executive Wa’el Alzayat has defended Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s anti-Semitism.

Read more at Jewish Journal

More about: AIPAC, Anti-Semitism, BDS, Bernie Sanders, Ilhan Omar, Linda Sarsour

Recognizing a Palestinian State Won’t Help Palestinians, or Even Make Palestinian Statehood More Likely

While Shira Efron and Michael Koplow are more sanguine about the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and more critical of Israel’s policies in the West Bank, than I am, I found much worth considering in their recent article on the condition of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Particularly perceptive are their comments on the drive to grant diplomatic recognition to a fictive Palestinian state, a step taken by nine countries in the past few months, and almost as many in total as recognize Israel.

Efron and Koplow argue that this move isn’t a mere empty gesture, but one that would actually make things worse, while providing “no tangible benefits for Palestinians.”

In areas under its direct control—Areas A and B of the West Bank, comprising 40 percent of the territory—the PA struggles severely to provide services, livelihoods, and dignity to inhabitants. This is only partly due to its budgetary woes; it has also never established a properly functioning West Bank economy. President Mahmoud Abbas, who will turn ninety next year, administers the PA almost exclusively by executive decrees, with little transparency or oversight. Security is a particular problem, as militants from different factions now openly defy the underfunded and undermotivated PA security forces in cities such as Jenin, Nablus, and Tulkarm.

Turning the Palestinian Authority (PA) from a transitional authority into a permanent state with the stroke of a pen will not make [its] litany of problems go away. The risk that the state of Palestine would become a failed state is very real given the PA’s dysfunctional, insolvent status and its dearth of public legitimacy. Further declines in its ability to provide social services and maintain law and order could yield a situation in which warlords and gangs become de-facto rulers in some areas of the West Bank.

Otherwise, any steps toward realizing two states will be fanciful, built atop a crumbling foundation—and likely to help turn the West Bank into a third front in the current war.

Read more at Foreign Affairs

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian statehood