An Open Letter to Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson received a lot of criticism when she agreed to become the spokesperson for the West Bank based corporation SodaStream, one of the more highly visible companies being targeted by the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement.  Ms. Johansson's promotion of SodaStream conflicts with her role as a Global Ambassador for Oxfam.  Oxfam published a statement praising Johansson's past work while pointing out its disapproval of her role as SodaStream spokesperson.

Passing the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act Will Lead To War

The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act  is to diplomacy what Sharknado is to meteorology or ichthyology.  Well, that's not a perfect analogy.  Both the NWFIA and Sharknado are jokes, but Sharknado was so bad it was good, whereas the NWFIA is just bad.  The NWFIA would institute a new round of crippling sanctions should we fail to reach an agreement with Iran or if Iran fails to negotiate in good faith.  This in and of itself sounds reasonable--at least to American ears, and it might not nec

Netanyahu: "America is a thing that can be easily moved." (Video)

In 2001, Benjamin Netanyahu boasted about how he helped thwart the Oslo Peace Process.  He did not know he was being recorded when this video was made.  Pay especially close attention to 3:56 - 4:08 of the video where he says "America is a thing that can be easily moved."

 

 

Bibi Netanyahu, Man of Peace--or Polished Liar?

Bibi Netanyahu is a man of peace--or so he would have you believe.  He made a speech in 2009 at Bar Ilan University in which he laid out his vision of two-states, Israel and Palestine, existing side by side in peace.

 

Is the West Bank Occupied? A Response to Danny Ayalon

Those who want to build, build, build settlements in the West Bank and jeopardize any chance of Palestinians having a reasonably contiguous viable state--those who are just fine with forcing Palestinians to live under martial law in the West Bank--those who see nothing immoral with throwing Palestinians out of their homes and off their land, are desperate to deny that Palestinians have any claim to the land.  I want to address two of their biggest talking points in this post.  Before I discuss these issues I want you to watch the following video exchang

The Role of Religious Nationalism in the Palestinian Israeli Conflict

There is a perception by many in the West that Muslims and Jews have been at each other's throats for over a thousand years.  They believe that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has been going on forever, and there is no hope for a peaceful resolution because Islam is a uniquely virulent religion.  This fundamentally misreads the situation--the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is relatively recent and is primarily a conflict over land, though the introduction of religious elements into the conflict makes the conflict much more dangerous and difficult to solve.  I will discuss how religion complicates finding a s

John Kerry blasts Israel Over Settlement Construction

Is Hamas's Charter an Insurmountable Obstacle to Peace?

If you ask most Americans what a waqf  (plural, waqfs or awaqf) is they might answer that it is something to stir-fry their vegetable in or that it is a word from a Klingon dictionary.  Actually, understanding what waqfs are is essential to understanding why Hamas refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist.  Trying to understand Hamas's position without understanding what a waqf is is like parachuting into Pakistan wearing nothing but an American flag T-shirt.  You may as well apply for the Darwin awards because your understanding will be fatally flawed.

A Great Observation by David Samel on Holocaust and West Bank Denial

David Samel made a very perceptive observation in the comments section of an article about settler violence in the West Bank.  The article itself is worth a read, but I'd like to focus on Samel's comment about right-wing Israelis who deny that the West Bank is occupied as well as the significance of the Palestinian Nakba.  Samel was responding to a commenter named Bar who had put the term "Occupied West Bank" in quotes to denote that he really didn't believe it was appropriate to refer to the West Bank as occupied territory.  Samel resonded:
 

An Update To My Middle East Peace Plan

Over a year has passed since my proposal to solve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict while simultaneously addressing the Iran nuclear crisis.  I still think it is a mistake to treat the two issues separately since we miss opportunities by artificially compartmentalizing our foreign policy.

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