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Kshama Sawant’s anti-Israel campaign

Guest Opinion: The Seattle City Council member wants colleagues to publicly condemn Israel’s actions in Gaza and call for an end to U.S. military aid. Is that what the Council should be focused on?
Kshama Sawant wants colleagues to take a public stand on Gaza.

Kshama Sawant wants colleagues to take a public stand on Gaza. Credit: Allyce Andrew

One has to wonder what City Council Member Kshama Sawant hopes to gain by asking her City Council colleagues to sign a letter addressed to President Obama and Congress, condemning Israel’s actions in Gaza and calling for an “immediate end to all U.S. government military aid for Israel.”

A majority of the council will not support the request. Mayor Ed Murray has already counseled against such foreign policy adventures. Even a Stranger poll reveals that a strong majority of respondents believe Seattle should stay clear of the entanglement in the conflict in the Middle East. 

Sawant's letter has enraged the Jewish community in our region and has been trumpeted as a call to action against the “Israeli war machine” in the Socialist press. Not surprisingly, Sawant tries to play both sides of the fence by citing her solidarity with the “ordinary” people of Israel and its anti-war movement. The draft letter also condemns the rocket attacks by Hamas against Israel’s civilian population and acknowledges that this barrage has been “indiscriminate.”

Playing the anti-Israel card probably makes for good local politics, capitalizing on the general peacenik sentiment of our tranquil West Coast city and throwing red meat to the segment of our population that views Israel’s occupation of the West Bank as both illegal and immoral.

Moral clarity, of course, is far from apparent when one studies the Gaza conflict. For a generation, the Palestinians demanded that Israel vacate this “occupied” territory. When Israel pulled out its troops and forcibly removed 8,000 Jewish settlers in 21 settlements against their will in 2005, the resident population voted for Hamas over the more moderate Abbas Palestinian faction.

Hamas, as Sawant willfully ignores in her call for a two state solution, favors only a one-state solution and the destruction of Israel.  Rather than use billions of dollars in foreign aid, mostly from the European Union, to build infrastructure and educate its citizens for the modern economy, Hamas prefers an aggrieved and impoverished Gaza that is always poised for war. 

For eight years, the world community condemned Israel for its blockade of Gaza and its ban on importation of construction materials, only to learn that Hamas has doggedly diverted millions of dollars worth of building materials to construct 32 sophisticated tunnels designed to act as launching points for terrorist attacks. Rather than investing in civil projects, Hamas has bought thousands of rockets to deploy against their sworn foe.

The use of force in Operation Protective Edge resulted in an horrific and disproportionate body count, partly due to Israel’s advantage in anti-missile technology. Viewed in isolation, the tragic death of civilians and front page images of carnage in any conflict will cause outrage. Israel’s attempts to warn civilians prior to attacks in Gaza by text messages and dummy artillery rounds gets lost in the images of destruction and death. Few commentators pause and ask why Hamas co-locates its military operations with civilians.

Israel has already lost the public relations war in its fight with Hamas, but behind the scenes, Hamas is increasingly isolated in the Arab world. Egypt and Saudi Arabia refuse to support Hamas, as do many progressive Palestinians who actually believe in a viable two-state solution and are not afraid to negotiate with the Jewish state. Only Qatar and Turkey remain in Hamas’s corner, yet even those states remain wary of religious extremists holding the reigns of power in anything but a failed state.

Ms. Sawant, of course, has little interest in sorting out the complexity of behind-the-scenes maneuvering in the Arab universe and the historical events that brought Israel to the point of having a radicalized and armed terrorist state on its south-western border. The short term political gain of winning sympathy in Palestinian-chic Seattle is far too tempting for a council member who sees herself as a national, perhaps international, political figure.


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Comments:

Posted Sun, Aug 10, 10:01 a.m. Inappropriate

Weak article, posted late in the debate.

Argues that Sawant is wrong by trotting out tired tropes in the defense of Israel-- Hamas is responsible for civilian casualties in Gaza, Middle East is too complex to take action on, etc. Yet can't even admit that Gaza is occupied by Israel, having to put the very word in quotes. As if the two-state solution has already been achieved.

Then says it doesn't matter if Sawant is wrong, since she shouldn't even be thinking about foreign affairs anyway. This willfully ignores the City Council's history of passing resolutions related to foreign affairs-- including its declarations in opposition to apartheid in South Africa, to the junta in Burma, and to the Iraq War. Should the City of Seattle not have passed a resolution in 1995 "expressing the City of Seattle's deepest sympathy to the people of Beer Sheva and Israel on the death of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin"? Or should the city be limited to only expressing sympathy with Israel, and never criticism?

Trevor

Posted Mon, Aug 11, 8:28 a.m. Inappropriate

Once again, bull. You don't like it because you disagree with the premise, which is spot on. Sawant is an embarrassment. Her politics are not only both socialist but blatantly elitist, and her bullying arrogance is astounding.

I assume if Sawant's neighbor were throwing rocks at her home she would just look the other way. What a hypocrite. What a disgrace.

Posted Sun, Aug 10, 10:27 a.m. Inappropriate

The Seattle city council and mayor's office have a long history of grandstanding on topics that have nothing to do with running the city. This is probably a good indication that the city has too much governance and in particular that a council that with 9 members and no districts to represent has too little to occupy it. Maybe selecting councilors by district will help but perhaps we just need a smaller council.

WSDW

Posted Sun, Aug 10, 12:56 p.m. Inappropriate

Sawant is expressing a valid opinion and I share it and will vote for her in the future if given the opportunity.

suemezzo

Posted Sun, Aug 10, 12:58 p.m. Inappropriate

This writer is clearly mostly interested in slant here. Implying that Israel stopped occupying Gaza is the height of misstatement and absurdity. Gazans have been living in an Israeli jail for years now, having about the same amount of freedom inmates have in the King County jail. That is why they continue there struggle against the tyranny they have been exposed to.
I think this is the only issue I agree with Sawant on, and she is able to make it because unlike the other councilpeople she is less dependent on money/power dictated thought-processes.

Posted Sun, Aug 10, 2:52 p.m. Inappropriate

This piece is nothing but an anti-Hamas rant; something which is pretty typical in dumbed down America, but hardly enlightening to the those who might care to read it.

Does Mr. Alben have a clue to the history of the place that was historically called Palestine? Does he realize that what once was primarily occupied and farmed by Arab Christians and Muslims in the early 20th Century was then made available to European Jews for settlement through the imperialistic administration of Great Britain and the declaration of Lord Balfour? Is he aware that a noted Israeli historian, Ilan Pappe, who studied the records of the Zionist military movement after WWII has documented how that military movement committed ethnic cleansing in Palestine to build its Jewish state? Does he actually believe that a state based on a single religion, which the forefathers of America so wisely avoided, can be a viable and unbiased government?

Mr. Alben states that Hamas is in favor of a one-state solution. Horror of horrors! Actually the replacement of Israel and the Palestinian territories with a single democratic state in which both Jews, Christians and Muslims live as equal citizens is the only viable solution at this point because Israel has so totally absconded with so much Palestinian land as to make the possibility of a Two state solution no longer viable.

Let's be thankful we have such geniuses like Mr. Ablen who continue to provide their "objective" opinions so that the American populace can continue to wallow in its ignorance and continue to impede any progress and peaceful developments in this world.

As for me, I support Council Member Sawant's efforts with regard to Palestine/Israel, though I will say that the One-State solution is the only viable solution. It would be nice if the rest of the Council had the wisdom to join her.

KrebsCat

Posted Sun, Aug 10, 3:40 p.m. Inappropriate

"a single democratic state in which both Jews, Christians and Muslims"

Good luck with that Arab muslim democracy.

Simon

Posted Sun, Aug 10, 6:06 p.m. Inappropriate

Palestinians would be exceedingly happy to have a country where they could live and work as normal citizens. Israelis would be relieved not to be the pariah of the earth and constantly fretting about going to war.

Seems to me it would be an improvement for all. Don't criticize it when it hasn't been tried yet.

KrebsCat

Posted Sun, Aug 10, 6:29 p.m. Inappropriate

Would such a country provide civil equality to its female and GLBTQ citizens?

simorgh

Posted Sun, Aug 10, 4:18 p.m. Inappropriate

@ KrebsCat --

The story is labeled "Guest Opinion". It isn't trying to be "objective" [sic] so damning it for being opinionated is pointless, or illiterate.

Much of the piece is aimed at Sawant's efforts to distract the City Council from its duties with this issue. Her leftist faction has many opinions about many regimes (none of which are favorable) so we can expect many more of these. Out-of-state Congresspersons who opine about the Metropolitan Parks District or other matters are similarly distracting rather than serious, whether one concurs or not.

Meanwhile, I wait for the Anarchists to propose the No State Solution.

simorgh

Posted Sun, Aug 10, 6:09 p.m. Inappropriate

Even guest opinions should be more than just opinions. They should be based on facts and not simply rehash prevalent uninformed tripe. Their goal should be more than to simply spew prevalent misconceptions and biases.

KrebsCat

Posted Mon, Aug 11, 8:27 a.m. Inappropriate

Bull. You don't like it because you disagree with the premise, which is spot on. Sawant is an embarrassment. Her politics are not only both socialist but blatantly elitist, and her bullying arrogance is astounding.

I assume if Sawant's neighbor were throwing rocks at her home she would just look the other way. What a hypocrite. What a disgrace.

Posted Mon, Aug 11, 12:40 p.m. Inappropriate

"Bull"? That's an argument? If that is the quality of discussion in Seattle, no wonder there is no end in sight to the violence in the "Holy Land."

The guest piece adds nothing to the conversation about US policy in the middle east and and ignores Israel's provocations. Neither side is blameless. But, it is past time to consider an end to or curtailment of the supply of military assistance to Israel. That is the issue Sawant has raised.

Posted Tue, Aug 12, 12:21 p.m. Inappropriate

May one imply from your first sentence and what follows that you are pro-Hamas?

Seems to me that you are woefully misinformed about history and swallow whole a narrative that is rife with misinformation. One example, most Israeli Jews are NOT European.

To say that Israel ethnically cleanses, as if Ilan Pappe is a reliable source, borders is silly and wrong. If Jews were engaged in ethnic cleansing, why are 20% of Israelis Arab? Why is Israel the ONLY place in the Middle East where the Christian population is on the INCREASE? Why are you BLIND to the FACT that the ethnic cleansing that actually takes place in the region is perpetuated by those you appear to support?

John Stuart Mill famously said: "He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that."

Your comment tells me that you have no idea of the arguments against the narrative you ignorantly suggest is truth. The comment is not offered to inform, but to push an anti-Israel agenda. That you criticize the author for not being objective is ironic.

Nowhere in your diatribe against Israel, more accurately, the Jews who live there, is there a hint that there is ANY right of self-determination in their indigenous homeland where they have lived continuously since before the advent the Christians and Muslims.

For anyone truly interested, do your own research of both sides and decide for yourself.

Posted Tue, Aug 12, 11:46 p.m. Inappropriate

Of course most Israeli Jews are not European. They are the native born descendents of European Jews just as I am an American born off spring of European ancestors. But that does not contradict the fact that a vast number of Palestinians were driven forcibly from their homeland to make room for European immigrants through a policy of British imperialism, just as native Americans were exterminated in huge numbers as a result of British imperialism.

Of course, you can deny the careful and scholarly work of Dr. Pappe if you wish, but that does not make it any less true. As for the fact that there are Arab Israeli citizens, my question is so what? They are second class citizens and hold no real power in an Israel which is biased towards a particular religion. Israeli authorities are very keen on making sure that Israel does not become a land with a majority of citizens of religious persuasion other than Judaism. But it is obvious that having a particular religion as a basis for a state leads to inequality and apartheid.

KrebsCat

Posted Sun, Aug 10, 6:11 p.m. Inappropriate

The comments here pretty much validate the authors assertion that Ms. Sawant is pandering to an easily excited segment of the Seattle electorate.

ep

Posted Sun, Aug 10, 8:05 p.m. Inappropriate

Exactly. Add the words 'Monsanto', 'coal trains', 'Keystone XL' and 'Dick Cheney' and it's like Pavlov's dogs.

Simon

Posted Sun, Aug 10, 9:36 p.m. Inappropriate

Because the comments largely are antithetical to your point of view, we must assume that they support the notion that Sawant is pandering. How convenient that is. And how totally ludicrous.

KrebsCat

Posted Mon, Aug 11, 8:33 a.m. Inappropriate

BINGO, that would set off the terminally irritable for certain.

Geezer

Posted Mon, Aug 11, 8:24 a.m. Inappropriate

Beacause you say so? Unless you back up your opinion with fact, your assertion remains useless.

Posted Sun, Aug 10, 10:04 p.m. Inappropriate

Alex Alben's finger wagging that the Seattle City Council should only focus on what happens in Seattle is an isolationist, obsolete idea. In fact, that's part of the problem with Seattle politics in general. It seems to be TOO focused on just Seattle.

Take the goofy monorail proposal that is coming for a vote. If the people and the media would LOOK AROUND the country, they would see that no one else is dying for a monorail. Only Seattle.

Billions of dollars in defense spending goes to Israel. Money that is paid for by tax dollars from Seattle citizens.

Posted Mon, Aug 11, 7:17 a.m. Inappropriate

If the people and the media would LOOK AROUND the country, they would see that no one else is supporting Hamas. Only Seattle.

Simon

Posted Mon, Aug 11, 12:05 p.m. Inappropriate

While no fan of Israel's policies I see this as grandstanding and nothing more. The City Council should - surprise - work on issue of the City. If you want to divest any investments that the City has connected to Israel, then that would be an actionable item.

This arm waving, however, is a waste of time.

Lily32

Posted Tue, Aug 12, 12:26 p.m. Inappropriate

Yes, and the Israelis are helping perfect the very systems that we will use when the missiles fly in our direction.

The USA gets as much from Israel as it gives. Can you say that for any other recipient of aid?

Posted Mon, Aug 11, 8:19 a.m. Inappropriate

Sawant is getting to be the most entertaining thing in Seattle politics. I wish Almost Live were still around.

I hope we wind up with more colorful figures on the council after geographic representation kicks in.

talisker

Posted Mon, Aug 11, 8:29 a.m. Inappropriate

This article perpetuates the tradition of yellow journalism that Crosscut sometimes panders to.
Replace Alex Alben with David Brewster and Kashama Sawant with Mike McGinn and it's as Yogi Berra said, "déjà vu all over again!"

The "author" should go back to working in the tech sector.

Ints

Posted Mon, Aug 11, 9:17 a.m. Inappropriate

Just one look at the headline and the author screamed out at me: "Just go straight to the comment thread." Thanks for the entertainment.

ivan

Posted Mon, Aug 11, 11:43 a.m. Inappropriate

The anti-Israel and pro-Palestine position of the "far" left is long-standinhg and hardly surprising. Tell me something else I don't already know.

Posted Mon, Aug 11, 12:19 p.m. Inappropriate

"Tell me something else I don't already know."

How about the reasons why the so-called "left" is anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian. Grab yourself a history book and start reading.

KrebsCat

Posted Mon, Aug 11, 12:54 p.m. Inappropriate

The USSR and its satellites supported Israel in its war for independence 1949. A few years later they switched sides. Because the Far Left has been anti-American since World War II it has also opposed America's allies and supported its enemies. None of America's enemies are more vehement that the Palestinians, who danced with glee on 9/11 while the civilized world reeled in shock.

When Sawant and her ilk denounce any of America's enemies with the zeal directed at Israel, that will be newsworthy. Don't expect it.

simorgh

Posted Mon, Aug 11, 12:34 p.m. Inappropriate

At last, the vocal group among us is urging the sanctimonious, hubris-filled twits on the City Council to tend their own gardens and stop lecturing the federal and international governments in our names, which they have no right to do -- and their assertions are often ones that I disagree strongly with. That's in addition to the fact that they have no right to speak for me, even if I do agree with them, which I do, if the moon happens to be blue.

kmeyer

Posted Mon, Aug 11, 2:18 p.m. Inappropriate

They have no right? That's just silly.

ivan

Posted Mon, Aug 11, 5:21 p.m. Inappropriate

UPDATE: At this afternoon's 8/11 City Council meeting, Sawant got ZERO support for her letter.

simorgh

Posted Mon, Aug 11, 11:20 p.m. Inappropriate

The ignorance of the comments below, and this writer’s bias and miss information is greatly disappointing. Let’s clean some things up:

When this writer says

“Sawant's letter has enraged the Jewish community in our region and has been trumpeted as a call to action against the “Israeli war machine” in the Socialist press. Not surprisingly, Sawant tries to play both sides of the fence by citing her solidarity with the “ordinary” people of Israel and its anti-war movement”

the writer is being miss leading. Jewish Voices for peace have t-shirts made with that statement. Just look at the video from last city council meeting, and many Jewish groups are speaking our against the apartheid in Israel.

When this writer uses the term “anti-Israel” he is only playing into propaganda. Not one person I talked to at any of the protests asking for equal rights for Palestinians clams to be “anti-Israel” and it’s highly irresponsible of this writer to project this miss truth. This term is another tool of the propaganda that has been shielding racist laws and war crimes. It doesn’t make a person anti-Jewish or anti-Israel to not want to fund and support racism and war crimes…..Imagine how many Jewish lives could have been saved if people were not afraid to speak out. This writer also shows his lack of awareness when he says its good for politics. Reporters are being taken of the air that show the Palestinian side, Israeli lobbyist has a strong hold over our government, and it is not good politics to take a stand on an issue that people get blacklisted for talking about. It was brave on Sawant to speak up even when she is going to take hits for doing so.

“Moral clarity, of course, is far from apparent when one studies the Gaza conflict. For a generation, the Palestinians demanded that Israel vacate this “occupied” territory. When Israel pulled out its troops and forcibly removed 8,000 Jewish settlers in 21 settlements against their will in 2005, the resident population voted for Hamas over the more moderate Abbas Palestinian faction.”

Misleading statment. Israel has been illegally kicking people out of their homes based on race and religious beliefs for a generation now. There is a gigantic Israeli apartheid wall that surrounds Gaza. There are thousands of illegal settlements right now on Palestinian land. These settlements are still are growing to this day. This writer is misleading you. Please check for yourself. These are facts and not opinions.

“Hamas, as Sawant willfully ignores in her call for a two state solution, favors only a one-state solution and the destruction of Israel. Rather than use billions of dollars in foreign aid, mostly from the European Union, to build infrastructure and educate its citizens for the modern economy, Hamas prefers an aggrieved and impoverished Gaza that is always poised for war. “

To say Sawant “favors” a one state solution is more properganda. That is just a big assumption based on no facts. I think this writer just wanted to write Sawant name near the word Hamas. How about all us in the US stop spending all this money on supporting Israeli Apethied and help out the homesless here. If we did, we wouldn’t have a homelessness issue in Seattle.

This writer also trys to defend the blockage. So im guess Israel deciding on how many calleries the palestinain community needs to stay alive is “moral” in this writer’s eyes.

“Israel’s attempts to warn civilians prior to attacks in Gaza by text messages and dummy artillery rounds gets lost in the images of destruction and death. Few commentators pause and ask why Hamas co-locates its military operations with civilians.”

First, the warning are not being hidden behind the death and distruction this writer admits Israel is causing. There are all over the internet and the media- And so is Israeli troops firing on childeren aswellas Israelis celbrating it. What is being hidden is all the jewsih vioces speaking out agaisnt what Israel is doing. Second, if Americans was forced to live in a space the was only 5% of the space we have now, and was completely surrounded by a government that publicly stated their goal of an ethnic cleansing of all americans than im thinking that some people might fight back.

Palestine doesn’t even have a army.

The writer also puts blame on the palestinians for not negotiating for a two state solution. What planet does this person live on? Israel has done everything in its power to stop a two state solution. Again, not a view but a fact that can easily be cited.

Its sad to see the city council supporting apartheid. I bet if Sawant was around during WW2 she would have spoken out too and still not be supporting by her peers

“Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. ”
― Paulo Freire

Posted Tue, Aug 12, 7:58 a.m. Inappropriate

I am definitely pro-Israel (and not anti-Palestinian) and while I am not sure if Israel’s occupation of the West Bank is "both illegal and immoral" it is definitely stupid.

Posted Tue, Aug 12, 12:31 p.m. Inappropriate

Your suggestion then?

Would you support something smart, even if it was illegal or immoral?

Posted Tue, Aug 12, 9:37 a.m. Inappropriate

I commend kshama for taking a stand on this issue, and condemn the members of city council for not standing with her. As a Jew with family members who survived the holocaust, i have to take a stand against genocide and oppression.No matter the politics, this fight isn't fair. Aren't we as Americans supposed to be on the side of freedom and fairness? I think it's really telling that this article labels Kshama as "anti-israel" in the title alone, how is that fair or impartial journalism? Anti-zionism and anti-oppression is not the same as being "anti-israel" or anti-semitic. I think the other council members will find themselves on the wrong side of history, this is just like when they wouldn't condemn the atrocities against lgbtq in Russia when Mayor Mcginn asked them to join him in solidarity. I certainly won't be voting again for any of them(except for Licata- he's a badass)

pret_eyes

Posted Tue, Aug 12, 12:38 p.m. Inappropriate

To say that Israel commits genocide is outrageous and belittles the notion.

Israel stands against oppression more than ANY other state arounf it, and as much as any other state on the planet.

Do Israel's enemies stand against oppression?

To deny that Sawant is anti-Israel and anti-Zionist is to deny the obvious.

What side of history is the right side in this context?

Posted Tue, Aug 12, 6:09 p.m. Inappropriate

While I didn't have any immediate relatives who died in the Holocaust, my distant relatives who most likely did as well their friends, and the entire lost world of European Jewry want you to stop using them as an excuse to be a party to trying to wipe out the rest of us. Do you think that these Hamas terrorists which you are in effect succoring will welcome you into their arms if they achieve their desire of pushing the Israelis into the sea and annihilating Israel? Yes, I'm sure you are only thinking of the humanitarian mission of saving the ordinary Gazans. But the ultimate effect if you were successful would be the destruction of Israel. While Israel is not perfect or totally blameless-what country is- they are fighting for their survival against a terrorist organization that wants civilian destruction so they can use it for propaganda points. Supporting Hamas at this point screams of self-hatred for your heritage. While you may not see your stance as anti-Semitic, does that matter when if you and your compatriots were successful, that would be a very likely end result?As a friend wrote on his Facebook page:

Being sensitive and caring is good.
Being so sensitive and so caring that we ignore facts and history and genocidal intent is unwise.
It's important to use our heads and our hearts.
It's vital to look beyond hate and propaganda.

If Hamas were willing to give up their determination to annihilate Israel, stop bombing Israeli citizens, stop acting as a death cult and sending out suicide bombers, stop locating rockets and tunnels in residential neighborhoods, schools, and hospitals, Israel would cease hostilities immediately and break the Gaza embargo. Hamas would prefer to kill Israelis and its own people rather than agree to any of that. As for the claim the Jews took the land away, if you are in sympathy for native Americans here, then you should be in sympathy for Jews in Israel. We have the Bible as proof it was ours- and the Samaritans.

Posted Thu, Aug 14, 6:57 p.m. Inappropriate

If Israel was willing to give up occupation of West Bank including encouraging illegal settlement, and stops general oppression of people on both West Bank and Gaza, perhaps Hamas and similar extremists on the other side would not find such fertile ground. Until Israel stops allowing right wing religious extremists to set basic policy ("on the ground"), it will not find peace.

louploup

Posted Tue, Aug 12, 5:53 p.m. Inappropriate

In trying to understand how/why the author of this piece (Alex Alben) wrote such a virulent, anti-semetic diatribe against the rights of Palestinians (a semetic peoples) living in the Gaza: an area in which the deputy speaker of the Knesset Moshe Feilgin has called for the establishment of 'Concentration Camps', ethnically cleanse the entire population and incorporate the Gaza into Israel: at the same time when articles appear in the Times of Israel openly calling for/laying the groundwork for the "Genocide' of the Palestinians in the Gaza: I looked into who Mr. Alben's was. It was not difficult to find out that Mr. Alben ran against Dave Ross, and that he was a democrat. But what took a little more digging, was finding out, Mr. Alben's '...family’s long commitment to the Jewish State...'

http://jewishsound.org/eighth-district-race-gets-jewish-2/

'...At the center of Alben’s campaign is his record of corporate achievements. Alben and his wife Ellen, a former InfoSpace attorney, have assets of at least $9.5 million, according to federal election filings and property records. He has already loaned his campaign $200,000. Just 45 years old, the Mercer Island resident says he will bring his business insight to Congress. Alben has said he will not flaunt his Jewish background during his run for Congress, but he does point out his family’s long commitment to the Jewish State.

“We had some early chalutzim,” Alben told JTNews in an interview earlier this year, referring to the early settlers who immigrated to Palestine in the 1920s. “One of my mother’s cousins…helped build a collective farm that became part of the State of Israel in 1948.” His grandfather’s uncle, David Wolffsohn, was the second president of the World Zionist Organization. While doing his undergraduate studies at Stanford University, Alben spent his junior year at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem...'

I have sent the following question to Crosscut, "...Do you not think it would have been important and informative for your readership to know that Mr. Albans, a Jewish American, was also a Zionist American, so as to better understand his pro-Israel Op-ed. Will you be reaching out now, to the Palestinian American community for a rebuttal guest opinion piece?..."

Posted Tue, Aug 12, 7:04 p.m. Inappropriate

Yeah, we need to be told who the Jewish writers are. Maybe a yellow star by their names? Pink ones for gays too. Thanks for the suggestion.

simorgh

Posted Wed, Aug 13, 3:37 p.m. Inappropriate

"In trying to understand how/why the author of this piece (Alex Alben) wrote such a virulent, anti-semetic diatribe against the rights of Palestinians (a semetic peoples)"

Yes, while you are technically correct that the Arabs are a Semitic people, the commonly accepted meaning of the words antisemitic/antisemitism in the real world refers to the Jews. Almost no one, unless they are trying to make a specious point about how they couldn't possibly be an antisemite because they are only against the Jews or Zionists and not Arabs, uses these words (outside of a scholarly context or something similar) as referring to the Arab people.

Posted Wed, Aug 13, 3:39 p.m. Inappropriate

"In trying to understand how/why the author of this piece (Alex Alben) wrote such a virulent, anti-semetic diatribe against the rights of Palestinians (a semetic peoples)"

Yes, while you are technically correct that the Arabs are a Semitic people, the commonly accepted meaning of the words antisemitic/antisemitism in the real world refers to the Jews. Almost no one, unless they are trying to make a specious point about how they couldn't possibly be an antisemite because they are only against the Jews or Zionists and not Arabs, uses these words (outside of a scholarly context or something similar) as referring to the Arab people.

Posted Tue, Aug 12, 6:12 p.m. Inappropriate

Y'know, I will say this as a 5th generation Washingtonian. We have had people come here from all over, some were treated well, some were not, and the Indigenous Folks had it worst of all. This I will also say, given that one of the groups of good folks that came here, came from Rhodes, and had lived under the Turks there. And they had relatives in Egypt, Turkey and the Turkish Province of Greater Syria Palestina. And they, not a one of them set themselves up as Seattle's very own Moral Arbitrator for the World. No one thinks that the Arab Palestinians have it good. We see this same stuff go down every couple of years. Every hot war is stopped by the UN before this situation can be resolved, one way or the other. What i ave seen is an awful lot of slander and libel, stolen dead baby pics from Syria, and claims of genocide by Arabs, which given their numbers is pretty blatant nonsense. A City Council Member wanting to drag the whole City into her personal prejudices and interests? Maybe she should just return to where she came from...this City's best interests are not hers, and she is apparently also a rving hypocrite, as not once in any of her "stuff" have we heard about her being anti-ISIS, and the for real genocide going on there, nor of the Syrian Government butchering citizens, nor anything about the West Sahara/Morocco Conflict. So she really needs to figure out where she chooses to live, and pay attention to business here. Or step down.

Posted Thu, Aug 14, 4:52 p.m. Inappropriate

I think Wallerstein's recent essay is one of the best short summaries of the Israel/Palestine situation: http://www.iwallerstein.com/hamas-vs-israel-winning-the-diplomatic-game/

louploup

Posted Sun, Aug 17, 10:55 a.m. Inappropriate

You guys are funny. This lady is pushing your buttons to get free rise.

Of course she don't care a hoot about Israel/Gaza/Hammas, or even "socialism" for that matter.

She just needs you all to keep talking about her. Like Lady GaGa used to.

Posted Mon, Aug 18, 9:20 p.m. Inappropriate

Screw Gaza and Israel, I just want the potholes on my street filled and my garbage picked up regularly.

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