Law & Policy

People For the American Way

Releases Year-End Statement on

Senate Judicial Nominations

WASHINGTON D.C. – 12/21/2023 As the Senate leaves for the holiday break with a total of 166 confirmed judges, including this week’s confirmations of former Attorney General for the Cherokee Nation Sara E. Hill and former federal prosecutor John D. Russell for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, People For the American way President Svante Myrick released the following statement:

People For the American Way commends President Joe Biden and the Senate, under the leadership of Majority Leader Schumer and Senate Judiciary Chair Durbin, for the tremendous progress made in filling the federal bench with highly qualified and fair-minded judges, who reflect the rich diversity of this country. Biden’s appointed judges bring brilliance and credentialed experiences to the federal bench, and with strong records of commitment to protecting the civil and human rights of all of the people in America, they will ensure equality and justice for all.
It is urgent that the Senate, when it returns in January, prioritize the confirmation of the more than 30 outstanding judicial nominees that will still be awaiting action, including Nicole Berner who will be the first openly LGBTQ+ person ever on the Fourth Circuit and Adeel Mangi who will be the nation’s first Muslim American federal appellate court judge.
We expect the Senate to prioritize judicial nominations, to process nominees put forward by the White House, and to clear the calendar of nominees awaiting confirmations to fill court vacancies and repair our courts. Time is of the essence.”

About People For the American Way 

People For the American Way, a national progressive advocacy organization, inspires and mobilizes community and cultural leaders to advance Truth, Justice and the American Way. Learn more: http://www.pfaw.org

World Affairs

Israel and the Occupied 

Palestinian Territories

 Background For a Better Understanding of the Situation

12/10/2023

ACADEMIC ARTICLE: Zionist hegemony, the settler colonial conquest of Palestine and the problem with conflict: A critical genealogy of the notion of binary conflict. (By Anne de Jong, May 3/2017; Taylor & Francis Online)

ABSTRACT: Describing the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories as a ‘binary conflict’ is taken as a value-free and academically neutral depiction. This article challenges the objective nature of the notion of binary conflict. Contributing to scholarship that prioritizes subjugated knowledge, this article poses that the depiction of the situation entirely in terms of conflict – and the rigid alterity that such a perspective tacitly transmits – should be recognized as a paradigm with an inherently Zionist bias. A genealogy of the notion of conflict shows how early Zionist leaders consciously advocated a framework of binary conflict in order to counter accusations of settler colonialism and garner the support of non-Zionist Jews and other potential allies. This exposition draws out how the notion of binary conflict is instrumental in obscuring settler colonial dispossession and Palestinian lived experience; in forging the hegemonic unification of Zionist Jews; and in negating critique from third-party others. An understanding of how this perception of Israel–Palestine came about offers fresh insight into the strategies adopted by the early Zionist movement. Furthermore, acknowledging the power-nexus behind the binary conflict perspective has the potential to deepen our understanding of the discursive and oppressive mechanisms of contemporary settler colonialism. 

Link: Zionist hegemony

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BOOK REVIEW: Inventing the new antisemitism. Book review written by Em Hilton; Book -- "Whatever Happened to Antisemitism?: Redefinition and the Myth of the 'Collective Jew," by author Antony Lerman; Pluto Press, June 2022, pp 336)

INTRO: Israel and its acolytes have long pushed the agenda that anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Jewish racism. A new book shows how this endeavor came at the expense of Palestinians and diaspora Jews alike.

EXERPT: We are living through a particularly troubling moment in the global struggle against antisemitism. Amid resurgent right-wing authoritarianism, antisemitic conspiracy theories are being deployed as the basis of electoral campaigns all over the world; violent attacks on Jews in Europe show no signs of decreasing, going hand-in-hand with attacks on other minoritized communities; and in the United States, the masks continue to fall from white nationalist politicians, while public figures with enormous platforms profess their support for Nazism . . . . Yet, all the while, public understanding of what constitutes antisemitism is more muddied than ever. Accusations of antisemitism are regularly rolled out to silence critics of Israel — very often by Israel itself — and to attack any form of Palestine advocacy as being solely motivated by anti-Jewish racism. In the U.K., this politicization of antisemitism, manifesting in large part as a battle of definitions, has reduced the once intellectually rigorous pursuit of understanding how antisemitism manifests to a political football and tedious identity politics.

Link: Inventing the New Antisemitism

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AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: Statement Regarding US Veto of a UN Ceasefire Resolution Israel/OPT: US veto of ceasefire resolution displays callous disregard for civilian suffering in face of staggering death toll

Reacting to the United States (US) veto of a UN Security Council draft resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel, Amnesty International’s Secretary General Agn├Ęs Callamard said:

“By vetoing this resolution, the US has displayed a callous disregard for civilian suffering in the face of a staggering death toll, extensive destruction and an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe happening in the occupied Gaza Strip.

“The US has brazenly wielded and weaponized its veto to strongarm the UN Security Council, further undermining its credibility and ability to live up to its mandate to maintain international peace and security.

 
“There can be no justification for continuing to block meaningful action by the UN Security Council to stop massive civilian bloodshed. The use of the veto is morally indefensible and a dereliction of the US duty to prevent atrocity crimes and uphold international law. 

“On top of blocking the adoption of a ceasefire that would end mass humanitarian suffering in Gaza, aid the return of hostages, and calm tension multiplying in the region, the US continues to transfer US-made munitions to the government of Israel that contribute to the decimation of entire families. 

“As the only state to veto, it’s clear the US stands isolated from much of world, and a large portion of its own population. It is displaying a complete absence of global leadership and failing to understand the historical significance of the moment.

“The US purports to champion a rules-based international order, however its brazen double standards and disregard for international law has repercussions that extend well beyond the horrific catastrophe in Gaza, weakening the already enfeebled international system for protecting civilians in conflict."

Link: Amnesty statement

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ARTICLE BY BRANKO MARCETIC: A Tidal Wave of State and Private Repression Is Targeting Pro-Palestinian Voices

Critics of Israel's merciless war on Gaza are facing threats of government persecution and blacklists or firings. In this neo-McCarthist environment, anything pro-Palestine is being made to carry the whiff of bigotry or even incitement to violence.

EXERPT: last week, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) teamed up with the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law to send a letter to nearly two hundred colleges and universities, warning them that the pro-Palestinian organization Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) had “escalated significantly” its anti-Israel “rhetoric and activity,” and demanding that they open investigations into chapters on their campuses. The ADL wanted the chapters scrutinized over their funding, possible violations of school codes of conduct and state and federal laws, and, most seriously, whether they might be materially supporting terrorists, a charge that can bring a maximum sentence of between ten and fifteen years of prison, or even a life sentence in certain circumstances.

The demand from one of the country’s most influential pro-Israel organizations to have pro-Palestinian student groups prosecuted under a federal anti-terrorism statute is alarming. But it’s only a dramatic escalation in a rising wave of political repression aimed at pro-Palestinian voices and those critical of Israeli policy ever since the brutal Hamas attacks on October 7. 

 “The backlash we’re seeing against people in the US speaking out for Palestinian liberation has become a new McCarthyism,” says Dylan Saba, staff attorney at Palestine Legal.

 Link: Anti-Palestine Censorship  

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ARTICLE BY CAITLIN JOHNSTONE: The Official Story of Oct 7 

If you question any part of it, you’re an evil an-Semite who loves terrorism and wishes Hitler had won. You should be censored, fired, kicked off campus and disappeared from polite society.

Link: Commentary