Right on to Katie Halper and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) for challenging the Democrats in Congress over their financing of Israeli apartheid. Germane to Katie’s post below is a poem/song I wrote in 1988:


from Mondoweiss

Katie Halper loses job at ‘The Hill’ after calling on progressives to dismantle Israeli apartheid

The firing of Katie Halper by The Hill TV reflects growing support for Palestinian rights, and is reminiscent of the firing of Marc Lamont Hill by CNN 4 years ago.

Two weeks ago Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) got into hot water for asserting that you can’t be progressive and support Israel’s apartheid government. The Democratic leadership went haywire. Jake Tapper ran a segment on CNN quoting her “Jewish colleagues”, who had smeared her as antisemite. Tapper didn’t engage with Tlaib’s point about apartheid or explain to viewers why the only Palestinian member of the House might feel compelled to voice such frustration.

Now independent journalist Katie Halper says she was first censored by The Hill TV and then fired from its morning broadcast, “Rising,” after she submitted a commentary in which she stood up for Rashida Tlaib on the apartheid charge and uttered the words, “Free Palestine!”

Ryan Grim covers the case at the Intercept and says that monologues of the sort Halper submitted usually air without question. “[A]s a former co-host of the show, I’ve recorded more than 150 of them. There is no approval process.” (Grim could get no comment from Halper’s corporate former bosses at Nexstar media, which bought The Hill last year).

Halper has now published the (excellent) commentary that got her fired at BreakThrough News. Speaking “to my fellow Jews, to my friends in the Democratic Party who want to support Israel and think of themselves as progressive,” Halper methodically backs up Tlaib’s accusation and urges progressives to dismantle Israeli apartheid as they dismantled South African apartheid.

The case is similar to Marc Lamont Hill’s firing by CNN four years ago after he gave a speech at the U.N. in which he called for Palestine to be free from the river to the sea.

Katie Halper’s biggest offense may have been taking on Jonathan Greenblatt of the ADL and his mouthpiece Jake Tapper of CNN. Halper said:

It’s outrageous that Rashida Tlaib is getting attacked. Tlaib is merely stating that Israel is an apartheid state, and that people who claim to have progressive values should not support an apartheid state. No matter how loose a definition of progressive we use, it certainly excludes supporting a racist apartheid position. What’s outrageous is attacking Tlaib for pointing out that Progressive Except for Palestine is an intensively contradictory position. What’s also outrageous is that the Anti Defamation League’s Jonathan Greenblatt would claim that Israel is not an apartheid government. What’s outrageous is that Jake Tapper would accept Greenblatt’s statement as the truth and not propaganda that needed to be pushed back against. I understand that Greenblatt and perhaps Tapper feel like Israel is not an apartheid state, but unfortunately for them, apartheid is not about their feelings, but the facts.”

(Eli Valley speculates about Greenblatt’s possible “interference,” given his prominence in the capital and his spearheading the effort to smear Rashida Tlaib.)

Halper’s monologue is racking up views (20,000 so far today) and hundreds of supportive comments. She reports today that she is getting a ton of approval for her stance.

Let’s consider that support for a second. Clearly Tlaib and Halper are speaking to a receptive audience. Young American progressives support Palestinian freedom. “More than half of U.S students exposed to Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement’s calls to boycott Israel – support the group, a Foreign Ministry survey conducted on campuses, released on Wednesday showed,” according to Israeli source Ynet.

That’s the Israeli foreign ministry polling! “The findings alarmed Israeli officials and indicated that the BDS movement has considerable influence on campuses.” Yes, even student leaders of the liberal Zionist lobby J Street support BDS — and then get crushed by the top of the organization for voicing that support.

These findings line up with other recent polling. We consistently see that sympathy for the Palestinian cause is increasing, especially among Democratic voters. A 2020 University of Maryland Critical Issues Poll found that 49% of Democrats had heard of BDS, and 48% of those who had heard of it said that they “strongly or somewhat” support the movement. A 2019 Center for American Progress poll found that 71% of Democrats support conditioning aid to Israel.

We’ve seen a staggering shift on this issue among Democrats over the last couple decades. When Gallup polled voters on the Middle East back in 2001 just 16% of Democrats said they sympathized with Palestinians. According to a 2021 Gallup poll a majority of Democrats now say that the United States should apply “more pressure on Israel” to make compromises, as opposed to “more pressure on Palestinians.”

Last week Zoha Qamar wrote about that growing division within the party at FiveThirtyEight. “A confluence of factors over the past decade seems to be driving this shift,” he wrote. “Social media has changed how war is witnessed across the globe — especially among young people — and a growing awareness of social inequities in the U.S. may be reshaping how some Americans perceive conflict internationally, too. But most of all, the Palestinian-Israeli question has become a topic that embodies an intra-party identity issue for Democrats, one that has increasingly pushed liberals to reconsider what constitutes progressive politics.”

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (Photo: tlaib.house.gov)

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (Photo: tlaib.house.gov) 

The position of voters might be changing, but it certainly hasn’t translated into a widespread shift among lawmakers. Rep. Betty McCollum’s (D-MN) historic bill aiming to end Israel’s detention of Palestinian children has just 32 cosponsors out of 435 voting representatives. Just eight Democrats voted against an extra $1 billion in Iron Dome funding last fall: The No votes belonged to Reps Andre Carson (D-IN), Ilhan Omar (D-MN) , Marie Newman (D-IL), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Chuy Garcia (D-IL), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Cori Bush (D-MO), and Tlaib.

As we reported yesterday, Rep. Josh Gottheimer, a tool for the pro-Israel lobby, told the Jerusalem Post conference two weeks ago that he doesn’t like to call out Tlaib and other progressive House members publicly over Israel because he doesn’t want to make them “superstars.” But he’s scared by their millions of followers on social media.

One of the things I’m most concerned about is there are millions of people on twitter including some young people, including some young Jews, who follow some of my far left colleagues. When they spread false information, especially using the tools of intersectionality, using words like apartheid, we have to be very clear and stand up to that. I worry about people on social media, especially young people, being influenced by that.

The young are being influenced, of course, and Gottheimer said he sometimes works behind the scenes so he doesn’t give Tlaib any “unnecessary attention.”

You are talking about a few people who are these splinter folks who are loud voices but not representative of the party . . .

Maybe not such a splinter after all!

Halper also assured viewers that she’s not going away.

It’s an important thing to show the world that, sadly, Israel is an apartheid state and we have to push back and when we encounter censorship we can’t run away with our tails between our legs.

Props to Halper for not running away and making Rashida Tlaib’s testimony even stronger. Publicly the congresswoman has ignored the recent attacks, but continues to draw attention to the plight of Palestinians. Yesterday she tweeted about Rian Suleiman, a 7-year-old boy who died of a heart attack while Israeli soldiers chased him after invading his home. “Don’t look away. $3.8 billion+ of our money is funding this,” wrote Tlaib. “Enough. It must stop.”

The United States has called for an “immediate and thorough” investigation, but the IDF has already declared there’s “no connection” between his death and the actions of his soldiers. At some places it’s still controversial to call this “apartheid.”



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