Do Unto Others focuses on the Middle East, (nonviolent) social movements, and how I make sense of my place in the world. I'm currently based in Cairo, Egypt doing peacebuilding and community development.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

US congressman claims there is no Israeli occupation

Brooklyn congressman, Max Weiner, recently debated former congressman, Brian Baird, on the Israel/Palestine issue. Weiner is loved by many progressives but is unfortunately a PEP (progressive except Palestine) and has drawn the wrath of the leftist Israel/Palestine blogosphere over his comments at the debate held at the New School in New York, NY. Watch the whole debate here. Here's an astonishing excerpt (Roger Cohen, columnist of the NY Times, moderated the debate):
WEINER: You can see a difference in the development in the West Bank with 11 percent year over year growth, with no Israeli occupation there either, with increasing access to checkpoints —

COHEN: What about area C, D,

WEINER: Hold on, maybe this would be helpful

COHEN: No occupation in the West Bank, did I hear you right?


COHEN: Have you been to the West Bank lately?


COHEN: You didn’t see the IDF there?

WEINER: In Ramallah? No. In Nablus? No. Now can I tell ya there might be some people in this room who think Jerusalem is occupied.

COHEN: Well hold on a second there, let’s stick to the West Bank. You’re saying there is no IDF presence there?



Karen said...

I watched the whole video...I am shocked that a US congressman knows less about the reality of the living conditions in the West Bank than a person like myself who has just barely scratched the surface of researching the present reality of the West Bank with just a cursory inspection of the information out there. There is so much more to say...national state or jewish state- democracy synonymous with liberty- war and/or occupation- no IDF in the non Israeli state- ...Wow, so many objections to congreesman Weiner's mantra so little time

Karen said...

By the way... Samuel, Help me understand Obama's recent veto.

Samuel Nichols said...


Kudos for watching that whole clip. I didn't watch it all so you surely got much more of a sense of the debate than I did.

Truly amazing that a US congressman doesn't know (or is completely lying) about the reality of the political makeup of Israel and the West Bank. Most official sources refer to the West Bank and Gaza as the occupied Palestinian territories, it's not exactly a minority opinion.

As for the veto on the resolution against settlements, I don't have much to say. It's sad. They're digging themselves in a deep hole. The last time they made a veto in the security council was in 2008, during the Gaza war. A resolution was written in condemnation of Israel's use of indiscriminate force on the civilian population of Gaza, the US vetoed it. And now this settlement veto...

I think it's a bad foreign policy move, but obviously folks in the US administration think that supporting Israel at all costs is a good foreign policy move. The Arab and Muslim world will increase it's distaste for the U.S. and Israel, because of vetoes like this.