US Support For Palestine Shifts As Obama Abstains From UN Vote On Israeli Settlements

51% of young voters and 60% of Democrats want economic sanctions against Israel over its illegal settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.
By @jncatron |
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    UNITED NATIONS — The United States’ abstention from a Security Council vote condemning Israel’s West Bank settlements on Friday followed a sharp rise in support for Palestinians among U.S. voters, particularly members of President Barack Obama’s Democratic Party.

    “American attitudes on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” two polls released by the Washington-based Brookings Institute on Dec. 2, showed growing numbers critical of Israeli actions and eager for U.S. responses, including sanctions and U.N. measures, to counter them.

    “The Democratic Party’s base is very split from leadership now,” Peter Feld, a Democratic strategist and polling expert in New York, told MintPress News about the survey results.

    “But in this moment of overall crisis for the Democrats, they’re going to have to listen to the base.”

    According Brookings, 40 percent favored “Obama supporting or sponsoring a United Nations resolution to end Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank before he leaves office.”

    But among young voters between the ages of 18 and 34, the number increased to 51 percent, while 65 percent of Democrats supported the measure.

    Similarly, 46 percent of respondents, including 51 percent of young voters and 60 percent of Democrats, favored “economic sanctions” and “more serious action” in response to Israeli settlement construction.

    When Brookings asked the same question in November 2014, only 38 percent of respondents, including 48 percent of Democrats, favored “sanctions” and “serious action.”

    The differences between the two sets of numbers — one collected on the heels of a bloody Israeli military operation that killed over 2,200 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip alone, the other after more than two years of relative, if checkered, quiet — indicate that domestic U.S. politics, rather than developments in Palestine, may have spurred the shift in public opinion.


    ‘A worldwide symbol of resistance to oppression’

    “The coalition-building and patient educational outreach efforts that occurred over the past three decades with other oppressed communities engaged in struggles for social justice helped to shift the terms of discourse at a grassroots level, where it counts,” Richard Reilly, a longtime Palestine activist in Chicago, told MintPress.

    He added that Palestinian outreach to other movements since the 2014 Gaza offensive had helped to establish Palestine as a broad, popular cause.

    “The Palestinian flag, long a worldwide symbol of resistance to oppression, has now became ubiquitous in U.S. protests from Ferguson to Standing Rock.”

    These efforts won national attention during the 2016 presidential election, when many Palestinians backed an underdog challenge by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

    Pressure from his supporters ultimately forced the Democratic candidate to publicly address the issue, telling a national debate audience on April 14 that “we are going to have to treat the Palestinian people with respect and dignity” and “we cannot continue to be one-sided.”

    Sanders also accused his opponent, former Secretary of State and eventual Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, of “barely mention[ing] the Palestinians” in a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference in Washington a month earlier.

    Sanders had declined to attend the AIPAC conference, but addressed a speech to its participants from a high school in Salt Lake City, Utah, telling them that “to be successful, we have also got to be a friend not only to Israel, but to the Palestinian people, where in Gaza unemployment today is 44 percent and we have there a poverty rate which is almost as high.”

    While hardly groundbreaking among progressive activists, Sanders’ comments marked a sharp deviation from the norms of U.S. electoral politics, in which candidates usually compete to express more enthusiastic, unreserved support for Israel than their opponents.

    Along with the erratic approach of Republican nominee and President-elect Donald Trump, whose statements on Israel and Palestine have veered wildly across the political map, they left many observers with a sense that the issue was no longer an untouchable “third rail.”

    They also exposed millions of Democrats and other voters to the novelty of candidates treating it as one fit for debate, rather than acquiescence.

    Coming after more than a year of engagement and criticism, Sanders’ shift, a partial reversion to his politics of an earlier era, was less an innovation than an acknowledgement that Palestine had emerged as a natural loyalty for millions of young voters who see their support for it as a natural part of their progressive identities.


    ‘Simply due to the young’

    In Hebron, a fence imposed by the Israeli military separates two Palestinian children from a member of a young group of American activists called the Dream Defenders during a trip to Palestine.

    In Hebron, a fence imposed by the Israeli military separates two Palestinian children from a member of a young group of American activists called the Dream Defenders during a trip to Palestine.

    “I think most of what’s driving the change is simply due to the young,” Peter Feld, the strategist and polling expert, said.

    “Young Democrats, in particular, are sympathetic to justice struggles and hostile to racism, which is also why they were so anti-Trump.”

    He added that the extreme Zionism dominant among presumptive Trump nominees might widen divisions on Palestine at the grassroots even more quickly.

    “Hopefully in 2018 one or more high-profile Democrats will lose a reelection primary because of their support for Israel. And ideally, Trump’s strong backing for Israeli hardliners will alienate liberal American Jews, so Israel will become more of a partisan issue.”

    While most commentators agree that Obama would not have abstained from the U.N. vote if Clinton had won the general election, little consensus has emerged on his reasons for doing so in the face of Trump’s looming inauguration.

    Some have sought to contextualize the move within Obama’s rush to “Trump-proof the White House,” suggesting it would make it harder for the president-elect to fulfill his repeated pledges to move the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

    Others attribute it to the well-known personal animosity between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who reacted with predictable fury.

    But in the aftermath of a devastating loss for Clinton, whose campaign Obama publicly, if cautiously, criticizedeven claiming that he “could’ve mobilized a majority of the American people” himself – the president may have sought to realign his Democratic administration’s policy with the sentiments of its political base, sharpening its distinctions from incoming Republicans and increasing the party’s chances of future victories.

    Whether or not Obama intended to rebuke failed plans to trade actual Democratic voters for hypothetical Republican crossovers — most clearly articulated by Sen. Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York who is now the Senate minority leader — his abstention will nevertheless have the practical effect of nudging his party toward the sentiments of those inclined to actually support it.

    And with Trump already facing unprecedented disapproval, even as he enjoys a personal record in popularity, any policies he implements against Palestinians — including the maintenance of the status quo — will likely inspire stronger opposition than similar actions by earlier presidents.

    This could make it even harder for future Democratic candidates to maintain the lockstep support for Israel long championed by Clinton, and now upheld by Trump.

    “Once you show that too much support for Israel can be politically harmful, much of what the U.S. does to prop Israel up will fall apart,” Feld said.

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    • Guy

      Additionally to the security council resolution 2334 ,
      see the list of other violations not mentioned by your friendly main stream media in the West.
      Playing the victim no longer works .

      Just a sample , go to site and read the remainder,better yet ,purchase the book by Jeremy Hammond.

      Res. 57 (Sep. 18, 1948) – Expresses deep shock at the

      assassination of the U.N. Mediator in Palestine, Count Folke Bernadotte, by Zionist terrorists.

      Res. 89
      (Nov. 17, 1950) – Requests that attention be given to the expulsion of
      “thousands of Palestine Arabs” and calls upon concerned governments to
      take no further action “involving the transfer of persons across
      international frontiers or armistice lines”, and notes that Israel
      announced that it would withdraw to the armistice lines.

      Res. 93
      (May 18, 1951) – Finds that Israeli airstrikes on Syria on April 5,
      1951 constitutes “a violation of the cease-fire”, and decides that Arab
      civilians expelled from the demilitarized zone by Israel should be
      allowed to return.

      Res. 100 (Oct. 27, 1953) – Notes that Israel had said it would stop work it started in the demilitarized zone on September 2, 1953.

      Res. 101
      (Nov. 24, 1953) – Finds Israel’s attack on Qibya, Jordan on October
      14-15, 1953 to be a violation of the cease-fire and “Expresses the
      strongest censure of that action”.

      Res. 106 (Mar. 29, 1955) – Condemns Israel’s attack on Egyptian forces in the Gaza Strip on February 28, 1955.

      Res. 111
      (Jan. 19, 1956) – Condemns Israel’s attack on Syria on December 11,
      1955 as “a flagrant violation of the cease-fire” and armistice

      Res. 119
      (Oct. 31, 1956) – Considers that “a grave situation has been created” by
      the attack against Egypt by the forces of Britain, France, and Israel.

      Res. 171
      (Apr. 9, 1962) – Reaffirms resolution 111 and determines that Israel’s
      attack on Syria on March 16-17, 1962 “constitutes a flagrant violation
      of that resolution”.

      Res. 228
      (Nov. 25, 1966) – “Deplores the loss of life and heavy damage to
      property resulting from the action” by Israel in the southern Hebron
      area on November 13, 1966, and “Censures Israel for this large-scale
      military action in violation of the United Nations Charter” and the
      armistice agreement between Israel and Jordan.

    • James Wherry

      Here: I’ll let pro-BDS proponents tell us what they are REALLY after: (excerpt below)

      In Their Own Words

      BDS proponents often present their case to students in terms of peace and justice; however, this masks the real agenda of seeking to destroy Israel rather than simply improve the lives of Palestinians and help them achieve independence. The true aims of BDS become clearer when the views of the movement’s leaders are examined. As the examples below demonstrate, they oppose a two-state solution or any other resolution to the conflict that would recognize the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in their homeland.


      “Ending the occupation doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t mean upending the Jewish state itself…BDS does mean the end of the Jewish state. But can’t I see the value in reaching across the aisle, so to speak? The movement may be burgeoning but remains too small. Why shouldn’t we indulge in ad hoc partnerships to get things done? Richard Silverstein, Richard Goldstone, and many other self-proclaimed Zionists have done an immeasurably positive amount of work in skinning the Zionist cat (That’s a deliberate analogy. I don’t kid myself about how difficult it must be for a Jewish person to criticize the Zionist state), shouldn’t they be asked to join the BDS movement?

      To be sure, I’m not dogmatically against cooperating with people whose views I find objectionable. If it came down to it, I’d be happy to work with the racist up the street to get the city to fix a neighborhood pothole.”

      -Ahmed Moor,
      Pro-BDS Author


      “BDS represents three words that will help bring about the defeat of Zionist Israel and victory for Palestine.”

      –Ronnie Kasrils


      “[Israel] was Palestine, and there is no reason why it should not be renamed Palestine.”

      –Omar Barghouti,

      Founder, Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel


      “The real aim of BDS is to bring down the state of Israel….That should be stated as an unambiguous goal. There should not be any equivocation on the subject. Justice and freedom for the Palestinians are incompatible with the existence of the state of Israel.”

      –As’ad AbuKhalil


      “Peace-or better yet, justice-cannot be achieved without a total decolonization (one can say de-Zionization) of the Israeli state.”

      –Michael Warschawski, BDS activist


      “[Palestinians have a right to] resistance by any means, including armed resistance. [Jews] aren’t indigenous just because you say you are….[Jews] are not a people…the UN’s principle of the right to self-determination applies only to colonized people who want to acquire their rights. ”

      –Omar Barghouti


      “I think the BDS movement will gain strength from forthrightly explaining why Israel has no right to exist.”

      –John Spritzler, Pro-BDS Author


      “BDS’s stated goals (ending the Occupation, equality for non-Jews and Jews, and the right of return of the Palestinian refugees) logically imply the end of Israel as a Jewish state….The “state of the Jews” is actually an instrument by which a Jewish elite ruling class of billionaires and generals and politicians secures its oppressive grip on ordinary Jews in Israel…This is why there should not be a Jewish state.”

      –John Spritzler


      “I mean we have to be honest, and I loathe the disingenuousness. They don’t want Israel. They think they are being very clever; they call it their three tier. We want the end of the occupation, the right of return, and we want equal rights for Arabs in Israel. And they think they are very clever because they know the result of implementing all three is what, what is the result? You know and I know what the result is. There’s no Israel!

      “They say no they’re not really talking about rights. They’re talking about they want to destroy Israel. And in fact I think they’re right I think that’s true. I’m not going to lie. But this kind of duplicity and disingenuous, “oh we’re agnostic about Israel.” No you’re not agnostic! You don’t want it! Then just say it!

      “The moment you go out there Israel will start to say ‘What about us?’ and ‘They won’t recognize our right’ and in fact that’s correct. You can’t answer the Israelis on that because they’re making a statement that’s factually correct. It’s not an accidental and unwitting omission that BDS does not mention Israel. You know that and I know that. It’s not like they’re ‘oh we forgot to mention it.’ They won’t mention it because they know it will split the movement. Cause there’s a large segment of the movement that wants to eliminate Israel.”

      –Norman Finkelstein, BDS activist


      “There’s no Israel. That’s what it’s really about.”

      –Norman Finkelstein, BDS activist


      “Our corporation boycotts all Israeli products and services, and encourages other institutions, companies and individuals to cease and avoid all economic, academic and cultural activity that supports the racist state of Israel until that state dissolves itself.”

      –Paul Larudee, Co-founder, Free Palestine Movement


      “Going back to the two-state solution, besides having passed its expiry date, it was never a moral solution to start with.We are witnessing the rapid demise of Zionism, and nothing can be done to save it, for Zionism is intent on killing itself.”

      -Omar Bargouti


      “Israel is the oppressor, not the settlements.”

      -Hind Awwad
      National Coordinator, BDS Committee


      “Good riddance! The two-state solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is finally dead. But someone has to issue an official death certificate before the rotting corpse is given a proper burial and we can all move on and explore the more just, moral and therefore enduring alternative for peaceful coexistence between Jews and Arabs in Mandate Palestine: the one-state solution.”

      -Omar Bargouti


      “(The one state solution means) a unitary state, where, by definition, Jews will be a minority.”

      -Omar Bargouti


      “I am completely and categorically against binationalism because it assumes that there are two nations with equal moral claims to the land.”

      -Omar Bargouti


      “The goal of #BDS is the full restoration of Palestinian rights, not an agreement to create an artificial mini-state in order to save Zionism”

      –Ali Abunimah, BDS activist


      “Zionists complain [BDS] demands spell the end of the “Jewish state.” They are correct. A “Jewish state” is by definition dedicated to the supremacy of Jews over non-Jews in Palestine, and is therefore irreconcilable with the justice advocated by BDS.”

      –David Litwin, BDS activist


      “Any call for boycott, divestment, or sanctions, for whatever motive (even on behalf of the settlers!) is seen, rightly, as a blow against the legitimacy of Israel… it will be rightly perceived by the pro-Israel crowd as a threat, even an “existential one,” to use Prime Minister Netanyahu’s characterization of all BDS.”

      –Jeremiah Haber, BDS supporter


      “The ‘two state solution,’…as dictated by Israel, omits basic Palestinian rights…[and] would be yet another act of British complicity in bestowing legitimacy on Israel’s unjust order.”

      –Omar Barghouti


      “[The two state solution] was a charade to begin with, and has played itself out.”

      –Kumars Salehi, BDS supporter


      “A Jewish state in Palestine in any shape or form cannot but contravene the basic rights of the indigenous Palestinian population and perpetuate a system of racial discrimination that ought to be opposed categorically….Definitely, most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian, rational Palestinian, not a sell-out Palestinian, will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.”

      –Omar Barghouti [5:50]


      “Bringing down Israel will really benefit everyone in the world and everyone in society, particularly workers,”

      –Lara Kiswani, executive director of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, BDS activist


      “I think the end-all of BDS is to weaken Israel, to isolate Israel, and give the global community a role in the liberation of Palestine and support the resistance on the ground in Palestine.”

      –Lara Kiswani


      “We’re resisting colonialism in Palestine, and colonialism entails all of occupied Palestine, from Haifa, to Jerusalem, to Ramallah…”

      –Lara Kiswani, [0:45]


      “You can’t have coexistence with Zionists. Their purpose of Zionism is discrimination, elimination and ethnic cleansing of a group of people, so if you want to talk about coexistence, I’m not talking with you because you’re going to try to kill me. I’m Muslim.”

      –Azka Fayyaz, BDS leader at UC Davis


      “You cannot reconcile the right of return for refugees with a two state solution….a return for refugees would end Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. A two-state solution was never moral and it’s no longer working.”

      -Omar Barghouti


      “[Jews] did not suffer in Arab countries. There were no pogroms. There was no persecution.”

      –Omar Barghouti


      “We need to wipe out Israel.”

      –Anna Baltzer, pro-BDS activist


      “I clearly do not buy into the two-state solution.”

      –Omar Barghouti


      “Last week, the Palestinian BDS National Committee called for a wave of actions and protests in solidarity with the Palestinian popular resistance…”

      –BDS Movement Official Statement


      “Are you angry? Well, we’ve been watching intifada in Palestine, we’ve been watching an uprising in Iraq, and the question is that what are we doing? How come we don’t have an intifada [armed struggle] in this country? …and it’s about time that we have an intifada in this country that change[s] fundamentally the political dynamics in here…They’re going to say [that] some Palestinian are being too radical; well, you haven’t seen radicalism yet!”

      –Professor Hatem Bazian, founder of Students for Justice in Palestine


      “[W]e in this movement [should] support the resistance against American imperialism by any means necessary.”

      –Professor Hatem Bazian


      “We can build a still-stronger BDS movement beginning in the name of Palestinian freedom and ending in a permanent blow against American empire.”

      –Bill Mullen


      “The BDS movement was launched because of the ongoing failure to protect the rights of the Palestinian people. Some of these rights were frittered away: The Right of Return is in danger, the right of our people to the 1948 lands is in danger, and even the right of our people to the 1967 lands. Some of these rights are ignored. The BDS movement was created in 2005, in order to focus on the elimination of the occupation, on the elimination of the system of racial segregation – the Israeli apartheid – and on the right of the refugees to return to the homes from which they were expelled.”

      Omar Al-Barghouthi


      “Boycotting Israel IS anti-Israel, which is fine, as long as Israel continues to violate and deny Palestinian rights.”

      –Yousef Munayyer, Executive Director, Campaign for Palestinian Rights

    • James Wherry
      • tapatio

        Jumbo-Jimbo, D0uche-wits. Couldn’t “dismantle” anything. His credibility is gone.

        • James Wherry

          So you’re telling readers that they are all a bunch of NAZ!s like you who hate America and Israel and agree with you?

    • James Wherry

      “BDS is vehicle to destroy Israel, says new study”

      The boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel is an “antisemitic” vehicle used by those who want to destroy the country, a new report from the Simon Wiesenthal Centre has concluded.

      While anti-Israel efforts on university campuses and among trade unionists had enjoyed some success, the report said, the BDS campaign had failed to convince global business leaders to end economically-beneficial links with Israel.

      Historian Harold Brackman, who compiled Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, BDS against Israel, an antisemitic, anti-peace poison pill for the Los Angeles-based centre, concluded that the campaign movement was a “stalking horse for those seeking to destroy Israel by other means”.

      He wrote: “It is a key component of the global asymmetrical war on the Jewish state. It’s committed not to peace but to a piecemeal elimination of Israel. It doesn’t believe in its own distinctions between ‘targeted’ and ‘total’ boycotts. Nor is it really interested in the economic welfare of Palestinians.”

      Dr Brackman said BDS “lacks the one virtue that Hamas possesses: credible honesty about its intention to replace by any and all means Jewish Israel with (Islamist) Palestine”.

      The report notes the failure of boycott activity to influence corporate decisions, and highlights international companies including Caterpillar and Veolia — both have been regularly targeted by anti-Israel campaigners — refusing to end their activities in Israel.

      “The anti-Veolia campaign… had little impact, failing even to convince the Saudis to terminate environmental management projects with the French firm,” the report said.

      The efforts against Israel on campuses constituted an “academic jihad”, with incidents in Britain continuing to “gain momentum”.

    • James Wherry

      The official policy of the United States for 70+ years has been a two-state solution. The U.N. Security Council Resolution recognized that and has further enshrined it into International Law.

      So will MintPressNews and the rest of the BDS movement finally give up and recognize the nation of Israel and its right to exist? Here’s looking forward to a more peaceful New Year in which neither extreme is successful at forging war and the rest of us are successful in forging peace.

      “Why Did Obama Let the UN Criticize Israel? Because It Was the Last Chance to Act Sane
      “The big winners in the Trump administration will be Israel’s far right and the boycott/divestment/sanctions movement. The UN vote is the last gasp of consensus reality.”

      • tapatio

        Your Jew masters have made the two state solution impossible. The ONLY just solution today is for the Jews to return to their parent countries in Europe and elsewhere……..IF those countries will have them.

        • James Wherry

          Sorry, but the UN Security Council just voted for a two-state solution – again.

        • TecumsehUnfaced

          Funny! Wherry believes that the zioNazi thugs are going to run and obey the UNSC two-state resolution.

          • tapatio

            No, he’s just spewing the standard lip service to two states. He knows it would mean civil war by the squatters.

            • TecumsehUnfaced

              That’s right, he doesn’t think.

              • tapatio


                • TecumsehUnfaced

                  Here’s something off topic, but right up your alley. I still remember the great job you did dissecting Larry Silverstein’s perfidy.

                  Peter Koenig is always worth a read.

                  Berlin – Another False Flag? By Peter Koenig

                  December 28, 2016 “Information Clearing House” – 12 dead, about 40 injured, is the result of the latest terror attack in Berlin, when on 19 December, a truck plouged into a Christmas market at Berlin’s Bretscheideplatz, near the lush Kurfuerstendamm.

                  Is it not a ‘déjà-vu’ of not even half a year ago, when in Nice, France, on 14th July a truck mowed down hordes of people celebrating Bastille Day?

                  In Berlin, the first ‘culprit’ was a Pakistani who apparently ‘escaped’. When later he turned up and explained with proof his innocence, they had to let him go. In the cabin of the truck they also found a dead man of Polish origin. He couldn’t be accused, since he was dead.

                  Then the chase was stalled, until miraculously, about a day later, they found in the truck identity papers of a Mr. Anis Amri (24) of Tunisian citizenship beneath the driver’s seat. As is usual with these terrorists, they like to leave their ID cards behind. It seems to be part of their strategy to be caught and killed.

                  Then, once more there was a ‘suspect’, who could be chased, throughout Europe.


                  People wake up! – Boycott the MSM. Take the time to seek the truth elsewhere, for example, on RT, TeleSur, Global Research, ICH, New Eastern Outlook (NEO), CounterPunch, The Saker, Voltairenet — and many more. The Deep State cannot win without your participation.


            • James Wherry

              A two-state solution is simple to implement: the Arab League or some part of it takes over the security of the West Bank and Gaza, opens ports, prevents missile making and launching. I

              Israel joins NATO and is monitored by us and both parties go their own separate ways. there could not be a “civil war” because neither side would be part of the other’s NATION.

        • James Wherry

          The over-whelming number of Jews had grandparents born in – Israel. If they have to “return” somewhere, they return to Israel.

          As to the Palestinian ARABS – they can end their 1,400-year old invasion and return to ARABIA, or if you think the 1% that can claim to be “Palestinian” should go back where they came from, that would be “Philistia” – the Gaza Strip. They can leave the West Bank, whenever they like.

      • Kevin O’Connor

        James you spout out wrong info about BDS time and time again. BDS recognizes Israel BDS calls for Palestinians to have Their Rights recognized thats not radical its something people throughout the world want.

    • Norm
      • Norm
      • Norm
        • James Wherry

          We’ll see, Norm.

          As you know, I support the two-state solution and you are not a fan for many legitimate reasons. Despite this, I invite the “BDS supporters” to recognize that the U.N. Security Council resolution just enshrined the two-state solution into law.

          Now let’s see the BDS movement support it without calling for further actions to destroy the nation of Israel.

          • Norm
            • TecumsehUnfaced

              Oh look! Obama is making fun of the remaining wall of the old Roman fortress, where the zionist fanatics love to wail themselves silly, all unawares that Roman coins have been found under the wall.

          • Kevin O’Connor

            James Wherry where on earth do you get your info from? The BDS movement does not call for the destruction of Israel that is an outright lie on your part. Its very very easy to verify the goals of the BDS movement and violence and destruction of Israel are not in it.

      • TecumsehUnfaced

        Yes, Norm, we already understand that you have the hots for predatory thugs, or born war criminals, not for cuties like the one on the right.