What Anti-Zionists Like Linda Sarsour Get Wrong About Feminism

From The Forward:  http://forward.com/sisterhood/366140/what-anti-zionists-like-linda-sarsour-get-wrong-about-feminism/

by Emily Shire
March 16, 2017

Last week, I wrote in the New York Times about my concerns, as a Zionist feminist, with the March 8 International Women’s Strike. Because the platform for the strike called for the “decolonization of Palestine” as part of “the beating heart of this new feminist movement” and one of its prominent organizers, Rasmea Odeh, is a convicted terrorist, I feared there was no room for a feminist like myself who believes Israel has a right to exist. As I noted then, “Increasingly, I worry that my support for Israel will bar me from the feminist movement that, in aiming to be inclusive, has come to insist that feminism is connected to a wide variety of political causes.”

On Monday, The Nation published an interview by Collier Meyerson with Linda Sarsour, one of the leaders of the January 21 Women’s March. I respect the work Sarsour has done to organize and promote the Women’s March, and I admire the way she has committed so much of her life to feminism. However, I was disappointed that Meyerson’s interview with Sarsour failed to address the actual concerns I presented in the New York Times.

For one, Meyerson and Sarsour glossed over the fact that I explicitly wrote at the outset, “I hope for a two-state solution and am critical of certain Israeli government policies.” Ignoring that basic tenet of my perspective is a serious misrepresentation that seems all too convenient for Sarsour.

Incidentally, Sarsour appears to openly oppose the two-state solution — the very two-state solution championed by Bernie Sanders in February at J Street’s national conference, where he criticized Donald Trump for waffling on it. (Sarsour’s opposition to two states does not seem very progressive to me, but let’s put that aside.)

Sarsour then made an insinuation that was both presumptuous and inaccurate. “It’s been a little surprising to the [right-wing Zionists] to see [Palestinian-American] women in leadership roles in social-justice movements,” she said, “because [they are realizing] it means that the Palestinian Liberation Movement and the Palestinian Solidarity Movement are gaining traction among young people and people of color in the United States.” Not only do I not identify as a “right-wing Zionist,” as previously mentioned, but I certainly do not find the leadership of Palestinian women to be “surprising” or anything less than positive.

I sincerely hope women of all backgrounds take on feminist leadership roles. However, I draw a hard line at convicted terrorists, like Rasmea Odeh. Let’s be clear, Odeh was convicted for her role in a bombing that killed two Jewish college students at Hebrew University in a trial deemed fair by an observer from the International Red Cross. Though she disputes her conviction, Odeh has never denied being a member of the U.S. and European Union-designated terrorist group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Tellingly, Meyerson and Sarsour conveniently do not address Odeh’s history, even though it formed a substantial part of my piece — so much so that the Times chose to feature her picture on the page.Read more: http://forward.com/sisterhood/366140/what-anti-zionists-like-linda-sarsour-get-wrong-about-feminism/

 

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Athletes Speak Out Against Transphobic Texas Bill

From The Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/athlete-ally-open-letter-texas_us_58cab633e4b00705db4cd838?section=us_queer-voices

“We’re committed to upholding the very values that sport instills in each of us.”

By James Michael Nichols
03/16/2017

Over 55 athletes and Olympians released an open letter via Athlete Ally on Thursday slamming a Texas bill that would limit bathroom access and infringe on the rights of transgender people living in Texas.

The letter comes after the controversial SB6 passed the Texas state Senate and moved on to the House for consideration and includes notable athletes like openly gay Robbie Rogers and Gus Kenworthy and openly trans Aydian Dowling.

“As members of the athletic community, we’re committed to upholding the very values that sport instills in each of us,” a portion of the open letter reads.

“Values like fair play, equality, inclusion and respect. We believe that everyone should be afforded the same access, opportunity and experience both in sport and under the law. This is why we’re joining together to speak out against Senate Bill 6 (SB6), and the dozen more anti-LGBT bills already filed, and the harm they would do to the state of Texas, to the transgender community, and to the sports we have come to know and love.”

The Republican-backed SB6 would require transgender people to use only the public restrooms that correspond with the gender assigned on their birth certificates. It is similar to North Carolina’s infamous HB2 and a number of other anti-trans “bathroom bills” that have cropped up across the country.

“Texas can choose to uphold the values of sport by rejecting SB6 and other anti-LGBT bills, and the negative impact they would have,” the open letter continues. “These bills are answers in search of a problem that doesn’t exist. SB6 isolates, excludes, and others the transgender community and exacerbates many of the issues transgender Texans already face. The only solution that embodies the spirit of sport is to expand equality by embracing diversity. That diversity is inclusive of the LGBT community and is why we hope you will do the right thing and reject these discriminatory bills.”

Head here to read the open letter on Athlete Ally letter in full.

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Trump and the Parasitic Presidency

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/13/opinion/trump-and-the-parasitic-presidency.html

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Russia! Russia! Russia! | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann | GQ

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Pulling No Punches In Fight Against ‘Alt-Right’ And Neo-Nazis

From The Forward:  http://forward.com/news/364726/pulling-no-punches-in-fight-against-alt-right-and-neo-nazis/

Sam Kestenbaum
Mar 8, 2017

How do you punch a Nazi in Yiddish?

Maybe deliver a khsime, or “signature,” as in putting a “signature on someone’s face.” Or give them a shmir, an open-handed smack to the face, like lathering schmear on a bagel. Or maybe it takes der gubernator, “the governor,” jabbing your thumb into a person’s ribcage.

Obscure? To be sure. But you might find yourself becoming more familiar with such terms, if a growing number of Jewish “antifa” activists have their way.

In response to an energized American white nationalism, some Jews are gravitating toward “anti-fascist” activism. They’re embracing the idea that the best way to combat your enemies — in this case, white supremacists — is through direct confrontation, even violence. Organizers say their members number in the thousands. Though on-the-ground organizing on that scale has yet to materialize, one recent protest attended by many Jewish anti-fascists drew hundreds, and organizers say they are planning more actions.

At the same time, they are celebrating their Jewish identity. Those Yiddish fighting words are a good example.

‘Jewish Antifa’

Activists who call themselves “antifa,” short for anti-fascists, are inspired by early 20th-century responses to European fascism. They say they are influenced by militant left-wing and anarchist politics.

A handful of loosely organized groups have cropped up to confront white nationalism online. There is the “Jewish Antifa” Facebook page, which promotes the Jewish history of confrontational protest (this is where the string of Yiddish punch descriptors appeared). Then there is the allied group “MuJew Antifa,” a collaboration between Muslim and Jewish activists. And there are dozens of other individuals who are active from their own social media accounts.

The Jewish Antifa page has fewer than 60 members, but the MuJu Antifa network boasts more than 2,000, one organizer said. Jews who identify as anti-facists could also be involved in groups like Black Lives Matter or other left-wing Jewish groups without belonging to one of these two antifa groups.

One “MuJu” event last month brought a couple hundred people into the street to protest President Trump’s immigration ban. Activists marched down the street in Manhattan, carrying signs against Trump and chanting in Yiddish.

“We’re seeing an increase in far-right activity — the activity of people identifying as white supremacists and even Nazis,” said activist Michael Gould-Wartofsky, who is also the author of the 2015 book “The Occupiers: The Making of the 99 Percent Movement.”

Gould-Wartofsky said there are a range of opinions on tactics among Jews who might call themselves antifa: “With a massive rise in the climate of violence, some people [say] that it takes confrontation to combat far-right activity.”

There is a growing interest in learning physical self-defense among Jewish activists, Gould-Wartofsky said, adding, “People want to have the skills necessary to defend their community and other communities that are also under attack.”

Read more: http://forward.com/news/364726/pulling-no-punches-in-fight-against-alt-right-and-neo-nazis/

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Intelligence expert Malcolm Nance on Trump scandal: “As close to Benedict Arnold as we’re ever going to get”

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2017/03/14/intelligence-expert-malcolm-nance-on-trump-scandal-as-close-to-benedict-arnold-as-were-ever-going-to-get/

Career counter-terrorism officer says Putin pulled off a “brilliant” coup — but Trump is headed for impeachment


Tuesday, Mar 14, 2017

On an almost daily basis there are new revelations about the questionable and perhaps illegal connections between President Donald Trump’s administration (and before that his campaign) and the Russian espionage apparatus under the control of Vladimir Putin. It is no longer appears to be a question of whether the Russian government actively worked to undermine or affect the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, but who aided it in doing so.

> Trump’s short-lived national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was forced to resign because he did not disclose his contacts with Russia. In addition, Jeff Sessions, now the attorney general, met repeatedly with the Russian ambassador and known intelligence operative Sergey Kislyak. Trump campaign aides Roger Stone and Paul Manafort also had extensive contacts with the Russian government. Stone has even publicly admitted to communicating with WikiLeaks — a group known to act as a conduit for classified information — in an effort to smear Trump’s rival Hillary Clinton. And Trump and his inner circle have unknown but likely extensive financial connections to Russian banks, financiers, corporations and the Russian government.

How much damage has been caused to the American people by Trump’s Russian gambit? Most important, are Donald Trump and his advisers working in support of Russian interests and against those of the Unites States? Are they traitors? How did this all transpire?

In an effort to answer these questions, Salon recently spoke with Malcolm Nance, a career intelligence and counterterrorism officer for the United States government. In his more than three decades working in that capacity, Nance served with U.S. Special Operations forces, the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies. He has worked in the Middle East, North Africa, the Balkans, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. A frequent guest contributor on MSNBC, Nance has authored several books, including “The Plot to Hack America: How Putin’s Cyberspies and WikiLeaks Tried to Steal the 2016 Election.”

My conversation with Nance has been edited for length and clarity. A longer version of this conversation can be heard on my podcast, available on Salon’s Featured Audio page.

In trying to make sense of  the constant revelations about Trump’s connections to Russia, we are often hearing the truism that “the cover-up is worse than the crime.” But in this case, it seems that the public is just seeing the tip of the iceberg. 

You are absolutely correct. I think that the activities that have occurred and the thing that we’re seeing indicate a scandal on an order of magnitude greater than anything that’s occurred in the 20th century. What’s occurring now is as close to Benedict Arnold as I think we’re ever going to get in American history. It had better be because the only alternative to what we’re seeing with this information is, if it’s not espionage, then it will be the largest financial scandal in American history.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2017/03/14/intelligence-expert-malcolm-nance-on-trump-scandal-as-close-to-benedict-arnold-as-were-ever-going-to-get/

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Athletes Oppose Anti-Trans Texas Bill

From The Advocate:  http://www.advocate.com/politics/2017/3/16/athletes-oppose-anti-trans-texas-bill

About 50 athletes have signed on to Athlete Ally’s letter condemning the state’s “bathroom bill,” including (from left) Gus Kenworthy, Brittney Griner, and Aydian Dowling.

By Trudy Ring
March 16 2017

About 50 prominent athletes have signed on to an open letter from Athlete Ally condemning the anti-transgender “bathroom bill” making its way through the Texas legislature.

“As members of the athletic community, we’re committed to upholding the very values that sport instills in each of us,” the letter reads in part. “Values like fair play, equality, inclusion and respect. We believe that everyone should be afforded the same access, opportunity and experience both in sport and under the law. This is why we’re joining together to speak out against Senate Bill 6 (SB6), and the dozen more anti-LGBT bills already filed, and the harm they would do to the state of Texas, to the transgender community, and to the sports we have come to know and love.”

Senate Bill 6, which would require people to use restrooms designated for the gender on their birth certificate when in public schools and other government buildings, received final approval from the Texas Senate Wednesday and now heads to the House of Representatives. In addition to this measure, the letter notes, Texas is considering legislation that would prevent same-sex couples from getting married, allow campus groups to reject LGBT members, nullify local nondiscrimination ordinances, allow health care providers and educators to discriminate against LGBT people.

The signers are drawn from active and retired professional and Olympic athletes, representing a mix of LGBT people and straight allies. They include the WNBA’s Brittney Griner, Sue Bird, Breanna Stewart, and Danielle Robinson; the NFL’s Chris Kluwe and David Kopay; Major League Soccer’s Robbie Rogers; Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy; bodybuilder Aydian Dowling; tennis legend Martina Navratilova; Olympic diving champion Greg Louganis; and many more.

They send a warning that if SB 6 becomes law, Texas could lose out on many major sporting events slated to be held there, just as North Carolina did after enacting the anti-LGBT House Bill 2, which has similar restroom provisions. Over the next year, Texas is scheduled to host NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four, the World Golf Championships, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four, and other high-profile events. Relocation of these events would cost the Texas economy hundreds of millions of dollars. “This would be a shame for the state of Texas, but it can be avoided,” the letter notes.

“Texas can choose to uphold the values of sport by rejecting SB6 and other anti-LGBT bills, and the negative impact they would have,” the missive concludes. “These bills are answers in search of a problem that doesn’t exist. SB6 isolates, excludes, and others the transgender community and exacerbates many of the issues transgender Texans already face. The only solution that embodies the spirit of sport is to expand equality by embracing diversity. That diversity is inclusive of the LGBT community and is why we hope you will do the right thing and reject these discriminatory bills.”

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