Author: Mitchell Plitnick
Mitchell Plitnick is the former Director of the US Office of B'Tselem and was previously the Director of Jewish Voice for Peace. He is a widely published and respected policy analyst. Born in New York City, raised an Orthodox Jew and educated in Yeshiva, Mitchell grew up in an extremist environment that passionately supported the radical Israeli settler movement. Plitnick graduated with honors from UC Berkeley in Middle Eastern Studies and wrote his thesis on Israeli and Jewish historiography.

In a recent piece for LobeLog, I touched on the overtly racist Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) party in Israel. Ever since it became clear that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was going to do everything in his power to ensure that they joined with HaBayit HaYehudi (Jewish Home) party to secure a few more seats for his next far-right coalition, there has been widespread condemnation of the party. (More…)

Fear truly is the mind-killer. It has a way, when intentionally stoked and directed at some enemy, of killing a lot of people as well. In Israel, the bombardment and invasion of Gaza over the summer demonstrates what can happen when a populace is fed a consistent diet of fear, no matter how safe the society is and how meager the threat to them is. (More…)

As I read the article, I started shaking. Tears streamed down my face. It was about an old man in Beit Hanoun, Gaza. On Friday night, eight members of his family, including his sons, daughters and grandchildren, had finished their Iftar meal and sat down to watch a popular television show. A few minutes into it, an artillery shell ripped through their home, killing them all, including children aged six, two, and one. (More…)

If you live outside the United States, let me begin by saying that I am very sorry for what is about to happen. Despite the damage that the Republican Party and their right-wing fellow travelers have done to this country and, worse, to the rest of the world, it seems the American public is once again leaning in their direction. (More…)

A young gunman murders people at a sorority house in Santa Barbara. Members of a football team rape an unconscious girl and proudly broadcast their happy discussions of the act, only to be protected by their community. A star football player hits his fiancée so hard he knocks her unconscious. These, and far too many other acts of overt violence by men against women have generated debate, outrage, and apologetics. (More…)

It’s being called an earthquake. It’s being heralded by right-wing parties as a revolutionary mandate. And, in typically American terms, it’s being read as a ‘protest’ vote, that will evaporate when it comes time to return to national politics. However, there’s no arguing that the European Union elections, which took place May 22nd-26th, profoundly shook Europe’s political elites. (More…)

The headlines got it wrong. On May 13, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) released the results of a global survey of 100 countries that found that 26% of those surveyed crossed ADL’s threshold for anti-Semitism. The ADL said that “The survey found that anti-Semitic attitudes are persistent and pervasive around the world.” After all, they said, that 26% represents an “estimated 1.09 billion people” worldwide. (More…)

Progressive rock was not the sole province of British hippie bands like Yes, and the self-indulgent noodling of ‘virtuoso’ groups such as Emerson Lake and Palmer. It was also identified with artists like Ian Anderson, and his band Jethro Tull, who, while no slouches in the hair department, trafficked in barbed literary diatribes, and dense, (More…)

Seeking rationality in punditry on foreign policy is a fool’s errand in the best of times. Bombastic statements and ideological polemics are the rule of the field. But when the United States and European Union are facing off against Russia, it is worthwhile to demand some clarity and, yes, even honesty. These have been in short supply on both sides. (More…)

Michael Dunn was convicted of three counts of attempted homicide, and one count of firing a weapon into an occupied car. The jury was unable to come to a decision on the main charge, which was the first degree murder of 17-year old Jordan Davis. The three attempted homicide charges each carry a maximum prison term of 30 years, the other, a maximum of 15 years. Whatever happens, Dunn is likely to be in prison for a long time. (More…)

Water is finally being discussed, however disingenuously, in regard to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories. But actually, water needs to be understood as a fundamental reason for the ongoing occupation. It came to the fore this week when the EU Parliamentary President mentioned it in his speech in the Knesset. (More…)

76 people had been killed during a Syrian assault on Aleppo. 28 of the casualties were said to be children. Despite the high death toll, I was pessimistic that the West would take notice. “It seems few care about Syrian lives, unless they’re killed by a chemical weapon,” I angrily tweeted. My despair reflected a decline in public interest in Syria’s civil war. Yes, the attack made the news, but it elicited no outcry. (More…)