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.


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Framing Putin

Framing Putin

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»

Thugs and Racists

Thugs and Racists

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»

The Forgotten Key To Israel-Palestine: Water

The Forgotten Key To Israel-Palestine: Water

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»

Learning From Syria

Learning From Syria

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»

Peace With Iran

Peace With Iran

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that a quick deal between the P5+1 powers and Iran failed to materialize. Hopes were understandably raised by the fact that the United States wanted a deal, and that Iran declared its openness to unprecedentedly intrusive inspections of its nuclear facilities. But what is at stake in these talks goes beyond the atomic issue. It deals with the entire Western approach to the Middle East. More»

The False Center

The False Center

Sometimes a question provides its own answer. Robert Reich, who is as left-leaning as a mainstream economist could be, and who once served as Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton, raised just such a question. On November 4, he set everyone straight on his Facebook page. More»

Obama of Arabia

Obama of Arabia

Nuclear weapons negotiations between the United States and Iran are looking increasingly likely to portend a seismic shift in the Middle East. That shift, though, is not the one that was hoped for in some quarters. Especially in Riyadh and Jerusalem, who fear being sidelined by an ending of hostilities between Washington and Tehran. More»

Dismantling the Target

Dismantling the Target

One of the more absurd international crises could be coming to an end. The word out of Geneva this week is that the P5+1 (which consists of the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, and France plus Germany) was impressed with the presentation made by the Iranian delegation. It’s only the beginning of what is sure to be a difficult process. More»

The One-State Burden

The One-State Burden

In the American Prospect today, Gershom Gorenberg raises the key argument against a one-state solution: that nationalism is too strong on both the Jewish and Palestinian side for them to reasonably exist in a single state. More»

One-State of Mind

One-State of Mind

“The two-state solution is the only viable option to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” So goes the familiar refrain. Lately, I’ve noted a couple of instances where the cliché has been accompanied with mockery of those who advocate for one secular, democratic state in all of the land Israel now controls. There’s a lot of arrogance and condescension in that attitude. More»

Nuclear Islam

Nuclear Islam

With repetition, truth accretes. For example, repeat that Iran must be stopped from acquiring nuclear weapons, and everyone believes that Iran is trying to acquire nuclear weapons. The problem is, the facts don’t support so certain a conclusion, any more than they prove Iran’s innocence. More»

Lost in the Desert

Lost in the Desert

Just when I thought I was out…they pull me back in!” Those were the words of Michael Corleone, an old man who had spent his life reluctantly running a Mafia family, in the third installment of The Godfather trilogy. This was a movie, of course, but the line probably has some resonance right now for US President Barack Obama. More»

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