When news broke last Sunday of the death of the US Air Force member Aaron Bushnell, who declared, “I will no longer be complicit in genocide,” before setting himself on fire outside the Israeli embassy, my mother and I sat in her bedroom and watched the news in utter silence. Not a murmur. I was too moved by Bushnell’s act to speak. And my mother, even at 94, is pro-Israel.

Bushnell’s death reminded each of us of one of the most important political events of our lives. I was 10 and my mother 36 in 1965, at the height of the Vietnam War, when the Baltimore Sun came to our door with the front page news of the death of Norman Morrison, a Baltimore Quaker, outside the office of Defense Secretary Robert McNamara. My mother was so moved by Morrison’s sacrifice that later that week she put on her best dress to attend Morrison’s Quaker meeting.


My mother never goes out of her comfort zone. That week she did. And I was inspired.

Morrison’s death helped to drive the antiwar movement in the U.S., and we can see that Bushnell’s astonishing bravery has also already had a political effect. Joe Biden is now officially terrified of the left and what it might do to him in the coming election to protest his support for Israel’s ongoing massacres. So Biden has begun grousing about Israeli callousness and trying to throw crumbs to progressives. He has started airdrops to the more than a half million starving Palestinians. Airdrops after paying for missiles. It doesn’t add up.

The Democrats are trying to blame the neverending horror on bad Netanyahu. When in fact almost all of Israeli society fully supports the slaughter of Gaza. They actively want to see Palestinian civilians suffer 100-fold, or 1000-fold, for the Hamas slaughter of civilians on October 7. 

Palestine could actually cause a crisis in U.S. politics, at last. Palestinian human rights might finally be at the top of the agenda. The “moment of explosion in U.S.-Israel relations” is approaching, says a former Israeli spymaster.

Biden won’t walk back his support for Israel, for one big reason. He is dependent on the American Zionist community and the Jewish community’s votes and dollars in his support. Just last week he was fundraising with Haim Saban and the ADL. And look at Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. She is pandering to AIPAC, the main Israel lobby group—even as AIPAC raises money from Zionists who are threatening a third-party challenge to Biden. The Democrats can’t call out this third-party threat for what it is, a challenge from inside their own party elites. Some of the ideologues who are pushing the threat have business and personal ties to Biden’s political guru, Anita Dunn. There’s a network for you, in plain sight–ignored by official media that are blatantly biased in favor of Israel, with a glaring double standard for covering Israel as opposed to any other country.

My mother’s trip to Norman Morrison’s memorial in 1965 was a proud moment for me because it demonstrated the Jewish community’s active role in the antiwar movement in the 1960s. Even then, Zionism was a contradiction of those values. President Johnson complained that rabbis lobbying him won’t pay for a screwdriver to go to Vietnam, but want the entire U.S. fleet in the Gulf of Aqaba. The neoconservatives arose as an inter-party political force over this issue. “It is now an interest of the Jews to have a large and powerful military establishment in the United States,” Irving Kristol said. “American Jews who care about the survival of the state of Israel have to say, no, we don’t want to cut the military budget.”

The Democratic Party has patched over this contradiction for nearly 60 years. It has somehow kept a coalition of antiwar progressives together with the most ferocious Zionist supporters, decade upon decade. Though whenever it mattered, the Dem leadership always sided with the hawks. As it did in the Iraq war. As Biden is doing today with what many see as a genocide. Democrats have kept the missiles flowing. Because the elites of the party want that. The Democrat leadership will always try to stifle pro-Palestinians expressions. As it has in smearing Rep. Summer Lee as an antisemite for her support of Palestine and supporting a challenger.

As Barnard College did this week, shockingly – banning free speech on dorm room doors because the effects of such speech could make Jewish students feel “isolated.” Clearly an obeisance to pro-Israel students (and donors) at a highly-privileged institution.

How long must the U.S. trash its values, and any pretense of international law, to support a supremacist murderous rogue state that is destroying portions of the Middle East and risking global conflict? “Free Palestine,” were Aaron Bushnell’s last words. Now he’s with the angels.