The diverging horizons of Ron DeSantis, Hakeem Jeffries, and Khader Adnan

Philip Weiss

Mondoweiss  /  April 30, 2023

Ron DeSantis and Hakeem Jeffries went to Israel this week out of political ambition. Their horizons could not be more different than that of the imprisoned Palestinian political figure, Khader Adnan.

Ron DeSantis and Hakeem Jeffries both have big things on the horizon. The Florida governor is expected to announce a run for president, and the Brooklyn congressman aims to be the Speaker of the House.

And lo and behold, both politicians went to Israel this week– a required stop if you want to get to the top of U.S. politics.

DeSantis had dinner with Miriam Adelson. If DeSantis is going to beat Trump, he needs to steal the most significant Republican donor away from the former president– yes, a foreign national in a foreign country. No wonder Trump did everything for Israel. As Trump said himself seven years ago when it looked like he was losing the late Sheldon Adelson to a rival, Adelson is going to turn Marco Rubio into “his perfect little puppet.”

Well, then Trump won the “Adelson primary,” and got the money, and became the puppet!

It’s not like the Democrats are more virtuous. Jeffries and a bunch of his Democratic colleagues met with a racist right-wing leader who all the polling tells us is disgraced on the Democratic street– Benjamin Netanyahu. How shameful. But not a huge surprise. Even J Street’s delegation met and adored Netanyahu two months ago. Jeffries won his leadership position among Democrats in part by declaring “Israel today, Israel tomorrow, Israel forever” — in the middle of an Israeli massacre that shocked young progressives. The Dems kowtow because there are big Democratic donors who are Israel right or wrong.

Back to my horizons theme. This week Israel turned 75 and it was showered with congratulations by Joe Biden and every Zionist group in the U.S. The Beltway crowd now knows that Israel is practicing apartheid– even White House officials know it— but liberal Zionist groups can’t bring themselves to tell the truth because the organized American Jewish community, and its Israel lobby, just aren’t ready to hear the news.

Just look at the fundraising envelope I got from the New Israel Fund, covered with pro-Israel slogans. My map of Israel is enclosed! Actually, NIF is pretty critical of Israel, but their fundraising shows you, their base, the American Jewish community, is still in love with Israel.

I chose the word horizons for this newsletter because horizons are all about hopes and expectations. And I know that my optimism is a kind of privilege.

And there could not be a more different horizon than those in the story that Mariam Barghouti reported of Khader Adnan, the 44-year-old Palestinian baker on his third hunger strike to protest his detention by Israel for political activity for the Islamist PIJ party.

I try to imagine Adnan’s horizons: He hopes for some freedom for his family and children, and he is willing to take incredible risks to advance that struggle. He has been arrested 13 times. His legendary hunger strikes have broken down his body. He has intestinal adhesions, stomach bleeding, and a damaged gall bladder.

But he carries on because this is what it means to be engaged in Palestine. Whether you are religious, as he is, or secular or radical or ambitious, this is the Palestinian horizon for as far as you can see: To be a people persecuted in the 21st century in the name of a Jewish nation. And not to accept that persecution. How much bravery would I have in the face of such overwhelming forces?

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-2006