Monthly Archives: October 2014
Israel has closed the Al Aqsa mosque. Lesson for us all? Religious rights – however regulated – cannot be sustained without political rights. Arguing for religious rights without pursuing political rights is hypocrisy – on all sides. So Mahmoud Abbas is wrong. Closing Al Aqsa is not Israel declaring war against the Palestinian people. That war was declared in the founding of Israel. Closing Al Aqsa is Israel’s continuation of the war against Palestinians.
The Gaza war and collapse of the peace process destroyed liberal Zionists’ cherished vision of an egalitarian Jewish democracy, forcing many of Israel’s defenders to embrace the raw Islamophobia of ex-AP reporter Matti Friedman’s Tablet essay that blamed coverage of Operation Protective Edge in the media on ant-Semitism.
“Exalted anti-Zionists” (as Shlomo Sand calls us with snark) are framing the new ideas about the conflict: You cannot have a “Jewish democracy.” Let’s choose democracy over ethnocracy. And Tom Friedman, Noam Chomsky, and liberal Zionists are all engaging these ideas.
Kristian Davis Bailey reports from this year’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) national conference which brought together the largest contingent of SJP members in the movement’s history. Over 500 student activists and SJP alumni came to Tufts under the theme “Beyond Solidarity: Resisting Racism and Colonialism from the US to Palestine,” which sought to embody our student movement’s continued commitment to joint struggle. Ahmad Abunzaid, the legal and policy director of the Dream Defenders, summarized the core message of the weekend during a conference workshop on Black liberation: “Our struggles are bound together and our liberation will be bound together.”
It is a well-established principle that public universities are bound by the First Amendment. You might not know this from talking to students who are speaking out for Palestinian rights. In the past eight months, Radhika Sainath has given 15 know-your-rights workshops to students from nearly 70 different universities. Despite her extensive conversations with SJPers, she continues to be surprised at the level of repression these students face from their administrations.
A radical Jewish fundamentalist who has pushed Jewish access to the Islamic sites in the Old City was shot in Jerusalem yesterday and Israeli police swiftly killed a Palestinian accused of the crime, and the Noble Sanctuary was closed for the first time since 1967
Melissa Parke (ALP, Freemantle WA) spoke in favor of a petition calling for BDS on the floor of the Australian Parliament on Monday night. John Salisbury writes: “Although her speech was a cri de coeur for common sense and common decency it was remarkable for its uniqueness. No Australian politician, except Parke, would deign to speak up for Palestinian suffering in Parliament. In Australia, as in the US, most politicians are just ventriloquist dolls for the pro-Israel lobby. . . But Monday night Parke walked into no man’s land. The brickbats will inevitably follow as our Australian versions of Haim Saban and Jeffrey Goldberg try to take her down. But Melissa, you don’t deserve the brickbats, you deserve bouquets.”
Malala Yousafzai should be celebrated and serve as a reminder for all as to how deprived today’s children are of basic human rights such as education. The point however is to consider that if Malala’s home was in the occupied West Bank or Gaza, or in the drone bombarded villages of Yemen, would she have been invited to the White House? Would her struggle make her a global icon? The chances would be slim, and few in the corridors of power would want to take notice.
On 18 October 2014, a self-professed “racist” pro-Israel counter-protester at a Block the Boat action in Los Angeles told black Palestinian solidarity activist and radio personality Margaret Prescod to “take your Ebola a*s and get out.” The racism of these California-based Zionist counter-protesters is symptomatic of a much larger culture of bigotry and hate in Israel and among some pro-Israel supporters internationally.
On September 19, the administration of Loyola University Chicago temporarily suspended Loyola Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and opened an investigation of the organization. The actions, which will culminate in a disciplinary hearing on Thursday evening, came after a diverse group of students gathered at a table hosted by Taglit-Birthright Israel, which provides trips to Israel exclusively for Jewish students, to register and ask questions about the program. Loyola’s investigation is part of a broader censorship of political speech on university campuses around the US over issues related to Israel and Palestine.
While Steven Salaita has received massive support from colleagues, students, community groups, and others in the US, what has received less attention is the support he has received from outside the US. This is extremely important, for as protests against Israel continue and in fact grow across the globe, one should understand that such acts of silencing resonate with those beyond US borders. Today it is clear that criticism of Israel is the issue, and that the significance of Salaita’s case is not limited to the US.
Imagine a leading Jewish organization attacking a citizen of another country for complaining about discrimination in that country against people of color there. Rula Jebreal’s op-ed on Israeli “hate policies” hit a nerve
Two victories on the BDS front that show the Israeli settlements in the West Bank are increasingly considered beyond the pale in the U.S. and international community. Online shopping site GILT has dropped Ahava cosmetics and the government of Kuwait has announced “it will not deal with 50 companies due to their role in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.”
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has clearly been stung by a senior Obama administration official saying that he’s “chickenshit”. The White House is trying to repair the (intentional) damage.
The NYT tries to make the occupation seem normal. That’s why it’s devoting 16 paragraphs to a story about the time difference between Israel and Palestine when it could be covering the crisis in US-Israeli diplomacy over illegal settlement building and the detention of Palestinian children
Former Israeli president Shimon Peres was interviewed by Bob Woodruff at Colgate University last Saturday night, and when Pat Carmeli interrupted a standing ovation to ask about illegal settlements, Colgate edited it out of its video of the event
Are there any in more active complicity in the destruction of Palestine than Palestine’s well-wishers? J Street’s October 28 statement is the latest example of a “pro-peace” organization that is doing nothing to advance an end to the conflict in Israel/Palestine.
Ten weeks after his death during dawn prayers in Gaza, the body of a 20-year-old father of one was found under the rubble of a mosque destroyed by Israel in August
Olivia Snaije interviews Mohammed Matter, one of the founders of Gaza Youth Breaks Out (GYBO) and known until a month ago as Abu Yazan. Matter discusses GYBO, life in Gaza and living under the Israeli attack this past summer.
Many Jewish Israelis want to believe that Palestinians will accept Zionism. They never will, nor should they, Israeli president Reuven Rivlin has said in his latest nod to “equality” for all under Israeli rule
Mohammed Zakaria is leading an unprecedented campaign to create Jordan’s first community-built skate park. Zakaria is determined to provide a positive outlet for the youth of his city. “It’s not easy to be a young person in this part of the world,” he says. While warfare and revolts have upturned many neighboring cities, tensions over the flooding refugee population, high unemployment, and regional insecurity are rampant in Jordan. “Many of our skaters, and the new kids we hope to bring in to the park, come from broken homes or refugee families. We want to give them a healthy, free, accessible resource to enjoy life.” Plus, says Zakaria, “It’s going to be rad.”
It is astonishing that the reconstruction of Gaza, bombed into the Stone Age has tentatively only just begun two months after the end of the fighting. According to the United Nations, 100,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged, leaving 600,000 Palestinians – nearly one in three of Gaza’s population – homeless or in urgent need of humanitarian help. Aid agency Oxfam warns that at the current rate of progress it may take 50 years to rebuild Gaza. Where else in the world apart from the Palestinian territories would the international community stand by idly as so many people suffer – and not from a random act of God but willed by fellow humans? The reason for the hold-up is, as ever, Israel’s “security needs”. Gaza can be rebuilt but only to the precise specifications laid down by Israeli officials.