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March 2015

A pessoptimistic view of the Israeli elections

Hatim Kanaaneh on

Hatim Kanaaneh reflects on the recent Israeli election and strains to find optimism in what he sees as a rising tide of fascism in the country: “It is my belief that the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel has a mission it cannot shirk: forcing true democracy on the Jewish majority that continues to slide down the slippery slope of racism. It is our ordained destiny, it seems, to save Israel from its the-whole-world-is-against-us paranoia. It is our role to coax Israel it back from its Masada Complex stand. We have little choice but to fulfill this impossible mission; the alternative is too bleak to contemplate.”

[1]-[2]-[6]-[20]: A regional strategy for sustainable peace for Israel/Palestine

Johan Galtung on

Prof. Johan Galtung proposes a region-wide solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: “A genuine approach to peace would exclude all talk of the USA as a dispassionate honest “broker” and engage in Israel & Palestine negotiations by honestly: Pointing out that USA & Israel are in alignment on almost everything but the settlements, and working on how to integrate Israel into a regional community with its five Arab border states and the states bordering on the latter.”

On Netanyahu’s apology to Palestinian citizens of Israel

Scott Ratner on

Prime Minister elect Benjamin Netanyahu recently issued an apology to “Israeli Arabs” for his outlandishly racist Election Day remarks that “Arabs voters are going to the polls en masse.” Netanyahu chose to render his apology to a crowd of elderly men rather than the 12 recently elected Palestinian Arabs from the Joint List that actually represent the majority of the country’s Arabic speaking population. His message? Palestinians seeking genuine representation and influence in the body politic are not welcome.

Israel spying scandal comes to light one week before Iran negotiation deadline

Eamon Murphy on

With less than a week before the March 31 deadline to finalize the outlines of a nuclear deal, the relative positions of Iran and the Western powers are coming into focus. Israel sees its regional nuclear monopoly hanging in the balance and has sent a national security delegation to Paris to influence the negotiations. Meanwhile, the nascent U.S.-Israel breach continues to widen, as anonymous White House sources accuse Benjamin Netanyahu of using information obtained through espionage to lobby Congress against a deal.

In Israel, the mask is finally off

David Glick on

Boldly defying the U.S., the international community, and the Palestinian people, Netanyahu said in the clearest terms possible, “If I am elected there will be no Palestinian state.” What Netanyahu stated publicly is what has been true of all of Israel’s prime ministers, whether from the left, the center, or the right. For the past 22 years, all have been lying and misleading the world, pretending to seek peace with the Palestinians while pursuing policies to ensure there will never be peace and never be a Palestinian state. The irony is that the greatest of all these liars is the one who finally told the truth and we should thank him for it.

Washington ‘sits shiva’ for the 2-state solution

Philip Weiss on

Israeli PM Netanyahu’s dismissal of the two-state solution in the last days of the election campaign in Israel is having a huge and beneficial effect on the discussion of the conflict inside the United States. President Obama has taken Netanyahu at his word and says there will be no two-state solution for “several years.” He seems to be doing what many on the US left are doing: preparing Americans to think about what one state looks like.

Joint List to lead mass march on Jerusalem, as Netanyahu forms a gov’t

Allison Deger on

While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in the final hours of forming a ruling coalition to lead the country, the Joint List is organizing a mass march. Unrecognized villagers will camp and walk their way to Israel’s seat of government, all while their party’s leadership is tightening ties with presumed opposition heads in the Zionist Camp.

The liberal Zionist lament: Joe Klein and Jodi Rudoren try to explain away Israeli racism

Peter Feld on

“We’re not going to solve the Israeli-Palestinian problem this morning,” WNYC public radio host Brian Lehrer told listeners Monday at the close of his all-Jewish discussion with NY Times Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren and Time columnist Joe Klein about the Netanyahu victory aftermath. They might have come a little closer if his guests had included a Palestinian instead of two Zionists. Klein called Netanyahu’s race-baiting Election Day speech “beyond tragic. It is shameful and embarrassing.” Unknowingly, he nails it. For liberal Zionists, it’s not the tragedy of generations of Palestinians exiled, slaughtered or marginalized because powerful outsiders claim their land—­it’s the shame and embarrassment of those who have to reconcile their support for all of that with their liberal self-image.

American Jews are taking back their power from Israel

Philip Weiss on

In 1967, American Jews fell in love with Israel and made a solemn promise to protect the country through thick and thin. Nearly fifty years later the same community is reconsidering that vow. What we are seeing is a transfer of power from the Israeli Jewish community to the Diaspora Jewish community that Benjamin Netanyahu failed to anticipate even as he precipitated it.

I want my country back

Philip Weiss on

Jodi Rudoren’s advocacy piece for Benjamin Netanyahu against a “harsh…disrespectful… patronizing” President Obama might have been her application for an interview with the PM, but why did the Times run this assault on US policy at the top of the front page? The lobby is embedded in our political culture.

Sanitizing the Nakba, in ‘The New York Times Book Review’

Liz Rose on

In a review of S. Yizhar’s novel Khirbet Khizeh in the NYT, Dexter Filkins uses words like herded, roundup, evacuate, left, fled, deport, leave, to describe the expulsion of the Palestinians in 1948. These words wash over the devastating reality of the Nakba.

Why did Herzog run scared? He fears the Israeli people

Philip Weiss on

Yitzhak Herzog ran scared in the Israeli election. He did not bring up the Palestinian issue, and Netanyahu did, defining the debate in a rightwing manner. Herzog’s failure of leadership reflects his fear of fascist elements in his own society

World Water Day protest targets Massachusetts-Israel Water Partnership

Nancy Murray on

“Massachusetts see the light. Water is a human right!” On Friday, March 20, more than 30 protesters gathered outside the headquarters of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center to protest the Israel-Massachusetts Innovative Water Partnership. Demonstrators urged the Commonwealth not to be complicit with Israel’s theft of Palestinian water and policies that have been widely denounced as ‘Water Apartheid.’

Zochrot and BADIL bring Nakba to U.S. audience

Alex Kane on

On March 19, representatives from Zochrot and BADIL, two groups working for Palestinian refugee rights, spoke at an Upper West Side church about the Nakba. It was the latest talk put on by the Nakba Education Project, a new initiative trying to bring the roots of the Israel/Palestine conflict to Americans around the country. The speakers say the right of return is the most critical issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Meet the Knesset members from the Joint List

Allison Deger on

Something has changed inside Israel for its Palestinian citizens. The hard data is revealing: voter turnout by Palestinian citizens of Israel jumped by 10% from the last election and in the Joint Arab List’s party leader’s home district it was nearly an unheard of 80%. The joint list is full of fresh faces with seven first time Knesset member, two women, five communists, two national democrats, two Islamist, one Christian and one Israeli-Jew. Meet the next Knesset members from the Joint Arab List.