‘Avi does the Holy Land’ is a video blog with a provocative series of videos about Avi, a fictionalized Canadian Jewish woman who travels to Israel on a birthright trip and falls in love with the place, or so she says. Is it satire? Hasbara? You be the judge.
Monthly Archives: February 2016
Israeli intelligence handed over the body of Musab Mahmoud al-Ghazali to the Palestinians on Sunday night, 65 days after he was killed by Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem, for him to be buried. Al-Ghazali, a 26-year-old Palestinian from the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, was shot dead on Dec. 26 after Israeli police say he pulled a knife on an officer in Allenby Square in Jerusalem. However, a witness on the scene said that al-Ghazali had not been holding a knife when he was killed.
Hatim Kanaaneh offers a humorous comment on a situation in Lubbock, Texas where a banner declaring “Love to all” in Arabic was reported to Homeland Security and the FBI.
“If the day comes and I have the opportunity to lead the country, not to mention become the prime minister, I will build the temple on the Temple Mount,” rookie Likud lawmaker and Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Oren Hazan announced last Thursday night at a panel in Petach Tikvah, an Israeli city 20 kilometers east of Tel Aviv. After the panel discussion organized by the group Students For The Temple Mount, Dan Cohen and David Sheen asked Hazan how he would demolish Al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock in order to make way for a temple, he replied, “It would not be responsible at this point in time to tell you how we would do it, but I will say it clear and loud: When I have the opportunity to do it, I will.”
Milbank Tweed law firm sponsored events at Columbia Law school featuring Israeli leaders, and a session criticizing “CIA torture,” but it only raised an objection to its funding when Harvard students had a Palestinian solidarity event.
Escaped Palestinian prisoner Omar al-Nayif was found dead inside the headquarters of the Palestinian embassy in Bulgaria [Sofia] Friday, in what senior Palestinian officials and his family have said was an “assassination” carried out by Israel. Nayif, a 52-year-old man from Jenin, had been living in Bulgaria for years, but late last year sought refuge in the Palestinian embassy after Israel demanded his extradition so he could see out a life sentence over the killing of an Israeli in Jerusalem’s Old City in 1986
Israeli forces on Friday suppressed a peaceful march of Palestinian protesters in the occupied West Bank district of Hebron, firing tear gas, physically assaulting and throwing stun grenades directly at protesters and journalists. The march was in commemoration of the Ibrahimi mosque massacre of 1994
It’s time to put the word “occupation” to rest and move on to recognize a reality that many of us are not yet comfortable with – a Jewish controlled Greater Israel that will take decades to reform into some version of a pluralistic society, just as the Christian-controlled countries of Europe and the Americas dragged themselves out of barbarism (slavery, burning witches, the Crusades, etc) and emerged into a more liberal future
In discussing the Israeli policy of withholding the bodies of Palestinians shot while allegedly undertaking terrorist actions, several Israeli leaders have stated recently that Palestinians sanctify death and therefore do not grieve their dead as Israeli do. But they are projecting their own reverence for violence on to the victims.
We are finally getting something of a national debate over Israel policy. The Republican debate in Houston last night had Israel at the top of the foreign policy portion, and Donald Trump said he could not start “demeaning” Palestinians if he’s going to negotiate a peace deal. Marco Rubio promptly demeaned Palestinians.
Imraan Siddiqi shares the story of Hisham Ghalia and Mounis Shaban, two men from Gaza currently being held indefinitely in a U.S. immigration detention facility. He writes, “The primary issue that has left these two men in limbo is: They’re essentially stateless. The United States government does not recognize Palestine as a country, therefore rendering them pawns in an endless diplomatic nightmare. As this nightmare continually unfolds, they sit in the ICE detention facility in Florence, Arizona.”
Marco Rubio blasts Donald Trump for saying he’ll be neutral on Israel, and says criticism of Israel is the “new face of anti-semitism,” in a sign that support for Israel is at last becoming a political issue in the presidential race.
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions BDS movement had a big day on Monday, Feb. 22, 2015 in Canada, both in the House of Commons and on university campuses. Within a few hours of each other, Canadian politicians voted 229-51 to condemn BDS and even individuals who promote it; then the Students Society at McGill, a leading university in Montreal, voted to support BDS.
Kristian Davis Bailey was going to Birzeit University to speak about the Black Lives Matter movement and Palestine when Israeli authorities racially profiled him at Allenby Bridge, arrested him, searched him, went through personal data, and forced him to cancel his appearance.
When Annie Robbins read this morning that last September the Shin Bet had arrested two youths from the village of Nabi Saleh, and their subsequent interrogations led to the arrest of 19 more people she immediately recalled the video of the Tamimi family fighting an Israeli soldier that made headlines around the world last Fall. She checked the date of that incident and sure enough it was just weeks before the arrests. Coincidence?
Palestinian director Basil Khalil, whose short film Ave Maria is nominated for an Oscar this year, cautioned that the Academy’s effort to diversify its membership could fall short of achieving the intended goals, “As a Palestinian who was brought up in Israel, I know all too well about discrimination. The solution starts from the bottom. Producers, agents, film executives need to hire a diverse range of actors in their films, production staff in their companies, and finance diverse films.”
Nabil Alreaa, co-director of the Jenin Freedom Theatre production of The Siege, said there had been an oral agreement between the Palestinian company and the Public Theater in New York to stage the play this May, but Public backed out at the last minute when a contract was to be signed, forcing the Jenin company to cancel its American tour.
Prime Minister David Cameron said that though he was a strong supporter of Israel, he had been taken aback by what had seen first hands on visits to the occupied territories in Jerusalem. “I am well-known as being a strong friend of Israel but I have to say the first time I visited Jerusalem and had a proper tour around that wonderful city and saw what has happened with the effective encirclement of East Jerusalem – occupied East Jerusalem – it is genuinely shocking,” he told MPs in the House of Commons.
“We are being treated as if we were criminals”, said Ayed Al Azzeh, shaking his head. A schoolteacher from Bethlehem, Ayed is one of thousands of public-sector teachers across the West Bank who have been striking since February 10th. The strike comes after teachers claim the Palestinian Authority (PA) failed to follow through with wage increases. Approximately 20,000 protestors demonstrated in Ramallah upon the launch of the strike in the largest gathering since Arafat’s death in 2004, initiating a government crackdown on any further attempts of mass mobilization. Despite the efforts of the Palestinian police and army, an estimated 15,000 protestors gathered in Ramallah for a second time on Tuesday, demanding the government meets their demands. In an exclusive video for Mondoweiss, teachers at Tuesday’s protest reveal the obstacles they had to overcome merely to be present, and why they are resolute to continue the strike until the government concedes.
Read a thought-provoking essay by Steven Salaita that looks at the question: how do we communicate with people who have deeply emotional attachment to the idea of Israel? He answers in part, “There is no universal response, but we can deploy a basic strategy: allow the Zionist’s internal conflict to exist. In fact, exacerbate it. That internal conflict isn’t an imperfection to be ameliorated, but a failure of imagination to be overcome.”
“We’ve been enjoying unprecedented quiet, Hamas hasn’t fired one bullet,” Israeli defense minister Moshe Ya’alon said during a joint US-Israeli military exercise this week. Israel’s military chief of intelligence recently reinforced this idea when he told a closed Knesset meeting, “Hamas is doing everything it can to stop an escalation against Israel in Gaza.” Yet, the Israeli government is threatening another devastating assault on Gaza’s beleaguered population.
The U.S. State Department has condemned, “in the strongest possible terms,” the stabbing death of American-citizen-turned-Israeli-soldier Tuvya Weisman in a West Bank supermarket. Now we know that the State Department is capable of condemning violence in the West Bank – when it chooses to. It’s just the choices it makes that defy understanding.
After 22 years of increasing restrictions and subjugation in Hebron, one might expect that Palestinians would begin to see their resistance as futile and cede control of Hebron’s old city. However if this is indeed the Israeli strategy, the military and settlers failed to factor in Palestinian resilience and steadfastness. Despite continuing settlement expansion in the West Bank; despite continuous attempt by settlers to seize Palestinian homes in Hebron’s old city; and despite the ongoing and increasing repression Palestinians face, Palestinian commitment to nonviolent resistance remains strong. Nowhere can this be seen more clearly than in this year’s Open Shuhada Street campaign.
“After a life and career devoted to Jewish community and Israel, I conclude that in every important way Israel has failed to realize its promise for me. A noble experiment, but a failure,” Jewish leader David Gordis writes, in a major blow to the intellectual and spiritual underpinnings of Zionism