On the high holidays, Phil Weiss notices that few of his Jewish friends are observant. One went camping. Another made a comment about their Buddhist spouse. A third made a blasphemous joke with pleasure: It took 2000 years for the Jews to get Chinese food. Many are intermarried. So everything that Alan Dershowitz (The Vanishing American Jew) warned us about is happening– “and still I shrug.”
Monthly Archives: September 2017
For 50 years the Democratic Party establishment has been able to stifle pro-Palestinian efforts as too radical for US politics. That red line is breaking down today though, as the permanent occupation marked its 50th anniversary, BDS gains adherents among young Dems, and the Jewish monolith supporting Israel fractures. It’s about time.
Young people in Gaza are at the end of their rope spiritually after three wars and 10 years of blockade. They want to find a sliver of hope in the news that the Hamas government is in talks with the Fatah faction in the West Bank, possibly ending Hamas’s isolation in global affairs.
Remains of four Palestinians that are subject of court case from their families were buried by Israeli in a “Cemetery of Numbers,” with only numbers marking their graves, instead of being turned over to the families. Azhar Abu Srour has not stopped wearing black for two years because she has not been able to get closure on the death of her son Abed, killed in an attack on an Israeli bus.
Abba Solomon see the film, The Golden Age of Second Avenue, a documentary love poem for Yiddish theater in NYC, from 1890s-1930s, as part of an effort to save the Yiddish legacy of New York’s Lower East Side and observes, “The weight of memory, and the histories Jews tell of themselves, the tradition and experience we imagine we are heir to, shape the way the creation and conduct of the State of Israel is considered.”
Jesse Rubin reports from a standing-room-only event in Brooklyn on free speech and Palestine solidarity in support of Dareen Tatour, a Palestinian poet under house arrest whose case has come to symbolize the absurdity of Israel’s selectively guaranteed right to free speech.
Al Jazeera reports on the increase in Palestinian injuries in one West Bank refugee camp: Most of the gunshot wounds were directed at the lower limbs of the youth in the camps, now commonly referred to as “kneecapping.” Residents of the Dheisheh camp say that an Israeli army commander, who the youth in Dheisheh refer to as “Captain Nidal”, has been threatening to intentionally disable Palestinians in the camp
If you are going to make a list of crazy UN speeches, you really have to twist yourself into a pretzel not to mention Benjamin Netanyahu’s theatrics. Rachel Maddow on MSNBC does the pretzel: she overlooks Netanyahu’s cartoon bomb and 44 seconds of silence, then cites Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader, wearing a gun to the General Assembly in 1974.
The sound of the shofar at Rosh Hashanah in the synagogue is a “wake-up call” to Jews to support the “Jewish homeland” Israel, and fight the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, says David Harris, of the American Jewish Committee, completely conflating religion and Zionism in a way that fosters anti-Zionism.
Sheren Khalel reports: Released from prison a week ago, Issa Amro has jumped right back into work. At a small house atop a hill in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of Hebron he sat gathered in a circle with activists, NGO workers, a lawyer and friends sipping coffee under the shade of trees in the front courtyard of the home. The topic, as usual, was the Israeli occupation — however Amro was not released from Israeli custody last week, but rather the Palestinian Authority’s, and he was not arrested for his activism in Hebron, but rather a Facebook post defending a man who criticized the Palestinian leadership.
Jonathan Ofir responds to Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the UN where he said he wanted to visit Antartica because he heard penguins are enthusiastic supporters of Israel: “Those Penguins, they would completely know what’s what. Black and white. Obey – get a fish. Resist – no fish. Nowadays you are congratulating the far right ‘Decision Plan’ for annexing the West Bank, which is also black and white: Accept Apartheid, leave, or face the wrath of Israel. Palestinians might not like this, they might prove difficult. Penguins will be much easier. Fish will do the trick. They’ll stay, and you can become the Caesar of the Caesar penguins! It will be glorious!”
Israeli PM Netanyahu was seen nodding during Donald Trump’s speech to the UN, and he later praised it to the skies. “I’ve listened to countless speeches in this hall, but I can say this: none were bolder, none more courageous and forthright than the one delivered by President Trump.” Netanyahu went on to offer red meat rhetoric of his own on Iran. He referred to the country by name 37 times and likened it to North Korea, saying it was conducting a campaign of conquest across the Middle East and threatens the world with ballistic weapons.
Elisha Wiesel’s Rosh Hashanah remembrance of his late father Eli Wiesel puts recognition of the “Jewish state of Israel” on a par with the rights of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. and fails to reckon with his father’s complicity in the suffering of Palestinians. But the high holidays call on us to witness and move forward, Marc Ellis writes.
Hundreds of Palestinians are arrested, interrogated, and sentenced to Israeli prisons for their pronouncements made on Facebook each year. But the most absurd case of them is that of poet Dareen Tatour. Yoav Haifawi reports from an solidarity event with Tatour in Jaffa: “the wall of silence and denial on the part of the Israeli government fell altogether when supporters of Dareen Tatour called for an artistic solidarity event in the Jaffa (Yaffa) Theatre on August 30, 2017. And when the walls fell, we faced a wave of threats and inciting language from top Israeli politicians printed in Israeli mainstream media.”
Amanda Taub’s smart piece in the NYT on ethnic cleansing as an inevitable consequence of national “self-determination” cites examples of Rohingya, Roma, Jews and Muslims. The glaring omission is the Nakba, the expulsion of 700,000+ Palestinians during the creation of Israel. The Nakba is an American issue; Bernie Sanders and historian David Myers agree on that. But the Times can’t address Palestinian conditions.
The eldest son of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has found himself an unlikely poster boy for David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader, and the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer. The affinity between Netanyahu’s Israel and the west’s far-right is understandable. Both detest a human rights discourse they have yet to crush. Both mobilise their supporters with dog-whistle Islamophobia. Both prefer militarised, fear-based societies. Guided by this cynical convergence of interests, Jewish and white supremacists are counting on a revival of anti-semitism that will benefit them both.
The Netanyahu-Trump meeting in a hotel at the sidelines of the United Nations in New York today was marked by Trump’s blather about the “fantastic” two-state solution and fulsome praise by Netanyahu of Trump clearly intended to show that the Obama days are past and gone. The relationship between the two countries has never been “stronger” or “deeper,” and some of that closeness has been behind closed doors.
Wadi Qana was once a lush valley filled with diverse crops and livestock where dozens of Palestinian families farmed and thrived off the land. Now after years of Israeli settlements dumping their wastewater in the area, there is little life left in the valley.
A young operative from the heart of the pro-Israel community, Richard Goldberg, is pushing “regime instability” in Iran in a document circulating at the White House and in the Republican Congress. Goldberg has has worked with Stand With Us and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. The document calls on the president to threaten a “global economic embargo” of Iran so as to undermine the regime.
Jews in America “are of more influence economically, politically, culturally, than in any other place in the world in world history,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel tells Times of Israel, so they are obligated to help “victimized” communities, African-Americans and Mexican-Americans and aspiring Americans.
Two Gaza musicians were barred from participating in the West Bank tour of the Palestinian Youth Orchestra, and the Israeli Supreme Court affirmed the ban. But a technicality in the Israeli bureaucratic apparatus meant they could participate in the West Bank anyway– and the world did not end, as the rights group Gisha, which fought for the musicians, noted.
Israeli government to celebrate 50 years of occupation on Sept. 27. “To the different forces in the world and in Israel trying to undermine the Jewish people’s connection to its country, we say — you won’t succeed,” Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev said, per Ynet. “We returned home to our ancestral lands, and we are here to stay for all of eternity. Our belonging to these lands should be above political or diplomatic dispute.”
Roger Waters brought his national tour to New York this week. Tonight he is on Long Island, and regrettably the New York media have given a platform to Israel fanatics to smear the songwriter/bassist. Local TV stations have passed on outrageous statements, that Waters is an anti-Semite and that Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) is bigoted.
Liberal Zionists in the media set red lines on what can’t be covered. So the rejection of BDS in the Chicago governor’s race, or Steven Salaita’s career destruction, or Gary Ginsberg’s speechwriting for Netanyahu are all non-stories for the mainstream press.
Israeli lawmaker Bezalel Smotrich delivered his plan for the annexation of Palestinian territories and for how to handle the Palestinian population. It’s called the ‘Decision Plan’, but its real name is Apartheid. Surrender or be transferred.