The 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration has set the stage for some long overdue historical truth-telling. On November 11 in Cambridge, MA, two dozen speakers will examine how the Zionist project was implemented in historic Palestine, and consider its long-term consequences for Palestinians, world Jewry, the United States, the United Nations and international law during the all-day conference: ‘Balfour’s Legacy: Confronting the Consequences.’
Monthly Archives: October 2017
Taking on the Jenin Freedom Theatre’s staging in New York of a dramatized episode in the Second Intifada, the siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, NYU’s Taub Center for Israel Studies screened a PBS documentary featuring Israeli colonel Lior Lotan, the chief Israeli negotiator during the siege. And Lotan followed the screening with an hour-long elaboration of events that often felt hackneyed and stale.
Cartoonist Eli Valley lost his job at the Forward after editor in chief Jane Eisner said “she wasn’t comfortable with a Jewish newspaper criticizing Jewish leaders,” he discloses in his new book, Diaspora Boy. And the New York Times runs a puff piece on Eisner and ignores the paper’s crisis over Zionism.
Waleed Riyad al-Dali, 14, and Yazid Akram Humaidan, 15, both residents of the Palestinian village of Biddu, say they were seized by undercover Israeli forces and taken to a settlement, where they were beaten and tortured.
Trump’s confected indignation at Unesco, and his shrugging off of its vital global programs, serve as a reminder that the US is not an “honest broker” of a Middle East peace. Rather it is the biggest obstacle to its realization.
Last month, the case of Palestinian artist Malak Mattar made international news, as the young painter’s well-deserved scholarship to study in Turkey was slipping through her fingers. While Mattar herself is exceptional in myriad ways, her situation is far from the exception. Nada Elia says that Mattar’s challenges are exemplary of the decades-long violation of the Palestinian Right to Education, where increasingly it seems the Palestinian Authority is serving as an accomplice to limit Palestinian educational opportunities.
Dan Freeman-Maloy writes, “The worsening crisis in Palestine reflects more than a local record of colonial crimes, severe as these have been. Responsibility for it is global. Arundhati Roy was right to describe the Palestine tragedy as one of “imperial Britain’s festering, blood-drenched gifts to the modern world.” It is also a product of a history of racism and empire that extended across most of the West. On this centennial of the Balfour Declaration, reflection on this shared culpability should serve as a reminder of the responsibility for the political action that comes with it.”
Following a report released by Danwatch in January, Denmark’s third largest pension fund, Sampension, moved to exclude four publicly traded companies from their portfolio due to their investments in illegal Israeli settlement activities. Ana Sanchez, speaking on behalf of the Palestinian BDS National Committee, welcomed the move, telling Mondoweiss it represents, “the latest indicator of the mounting pressure on businesses that are deeply complicit in Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights to stop profiting from Israel’s military occupation and apartheid.”
Susan Rice repeatedly groveled to the Israel lobby group AIPAC when she was in the Obama administration and trying to get its support for the Iran deal. Now when she is out of power she calls Bullshit on the group. A cynical-making glimpse of the Israel lobby’s power, and of its growing partisan divide.
The Israeli Ministry of Education dropped an explicit prohibition on racist answers by students on civic exams. So if they answer, Different population groups should be allowed to live in separate neighborhoods, thereby justifying apartheid, teachers should let it go.
Decertifying the Iran deal is all about Israel, as usual. Susan Rice calls bullshit on AIPAC over the Iran deal — now that she’s not in power. While Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies cribs Netanyahu’s line on the deal — Fix it or nix it — without crediting the prime minister of a foreign country. And even Rob Malley has to cite Israel’s claims in supporting the deal.
Esther Koontz, a Wichita public school curriculum coach and wife of a Mennonite pastor, endorsed Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel because she came to believe through her church that it will end the occupation, in the same way that boycott ended apartheid in South Africa. Now she is suing the state of Kansas over a law prohibiting contractors from boycotting Israel, saying it violates her First Amendment protection of political beliefs and associations.
Organizers began the D.C. Palestinian Film and Arts Festival with the goal of creating an environment for Palestinian artists in the diaspora to express themselves outside the political frame that has become synonymous with Palestine. One example of this in the recently concluded 7th annual festival was a unique and memorable space for Palestinian storytelling.
After being censored for a year, “The Siege” by the Jenin Freedom Theatre premiered at the Skirball Center at NYU. Phil Weiss reviews the production: “For an hour and a half you are transported entirely inside the Palestinian narrative. There is no coerced attempt at balance, there are just Palestinians, joking, swearing, fearful, resisting, wondering at their fate. It’s all that anyone seeks to do in a work of art: to tell their truth. I have not seen this consciousness conveyed so genuinely before in a mainstream cultural space.”
Steven Salaita travels to Ireland and has an unexpected encounter with a border agent who shows support for Palestine: “By the time I was shivering in Dublin’s oceanic air, it occurred to me that the customs agent hadn’t provided special treatment; he was merely treating me with the sort of dignity proffered to anybody seen as human. I am unaccustomed to that kind of normalcy. In the anti-Zionist’s world, venality is routine.”
The United States and Israel announced on Thursday they were quitting the U.N.’s cultural agency UNESCO, after Washington accused it of anti-Israeli bias. Washington has already withheld its funding for UNESCO since 2011, when the body admitted Palestine as a full member.
Abby Smardon says her sixth visit to Gaza this summer was the worst. A five-year-old boy in Gaza died from a brain disease caused by bacteria in the sea, contaminated by sewage. An 11-year-old girl attempted suicide. The 2 million people of Gaza are collateral damage in a cruel political game.
Saturday, October 21, Mondoweiss Founder and Co-Editor Phil Weiss will be among several speakers addressing a conference in Minneapolis called “Parallel Liberation Struggles: Lessons in Resistance.” Themes of the conference, organized by a broad coalition of Twin Cities organizations, are the 100-year Palestinian resistance to Israel’s settler-colonial project and the similarities in violence used against Palestinians, African Americans, and Native Americans and their methods of resistance.
Imagine that Italian fascists argued that anti-fascism is anti-Italian prejudice? That is what Zionists do in the name of Judaism. No other political interest group regularly demands, through bullying, social and professional slander, and orchestrated campaigns of ostracism, that we accept their particular ideology as per se legitimate and lovable.
Miko Peled says that you cannot believe in free speech and then say that it is criminal to deny the Holocaust. And he says that racists should be denied platforms on the left– and that includes Zionists.
Devyn Springer says there is a clear pattern to how pro-Israel supporters attempt to discredit Black advocates for Palestine: “whether it is local rabbis blasting Black Lives Matter activists as ‘ignorant’ for including support of BDS in their demands, Zionist white feminists attacking the women’s movement for standing against Zionism, or the coded language against Alice Walker and NFL players that assumes they simply ‘don’t know what they’re talking about.’ The pattern is the use of anti-Black rhetoric and, in turn, anti-Blackness in whole, to perpetuate the assumption of Black ignorance to silence and belittle Black BDS advocates.”
Two victims of censorship by the American Jewish Historical Society say they’ll mount their events anyway. Dan Fishback is raising money for his play on rifts in the Jewish community. Lawyer Jonathan Kuttab says, “If we fold and play dead then they will get away with it without paying any political price.”
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced he will approve a bonanza of new settlements in the West Bank in the coming days, bringing the year-end total to 6,500, nearly three times the number of settlements approved in all of 2016.
Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation deal on Thursday during talks in Cairo. Reports of the agreement lack specific details on what exactly was agreed upon, with Fatah only officially confirming it will take over control of the Gaza-Egypt border. Ghassan Khatib, a Palestinian political scientist at Birzeit University, tells Mondoweiss the hard work lies ahead. “Inviting the PA to work in Gaza without a full agreement, is nothing more than a trap,” Khatib said.
Miko Peled’s suggestion at a British Labour conference that “Holocaust: yes or no” should be open to debate, has thrown raw meat to Holocaust deniers as well as Israel apologists. Even as he says that Zionism should not be debated.