New York Times columnists Bret Stephens and Roger Cohen repeatedly bashed the left for not tolerating dissent at a JCC panel about Israel in New York last week. Cohen called for “unsafe” speech and “open discussions, fierce debate” so as to fend off a “monolithic” McCarthyist “mob” on campuses. But the panel itself embodied Jewish intolerance of dissent: All three speakers on stage were ardent Zionists, introduced by a JCC official as people who could reinforce “our commitment to Israel.”
Monthly Archives: February 2018
Following on the heels of the Israeli police recommendation to indict Benjamin Netanyahu on corruption charges a new book on David Ben-Gurion shares new discoveries on the first Israeli prime minister’s marital unfaithfulness. Jonathan Ofir says that regardless of the personal failings of Israel’s leaders, the state building project they are carrying out has always been corrupt to the core: “The deceit that Zionism applies in order to cover up for its colonialist designs to erase Palestine is a constant factor, and the goal is always corrupt.”
After comedian Sarah Silverman called last week for people “to stand up” for imprisoned Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi, she quickly encountered a barrage of feedback that lasted through the weekend. She was labelled a supporter of terrorism, but she stood her ground.
The military judge closed the doors on 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi’s initial trial hearing for slapping a soldier in occupied Nabi Saleh December 19. He said he was acting in the best interest of a juvenile defendant. But it is in Ahed Tamimi and all Palestinians’ interest for the trial to be open so that the occupation can be revealed to the world.
Israeli Apartheid Week events will challenge young Jews to abandon the racism that Zionism entails. It may be upsetting to young Jews who grew up with Zionist ideals, Robert Cohen says, but they have an obligation to face these perceptions and ask, Why have we made support for Zionism and Israel the touchstone of Jewish fidelity, while calling for human rights for all has become a Jewish heresy?
Wasan Abu-Baker pens a reflection on growing up in Palestine as a “child of the stone” dedicated to Ahed Tamimi. She recalls when her father first came home to live with the family after years in prison. Wasan was already seven: “I still remember those days when we came home from school and then going out to the field to pick the olives, then coming back home to finish our homework. After the harvest was completed we would take the olives to our family factory where the olives were pressed to make olive oil. I remember standing next to my dad to have a taste of the freshest olive oil along with my pita bread. He used to say that once you drink olive oil it becomes part of your soul. I will never forget and miss always miss the smell of olives on those days.”
The Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick of Che Guevara black and red portrait fame has done it again: He has painted a minimalist poster of the Palestinian resister Ahed Tamimi, in jail for 2 months for slapping a soldier. And the world should pay attention, because Ahed Tamimi’s life is at risk, with Israelis calling for crimes against her person.
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem Nine Palestinians injured on 11th Friday of Rage, says Health Ministry RAMALLAH (WAFA) 16 Feb – At least nine Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces’ live bullets or rubber-coated steel rounds as the forces quelled a number of protests across the occupied West Bank on the eleventh […]
Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli prisons under administrative detention — Israel’s widely condemned policy of detention without charge or trial — launched an open-ended boycott of Israeli courts on Thursday. The 450 administrative detainees released a joint statement announcing the boycott, saying “the core of resisting administrative detention policy comes from boycotting this Israeli legal system.”
On the February 5th, the Israeli High Court of Justice decided that seven structures in the village of Susiya, in the south Hebron Hills of the occupied West Bank, could be demolished by Israel without delay. These seven structures are home to 42 residents of the village, of which half are children. Susiya has become an international symbol of Palestinian villages resistance against displacement, and the villagers say more international solidarity is needed to prevent these demolitions.
The International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (IARPP), had made a plan to hold its 2019 international conference in Israel. Led by psychiatrists in East Jerusalem and the USA-Palestine Mental Health Network, an international effort is demanding the organization reconsider the site for this conference. Palestinian mental health workers who are citizens of Israel have just issued a statement in support of the protest, saying: “we were surprised to discover that IARPP chose to hold its international conference in Israel, despite its longstanding history of human rights abuses, notably the violent occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza. In our minds, not taking these ongoing assaults on Palestinian lives and human rights into account when choosing the conference location could be translated as their quiet acceptance by IARPP.”
Devyn Springer reflects on the legacy of Black activists in the South organizing in solidarity with Palestinians: “No, solidarity organizing for Palestinians is not contained to the South. In fact, this organizing likely occurs across the country at varying rates probably higher in other places. However, the South has a legacy that cannot be ignored in this fight; one that is being reckoned with, actualized, and drawn upon as political and emotional spectacle to form its new movement for Palestine.”
“Their ultimate goal is no conspiracy theory,” reports Mersiha Gadzo on the growing movement to destroy the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque, in order to build a Third Temple: “One of the leading Temple movement organizations is the Temple Institute, which has had a blueprint ready for the temple’s construction since 2011. In 2014 they crowdfunded over $100,000 on Indiegogo to prepare architectural plans for their Third Temple.”
Former MLA President Margaret Ferguson has resigned from the organization following passage of a resolution banning further debate over the academic boycott of Israel. Ferguson writes, “My experience in Israel-Palestine is one of the many reasons I am giving up my membership in an organization I have participated in and learned from for over 40 years—long enough to acquire the privileges of “life membership.” Those privileges are now a burden to me.”
Last month’s decision by the Trump Administration to substantially cut funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has cast a dark shadow over the lives of the 5 million refugees it supports, and marks a turning point in US relations with the agency which the US government was instrumental in creating and shaping. Jo Kelcey reviews this history and writes, “Early plans for UNRWA show an unquestionably strong American influence. They also reveal the dissonance of US policy in the Middle East.”
The latest study of U.S. Jewish attitudes towards Israel only confirms the trend– growing indifference to the idea of a Jewish state among younger, unaffiliated Jews. When 18-34 year-old Bay Area Californians are asked if they’re “very attached” to Israel, only 11 percent say yes, compared to 25 percent of those 50 and older. Is a Jewish state very important? 37 percent of the young say yes. Only 40 percent of the young are comfortable with the idea of a Jewish state.
Everyone has heard of Bethlehem, but most Americans know very little about the city. Bshara Nassar’s curated exhibition “Bethlehem: Beyond the Wall” is hitting the road, on view next week at Manhattan College in the Bronx. “I saw how proudly Americans tell their stories to museums. I saw that many immigrants who came to this country have told their stories to these museums,” Nassar told Mondoweiss, “but I couldn’t find a place to tell my story as a Palestinian.”
The running sideshow to the Russian interference story has been Israel’s presence in our politics, witness Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer’s efforts to punish Al Jazeera for investigating the Israel lobby, and Sheldon Adelson’s gifts to Democrat Bob Menendez. But of course Israeli interference is not a scandal worthy of investigation; and it never draws the wrath of the liberal press.
Hani, father of a daughter with cancer whose last medical permit from Gaza to Israel was denied: “I don’t even understand why, there were no reasons given to me this time, and I utilised every contact I had.”
A group of Jewish settlers led by Anat Cohen gathered on February 10 at the door to the kindergarten of a Palestinian school in occupied Hebron and attempted to break in. One settler chanted in Arabic to Palestinians, “you are godless atheists and we are the true believers (the chosen people).” They then moved on with Israeli soldiers to a Palestinian house and the soldiers stopped construction on it.
Late last year the Pew Center published a report that confirmed anecdotal data, and plain common sense: hate crimes against Muslims are up. Current rates dwarf the national spike that followed the September 11, 2001 attacks. The culprit for such a dramatic increase is no surprise. Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign for president ushered in a wave of racism against Muslims, among others. To combat the challenges of the political moment, activists Elly Bulkin and Donna Nevel have launched a new campaign: Jews Against Anti-Muslim Racism.
Yesterday, Israeli police recommended indicting Benjamin Netanyahu in two separate corruption investigations that have been dogging the Prime Minister for years. Last February, Jonathan Cook wrote for Mondoweiss that the scandals “shine a rare light on the corrupt nexus between Israel’s business, political and media worlds, compounded by the perverse influence of overseas Jewish money.”
Ayelet Shaked, the Israeli justice minister has done it again: She has spelled out Israeli Apartheid in unequivocal terms, and tied it directly to Zionism: “There is place to maintain a Jewish majority even at the price of violation of rights.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had mastered the rhetoric of “fake news” long before Donald Trump: “They want to pile up as many civilian dead as they can. They use telegenically dead Palestinians for their cause”
The First Amendment and organizers of a year-long campaign to uphold the right to boycott won an important victory in Massachusetts when the state legislative committee considering an “anti-BDS” bill refused to advance it to the floor, ending its chances of being passed this session. Here’s how grassroots organizing beat the bill.