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February 2018

Palestine was always on my radar, says historian Robyn Spencer

Jesse Rubin on

In her remarks on “Black-Palestinian Solidarity,” organized by Columbia University Apartheid Divest and the Columbia Black Students Organization in honor of Black History Month, Dr. Robyn Spencer, a history professor at Lehman College, explained how her work as a longtime prisoner solidarity activist led her to an explicit solidarity with the Palestinian people. 

California Democrats buck national party– opposing bills to penalize boycotts of Israel

Progressive, Arab American, and Veterans Caucuses of the California Democratic Party on

On Sunday, February 25, at their annual convention in San Diego, California, Democrats approved a set of positions on pending legislation that includes opposition to S 720/HR 1697, the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, a federal bill that would impose draconian penalties for boycotts regarding Israel under certain circumstances; and S 170/HR 2856, the Combatting BDS Act, which purports to permit and encourage states to enact similar laws–as many have.

Photo Essay: Palestinian Christians and Muslims protest new Israeli tax aimed at Christian properties

Seth Herald on

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre closed its doors Sunday to protest a new Israeli property law and tax policy that would allow the government to take over church properties leased to private companies, and begin imposing taxes on church properties. On Tuesday evening, as crowds of tourists and Christians gathered to pray outside of the church, local Palestinian Christians and Muslims marched together from the Christian quarter of the Old City to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher to protest the new policies.

Mohammad Tamimi: ‘They beat me into confessing’

Jaclynn Ashly on

Major General Yoav Mordechai, Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, claimed that 15-year-old Mohammad Tamimi admitted that the injury to his head was sustained from a bicycle accident, and not from Israeli forces shooting him in the face. Mohammad tells Mondoweiss he only said this because Israeli forces had “beaten him” into confessing. “We were in a car on our way to the interrogations and there were two Israeli officials who kept beating me in my face, back, everywhere and kept telling me that I had to admit it was a bicycle accident,” Mohammad said. “I was very scared and I didn’t want them to continue beating me, so I confessed.”

Video: East Jerusalem Palestinians fear new Damascus Gate checkpoint marks change in status quo of the city

Yumna Patel on

Two months after US President Donald Trump announced his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem are expressing renewed fears of a changing status quo in the city. Earlier this month, Israel completed construction of a permanent watchtower checkpoint at the entrance of Damascus Gate, the main entrance to the Muslim Quarter of the Old City. Jerusalem resident Nasser Isa tells Mondoweiss that the construction of the watchtower is a clear step towards Israel establishing full control of the city: “This tower reveals the occupation’s security strategy for the city and the people who live here, and how they don’t believe in the freedom of expression, the freedom of movement, and the freedom of worship.”

Group tied to ex-Israeli ambassador held a ‘Truth About Israel’ gala at Mar-a-Lago as a ‘thank you’ to Trump

Allison Deger on

After President Donald Trump praised a group of white nationalists in Charlottesville last year, describing “some very fine people on both sides,” at last 20 groups cancelled events at his Florida resort Mar-a-Lago in protest. But one group stood with the president amid the controversy. “I wanted to say, ‘Thank you, Mr. President, for being a supporter of the state of Israel, our only ally in the Mideast,’” said Steven Alembic, organizer of the The Truth About Israel Gala Event at Mar-a-Lago.

Israeli forces detain 10 members of Tamimi family, including teenager previously shot in the face

Yumna Patel on

In the middle of the night on Monday, the Israeli military raided the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh in full force, a common occurrence for the village’s internationally-recognized residents, the Tamimi family, who have seen several family members arrested from the village in the past few months. On Monday alone, Israeli forces detained 10 members of the extended Tamimi family, including five minors between the ages of 14 and 17. Among the detainees was 15-year-old Muhammad Tamimi, who is scheduled to have reconstructive surgery on his skull due to being shot in the face by Israeli soldiers with a rubber-coated steel bullet in December.

AIPAC conference will feature lots of liberal Democratic speakers

Philip Weiss on

The premier Israel lobby group AIPAC fulfills its mission of guaranteeing bipartisan support for Israel by having many liberal Democratic speakers this weekend: Rep. Adam Schiff, Jake Sullivan, and Tamara Cofman Wittes. Even as the progressive Democratic base grows alienated from Israel, establishment Dems need to show support for the rightwing country so as to preserve their careers.

In a first, Church of the Holy Sepulchre closes to protest Israeli bill targeting Christian lands

Kate on

Christian leaders in Jerusalem announced Sunday they will close one of Christianity’s most sacred sites, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, in protest of an Israeli bill targeting church-owned lands, and the repeal of the church’s tax-exempt status. “This reminds us all of laws of a similar nature which were enacted against the Jews during dark periods in Europe,” Christian leaders said in a statement.

Following brutal attack on teenage son, Palestinian family sues Israel and Dutch company that supplies military dogs

Yumna Patel on

When he was 15-years-old, Hamza Abu Hashem was attacked by Israeli military dogs, and left with serious injuries on his legs, arms, and shoulder. In a video of his attack, Israeli soldiers can be heard saying “give it to him, son of a bitch” and “who’s afraid?” as the teenager cried and screamed in pain. Now, four years after the attack that left his mind and body scarred for life, Hamza, along with his family, is suing the Israeli government over the attack, as well as the Dutch company that has been supplying Israel with attack dogs for more than 20 years.

Skeptics who see Russiagate as warmongering will never get respect in the press

Donald Johnson on

Adrian Chen’s piece on Russiagate in the New Yorker has an important subtext: There is a narrative to be narrated, dammit, and facts can get in the way. And if you naively choose the facts, you might find yourself demonized as a pro-Putin propagandist. When the truth is that leftwing skeptics of Russiagate are opposed to the MSM’s neverending warmongering.

Educators need to denounce the smear tactics of Canary Mission

Margaret Ferguson and David Simpson on

Canary Mission seeks to destroy the employment prospects of students who are critical of Israel by smearing their on-line reputations. Scholars Margaret Ferguson and David Simpson call on responsible educators to denounce the project.

The case for liberal anti-Zionism

Philip Weiss on

Steven Salaita wrote recently that we must exclude Zionists from left-oriented protests. I don’t agree with him. I think any movement that has no room for Noam Chomsky, Uri Avnery, Lisa Goldman and IfNotNow because they are or have been Zionists is not a broad one and not one that will be successful.

Trump’s ambassador says the unspeakable: Uprooting settlers could ’cause civil war’

Philip Weiss on

Ambassador David Friedman’s assertion that uprooting 100s of 1000s of settlers would “cause a civil war” is echoed by many on the left. Both sides imagine a one-state outcome, even as liberal Zionists attack Friedman for suggesting that Israeli society is not resilient and that the two-state solution is right around the corner.

Iran wants to annihilate 6 million Jews — Netanyahu’s Munich rant, interrupted

Jonathan Ofir on

In a wild speech in Munich, Netanyahu warned of a global Holocaust if Iran gets nuclear weapons. And he said that Iran was similar to the Nazis, in its supposed desire to annihilate 6 million Jews in Israel. Netanyahu is seeking any distraction he can get from the corruption investigation that is closing in on him, Jonathan Ofir writes.

Palestinian man dies after arrest; family says he was beaten to death

Kate on

A 33-year-old Palestinian identified as Yasin Omar Saradeeh from Jericho was pronounced dead shortly after Israeli forces detained him on Thursday morning. Saradeeh’s family said Israeli forces severely beat him after detaining him and that he was in a good health before his arrest.

Israelis disfigure Damascus Gate with steel watchtower

Philip Weiss on

Imagine a military watchtower built in Grand Central Terminal or the Piazza San Marco without the agreement of the locals. Occupier Israel has erected a steel wen of a watchtower in Damascus Gate, disfiguring the historic site, and all to police Palestinians more vigilantly. Though no one in the west says a word against it.

‘NYT’ writers slam left for intolerance of dissent– on Israel panel that excludes anti-Zionists and Palestinians

Philip Weiss on

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.”