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Author Archives: Alex Kane
The Cornell student government last week voted to table a resolution calling for divestment from companies profiting off the Israeli occupation. Students in favor of divestment reacted in anger at the decision to table the vote.
The Gaza Writes Back book tour has brought the lack of Palestinian freedom of movement home to American audiences in an unplanned way. Sarah Ali, a contributor to the book, was supposed to be on tour with Rawan Yaghi, Yousef Aljamal and Refaat Alareer. But she was denied a visa by Israel. Nevertheless, the tour has carried on, with the contributors giving presentations on the realities of life in Gaza and the impact of Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s attack on Gaza at the end of 2008.
Reading Haaretz’s legendary correspondent Amira Hass does not invoke hope. She doggedly chronicles the grind of occupation and dispossession in Palestine. But on Wednesday night, at Columbia University, she gave the audience some reason for hope. Hass laid out why Palestinians are not losing the battle with Israel and pointed to a number of Palestinian strengths. She predicted that “in the end, the colonial project will fail.”
Elly Bulkin and Donna Nevel have a new book out that explores the intersection of Islamophobia and Israel—and the ways that the U.S. “war on terror” impacts both.
Last week, Brandeis University announced it would give an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an activist and writer who has called Islam a “destructive, nihilistic cult of death.” Amidst the growing controversy, Brandeis announced yesterday it was withdrawing the honor.
The Maryland legislature has become the first state body to officially condemn the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. But the criticism of boycotters was significantly toned down from the original effort, which would have cut some funding from any public university that subsidized travel to conventions held by the pro-boycott American Studies Association.
Ehud Olmert was scheduled to be in the U.S. this week. Instead, he’s waiting in Israel after being convicted of taking bribes. A Jewish National Fund-sponsored tour bringing Olmert to college campuses was nixed because Olmert is not allowed to travel outside of the country.
The battle to officially condemn the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement in Maryland is coming down to the wire. A Maryland delegate has inserted language into the state budget that implies the academic boycott of Israel is anti-Semitic. But Palestine solidarity and civil liberties groups are waging a campaign to erase the language from the budget. And they have an influential figure on their side: South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Haaretz columnist and author Ari Shavit has gone all in on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a “Jewish state.” And if you read his new book My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel, you’ll understand why. Shavit is a devoted proponent of liberal Zionism, an ideology that pushes a peace agreement to save Israel’s Jewish character in the face of what they call “demographic threats.”
Amos Yadlin is very comfortable with Israel’s regional situation. In a conversation with New York Times journalist Ethan Bronner, the former Israeli general predicted that the peace talks with the Palestinians would fail. “The chance of Kerry succeeding is like my chance to win the lottery if I didn’t buy a ticket,” he said, but dismissed predictions of doom if that came to pass, suggesting that Israel can cope with pressure and that the country should unilaterally withdraw to the line drawn by the West Bank separation barrier. Yadlin was also sanguine about the Arab Spring’s impact on Israel, saying that Arab countries are focused internally and that Egypt’s military regime is preferable to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Right-wing news outlets and Israel lobby groups have mounted a concerted campaign over the past few days to attack students leading the call for divestment at the University of Michigan (UM). The latest attack smears a student over a photo, the meaning of which was distorted by a neoconservative news outlet.
Two votes in a row calling for divestment were not enough to convince the Loyola student government president to let the measure stand. Pedro Guerrero, the president of the Loyola United Student Government Association, vetoed a resolution calling on the school to divestment from corporations involved with the Israeli occupation. The Students for Justice in Palestine chapter at the school said Guerrero had “caved” under pressure.
Debate on divestment and Israel exploded on college campuses last night. For the second time in two weeks, Loyola University’s student government voted to call on their school to divest from corporations involved in the Israeli occupation. But in the vote that captured the most attention, the University of Michigan’s student government voted down a call for divestment. Still, students in support of the resolution said it was a victory to spark a campus-wide debate on the occupation and Palestine.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s office has produced a legal document claiming that transferring Palestinian citizens and their land to a future Palestinian state is legal. Such a plan has already been raised with U.S. officials in the past, and Lieberman is now throwing it back into the mix as the U.S.-led peace process continues. Members of Knesset have slammed the proposal and Palestinian Officials from the Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm have called the proposal a “second Nakba”
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) claims to support a two-state solution. But the lobby group’s actions tell a much different story. AIPAC invited Ariel University to show off its research at the policy conference’s “village.” The move exposed how AIPAC is, in reality, in favor of a Greater Israel.
Ali Abunimah’s new book, The Battle for Justice in Palestine, chronicles how Palestine solidarity activism in the U.S. is on the move, with the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement growing in leaps and bounds. Mondoweiss’ Alex Kane sat down with Abunimah to discuss the state of the battle over Palestine, lessons learned from the end of South African apartheid and the potent coalitions the BDS movement is forging in the U.S.
The University of Michigan student government’s move to indefinitely postpone a vote on a resolution to divest from occupation profiteers has sparked an uproar on campus. The tabling of the resolution caused immediate outrage, with hundreds of students holding an impromptu rally outside to call for their school to divest from corporations like Caterpillar. And last night, over 100 students declared an “indefinite” sit-in at the student government building, calling for a vote on the divestment bill.
Campus Israel advocates at Northeastern University (NEU) are showing full-throated support for the school’s suspension of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) over mock eviction notices. A letter published by Huskies for Israel, a campus pro-Israel group, applauded the school’s decision. Two members of the group have received training from right-wing Israel lobby groups. And Israel lobbyists that have long targeted Northeastern–like the anti-Muslim activist Charles Jacobs–also lauded the suspension of SJP.
For months, rock star Roger Waters has been the subject of vicious smears. His support for Palestinian rights has led Israel advocates to call him an “anti-Semite” who engages in “blood libels.” Now, Waters is hitting back. He explains his advocacy for Palestine in a Salon Op-Ed.
The Israeli journalist David Sheen has brought the reality of Israel’s war on African migrants to American audiences over the past three weeks. The details he presents are downright devastating, documenting how a state founded to protect refugees has become a state systematically targeting refugees for indefinite imprisonment and deportation. As Sheen notes, at the root of these policies is the driving ethos in Israel of maintaining Jewish supremacy in the face of so-called demographic threats, whether they be Palestinian or African.
The Israeli air force repeatedly bombed the Gaza Strip as a response to a barrage of projectiles that Islamic Jihad fired into Israel. The latest round of fighting was started with an attack on Israeli soldiers and efforts to avenge the deaths of Palestinians killed in recent days. But the roots of the latest fighting are Israeli violations of the November 2012 truce between Hamas and Israel, and the years-long blockade and occupation crippling the Gaza Strip.
A controversial anti-boycott Israel bill in Maryland has been amended to remove financial penalties and the prohibition on public funds to groups that support boycotting Israel. The original legislation would have prohibited the spending of public funds–for travel expenses or departmental membership fees-on academic groups that support the boycott of Israel. It would have also financially penalized schools in violation the law. But after a torrent of criticism from activists in the state, it was amended to remove the threat of financial sanctions and erase the language prohibiting state funds from going to academic groups that boycott Israel.
J Street cheerleading for Kerry features Congressman warning Palestinians will demand the vote if two states fails
J Street is going all in for Secretary of State John Kerry’s quest to broker a two-state solution. Last night, the liberal Zionist group held their latest town hall gathering in New York City to amplify calls for a two-state solution. The event featured Congressman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and former Shin Bet head Ami Ayalon, among others. Nadler told the crowd there would be no Palestinian right of return, but that settlers who wanted to stay in a state of Palestine should be able too–a revealing double standard.
Maryland legislators heard testimony on Israeli human rights abuses and the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement last week at two separate hearings on a bill that would prohibit spending public funds on academic groups in favor of boycott. Some Israel advocates testified in favor of the bill by calling BDS anti-Semitic. The legislation has split the Israel lobby, though, with some groups arguing the effort will backfire by bringing attention to boycotters. Meanwhile, civil liberties and Palestine solidarity groups continue to mobilize to kill the bill.
The House of Representatives passed the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act by a 410-1 vote today. The legislation, a major priority for the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), designates Israel as a “major strategic partner”–a first for any U.S. ally. AIPAC members lobbied Congress to approve the bill on Tuesday, in addition to asking elected officials to sign letters stressing that Congress should be informed of the nuclear negotiations with Iran. Only Thomas Massie of Kentucky voted against the bill.