Author Archives: Alex Kane

About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is an assistant editor for Mondoweiss and the World editor for AlterNet. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

How food writing humanizes the Palestinian struggle: Laila El-Haddad on ‘The Gaza Kitchen’

Laila El-Haddad’s and Maggie Schmitt’s captivating book “The Gaza Kitchen: A Palestinian Culinary Journey” shows how food is a perfect window into Gazan culture and society. Mondoweiss’ Alex Kane sat down with El-Haddad, above left, for a wide-ranging conversation that ranged from her experience with celebrity foodie Anthony Bourdain to how examining how food is made smashes stereotypes about women in the coastal strip. The interview was conducted in the middle of Mondoweiss’ summer fundraiser — you can receive a copy of “The Gaza Kitchen” with a donation of $80 or more.

Posted in Gaza, Israel/Palestine | Tagged | 5 Comments

Reform Jewish leader offers alternative to Presbyterian divestment: meet Netanyahu

Liberal Zionists lobbying against the divestment measure at the Presbyterian General Assembly in Detroit have a new strategy: saying it is part of the BDS agenda, aimed at ending a Jewish state. Reform Judaism head Rabbi Rick Jacobs warned the Presbyterians that they would alienate Jews and offered another plan: “if we are truly partners and you disapprove this divestment overture I look forward to sitting with your leadership in the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem.” Jewish proponents of divestment say the liberal Zionists are employing threats.

Posted in Activism, American Jewish Community, BDS, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | 47 Comments

How Israel is exploiting the reported kidnapping to weaken Palestinian reconciliation

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has laid the blame for the reported West Bank kidnappings at the feet of Mahmoud Abbas and the unity pact he signed. But if Netanyahu really believed Abbas was responsible for the action, Israel’s government would have stopped transferring cash to the Palestinian Authority’s coffers. They have not. Instead, Israel and the PA are working together in an operation that is targeting Hamas and weakening Fatah-Hamas reconciliation–which may be the real point of Israel’s wide-reaching operation.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government | Tagged | 135 Comments

Presbyterian Church takes step towards divesting from Israeli military-linked companies

The Presbyterian Church’s Middle East Issues Committee voted 45-20 to endorse divestment from companies doing business with the Israeli army. While the measure still has to go to the general plenary for it to be adopted, Palestinian rights advocates celebrated the move as a first step towards divestment. Above, Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council members Lynn Gottlieb (left) and Brant Rosen (right) at the Presbyterian Church assembly.

Posted in Activism, BDS, Israel/Palestine | 4 Comments

Documents open window into how Israel lobby courts student government members

Documents published by UCLA’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter offer an unvarnished look at the thousands of dollars spent to cultivate the next generation of pro-Israel advocates who are currently college student leaders. Itineraries of the Anti-Defamation League’s and American Jewish Committee’s free jaunts to Israel show that the vast majority of these trips are devoted to meetings with prominent Israeli Jews, some of whom are Israeli military leaders. Above, two students on an Anti-Defamation League trip sit on top of an Israeli tank.

Posted in Activism, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | Tagged | 8 Comments

BDS activists slam art groups for taking tour to IDF-linked Technion

Two art groups–Creative Time and Independent Curators International–have come under criticism from supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for taking a traveling exhibition to the Technion, an Israeli university with strong ties to the Israeli military and its occupation. Some art collectives involved in the show have pulled out in protest, and an open letter signed by intellectuals and artists criticized the show for violating the BDS call.

Posted in Activism, BDS, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | 16 Comments

Israeli leader justifies force-feeding bill by pointing to Guantanamo Bay

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants the Knesset to pass legislation authorizing the force-feeding of Palestinian hunger strikers. “In Guantanamo the Americans are using the method of force-feeding too,” Netanyahu reportedly said. The law is being pushed in response to a Palestinian hunger strike that started in April in protest of administrative detention, the practice of holding prisoners without charge or trial.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, US Politics | 30 Comments

Meet Aryeh King: The brash right-wing settler bent on evicting Jerusalem’s Palestinians

Aryeh King’s vision for Jerusalem is maximum Jews on maximum land. In the contemporary reality of the holy city, that’s a call for a future where the dispossession of Palestinians is put on hyper-speed. King is trying to implement his vision with the Israel Land Fund, the organization he heads that is devoted to settling Jews in Israel and the occupied territories. He says that Jerusalem is an “apartheid” city–but one where Jews are hurt, and says that John Kerry’s warning of Israel becoming an “apartheid state” is delusional. “I’m laughing when I hear him, it’s like this guy took something, he’s on drugs,” King tells Mondoweiss’ Alex Kane.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, On the ground reports | Tagged | 23 Comments

Modern Language Association members condemn Israeli border policies, but vote is not ratified

Modern Language Association (MLA) members voted 1,560-1,063 to condemn Israel’s discriminatory border policies. But the vote was not ratified because 10 percent of MLA members have to affirm the vote for a measure to count, leading pro-Israel groups to celebrate the end result. Despite that, MLA member David Lloyd saw the vote as evidence that “on the battleground of ideas, Israel and its supporters are continuing to lose ground.”

Posted in Activism, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | 23 Comments

LA City Council members denounce student activists over ethics pledge critiquing Israel lobby trips

Los Angeles City Council members led by Bob Blumenfield, above, have introduced a resolution denouncing an ethics pledge against trips for student leaders organized by groups that fuel anti-Muslim and anti-Armenian sentiment. The move is the latest chapter of a roiling controversy sparked by student activist efforts to have student government members refrain from being wined and dined by groups like AIPAC and the ADL.

Posted in Activism, American Jewish Community, BDS, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | Tagged | 19 Comments

Modern Language Association resolution criticizing Israel sparks raging debate

A leaked internal discussion over a Modern Language Association resolution critical of Israel has revealed an intense, often vitriolic, debate over Israel, Palestine and the role of the MLA in talking about the conflict. The raging debate comes as MLA members vote on whether to condemn Israel for denying entry to academics traveling to West Bank universities.

Posted in Activism, Israel/Palestine, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | 33 Comments

UC Santa Cruz student government votes for divestment from occupation-linked companies

The student government at the University of California, Santa Cruz voted this week to divest from corporations linked to the Israeli occupation. The 22-14 vote made Santa Cruz the fifth UC chapter to endorse divestment in recent years. Last year, a similar resolution failed by a vote of 17-19.

Posted in Activism, BDS, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | 10 Comments

Boteach forges close ties with Rwanda leader linked to ethnic slaughter

Last month, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach traveled to Rwanda to deliver a prayer at an official memorial service for the victims of the Rwandan genocide. The New Jersey rabbi has forged a close personal relationship with Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who has allied with Israel–Boteach’s other cause–and who has been accused of rampant human rights abuses.

Posted in American Jewish Community, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | 14 Comments

Watch Palestinian-Americans discuss how Israel discriminates against U.S. travelers

A Capitol Hill briefing last week examined Israel’s practice of denying entry to Palestinian- and Arab-Americans. The event came as Congress continues to consider granting Israel entry into the visa-waiver program, which would give Israeli citizens the right to travel to the U.S. without a visa.

Posted in Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | 20 Comments

Iran politicking gets in the way of visa waivers for Israelis

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee was supposed to vote on the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act this week. But a Republican attempt to hamstring a potential U.S. diplomatic deal with Iran on its nuclear energy program unexpectedly scuttled the vote for now. The legislation has attracted attention over language providing Israel a path to join the club of countries whose citizens don’t need to possess a visa to enter the U.S.

Posted in Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | 37 Comments

10,000 University of South Florida students call for divestment from occupation-linked firms

10,000 students at the University of South Florida have signed a document–the largest petition in Florida university history–calling on their school’s foundation to divest from corporations linked to the Israeli military. Earlier this month, the Students for Justice in Palestine chapter delivered the petition and related research to the school’s foundation, which invests in companies like Caterpillar and G4S.

Posted in Activism, BDS, Israel/Palestine | 17 Comments

Inspiration on the quiet streets of Palestine

Alex Kane just returned from a reporting trip to Israel/Palestine. He writes that he came back feeling inspired by the assertiveness of Palestinians, particularly Israel’s Palestinian citizens. But at the same time, the pockets of activism seeking to shake the status quo have not translated into mass political action. So there is quiet on the streets of Israel and Palestine. Many Israelis–and their political leadership–seem to think that quiet can last forever.

Posted in Activism, BDS, Israel/Palestine | Tagged | 67 Comments

The mass hunger strike returns: Palestinian prisoners refuse food to protest detention without trial

Two years ago, as part of an agreement to end a hunger strike, Israel said it would lessen its use of administrative detention on Palestinian prisoners. But now prisoners say Israeli authorities have reneged on that commitment, and last month launched another hunger strike. Over 100 prisoners are refusing food to to pressure Israel to end its policy of holding prisoners on secret evidence with no recourse to challenge their detention in court.

Posted in Activism, Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government | Tagged | 6 Comments

Israel lobbyist Ronald Lauder denounces movie star Danny Glover for boycott call

World Jewish Congress head Ronald Lauder accused actor Danny Glover of fueling anti-Semitism after the Hollywood star released a statement in favor of boycotting Israel.

Posted in Activism, BDS, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | 31 Comments

Priest who pushed Palestinian Christian army service is canned

Father Gabriel Nadaf, the priest spearheading the push to enlist Palestinian Christians, has been fired from his post at the Greek Orthodox Church.

Posted in Activism, Israel/Palestine | 18 Comments

The latest page in Israel’s divide and conquer playbook: enlisting Palestinian Christians

Israel’s attempt to divide non-Jewish minorities within Israel is intensifying. The latest manifestation of the drive is the Israeli military’s announcement last month that all potential Palestinian Christian recruits would receive voluntary enlistment notices. Coupled with recent legislation that would formally divide and label Christians and Muslims on a labor representation committee, the steps point to how Israeli officials are trying to enshrine and harden sectarian differences within the Palestinian community. Above, Palestinian Christian soldiers are pictured at an event in Nazareth.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Middle East, On the ground reports | 35 Comments

Jenin refugee camp hit by wave of Israeli raids and killings

21-year-old Majd Lahlouh was shot in the heart by an Israeli soldier last August. He was the first man from the camp to die while peace talks between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel began in July 2013. But he wasn’t the last. Seven Palestinians from Jenin’s camp have been killed by soldiers since July 2013–about 12 percent of the total of Palestinians shot dead since the talks began. Alex Kane reports from Jenin refugee camp and interviews the Lahlouh family. Above, Majd’s grandmother points to a photo of him.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Occupation, On the ground reports | Tagged | 13 Comments

Cornell student government puts the kibosh on divestment debate

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.

Posted in Activism, American Jewish Community, BDS, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | 3 Comments

Palestinian writers bring Gaza’s hardships to American audience

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.

Posted in Activism, Gaza, Israel/Palestine | Tagged | 14 Comments

Amira Hass predicts Israel’s ‘colonial project’ will eventually fail–but at what cost?

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.”

Posted in BDS, Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government | 50 Comments