Author Archives: Shmuel Sermoneta-Gertel

About Shmuel Sermoneta-Gertel

Shmuel Sermoneta-Gertel is a Canadian-Israeli translator living in Italy.

BDS and the purveyors of Israel’s democratic image

The boycott-divestment, sanctions movement (BDS) is unlikely to hurt the Israeli economy or the western governments’ support for Israel in the near future. Where it will have a huge impact, though, is on the cultural, intellectual and financial elite in Israel who have purveyed the country’s image abroad and are highly sensitive to world opinion. At first, the vast majority of this group rejected BDS, and called it anti-Semitic. With time however, BDS will become harder and harder for this group to dismiss with the kind of facile arguments offered by Israeli diplomacy and advocacy.

Posted in BDS, Israel/Palestine | Tagged | 117 Comments

‘A vision seen in a dream’: A leading religious Zionist’s 1956 call for the Palestinian refugees to return

Yehoshua Radler-Feldman (1880-1957), who wrote under the pen name R. Binyamin, was a leading figure in religious Zionism and a self-described “Herzlian Zionist”. The following essay by Radler-Feldman appeared in the Ihud Association’s Ner journal, in March, 1956.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Nakba | 59 Comments

One state, two states and the art of the possible

There is today not even the shadow of a possibility of reaching a “reasonable solution” in the Israel-Palestine conflict. So what should people who support human rights and democracy do?

Posted in Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, One state/Two states, US Policy in the Middle East | Tagged | 87 Comments

How the mighty have fallen (how many and since when?)

Israel turns its heroes into victims and transforms Jewish history in Palestine into one long Arab-slugfest

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government | Tagged | 16 Comments

As I read this, I cringe

Peter Beinart’s recent op-ed is an anachronistic apologia constructed around an artificial golden mean. Beinart seems to have invented Meretz USA, American Friends of Peace Now and the New Israel Fund. He has also discovered the green line and Yitzhak … Continue reading

Posted in Israel/Palestine | 109 Comments

Jericho, City of the moon

Our first day in Palestinian Palestine. Our friend Sameer (not his real name) knows Jericho well, and is only slightly nervous as he explains to the policeman at the only Palestinian checkpoint in the West Bank that we are guests … Continue reading

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

Soap, sweets and Fatah

Enjoying the pleasures of Palestine, on 47th anniversary of Fatah’s founding

Posted in Israel/Palestine, On the ground reports | 11 Comments

There is no practical solution, and that is why I talk about rights

Posted in Israel/Palestine | Comments Off

Israel’s Egyptian teachers

Recent events in Egypt have already provided Israelis with a number of invaluable lessons. The first was right there in the Bible the whole time (Prov 27:24 – nice play on words in Hebrew, by the way: ‘h[o]sn[i] is not … Continue reading

Posted in Egypt, Israel/Palestine | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 106 Comments

Some animals are more equal than others

In one of his posts from the Holy Land, Phil referred to an obnoxious teenager on a bus as an “ars” (Israeli slang for unsavoury young man, inevitably Mizrahi – from the Arabic word for pimp), and Avigdor “Yvette” Lieberman … Continue reading

Posted in Israel/Palestine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 65 Comments

Let them eat cake

Ali Abunimah’s Pizza analogy for Israel’s facts-on-the-ground negotiating style has taken the world by storm. I have it on good authority that the clip has been watched and enjoyed on the most extreme Israeli settlements. One settler was even heard … Continue reading

Posted in Israel/Palestine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 109 Comments

Palestinian Israelis are to have ‘Jewish’ nationality (as Jews once had to be public Christians in Europe)

Today the Israeli government approved a proposal by Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman to change the declaration of loyalty required of all non-Jews applying for Israeli citizenship (excluding those entitled to citizenship according to the Law of Return).  Neeman’s proposal seeks … Continue reading

Posted in Israel/Palestine, US Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 40 Comments

Jewish identi-kit(h)

A question often raised on this blog is “What is Jewish identity?” Religious commitment, especially of the Orthodox variety, is easy to understand, but what is a Jewish atheist? Some commenters here have argued that there is really little more … Continue reading

Posted in Israel/Palestine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 41 Comments

As a city that is compact together

Whenever I come back to Jerusalem, I notice all of the things that have changed since my last visit and inevitably compare things to the way they were when I was growing up: old buildings torn down or renovated, new … Continue reading

Posted in Israel/Palestine | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

The bubble inside the bubble

I spent the past weekend on a Jewish settlement in the West Bank, attending my nephew’s post-wedding festivities. The last time I was in the vicinity of this particular settlement was about ten years ago, when I went – together … Continue reading

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Settlers/Colonists | Tagged , , , , , , , | 99 Comments

All Palestine is divided into four parts

The Free Gaza Movement and the Freedom Flotilla have succeeded in drawing attention to Israel’s siege on Gaza, which has turned the Strip into a giant prison. There is another aspect to the Gaza prison however, highlighted by Amira Hass … Continue reading

Posted in Israel/Palestine | Tagged , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Omar Barghouti in Rome

Last night I went to hear Omar Barghouti at an event titled “Palestine today. Nonviolent resistance to the Israeli occupation: academic and cultural boycott,” organised by the Roman network for solidarity with the Palestinian people. There were about 80 people … Continue reading

Posted in BDS, Israel/Palestine, Settlers/Colonists | Tagged , , , , , , | 123 Comments

My nephew in Jerusalem is headed to Poland

My nephew beeped me on ICQ last night. He’s in the eleventh grade at a Jerusalem high school, which means he will be going on a school trip to Poland. He wanted to hear family stories from the Holocaust and … Continue reading

Posted in American Jewish Community, Israel/Palestine, US Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 57 Comments

Israel’s actual invention is new standard on ‘asymmetrical’ conflict

Central to Israel’s defence of its actions in Gaza last year is the claim that international humanitarian law (IHR) is inadequate and must be modified to accommodate the “asymmetrical” nature of modern warfare. Rather than arguing that greater protection should … Continue reading

Posted in Gaza, Israel/Palestine | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Peace may be more than one conflict away

In this weekend’s Haaretz, there is an interview, by Yotam Feldman, with Prof. Yehouda Shenhav, linked to the upcoming publication of Shenhav’s book “In the Trap of the Green Line” (Hebrew), in which he frames the debate within Israel not … Continue reading

Posted in Israel/Palestine | Tagged , , , , , | 90 Comments

Where do the human rights of Gazans fit into the fight for a ‘sustainable’ future?

The following is a response to the profile of Jesse Fox that we posted yesterday. We will be posting interviews all week with Jewish Israelis discussing their connection to the idea of Zionism in the hope of sparking a conversation … Continue reading

Posted in Israel/Palestine | 24 Comments