Trump administration threatens to close Palestinians’ office in Washington DC

Kate on

The State Department threatened Friday to close the Palestinians’ Washington office unless they enter into direct negotiations with Israel. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has determined that the Palestinians have run afoul of a condition in the law that allows their mission to the U.S. to function which prohibits the Palestinians from requesting the International Criminal Court, or ICC, to prosecute Israelis for crimes against Palestinians.

‘Facebook’ ads are way more important than the children we slaughter in some poor country

Donald Johnson on

The domestic political fight that is Russiagate takes up all the media’s attention, while civilians killed by US bombs are like ants on the sidewalk. That’s because U.S. crimes against humanity are never seen as scandals, except maybe a century later. At most we just treat war crimes as policy disputes. Nobody expects a bipartisan investigation into our ties with the Saudis.

Israel bars Palestinian grandmother from visiting slain father’s grave for 70 years

Sheren Khalel on

Salwa Salem-Copty hopes to someday return to live in her family’s village in the north of Israel, but at 70 years old, she thinks it is unlikely. Instead she has one request — she would like to be allowed to visit the grave of her father, who was killed when a bus full of workers traveling to Haifa was attacked in April 1948. Salwa was never allowed to visit her father’s grave. Today, now a grandmother, she is still fighting for that right.

Washing ashore in Hawaii

Steven Salaita on

Steven Salaita visits Hawaii to learn more about Kanaka Maoli resistance and to converse with local activists and intellectuals about Palestine. He writes, “Enough commonalities exist among the two nations for a shared political project: both suffer military occupation, land theft, foreign settlement, and structural racism. In fact, they contest the same colonial apparatus. This point may seem counterintuitive, but these days the United States and Israel differ only according to technicalities of nomenclature and color scheme. Collusion between the US and Israel is by now axiomatic. People needn’t be identical to know that it is foolish to oppose one of those powers while ignoring the other.”

First ever bill on Palestinian human rights introduced to U.S. Congress

Sheren Khalel on

United States Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) introduced on Tuesday a bill to the U.S. House of Representatives that seeks to bar U.S. government aid and funding from supporting Israeli military detentions of Palestinian children and their prosecution under Israel’s military court system. The legislation is said to be the first time a bill on Palestinian human rights has ever been introduced to U.S. Congress.

Antisemitism bill hearing reflects disagreement in Jewish community over dual loyalty

Kyle Stanton on

On November 7, the House Judiciary Committee held hearings over the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, a bill that would broaden the definition of antisemitism to include criticism of Israel. Dr. Barry Trachtenberg, the Chair of Jewish History at Wake Forest University, argued that the act’s definition of antisemitism was deeply flawed because it defines all accusations of American Jewish dual-loyalty as inherently antisemitic. Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center accused Trachtenberg of providing ”cannon fodder for antisemites”. In many ways, the exchange between Cooper and Trachtenberg mirrored the debate the American Jewish community has been having about dual loyalty since the establishment of Israel.

The goy and the golem: James Angleton and the rise of Israel

Philip Weiss on

No individual had as large a role in Israel’s shift from an embattled settler state to a regional power as James Angleton, the head of counterintelligence at the CIA in the 50s-70s, who relied on Israeli intelligence in his battle against communism. Angleton overlooked Israel’s acquisition of nukes, Jefferson Morley relates in his new biography of Angleton, The Ghost.

UK minister forced to resign over secret Israel meetings as questions continue to swirl

Jonathan Cook on

British government minister Priti Patel was forced to resign following revelations she conducted 12 undisclosed meetings with Israeli officials, including prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Patel’s behavior has been characterized in the British press as “incompetence,” but Jonathan Cook unpacks what she, and Israel, might have been trying to achieve.

The Russiagate farce, or how the Russians corrupted our pristine democracy

Donald Johnson on

The press is obsessed with the claim that absurd ads planted by Russians on Facebook bashing Hillary Clinton actually swayed the election. This is a form of propaganda about “our democracy,” exposed by the fact that our press fails to report on Saudi and Israeli meddling in our politics, a real factor in Washington. And though quick to seize on Russian war crimes, it has almost nothing to say about Saudi atrocities in Yemen, backed by the U.S. government.

Israeli forces target Palestinian schools, teachers in East Jerusalem and Hebron

Sheren Khalel on

Israeli police entered Zahwat al-Quds school in occupied East Jerusalem on Monday, arresting the principal of the school as well as three teachers in front of students, before closing down the school. The arrests came one day after Israeli forces detained several teachers in the southern Hebron Hills on their walk to school, again in the presence of their students.

‘American Jews are losing it bigtime’ — Netanyahu gov’t official slams ’80 percent’ assimilation rate

Philip Weiss on

Tzipi Hotovely, deputy Israeli foreign minister, says American Jews are threatening the existence of Jewry with “80 percent” rate of assimilation, and criticism of Israel, which is all that holds Jews together. Then she challenges Labor parliamentarian Merav Michaeli, “When’s the last time you went to the Kotel [the western wall], can you possibly tell me?”

Five Palestinians bodies recovered from tunnel bombing after Israeli court ignores emergency rescue petition

Sheren Khalel on

Israeli authorities announced on Sunday evening that Israeli forces recovered the bodies of five missing Palestinians who had been trapped, without access to rescue crews, in a tunnel bombed by Israeli forces on Oct. 30. Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and the Gaza-based Al Mezan Center for Human Rights had filed a petition with the Israeli Supreme Court demanding official Palestinian emergency responders be allowed to carry out a rescue mission but never received a response. Adalah Attorney Muna Haddad said preventing rescue crews from entering the bombed area when people were known to be trapped in rubble, could constitute a war crime.

Thousands march to UK parliament calling for justice on Balfour centenary

Lydia Noon on

Olive branches, a huge Palestinian flag, a large cardboard drawing of Lord Arthur Balfour, and Theresa May cartoons were some of the creative props displayed during the 15,000-strong ‘Justice Now: Make it Right for Palestine’ march and rally in London to mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration.

The Balfour centenary is also the centenary of the Zionist lobby

Philip Weiss on

The Balfour Declaration was a wartime play by the British government to win international Jewry to its side. This meant the Russian masses in the U.S., and banker Jacob Schiff, who were against American entry into the war. The British may have exaggerated Jewish power, but Zionists lobbied successfully for the declaration by citing such power, marking the entry of the Israel lobby on the world stage.

Machsom: mornings at Checkpoint 300

Peter Morgan on

Checkpoint 300 blocks the road between Bethlehem and Jerusalem for Palestinians. Many western tourists pass through the checkpoint on day trips to visit the holy sites in Bethlehem, but very few see the experiences of Palestinians who face inhumane conditions and Israeli interrogation just to get to work. In 2016, Peter Morgan spent many early mornings there observing and recording the treatment of Palestinian workers. Here is what he saw.

UN rapporteur urges sanctions on Israel for driving Palestinians ‘back to the dark ages’

Philip Weiss on

Last week the UN’s rapporteur on the occupied territories called for sanctions against Israel in a report saying Israel has “driven Gaza back to the dark ages” due to denial of water and electricity and freedom of movement. Michael Lynk went on that there is a “darkening stain” on international law because other countries have treated the occupation as normal, and done nothing to resist Israel’s “colonial ambition par excellence,”

Reflections on White Zionism

Mich Levy on

Zionism and white nationalism are birds of a feather. Their exclusive concerns for survival have the religious zeal of people who believe themselves to be chosen, wrapped tidily in the “scientific” racism of social Darwinism. It is no surprise then that Zionism could be used to justify and reinforce the ideologies of the far right and white supremacy as they re-emerge in the West in the early 21st century.

‘It being clearly understood…’: What the Balfour Declaration tells us about Israel

Nada Elia on

Sixty-seven words. That is the full extent of the Balfour Declaration, and yet few documents have had as devastating an impact as this historical document. Still, Nada Elia writes that the cursory nature of its wording indicates a twentieth-century awareness that the dispossession of the Palestinian people was already considered anachronistic when the declaration was written 100 years ago.

Anti-BDS crusader Kenneth Marcus named to top civil rights post in Trump administration

Jesse Rubin on

Kenneth Marcus heads a lawfare organization that targets the Boycott Israel movement on campus as allegedly anti-Semitic and thereby violating federal laws against racial discrimination. Last week he was named to the top civil rights job at the Dep’t of Education, stirring fears that he will attempt to silence advocates for Palestinians.

‘One step further into the annexation of the West Bank’: Israeli cabinet to vote on annexing West Bank settlements into Jerusalem

Sheren Khalel on

Israeli cabinet members on Sunday will vote on a bill seeking to annex large swaths of land into the Jerusalem municipality. The bill, coined the “Greater Jerusalem Bill,” will go to Knesset vote after what is expected to be an approval by the cabinet, however moving through the Knesset could prove difficult, as religious hardliners fear a change in the Jewish Israeli demographics of the city. The controversial Likud-backed bill would bring at least 19 illegal Israeli settlements and outposts under Jerusalem jurisdiction and sever three Palestinian communities from the municipality.

American Jewry and Israel, unbound

Danaa Marec on

Organized American Jewry has a tough job. It has to raise endless money for Israel and protect the country against all human-rights-abuse accusations and denounce Israel’s accusers. To be Israel’s vassal, in short. But the new anti-BDS legislation across the country will make some Jews reexamine the deal. They are being asked to sell out our country’s civil rights for the sake of Israel. And there’s sure to be a backlash against the Jewish organizations.

Balfour and Britain’s broken promise

Tim Llewellyn on

Former BBC Middle East Correspondent Tim Llewellyn says Great Britain is a nation split between government and governed when it comes to Israel and Palestine: “If the British Conservative Government of Teresa May represented the views of the people of Britain rather than the preferences of the state of Israel on the disastrous outcome for the Palestinian Arabs of the Balfour Declaration of November 2, 1917, she would not be planning to celebrate this 100th anniversary with Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Prime Minister. This will happen at a cosy London dinner party at the home of Lord Rothschild, heir to the recipient of that infamous letter from Arthur J. Balfour, Britain’s then Foreign Secretary.”