The Trump administration is reportedly days away from releasing their peace plan to Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Yet the head of the Palestinian Mission in Washington DC, Ambassador Husam Zomlot has already signaled the peace plan, whenever it will be released, has no chance. “The May 14 embassy opening is a ‘media stunt’ for Netanyahu, it is a catastrophe for all the people in all sides, it will be remembered as the day of crossing the Rubicon,” Palestinian Ambassador Husam Zomlot tells Mondoweiss.
Omar Barghouti addressed the European Union last week: “By trading with Israel’s illegal settlements and supporting companies that are involved in the settlement enterprise, as defined by the OHCHR, the EU is violating both obligations of non-recognition and non-assistance. The EU maintains a web of military relations, weapons research, banking transactions and settlement trade with Israeli companies, banks and institutions that are deeply implicated in human rights violations.”
California Senator Kamala Harris spoke at AIPAC this year for the second year running, in an indication that she intends to cultivate elites and alienate the leftwing base for political ambition. She bragged to the Israel lobby about helping to build forests on Palestinian lands. “As a child, I never sold Girl Scout cookies, I went around with a [Jewish National Fund] box collecting funds to plant trees in Israel.”
Gideon Levy says that Israeli idealists dreamed of the day when Israeli soldiers would tell their society about the occupation. Then Breaking the Silence came forward, and it was crushed, with the media’s help. Israelis live in denial. “No question marks.” Only outside pressure will force them to end the tyranny over half the population, the Palestinians.
Senator Ben Cardin has released an amended version of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act following highly-publicized public opposition from national and grassroots civil rights organizers. The new version of the bill, which is being supported by AIPAC, continues to criminalize the right to boycott, which is a form of free speech, and even in its revised version would legitimize the occupation. Nada Elia says the amended version is still unconstitutional, and must still be opposed with the same energy and determination activists had last year.
Two new billboards in Connecticut raise awareness about Ahed Tamimi, the 17-year-old Palestinian activist who now faces up to 10 years in Israeli prison, and the issue of child prisoners held by Israel. Mona Abdo an activist with the Palestine Advocacy Project says, “Like Nelson Mandela for South Africa during apartheid, Ahed Tamimi has become a symbol of Palestine’s 50 years of resistance to Israeli’s brutal occupation and apartheid system. The world called for the release of Nelson Mandela then, and now we must call for the release of Ahed Tamimi and the 350 other child prisoners held in Israel’s military prisons.”
We are very excited to announce the second publication in our series Mondoweiss in Print: Reading Maimonides in Gaza, by Marilyn Garson. Between 2011 and 2015, Garson lived through two wars as she worked for Mercy Corps and UNRWA in Gaza. Reading Maimonides In Gaza is her incredible memoir of that tumultuous time. An expanded 25-page version of Garson’s story Mondoweiss originally published online last March, the book includes exclusive new content and provides an intimate and harrowing look at the life-saving work aid organizations did in Gaza during two Israeli attacks. Mixed in with this reporting is Garson’s own process of coming to understand her connection to Judaism while under fire from Israeli warplanes. A portion of the proceeds from Reading Maimonides In Gaza will go to support We Are Not Numbers, a Gaza-based writing project for Palestinian youth.
The AIPAC policy conference has featured one prominent Democrat after another seeking to outflank the Trump administration in expressions of love for Israel. Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer took the prize by slinging mud at Palestinians and Arabs as the reason there is no end to the conflict. Schumer said the problem is the Palestinians “don’t believe in the Torah. So that’s the reason there is not peace.”
In an attempt to salvage liberal Democrats view of Israel AIPAC made a point to reach out to progressives. As part of this effort during the lobby group’s annual conference, former Democratic Governor of Michigan Jennifer Granholm made the case that Israel is a “progressive paradise.” Hamzah Raza writes that Granhold’s Israel fable is contrary to realities on the ground, and in response offers a list of nine reasons why Israel is actually just the opposite of what Granhold claims.
Are Texas and Arizona banning free speech on campus? The University of Houston and Arizona State University are forcing speakers to disavow boycotts against Israel in order to speak at events on campus.
It is has been a very bad week for those claiming Israel has the most moral army in the world. Here’s a small sample of abuses of Palestinians in recent days in which the Israeli army was caught lying.
The Israel lobby group AIPAC kicked off its annual policy conference in Washington on the weekend, and speaker after speaker expressed fears that progressive Democrats are abandoning Israel. The speakers urged progressives to stay in the bipartisan fold of support for the Jewish state; they insisted that Israel is a progressive cause. But many also embraced Donald Trump and Nikki Haley– evidence of the rightwing character of Israel support, which is driving the partisan divide in our country.
The press is reporting that Jared Kushner’s days as a White House power may come to an end, due to a flurry of reports about his meetings as a Trump adviser with foreign officials and corporate execs who are in a position to help out his family’s troubled real estate company — as well as Kushner’s considerable innocence when it comes to foreign policy. The knives are out, and the latest reports are that Donald Trump himself wants his son-in-law to disappear.
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.
Leftwing Israeli author Avraham Burg called for one state in Israel and Palestine and described some of his cousins as “literally speaking racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, homophobic, OK, a few other phobias”, and he got a less than hearty welcome for his remarks at B’nai Jeshurun, a progressive NY synagogue. The sad state of American Jewry.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Abbas included an off-the-cuff warning for Europe on the issue of Palestinian refugees’ right to return under international law. Abbas said, “it’s either that or they will become refugees and terrorists in Europe.”
Six premature infants in Gaza have reportedly died since the start of 2018 due to a lack of respiratory medication that helps them to breathe normally. The lives of another 113 are at risk, according to Gaza’s ministry of health.
Wasan Abu-Baker pens a reflection on growing up in Palestine as a “child of the stone” dedicated to Ahed Tamimi. She recalls when her father first came home to live with the family after years in prison. Wasan was already seven: “I still remember those days when we came home from school and then going out to the field to pick the olives, then coming back home to finish our homework. After the harvest was completed we would take the olives to our family factory where the olives were pressed to make olive oil. I remember standing next to my dad to have a taste of the freshest olive oil along with my pita bread. He used to say that once you drink olive oil it becomes part of your soul. I will never forget and miss always miss the smell of olives on those days.”
“Their ultimate goal is no conspiracy theory,” reports Mersiha Gadzo on the growing movement to destroy the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque, in order to build a Third Temple: “One of the leading Temple movement organizations is the Temple Institute, which has had a blueprint ready for the temple’s construction since 2011. In 2014 they crowdfunded over $100,000 on Indiegogo to prepare architectural plans for their Third Temple.”