In her one-woman show “Where Can I Find Someone Like You, Ali,” Raeda Taha recounts her life as the “daughter of a martyr.” On May 8, 1972, Taha’s father, Ali Taha, and three other armed Palestinians were killed during a botched airplane hijacking. Taha was 7 at the time. So began her life as the daughter of a Palestinian “shaheed” (“martyr” in English)—a term that signifies a special place in Palestinian society. Taha provided her audiences with a touching, at times heart-breaking but never sentimental, glimpse into the lives of Palestinians who have lost family members at the hands of the Israeli military.
No one doubts that Majd Oweida, 23, is brilliant, but it is what he did with his brilliance that is a source of contention between his parents who are advocating for his release from an Israeli prison, and Israel’s security service who have accused him of hacking their drones for Islamic Jihad. Sarah Algherbawi searches for answers. She tracks down a hacker who may or may not be a part of an illicit espionage gang, and takes her investigation to Hamas and those tied to Islamic Jihad. None of them claimed Majd, a local hero of sorts, a Palestinian robot designer and talent scout of the popular program “Palestinians Got Talent.”
Howard Cohen relates the story of one of his students at an engineering college in the Negev struggling to keep up with his studies after Israeli police killed his father, demolished his home: “He had used the word killed, it was me who had used the word murder, but the words were irrelevant at this moment. He wasn’t interested in making a political statement to me, he was making an existential one. That was clear enough. ‘You see it’s so difficult for me,’ he went on, wiping away the tears that had welled up at the corner of his eyes and which threatened to stream down his face. ‘Everything was under the rubble. I even had a workbook for the class but that too was under the rubble together with my ID card and all our other belongings. They didn’t give us any time to leave. They bulldozed the house with all of our possessions in it. I’m trying to return to my studies. It’s important for me to continue, in spite of everything. But it’s so difficult for me. My head just isn’t there. And it’s going to be difficult for me to attend all the classes and prepare for the presentation.'”
“On the first night of the bombing, the Israeli navy shelled Beach Camp to the north, firing explosives into a thickly populated refugee camp that had no weapons to return fire. A few blocks inland, members of my team taught their children to dance to the peculiar backbeat of naval fire, to distract them from their fear. The colleagues living nearest me wanted to leave their families, to pick me up and shelter me in their homes,” writes Marilyn Garson, who worked for Mercy Corps and UNRWA in Gaza between 2011 and 2015, where she lived through two wars. Read her incredible memoir of that tumultuous time, which included her coming to understand her connection to Judaism while under fire from Israeli warplanes.
Rabab Abdulhadi, Suzanne Adely, Angela Davis & Selma James write: “Attacking the International Women’s Strike on March 8, supporters of Israel argued that the decolonization of Palestine has no place in feminism and further asked if there is a place for Zionists in the feminist movement. We turn the question around and ask if the occupation of Palestine, the bombings of Gaza, the apartheid that applies two separate and unequal systems to Israel’s relationship to Palestinians – can be compatible with feminism? While Israel’s apologists were posing such questions, the Israeli army, as reported by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, was busy shutting down two events in Jerusalem marking International Women’s Day.”
The UN-commissioned report on Israeli Apartheid that was shelved last week (two days after it appeared) is no doubt explosive. The very idea that Israel is guilty of the crime of Apartheid is one that should give everyone pause. But there is another explosion in the report. Israel and its supporters have desperately sought to shelve a discussion about Zionism as a racist ideology. The Apartheid report brings it back to the forefront.
Young Jews from IfNotNow say the Jewish community has been waiting for them to come and defeat AIPAC. But not all progressives are on their side: Neera Tanden and three other experts from the Democratic Party linked thinktank CAP are speaking at AIPAC this year, in the 50th year of occupation. That’s the fault line in the Democratic Party.
A necessary and productive debate has been going on in US feminist circles following the International Women’s Strike on March 8, with its openly anti-colonial, pro-Palestine platform. In an Op-Ed, writer Emily Shire questioned whether there was room for Zionists in the feminist movement. This exchange is the latest chapter in a long conversation in activist circles around Palestine as a feminist issue. The question Shire should have asked is “Is there room for Zionists in any justice movement?” The answer is No.
Israel has both effected and veiled a comprehensive policy of apartheid directed at the whole Palestinian people in Israel, in occupation, and in exile, the stunning UN report says — and it was promptly veiled.
“I find myself incapable of bowing to fearmongering and threats, and not because of my role as an employee of the United Nations, but simply as a sane human being” — Rima Khalaf, former executive sec’y of UN ESCWA, after being forced to withdraw report labeling Israel an apartheid regime.
Around 2,000 mourners marched on Friday in the Bethlehem-area village of al-Walaja for the funeral of slain Basil al-Araj, 36, who was slain by Israeli forces March 6. Al-Araj’s ideology against normalization and security coordination is popular among leftist Palestinian youth. His success in eluding Israeli forces for six months, and then refusal to surrender when he was found, only made his ideas more popular.
Last week a man in Salem, Oregon was charged with assault, intimidation and unlawful use of a weapon after he yelled at an employee working in a Middle Eastern restaurant, “go back to your country, terrorist” and then attacked him with a plastic pipe. The victim’s daughter, Layla Abdel-Jawad writes the man, Jason Kendall, suffers from a mental illness and should not be charged with a hate crime.
In a new book, The Rise of the Arab American Left, Pamela Pennock, a history professor at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, documents the rise of Arab American leftwing political activism after the 1967 war, including organizations such as the Arab American Ass’n of University Graduates that built coalitions on the left.
A United Nations agency today labeled Israel an “apartheid regime,” in a report where the country was said to be guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” of the “grave charge” of operating systematic discrimination and oppression against the Palestinian people.
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) who published the document, “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian, People and the Question of Apartheid,”[PDF] is mandated to review Israeli aggressions.
Interfaith Peace-Builders Program Director Emily Siegel writes: The new law passed last week in the Israeli Knesset targets individuals active in Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaigns against Israel. We see the principle goal of the legislation to be Israel’s attempt to intimidate activists not to travel; to not try and enter; not to see the realities on the ground that only strengthen the need for BDS and other forms of activism. Israel’s political and military establishment would be thrilled if activists in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for human rights stopped visiting Palestine. We should not give them that satisfaction.
Taha Muhammad Ali is an unlikely dramatic hero. His arms shake with age and infirmity, his legs occasionally buckle, and he often appears lost on stage, as if adrift in a vast expanse of sadness. But for an hour the story of this Palestinian poet has a vice-like hold on our attention and our hearts.
The one-man show Taha receives its English-language premiere on Wednesday at the Kennedy Center for the performing arts in Washington DC. It offers not only a rare chance to learn about one of Palestine’s finest poets, but provides a visceral account of what it was like to live through the Nakba – the Catastrophe that befell hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who were expelled from their homeland in 1948.
Mahmoud al-Araj, the father of slain Basil al-Araj, left his home on Sunday expecting to take part in a peaceful demonstration outside a courthouse in Ramallah where a judge officially dropped an investigation into his son. He ended up in the hospital after getting caught in the middle of a chaotic crackdown by Palestinian Authority (PA) forces wielding heavy batons, and shooting pepper spray and tear gas at Palestinians protesting the death of Basil, the imprisonment of his five friends and the court’s decision to pursue charges against them for allegedly storing illegal weapons.
The new white-supremacists have found a model that happened to be created by a certain stream of Jews – the ‘strong Jews’ of Zionism. And the advantage that this alliance creates is far more substantial in realpolitik terms for those power-seeking white-supremacists, than the redundant old anti-Semitism.
“Shadi was arrested on December 30, 2015. He was just 12 years old. The news took my breath away; the whole family was in a state of shock. For a long time, none of us could eat or sleep properly. When I closed my eyes, all I could see was my little boy, scared and alone, in a freezing cold prison cell. I later learned that they had forced him to stand in there naked, at one point.” On International Women’s Day, Farihan Daraghmeh Farah tells the harrowing story of her son Shadi and how her family has struggled to free him from Israeli occupation prisons.
Michael Sfard, an Israeli lawyer and political activist specializing in international human rights law, tells Mondoweiss it is difficult to know how Israel’s controversial new law aimed at barring boycott activists from entering the country will actually be enforced, but he says the law is in direct violation of international law. “Countries have wide discretion to allow are deny entry to foreigners,” Sfard says. “However, International Human Rights Law prohibits discrimination on the basis of a person’s opinion and provides freedom of conscious and thought. The law is definitely a violation of both.”
Legislation passed by the Israeli parliament on Monday night forbids entry to anyone who supports a boycott, even if it is only of the settlements. Israel has long denied entry to Arabs and deported those such as migrant workers and African asylum seekers who might ‘pollute’ the Jewish state with non-Jewish genes. Now it is openly targeting Jews whose politics do not align with the far-right government of Netanyahu.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced in the Knesset that the Trump administration warned Israel that imposing sovereignty over the West Bank would cause an “immediate crisis” between the U.S. and Israel.
A Palestinian state is anathema to Zionism – and must therefore be kept in the realms of fiction. The Palestinian state does not arrive, because Israel doesn’t intend, and never has intended, for the Palestinian dream to come true. After Palestinians accepted a partition of the land and initiated the peace process, Israel came up with a charade to convince the world it meant business– what Yitzhak Shamir called the “teaspoon” process.