A new study titled, “Sounding the Alarm: The American-Israeli Relationship” by an American Zionist group says that Israeli PR (or hasbara) isn’t working, and the more Americans learn about Israel, the less favorably they feel about the country. The report says that Americans have learned a lot more about Israel since 2010, but that knowledge has fostered the country’s unfavorable reputation, and fed the “delegitimization” campaign, because Americans increasingly feel that Israel does not share their values.
A new ‘ethics code’ authored by the same professor who wrote the IDF ethics code, seeks to combat BDS advocacy by Israeli academics.
Mondoweiss contributor Ahmad Kabariti shares a personal story of being pressured by Israeli officials to share information with them in Gaza. He says it shows the power of adversarial journalism and the need to support news outlets telling the truth about what is happening in Palestine: “Just about every Palestinian journalist has had at least one experience similar to mine. Israel’s attempts to neutralize our profession take many forms, from bullying to physical force to bribes. I’m sharing this part of my personal history to help Mondoweiss’s readers understand how vital it is as an avenue to broadcast our reporting—to defy the efforts to silence us. I am asking you to show your solidarity with our work by donating to Mondoweiss to support publication of our journalism.”
Nora Lester Murad and her friends organize an Iftar dinner next to the rubble of a demolished Palestinian house in East Jerusalem, “We planned the Iftar to show solidarity with Ashraf and Islam, and the tens of thousands of Palestinian families whose homes have been demolished, partially demolished, or sealed, and who live every day under the imminent threat of demolitions by the Israel authorities. Home demolition is not merely an Israeli administrative policy, as it is often presented in the western media. Home demolition is part of Israel’s political strategy to expel Palestinians from any place they want control, often through the establishment of Jewish settlements. My friends and I felt that the least we could do to show these families–families who are on the frontline of the continuing Nakba–that they have real allies, that they are not alone.”
Recently a Mondoweiss writer based in Palestine told us, “Anyone working in the country who describes the state’s repression of free speech is risking being kicked out for good.” You know that we who fight for justice in Palestine are tearing down the wall of lies brick by brick and that every effort to silence the truth shows the urgent need to invest in more truth-telling. We ask today that you donate to help Mondoweiss continue and increase our work informing the world of what happens in Palestine, and how U.S. policy underwrites the oppression. Every time Israel’s guardians lash out to silence truth, their fear testifies that our reporting is making a difference. Please give today to help us keep them shaking in their shoes.
Mersiha Gadzo talks to villagers who were expelled from towns outside of Jerusalem in 1967, where today an Israeli park and popular picnic spot is built over the rubble of the destroyed Palestinian houses, “Twelve-year-old Ahmad Ali Zaid awoke at 5 a.m. on June 6, 1967, to the sound of loudspeakers blaring outside his home, demanding that the sleeping residents of Beit Nuba village immediately leave their homes. ‘Leave your homes, leave the village. Go to Jordan; this is a military zone,’ the voice commanded as Israeli tanks rolled through. ‘Anyone who doesn’t leave will have their house demolished on top of them.’ In their pajamas, with no time to even put on shoes, residents frantically rushed outside.”
“Israel is in gravest danger from within, from its own actions… The proposed legislation before you has its origins in the right-wing Israeli government … and comes out of a well-funded campaign” — Howard Horowitz urges Westchester County Board of Legislators to turn down a resolution against Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).
Israeli and US officials are in the process of jointly pre-empting Donald Trump’s supposed “ultimate deal” to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They hope to demote the Palestinian issue to a footnote in international diplomacy. The conspiracy – a real one – was much in evidence last week during a visit to the region by Nikki Haley, Washington’s envoy to the United Nations. Her escort was Danny Danon, her Israeli counterpart and a fervent opponent of Palestinian statehood.
Last Sunday five mostly-liberal American Jewish groups held an all-day conference in New York on “Israel at a crossroads on the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War,” and it was chaotic. The Israeli ambassador tells the crowd that Jews have a right to the West Bank because “winner takes all,” while an Israeli rabbi pleads with American Jews to stop backing up rightwingers in Israel. Phil Weiss writes, “if I can extract any lesson from it, it is that older establishment liberal Jews aren’t ready for the new discourse of Israel and they are freaked out about what young Jews are saying. Peter Beinart’s crisis of Zionism of 2013 is now four years old, and we are starting in on the chaos of American Zionism.”
On June 10, leading anti-Muslim organization ACT for America, whose founder, Brigitte Gabriel once described Muslims as being a “natural threat to civilized people of the world, particularly Western society”, initiated a nationwide ‘rally against Sharia law’. Most anti-Sharia protesters were met with fierce opposition, but further organized action will be required to squash the violent surge of anti-Muslim sentiment that’s grown ever more ominous since the election of Donald Trump.
Majda Tantesh, 42, lives in the Beit Lahia city in the northern Gaza Strip. Like all of Gaza, the city only gets a few hours of electricity a day. After Monday’s Israeli Security Council ruling, approving the Palestinian Authority’s request to cut Gaza’s electricity supply by 40 percent, Majda told Mondoweiss she only expects things to get worse.
Israelis live in fear of Palestinians, and speak of a hundred years war. These conditions have produced a militaristic majoritarian culture where everyone admires Trump and even leftwingers dismiss Palestinian human rights concerns. “They have plenty to eat.” Phil Weiss’s observations from a tour on the 50th anniversary of occupation.
Charlie Zimmerman recaps his trip to the West Bank with a delegation of 130 from the Center for Jewish Nonviolence, “If you spend a few hours in H2, you don’t need any guides or speeches to tell you that it is a tense and surreal place where violence can break out at any moment. Issa calls Hebron a “ghost town” and YAS has published a pamphlet about the city with that title. But “ghost town” is an understatement and a misnomer, since people do live there—it’s just that everyday life activity is actively and brutally suppressed. I and another delegation member agree that a more accurate characterization would be “The Most Fucked Up Place on Earth.”
Jaime Omar Yassin’s questions the celebration of Gal Gadot, not as Wonder Woman, but as a feminist radical icon, “Don’t get me wrong, I’m uncomfortable even suggesting that women—and especially Black women and men—should have to interrogate their heroes in those rare moments when a Black or female superhero makes it on to screen. I am not trying to establish a checklist that has to be satisfied before you can enjoy a race or gender champion brought to the silver screen. But I think a larger question centers around Zionism’s compatibility with both feminism and Black empowerment. This is a question that is, unfortunately, much more frequently brought up by Zionists who also identify as leftists, who seek to marginalize Pro-Palestinian positions as the square peg in a discourse of liberation.”
Memoirs by American Jews reveal that the 1967 war revolutionized Jewish life: even leftwingers like Joel Kovel were initially swept up in the fear for Israel and excitement over its victory, but those fears helped produce the most powerful force in American Jewish life since: the neoconservatives who, inflamed by memories of the Holocaust, vowed to support Israel in the face of an indifferent world.
Iris Keltz relates: “Forced to wait three days for a visa allowing me to cross the U.N. checkpoint into Jerusalem, Israel–– gave me the chance to meet a handsome young Palestinian poet, musician, and world traveler. After a whirlwind courtship of less than three weeks, we married and were planning a honeymoon when war broke out. The day Israeli soldiers barged into a basement apartment in Ramallah where were hiding, I was afraid––afraid for my life, afraid the soldiers would not recognize me as Jewish, and surprised these Jewish soldiers invoked such terror. I meant to cry out, “I’m Jewish, American, and these are my friends.” But I spoke no Hebrew, and they spoke no English, so I remained silent. My silence that day inspired me to write this book.” Her memoir, “Unexpected Bride: In the Promised Land” was published earlier this year.
Khalid Saifi was only ten years old when the 1967 war happened. Much of his memories come in bits and pieces, but some moments will stick with him for the rest of his life. Khalid’s father, a refugee who fled from al-Walaja village in 1948, refused to flee yet again, however Khalid’s mother was adamant she get her two youngest children, Khalid and his little sister, out of harm’s way. “My mother decided to stay longer at the crossroads with me and my little sister, so we stood there in the middle of the intersection and watched my two sisters and their husbands walking away in opposite directions for a long while,” Khalid remembers. “My mother stood there watching them. I remember that image so clearly — her standing there watching my sisters walk and walk off into the distance.”
Several Israeli Defense Forces conscripts have recently reported that they have ordered to appear in a ceremony where they were told they need to undergo a “giur,” or a conversion to Judaism. The military is doing it out of a belief – defined by former general Elazar Stern, now a member of Knesset for the Yesh Atid party – that “a Jewish soldier is inherently a better soldier.” Yossi Gurvitz writes, “Such a concept would cause generals from Julius Caesar through Genghis Khan and Heinz Guderian to raise an eyebrow, but is becoming increasingly common in the rapidly Jewified IDF.”
Tom Suarez introduces Paldocs.net, a website of declassified Mandate-era documents held by the British government that served as primary sources for his book ‘State of Terror.’ After facing a coordinated effort to silence him following the publication of his book Suarez writes, “the site is intended to make the Zionist creation myth do battle with the historical record itself, not with me. Its sampling of documents demonstrate that I am merely the messenger — and more importantly, it is my hope that it will whet the appetite of others to pursue this neglected area that is absolutely vital to ending the misery in Israel-Palestine, and indeed in the greater Middle East.”
Today is the 50th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of what now is called the Palestinian territories. This shameful milestone is being marked with a plethora of pundit commentary about Trump’s potential role, the continuing division among the Palestinian leadership and—in the background—the ever-expanding Israeli settlements, but almost no mention of Gaza. We Are Not Numbers is a project working to break the media blackout of Gaza and is currently raising funds to start Gaza’s first all-youth news agency.
Sometimes a newsworthy event takes place when nothing unusual occurs. Despite months of an opposition campaign to disinvite civil rights activist and co-organizer of the Women’s March, Linda Sarsour, from giving a graduation speech at the City University of New York (CUNY), Sarsour’s keynote went off without a hitch Thursday. A Facebook page for a demonstration against Sarsour’s speech accused her of being “pro-terror” and an “a vicious, pro-sharia, Jew hater.” Oh, and pro-ISIS to boot!
Israel provoked the 1967 war with the knowledge that it would win easily, and that it had American backing to hold on to territorial conquests, unlike the ’56 war, Norman Finkelstein explains as we approach the 50th anniversary of that historic conflict.
Nathan Thrall has an important new book out, “The Only Language They Understand: Forcing Compromise in Israel and Palestine”, arguing that Israel will only end the occupation when it is subject to “severe pressure” from the U.S., and that the U.S. is capable of applying that pressure. In an interview with Phil Weiss and Scott Roth in Jerusalem, Thrall says a two-state solution is the optimal outcome and says that violence on both sides has actually led Palestinians and Israelis to take steps toward such an outcome.
Read an excerpt from Gershon Shafir’s latest book, “A Half Century of Occupation: Israel, Palestine, and the World’s Most Intractable Conflict,” which investigates the strategies, policies, and historical continuities that promoted Israel’s colonization of Palestinian territory. In this excerpt Shafir seeks to answer the question, why has the occupation lasted 50 years? “Israeli colonization, to paraphrase William Faulkner, is not dead; it isn’t even past. The tools of colonization, honed before 1948 to a sharp edge, and subsequently deployed within Israel’s new boundaries, were available and ready to be pressed into service in the territories newly occupied in 1967,” Shafir writes.