A poll, conducted in January and February 2017, exposes a vast divide between Canadian government policy and public opinion when it comes to Israel. The poll found that 66% of respondents who expressed a view consider Canadian government sanctions on Israel to be a reasonable means of ensuring Israel’s compliance with international law. An even higher proportion of respondents (78%) believe that the Palestinian call for a boycott is also a reasonable means of ensuring Israel’s respect for international law. Although a large majority of Canadians are now receptive to sanctions and a boycott, the recently elected government of Justin Trudeau is continuing Stephen Harper’s inglorious tradition of aiding and abetting Israel at every opportunity.
The gobsmacking highlight of the J Street conference last weekend was a breathless speech on Saturday night by Mika Almog, the grand-daughter of the late Shimon Peres, in which she described Israel as a beautiful lover who can hurt you, bad; but called on the audience of mostly-young people to love Israel with their eyes open, because it’s theirs. But we can’t do it justice. Here’s what she said….
In three months the American Jewish community is going to hit an iceberg called the Jubilee, the 50th anniversary of the occupation/Six Day War. The collision is going to change the Jewish establishment. The fractures that have been developing for years over Israel are going to break out in public agony. The anniversay will change the American Jewish relationship to Israel forever, as the Six Day War did 50 years go.
Last week, Israeli medic-soldier Elor Azarya was given an excessively lenient sentence of 1.5 years in prison for killing Abdel Fattah Al Sharif in Hebron. The military court based its conclusion in part on Azarya’s “positive personality and his being a normative person”. Yet this was the same person who wrote “kill them all” on social media as Israel considered a ceasefire with Hamas during the 2014 Gaza onslaught. This may seem to be a contradiction, but Jonathan Ofir writes the Azarya case cannot be seen as disconnected from the overall genocidal vein within Israeli society that he and his actions represent.
Palestinian activists say life in Hebron has become unbearable, and that international intervention is the only hope to ease the daily tensions and violence carried out by Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the city. “We are fighting a just cause, we are trying to end the occupation and get our human rights, our city, and our country back and bring the occupation government to justice for their illegal actions and crimes, but we need international support,” activist Farid al-Atrash tells Mondoweiss.
Activists for Palestinian rights have long known that our universities are overwhelmingly hostile environments where freedom of speech about, and critical inquiry into, Israel’s oppressive policies are heavily censored. Over the past few weeks, two separate and noteworthy incidents have illustrated this heavy-handed approach.
Israeli authorities denied Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) Israel and Palestine director, Omar Shakir, a work visa, the group announced in a statement on Friday. The group said Israel’s Interior Ministry accused HRW of “Palestinian propaganda” and not being a “real human rights group.”
Forty years ago, Harvard sociologist Nathan Glazer warned that Israel was a strategy “liability” to the U.S., and Israel’s dependence on the Jewish lobby’s ‘influence’ threatened to bring “hostility” to Jews from other Americans. Why didn’t people listen?
How will the ADL and more progressive Jews respond to Trump’s unholy alliance of white nationalism, Zionism and Islamophobia? The history is worrying. In 1982, ADL’s director said, The need was to fund Israel’s military. “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.”
An Israeli court on Tuesday sentenced Elor Azaria to 18 months in prison, one-year probation and a demotion of his military rank, a month after the Israeli soldier was found guilty of manslaughter. Azaria shot and killed Abd al-Fattah al-Sharif in March after al-Sharif had already been shot and injured following an alleged attempted stabbing attack in Hebron. The main evidence in the case was footage caught on camera by Imad Abu Shamsiya, a Palestinian resident of Hebron who tells Mondoweiss, “There is no justice for the family. They lost a member of their family in a very brutal way, this 18-month sentence is not justice for the family, for the Palestinian people or our nation — no one got justice from this.”
Racism gets a platform at the New York Times. The paper runs a hideous op-ed by an Israeli settler suggesting Palestinians leave Greater Israel.
“After 24 years the flag of Palestine has been lowered and taken down from the post, to be substituted by the flag of Israel,” Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett proclaims
Russia surely interfered in U.S. politics and may have affected last year’s election; and that scandal could bring Trump down. But Israel interferes in our politics all the time, with a negative effect; and it’s never a scandal.
Hundreds of Palestinians gathered at the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt over the weekend, waiting for their turn to be let through the checkpoint. The three-day opening allowed medical patients, students, and travelers with foreign passports to cross. With huge numbers of Palestinians desperate to leave Gaza, travelers typically pay an exorbitant amount of money to local brokers who coordinate their passage with Egyptian authorities. It’s been reported previously that Egyptian authorities ask for bribes of up to $10,000. Mondoweiss spoke with some hopeful travelers about their experience trying to get across the border from Gaza to Egypt while they waited in line.
Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett created ripples in the sports world when he publicly tweeted he was no longer going on a Post-Super Bowl trip to Israel. In a world where privileged football sports figures make vacuous and cowardly statements about politics, Bennett has been a voice of intelligence and compassion. His most recent public comments have cemented his unwavering commitment to understanding the roots of injustice — despite the attempts by Israeli organizations to gloss over the oppression of Palestinians.
Israeli forces stormed Aida refugee camp on Wednesday, arresting Ali Jawarish, a 14-year-old disabled Palestinian boy, who as of today is still being held in Israeli detention. The arrest was caught on video by youth from the camp, and depicts Israeli forces tearing off the boy’s shirt, and violently throwing him into the back of a military jeep. Jawarish was supposed to have a court hearing on Friday, but Israeli authorities told his family that the hearing had been postponed to an unscheduled date. “It’s not right what happens here to children, there needs to be a way to stop these kinds of crimes committed by the occupation,” says Jawarish’s cousin, Rana Musafana. “They are only children — Ali is a child, he needs to have a childhood — all the children should be able to have a childhood.”