Language matters because it impacts how we think of reality. Nada Elia’s New Year’s Resolution, which she hopes millions of others will also make, is to stop substituting “the occupation” for “Zionism.” She writes, “The era of discussing the occupation as the presumed greater Israeli evil is over, and should be tossed into the trash heap of history. As we celebrate the discursive change around Palestine, we must be cautious no longer to speak or write about “the occupation” except as one of the many varied facets of Zionism. Palestinians cannot afford any more erasures, as these are extremely detrimental to our cause, to justice. And just as we realize that the two-state “solution” was never a viable option, we must also inscribe into our new discourse that the occupation was never the problem. Zionism is.”
Netanyahu’s most impressive achievement is that he has associated his politics and even himself personally with sacred Jewish history and its hallowed lessons. That is why Jimmy Carter and now John Kerry must be vilified for pointing out the apartheid treatment of Palestinians. Netanyahu’s sacred construction is about to crash to the ground. Jeffrey Goldberg has already jumped ship.
John Kerry’s closing act as secretary of state is a 72-minute speech devoted to a problem, Israeli settlements, that was removed from the Democratic Party platform just five months before. The bitter failure of the Obama administration to take on Netanyahu untill the last minute is proof of the power of the Israel lobby inside American liberalism. The Democratic Party will support justice in the Middle East only if it takes on the forces of intolerance in its own ranks. That means the Israel lobby. You can’t defeat an enemy if you can’t name it.
Israel’s vehement response to Resolution 2334 speaks volumes. It will not “exchange land for peace,” it will not help create a Palestinian state, it will not stop settlements, it will not end the occupation. And in 23 days it will get a new American administration that will sign off on the end of the idea of a Palestinian state.
John Kerry’s speech on Israel/Palestine today was a eulogy for the two state solution, some commenters said; while others said he laid down new criticisms of Israel with statement about “separate but not equal” residents of West Bank and saying “The settler agenda” is defining Israel’s future.
Nadya Raja Tannous writes, “On my trip to Standing Rock, I saw a kind of overarching control, surveillance and government force that is horrifyingly similar to life in occupied Palestine. Because of Mondoweiss, what I saw on the ground in Standing Rock reached communities who could not witness it themselves. Please join me in donating to Mondoweiss to support their commitment to covering real news on pertinent issues that mainstream news outlets don’t cover.”
President Obama’s decision to allow passage of a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements as illegal has done more to change the shape of the conflict than any other action in the last ten years, even than Israel’s massacres in Gaza. Israel supporters always said that the country would not move toward peace if the U.S. was tough on it. But the UN Security Council resolution against settlements shows the opposite to be true: a little distance is already causing huge positive developments, isolating the country in world opinion and licensing criticism of PM Netanyahu. Obama has nudged Israel, and the media, toward recognition of the country’s new status, as a rogue state.
Journalist Eli Lake has been unhinged by the UN resolution against Israeli settlements that Obama allowed to go through, and has been accusing Obama of cowardice and hatred, invoking biblical claims to Jerusalem and attacking writers who disagree with him as terrorists
Jason Greenblatt, the 49-year-old real estate attorney representing Donald Trump’s business conglomerate, has been named special representative for international negotiations which will include the Israel-Palestinian peace process. Greenblatt once studied at a religious school in the West Bank settlement of Alon Shuvot and may be the first leading adviser on Israel to a US President that’s done guard duty at a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank “armed with an M-16 assault weapon.” In perhaps a sign of things to come Greenblatt told Israel’s Channel 1, “[Trump] has gone on record to say that the settlements in the West Bank can stay…I personally believe that they should stay. I don’t believe that they’re an obstacle to peace.”
More cries of betrayal from the pampered nation. Benjamin Netanyahu says President Obama “initiated” the resolution against settlements at the United Nations, betraying his “explicit commitment” to Israel not to support such action. Education Minister Naftali Bennett says it was all planned in the Cairo speech 7 years ago. Israel’s situation is naked in the wake of the Security Council resolution to condemn the settlements.
That an American abstention from the world’s top council was required to ensure the success of a resolution favoring Palestinian human rights tells us it is time to recognize the American-Palestinian conflict. Did you know there are more Americans in Palestine engaging in illegal activity than there are in Iraq and Afghanistan?
The New York Times commits journalistic malpractice, suggesting the US abstention at the UN was due to personal animosity between Obama and Netanyahu. Obama is dead serious about a two state solution, Netanyahu about holding on to power
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David Friedman, Donald Trump’s nominee as the next U.S. ambassador to Israel, may be controversial in the United States, but Israelis see him as a “warm Jew” who will restore amity between the countries’ governments. Both Friedman and Trump have been big supporters of Beit El, a settlement just north of Ramallah, and Shay Alon, the mayor of Beit El, says Trump made “an excellent choice”: “Friedman is a warm Jew who identifies with the roots of the state of Israel and Judaism. He is in the know of all things that have to do with our hold on the settlements, on Israel, and Judea and Samaria in particular.”
The Israeli collective psyche is shaped by coercive pressures: It is post-traumatic; it cannot forgive the Jews their victimization in Europe; and so it is intoxicated by power and the use of violence against the weak; and is in a state of denial about its own aggression toward Palestinians. Staying alive by whatever means, the ethos of Netanyahu, has replaced traditional Jewish ethics of loving the neighbor, says psychiatrist Ruchama Marton, founder of Physicians for Human Rights, Israel.
Organizer Laila Abdelaziz writes: As a Palestinian American, I look at the challenges we face as opportunities to organize and to resist. My activism has taken me from my state’s legislature to the White House, from national conferences to small community meetings. And in all these contexts—state, local, national, international—Mondoweiss’s reporting has been essential to connect those of us in the struggle. Please join me in supporting Mondoweiss and the crucial role this space provides for communicating, sharing, and supporting Palestinian rights activism in the United States and beyond.
A landmark piece in the New York Times: Omri Boehm of the New School says Trump era will force liberal Zionists to choose Zionism or liberalism, because Zionism is “a political agenda rooted in the denial of liberal politics” and the privileging of one ethnic group over another.
Ariel Gold and Isso Amro write, “As a Jewish American and a Palestinian human rights activist, we stand united in our opposition to President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination of bankruptcy attorney David Friedman to be the next US Ambassador to Israel. Friedman, who has no diplomatic experience, is aligned not with American Jewish positions, but with Israel’s illegal settler movement. He is hostile to the two-state solution and refers to the West Bank as Judea and Sumeria, a biblical name used by settlers and Israel’s extreme right. Friedman’s reference to the West Bank by this name reflects his support for Israeli annexation of the West Bank, which would force the Palestinian population either to leave or be contained in enclaves, not unlike South African apartheid era bantustans”
As 2016 draws to an end, here are some of the year’s most remarkable examples of resistance to injustice: key stories and videos you will want to review and share with others. You can make a difference for justice in Palestine today, by supporting Mondoweiss. We need to raise $120,000 in order to fulfill our mission adequately in 2017 and beyond. With your help, reporting is resistance; reporting spreads resistance; reporting advances resistance.
Since the election, one target of President-elect Donald Trump’s criticism of corporate America has been the Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter program. Interestingly, Trump’s criticism coincided with the delivery of the first two out of 50 F-35 jets to Israel, the first foreign country to receive them. Donald Trump claims he wants “to make good deals for this country,” and if he is serious, he would reassess the horrible deal that currently exists between the U.S. and Israel.
Kingmakers Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban are suddenly reduced to begging for crumbs from their respective political parties. This is the message of John Bolton’s failed candidacy for the State Department, Keith Ellison’s survival as frontrunner for the Democratic Party chair, and Trump’s elevation of extremist David Friedman as his ambassador to Israel. These are all signs of the new nationalism we are going to be seeing in the Trump administration: Jews can have Israel and Palestine, but America is for Americans.
Donald Trump has nominated 57-year-old Long Island native David Friedman to serve as U.S ambassador to Israel. Friedman served as Trump’s Israel adviser during the election campaign and has worked as Trump’s bankruptcy lawyer. He is a vociferous pro-settlement advocate who openly advocates for the annexation of the West Bank, and serves as president of American Friends of Bet El Institutions, a settlement advocacy group. Friedman will join an administration that has continually promised to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and has made clear its opposition to the two-state solution. In announcing the pick Trump called Friedman “a longtime friend and trusted adviser.”
Speaking to an audience at Central Synagogue in New York City, David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy says BDS is a threat because there are a rising number of minority students on US campuses who think Israel stole the land from Palestinians, and if anti-Semitism worsens, American Jews will expect Benjamin Netanyahu as “the leader of all Jews” to speak out against it in the U.S.
The Israeli government this week continued to stall a so-called “muezzin bill” that if passed would criminalize mosques for playing the call the prayer over loudspeakers. Critics say Netanyahu’s support for the bill is an effort to counterbalance internal political pressure he faces over the future dismantling of the illegal outpost of Amona, a decision that continues to spur mass controversy with many in the far-right settler bloc. “This law is not about noise, it’s not about quality of life, Netanyahu doesn’t care about these issues. The bill is about inciting against the Arab population in a time that Netanyahu doesn’t look ‘right’ enough for his right-wing settler base because of everything going on with Amona,” says Reut Mor, spokeswoman for Joint List head MK Ayman Odeh.
The real struggle in Israeli leadership is not Netanyahu cowering before settlers, but who can control a sacred ethnocentric discourse of Jewish persecution and innocence in the face of alleged Palestinian Jew-hatred. Jeffrey Goldberg has propagated that discourse in the U.S. The inevitable conviction of army medic Elor Azaria on manslaughter charges next month represents a crisis for that discourse at last.