Category Archives:
Middle East

Palestine, an Islamic issue?

Ahmed Moor on
Palestinian supporters of Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements stand under the Palestinian flag in a November 2007 protest in Gaza city. (Photo: Abid Katib/Getty Images)

Ahmed Moor writes the idea that Palestine is a Muslim issue is one that a lot of people believe in even though Palestinian society is not Muslim and Palestinian history never developed solely within an Islamic context. So who are the people who seek to offer it as a credible structural description? And why is the Palestine-is-a-Muslim-problem line so destructive?

To counter radical Islam, we must confront our own hypocrisy

Jon Kindberg on
Palestinian child detained in Hebron, posted by Int'l Solidarity Movement

Radical Islamists gain traction in the west by saying that the US and Europe are enabling Israel’s harassment and murder of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank through unquestioning support of Israel despite its human rights violations. We need to end that hypocrisy

French terror attacks contribute to Israeli’s isolation

Philip Weiss on
David Ward

Many Israel supporters say that the French attacks show Jewish insecurity in Europe. The flip side of this argument is that the attacks demonstrate that Israeli discrimination is an anachronism in today’s world, and this widespread understanding is turning the country into a pariah.

Why Charlie Hebdo offends me

Hicham Tiflati on
Newspaper headlines following the Charlie Hebdo attack.

Hicham Tiflati writes about why Charlie Hebdo, and the resulting political fallout from the tragic attack on its office, offends him.

Why do Muslims object to depictions of their prophet?

Philip Weiss on
Bill Neely on NBC News, not showing Charlie Hebdo cover

Media have tended to portray Muslim objections to the depiction of the prophet Muhammad as backward and unevolved. It would be better if the media sought to explain how Muslims feel about the matter.

When blasphemy is bigotry: The need to recognise historical trauma when discussing Charlie Hebdo

Chloe Patton on
Newspaper headlines following the Charlie Hebdo attack.

Whether we view Charlie Hebdo’s Islamic-themed output as blasphemy or bigotry depends on how we relate to two equally divergent historical experiences. The White French majority overwhelmingly experienced the images as part of a national struggle with clericalism, while many people around the world saw them as yet another assault on Muslims. Chloe Patton says that we must shift the conversation from the legal to the ethical realm and urgently come to terms with the ways the historical traumas of the global south continue to haunt the postcolonial present.

Why I am not Charlie

Scott Long on
Cartoon by Sudanese artist Khalid Albaih, from

Scott Long writes about the killings at Charlie Hebdo and the debate over free speech, Islamophobia and the meaning of solidarity. He writes, “There’s a perfectly good reason not to republish the cartoons that has nothing to do with cowardice or caution. I refuse to post them because I think they’re racist and offensive. I can support your right to publish something, and still condemn what you publish. I support free speech. I oppose all censors. I abhor the killings. I mourn the dead. I am not Charlie.”

The moral hysteria of Je suis charlie

Brian Klug on
(Photo: Getty Images)

Oxford philosopher Brian Klug says the masses of people have turned the victims of the horrific Charlie Hebdo assassination into heroes of France and free speech think they are defining the difference between them and the killers. But they too have their limits, they just don’t know it. He says this dangerous self-righteous moral passion is just what we don’t need as the storm clouds gather on the European horizon.

Don’t let’s go to the war of civilizations again

Philip Weiss on
Infographic by Vincent Robert @2020robert

After 20 years of dealing with Islamic terrorism, you’d think western intellectuals might be thoughtful about its causes in western actions. Instead, too many in our midst are blaming Islam itself.

Against self-determination

Philip Weiss on

Religious-ethnic background as the basis of national identity is an anachronism in the 21st century. All states must protect individual rights from all communities. So goodbye to the era of self-determination, when the self is ethnicity.

Bypassing Israel: The necessity of recognition in European capitals

Scott Ratner on
Pro-Palestinian supporters position a giant banner calling for a recognised Palestinian State, in Parliament Square, central London on October 13, 2014. (Photo: AFP/Leon Neal)

The decades-long “peace process” has clearly shown attempting to work through bilateral or even multilaterals tracks where Israel is assumed to be acting in good faith is utterly futile as long as the Israeli government exerts absolute control over the situation on the ground. Scott Ratner says only the international arena offers a venue where Palestinian national aspirations are not encumbered by Israeli desiderata or obstacles that will forever prevent the materialization of a Palestinian state.

We’re all anti-American now

Philip Weiss on
A detainee from Afghanistan is carried on a stretcher before being interrogated by military officials at Camp X-Ray at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 2002. (Photo: LYNNE SLADKY/AP)

Americans should feel deeply ashamed of their country for the Senate’s report on CIA torture; Josh Earnest’s effort to restore US “moral authority” is laughable; the myth of US exceptionalism has been shattered.

From Hillel to Sabeel: The path to unlearning Zionism

Liz Rose on
Hillel building at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Attending a Sabeel conference at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Liz Rose recounts her own path from being a Zionist student at the school to being an anti-Zionist supporter of Palestinian rights.

British MPs call for concrete action to sanction Israel

Stan Hoben on
Grahame M. Morris MP - UK Parliament

In Westminster last Monday, Dec 1, MPs called for the government to take concrete action to sanction Israel, with several calling for a complete arms trade embargo. The backbench debate highlighted increasing frustration within Parliament around the government’s failure to respond to the Oct 13 call for recognition of the Palestinian statehood, and on its wider failure to act to hold Israel accountable to its obligations under international law.

Israeli Oscar nominee can’t get Israeli funds for new film

Philip Weiss on
Guy Davidi

After Guy Davidi came out in favor of boycott, the Oscar-nominated director’s cultural status went to “zero” in Israel, he says. So that’s why he’s raising money on Indiegogo for his new film, Mixed Feelings

The Minds of Others: An interview with Max Blumenthal

Anna-Esther Younes on
Max Blumenthal and David Sheen in the German Bundestag. November 10, 2014. (Photo: Twitter)

Anna-Esther Younes interviews Max Blumenthal about his controversial appearances in Berlin, Germany where he and David Sheen were accused of anti-Semitism because they spoke on racism in Israeli society.

First they came for the Palestinians . . .

Annie Robbins on
Cartoonist: Michael Leunig

Annie Robbins comments on “First they came for the Palestinians”, a political cartoon by renowned cartoonist and political-cultural commentator Michael Leunig: “My initial response to the cartoon was that the conversation surrounding events in Palestine and Israel require and demand public engagement. The onus is on all of us and this is not primarily a Jewish conversation, nor should it be. We cannot be silent. This is a global conversation as well as an American conversation. Be part of it.”