Category Archives:
Middle East

2017 is a crucial year for the Palestine Question

Helena Cobban on
Chaim Weizmann

2017 is a historic year in the history of Palestine, the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, 70th of the UN Partition resolution and 30th of the First Intifada. It will cement the new understanding of Zionism as a settler-colonialist project, underwritten by the west.

Afghanistan: The forever war we never question

Charles Davis on
A funeral in Asadabad, capital of Kunar province, Afghanistan, after a suicide attack Feb. 27, 2016. (Photo: Reuters)

War is so normal in the United States of America — being in a constant state of it, somewhere else — that the longest-running foreign conflict in the country’s history is hardly even an afterthought in the race to become the nation’s next commander in chief. In 17 televised debates and town halls, the Republicans and Democrats running for president have been asked all of two questions about the war in Afghanistan, now in its 15th year. The U.S. and NATO will never get out of Afghanistan if their leaders never even have to explain why they are there.

Why does the U.S. continue to betray a courageous, dynamic Muslim leader in the Maldives?

James North on
Mohamed Nasheed arrest, Getty images

The United States government continues to remain astonishingly quiet about the rising dictatorship in the Indian Ocean island nation of Maldives, where the charismatic, democratic Muslim leader Mohamed Nasheed has been deposed, cheated out of an electoral comeback, jailed for 13 years and finally forced into exile. Perhaps it is because last September, the Maldives regime hired the Podesta Group, an influential public relations firm that is close to the Democratic Party, to promote its image.

J Street is in denial of one-state ‘consensus’

Phil Weiss and Stephen R. Low on
J Street founder Jeremy Ben-Ami speaking at the group's conference in 2012. (Photo: J Street)

J Street denounces Tom Friedman’s announcement that there’s one state in Israel and Palestine, but it won’t take its own members over to the West Bank. Doing so would make it clear as day that the two-state solution is past; and J Street’s stance is delusory. The organization wants Jews to sing HaTikvah (The Hope) for Zionism, when that hope has plainly curdled.

Jews aren’t special

Jonathan Ofir on
"In every generation enemies rise up to destroy us but God saves us from them,"  Benjamin Netanyahu said two years ago, as he made matzoh for Passover

Anti-semitism confirmed the belief that Jews are special, for many Zionists and secular Jews. We are not special. Any human can be brought to the abyss of nationalist absolutism and totalitarianism. Any religion can be applied in a way that accentuates the exclusivist ideological stream. If we let that idea haunt us to the degree of uncontrolled survivalist frenzy, we will be undermining our own future and fulfilling the next doom prophecy.

Chomsky and his critics

Theodore Sayeed on
Bertrand Russell

The Henry Jackson Society has been exposed for its efforts to smear Noam Chomsky. What is salient about the professional Chomsky hounders though is how little error they uncover. It is because they are not engaged in criticism, in the inspection of whether his arguments hold up against the evidence. They are simply practitioners of vilification.

OK. We knew. So?

Ofra Yeshua-Lyth on
Amos Gvirtz

By reminding Israelis of the little horrors of the occupation, from child detentions to home demolitions, kibbutznik Amos Gvirtz is determined to prove to his society that they cannot claim later, We did not know! But this moral education stops at the idea of one state with equal rights.

To my fellow Israelis: We can stop this

Jonathan Ofir on
Palestinian medic tries to comfort a wounded boy at Shifa hospital in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip,

An open letter to my fellow Israelis: As the world media became instantly transparent, the reality of our crimes became impossible to hide, and we put an extra focus on propaganda to twist it all into “self defense”. Who on earth would want to “survive” if this is how “survival” looks?

Jewish West Bank settlers are as smug as white South Africans in 1980

James North on
New construction in the Ofra settlement (Photo: Philip Weiss)

James North writes that as he read through Phil Weiss’s superb reports on Jewish settlers in West Bank Palestine, he experienced an eerie sense of familiarity. From 1978 to 1983 North lived in southern Africa, writing articles and then a book about the struggle against apartheid. The people Weiss described so vividly reminded him of many of the white South Africans he met back then. He writes, “The resemblance is more than an attitude of colonial superiority. Beyond that, I recognized in Weiss’s settlers a similar feeling of self-confidence, the conviction that although the outside world could criticize all it wanted, no one was going to taken any serious actions to disturb their lives.”

‘People will die’: A report from the Grande-Synthe refugee camp

Katherine Schwartz on
Residents of Grande-Synthe's refugee camp cue up for blankets, clothes, food, and water provided by independent volunteers. This line is a rare sight and a sign of the concerted effort of volunteers and English speaking Kurds to organize the distribution.  (Photo: Katherine Schwartz)

“We live like dogs,” says a Kurdish resident of Grande-Synthe, a burgeoning refugee camp located in an industrial suburb of Dunkerque, France. As the refugee crisis continues to swell across Europe, Grande-Synthe stands as an example of the most perilous living conditions in modern Western society.

News to write home about

Hatim Kanaaneh on
A homeless man drinks water while sitting on the beach at Ala Moana Beach Park located near Waikiki in Honolulu, Aug. 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

While in Hawaii, Hatim Kanaaneh uses the local homelessness crisis to explain Middle East politics.