Category Archives:
Middle East

Where?

Fidaa Abuassi on
Art: Al Nakba by Ismail Shammout

“Why my existence they so fear/they wish I leave and disappear?” A poem by Gaza writer Fidaa Abuassi on the dislocation of exile and colonization

Reflections on the Brussels attack

Richard Falk on
Soldiers stand guard in front of the central train station in Brussels. (Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images)

Richard Falk writes that the Brussels attack for which ISIS claimed responsibility exhibits the new face of 21st century warfare for which there are no front lines, no path to military victory, and acute civilian vulnerability. As such, it represents a radical challenge to our traditional understanding of warfare, and unless responses are shaped by these realities, it could drive Western democracies step by step into an enthused political embrace and revived actuality of fascist politics.

Israeli soldier filmed killing wounded Palestinian finds support among Israeli politicians

Allison Deger on
Naftali Bennett at an Israel Project event in Jerusalem. (The Israel Project/Flickr)

As a video recording of an Israeli soldier killing a wounded Palestinian in Hebron on Thursday emerged hours after the shooting Israeli government officials and civil society representatives were split in their responses. Some quickly moved to condemn the shooting, while an outspoken group of Israeli leaders applauded the soldier and circulated a counter-theory of self-defense and heroism.

Israelis don’t exist

Jonathan Ofir on
Israeli biometric i.d.

Israel tells the world that its citizens have Israeli nationality, but on internal documents it insists that Jews have Jewish nationality. Because it is the Jewish state, and thereby justifies discrimination against non-Jewish nationals who are citizens of Israel.

On World Poetry Day, Gaza activists honor detained poet Ashraf Fayadh

Haidar Eid on
Ashraf Fayadh

On the occasion of World Poetry Day, Gaza-based human rights activists released an amateur video in support of the Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh, who has been detained in a Saudi prison since January 1, 2014. In the video Palestinian activist Haidar Eid performs “Thirsty for Freedom,” adapted from a poem by the late legendary Egyptian poet Ahmed Fouad Negm.

Zionism’s long and rich history of delegitimizing Palestinians

Thomas S. Harrington on
British Zionist Israel Zangwill who coined the phrase, "Palestine is a country without a people; the Jews are a people without a country" (Photo: Wikimedia)

Israel supporters condemn the “delegitimizing” efforts of the BDS movement, but it is not as if delegitmization is a new tactic to Zionism. Indeed, a strong case could be made that it has been perhaps the single most ubiquitous and effective tool of the movement in the US and elsewhere over much of the last century.

What brought you to be critical of Israel?

Jonathan Ofir on
Jonathan Ofir

Jonathan Ofir explains how he, an Israeli expatriate in Europe, came to be so critical of his country. “I came to realise that ‘fighting for my country’ meant something very different than winning ideological and physical battles for the State of Israel. It meant dismantling Zionist propaganda.”

Understanding the fundamental roots of conflict and suffering: An interview with Rich Forer

Katie Miranda on
Rich Forer

Rich Forer is a former member of AIPAC who has orthodox relatives living in West Bank settlements, yet today he is a strong advocate for Palestinian rights. Forer is the author of the book ‘Breakthrough: Transforming Fear into Compassion A New Perspective on the Israel-Palestine Conflict’ and Katie Miranda interviews him about how the concept of the “psycho-spiritual roots of conflict” helps explain why some Israel supporters think and behave the way they do. Miranda says, “We can take the easy route and brush them off as crazy and racist. It’s much harder to look at the roots and even to identify similar qualities in ourselves.”

Austrian Parliament cancels International Women’s Day event following attacks on Hedy Epstein

Annie Robbins on
Hedy Epstein:  "In the background you see the courtroom in which the doctors were tried & see some of the defendants sitting in the dock.  Above that is a photo of the freezing experiment.  A person is lying in a large vat of freezing cold ice water.  Two doctors, one of them Dr. Rascher, are observing. Many people died as a result of this experiment."  --Nuremberg Palace of Justice (Photo: Newsweek)

Today, International Women’s Day, the Austrian Parliament was scheduled to hold an event called In Grandmothers’ Words. This event would have joined eight female WWII witnesses from around the world in Vienna in an unprecedented opportunity for the public to hear their experiences regarding specific topics, such as the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the Uprising in Warsaw, and the Blitz in London. However, fueled by a biased article about Hedy Epstein, who was scheduled to appear, the event was cancelled. A protest emerged in an open letter originating from the Austrian public and with strong international support: over 180 signatures from 19 countries, including almost 50 Austrians and eminent figures.

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.