Category Archives:
Middle East

It’s easier to be a vegan than an anti-Zionist in Israel

Mondoweiss Editors on

A viral video at Haaretz in Hebrew shows Israeli celebrities decrying kosher slaughter practices and declaring that they are vegans. Israelis can watch any number of videos documenting the killing and abuse of Palestinians but they haven’t become anti-Zionists or even vocal anti-Occupation activists. Veganism is a way for Israelis to sacrifice something while avoiding the Palestinian issue.

Moshe Machover and the battle for the soul of British Labour

Jonathan Ofir on

The witch-hunt against ostensible ‘anti-semites’ in the British Labour has intensified into ‘thought crime’ persecution. A Jewish professor was expelled from Labour because of what Jews “feel and know” about his argument that anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism.

As battle rages in UK Labour Party, Moshe Machover expelled after asserting ‘Anti-Zionism does not equal anti-Semitism’

Jonathan Cook on

Pro-Israel activists in the UK Labour Party say there has been a surge of anti-semitism in the party since Jeremy Corbyn became leader two years ago. Moshe Machover, an anti-Zionist philosophy professor born and raised in Israel, appears to be among the first Labour members to be netted by a rule change on anti-semitism for an article he wrote, paradoxically titled “Anti-Zionism does not equal anti-Semitism”. As Jonathan Cook shows the pro-Israel activists’ concerns are much less about anti-semitism than about Corbyn and the trend he represents, including the possibility that Palestinians will be put at the heart of a Labour government’s foreign policy.

Journalist and former Mossad agent Herbert Pundik turns 90 – and Denmark celebrates  

Jonathan Ofir on

“I didn’t know anything,” Danish journalist Herbert Pundik says of the Tantura massacre in Israel in 1948. Herbert Pundik has been authoritatively shaping Danish public on Israel. But he was a Mossad spy whilst being a journalist and leading editor, and was serving in the Zionist army when an Israeli town was ethnically cleansed in 1948. He turns 90 and is celebrated by Danish media.

New group challenges role of Israel lobby inside Labour Party as effort to undermine Corbyn continues

Jonathan Cook on

British Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s speech at last week’s annual party conference included an unequivocal declaration of solidarity with the Palestinians. The speech came as sections of his party’s establishment demonstrated once again that they are determined to subvert his leadership, using charges of antisemitism to curtail progressive reforms. However, there is a new movement of Jews inside Labour, including anti-Zionists and those who support BDS, that may challenge some long-held party positions and give Corbyn the support he needs to buck the neoliberal status quo.

How Kurdish independence underpins Israel’s plan to reshape the Middle East

Jonathan Cook on

Palestinians and Israelis watched last week’s referendum of Iraq’s Kurds with special interest. Israeli officials and many ordinary Palestinians were delighted – for very different reasons – to see an overwhelming vote to split away from Iraq. Palestinian support for the Kurds is not difficult to understand. Palestinians, too, were overlooked when Britain and France carved up the Middle East into states a century ago. Israel’s complex interests in Kurdish independence are harder to unravel.

Do not turn the Balfour Declaration into a holy Jewish text

Robert Cohen on

The 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration is nearly upon us and its 67 words of apparent British imperial generosity towards the Jewish people are already taking on sacred status. Robert Cohen writes, “For the sake of future Jewish generations, not to mention historians of the 20th century, it would be a good idea to put a stop to this manufacturing of holiness, this muddling of religion and nationalism. It’s only adding to the mountain of historical and political deceit that blocks the road to a place of justice and peace.”

A plea to Israel: Don’t start the third Lebanon War

Larry Derfner on

Israel should stop threatening Lebanon because it could lead to war in which many thousands would die for no reason. And Israel faces no real threat from Hezbollah. The Israeli bellicosity is the product of Israeli paranoia: primal Jewish fear of annihilation that is illogical under the circumstances.

Between our life and our mother Algeria, we chose our mother: Excerpt from ‘Inside the Battle of Algiers: Memoir of a Woman Freedom Fighter’

Helena Cobban on

Former Algerian female fighter Zohra Drif writes in her new memoir, “Perhaps the reader of today expects me to regret having placed bombs in public places frequented by European civilians. I do not. To do so would be to obscure the central problem of settler colonialism by trying to pass off the European civilians of the day for (at best) mere tourists visiting Algeria or (at worst) the “natural” inheritors of our land in place of its legitimate children.”

Ten days of awe: standing with whom?

Alice Rothchild on

During the high holidays, Jews must consider the nature of the state that claims to speak in their name: Political Zionism in practice in Israel has produced a settler colonial state founded on the basis of establishing an Arab free state, where Jewish trauma, aspirations, and history are privileged at the expense of everyone else and this continues to this moment.

High holidays? Meh

Philip Weiss on

On the high holidays, Phil Weiss notices that few of his Jewish friends are observant. One went camping. Another made a comment about their Buddhist spouse. A third made a blasphemous joke with pleasure: It took 2000 years for the Jews to get Chinese food. Many are intermarried. So everything that Alan Dershowitz (The Vanishing American Jew) warned us about is happening– “and still I shrug.”

Believing in hope in Gaza. Even when hope lies

Anas Jnena and Pam Bailey on

Young people in Gaza are at the end of their rope spiritually after three wars and 10 years of blockade. They want to find a sliver of hope in the news that the Hamas government is in talks with the Fatah faction in the West Bank, possibly ending Hamas’s isolation in global affairs.

Elisha Wiesel’s Rosh Hashanah remembrance

Marc H. Ellis on

Elisha Wiesel’s Rosh Hashanah remembrance of his late father Eli Wiesel puts recognition of the “Jewish state of Israel” on a par with the rights of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. and fails to reckon with his father’s complicity in the suffering of Palestinians. But the high holidays call on us to witness and move forward, Marc Ellis writes.

Young Gaza musicians break the Israeli siege – by accident

Jonathan Ofir on

Two Gaza musicians were barred from participating in the West Bank tour of the Palestinian Youth Orchestra, and the Israeli Supreme Court affirmed the ban. But a technicality in the Israeli bureaucratic apparatus meant they could participate in the West Bank anyway– and the world did not end, as the rights group Gisha, which fought for the musicians, noted.

In my last year of university, the First Intifada undermined my Jewish identity

Robert Cohen on

Jewish identity is fluid. It adopted Zionism, now it must drop Zionism, Robert Cohen writes. “The longer we cling to the fiction of two-states and the belief that Zionism is not merely an ideology but a part of our faith and identity, the longer it will take to bring anything approaching peace with justice to the land.”

A plea to President Abbas to release the courageous Issa Amro, immediately

Miko Peled on

Invoking Yasser Arafat and his own niece Smadar Elhanan, killed by a suicide bomber, Miko Peled calls on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to release Issa Amro, who has almost singlehandedly defended an occupied Palestinian neighborhood of Hebron from Jewish colonists.

Lessons from Finkelstein: a response to Seth Anderson

Tony Greenstein on

When Seth Anderson urges us to see international law and the two state solution as the basis for resolution of the Israel/Palestine conflict, he ignores the fact that the law has meant nothing in the context of power politics, and that partition would create Palestinian bantustans and leave intact the discriminatory structure of the so-called Jewish state. So writes Tony Greenstein.

‘Dabke not destruction’: Activists protest Israel’s participation in UK arms fair

Lydia Noon on

As a lorry earmarked for London’s weapons fair approaches, a group of people suddenly hold hands and start Palestinian Dabke dancing in the road. A police officer tries to get people to move but inadvertently finds himself in the middle of a circle of dancing activists. Lydia Noon reports from the first day of resistance to Britain’s Defence and Security Equipment International weapons fair where local activists, grassroots and faith groups protested Israel’s presence at the conference.

‘Nazi stuff’: The Israeli government takes on African refugees

Jonathan Ofir on

In the wake of an Israeli Supreme court decision limiting to some degree the state’s ability to imprison refugees indefinitely and to send them by force to a third country, Israeli leaders incite against African refugees. “Those families and their children” have taken over south Tel Aviv from real Israelis, says Interior Minister Aryeh Deri.

Going veg

Philip Weiss on

At a Princeton conference on the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, Phil Weiss meets British philosophy fellow Brian Klug, who describes his decision to become a vegetarian 30 years ago, which he wrote about in his book Being Jewish and Doing Justice. On a subsequent visit to Jerusalem, Phil makes a similar decision, out of a sense of personal responsibility.

Eisner and Greenblatt refuse to see Israel’s face in Richard Spencer’s mirror

Roland Nikles on

When white nationalist Richard Spencer said there was a lot to admire in Zionism, he held up a mirror to Jewish nationalism’s contempt for Palestinian rights. Naomi Dann of Jewish Voice for Peace was right to seize on the affinity as a reflection on Zionism, as lived. While Jane Eisner of the Forward and Jonathan Greenblatt of the ADL are in denial about what their ideology has become.