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Tag Archives: featured
As you’ve surely heard by now Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not be attending Nelson Mandela’s official memorial, citing a lack of funds. Lord knows we’ve had our differences in the past, but this is a time to put politics aside and give help where it’s needed — help us raise money to send Netanyahu to the Mandela Memorial! Above, Netanyahu getting the news Israel doesn’t have the money to send him to South Africa.
The heavy-hitters in the American Jewish community usually march in lockstep with the Israeli government. But many organizations that comprise the American Jewish establishment have gone silent over the Prawer Plan, the Israeli government’s initiative to uproot tens of thousands of Bedouin Arabs, relocate them to urban areas and build new Jewish areas on top of demolished villages. The silence is in sharp contrast to the activism against the Prawer Plan from groups like Jewish Voice for Peace and Truah.
Shimon Peres praises Nelson Mandela now that he has died, but Peres was the person most responsible for establishing the military relationship between Israel and Apartheid South Africa.
Al Quds University has been in the news lately as Brandeis has severed its relationship with the Palestinian institution. Tom Sperlinger taught there earlier this year and gives a different view from what we’ve been reading in the press. He describes teaching Shakespeare in Abu Dis while navigating the themes, and trials, of occupation.
The American Studies Association has called for an academic boycott of Israel. The National Council of the American Studies Association (ASA) made the unanimous decision after the group’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., where the academic boycott call was debated. The ASA Council’s endorsement “represents a principle of solidarity with scholars and students deprived of their academic freedom and an aspiration to enlarge that freedom for all, including Palestinians,” a statement on their website read. The call for academic boycott of Israel comes seven months after an Asian American academic group endorsed the boycott call.
Residents of two neighborhoods in East Jerusalem are bracing for the largest wave of home demolitions ever proposed by Israel. On October 31, Jerusalem municipal officials affixed legal documents to residential buildings in the Ras Khamis and Ras Shahada neighborhoods. The exact number of homes that would be affected is unclear, but Jeff Halper, the head of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, estimates that 15,000 homes could be demolished.
It’s the end of the year and the time that we appeal to readers for help. Our budget comes in large part from you, our readers. Your tax-deductible contributions have allowed us to grow in size and in relevance and to begin to pay for reporting from the region. In the last year we’ve broken more stories and received more attention than ever before. A lot of that is because the American conversation about the conflict is changing. But then we’ve played our part in changing it. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today to help us continue this important work.
Ari Shavit wants to end the occupation, and is an archetype for what is referred to as “the Left” in Israel, a dwindling breed of earnest defectors from the occupation machine. The Ha’aretz senior columnist and author of “The Promised Land” is a well-positioned and influential political commentator, but he has an abysmal record of reading Palestinian politics. As much as he may reflect the assumptions, and anxieties, of the liberal establishment, it’s clear from his writing that he doesn’t know Palestinians.
Peter Kaplan, longtime New York editor, who among many other accomplishments launched the website Mondoweiss, died on Friday in NY, at 59.
Protests erupted across the Palestinian territories today as a show of force against the Prawer Plan, the Israeli government’s initiative to uproot tens of thousands of Bedouin Arabs, demolish their villages and build new Jewish towns on top of their ruins. One of the biggest protests was in the village of Hura, a Bedouin area in the Negev desert. Police officers fired tear gas and “skunk water” at activists there, and arrested at least 10 people. Above, watch video of a protest against the Prawer Plan outside the settlement of Beit El.
America’s foremost Israel lobby group has expressed skepticism over the deal with Iran. In a recent policy memo, AIPAC ran through the deal’s details and expressed considerable skepticism over an interim agreement that contains “implicit acceptance of Iranian enrichment.” What they didn’t do, though, is press for new and immediate sanctions on Iran. Instead, they want new sanctions legislation in order to “shape” the final outcome a far-reaching accord with Iran. AIPAC is playing the long game on sanctions. They can’t try to scuttle an interim agreement already reached with Iran, as distasteful as they find it. Much like the fight over Chuck Hagel, which AIPAC sat out lest it go head to head with an administration they need to work with, AIPAC is not pushing for immediate sanctions because it would set up a public confrontation with the Obama administration.
American Task Force on Palestine finds funding from anti-Palestinian billionaire and a repressive monarchy
Despite its claims to be “committed to strengthening Palestinian-American relations” as “an independent voice for Palestine,” the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) has begun accepting funding from one of the most aggressive funders of anti-Palestinian and Islamophobic initiatives in the United States. A recently released 2011 Internal Revenue Service Form 990 information return revealed that ATFP has accepted at least $10,000 from the Klarman Family Foundation. The donation highlights the trajectory of an organization originally founded to advance the position of Palestinian statehood advocates in Washington, DC, but which has increasingly diverged from the Palestinian consensus. It also exposes an emerging strategy of pro-Israel donors like Klarman who are propping up an array of Muslim and Arab-American groups to drive a wedge into grassroots Palestine solidarity organizing. In addition, ATFP claims to have never accepted donations from foreign governments, but the group accepted $148,800 from the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in 2011. Above, a controversial photo of ATFP President Ziad Asali with then Israeli Ambassador the U.S. Michael Oren.
A historic deal was reached in Geneva tonight that has brought the U.S. and Iran back from the brink of a disastrous folly. There is widespread jubilation over the Iran deal. The National Iranian American Council calls it a form of deliverance, though elements of the Israel lobby are anguished, and there are signs that the neocons will mount last-gasp efforts to kill the agreement
The two-state solution was based on the idea that West Bank Palestinians would sell out Palestinian refugees to have sovereignty over a fragmented state. But Palestinians never accepted that deal, and of course neither did Israelis, and the continuing dispossession in the West Bank makes violence inevitable.
It’s barely 100 meters, but a fence Israel plans to build through four villages in the heart of the iconic hills of the West Bank shows how deep the occupation reaches into Palestinian life. Earlier this month, the Israeli military ordered the construction of a separation fence in the north central West Bank on agricultural land belonging to four Palestinian villages. This fence is not an extension of the famous separation barrier. Rather it will be a free-floating chain linked plank in the heart of the West Bank. A miniature version of the wall, it separates nothing and can easily be bypassed on foot. Still this fence is part of a patchwork of barriers in the Nablus district that trace the highway system. Allison Deger reports an exclusive.
In recent years, the Israeli government has prioritized populating the Negev with Jewish Israelis. And one partner of the Israeli government, Nefesh B’Nefesh, is encouraging young North American Jews to enlist in the key state project. The Negev was talked up and gushed over at a November 17th conference in New York held by the organization that encourages emigration to the Jewish state. One of their aims is to turn young Jews into the foot-soldiers of Israel’s plan for the Negev.
Inspired by Chuck Hagel, Barack Obama and Sarah Palin’s masterful accessorizing to show their support for Israel, Katie Miranda has come up with a variety of stylish accessories that politicians with grand ambitions can use to prove their commitment to Israel. Featuring the Masada Sun Hat, Star of David Leather Belt, Hebrew National Boxers and something so simple it’s amazing only Cory Booker has thought of it.
Imagine that you have to spend your night in utter darkness, to arrange your plan for each day according to a power-cut plan, or to force yourself into bed as there is nothing you can do other than to sit in the dark. If you find it hard to imagine, just ask a Palestinian from Gaza. No one could explain it better. Sarah Salibi writes from Gaza on how she is surviving on 6 hours of electricity a day.
Naftali Bennett’s talk at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan veered from Israel’s status as a “lighthouse nation” to why the peace process was doomed to fail. But the main event of his discussion with neoconservative Dan Senor was the right-wing star’s warnings about why the U.S. should not strike a deal with Iran. “If a decade from now, God forbid, a nuclear suitcase blows up in an American city, we will be able to trace it back to these days,” Bennett told the crowd. The HaBayit HaYehudi leader urged for Western sanctions to be ramped up on Iran three days before talks over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program will kick off again in Geneva, with many signs pointing to a deal.
‘Pro-Life? Pro-Israel?’: Israeli anti-abortion organization reaches out for US support to fight demographic war in the Jewish state
An Israeli anti-abortion group is reaching out to Christian Zionists and pro-choice advocates in the United States in an effort to increase the state’s Jewish population. The organization, Efrat, is an Israeli anti-abortion group with hundreds of volunteers that counsel Jewish women against abortion and provide support for the first year of the child’s life. While in the U.S. pro-life discourse focuses on morality, Efrat looks at abortion from a demographics perspective — promoting what they call an “inner aliyah,” or increasing Israel’s Jewish population by pumping up the birthrate via anti-abortion counseling and subsidies. Despite the apparent political contradiction, the organization has received support from abortion rights stalwarts such as New York Senator Chuck Schumer, and wide support from the American Jewish community.
It seems there are still plenty of parties who would prefer that Arafat’s death continues to be treated as a mystery rather than as an assassination. It is hard, however, to avoid drawing the logical conclusion from the finding last week by Swiss scientists that the Palestinian leader’s body contained high levels of a radioactive isotope, polonium-210. It is time to state the obvious: Arafat was killed. And suspicion falls squarely on Israel. Israel alone had the means, track record, stated intention and motive. Without Israel’s fingerprints on the murder weapon, it may not be quite enough to secure a conviction in a court of law, but it should be evidence enough to convict Israel in the court of world opinion.
Netanyahu wants to put off dealing with the Palestinian issue till the world deals with Iran, maybe even by starting another war. But U.S. officials have another kind of “linkage” in mind: Israel has to stop expansion in the West Bank because it’s causing all sorts of problems. John Kerry and Chuck Hagel have both made statements to that effect. This strategic disagreement underlies the tensions between the countries over talking with Iran; with a Netanyahu aide saying he feels an American knife “imbedding his back”
As a student at the University of California at Santa Cruz, Nadya Raja Tannous had spent many hours trying to educate the campus about the detrimental effects of Israeli settlement complexes on the political landscape, and the lives of their Palestinian neighbors. Then she visited one for the first time last summer. Surveying the large pool of blue water and the surrounding beds of lush green grass– and the desert outside the walls of Ma’ale Adumim– she relates: “I was suddenly lost for words.”
Palestinian-American student denied entry to Israel after being told, ‘there is no such thing as Palestine’
Yara Karmalawy was traveling with a delegation of students from UC Berkeley when she was stopped at a border crossing between Jordan and the Israeli occupied West Bank. Even though she is an American citizen the Israeli guards would not let her enter because of her Palestinian mother. A border guard tells her, “You are a Palestinian, you cannot come to Israel.”
Netanyahu blamed the Palestinians in a meeting with John Kerry this morning that didn’t look very happy. “I see the Palestinians continuing with incitement, continuing to create artificial crises, continuing to avoid, run away from the historic decisions that are needed to make a genuine peace. I hope that your visit will help steer them back.” Kerry responded with his own jab, invoking the kind of prime minister Netanyahu is not, Yitzhak Rabin.