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January 2014

Kerry’s billions: US economic plans for Palestine place investment over freedom

Alaa Tartir on

Since May 2013, there has been intense debate about the Palestine Economic Initiative, John Kerry’s economic plan for the occupied Palestinian territories which aims to develop the economy of the occupied territories over the next three years as a prerequisite for a political settlement to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Alaa Tartir unpacks what we know of the plan and warns that the focus on economic development takes attention away from confronting the occupation. Tartir says Palestinians need to change not merely the rules of the game, but the game itself.

‘NYT’ fails to disclose that Op-Ed author arguing Israel’s case against BDS is husband of ‘NYT’ reporter in Israel/Palestine

Alex Kane on

Hirsh Goodman, an Israeli-South African analyst and the husband of Isabel Kershner, pens a column in the New York Times on how the BDS movement is winning the narrative war in the West. The column by is noteworthy for two reasons: the Times doesn’t see fit to disclose that his wife reports for the paper on Israel/Palestine; and he reflects growing Israeli panic over the BDS movement.

American Jewish leader calls Iranians manipulative ‘bazaaris’

Philip Weiss on

Why isn’t Americans for Peace Now objecting to racist language about Iranians as manipulative “bazaaris” from Malcolm Hoenlein, leader of the Conference of Presidents, an organization APN is part of? Meantime, Iran sanctions legislation seems to have lost, with three Dem senators abandoning the bill they co-sponsored.

Palestinians launch campaign against Israeli annexation of Jordan Valley by reviving village of Ein Hijleh

Popular Struggle Coordination Committee on

Hundreds of Palestinians announced today the launching of “Melh Al-Ard” (Salt of the Earth) campaign by reviving the village of Ein Hijleh in the Jordan Valley on land belonging to the Orthodox Church and St. Gerassimos monastery. The campaign is launched in refusal of Israeli policies aimed at Judaizing and annexing the Jordan Valley.

The impending detention of African asylum protest leader Mutasim Ali

Allison Deger on

Last week, noted African asylum seeker organizer Mutasim Ali, 27, was given a summons to report to prison. Since mid-December testimonies have surfaced that African asylum seekers are being summoned to report to a desert detention facility, and now this leader has been ordered to give up his life in Tel Aviv and turn himself in. Mondoweiss publishes copy of a new prison summons used to order African asylum seekers to report to a desert detention facility.

Celebrity justice

Marc H. Ellis on

Before she quit Oxfam, I’m sure Johansson thought about the issue deeply – with her publicist. No doubt Oxfam did as well – with its publicists. –Marc Ellis is cynical about the relationship between the celebrity and her (former) cause.

Scarlett Johansson not only abandons Oxfam but throws it under the bus

Phan Nguyen on

In quitting her role as an Oxfam global ambassador Scarlett Johansson cited “fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement” between herself and the organization. With this statement, Johansson and her public relations team not only extricate her from a vulnerable position, but does so cynically and opportunistically by throwing Oxfam under the bus implying that she was being forced by Oxfam to honor the Palestinian BDS call.

Lost in Occupation: Scarlett Johansson ends relationship with Oxfam to stick with SodaStream (Updated)

Annie Robbins on

Late Wednesday the Associated Press broke the news that Scarlett Johansson is ending her relationship with Oxfam and staying on as a “global brand ambassador” with SodaStream. A statement released by a Johansson spokesperson cited “a fundamental difference of opinion in regards to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement” between the actress and the international humanitarian organization.

House committee advances bill to make Israel ‘major strategic partner’–and waive visas for Israelis

Alex Kane on

The House Foreign Affairs Committee voted unanimously for a bill that designates Israel as a “major strategic partner” and waives visa requirements for Israelis who visit the U.S. While the House version of the legislation does not include much criticized exemptions for Israel’s participation in the visa waiver program, activists for Palestinian rights see other pro-Israel provisions of the bill as deeply problematic.

‘An Israeli Sparta’ — from Finkelstein to Hecataeus

Martin Hughes on

The Spartans were a cultured people with a commitment to constitutional government but out of a belief that they would be “eaten raw” they conducted an endless series of lawless killings. That spirit lives on, in Israel and in the U.S.

Open Letter from NY Jews to Mayor de Blasio: ‘AIPAC does not speak for us’

Adam Horowitz on

The backlash against New York mayor Bill de Blasio’s secret AIPAC speech continues. A politically diverse group of high-profile New York Jews have issued an open letter to the mayor taking him to task for the speech saying, “AIPAC speaks for Israel’s hard-line government and its right-wing supporters, and for them alone; it does not speak for us.”

Human rights advocates meet with Oxfam & Scarlett Johansson reps over concerns with Israeli settlements

US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation on

In a meeting at Oxfam America’s Boston headquarters Tuesday afternoon, local human rights advocates urged representatives of the international aid agency Oxfam to be true to the organization’s principles and cut ties with their Global Ambassador Scarlett Johansson if she remains the Global Brand Ambassador for SodaStream, a company that operates a factory in an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank. In Los Angeles and New York, human rights groups delivered a petition with more than 10,000 signatures to Johansson’s representatives at Creative Artists Agency. The petition calls on the Hollywood actress to end her relationship with SodaStream.