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Liberal Zionists seek to strip Naftali Bennett of freedom to travel in hope of saving two-state solution

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A group of liberal Zionists has called on the United States and the European Union to respond to the “genuine emergency” that settlements pose to the two-state solution and issue “personal sanctions” denying the freedom of travel to four Israeli leaders including finance minister Naftali Bennett because they support the occupation of the West Bank.

The group of 20–which includes historian Steven Zipperstein, moral philosopher Michael Walzer, former SDS activist Todd Gitlin, and Alan Wolfe, author of the new book At Home in Exile: Why Diaspora Is Good for the Jews— says that the U.S. and the EU should adopt “personal sanctions—visa restrictions and foreign asset freezes” against Finance Minister Naftali Bennett, members of Knesset Uri Ariel and Moshe Feiglin, and settlement activist Zeev Hever. All serve the occupation– “unjust, unlawful, and destructive policies in their most extreme and dangerous form.”

The posse calls itself Scholars for Israel and Palestine (SIP) and says that permanent occupation, “large-scale” settlements, and creeping annexation of the West Bank all violate international law and lead “toward catastrophe.” But SIP is part of The Third Narrative, an outfit that arose a year ago to try and drain the impact on campus of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), and it opposes generalized boycotts and sanctions “that indiscriminately target Israeli society and Israeli institutions.”

Bringing the Debate to You

Haaretz has the news — “Anti-BDS academics urge ‘personal’ sanctions against ‘annexationist’ Israelis”– and is quoting Michael Walzer on the “dramatic” use of such a call to seek to marginalize the BDS call.

“All of us are very engaged in opposing the academic boycott and other boycotts,” said Walzer in an interview…. “But at the same time we always insist we are against the occupation. This seemed to be a usefully dramatic way of focusing attention on where it should be focused and not where some of the BDS people are trying to put it,” Walzer said.

But Haaretz also quotes Eric Alterman– a liberal who is positioned more and more to the right — opposing the measure for the same reason he has opposed BDS: because “I don’t believe in politics that are purely symbolic… Some people do, and that’s fine. But I only believe in politics when I can see how what I’m supporting might actually happen.”

Max Blumenthal has dismissed the new initiative as a non-alternative to an effective movement:

Pathetic liberal Zionist professors call for “personal sanctions” on 4 Israeli fanatics in place of actual .

Myself I tend to welcome any efforts to hold Israelis accountable for their actions; and there is no question that stopping Naftali Bennett from traveling to the U.S. and Europe or freezing his considerable assets (he brags on how much he made with his tech startup) would be a blow to rightwing Zionism. But this feels a day late and a dollar short. Todd Gitlin tells Haaretz: “We are holding Israeli figures whose declarations are inimical to a just and peaceful settlement to account.” There are many, many such figures; countless Israeli governments have served the occupation; Avigdor Lieberman the foreign minister now lives in occupied territory and has an openly-racist plan to pay Palestinians to leave Israel. So why are these four the only bad guys? Peter Beinart and Peace Now’s settlement boycott ideas have greater consistency/force and have been around for a while. Maya Wahrman of Princeton sees a larger emergency than these folks do, the country has reached “such a level of injustice” that she has all but endorsed BDS as a means of transforming the place.

Also, if the occupation is so unjust and destructive, what about occupied Gaza? Is there to be any personal accountability for the killings of more than 300 children six years ago and 500 children last summer, sporadic onslaughts that would seem to represent the Israeli government’s solution for the fact that it has denied 1.7 million people rights? Gitlin has said that ExxonMobil and apartheid South Africa deserved wholesale boycott because they have/had no “right to exist,” but he has not a word to say about the collective punishment of Palestinian civilians. Even Marcel Ophuls is talking about collective punishment, and he’s 87. It would seem that the thrust of this measure is aimed at BDS– emulating BDS in a very limited way because SIP recognizes the effectiveness of BDS and is trying to come up with an alternative.

Signatory Alan Wolfe’s book on diaspora suggests strongly that BDS is an example of “Jew hatred” and avers that the movement promoting BDS expresses itself “in the language of support for supposedly oppressed people such as the Palestinians.” Supposedly oppressed? I do not believe this Scholar for Israel and Palestine has any real sense of Palestinian conditions.

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62 Responses

  1. a blah chick
    a blah chick
    December 12, 2014, 2:45 pm

    “unjust, unlawful, and destructive policies in their most extreme and dangerous form.” And who, pray tell, starting that whole unjust enterprise? None other than the Labor government of the seventies and I didn’t hear any of those “liberals” screaming much then.

    Really, it is to laugh, for what exactly is Bennett’s crime? By not crouching his language in the delicate equivocations the liberals love he does not provide them with an out. Either they sign onto Israeli Zionism with its ethnic cleansing and bouts of “lawn mowing” or they count themselves among the ranks of the enemy.

    Now we finally have an Israeli government that speaks the brutal truth and it’s too much for the Gitlins of this world. They want to return to the good ol’ days of shoot and cry: viciously put down Palestinians in the morning while in the evening you wring your hands about how awful you feel about what THEY made you do…and then go out the next day and do it again.

    Gitlin, Wolfe and others like them are irrelevant. The Jewish elites with money, power and the numbers of heads of states on speed dial have Israel’s back and they are the one’s other elites listen to.

  2. just
    December 12, 2014, 2:45 pm

    Eric Alterman has clay feet, among other things.

    I’m still failing to reconcile the designation of “liberal Zionist”.

    • eGuard
      December 12, 2014, 10:19 pm

      This piece nicely describes what they are, and without using irony quotes.

      Not that long ago it was used here as an commendable political position (for Beinarts and MJRosenbergs). They would solve it & rescue Israel in one go! Not any more. Bravo Mondoweiss.

  3. Felipe
    December 12, 2014, 3:24 pm

    Like Phil says, this is a day late and a dollar short. These”liberal Zionists” are openly calling for this sort of action because they know the charade is over and Israel has been exposed as an ethno-supremacist, apartheid state. They are desperate to patch things up in the eyes of international public opinion and return to the status quo of mealy-mouthed platitudes and endless negotiations that will produce no concrete steps regarding the dismantling of the occupation regime. Moreover, the feckless Palestinian leadership has shown itself to be so corrupt, subservient and devoid of any real dignity that, should a “center-right/left” electoral victory happen next year, they too will be willing to continue playing this miserable game as along as it means maintaining their own status and privileges.

    Unless Palestinian grassroots activists can exert unprecedented pressure on the PA to act on behalf of Palestinian national interests by forcing their leadership to ratify Palestinian membership in the ICC, go to the Security Council to demand a clear date of Israeli withdrawal from ALL Occupied Territories and call for an end to the siege of Gaza, nothing will have actually changed.

  4. gracie fr
    gracie fr
    December 12, 2014, 3:40 pm

    “A nascent group of well-known academics is calling on the U.S. government and European Union to impose personal sanctions on four prominent Israelis “who lead efforts to insure permanent Israeli occupation of the West Bank and to annex all or parts of it unilaterally in violation of international law…….Scholars for Israel and Palestine (SIP) a group that describes itself as “pro-Israel, pro-Palestine, pro-peace” is asking the U.S. and EU governments to impose visa restrictions and to freeze the foreign assets of Economy Minister and Habayit Hayehudi leader Naftali Bennett, Housing Minister Uri Ariel, Likud MK Moshe Feiglin and Ze’ev “Zambish” Hever, a former Jewish Underground member who heads the Amana organization, which oversees the settlement enterprise, including illegal outposts.”

    Apart from being an almost “random” act of designating naughty poster boys, if the move get AIPAC/Congressional attention, it may also galvanize the Knesset’s fervent right wing and ardent settlers into heedless acts of reprisal.

    I can’t believe that these Scholars for Israel and Palestine (SIP) people still hold out hopes for a negotiated settlement while condemning BDS, to date the main act of leverage that has both American and Israeli Jews rattled to the core…..

    ““This would provide a way of mobilizing votes against blanket boycotts but equally against the attempts to make the occupation irreversible,” Shafir said. “It would allow us to find a place in the middle and remain distinguished from but remain part of the ongoing dialogue in a productive way that is protective of Israel’s ties with the U.S., the world and liberal intellectuals.”–far-right/

    • Laurent Weppe
      Laurent Weppe
      December 12, 2014, 9:05 pm

      I can’t believe that these Scholars for Israel and Palestine (SIP) people still hold out hopes for a negotiated settlement while condemning BDS

      I suppose that after so many years cowering before thuggish demagogues, they’ve reached a point where they perceive every populist effort as ripe for being taken over and perverted by rabble-rousers and sincerely believe that the only way to stop authoritarian bullies is to call bigger ones (namely the biggest, baddest bullies Humanity ever produced: Western Europe and its most successful colony) for help.

      I can’t say I’m entirely unsympathetic to this group’s attempt as I, for one, have always thought that european leaders should have strong-armed the israeli ruling-class into behaving itself decades ago.

  5. oldgeezer
    December 12, 2014, 4:23 pm

    I can’t say that I would be upset if this request for restrictions was acted upon. The individuals named are certainly some of the worst of the cast of characters.

    That said it’s a slap in the face to the victims of the ongoing crimes against humanity perpetrated by the terrorist state of Israel. It almost legitimizes those crimes by overlooking them.

  6. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    December 12, 2014, 5:18 pm

    I understand the objection of true antizionists to the tepid attempts by liberal zionists to condemn four settler leaders. I dislike them too: feiglin, uri ariel, bennett and hever (who i’ve never heard of before). despite my opposition to the men and their positions and actions, i oppose limiting their right to travel to the united states or elsewhere in the world.

    • jimby
      December 12, 2014, 7:08 pm

      Oh yes, let them travel, Let the world experience first hand the depravity of Israeli leadership and let the people of the US know who is being fellated by their beloved representative. Send them on a world tour.

    • eGuard
      December 13, 2014, 5:04 am

      despite my opposition to the men and their positions and actions … their right to travel

      Agree. How else can they arrive in The Hague?

      • CigarGod
        December 13, 2014, 10:59 am

        Rendition is an alternate route.

    • Mooser
      December 13, 2014, 12:37 pm

      “despite my opposition to the men and their positions and actions,”

      Mazel Tov, Yonah! So tell me, are you a 48′ line guy, or a 67′ line guy?
      It gives me such naches in my bially to know you are opposed to the settlement enterprise, and the take-over of Jerusalem.
      I’m so happy to know you support Israel staying inside its own borders.

      • Theo
        December 13, 2014, 1:28 pm


        As we know, Israel has no declared borders at this time, they still consider the ones God gave them, according to the Torah. He must have been the biggest real estate broker in the history of mankind!

    • wondering jew
      wondering jew
      December 14, 2014, 12:02 pm

      I think that a call to picket any synagogue or gathering whenever one of these foursome is scheduled to speak would be a more difficult feat than calling for a travel ban, which takes merely moments of signing a letter rather than organizational efforts of a picketing campaign. Before reading this item, I truly could not pick Uri Ariel out of a lineup and this is still true with Hever, who I never even heard of before. I have heard Feiglin speak and he is not charismatic. Bennett is charismatic and therefore scarier, although we will see how Feiglin does in the Likud primaries in order to really gauge how far off the right wing might be from taking over the Likud. I think they’re still far off.

      • Teapot
        December 14, 2014, 12:32 pm

        how far off the right wing might be from taking over the Likud

        I thought Likud was the right wing…

        It’s a pity the Earth isn’t flat. Considering how far to the right they are, Feiglin and Bennett should have fallen over the edge of the world a long time ago.

  7. pabelmont
    December 12, 2014, 6:04 pm

    Great oaks from little acorns grow. These SIP people may indeed wish to derail BDS but what they are proposing is a “thin wedge” down the “slippery slope” of sanctions: for they call on governments to act, and that’s the “S” in “BDS”.

    So, to these people, I say, “yes, but”, the “but” meaning [1] that the call for sanctions must aim at either an end of the occupation entirely or, falling short of that, removal of all settlers, settlements, wall, and the siege (umm, of Gaza, you know) and [2] sanctions must hit more people and ultimately hit harder.

    But good start.

    • CigarGod
      December 13, 2014, 10:18 am

      I like your argument…but one better practice some snake wrestling.

  8. RoHa
    December 12, 2014, 6:21 pm

    If even Walzer is part of this, things are really getting serious.

  9. ritzl
    December 12, 2014, 7:08 pm

    Now if this group started clamoring for the reinstatement of Haneen Zoabi to her rightful elected place in the Knesset, they might have some consistency and therefore some smidge of credibility. As it is, not so much.

    To Mooser, a few days ago I wrote that Uri Avnery is an optimist. I should have added that at least, and significantly, he is looking in the right direction — the future. He’s the exact polar opposite of these guys, imho.

  10. Blownaway
    December 12, 2014, 7:31 pm

    What good is it when the U.S. government continues to thwart Palestinian aspirations..even more than Israe recent head,one in Timesodisrael
    ” Kerry seeks to avert UN Palestinian showdown” it may as well read Kerry seeks to thwart peace

  11. hophmi
    December 12, 2014, 11:52 pm

    It is a stupid idea. I hate all four of these guys, particularly Feiglin, but an idea like this will only give them a bigger platform in the hard rightist community.

    I am against BDS, in all its forms. It is antisemitic.

    • oldgeezer
      December 13, 2014, 1:18 am


      “I am against BDS, in all its forms. It is antisemitic.”

      Absolute bs and a transparent attempt to wrap criminal behaviour by the state of Israel in a protective blanket giving it immunity for it’s war crimes and crimes against humanity.

      Name one Jewish firm targetted by BDS because it’s ownership is Jewish. Just one.

      Name three Jewish firms targeted because it’ s ownership is Jewish and I will make 99 posts against BDS here or at the guardian.

      Jews are not targetted. Businesses profiting from illegal activity are. Primarily, to date, these firms have been multinationals with no attached ethnicity.

      That you wish to equate a state with being Jewish is your problem and yours alone. It doesn’t preclude, and will never prevent, us from pointing out how criminal and vile it’s behaviour it is.

      Want BDS to disappear?

      Obey international law. It’s not difficult.

      Until then put away your excuses for a terrorist state and it’s minions who kill and torture men, women and children in order to facilitate crimes against humanity

    • seafoid
      December 13, 2014, 2:52 am


      Beinart wrote this week that a huge % of US Jews are “lost” due to intermarriage. What remains is heavily skewed towards Zionism with all that means for how they see things such as the ideal of universal justice. A tribal, thoughtless, deeply racist rump Judaism is more likely to be identified as such . It’s so dangerous.

      • Mooser
        December 13, 2014, 12:41 pm

        “Beinart wrote this week that a huge % of US Jews are “lost” due to intermarriage.”

        70%, or so I heard. Never knew I was such a conformist. I’ll have to talk to my wife about converting.

      • RoHa
        December 13, 2014, 6:53 pm

        “I’ll have to talk to my wife about converting.”

        Phrase it carefully, or she’ll have you converting the basement to a rumpus room.

      • Mooser
        December 14, 2014, 11:20 am

        Houses have “basements”? I’ve always just laid some sheets of plywood on the ground, and put some refrigerator boxes on it. Home sweet home.

    • Mooser
      December 13, 2014, 6:00 pm

      “I am against BDS, in all its forms. It is antisemitic.”

      I don’t get it. Hophmi, JeffyB, Ivri, all exceeding themselves today. Is it Say-Something-Really-Stupid-for-Zionism Day, and nobody told me?

    • Mooser
      December 14, 2014, 11:44 am

      “I am against BDS, in all its forms. It is antisemitic.”

      I can’t wait to remind you, a million times over, what a stupid thing you just said.
      You’ll forget, due to Ziocaine Amnesia, that you said it, Hophmi, but I won’t.

  12. Pixel
    December 13, 2014, 3:38 am

    “The posse…” Love it, Phil!

    I have to agree with Jimby on this AND I thank the guys who have come up with the idea. Let’s get the conversation moving along but without their desired outcome.

    I don’t want to reign in the rabid dogs, let them sic themselves on everyone. Encourage an INCREASE in their travel AND speaking engagements. Let them fly them all over the world and continue to bark in complete honesty.

    NEVER pen them in, never silence them. Instead, irritate them as much as possible, perhaps with a little whiff of chile powder, and listen to them growl.

    Naftali, et al, must be howling at the moon since they picked up the scent on this SIP suggestion.

    It’s ALL good.

    • Pixel
      December 13, 2014, 3:41 am

      As a matter of fact, maybe Naftali should become a regular contributor here at Mondoweiss!!

  13. eGuard
    December 13, 2014, 5:26 am

    From their statement (bolding added): UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338 allowed for a temporary Israeli occupation in the territories captured in the 1967 war, while calling for a negotiated peace settlement that would include Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories in return for recognition of Israel’s right, along with other states in the area, “to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.”

    The occupation was allowed? In the Dershowitz mind only. Already a week ago, commenter talknic threw this out:

    These armchair activists are miles behind Albert Einstein, who wrote in December 1948 in the NYT, about future PM Begin: “Nazi, fascist, terrorist” and condemning US “top leadership of Zionist leadership” for their support.

  14. eGuard
    December 13, 2014, 5:48 am

    Barbara Risman, University of Illinois, also signed.

    She wrote about Steven Salaita: We write as elected leaders of the American Sociological Association to express our support for your decision not to hire Dr. Steven G. Salaita … we wanted you to know that some sociologists, including leaders of the A.S.A., support your decision. We personally feel if a job candidate openly disparages an entire minority group it is a good reason not to hire him or her as a new faculty member. Dr. Salaita’s public expressions of hatred and his public endorsement of violence have no place in the University of Illinois.

  15. bryan
    December 13, 2014, 9:53 am

    Philip – since I am a great fan of your objectivity and fairness, I am just going to quibble at the caption attached to the lead photo which says “Alan Wolfe has said that Palestinians are “supposedly oppressed”” yet this comment is taken out of context. Alan was writing about four reasons why the Holocaust remains central to Zionist thinking: he summarizes an argument put forward that “Israel’s very triumphs have led to new rounds of criticism of its policies or plans to boycott its products, and these moves, expressed in the language of support for supposedly oppressed people such as the Palestinians, are, we are told, in reality little more than expressions of age-old tropes about Jewish power”. “we are told” clearly indicates his characterization of an opposing argument – not his personal opinion.

    I am not just being pedantic. I raise this quibble in the context of “What Mondoweiss means to me” – it means to me journalism committed to objectivity, fairness and accuracy, and I believe it to be vital for supporters of Justice for Palestine to avoid, the slurs, half-truths and evasions of which opponents are so obviously guilty.

    • annie
      December 13, 2014, 10:53 am

      “we are told” clearly indicates his characterization of an opposing argument – not his personal opinion.

      not how i read it. he’s informing and characterizing a situation in which recent events “have led to new rounds of criticism” (that is verifiable fact not opinion) and plans to boycott ( fact not opinion). and the people criticizing israel are expressing themselves in language of support for Palestinians ( fact not opinion), and then he says we are told “these moves” are in reality little more than expressions of age-old tropes about Jewish power”(there is your opposing argument).

      the “we are told” pertains to what he communicates after informing the reader of the circumstances. the argument/accusation is that the actions of boycott and expressions (language) of supporters of palestine is ” in reality little more than expressions of age-old tropes about Jewish power”

      but the set up is his framing. he does not say ‘ these moves are expressed in the language of support for, we are told, supposedly oppressed people such as the Palestinians, are, in reality little more than expressions of age-old tropes about Jewish power”

      calling palestinians “supposedly oppressed” is not a slip of the tongue. it’s highly inflammatory and insulting and amounts to nakba denial. if, as you claim, he was claiming others made this charge he didn’t make it clear, at all. he could always issue a disclaimer.

      • CigarGod
        December 13, 2014, 11:00 am

        Annie rocks!

      • annie
        December 13, 2014, 11:11 am

        ;) thank you cigargod, that’s a sweet way to start my day.

      • MHughes976
        December 13, 2014, 12:22 pm

        ‘Supposedly’ and ‘we are told’ are both normally expressions of scepticism. ‘Supposedly’ suggests that Israel’s critics are not responding to real oppression. He seems about to say that ‘we believe’ that they are moved by anti-Semitism, but instead says ‘we are told’ which has rather the opposite effect. Very confusing overall.
        However, I’m pleased to see that even Walzer, as RoHa notes, is calling, even amid some confusing words, for sanctions so explicitly. I think that the likes of us would disagree with him because in his view only ‘the occupation’ is wrong and because the only source of wrongdoing is rotten apples in the Israeli barrel. Whereas the ongoing attempted conquest, misleadingly called ‘occupation’, of certain places is simply the logical expression of Zionism, which does not divide the Holy Land and so claims all places within it, and because it’s whole Israeli apple harvest and the whole barrel with all planks and rivets that embodies the idea of Zionism, which is a moral mistake.

      • gamal
        December 13, 2014, 12:44 pm

        “Annie rocks” I know I have a little crush myself, and thats not the Laphroiag talking, just yet, will log back in after the looming Cork city session concludes sometime tonight, drinking with Boiys is a solemn social obligation, thus relying on ibni Hanbal I will undertake my duties, no wine or even whine though, we all know thats Haram hanging with the old IRA, God bless them and the water charge here has everyone radicalized, and one does what one can to encourage it. Enda Kenny came here and couldnt leave his limo.

        anyone remember Abdullah’s death threat to Khadaffi and that Arab-Arab thing, not unlike that Black on Black stuff we all take comfort in, damn it is the Laphroiag..

      • CigarGod
        December 13, 2014, 4:54 pm

        Yep…Annie Rocks even better with my Jameson on the rocks. This is where Annie blushes and tells us to stop it…

  16. CigarGod
    December 13, 2014, 10:25 am

    I really like how this short article breaks the issue down into easier to understand parts. More like this…will get shared more. The more eyes, the better.

  17. just
    December 13, 2014, 12:02 pm

    “Alan Wolfe has said that Palestinians are “supposedly oppressed .”

    It’s Nakba denial. Wolfe, get thee to Gaza~ spend a day, unprotected by your handlers, feel the temperature, get thirsty for water, hungry for food, look around at the devastation and the devastated… then come back and tell us what you saw.


    The Daily Mail scrubbed an interview with M. Assaf from this month, but you can read it here Wolfe:

    • annie
      December 13, 2014, 12:05 pm

      why would they scrub it? did you know the new arab idol is going to be chosen tonight? it’s the final night and one of the contestants is palestinian, from the galilee.

      • just
        December 13, 2014, 12:10 pm

        Yep. There was no explanation that I could find, Annie…

        I’m psyched to see another Palestinian win! Yallah!

      • just
        December 13, 2014, 12:12 pm

        “Last week, the Daily Mail Online, a British tabloid, published an exclusive interview with Palestinian superstar Mohammed Assaf, where he made a passionate plea for Israel to stop killing innocent civilians after seeing “families and friends destroyed in seconds.”

        Now, however, that story has mysteriously disappeared from their website.

        No explanation was given as to why the pro-Palestinian article has been taken down, but some believe that politics may have pushed for the DM to have it removed.

        In the interview, Assaf, a Gaza native, highlighted the terror Israel has been inflicting on his people for as long as he could remember.”

      • Walid
        December 13, 2014, 2:38 pm

        The Palestinian singer is definitely the better singer of the remaining 3 and definitely the favourite of the judges, but the results supposedly will be determined by people phoning in. It’s looking like they will be giving it to the Syrian singer. I’m rooting for the Palestinian.

      • Walid
        December 13, 2014, 4:00 pm

        … and the Arab Idol for 2014 is the Syrian contestant, Hazem Cherif.

      • just
        December 13, 2014, 4:15 pm

        Congratulations Hazem! He’s got a beautiful voice and expression.

        (I love that the music of millions is being heard all over the world!)

      • Walid
        December 13, 2014, 5:00 pm

        The Palestinian-Israeli, Haitham Khalaily will probably not return home, Israeli authorities have said that on their return from the enemy country (Lebanon), he and the other Palestinian-Israeli contestant, Manal Moussa will be arrested. They made it to Lebanon by way of passes given to them by the PA to travel from Jordan to Lebanon. Now that they are famous, they will get work all over the Middle East, the US and Australia.

      • annie
        December 13, 2014, 6:54 pm

        yes i read that abbas had given them passes and i wondered how that worked. did they arrived at the border of lebanon and in the israeli border guards let them pass on i wonder if they left thru the WB into jordan. i also read about them speaking to some creep likud druze politician. and after reading something in english alluding to the drama of manal i translated her name into arabic and started searching in arabic and reading the drama over google translate (that was hell). it seems there was a real shitstorm between Khalaily’s sister and then manal got caught in some possible lie or something. i’ve been following.

        any gossip very much appreciated.

        and a big super congrats for Syria’s Hazem Sharif.

      • just
        December 13, 2014, 5:08 pm

        Thanks, Walid.

        Israel plunges ever further into darkness.

      • Walid
        December 13, 2014, 5:18 pm

        Thanks for the albawaba link, just, it got me to the actual article. Before it disappears again, a few excerpts from it:

        “A singer who became the first Palestinian to win Arab Idol after witnessing ‘hell on earth’ at a Gaza refugee camp where he grew up has made an impassioned plea for Israel to stop killing innocent civilians.

        Mohammed Assaf told MailOnline how he witnessed countless deaths at the hands of Israeli forces after moving to the Khan Younis refugee Camp in Gaza when he was just four.

        Khan Younis has been the scene of some of the most brutal Israeli massacres. Most of those who end up there have had their homes reduced to rubble and Mr Assaf saw harrowing parallels over the summer when nearly 2,200 Gazans were killed, including 513 children.

        Last year, Mr Assaf risked everything by travelling to Egypt to audition for the Middle East’s version of Pop Idol which he went on to win. He has since gone on to perform dozens of sell-out concerts all over the world from America to Australia.

        In an exclusive interview with MailOnline in London, Mr Assaf told how he often relives the horrors of his childhood after making several trips to Gaza this year to deliver aid in his role as UN Goodwill Ambassador for Palestine.

        He said: ‘The overwhelming majority of the Palestinians killed were innocent civilians. It’s harrowing to see this level of suffering among my people.

        ‘Thousands more were wounded and nearly half a million people were made homeless – and I know exactly how that feels.

        ‘When bombs and bullets are pouring down on defenceless communities, and there is absolutely nowhere to run, then it is like absolute hell on earth.

        ‘It is an unimaginably frightening situation and I went through it regularly during Israeli attacks while I was growing up. I saw the lives of families and friends destroyed in seconds.’

        Concentrating on Israel’s campaign in Gaza this summer, a new report by human rights group Amnesty International pointed to Israeli ‘war crimes’ carried out with ‘a callous indifference to the carnage caused’.

        Israel, which lost five of its own civilians and 66 soldiers in the conflict, claimed it was responding to ‘terrorist rocket fire’, according to government spokesmen.

        The 24-year-old is known as the ‘Voice of Gaza’ after winning the show to become a global superstar last year.

        … Mr Assaf said he particularly wanted to visit London after the British parliament last month voted to recognise Palestine as an independent state.

        ‘It was a hugely important step and one which added to the great hope all Palestinians share,’ he said before a concert in Westminster Central Hall, across the road from the House of Commons last Friday night.

        ‘I have to admit, I feel immensely proud to be here. The symbolic vote was won by a landslide majority, showing that the will is here in Britain to allow us peace.

        ‘Now there needs to be official recognition of the Palestinian state. This is particularly relevant for the UK, given its historical responsibility for starting the Arab-Israeli conflict in the first place.

        … ‘All Palestinians want is freedom’, said Assaf. ‘This is our fundamental right. It’s about time we were allowed to join the rest of humanity.

        ‘Israel has illegally grabbed almost eighty per cent of our land, and we are the only people in the 21st century to be colonised and to be forced to live under military occupation.’

        … ‘After everything I had been through – the wars, the oppression and apartheid, the suffering, the humiliation of day-to-day military occupation – I could not believe that I had won Arab Idol, and am still overwhelmed by what has happened since.’

        Assaf still regularly returns to Gaza. His last visits there were during and since the recent carnage, delivering aid as UN Goodwill Ambassador for Palestine.

        He went to numerous hospitals, saying: ‘It’s harrowing to see this level of suffering among my people’.

        A particularly poignant visit was to the Shujaiya district of Gaza where, on July 20, 100 people were killed by a combined Israeli bombardment by F-16 jets, tanks and mortars.

        ‘But we are a very resilient people and we stick together,’ Assaf said.

        Assaf was also in London for a private charity event organised by UNRWA, the relief agency, to raise money for the reconstruction of Gaza.

        A newly digitised archive photograph of a Palestinian family fleeing the city of Khan Younis in 1948 sold for £3,000.

        ‘I have hugely positive plans for my home,’ Assaf said. ‘They include setting up an Arts Centre for young musicians, writers and actors, which would be paid for by Palestinian Americans’.

        However, Assaf warned that it would take years for blockaded Gaza to get over the latest aerial, naval and ground bombardment by the Israelis.

        They deployed one hundred times more destructive power in 2014 than they did in offensives in 2006, 2008 and 2012 combined.

        Some 1,000 tons of unexploded munitions remain on the ground in Gaza.

        ‘The use of immense firepower was terrifying and it left an entire community in chaos,’ said Assaf.

        ‘Nobody can get over all that death and suffering, and many want to leave the Gaza Strip because there is no hope.

        ‘The Israeli government currently just offers more aggression and misery – it reacts to any opposition by destroying everything it can. This achieves nothing except for further violence.’

        Daily Mail
        © Associated Newspapers Ltd.

        Full article:

    • CigarGod
      December 13, 2014, 12:06 pm

      “…all the while keeping your eye on the sky for killer drones on white phosphotous showers.”

  18. Vera Gottlieb
    Vera Gottlieb
    December 13, 2014, 3:07 pm

    Zionism giving Judaism a bad name. How sad that it is coming to this.

    • Mooser
      December 14, 2014, 11:31 am

      “Zionism giving Judaism a bad name. How sad that it is coming to this.”

      And just think, for over two thousand years, people did nothing but praise us! And now we’re getting “a bad name”. Bad situation, for sure.

      • oldgeezer
        December 14, 2014, 11:45 am

        It’s a tough neighbourhood. Neither Christianity nor Islam (and a host of others) have a particularly good name looking over their histories.

  19. breakingthesilence
    December 13, 2014, 6:17 pm

    “Those of us who care and indeed struggle for justice in Palestine would do well not to fall for the old colonial tricks. Rather we should demand recognition that Israel is occupied Palestine, that all Israeli towns and cities are illegal settlements, and that it is time to free Palestine and its people from the illegitimate colonialist regime known as Israel.” — Miko Peled

    Since it is by now unequivocally clear that 78% of Palestine was brutally stolen in 1948, the entire state of Israel is illegitimate. It’s stolen property and stolen property should be returned to those from whom it was stolen. That comes down to a single democratic, egalitarian state after the right of return has permitted the repatriation of those refugees and their offspring from whom the land was stolen. That is the only solution. A Jewish state is a racist state. Why is this obvious set of facts not getting out to the American people? Isn’t our job to get this message out and keep getting it out until the discourse in this country changes and the real issues are faced?

    • annie
      December 13, 2014, 7:03 pm

      Isn’t our job to get this message out and keep getting it out until the discourse in this country changes and the real issues are faced?

      we’re giving it our best shot breakingthesilence.

      • hophmi
        December 13, 2014, 11:20 pm

        So all of Israel is an illegal settlement now. Another sign that your movement had nothing to do with international law.

      • Mooser
        December 14, 2014, 11:28 am

        “So all of Israel is an illegal settlement now.”

        Well, Hophmi, if you would be so kind as to tell us exactly where the borders of Israel are, we could make a determination.
        So, are you going to put us all in our place, and show us that Israel doesn’t operate outside of its own borders? That Israel doesn’t colonize land which does not belong to it?

        Or is this where our Zionist lawyer gets that ol’ time religion and starts talking about Israel in the Bible?

    • oldgeezer
      December 14, 2014, 12:00 am

      “Another sign that your movement had nothing to do with international law. ”

      Your bigot stripes are showing hophmi. Loud and clear. I personally don’t agree with the comment you were responding to. I don’t consider all of Israel illegitimate. Yet you can’t hesitate one keystroke to lambaste an entire group of people. It is as if BDS targetted Jewish people whatever their nationality because they were Jewish. And it clearly doesn’t. You can’t show a single case of a business being targetted simply because it’s Jewish. Not one.

      While I don’t consider all of Israel to be lacking legitimacy the RoR is a documented, codified, basic human right and it needs to be recognized. That is unlike some of your fabricated undocumented rights such as the Jewish right to pray at the temple mount.

      You need to either grant that right or compensate, based upon mutually acceptable agreements, people for the loss of that right.

      I started at this site thinking you were picked on. I realize how foolish I was in thinking that.

  20. piotr
    December 13, 2014, 9:45 pm

    Quite silly idea. Not without precedent, most recently, United Kingdom denied entry to an American citizens who wanted to run seminars how to pressure women effectively to have sex. The guys offers online courses on the topic, so it does not change much, but registers the will of the United Kingdom to defend the tranquility of its maiden — however ineffectively.

    The common ingredient is the need to “do something, anything”, and in our particular case, creating an exhibit case that opposition to BDS can be combine with some type of humanitarian thought. Not exactly “You have to be a Zionist to be nice” but “You can be a nice Zionist”. But it reminds me a lot Tom Friedman harrumphing that this or that “is not serious”. What should the liberal Zionist propose to be serious? A good start would be to request that donations to organizations that financially aid settlements in West Bank and East Jerusalem cannot be counted as “public interest non-profit”, and better yet, disallowed altogether, like the donations to charities that “objectively help Hamas”.

    But the purpose of the initiative is to document that the participants are nice and moderate, a political equivalent of being cute — it easier to seem cute if you give an appearance of an airhead.

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