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January 2015

Since when is the Southern Poverty Law Center a pro-Israel organization?

Philip Weiss on

Rachel Maddow, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and People for the American Way all blast a Republican trip to Israel and occupied Palestine because of the US Christian sponsor, not Palestinian conditions. SPLC praises Israel as a refuge for Jews from anti-Semitism.

The betting line on Netanyahu’s speech to Congress

Adam Horowitz on

In the spirit of the Super Bowl we have decided to release our betting line for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming speech to Congress.

Odds the following will be thanked during the speech:

John Boehner: 1 to 1
Chris Kyle: 10 to 1
Ted Cruz: 100 to 1
Tom Cruise: 1,000 to 1
Carnival Cruise Lines: 10,000 to 1
Barack Obama: 100,000 to 1

Auschwitz revisited

Robert Cohen on

Robert Cohen shares a moving personal post on why he has become weary and wary of trying to take meaning or lessons from the Holocaust: “When it comes to the Palestinian people, the Holocaust has hardened our hearts and closed our minds. The scale of our own suffering has made us blind to their suffering – which we see as all of their own making. Perhaps this was inevitable. Why should a people abused and broken become saints? The opposite result is more often the outcome. I am asking for too much. Expecting something that no group is capable of.”

Is inter-faith work between Jews and Muslims possible?

Sabith Khan on

Why does there seem to be so much tension between Muslims and Jews? Sabith Khan suggests that while the tension between the two faith groups seems to be about religion, it is in fact a political discourse in which politics is intruding the territory of religion. In this particular case, he suggests that religious traditions and institutions can offer solutions, rather than political parties or ideologies.

Charlie Hebdo: The sacred of the ‘wretched of the Earth’ and its desecration

Houria Bouteldja on

Houria Bouteldja, founder and spokesperson of the Party of the Indigenous of the Republic in France, writes a searing essay on the Charlie Hebdo attack and Islamophobia in French society: It did not take a genius to guess that this system produces time bombs—and our friends knew it—but it had to be us to understand the gaping wound of our violated dignity. We know that we are nothing. People keep telling us. Our humanity is trampled; on it, everyone wipes his or her feet. Thus, the “jihadists” responded: “our lives are worth nothing but now yours are worth nothing as well. You eradicate us, we eradicate you.” This is the curse of the “scum.” Let’s move on.

‘Break Down Borders 5K’ in San Diego highlights injustices at border regions around the world

Jennifer Moghannam on

On Saturday, January 24th, 2015, the Palestinian Youth Movement – San Diego and Colectivo Zapatista co-organized their 2nd Break Down Borders 5K along the U.S. side of the U.S.-Mexico Border. The 5K draws parallels between injustices happening at borders in Palestine under Israeli military control and the border between the U.S. and Mexico. It also highlights the violence and injustices that indigenous and oppressed communities face at colonial border regions around the world.

‘NYT’ perpetuates myth Israel was ‘fighting for its very survival’ during 1967 war

Stephen R. Shalom on

New York Times’ Jodi Rudoren writes about a new Israeli film, Censored Voices, directed by Mor Loushy. The film deals with Israeli war crimes committed during the 1967 war which Rudoren describes as one in which Israel “started out fighting … for its very survival,” and Loushy is quoted as saying that “This is the story of men who went out to war feeling like they had to defend their life, and they were right, of course.” But they were not right, and nor are Rudoren or Loushy.

Northwestern students launch divestment campaign

Moira Geary on

Last week students at Northwestern University launched NU Divest, a grassroots student campaign demanding that Northwestern divest its holdings in corporations that profit from human rights abuses against Palestinians. The campaign has received an outpouring of support from students, student organizations, alumni, and community members and the much-expected reactionary opposition, including unsanctioned acts of vigilante censorship.

Salaita sues donors for ‘injecting’ themselves into U of Illinois decision, threatening to withhold gifts unless he was fired

Philip Weiss on

In a suit filed today in federal court against the administration of the University of Illinois seeking his reinstatement as a professor at the school, scholar Steven Salaita also sued unnamed “John Doe donors” of the university for “injecting” themselves into the university hiring process and threatening “future donations” unless he was fired last summer because of the outspoken tweets he published during the Israeli onslaught in Gaza. Salaita was fired a week before classes were to begin.

Video: Racist Israel supporter films himself attacking Toronto students, urinating on BDS poster

Annie Robbins on

A video shows an unnamed man barging into the Campus Students’ Union office at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus (UTSC) and demanding that a poster calling for divestment from the Israeli occupation be removed from a window. The man was recording the incident on his cell phone as he threatened students and claimed the poster constituted a “hate crime.” He rips the poster from the window while ranting about valuing “Canadian lives,” Israel and seemingly justifying his anger by stating “I’m a fuckin’ Jew.” Later, he recorded himself urinating on the poster while making racist threats directed at Arabs and Muslims and/or: “Anybody who has a problem with Israel you have something in common – I’m the devil baby I don’t think you want to play games with me.”

Shit dead rabbis say about gentiles

Philip Weiss on

“The gentile does not want anything, he waits to see what the Jew wants,” says a religious bus ad in Jerusalem. You might say that’s anti-Semitic!

Independent investigation details Israel’s deliberate targeting of civilians in Gaza

Ben Norton on

A new independent medical fact-finding mission in Gaza has detailed Israel’s deliberate killing of Palestinian civilians in its summer 2014 attack, codenamed Operation “Protective Edge.” Acts documented in the investigation include the use of human shields, close-range murder of civilians, targeting of medics, and more.

Finkelstein on Joan Peters’s legacy (and Dershowitz’s legal troubles)

Adam Horowitz on

Adam Horowitz interviews Norman Finkelstein on the work and legacy of Joan Peters, the author of “From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict over Palestine”. Finkelstein says, “[The Lebanon war in 1982] was big setback and [Israel’s supporters] needed something to rally the stalwarts around the cause. “From Time Immemorial” fit the bill because its essential message was the Palestinians have no legitimate claim whatsoever because the heart of their claim is false, they don’t even exist.”

How Rahat became a symbol of Israeli inequality

Allison Deger on

Khalid Ja’ar once worked for Birthright, showing American Jews the “Bedouin experience” in the Negev. But after his son was killed by Israeli police and the town of Rahat has become a focus of Palestinian resistance, and Ja’ar’s world has changed.

That thrilling, anti-elitist Shas campaign video

Allison Deger on

While Israel’s government entered into elections over the very serious matters of economy and politics, in that order, the election season has been dominated by not so serious campaign ads. Just about every major party has produced some sort of satirical clip that would never air on U.S. television. While American ads go negative, Israel’s version of bashing an opponent’s record, or arrest history, is making fun of the other parties’ constituents.

Report accuses Israel of targeting Gaza’s water facilities

Dan Cohen on

A little-publicized report released during the final weeks of Israel’s summer offensive on the Gaza Strip last year accuses Israel of targeting water and wastewater infrastructure during the 51-day assault, despite having been provided the coordinates of all water and wastewater facilities. Entitled Water Sector Damage Assessment Report, the paper by the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) meticulously documents $34 million in damages that have caused a humanitarian and environmental crisis throughout the Gaza Strip. Yet the damage detailed in the report is likely incomplete as the team is unable to assess damage to pipe systems because most of the damage is underground and covered by massive amounts of rubble.

PA arrests Palestinian student for ‘insulting a public official’ on Facebook

Kate on

Middle East Monitor reports: “Palestinian intelligence services arrested a media student yesterday morning for “insulting a public official”. Bara Al-Qadi, 22, posted a status on Facebook mocking Jibril Rajoub, who leads the Palestinian Football Federation, after the Palestinian team lost 5-1 to Jordan in the Asian cup. The public prosecution has extended Bara’s detention for a further 48 hours for additional investigations to be carried out, despite him being continuously interrogated from yesterday morning according to family members.”

Racism and rhetoric, from Ferguson to Palestine

Heike Schotten on

Black Americans and Palestinians are similarly marginalized in the discourse, and blamed for their own oppression. But growing connections between the #BlackLivesMatter movement and Palestinian resistance will change these politics forever.

State Dep’t says Netanyahu speech is not inappropriate, disrespectful, humiliating or embarrassing

Philip Weiss on

Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to both Houses of Congress to rebut President Obama’s Iran policy is a full-on fiasco. It keeps stirring things up and getting attention. Opposition to the speech is mounting on Capitol Hill, say both the US Campaign to End the Occupation and Jeffrey Goldberg. And any reasonable person has to wonder, Wait, why are the warmongering Israelis messing in our negotiations? Where did a rightwing foreign prime minister derive the power to take on the president on equal terms?