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January 2015

Hillel campaign to ‘thwart’ divestment exposed at University of South Florida

Ben Norton on

Following the controversial rejection of a campus-wide campaign to get the University of South Florida (USF) to divest from the Israeli occupation, students have discovered that members of the USF Foundation Board have ties to Israel Bonds and secretly met with Hillel officials in a campaign to “thwart” a Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) divestment campaign.

Phila Inquirer publishes a lie: ‘Anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are one and the same’

Susan Landau on

Anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are NOT “one and the same,” Susan Landau writes. Protests against the state of Israel for maintaining the illegal occupation of the Palestinians, denying their human rights, and violating international law are not inherently anti-Semitic. Attacking Jews because they are Jewish IS anti-Semitic

‘The New York Times’ throws another sop to lovers of Israel

James North on

A portrait of a rightwing Israeli lawyer in the Times is a transparent effort to show Israel supporters who monitor the paper closely that the Times takes rightwing Zionists more seriously than it does leftwingers or Palestinians.

The growing ties between #BlackLivesMatter and Palestine

Alex Kane on

Founded after Black teen Trayvon Martin’s 2012 death, the Dream Defenders have helped lead the burgeoning #BlackLivesMatter demonstrations that have swept the nation and recently have joined U.S. Palestinian rights groups in calling for an end to Israeli human rights abuses. At the start of 2015, members of Dream Defenders went on a delegation to Palestine along with members of other U.S.-based racial justice groups to expose the activists to the Israeli occupation. After returning, the participants have drawn parallels between the Black and Latino experience in the U.S. and the Palestinian experience.

BDS in Urbana-Champaign: A Response to Cary Nelson

David Green on

David Green responds to Cary Nelson’s talk in Israel which attacked the BDS movement at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus. In short, “The picture Nelson paints regarding pro-Palestinian activism on the UIUC campus is false.”

Israeli forces detain 10-year old boy and assault his family members in East Jerusalem

Kate on

Ma’an reports: “Israeli forces on Sunday detained a young Palestinian boy and his uncle in the al-Tur neighborhood of East Jerusalem, leading to clashes in the area, witnesses said. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli special forces assaulted 10-year-old Muhammad Afeef Khweis as he was sitting in a park in the neighborhood, causing him to panic. Israeli forces also assaulted Khweis’ family members, who tried to stop the arrest.”

End the silence — Support Palestinian refugees in Yarmouk

Mariam Barghouti on

The case of Palestinian refugees is a prevailing topic when discussing Palestine and liberation, but when Palestinian refugees are being besieged and slaughtered in Syria there is a piercing silence towards them. Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus has been under siege for nearly 550 days and counting. Over 1,020 Palestinians have died in the camp by torture in regime jails, execution, and bombing.

Tell your congressperson: Don’t attend Netanyahu’s speech

Philip Weiss on

If it was outrageous and inappropriate and unprecedented for the Republicans to ask Netanyahu to speak to Congress, thereby undermining Obama’s Iran policy, those who oppose war should take action, and give Netanyahu the cold shoulder when he comes to Congress

Occupier’s justice: heads and tails you lose

Jonathan Cook on

Occupation at work: A Palestinian family fights religious settlers who try and build a synagogue on their land. Now the settlers send the family a bill for $22,000 in property taxes, more than they earn in years. From Jonathan Cook.

Like the Wind, We Will Be Free: How being detained at Ben Gurion airport during a family trip to Palestine reaffirmed my identity

Samah Assad on

Samah Assad was detained in Ben Gurion airport as she visited her family home in Palestine for the first time in 13 years. Upset and angry, she asked her father how he can deal with the discrimination and abuse year and year when he visits. His answer: “When we return every year, that is how we fight. If we keep returning, we show them that this is our home. And we’re not giving it up.”

When discussing Islam, which Islam and whose rationality? 

Sabith Khan on

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo killings there has been an effort to reify Islam and put a fixed meaning to this way of life/ civilization. Sabith Khan suggests we look at Islam contextually by placing our understanding of it in the milieu in which we find it instead of looking for an “essential spirit” of the religion: “American Islam is different from French Islam, which is different from that in Saudi Arabia. Speaking of ‘Islam’ as an all-consuming category, that subsumes all geographies, history and culture is not only naïve, but also dangerous.”

Jim Crow’s polite sons

Ned Rosch on

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.’s life in the era of police shootings means recognizing the racism in American society. And it also inspires Ned Rosch to work as a Jewish American for Palestinian freedom.

Netanyahu speech could turn Israel lobby into a political football

Philip Weiss on

The stunning invitation to Netanyahu to address the Congress in March against Obama may at last politicize the “special relationship,” forcing Democrats to side with the president over Israel and unleashing a debate over our Israeli policy, including the damage to the U.S. from the unending occupation

In Iraq and Syria the US sanctions its allies while its friends back its enemies (got that?)

Ted Snider on

The war in Syria and Iraq has so many sides it’s hard to keep track of the teams. In Syria, we’re fighting the Assad government, but we’re also fighting the rebels who are fighting the Assad government, putting us on both sides of that civil war. But when you throw in the other countries that are taking sides, the program becomes even harder to follow. Recently, it seems that allies are on our enemy’s side while our enemies are on our side. To be on our side, it seems, you first have to let us sanction you.

How a culture remembers its crimes is important: A review of ‘American Sniper’

Eamon Murphy on

The greatest crime of the twenty-first century so far has come to the big screen, and it’s a hit. Eamon Murphy reviews Clint Eastwood’s film “American Sniper” which tells the story of Iraq war sniper Chris Kyle. Murphy writes: “There’s a generic antiwar undercurrent, but no understanding of the myriad ways in which this specific act of aggression was so monstrous. The conflicting signals were probably part of a strategy to drum up business through controversy, but the movie deserves to be talked about: how a culture remembers its crimes is always of interest. We seem willing to regret the Iraq War, provided that we never have to face it; American Sniper abides by this profitable bargain.”

Letter from a Texas Maximum Security Prison: A personal reflection on Martin Luther King Day

Shukri Abu Baker on

Holy Land Foundation President Shukri Abu Baker writes from a maximum security prison in Beaumont, Texas: “I was only 4 yrs old when Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, 1963. In that speech King dreamt of a day when people of all races would be able to sing with a ‘new meaning’, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my father died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.” I sang, and I’m still singing. Even from the tight emptiness of my cell I’m singing, but I’m yet to savor the new meaning King spoke of. I’m yet to feel the breeze of liberty against the stark landscape of incarceration. Perhaps my singing carries too strong of an Arabic accent, or a hint of Islamism, or a touch of Palestinianism. Perhaps the song, was not meant for me.”