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February 2015

Hillel’s segregated lunch counter

Philip Weiss on

“And I am a supporter of BDS.” Dorothy Zellner said those magic words at Harvard Hillel Wednesday night. But she and other Jewish veterans of the civil rights movement have been barred from speaking at UMass and MIT Hillels because of support for the boycott movement against Israel.

Thanks to Netanyahu, Israel support turns into a political football

Philip Weiss on

Israel is politicized in the U.S.! Bill Kristol’s neocon group runs an ad painting Obama as a madman and Netanyahu as a statesman, while the New York Times runs a cartoon saying that Netanyahu wants to build a settlement on Pennsylvania Avenue

What we talk about when we talk about ISIS

Eamon Murphy on

As the U.S. prepares to re-engage more deeply in the Iraq War, including the likely deployment of ground troops to help retake Mosul from Islamic State, there has been a push from mainstream commentators to recommit to an ideological view of our military campaigns in the Muslim world. A splashy cover story in The Atlantic, “What ISIS Really Wants”, offers an intellectual foundation for the reenergized War on Terror, presenting full recognition of ISIS’s “very Islamic” nature as a matter of urgent strategic significance. Eamon Murphy writes the obsession with naming Islam as the enemy of the West is in fact a defense of our own side’s troubled ideology. He says the guiding principle of post-World War II foreign policy — that the course of world events should be influenced, wherever possible, by force — is imperiled by the spectacular failure of the War on Terror, which actually succeeded in creating a transnational army of Islamic terrorists. That Islamic State rose in Iraq, then spread to Syria and Libya, threatens to give war a very bad name.

AIPAC and Bill Kristol turn up the pressure

Philip Weiss on

Bill Kristol of the Emergency Committee for Israel urges AIPAC attendees to boycott speeches from the Obama administration officials as AIPAC urges congressmen to attend Netanyahu’s speech next week

Banksy goes to Gaza

Annie Robbins on

On Wednesday, Banksy published a video and photos from a recent trip to Gaza and set the internet ablaze.

FAQ: Palestinians and the Israeli elections

Allison Deger on

Will the Arab List with its assumed new clout back a Zionist-left government in order to keep incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing bloc out of government? Or will Palestinians be politically marginalized, as they traditionally are? Some Frequently Asked Questions about Palestinians and the election.

About me: The olive tree

Amal AlHazred on

To understand her background in Palestine, Amal AlHazred had to learn about olive trees. “I remember how my father in Jordan held a seed and said ‘These will be Palestinian olives’ and how inspired he was.”

Right-wing bomb thrower David Horowitz behind anti-SJP posters

Alex Kane on

Right-wing activist David Horowitz is the man behind the posters on college campuses that called Students for Justice in Palestine anti-Semitic and akin to Hamas. The posters are the first salvo in a Horowitz-run campaign against Palestine solidarity activism on campus. The campaign, called “Jew Hatred on Campus Awareness Week,” represents the latest pro-Israel tactic to try to squelch Palestine solidarity activism. But it is perhaps the most extreme campaign, suggesting things like staging mock hangings on campus to highlight Israel’s “stellar record on human rights.”

Kerry says Netanyahu was wrong the last time he pushed war for the U.S.

Philip Weiss on

Secretary of State John Kerry took the US-ISrael disagreement to a new level yesterday, saying that Netanyahu had pushed the disastrous Iraq war. “A very tough shot” at the war party, Chris Matthews said, while the New York Times, covering for neocons, dismissed the line as a needling.

Hillel accuses BDS activists of ‘colonizing’ student groups

Ben Norton on

Hillel at UCLA recently sent an email to the thousands of people on its listserve strongly condemning recent divestment measures voted on by the University of California Student Association. In its message, Hillel accuses the UCSA of “attacking their own country,” and claims that BDS measures have passed due to “the radical ideology of the zealots who somehow have managed to take over various organizations.” Jacob Manheim, president of Jewish Voice for Peace at UCLA responds. “It’s shocking that Hillel at UCLA leadership has decided that the best way to fight divestment is to attack the integrity of student of color organizations that support Palestinian rights.”

Israel turns off power to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the dead of winter

Annie Robbins on

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are cashed strapped this winter because Israel is withholding $240 million in tax revenue to the Palestinian Authority as punishment for joining the ICC. This is radical, though it’s not unusual and something we’ve come to expect. But turning off the electricity in the middle of winter as blizzards sweep across the Middle East is nothing short of sadistic. The Los Angeles Times reports Israel cut the power to more than 700,000 Palestinians in two of Palestine’s largest urban areas, Nablus and Jenin, for more than 45 minutes “and warned that more outages are coming if Palestinian officials don’t pay millions of dollars in outstanding debt.”

Israel has granted refugee status to 0.07% of African asylum seekers

Ben Norton on

Israel has not granted a single Sudanese asylum seeker refugee status, in spite of a wave of migrants fleeing violence, according to official state statistics, submitted to the High Court of Justice on February 16. In all, the government has granted refugee status to only 0.07% of the 5,573 Sudanese and Eritreans who have applied for asylum in the country—a mere four individuals.

Al Jazeera publishes leaked intelligence files showing Netanyahu lied about Iranian nuclear threat

Annie Robbins on

A little over one month before a deadline to reach a nuclear deal with Iran, three weeks before Israelis head to the polls, and 8 days before Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu is set to address both houses of Congress, Aljazeera’s investigative unit has begun publishing a cache of leaked intelligence files exposing the Mossad, MI6, and the CIA. Dubbed “The Spy Cables”, the initial reporting leads to one conclusion: Benjamin Netanyahu is a liar. The timing couldn’t be better.

Israel’s new Asian allies

Jonathan Cook on

As Israel’s relations in the US and Europe falter, Benjamin Netanyahu has begun looking elsewhere for economic – and ultimately political – patrons. Netanyahu announced last month that he was courting trade with China, India and Japan and last year Israel did more trade with these Asian countries than with the US — much of it focused on the burgeoning arms market. Israel hopes to convert Chinese and Indian dependency on Israeli armaments into diplomatic cover. One day Israel may be relying on a Chinese veto at the UN, not a US one.

No matter who wins the Israeli elections, Palestinians lose

Jamie Stern-Weiner on

Mainstream Israeli political parties are united in rejecting the international consensus for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but they are divided over “the Kerry Plan” which would see Israel annex its major illegal settlement blocs on critical chunks of Palestinian territory, redraw its border roughly along the route of the illegal Wall and nullify the refugees’ right of return. Whereas Netanyahu is content to maintain the status quo of occupation and settlement expansion, the pro-Kerry camp seeks its legal consecration through a US-brokered deal. If Netanyahu forms Israel’s next government, Palestine’s foreseeable future will resemble its unbearable present. But if Netanyahu loses, the decisive obstacle to securing formal Palestinian capitulation to US-Israeli terms may be removed with him.