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March 2017

Victim’s daughter responds to anti-Arab attack in Oregon: ‘I don’t want this to be considered a hate crime’

Layla Abdel-Jawad on

Last week a man in Salem, Oregon was charged with assault, intimidation and unlawful use of a weapon after he yelled at an employee working in a Middle Eastern restaurant, “go back to your country, terrorist” and then attacked him with a plastic pipe. The victim’s daughter, Layla Abdel-Jawad writes the man, Jason Kendall, suffers from a mental illness and should not be charged with a hate crime.

Gerald Kaufman – From Labour Zionist to Israel’s bitterest critic

Tony Greenstein on

Gerald Kaufman, who died on February 26th 2017 at the age of 86, served as a member of Parliament for 47 continuous years and became the Father of the House of Commons. In his early years as an MP Kaufman was a strong supporter of the Israeli state and was a member of both Labour Friends of Israel and Poalei Zion, the British wing of the Israeli Labour Party. Tony Greenstein writes, “Perhaps the most fitting tribute to Gerald Kaufman that there can be was that he wasn’t a hypocrite. Kaufman had grown up with Labour Zionism and its myth of making the desert bloom, but unlike most supporters of Zionism in the Labour Party today, Gerald Kaufman was sincere in wanting to see a two-state solution. For him it wasn’t a convenient cover for an apartheid Greater Israel. Kaufman was quite sincere in his hostility to Israeli rule over millions of Palestinians and he didn’t hesitate to speak out against the occupation and repression that it entailed.”

The lying King

Jonathan Ofir on

Adding to his already rabidly racist remarks, Iowa Congressman Steve King uses a comparison to Israel to make his demographic obsession seem more acceptable.

A US veteran reflects on protesting alongside Palestinian human rights activists in Hebron

Matthew Hoh on

“I hadn’t been shot at in seven and a half years. In the week prior, some tear gas cans were fired by the Israeli army at my fellow Veterans For Peace members and me in the Palestinian town of Bil’in. But for a former tough guy Marine, that doesn’t count. Hebron was different.” Matthew Hoh from Veterans for Peace shares his experience during the annual Open Shuhada Street march in Hebron and the importance of grassroots Palestinian leaders like Issa Amro.

UN agency labels Israel ‘apartheid regime’– and Israel likens organization to Nazis

Allison Deger on

A United Nations agency today labeled Israel an “apartheid regime,” in a report where the country was said to be guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” of the “grave charge” of operating systematic discrimination and oppression against the Palestinian people.

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) who published the document, “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian, People and the Question of Apartheid,”[PDF] is mandated to review Israeli aggressions.

Ambassador David Friedman: A diplomatic oxymoron

Mohamed Mohamed on

At the most fundamental level, all U.S. ambassadors share a common mission: to represent the national interests and policies of the United States. David Friedman, President Donald Trump’s nomination for ambassador to Israel, is unable to fulfill this basic obligation because his loyalties lie elsewhere, which is clear from his own statements and views.

Zionism and feminism are incompatible, leftwing voices say

Philip Weiss on

It used to be that PEP was a safe place: Progressive Except Palestine. But as progressives seek to build an anti-Trump coalition on the left, Zionism is coming under a lot of pressure, so far mostly among feminists.

Gaza’s ‘geeks’ will code your project for free

Allison Deger on

Gaza’s first start-up incubator, Gaza Sky Geeks, has announced an open call for businesses, organizations, and individuals to submit their project ideas and coders in Gaza will build them for free.

Now is not the time to be intimidated by Israel’s activist travel ban

Emily Siegel on

Interfaith Peace-Builders Program Director Emily Siegel writes: The new law passed last week in the Israeli Knesset targets individuals active in Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaigns against Israel. We see the principle goal of the legislation to be Israel’s attempt to intimidate activists not to travel; to not try and enter; not to see the realities on the ground that only strengthen the need for BDS and other forms of activism. Israel’s political and military establishment would be thrilled if activists in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for human rights stopped visiting Palestine. We should not give them that satisfaction.

Banksy’s hotel isn’t gentrification, it is an invitation for people to come see the occupation for what it is

Rory Evans on

How do you engage people with the Palestinian struggle for freedom, when you’re faced with the slickest and most well-funded propaganda machine the world has ever known? Rory Evans writes a trendy new hotel in Bethlehem created by the graffiti artist Banksy has opened to the public in an effort to breathe new life into the fight for Palestinian justice.

If baseball coverage of Team Israel is ‘the story of Israel itself,’ then we should not forget the Palestinians

Aubrey Bloomfield on

The media has embraced Team Israel’s unlikely success at the World Baseball Classic, referring to the team as a “Cinderella” story, “David and Goliath,” and a “fairy-tale.” In this “softball” coverage, Israel—home to the most powerful military in the Middle East and a cruel system of apartheid directed at the Palestinian people—gets to be the plucky, lovable underdog. Writing in the Forward, David Hazony argues “Team Israel is very much the story of Israel itself,” but central to the story of Israel itself is also the dispossession and expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their lands and a decades-long occupation.

An unlikely dramatic hero, poet Taha Muhammad Ali takes the Kennedy Center stage

Jonathan Cook on

Taha Muhammad Ali is an unlikely dramatic hero. His arms shake with age and infirmity, his legs occasionally buckle, and he often appears lost on stage, as if adrift in a vast expanse of sadness. But for an hour the story of this Palestinian poet has a vice-like hold on our attention and our hearts.

The one-man show Taha receives its English-language premiere on Wednesday at the Kennedy Center for the performing arts in Washington DC. It offers not only a rare chance to learn about one of Palestine’s finest poets, but provides a visceral account of what it was like to live through the Nakba – the Catastrophe that befell hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who were expelled from their homeland in 1948.

Palestinian police beat demonstrators in Ramallah during protest against political activist’s death

Sheren Khalel on

Mahmoud al-Araj, the father of slain Basil al-Araj, left his home on Sunday expecting to take part in a peaceful demonstration outside a courthouse in Ramallah where a judge officially dropped an investigation into his son. He ended up in the hospital after getting caught in the middle of a chaotic crackdown by Palestinian Authority (PA) forces wielding heavy batons, and shooting pepper spray and tear gas at Palestinians protesting the death of Basil, the imprisonment of his five friends and the court’s decision to pursue charges against them for allegedly storing illegal weapons.

Israel jails Palestinian writer for her novel about occupation

Kate on

The Palestinian prisoner rights group Samidoun reports novelist Khalida Ghosheh was released on bail on Saturday. Still, she faces charges over her fictional book about Palestinians collaborators for Israel. Samidoun writes, Ghosheh said while in jail “the interrogators claimed that her novel poses a threat to collaborators working with the occupation, saying that the novel reflects her own experiences and aims to warn young people about ways [the Israeli authorities] may attempt to compel them to become collaborators.”

‘Unfortunately there are many more decent than brave people’ — Michael Sfard

Robert Herbst on

“One has to be brave to participate in non-violent dissent, and unfortunately there are many more decent than brave people,” says Israeli human rights lawyer Michael Sfard. “Israeli politicians are afraid,” and there have been a “tsunami of bills to close the democratic space available to us.”

No space for Zionism

Devyn Springer on

There is no space for Zionism in any movement which seeks to alleviate even an iota of oppression from marginalized people. There is no space, no room should be made, no platform to be held, for Zionism, which is diametrically opposed to intersectional feminism, both in theory and praxis.