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July 2017

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Charlie Zimmerman reflects on his time with the Center for Jewish Nonviolence during a work camp over the summer to rebuild a Palestinian village, “Maybe this struggle for the soul of Judaism is one reason why I have observed an increase in visibility of and support for Jewish anti-occupation organizations in the Diaspora. More and more of us, in addition to pursuing justice, are fighting for Jewish identities we can embrace proudly and to keep our tradition alive, compassionate, and meaningful. Diaspora Jews, for the sake of Palestinians, ourselves, and our tradition, must continue to raise our voices and insist that injustice being perpetrated in our name and on our dime must end.”

In the wake of the Gulf crisis, Hamas leaders left Qatar and are looking for a new base for their foreign headquarters. Al-Monitor reports, Algeria is likely the group’s next move, “The Saudi-backed Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported July 17 that Hamas is searching for a foothold in Algeria to shelter its officials who left Qatar in early June. Algeria received an official request from Hamas to establish a representative office for the movement on its territories, but it has yet to respond.”

Is there a connection between the Israeli occupation and the rise of antisemitism? Tony Klug asks in London speech. Of course. And the identification of Jews around the world with policies so widely regarded as unjust and oppressive is making the Jewish position “increasingly precarious.” The way to normalize Jewish-non-Jewish relations is to enable Palestinian freedom.

A shuttered Palestinian shop in Hebron closed down by the Israeli military that was vandalized with a Star of David, an ancient Jewish symbol adopted by the Israeli state as a national symbol. (Photo: Lauren Surface)

Marc Ellis writes, “Tisha B’Av is upon us, a fast day for Jews, commemorating the destruction of the ancient Temples in Jerusalem. With the accumulation of events of destruction in Jewish history, though, Tisha B’Av has become a time to mourn subsequent calamities that befell the Jewish people. Through most of our history, mourning occurred in a context where most Jews lived on the margins of power or suffered under it. Today Jewish mourning takes place within the context of Jewish empowerment. Like mourning, Jewish empowerment is complex and entangled. Still, one things is abundantly clear: Jewish power, enabled by our mourning on Tisha B’Av, is oppressing the Palestinian people.”

Times columnist David Brooks says what’s “disturbing” about an interview with President Trump is his confused train of thought: “Spasms about what Napoleon was doing, then we go off to some other issue and some other issue. I thought – and especially compared to the transcripts of Donald Trump 15 years ago, there’s a totally different conversational style, the explanation for which I do not have.”

Tithi Bhattacharya and Bill V. Mullen write, “a watershed that has created both a set of tactics, and as importantly a confidence, among reactionary forces in the U.S., that U.S. university faculty, including tenured faculty, can be harassed, trolled, smeared and bullied—even out of a job— for daring to act as public advocates for social justice. We may call this trend the ‘Salaitification’ of higher education in reference to Steven Salaita. It takes the special form of a new, emboldened ‘alt-right’ who have taken to emulating tactics first deployed by Zionists and defenders of Israel to stalk and attempt to destroy the careers of American academic dissidents”