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July 2017

Jewish resistance to occupation is also fighting for the future of Judaism itself

Charlie Zimmerman on

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.”

Kicked out of Qatar, Hamas leaders eye move to Algeria

Kate on

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.”

Uncritical Jewish identification with oppressive Israeli policies fuels anti-Semitism — Klug

Philip Weiss on

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.

On Tisha B’Av, we must mourn our complicity

Marc H. Ellis on
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.”

Jew and Israeli: Solomon Schechter and Shlomo Sand

Abba Solomon on

American educator Solomon Schecter accepted Zionism as a bulwark against Jewish assimilation in the west. The twin menaces were acceptance of Jews and hostility toward them. Zionism still serves this purpose. The Israeli State ensures that its Jewish citizens are “safely hated.”

Video: Peaceful demonstration at checkpoint leads to nightmarish response

Badee Dwaik on

In a scene reminiscent of Jim Crow, Israeli forces fire percussion grenades on a peaceful demonstration of 30 men after evening prayers at a Hebron checkpoint. Palestinians fear that Israel wants to follow the Hebron model in Jerusalem, exercising sovereignty over the al-Aqsa mosque as it has done with the Ibrahimi mosque.

Napoleon, Hitler and the economy — David Brooks hints that Trump is losing his mind

Philip Weiss on

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.”

Where Zionism and the ‘alt-right’ meet

Tithi Bhattacharya and Bill V. Mullen on

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”

From Russia with love–hundreds of women left Eastern Europe to marry in Gaza

Kate on

Haaretz profiles women from the former USSR who married men from Gaza and moved to the besieged Strip to raise families, Elena Hamida, from the Ukraine, tells Haaretz, “she loves Gaza. ‘I’ve gotten used to it, as far as I am concerned everything here is fine. The only thing I don’t like is that it’s impossible to leave [the Gaza Strip].” What about the electricity? “You can live without electricity. It used to be hard, now it’s alright. But I don’t want to return to Ukraine. There’s a war there, too, and I have children, I worry. There are those gangs there I am afraid that my boy would become a junkie, or start drinking. There, I simply would not be able to keep an eye on them. If it’s one child it’s possible, but not three. One of them for sure would find himself in bad company.’ And in Gaza that can’t happen? ‘Here it’s possible to keep an eye on them. There, I would not be able to do that.”

The trials of Issa Amro

Katie Miranda on

Palestinian human rights activist Issa Amro faces a possible lengthy prison sentence for a laughable set of charges Israel has lodged against him. Efforts to ethnically cleanse Hebron do not change the essentially Palestinian nature of the city, he says.

Israeli activists file freedom of information request regarding ‘blacklist’ of BDS supporters

Eitay Mack on

Israeli activists submitted a FOIA request to unearth the details behind Israel’s apparent blacklist of BDS activists that was given to a German airline earlier this week. Eitay Mack writes, “According to an Israeli law passed in March banning the entry of foreign BDS activists is indeed legal by Israeli rules, but there are grave questions raised by the process in which the decisions on who to ban was made. As well, it is alarming that Israel gave a blacklist to a foreign airline, in this case, Lufthansa, who then prohibited the boarding of U.S. passengers in a U.S. airport. Meaning, the Israeli law to ban BDS activists was actually imposed in the U.S., not in Israel.”

‘You are a Jew, you need to stand with the Jews’: Peace activist Ariel Gold assaulted by settlers in Hebron

Jonathan Ofir on

Wednesday morning, Ariel Gold was broadcasting a live feed through her Facebook, in the midst of an assault on her by settlers in Al-Khalil (Hebron). It’s another glimpse into the reality wherein the settlers essentially run the game, and the soldiers are only there to protect them, and no one else – certainly not anyone who is not “standing with the Jews”, as it were, even if they are Jewish.

Video: Israeli lawmaker says he wants to ‘execute’ the relatives of Palestinians who killed police officers

Allison Deger on

An Israeli lawmaker said he wants to enter the homes of three Palestinians who killed two Israeli police officers near the holy sites in Jerusalem earlier this month, and “execute” their relatives–“execute them all. Yes just like that. With no shame. A quick and simple execution.” The comments were made over the weekend by Knesset member Oren Hazan, who posted a feed of himself talking on Facebook Live.

Israel is losing the battle for public opinion thanks to honest journalists, and platforms like Mondoweiss

Jonathan Cook on

Jonathan Cook writes: “The passage, and now the enforcement, of laws prohibiting entry for BDS advocates are part of the effort to silence voices from outside Israel/Palestine. But Israel is fighting a losing battle, due to the persistence of Palestinian journalists, the slow opening of cracks in the mainstream media, and the new opportunities for freelance journalists like myself through electronic media such as Mondoweiss. The existence of Mondoweiss and other online outlets means that I can report honestly what I learn from witnesses and documents—information that ‘established’ media have been too cowardly to publish.”

Tour Israel first-class with ‘New York Times’ cheerleader Jodi Rudoren

James North and Philip Weiss on

Jodi Rudoren promoted the Israeli Zionist narrative as bureau chief for the New York Times in Jerusalem. Now she’s the newspaper’s guide in Israel to wealthy visitors for three days during a first-class round the world tour in a private jet next year, 26 days and 9 countries for $135,000.

NYT, Reuters, Economist journalists self-censor reports from Israel so as not to be ‘savagely targeted’ — John Lyons

Philip Weiss on

Veteran Australian journalist John Lyons says that reporters from the New York Times, The Economist, Agence France-Presse, and Reuters told him that they censor themselves in reporting from Israel lest they be “savagely targeted” by Israel. Reuters even has a list of special words that won’t “upset” Israeli authorities, he said. These pressures are levied by Israel’s friends overseas, to the point that they tie up reporters “for months” when they write critical investigations of Israel.

Rabbi Rosen’s final mourning

Marc H. Ellis on

With Tisha B’Av upon us, Rabbi Brant Rosen has released his contemporary take on the Biblical Book of Lamentations – Lamentation for a New Diaspora. Marc Ellis writes, “Rabbi Rosen’s lamentation is poetic, strong and dark. Trauma is the global name of the game. The ravages of mass culture, industrialization, militarism and climate change have taken their toll. The New Diaspora, the community of refugees and exiles of every stripe who gather to protest the coming global catastrophe, are themselves scattered and without hope.”

Russian meddling is Watergate-worthy, but Israeli meddling is hunky-dory

Philip Weiss on

The investigation of Russia’s meddling in U.S. politics dominates the liberal press. Phil Weiss writes that he believes the suspicions about Donald Trump and the Russians, but what stands out to him is that conduct that is Watergate-worthy when it comes to Russia is hunky-dory when it comes to Israel. Just in the last week there have been two other expressions of Israel’s active interests in our politics that the liberal media have failed to say boo about.

Sorry, American Jews, you don’t have a birthright

Yossi Gurvitz on

When American Jews take a position on Israel based on it calling itself a Jewish state, they are playing Israel’s game: claiming Jews are a nation, and therefore that their voice counts more than non-Jews who live in Israel, giving strength to illiberal forces in that land. American Jews should express themselves as liberals, and form coalitions of others in and out of Israel on that basis.