A guerrilla graffiti artist painted an image of Donald Trump on Israel’s separation wall inside of the West Bank city of Bethlehem in the early morning hours of Monday, mocking the president’s repeated statements of his intention to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Monthly Archives: July 2017
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
There are two claims one hears from people opposed to any serious action taken in favor of Palestinian rights. Anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. And BDS unfairly singles out Israel and therefore (you guessed it) is anti-Semitic. Here are the short answers those claims deserve.
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”
Netanyahu has reportedly adopted Lieberman’s ugly idea of stripping Palestinians in Israel of citizenship and transferring them to Palestinian sovereignty under a peace deal. American Jews have been outraged by this ethnic-religious citizenship proposal in the past. Will they speak up now?
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 State Department’s terrorism report for 2016 says Palestinians “lack of hope” in achieving statehood has fostered terrorism, and pro-Israel groups have pushed back against the statement calling it “anti-Semitic” and “pro-Palestinian.”
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 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.”
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.
Senator Lindsey Graham wonders if AIPAC should be a foreign agent: “They come up here in droves lobbying Congress to do things in their view good for the US Israel relationship. I know they have a lot of contacts in Israel. Should somebody like that be a foreign agent?” But no, the AIPAC model is a “good thing,” he concludes.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
The State Department finds Israeli settlements, settler attacks, changes to the status quo at al-Aqsa mosque and a lack of progress on Palestinian statehood are the driving cause of violence.
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.