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July 2017

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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.

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.

Israel’s security cabinet announced late Monday evening that metal detectors installed at the gates of the al-Aqsa mosque compound would be removed and replaced with “smart cameras,” following more than a week of protests and upheaval against the new security measures following a deadly shooting at the site. Munther Amira, the head of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee in the West Bank, told Mondoweiss, “Nothing about this is acceptable, the only option we accept is the to return the status of the mosque back to the status quo without cameras or any other additions.” Amira said Palestinians view the extra security measures as a way for Israel to exert its control over the al-Aqsa mosque.

Speaking to Mondoweiss from Friday’s prayer at Lion’s Gate in Jerusalem, Sheikh Mustafa Tawil fears the latest Israeli security measures at the Al-Aqsa mosque will lead to partitioning it just like with Hebron’s Ibrahimi mosque in 1994. “Muslims aren’t allowed to pray at the Ibrahimi mosque on Israeli weekends and holidays. The occupiers want to do the same thing to Al Aqsa mosque,” Tawil said. “We refuse these gates because they were set up by the occupiers to force their control over the mosque. We refuse the Israelis’ sovereignty over the mosque at all. The metal detectors are just the first step in dividing Al Aqsa mosque.”

Five leaders on an interfaith delegation to Israel/Palestine were refused permission to board their plane in the United States, in what appears to be an implementation of Israel’s travel ban on supporters of Palestinian rights and Boycott, Divestment Sanctions (BDS). Rabbi Alissa Wise: “We were told at check-in that the airline has a letter from the Israeli government saying we are not allowed to fly to Israel. I wasn’t even able to get as far as checking my bag.”

Israeli authorities on Monday installed extra security cameras around the entrances of the al-Aqsa mosque compound, Member of the Israeli Knesset’s Arab Joint List, Aida Touma-Suleiman, confirmed to Mondoweiss. The newly installed security cameras were added amid growing unrest and daily clashes over security measures instituted ten days ago following a deadly attack near the site.