“We came to school and found the school destroyed” –says on small child after Israeli bulldozers crush newly-constructed school in occupied territories. “It is the first day of school and we are just sad because the soldiers took our school, but we want to build it again and study here, we hope.”
Monthly Archives: August 2017
Israel is “always in a state of war,” and that’s why the people elect generals, the late rightwing political guru Arthur Finkelstein said in 2011. Famed for cynical, negative campaigning, Finkelstein foresaw the rise of Trump on a wave of intolerance and said his own work was based on voters’ ignorance and not on his boyhood principles of freedom. “I wanted to change the world, and I did; I made it worse.”
In September, the right-wing organization Im Tirzu will celebrate 10 years of its activity – and will do so in Beit Shmuel, a conference center owned by a progressive Jewish organization with links to the Reform movement.
Noam Chomsky has said something that even Israeli officials haven’t – that Israel would use nuclear weapons to avert the Palestinian right of return. Is he threatening? And why?
The father of five-year-old Mohammed said, “For a whole week, I kept trying to secure the referral to cover Mohammed’s medical treatment outside Gaza, and I sought the help of different figures to speed up the decision at the Ministry of Health in Ramallah to approve our request. Nevertheless, no approval was granted.”
In a breakthrough, the Forward runs Naomi Dann’s piece saying that Zionism is racist. While Forward editor Jane Eisner promptly denounced the article as untrue, the debate in the liberal newspaper is a sign that the U.S. Jewish monolith in favor of Israel is crumbling, and open debate about how safe Jews are in the west, and how unsafe Zionism has made Palestinians, has begun.
“Among the pledge supporters are João Pina, winner of the 2017 Prémio Estação Imagem Viana do Castelo, Portugal’s only photojournalism award.”–Comité de Solidariedade com a Palestina
“White Jews may be shocked at this undeniable evidence of U.S. racism; African Americans merely see more of the same. Black people did not need to be reminded by hoods and swastikas that we live in a dangerously racist country”–Lesley Williams.
The New York Times once again opens its op-ed pages to a militant Zionist, Daniel Gordis, to argue that Jews in Israel are safer than in America because they have overcome their fears by handling guns. He never says what they do with those guns: Oppress Palestinians without rights in the occupation.
Now back in the United States, Steven Salaita writes about his experience of being forced out the American University of Beirut, “I didn’t leave AUB; I was ousted, deprived by management of a permanent job for which I had been selected. For a long time after it happened, I was shocked that Zionist pressure could succeed in the Arab World. Having suffered that pressure in the United States, I knew the danger of aggravating pro-Israel groups, many of which make a living denying the same right to others. The affair made me rethink some of my assumptions about Zionism as a settler-colonial project. I realized that Zionism informs class loyalty as strongly as it does ideological devotion.”
The government of Israel refuses to acknowledge the existence of an Israeli nationality, as doing so would mean nationality can be based on a non-religious basis – which is anathema to Zionism. Some Israeli universalists have sued, insisting that there is an “Israeli people.” The high court of the land has ruled against them.
President Donald Trump endorses neo-Nazis and white supremacists who rampaged through Charlottesvile.
Police on Wednesday arrested a pair of teens from a settlement south of Jerusalem who are suspected of assaulting Israeli-Arab bus drivers over the past several months, Times of Israel reports. Boys are from Bat Ayin, “a staunchly nationalistic community that, as a policy, does not allow Arabs through its gates.”
Israel is making a big effort to strengthen its diplomatic ties in Africa. Netanyahu told his ambassadors to Africa, “The first interest is to dramatically change the situation regarding African votes at the UN and other international bodies from opposition to support.” But Tel Aviv’s history and its policies today mean it will fail in this effort.
Amith Gupta reports, “New York City comptroller Scott Stringer, council members Melissa Mark-Viverito and Rory Lancman, and press secretary Eric Phillips joined Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon in strong-arming the Queens Museum to host an Israeli-government sponsored celebration of the creation of the State of Israel. ‘At a time when we literally have neo-Nazis marching in American streets, when bigotry is on the rise, the Queens Museum has sent a disappointing message to New York City and the world,’ said New York City comptroller Scott Stringer about the initial cancellation.”
The Campus Anti-Fascist Network is a new grassroots, multiracial collective of faculty, students and staff committed to fighting the presence of fascists, white supremacists and nationalists on University campuses. One of the network founders, American Studies Professor Bill Mullen of Purdue University, says the network has exploded since the confrontation in Charlottesville, “We have nearly 200 members nationally and internationally. Nearly 1,000 people joined our [closed] Facebook page within 48 hours when it went live.”
Even as he hesitates to blame white nationalists for Charlottesville killing, saying we don’t know the facts, Trump leaps on Barcelona killings and blames Islamists and disseminates a widely discredited myth about mass executions of Muslims in the Philippines as an effective deterrent to violence.
Wolf Blitzer and Josh Marshall are strong voices against white nationalist violence. Yet Blitzer once wrote that the Deir Yassin massacre in Palestine was a “spurious myth.” And Josh Marshall named his son after an Israeli general who committed ethnic cleansing. Charlottesville is a moment of truth. If you’re going to stand up for liberal values here, you need to criticize Jewish nationalism there.
“The evidence provided for this charge of anti-Semitism is that the director of the Queens Museum, Laura Raicovich, edited a book entitled “Assuming Boycott: Resistance, Agency and Cultural Production.” As co-editors of this anthology we wish to address that charge.”
On Wednesday, Israel’s government agency responsible for assigning journalist credentials revoked the press card of a senior correspondent for Al Jazeera Arabic, citing the reporter as a member of the Palestinian “resistance.”
President Trump’s initial statement on Charlottesville, which blamed violence “on many sides,” has taken on a life of its own. All of this has made various Israeli leaders rather uncomfortable because while Israel is supposedly engaged in combatting anti-Semitism, it is more truly in an international ideological fight against the left. And Trump is making it difficult to make this argument without looking like a Nazi.
On Tuesday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son Yair posted on Facebook the bulk of the threats of the weekend should be attributed to the anti-racist protesters, specifically labeling the Black Lives Matter movement and Antifa as more dangerous than Nazis.
A recent article in Mondoweiss criticized Noam Chomsky saying his view of Israel is the romantic one he embraced in his younger years. Marc Ellis comments on the role nostalgia plays in politics, from Jerusalem to Charlottesville.
Rabbi Brant Rosen’s 2012 book, Wrestling in the Daylight: A Rabbi’s Path to Palestinian Solidarity, is out in a second edition, detailing his decision to leave an Evanston, Ill., congregation over Israel issues. His friend Liz Rose– who once came into his office and announced, “I’m losing my fucking mind” over Israel — says the book is a powerful guide for Jews setting out on the journey away from Zionism.
Lincoln Center went forward with Israeli-government-sponsored play this summer. But BDS campaign scored victories. Four newspapers that ran an ADL op-ed claiming that the BDS movement is bigoted against Israelis were compelled to correct the error to make it clear the target is a government that persecutes Palestinians.