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September 2017

An Atheist in the Yeshiva: The education of Yossi Zvi Gurvitz

Yossi Gurvitz on

Yossi Gurvitz recounts how he went from growing up in a national-religious family in Petah Tikva to rejecting Judaism. For him, it all started in yeshiva: “On October 28th, 1984, I had my first crisis of faith. That evening, David Ben Shimol – an IDF soldier – fired a stolen anti-tank rocket into a Palestinian bus as vengeance for an earlier Palestinian terror attack. Every evening we had a seder erev, which began punctually and without fail at 19:10. That evening, for the first and only time I was in Nechalim, it was postponed. So that people could have time enough to dance.”

US bans Palestinian runner from Chicago Marathon days before race

Sheren Khalel on

The United States denied entry this week to a well-known runner from the occupied West Bank, shattering his dream of competing in the Chicago Marathon. “They’ve really ruined this dream by stopping me from having the chance to run in the US,” Mohammad Alqadi tells Mondoweiss.

‘Where there is a wall there are holes’: Issa Amro’s non-violence and Israel’s injustice

David Lloyd on

David Lloyd writes: “Palestinian steadfastness, and in particular the non-violent persistence that daily affirms their determination to stay on their land, is the quiet negation of Israel’s racial regime. As I sat in the Hebron twilight listening to Issa Amro’s calm and confident voice after a long and dismaying day witnessing the sheer ugliness of occupation and settlement, I knew that he would not be going away.  He and Youth Against Settlement will persist against all the odds, however long the struggle for justice may take.”

A Jewish atonement for Zionism

Yoav Litvin on

Yoav Litvin reviews Moshe Menuhin’s “Not by Might, nor by Power”: The Zionist betrayal of Judaism” a ground-breaking critique of Zionism first published in 1965. Litvin writes, “In ‘Not by Might, nor by Power,’ Menuhin dissects the crimes and fallacies inherent within Zionism and obliterates its propagandized selling points, while maintaining his love for his version of Jewish identity.”

Three megadonors (who just happen to love Israel) are pushing Trump against Iran deal

Philip Weiss on

Trump’s policy on Iran may be driven by three Israel-loving donors, Adelson, Singer, and Marcus, but it is verboten in Washington to identify the Israel lobby as the main adversary of the Iran deal, especially in the wake of the Phil Giraldi/Valerie Plame uproar, which has fueled the neoconservative claim that the antiwar left is anti-semitic.

A plea to Israel: Don’t start the third Lebanon War

Larry Derfner on

Israel should stop threatening Lebanon because it could lead to war in which many thousands would die for no reason. And Israel faces no real threat from Hezbollah. The Israeli bellicosity is the product of Israeli paranoia: primal Jewish fear of annihilation that is illogical under the circumstances.

Zohra Drif’s memoir of Algeria’s fight for freedom is stunning

James North on

Anyone who believes that Israel’s occupation of Palestine can last forever must read Zohra Drif’s memoir of the Algerian war for independence. Drif was a 22-year-old law student in 1956, when she left a bomb in a milk bar. Her account is a vital addition to a sparse literature: the Algerian side of the 1954-62 war for independence, in which up to one million Algerians died before France was forced to leave its colony.

The crisis of Palestinian governance

Cata Charrett on

Are the moves by Fatah and Hamas towards new elections and a unity government a genuine push for strengthened Palestinian governance, or simply a strategy by faltering politicians to stay in power?

Israelis lock down Palestinian village in West Bank after deadly attack on settlement

Kate on

Israeli forces placed the West Bank village of Beit Surik under a military lockdown on Tuesday following a deadly shooting attack carried out by a village resident, with all entrances to the village blockaded by the Israeli army. Nimr Mahmoud Ahmed Jamal, 37, of Beit Surik, killed three at the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Har Adar before being shot dead, Israeli officials said.

UN takes first concrete step to hold Israel accountable for violating Palestinian human rights

Palestinian BDS National Committee on

The UN is sending letters to 150 companies around the world warning them that they could be added to a database of complicit companies doing business in illegal Israeli settlements. U.S. companies that received letters include Caterpillar,, TripAdvisor, and Airbnb. Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the BDS movement, says, “this UN database of companies that are complicit in some of Israel’s human rights violations may augur the beginning of the end of Israel’s criminal impunity.”

Balfour Declaration, now 100, was ‘gun pointed at heads’ of Palestinians — Khalidi

Philip Weiss on

At NYU, Rashid Khalidi says four Arab countries have been destroyed and ISIS would cut the throats of a quarter of the Syrian population, so he can’t blame Arabs for worrying about other issues more than Palestine. The historian also says that Palestinians faced a unique colonial problem because Zionism had 3 sources of support, international legitimacy at a time of decolonization, British backing, and a “river” of money from international Zionist movement.

Samuel Freedman extols Jewish ‘love affair’ with Jewish state– while decrying ‘dogma of white supremacy’

Philip Weiss on

Author Samuel Freedman is blind to Palestinian conditions in an article in the Forward celebrating the U.S. Jewish “love affair” with “the Jewish state.” And meantime he decries the “ideology of white supremacy” in the New York Times and praises the civil rights movement for ending Jim Crow. After 50 years of occupation and apartheid in Palestine, you can’t have it both ways.

Between our life and our mother Algeria, we chose our mother: Excerpt from ‘Inside the Battle of Algiers: Memoir of a Woman Freedom Fighter’

Helena Cobban on

Former Algerian female fighter Zohra Drif writes in her new memoir, “Perhaps the reader of today expects me to regret having placed bombs in public places frequented by European civilians. I do not. To do so would be to obscure the central problem of settler colonialism by trying to pass off the European civilians of the day for (at best) mere tourists visiting Algeria or (at worst) the ‘natural’ inheritors of our land in place of its legitimate children.”

For Americans who can’t imagine the occupation — Waldman and Chabon’s collection might do the trick

Liz Rose on

From 1992 to 2014, writers Ayelet Waldman and Michael Chabon were hesitant to get involved in the question of Israel/Palestine.  “We didn’t want to write or even think, in any kind of sustained way, about Israel and Palestine, about the nature and meaning of occupation,” they write in the introduction to their 2017 collection of essays, “Kingdom of Olives and Ash: Writers Confront the Occupation.”  Everything changed for them in 2014.  Waldman, who was born in Jerusalem, visited Israel in 2014 for the first time in 22 years.  She went to Hebron on that trip, and her experience made her feel that she bore some responsibility for what Israel was doing in her name.  After the 2014 visit, she and Chabon did think about it; they wrote about it, too, and invited others to, as well.  “Storytelling itself–bearing witness, in vivid and clear language, to things personally seen and incidents encountered,” they write, “has the power to engage the attention of people who, like us, have long since given up paying attention.”

Meet Reem Anbar, Gaza’s first music therapist

Kate on

The New Arab reports, “Reem, considered the first full-time music therapist working in Gaza, is busy with therapy programs and training courses – some she runs herself, others run by non-governmental organisations – across the densely packed coastal territory under siege by Israel.”

After article was rejected and publishers yawned, Walt and Mearsheimer dropped ‘The Israel Lobby’ in 2005

Philip Weiss on

“In the age of the internet, this article just ricocheted all over the world very very quickly. Rashid Khalidi at Columbia University told me that the morning after the piece had hit the internet, 14 different people had sent him a link for the piece” — John Mearsheimer reflects on the article The Israel Lobby, 10 years after its publication as a book.

How Israel is silently transferring Palestinians from East Jerusalem

Mersiha Gadzo on

In January, Manwa al-Qanbar’s 28-year-old son was shot dead after ramming his truck into a group of Israeli soldiers in the illegal Jewish settlement of East Talpiot, killing four. Two days later, al-Qanbar received a notice from the Israeli Ministry of Interior informing her of their intent to revoke her permanent residency status. Ten other members of al-Qanbar’s extended family also received notices that their permits will be revoked, including two minors aged 8 and 10. By punitively revoking residencies, civil society organizations say Israel is illegally engaging in a “silent transfer and colonization” of Palestinians with the aim of maintaining a Jewish majority in Jerusalem.

Palestinian appeal to ICC seen as last hope to ‘bring justice for the victims’ of Israeli violations

Sheren Khalel on

Four Palestinian human rights organizations submitted their fourth “substantive communication” to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. The 700-page evidence file submitted alleges that high-level Israeli civilian and military officials have committed “war crimes and crimes against humanity” in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Tahseer Alayyan, a spokesperson for the Ramallah-based independent Palestinian human rights NGO, al-Haq, told Mondoweiss that the NGOs believe the ICC is the “only remaining window” for Palestinians to “bring justice for the victims” of Israeli violations.

At Native American prayer camp, Palestinian refugees share stories and build connections

Amith Gupta on

Palestinian refugees from the refugee camps of Lebanon met with members of the Ramapough Lenape tribe on Friday, September 15 for a communal dialogue about joint indigenous struggle, tactics, and future collaboration. The stop was at the inaugural event of the 2017 North America Nakba Tour, which brings Palestinian refugees Khawla Hammad and Amena El-Ashkar to visit communities in North America.

Ten days of awe: standing with whom?

Alice Rothchild on
Martin Buber

During the high holidays, Jews must consider the nature of the state that claims to speak in their name: Political Zionism in practice in Israel has produced a settler colonial state founded on the basis of establishing an Arab free state, where Jewish trauma, aspirations, and history are privileged at the expense of everyone else and this continues to this moment.