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October 2017

‘His bone turned to sand’ — Murad Shteiwi describes IDF shootings at nonviolent protests in Kufr Qaddum

Richard Hardigan on

Richard Hardigan reports, “Murad Shteiwi and his family live in Kufr Qaddum, a small village located in the northern half of the Israeli-occupied West Bank. He is the head of the Kufr Qaddum Popular Committee and a chief protest organizer. His village is surrounded by Israeli settlements, for whose benefit much of Kufr Qaddum’s land has been confiscated. Shteiwi told the Electronic Intifada in 2011 that he estimated 58 percent of the village’s land had been appropriated by Kedumim, the closest settlement.

UN rapporteur urges sanctions on Israel for driving Palestinians ‘back to the dark ages’

Philip Weiss on
S. Michael Lynk at UN press conference on Oct. 26, 2017.

Last week the UN’s rapporteur on the occupied territories called for sanctions against Israel in a report saying Israel has “driven Gaza back to the dark ages” due to denial of water and electricity and freedom of movement. Michael Lynk went on that there is a “darkening stain” on international law because other countries have treated the occupation as normal, and done nothing to resist Israel’s “colonial ambition par excellence,”

My journey away from Zionism

Jonathan Ofir on

Gideon Levy has described Zionism as “Israel’s fundamentalist religion.” But what happens to those Israelis who reject it? Jonathan Ofir describes his journey away from Zionism, and the societal exclusion that befalls those who drift away from the ethos.

Smear campaign is defused as Tom Suarez speaks at UMass

Tom Suarez on

When Israel supporters learned of Tom Suarez’s speaking tour in the U.S., they rushed to malign him, describing his work as “dripping with racial hatred against Jews.” And history faculty at UMass characterized him as an “amateur author.” Despite these efforts, Suarez spoke at UMass and Columbia and the Jerusalem Fund too.

Reflections on White Zionism

Mich Levy on

Zionism and white nationalism are birds of a feather. Their exclusive concerns for survival have the religious zeal of people who believe themselves to be chosen, wrapped tidily in the “scientific” racism of social Darwinism. It is no surprise then that Zionism could be used to justify and reinforce the ideologies of the far right and white supremacy as they re-emerge in the West in the early 21st century.

An unconventional marriage: the Marwan and Fadwa Barghouti story

Kate on

Jaclynn Ashley reports for Al Jazeera on the Barghouti marriage: “Fadwa and Marwan grew up together in the village of Kobar, outside of Ramallah city. Fadwa’s family was one of few in the village where their daughter continued her education in the city past the sixth grade, and she was the first woman in her village to obtain a driver’s license. At the age of 18, she became the youngest founding member of the Women’s Union for Social Work, which she now heads. The group works to increase the participation of women in the Palestinian resistance movement. Marwan, meanwhile, began a five-year sentence in Israeli prison when he was 18. Fadwa was just 14 at the time. A few years into his jail term, he sent a message to Fadwa through a recently released prisoner: ‘He told me that Marwan loves me and that he wants me to wait for him.’ When Marwan was finally released, his marriage proposal was anything but typical.

NYU staging of Palestinian fighters in ‘The Siege’ marked a breakthrough

Philip Weiss on

The Jenin Freedom Theatre production of The Siege, which featured Palestinian resistance fighters, was an unmitigated triumph in October in New York. It brought in an audience of 3500 over 10 performances; it drew scarcely any of the attacks/demonstrations/official smears that were anticipated, thereby completely vindicating NYU’s brave decision to go forward in spite of inside pressure; and it gave the Palestinian production company the thrilling realization that they were welcome at last in the American cultural scene.

‘It being clearly understood…’: What the Balfour Declaration tells us about Israel

Nada Elia on

Sixty-seven words. That is the full extent of the Balfour Declaration, and yet few documents have had as devastating an impact as this historical document. Still, Nada Elia writes that the cursory nature of its wording indicates a twentieth-century awareness that the dispossession of the Palestinian people was already considered anachronistic when the declaration was written 100 years ago.

Anti-BDS crusader Kenneth Marcus named to top civil rights post in Trump administration

Jesse Rubin on

Kenneth Marcus heads a lawfare organization that targets the Boycott Israel movement on campus as allegedly anti-Semitic and thereby violating federal laws against racial discrimination. Last week he was named to the top civil rights job at the Dep’t of Education, stirring fears that he will attempt to silence advocates for Palestinians.

R.I.P., Shiksa

Philip Weiss on

Writer Mark Oppenheimer’s effort to portray Harvey Weinstein’s victims as “shiksas” failed because the cultural divide, and prejudice, that term reflects was over a generation ago. Privileged Jews and Christians get along fine today. The country has moved on to definitions of Otherness that are far more meaningful.

The Russia influence story just crashed into the Israel influence story

Philip Weiss on

Paul Singer, the megadonor hedge fund manager, funded the group that uncovered dirt on Trump in Russia, then turned around to help pay for Trump’s inauguration and visit the White House regularly. Why would Singer flipflop? His main issue is Israel, and he wants to influence the White House. And he already has, on the Iran Deal.

Leon Wieseltier on the Jewish people sounds a lot like Richard Spencer on white people

Roland Nikles on

Leon Wieseltier’s justification for Israel as a Jewish state is very similar to that of Richard Spencer, the White Nationalist who claims to be “a white Zionist” and wants “to have a secure homeland that’s for us and ourselves just like you want a secure homeland in Israel.” Roland Nikles says Wieseltier’s argument “provides inadvertent cover for these demons of the White European radical right which are trying to make a come-back in our politics today.”

‘One step further into the annexation of the West Bank’: Israeli cabinet to vote on annexing West Bank settlements into Jerusalem

Sheren Khalel on

Israeli cabinet members on Sunday will vote on a bill seeking to annex large swaths of land into the Jerusalem municipality. The bill, coined the “Greater Jerusalem Bill,” will go to Knesset vote after what is expected to be an approval by the cabinet, however moving through the Knesset could prove difficult, as religious hardliners fear a change in the Jewish Israeli demographics of the city. The controversial Likud-backed bill would bring at least 19 illegal Israeli settlements and outposts under Jerusalem jurisdiction and sever three Palestinian communities from the municipality.

Jewish news agency edits out editor’s role as settler advocate

Philip Weiss on

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency says its briefs editor, Marcy Oster, moved to Israel in 2000. It airbrushes the uncomfortable truth: Oster lives in an illegal settlement deep in the occupied West Bank, Karnei Shomron, and has often acted as an advocate for that community, raising money for young Jews to buy mobile homes there.

Canadian columnist is latest to say, Israel is ‘an apartheid state’

Philip Weiss on

Citing the separate laws and roads for Palestinians and Jews in occupied territories, CBC columnist Neil Macdonald says “Israel is already an apartheid state.” It’s about time liberal Zionists in the U.S. admitted what’s going on over there. But they can’t, they’re the firewall on the political mainstream, and U.S. support for apartheid Israel. Still, the list of apartheid-namers is growing.

American Jewry and Israel, unbound

Danaa Marec on

Organized American Jewry has a tough job. It has to raise endless money for Israel and protect the country against all human-rights-abuse accusations and denounce Israel’s accusers. To be Israel’s vassal, in short. But the new anti-BDS legislation across the country will make some Jews reexamine the deal. They are being asked to sell out our country’s civil rights for Israel’s sake. And there’s sure to be a backlash against the Jewish organizations.

Balfour and Britain’s broken promise

Tim Llewellyn on

Former BBC Middle East Correspondent Tim Llewellyn says Great Britain is a nation split between government and governed when it comes to Israel and Palestine: “If the British Conservative Government of Teresa May represented the views of the people of Britain rather than the preferences of the state of Israel on the disastrous outcome for the Palestinian Arabs of the Balfour Declaration of November 2, 1917, she would not be planning to celebrate this 100th anniversary with Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Prime Minister. This will happen at a cosy London dinner party at the home of Lord Rothschild, heir to the recipient of that infamous letter from Arthur J. Balfour, Britain’s then Foreign Secretary.”

US Jews need to stop criticizing Israel if they want two-state solution — Israeli liberal

Philip Weiss on

Retired Gen. Amnon Reshef told a NY synagogue that the two-state solution is a dream that is years away and the only way to sell it to Jewish Israelis is: “They support separation. They don’t want to be a part of one state. They want to be separated. It’s a Zionist dream. They don’t care about the Palestinians.” Isn’t that apartheid by another name?

New report details Israel’s ‘broad systemic abuse’ of East Jerusalem minors

Sheren Khalel on

A new report released by Israeli human rights group reveal “broad, systemic abuse by Israeli authorities,” against hundreds of Palestinian teens detained in occupied East Jerusalem. “Palestinian teenagers from East Jerusalem are pulled out of bed in the middle of the night, unnecessarily handcuffed and interrogated without being given the opportunity to speak to a lawyer or their parents before the questioning begins and without being informed of their right to remain silent,” the groups found. The report concludes that Israeli policy toward the children is an intentionally formed policy used by the state to pressure Palestinians in the city to leave.

Maryland governor’s order against BDS is sure to backfire, boycott advocates say

Jesse Rubin on

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed an executive order Monday barring state business with those who support BDS. Saqib Ali, co-founder of Freedom2Boycott and a former Maryland state legislator, said Monday’s executive order shows the hubris of staunchly pro-Israel voices and their disregard for democratic institutions. “You don’t have to be somebody who pays close attention to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be outraged by this,” Ali told Mondoweiss.

If the occupation is permanent, is an ethical Jewish future possible?

Marc H. Ellis on

In a lecture to the Tantur Ecumenical Institute on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of his book Toward a Jewish Theology of Liberation, Marc Ellis asks, “what are Jews to do with the permanent occupation that leaves Jewish identity permanently infected with atrocity?”

As olive harvest begins, settlers flood Palestinian trees with sewage

Kate on

Israeli colonists flooded dozens of Palestinian olive trees with sewage water Tuesday, near Nablus, according to the Israeli Rabbis for Human Rights organization, as the olive harvest begins. Human rights groups documented ten cases of settler violence and theft directed at Palestinian groves.