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October 2017

Video: 12-year old Palestinian recounts detention and abuse by Israeli soldiers

Allison Deger on

Abdullah Dwaik, 12, was on his way to his grandparents’ house in Hebron earlier this months when he happened upon a chaotic scene of Israeli soldiers arresting other children that ended with Dwaik being blindfolded on an army base: “The soldiers hit 18 of us. They hit us hard and hit some of the other boys and others were hit in the eyes. Some of the boys couldn’t see or walk. They hit a ten-year-old boy and threw him on the floor and they hold him if they saw him again, he would be arrested. They threatened us and said that they would arrest us again and will demolish our house. They took me and interrogated me and asked me to give the names of other boys. I said I don’t know and they started to threaten me. And told me to tell them so that I can be safely released or they will arrest my father. I was scared and I wished my family was with me. Ofer, the settler, was allowed to be inside with us and looked at us.”

A party for Jewry’s phantom limb

Abba Solomon on

On October 22, 2017, a party was thrown to celebrate the 120th Anniversary of the founding of the Jewish Worker’s Bund of Russia, Poland and Lithuania, sponsored by YIVO Institute in NY. The Bund in the interwar 1920-39 period provided a model of secular Jewish identity without separatism and in Poland demonstrated effective Jewish participation in a multiethnic state. The Bundists elevated the principle of Doikayt, “hereness,” working in the society in which one lives, rather than toward the religious other world, or toward a Jewish state.

Balfour anniversary drives a wedge into British consensus on Israel

Robert Cohen on

At a British Labour Party gathering, Jeremy Corbyn’s biggest applause came when he said the oppression of Palestinians must end. No wonder he snubbed an invitation from the Jewish Leadership Council to commemorate the Balfour Declaration at 100. And no wonder a UK diplomat says Balfour’s promise to non-Jewish communities has gone unfulfilled. Balfour anniversary is dividing British opinion on Israel.

Steven Salaita keynotes conference on academic freedom in Ireland

Conor McCarthy on

“Considering the impossibility of criticizing Israel, [Steven] Salaita stated that academic freedom remains more of a myth than an actual possibility in modern universities.”–Conor McCarthy, co-organizer of the ‘Freedom of Speech and Higher Education: The case of the academic boycott of Israel’ conference.

Alternative travel facts from ‘the Tuscany of the Middle East’

Hatim Kanaaneh on

The Telegraph’s recent travel article about Israel didn’t mention Palestinian Arabs once. They make up two thirds of the population of Western Galilee, the region extolled in the article as the “Tuscany of the Middle East.” Culture in Israel is Ashkenazi Jewish. Anything else, even if occasionally present, is seen and interpreted from that perspective.

Contest! Design a logo to celebrate the IDF’s 70th birthday

Adam Horowitz and Carlos Latuff on

The Israeli military needs your help! It is holding a contest to choose a “celebratory logo” to mark the Israel Defense Forces’ 70th birthday. To be honest, the choices are not very exciting. But don’t worry, we have ideas!

Pesspotimistic reflections from besieged Gaza

Haidar Eid on

Haidar Eid writes: The way I look at it is that by allowing Israel to impose this unprecedented blockade on 2 million civilians and launching three massive wars on them in 2008, 2012, and 2014, the post-WWII International Community has failed to uphold principles of justice and peace. It is therefore incumbent on civil society to take the lead. Hence the hope created amongst Palestinians by the huge successes achieved the BDS movement. It is, as I keep repeating, the only window of hope we victims of occupation, apartheid and settler colonialism have in the era of Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu.

A new spirit in Gaza

Jennifer Bing on

Jennifer Bing just returned from Gaza and says there a new spirit of hope following the Palestinian reconciliation deal. “We are happy to feel any kind of hope, but reconciliation must result in the liberation of Palestine,” a fisherman on the docks in Gaza City tells her. “We are the port to the world, but the blockade needs to end.”

Who can save Israel now? Labor leader emulates Netanyahu

Philip Weiss on

Avi Gabbay, the new leader of Labor in Israel, is emulating Netanyahu, saying he will not evacuate settlements and won’t form a governing coalition with Palestinian parties. Liberal Zionists are outraged, but they should understand, this is Zionism.

Gaza-based band ‘Maimas’ sings for freedom

Rifka Al-Amya on

Maimas is a newly formed Palestinian band based in the besieged Gaza Strip. Palestinian activist, singer and intellectual Haidar Eid says “songs are an organizing tool in the arduous work of overthrowing occupation and apartheid. We hope that our songs will document Palestinian desire to be free from the ravages of colonialism.” The band is currently raising money to record their first album.

Video: Gaza taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to Palestinian reconciliation

Mondoweiss Editors on

After long negotiations, Palestinian movements Fatah and Hamas have reached a reconciliation agreement. Gazans rejoiced and entertained hopes for a better future. But a week after the agreement between the two movements was signed, Gazans now have mixed feelings about the reconciliation.

Israeli women march to ‘wage peace’ but refuse to challenge the occupation

Jonathan Ofir on

Jonathan Ofir criticizes the recent Women Wage Peace march for avoiding politics and refusing to take the occupation on directly: “when the party is over, the Palestinians go to their Bantustans, and the ‘moderate settler women’ drive on their Jewish-only roads to get to their settlements. If only the Arabs could somehow accept this as ‘peace’, then all would be well.”

‘Follow the Women’ bike tour visits Syrian and Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon

Colleen McGuire on

Follow the Women was founded in 2004, and this year 120 women from the United States, England, Iran, Italy, Jordan, China, Japan, Poland, Turkey, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, France, Germany, Belgium and Cyprus biked all over Lebanon visiting Syrian and Palestinian refugee camps, not-for-profit foundations, former prison camps, cafes, schools and even a micro-brewery and soap factory.

Occupation, in the details (Part II)

Katie Miranda on

Artist Katie Miranda shares more images from her visit to the West Bank. They highlight surveillance and the indignities of daily life for Palestinians. She writes: “No blood or high drama, so it’s nothing ‘newsworthy.’ It’s just everyday life.”

‘Balfour’s Legacy: Confronting the Consequences’ to be held in Harvard Square

Nancy Murray on

The 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration has set the stage for some long overdue historical truth-telling. On November 11 in Cambridge, MA, two dozen speakers will examine how the Zionist project was implemented in historic Palestine, and consider its long-term consequences for Palestinians, world Jewry, the United States, the United Nations and international law during the all-day conference: ‘Balfour’s Legacy: Confronting the Consequences.’   

‘The other side of the Siege’ — the IDF takes on the Jenin Freedom Theatre

Jesse Rubin on

Taking on the Jenin Freedom Theatre’s staging in New York of a dramatized episode in the Second Intifada, the siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, NYU’s Taub Center for Israel Studies screened a PBS documentary featuring Israeli colonel Lior Lotan, the chief Israeli negotiator during the siege. And Lotan followed the screening with an hour-long elaboration of events that often felt hackneyed and stale.