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April 2018

Emergency statement: Gaza protests and Israel’s military response

Jewish Voice for Peace Health Advisory Council on

Jewish Voice for Peace Health Advisory Council releases a statement calling for a “full and impartial investigation of the Israeli military’s actions since March 30 in response to the Gaza protests.” In the last month Israeli forces have killed 37 Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip.

Natalie Portman opens a BDS Pandora’s Box for liberal Zionists

Jonathan Ofir on

Natalie Portman’s recent decision not to attend the Israeli Genesis Prize ceremony has pushed liberal Zionist organizations to endorse boycotts aimed at the Israeli government. Jonathan Ofir says her action shattered a huge taboo, even if she didn’t intend it.

In Photos: While the world watches Gaza, Israeli forces invade Nabi Saleh

Anne Paq and Heidi Motola on

On Friday, April 20, Israeli soldiers invaded the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, home to the Tamimi family. The Israeli forces instigated clashes with Palestinian youth which lasted several hours, during which the soldiers shot scores of tear gas, fired rubber-coated metal bullets and live ammunition that wounded two of the protesters. “What’s happening now is what is happening every week, sometimes everyday, since nearly nine years”, explained Belal Tamimi. “The soldiers try to surround the village, they don’t want anyone to be near the spring area that the settlers occupied nine years ago. Every Friday, the situation is horrible.”

Natalie Portman’s cancellation: Inching towards the tipping point

Nada Elia on
Natalie Portman

Like the recent Barnard BDS vote, Natalie Portman’s refusal to attend the Genesis Prize award presentation shows how deep the cracks in Zionism are running for a growing number of Jews who today find it “increasingly tricky” to reconcile one’s familiar love for Israel and one’s decency, and eventually opt towards dissociating themselves from Zionism.

Dear Natalie Portman: I too was once a liberal Zionist

Robert Cohen on

In refusing to attend a prize ceremony in Israel, Natalie Portman says the problem with Israel is Netanyahu. But the problem is Zionism, Robert Cohen writes to Portman. “If you continue to see Zionism as essentially liberal and progressive you will never understand why it creates in your own words: ‘violence, corruption, inequality, and abuse of power’. The current Israeli government is not an aberration. When Netanyahu falls, Zionism with all of its violence, corruption and inequality will stay put.”

Roger Cohen scares his readers: ‘the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state’

Joseph Levine on

Roger Cohen argues in the New York Times that the right of return is code for pushing Jews into the sea. Joseph Levine issues a challenge to Cohen and other liberal Zionists: “It’s time to stop the scare tactics, stop using loaded language about “destruction” and “throwing into the sea” and face the consequences: either defend liberal democracy consistently or admit that one is willing to sacrifice it for ethnic nationalism.”

Come in, Natalie, the water’s fine

Jonathan Ofir on

Natalie Portman’s refusal to attend the Israeli Genesis Prize ceremony is a blow to Israeli pride. But her statements of support for Israel reflect liberal Zionist convictions. Will she go further with her critique?

Four are killed, as Gaza protesters move tents closer to border

Ahmad Kabariti on

For the fourth week yesterday, on a peaceful and unilateral battlefield, thousands of angry young Palestinian men went close to the border fence separating Gaza and Israel to protest, facing dozens of Israeli soldiers who lay positioned behind sandy hills. Four Palestinians were killed by live ammunition, and another 152 injured.

Israeli gunshots are causing ‘unusually severe damage’ to legs, exit wounds as big as a fist — human rights group

Kate on

MSF [Medecins sans Frontieres] surgeons in Gaza report devastating gunshot wounds among hundreds of people injured during the protests over recent weeks. The huge majority of patients – mainly young men, but also some women and children – have unusually severe wounds to the lower extremities. MSF medical teams note the injuries include an extreme level of destruction to bones and soft tissue, and large exit wounds that can be the size of a fist.

Leanne Gale’s bold challenge to the Jewish community on BDS and anti-Zionism

Philip Weiss on

Leanne Gale, a Yale law student, came out of the heart of the Jewish community to all-but support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) at the J Street conference. She said BDS is the most important nonviolent Palestinian movement in the world, that anti-Zionism is a living tradition in the Jewish community as a response to anti-Semitism, and that Jews should not seek to marginalize or suppress or seek an alternative to BDS, but should engage it in an effort to make Israel a liberal democracy.

While marchers can’t breathe, people like you are making sure their stories spread around the world

Philip Weiss on

While those demonstrating in Gaza put themselves at the mercy of an army that has proved itself conscienceless, people like you are investing to make sure the word gets out. The support of hundreds of people committed to truth has allowed Mondoweiss to provide images, reporting and commentary on the Great March of Return. Our current fundraising campaign, Mondoweiss Mondays, has successfully met two challenges of major longtime supporters. The second challenge was fully matched within three days — so yet another donor has now stepped up. In order to keep the momentum for the rest of April, a new match has been offered by a supporter who is pledging $60 for each of the next 25 people who commit to a new recurring donation at any level. Please sign up now to multiply your impact as an investor in truthful reporting from Palestine.

Yousef al-Kurnz lost a leg covering Gaza’s Great Return March but is not giving up his dream of becoming a photojournalist

Karama Fadel on

Yousef al-Kurnz, a 20-year-old Gazan photojournalist, lost his left leg after being hit with an explosive bullet from an Israeli sniper while he was covering the Great Return March. “I don’t regret that I went to the demonstration,” al-Kurnz tells Karama Fadel from We Are Not Numbers. “I am so proud of my work, I will succeed and I will achieve my dream to be a famous photographer. I still have two hands to hold my camera with.”

The symbol of political prisoners resonates beyond borders

Devyn Springer on

The issue of political prisoners resonates internationally, and are yet another key linkage between the movement for Palestinian’s rights and others. Devyn Springer writes that It is no coincidence, then, that many of the biggest non-Palestinian voices of solidarity are themselves former political prisoners, as well as prison abolitionists.

Natalie Portman says, Enough!

Philip Weiss and James North on
Natalie Portman

The Gaza killings have had a huge effect on world opinion. Tonight they became even bigger. In an astonishing move, the Israeli-American film star Natalie Portman, 36, informed an Israeli foundation she would not show up at the awards ceremony of Israel’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize because recent events have been “extremely distressing” to her, an obvious reference to Israel’s killings of nearly 40 unarmed Palestinian protesters.

Israel and its Democratic Party friends complain — Trump gave Syria to Russia ‘on a silver platter’

Philip Weiss on

Liberal pro-Israel conference in DC featured hawkish statements on Syria. Susan Rice said Trump should have been “demonstrably unpredictable” with Assad to gain advantage. “For all our handwringing about President Trump’s temperament, he could have played those concerns to our advantage.” While Nancy Soderberg, a Clinton security aide running for Congress, said Trump had handed Syria to Iran “on a silver platter.”

IfNotNow ups pressure on Schumer to end silence on Israeli killings of unarmed protesters

Philip Weiss on

The young Jewish group IfNotNow has seen 37 members arrested protesting Jewish leaders silence on Israeli killings of unarmed Palestinian protesters. The statement it helped elicit from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, urging both sides to end violence, was sadly reminiscent of Donald Trump blaming both sides for the alt-right killing at Charlottesville protests.

Why Israel banned my play ‘Prisoners of the Occupation’

Einat Weizman on

Einat Weizman tells the story of her attempts to stage “Prisoners of the Occupation,” her documentary play about the lives of Palestinians prisoners that became the focal point of a cultural and political battleground in Israel.

Their Independence is our Nakba

Palestinian BDS National Committee on

BDS movement: “Their Independence is our Nakba. The ethnic cleansing of 750,000 to one million indigenous Palestinians 70 years ago and turning them into refugees to establish a Jewish-majority state in Palestine is no cause for celebration.”

In major BDS win, Barnard students vote overwhelmingly to divest from the Israeli occupation

Jesse Rubin on

Barnard and Columbia University administrations have often targeted Palestinian solidarity and censored Palestinian voices on campus, but yesterday Barnard students voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution calling on the university to divest from companies complicit in Palestinian human rights violations. With 1,153 total votes cast, yesterday’s turnout was the largest in Barnard’s history according to the Student Government Association. The final vote 64.3% in favor and just 35.7% opposed.

Great March of Return organizers: Israeli claims that Hamas is behind protests are lies

Yumna Patel, Akram Al-Wa'ra and Nidal Wuheid on

As the Great March of Return enters its fourth week, Nabeel Diab of the National Commission to Break the Siege of Gaza tells Mondoweiss: “The Palestinian people are eager to achieve their freedom, their independence, and their right to return to the villages where they were forced out of 70 years ago.” Diab is a member of a grassroots organization of activists who helped plan the march. He says that Israeli government claims that the protests are Hamas-led “are lies, and are defamatory statements that have no basis in reality.” Diab tells Mondoweiss: “This march is the embodiment of popular action involving children, women, and involving all the Palestinians that refuse to accept the occupation of our land.”

Jewish leader refuses to debate BDS with young Jew, at J Street conference

Philip Weiss on

The shame of the Jewish establishment: Rep. Jan Schakowsky says she never used the word “occupation” before last year, while Jeremy Burton of a leading Boston Jewish organization brags of a policy of refusing to debate Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), even with other Jews. These people have their heads in the sand (or worse) and young Jews want none of it.