In his memoir The World As It Is, Ben Rhodes documents that Netanyahu and his American friends had access to President Obama at every turn. Rahm Emanuel nicknamed Rhodes “Hamas” for advocating for Palestinians, and after Netanyahu humiliated Obama in the Oval Office lecture of 2011, Rhodes had to call “leading Jewish donors” to assure them Obama still supported Israel.
Monthly Archives: August 2018
When EU ministers met in Vienna, BDS Austria was there to protest millions of Euros in research grants to Israeli scientific institutions. While the EU’s rules state that these grants must be for “civilian” programs, many are supporting companies that participate in the repression, surveillance, and exploitation of the Palestinian population.
A video taken by Breaking the Silence activist Achiya Schats shows a Palestinian child forced to climb an Israeli military fence to be able to access her home in the West Bank city of Hebron. Schatz shared the video on Twitter with the caption, “a girl tries to go home, just like yours, except that she was born in Hebron.”
Next week the UK Labour Party’s governing body, the National Executive Committee (NEC), will be voting on whether to adopt examples of antisemitism put forth by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in its definition of antisemitism. Pete Gregson wrote to all 26 NEC candidates to seek their views on the vote. Of the 12 responses that came back, 5 were for adopting the full IHRA definition and examples, 6 were for no change, and 1 was unsure. Of those in favor, he posed the question “If it’s passed and I said Israel is a racist state, would I get expelled?”
Earlier this month, health officials in Gaza announced that they would be stopping chemotherapy treatments for cancer patients due to a shortage of medicine. As a result, the lives of thousands of cancer patients were thrown into uncertainty. Doctors, rights groups, and the patients themselves have pointed chiefly to the more than decade-long Israeli blockade of Gaza as a reason for the shortages.
After the illegal Jewish outpost of Havat Gilad was established on a West Bank hilltop in 2002, “our entire world collapsed,” says Palestinian farmer Ibrahim Salah, 65. He has been denied access to his livelihood, his olive trees, and the Israeli government has officially recognized the settlement as it colonizes the West Bank.
This April, the Durham, NC City Council unanimously passed a policy that made it the first city to bar its police from engaging in international military-style training. This past Sunday, the Jewish Federation of Durham-Chapel Hill hosted an event called “Durham City Council Statement Singling out Israel: Jewish Community Responses” which ignored Jewish support for the policy and when Esther Mack and Abby Weaver tried to share their perspective they were removed by police. Mack and Weaver write, “Cops may have removed us from the Jewish Community Center, but we cannot be removed from the Jewish community. Whether our community leaders are ready to acknowledge and accept us is up to them.”
According to multiple reports, in early September the Trump administration will issue a report recognizing no more than half a million Palestinian refugees, will reject any right of return, and ominously will ask Israel to ‘reconsider’ UNRWA’s mandate to operate in the West Bank. Marilyn Garson writes, “Trump and those around him have spent the year trying to obviate – rather than solve – Palestinian claims. Now they wish to deny the refugee status of 90% of Palestinians. If Trump has his way, only a few elderly refugees will remain. The Right of Return will be moot. It would not exist now, he says, if UNRWA didn’t keep it alive. He will make the right disappear by de-funding UNRWA and de-registering its five million phantom refugees. The realization of Palestinian rights may be a marathon, but right now, it is also a sprint. The race is on, to be made to vanish or to be seen and heard.”
Trump’s ‘Century Deal’ and Israel’s new Jewish-state law combine to end Palestinian state and to restore the claim, “A land without a people for a people without a land,” says Palestinian member of Knesset Aida Touma-Sliman, on a visit to NY in which she discussed international resistance to an illegal act.
Jerry Merriman reviews the case of the Holy Land Five – five Palestinian-American men convicted in November 2008 of giving humanitarian aid to Palestinians that indirectly benefited Hamas – and writes, “Not one of the five humanitarians should have spent a single day in prison. Their good names must be cleared, and they must be released from prison. It cannot happen too soon.”
Awad Abdelfattah, an organizer with the One Democratic State Campaign, explains there is an immediate need for a bold alternative to the two-state solution, which was dealt a deadly blow by the Trump administration when it moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. And now, with the passage of the Jewish Nation State Law, an initiative for one state becomes even more urgent.
Josh Glancy writes in the New York Times that Jeremy Corbyn is guilty of “classic anti-Semitism” for saying that British Zionists lack irony, but Glancy himself has written that Zionism is “at the heart” of British Jewish identity, and most British Jews are “culturally Israeli.” Thus do Zionists conflate Jews and Israel.
Israel’s High Court overturned on Sunday evening the security cabinet’s previous decision to prevent five Palestinian women, mostly cancer patients, from Gaza from receiving life-saving treatment in occupied East Jerusalem on the basis that the women had relatives that were active in the Hamas movement. The court ruled that “the decision to deny Gaza patients access to medical treatment as means of leverage over Hamas was ineffective and illegal.”
In a few days Britain’s Labour Party will decide if it will adopt a controversial definition of anti-Semitism. Norman Finkelstein writes, “If the Labour Party adopts these taboos, respected scholarship will be suppressed while Israel will become the beneficiary of a pernicious double standard.”
On Friday, 24th of August, Return demonstrated from the Eastern side of the Gaza fence in solidarity with the weekly Great March of Return in Gaza, which took place for the 22nd Friday in a row. Yossi, a Return activist, explains, “We arrived to demonstrate in solidarity with the Palestinian demonstration on the other side of the fence. We got stopped by the soldiers and we couldn’t get close, but we could get to this sort of hill here from which they can see us waving the Palestinian flag. All of us here, Jews and internationals are here to support the right of return.”
A coalition of 24 Palestinian civil society groups, including the largest trade unions, professional associations and refugee networks, released a statement urging the UK Labour Party and trade unions to reject the “biased, anti-Palestinian” IHRA definition of antisemitism which seeks to conflate antisemitism with criticism of Israel. The definition they say, “aims to silence criticism of Israeli policies that clearly violate Palestinian human rights.”
Ilene Cohen defines ‘Ziosplaining’ as “the efforts of Zionists of so-called moderate stripe, who are endlessly pained by reality, to explain to Palestinians (and the world) that they have no choice but to support the Israeli occupation of Palestine.” She says the latest effort in the genre is Yossi Klein Halevi’s Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor. “That neighbor, by the way, is the author’s imaginary neighbor—the only one possible for such an exercise, because few and far between would be the Palestinians who wouldn’t gag at this patronizing effort to have their situation ‘explained’ to them,” Cohen writes.
In May the benign-sounding Anti-Semitism Awareness Act appeared before the U.S Congress “to provide for consideration a definition of anti-Semitism for the enforcement of Federal antidiscrimination laws concerning education programs or activities.” Sheldon Richman writes that if the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act passes and is signed into law, it would threaten free speech in the academy and beyond.
Gazans held their 22nd Friday of protests as Egypt sought to gain a truce between Israel and the Strip. Etaf Wadi said she would not stop demonstrating: “There will be no truce, nor ceasefire. We see how this weekly non-violent protest harms those invincible soldiers and their state. We want a normal life without feeling surrounded.”
On 24 August, using excessive force against peaceful protesters in Gaza for the 22nd Friday in a row, Israeli forces wounded 89 civilians, including 17 children, 2 women and 3 paramedics. Five sustained serious wounds.
A long New Yorker profile of Paul Singer, Trump’s big donor, plays down the fact that Singer’s major political interest is Israel, and leaves out the word “neoconservative,” though Singer has funded countless thinktanks that favor regime change in the Middle East and pushed that policy in Iraq.
Norwegian activist Kristin Foss was again shot with a rubber bullet by an Israeli soldier in the occupied Palestinian Kafr Qaddum on Friday, for the second time in a week. And the Israeli commander said, “we don’t shoot women” and the Israeli ambassador says there must be a reason.
The US State Department announced on Friday that it would be cutting $200 million in funding to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, sparking outrage among Palestinian officials, who are still reeling from US cuts to UNRWA earlier this year. Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, member of the Executive Committee of the PLO, released a statement following the decision, calling the move “cheap blackmail” and “coercion,” saying that “the Palestinian people and leadership will not be intimidated,” and “the rights of the Palestinian people are not for sale.”
Earlier this month, Israeli forces bombed the Said Mish’al Center for Culture and Science in Gaza to the ground, claiming it was being used by Hamas for military operations. The center was beloved among Gazans and thousands of Palestinians mourned the destruction of the center, which had survived three Israeli offensives over the past decade. As Center Director Sameer Mish’al told Mondoweiss, “The occupation has always tried to stifle the voice of the Palestinian people. This place was like a beam of light. Through our work, we protected our culture.”
Israeli authorities have approved over 1,000 new illegal settlement units in the occupied West Bank, sparking condemnation from both Palestinian and international officials. According to Peace Now, since the election of US President Donald Trump, the Israeli government has promoted plans for 10,536 units and tenders for 5,679 units in settlements in the occupied West Bank.