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October 2018

‘Hummus! The Movie’ and the art of whitewashing an occupation

Ahmed Abdelmageed on

The problem with Oren Rosenfeld’s feel-good Israeli movie, “Hummus! The Movie!” is not the cultural appropriation of a dish, but the willfully blind message that Jews, Muslims and Christians get along great in borderless Israel, Ahmed Abdelmageed explains. (And hey– don’t put pumpkin spice in hummus.)

Report: Israel decides against overthrowing Hamas in Gaza

Kate on

Israeli political and military sources tell Haaretz they no longer plan to deal with Hamas through the PA. Abbas wants increased tensions between Hamas and Israel as it affords him leverage. “In the near term, he plans to increase the punitive measures against the organization, the officials say.”

Ballet BC, don’t dance on the ruins of Palestinian childhood

Marion Kawas on

Earlier this month, BDS Vancouver activists launched a campaign after learning that Ballet BC was planning to perform in Israel in January, 2019. The petition that was started has now garnered over 4200 signatures, with a clear call to Ballet BC to not be complicit in helping Israel cover up its war crimes.

As Israel deliberates their fate, Khan al-Ahmar’s residents struggle to restore sense of normalcy

Yumna Patel on

After nearly two months on high alert, the fear of imminent demolition permanently lingering in the air, the residents of Khan al-Ahmar and the activists supporting them took a collective, albeit temporary, sigh of relief last week.

When news spread that the Israeli government was postponing the demolition of the village until further notice, the Bedouins of Khan al-Ahmar, along with hundreds of activists and Palestinian government officials rejoiced.

Now, as the euphoria of the postponement wears off, the residents of Khan al-Ahmar are back trying to resume their daily lives as normal until the next decision comes.

Pittsburgh statements by progressive Jewish groups stress Trump’s fomenting of white nationalism

Mondoweiss Editors on

“President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you fully denounce white nationalism,” Bend the Arc, a progressive Jewish group, informs the president ahead of his Tuesday visit. J Street and Jewish Voice for Peace also hold the president responsible for inciting anti-Semitic violence in statements on Saturday’s massacre of 11 Jewish worshipers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

White nationalism and Jewish groups JVP and IfNotNow are ‘both sides’ of anti-Semitism, ADL’s Greenblatt said

Philip Weiss on
ADL's Greenblatt said white nationalism and Jewish groups JVP and IfNotNow are 'both sides' of anti-Semitism

Jonathan Greenblatt of the ADL, who has been everywhere in the media explaining Pittsburgh, has a history of accusing leftwing critics of Zionism of anti-semitism as “damaging” as white nationalism. Last January he accused IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace of taking extreme views on Israel in reaction to Trump, and he said his former boss President Obama had made a “series of missteps” on Middle East policy.

Jewish commitment to collective liberation – If not now, when

Open Letter on

“As we mourn this horrendous act of violence against Jewish communities, we know that this is not an isolated attack and our response cannot be isolated either. The attack on the Pittsburgh synagogue is part of the growing threats and acts of murderous violence based on white supremacy, xenophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Jewish hatred, misogyny, homophobia and transphobia.”

Message to my white Jewish friends: I feel no more fear and rage after Pittsburgh than I feel every day as a black person in this country

Lesley Williams on

Lesley Williams has seen the despair and terror in the Jewish community since the attack in Pittsburgh and wonders as a Jew of Color where this response was following other recent racist attacks. “I have a message for all of you, my white Jewish friends,” Williams writes, “I feel no more fear, no more rage, no more terror than I did two days ago. No more than I have felt every day as a black person in this country.”

In the wake of Pittsburgh, there is no Jewish future in turning inward

Robert Herbst on

Robert Herbst writes, “Now the poisons circulating in our politics, with a heavy dose injected by Donald Trump and his discourse of hatred, have killed 11 members of Tree of Life Congregation in the Jewish community of Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh, and left their mark on the whole American Jewish community. My fear is that this incident will increase our communal sense of victimhood.  In the wake of Pittsburgh, there is no Jewish future in turning inward, either physically, spiritually, or politically, here in the United States, or in the Middle East.”

Responses to the anti-Semitic massacre in Pittsburgh

Philip Weiss on

Many moral voices are blaming Donald Trump and the spirit of xenophobia he has licensed for the hate-crime in a Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday that killed 11. But some advocates for Israel, including Josh Block and Shmuley Boteach, are blaming anti-Zionists.

The dysphoria of the victor

Abba Solomon on

The theme of Gili Getz’s work “The Forbidden Conversation” is that dialog must take place between anti-Zionists and Zionists, and between US Jews and Israeli Jews, or Jews will fragment as a community — and not deal in a more healthy way with Israel/Palestine. Abba Solomon doubts the efficacy of that program.

Ocasio-Cortez and two other Dem congressional candidates may be ‘hostile’ toward Jews, says ‘NYT’ columnist

Philip Weiss on

Clyde Haberman of the New York Times accuses Democratic congressional candidates Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar of being “hostile toward Israel and maybe … toward Jews in general” in a discussion at the Center for Jewish History. Neither Rabbi Jill Jacobs or Halie Sofier of the Democratic Jewish council pushed back against the smear.

NYT Op-Ed on Tel Aviv-Jerusalem train recycles sentiment for mythologized past

Liz Rose on
Photo taken on train to Jerusalem in 1947.

Liz Rose says Matti Friedman’s New York Times Op-Ed on the new Tel Aviv to Jerusalem train line does nothing but recycle Zionist blind spots. “He doesn’t say anything new, and the New York Times loves it,” Rose writes. “Friedman’s commitment, above all else, is to preserving a myth, rewriting history, and then mystifying the whole experience until it becomes nothing but sentiment for a mythologized past.”

Fascist Jair Bolsonaro’s pro-Israel views win some support in Brazil’s Jewish community, but opposition from others

James North on

Jair Bolsonaro, the fascist who will probably be elected president of Brazil in the second election round this Sunday, is an enthusiastic supporter of Israel who says he will follow Donald Trump’s example and move his nation’s embassy there from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Bolsonaro’s extreme views have divided Brazil’s 120,000-strong Jewish community, the 9th-largest in the world.

Annexation is in the air

Abba Solomon on

UN Special Rapporteur S. Michael Lynk tells an audience in New York, “annexation trends in the occupied territories, particularly with respect to the West Bank, are quickening, and annexation is in the air, and formal annexation may be occurring sooner than we are thinking.” The Israeli right has been creative, but the human rights activists give him hope.

US ambassador David Friedman presents himself as ambassador for Zionist Jews only

Philip Weiss on

David Friedman, Trump’s ambassador to Israel, seems to think of himself as an ambassador for Zionist Jews only. In a speech today in Tel Aviv, he described Israel as the “land of our national history,” and distinguished between the “country of our citizenship,” the U.S., and the country “we love so much,” Israel. He never mentioned Palestinians, nor the Christians and Muslims who feel a connection to Jerusalem.

Palestinians are as worthy as children of Holocaust survivors for dignity

Shahd Abusalama on

Shahd Abusalama writes, “Palestinians’ legitimate claims continue to be silenced at the expense of sustaining Israel’s longstanding myths of being the safe haven for world Jewry and a democracy with the world’s most moral army. As if we are not as worthy as the children of Holocaust survivors of freedom, security, justice and dignity.”

What if Lara Alqasem had wanted to attend Bir Zeit University instead?

Nada Elia on

Would Lara Alqasem’s liberal Zionist supporters have defended her right to enter her homeland if she had wanted to attend Bir Zeit University instead of Hebrew University? Nada Elia writes that there is much more to Alqasem’s case that needs to be examined, hinging on her identity and her choices, as well as how these were perceived, or intentionally ignored, by some of her defenders.