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Mohammad Sabaaneh explains BDS: I will not exhibit with an Israeli artist so long as Palestine is under brutal occupation

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In the two years since his book, “White and Black: Political Cartoons from Palestine,” was published by Just World Books, cartoonist Mohammad Sabaaneh has been gaining an international following. We caught up with the 39-year-old last November on his tour of the States. Questions by Weiss, editing by Annie Robbins.

PW: How do you explain the west’s interest in your work?

Mohammad Sabaaneh: There are two reasons. People are concerned about my art because they are concerned about Palestine from a human perspective, and concerned about international policy towards the Palestinians and Palestine. And also there’s the artistic side, because recently I launched a new style and I think we got a lot of appreciation from other cartoonists from around the world. Like Kal Kallaugher, the cartoonist for the Economist, he wrote something about my book. Matt Wuerker, he’s a political cartoonist who works for Politico here in the States. Also Martin Rowson from the UK, working with the Guardian. Also Joe Sacco wrote something about my book.

Are you talking about the new style in your book last year?

Yes, but also I exhibited some of my original artwork, linocuts, in the Palestine Foundation, the Jerusalem Fund, in Washington. It was great because this was the first exhibition for me, as a Palestinian cartoonist, and a Palestinian artist, where I would also be selling my artwork.

Linocut by Mohammad Sabaaneh, for sale at the Jerusalem Fund. Image (c) Mohammad Sabaaneh.

This is the first exhibition for me with my linoleum cuts, that’s why I am very happy. Because I started to recognize this art on my visit here in 2015 when I met Seth Tobocman. He gave me the World War 3 Illustrated book, a book of all their issues from 1979 until now. And I saw some linocuts and asked Seth how they made this and when I traveled back to Palestine I found alternative materials to produce these linoleums. And I started doing that.

What material do you use in Palestine?

We  call it linoleum, but we use it to cover the floor, but it’s very hard to carve it. It looks like plastic. And we glue it to wood and then carve it and make it like the linoleum cut.

Your recent work that I’ve recently seen, is that all linoleum cut?

Not all of them. Some of this artwork from my book is brushpen and ink. I had to bring some of the brushpens and pencils from the United States and Europe, because we don’t have it in the Arab world. This brush pen is Japanese-made.

Mohammad Sabaaneh, launching his book, at Parsons School of Design in New York, April 26, 2017

How many times have you been in New York?

Around 6 times.

What do you like about it here?

We have to talk about the American people. They are different from your politicians here. For me I used to think that the people here they look like their government, but actually they are different. When you deal with American people you can feel that they are very kind and very honest, more than what we used to think. About New York, it’s is a city full with arts, street arts, you find  a lot of museums here, and also full of energy. You could hang out. I have a lot of friends, and because of them, it’s like I have family here in New York.

Would you ever think of moving here?

As a Palestinian who can travel outside and see the world and come back to Palestine, and help these people to convey their message to the people around the world, and be part of this popular resistance in Palestine, by art, by culture, and all these tools– I have to stay there. Maybe the day will come when I cannot stay there for political reasons, but how much I can stay there in Palestine I will stay there, I will not leave.

When you meet American artists — they don’t have that same responsibility, their lives are freer.

I think also they have their own issues. Seth Tobocman established the WorldWar3 as a magazine, to fight for the poor people, and the homeless people here in New York. As American artists — also they fight for the Palestinians, they do a lot of artwork for us. I should appreciate that. Life here is easier than Palestine, it’s not as dangerous as Palestine, but they have their own issues. I have to respect that. Also I have to do art work as a Palestinian about their issues.

Maybe one day will come that I could not come to the United States for political reason. Maybe your government will ban me, as they did for some from Muslim countries.… But whenever I can come to the United States and talk about these issues, and my friends, the artists in the United States, helping on Palestinian issues, I have to make this intersectionality, I have to join between our issues as a Palestinian under occupation and the BlackLivesMatter in the United States, the great Women’s March in the United States, the Native issues here in the United States. All these issues could help to reveal our issues, as a Palestinian, for this audience in the United States of America. That’s part of our mission as a Palestinian artist.

Most of the Palestinian artists, we’re concerned in our community, in Arab society as an audience for us. We want to convey our message, but they already know about Palestine, and they already did not do anything for Palestine. That’s why we want to give this audience here in the United States, European countries, in Asia, wherever I can reach, it will be helpful for my people, who depend on the BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] movement, which is now being attacked by all these governments, in Europe, in the United States. I’m part of this movement. I believe in that as a peaceful way to resist against the occupation. And as a tool to give this audience around the world, a tool to have solidarity with the Palestinians. In a productive way, not just to have demonstrations in the streets.

Have you dealt with Arab-Americans much and what’s been your experience?

Yes. Sometimes they want to be active in the Palestinian issue here in the United States, they need Palestinian tools, and my book is a tool to resist, to raise this awareness for this audience. I think this is very important because they could find some photographs from the internet or an American artist like Joe Sacco who made art about Palestine, but to find a Palestine artist who came from Palestine to publish his book here in the United States in the most difficult market in the world, and got all this recognition from all these American artists, international artists, I think it is something very important. I did not come just with my political issue. I came also with serious art.

Has this been a process of recognition for you?

My first visit to the United States was in 2010. Actually it’s a little shame sometimes to say, but it was an international program by the State Department and I was a member of this program and they invited me to come to the United States, and I came. I visited a lot of institutions, universities, museums here, and that’s why I decided as a Palestinian artist I should put my fingerprints in the United States.

I started as a cartoonist in 2002. It was very hard to improve your art in a country that you just have one or two books about the cartoon. One book they printed about one cartoonist, his name is Naji al-Ali.

“The End” by Naji al-Ali, from the Lebanese newspaper Al-Safir, 1980. Image features Handala, the young refugee boy seen from behind who is today an icon of Palestinian solidarity. Credit: Al-Safir

He was very famous.

A very famous cartoonist, but this is the only resource that you as a cartoonist have to improve your artwork. There is no tools, there is no museums, no books even. When we started this International Cartoonists from the internet it was 2003, 2004. And in 2004 I had already started as a daily cartoonist for Al-Haya Al-Jadeda. But when I came here to the United States, first I started from D.C., from the Congress Library, and I saw the big archives of American cartoons there, and they had the big archives of international cartoonists. And then I moved to New York, with all the bookstores and museums, and I met all of these cartoonists, very famous cartoonists, then traveled to Portland, Oregon, to participate in the annual Association of American Editorial Cartoonists conference. I met a lot of political cartoonists from the United States, and see how they improve their art, how they do their art. I decided I should be part of this community, I should target this country by my art.

Did they welcome you? Or was it only political artists who did?

At that time in 2010, I didn’t think that my art was a good art. I think it was very simple. You know, just to start, without resources, not knowing anything, I tried just to improve my style. But actually in 2013, I met Ann Telnaes, the Washington Post cartoonist, in France, and spent three days with her at an international conference. What shocked me at that time, we were in the hotel and she told us, “Excuse me, I want to go to do my animation.” Because she’s doing animation, not just still cartoons. And then she went just for 20 minutes. She came back — “Done!” “How you did it?!”

Why was that shocking to you?

Because we used to think, as an animator, you have to have your computer, your stuff and your scanner, all these tools and equipment. You have to be very professional, to know a lot about these programs. And it was easy! She used to work with Disney, that’s why she’s doing her animation frame by frame, by watercolor and all this traditional way. She showed me her pitchbook… I moved from Cannes where the conference was to Paris and there I decided to go to an art supply store. I bought brush pens and some tools, actually I did not recognize (laughs) how I can use these tools even. And I go back to Palestine and start to think how can I improve this kind of art? I don’t have problem with my content, it is about Palestine. But what is the key? And that’s how I started doing sketches, improving the figures, the environment, the color, and all of these things. And then I found my way.

Remind me when you went to prison? There was quite a breakthrough after that in terms of the figures.

In 2013 I went to the prison. When I was released, my colleagues around the world  invited me to participate in a conference. I did my exhibition about Palestinian prisoners which I did it inside the prison, and then I was invited to go to Paris, then after just one month I went to Spain. And there in Spain I saw the Guernica. That’s when I decided to make this combination between the paints, the art — the abstract art, the cubism, and the cartoon, in 2014.

Image of Mohammed al-Qiq, Palestinian journalist and former prisoner, on hunger strike, 2017, by Mohammad Sabaaneh. (c) Sabaaneh.

Tell me the impact Guernica had on you.

I used to look to the Guernica by internet, by posters, when I was a fine arts student, and I had a lot of courses around the history of art, the Guernica, Picasso. But when I saw that Guernica– I don’t know, maybe it was the size, you could recognize all the details more than when you see it by photo. That’s how this piece of art took me to the other art of Picasso, and from there actually I found the path, how I can make this intersection, between the art, the paint, Picasso style, cubism, and the cartoon. That’s how I found my style.

Is there any way for Palestinians to say, I am not going to be political, I am just going to try to get ahead?

Yes, there’s a lot of Palestinian artists, painters and writers who do not do anything about Palestine as an issue. You can do something about women’s empowerment, or the environment, about anything. I think it is a choice to talk about Palestine even in Palestine. And I have a lot of artwork that’s not about Palestine. I did two big murals, and one of them is about human history and another one is about women’s issues around the world, not just in Palestine. The woman, the histories, the religions, during the French revolution, industrial revolution… They are really huge. I did it by paper, 4 meters by 80 centimeters….

This one is about the history of Palestine. You see the war in Palestine, Syrian refugees, then Palestinians resist – the 1st Intifada, peace negotiations, and you can find here the United States of America, yes. And the Arab world. The Palestinian Authority. The Second Intifada, Hamas, the War in Gaza, Confiscation of Palestinian land.

You’re telling me there’s some people in Palestine who can live a life free of politics? Say in Ramallah.

Yes.

But doesn’t the occupation affect their lives inevitably?

Palestinians, they are a human being. That’s all: they are human beings. Not all of them want to be fighter, not all of them want to face this pain, go to jail or face this hard experience. They want to live their own life. But they face the same conditions. If they want to travel from one city to another, they have the checkpoints. If they want to travel outside, they have to get permission from the Israelis– it is the same! But they have this ability to choose, they don’t need to be involved in politics.

Have you met Zionists over here?

I’m lucky, none came to my events.

Have you had some encounters?

Virtually, yes. There are some cartoonists in the United States they are for Israel. Because I published my book here they started to attack my art. They started to attack me as a terrorist because I was in an Israeli prison. Also they blamed some of the American cartoonists because they wrote about my book or invited me.

Are you going to be doing cartoons about America?

Absolutely. Recently I published a big cartoon about Trump. My friend from WorldWar3, Seth Tobocman asked me to do a cartoon, a small mural but a big cartoon about Trump and the Middle East. This one was published in WorldWar3, the last issue. That’s how I decided, I want to put my fingerprints in the United States.

Mohammad Sabaaneh mural on Trump and Palestine, from Worldwar3. Image (c) Mohammad Sabaaneh.

Is your art changing on this trip?

Actually each trip when I come to the United States, I get something new. A project about Native Americans and Palestinians. [Shows a drawing that has a Native American iconic shape]. You cannot publish it, but this is Native American art. And you can find the word Palestine. P-A-L-E-S-T-I-N-E. That’s going to be maybe another art project. To join between this art and Palestine.

When did you change your faces?

I started in 2014. I am always trying to find something new. I am trying to do cartoons about international issues, not Palestine. I want to find ways to do a mural in linoleum or woodcut. But it could not be in Palestine because we don’t have the equipment to print it… the print machine is very big. Seth said you could find the machine in any American university. But they don’t have it in Palestine. It’s very big, and you need to print it very fast, because the ink will dry. The art is pressed by a wheel.

Sabaaneh cartoon, titled Frames, features his style of portraying the face. From his book White and Black, (c) Sabaaneh and Just World Books.

Do people ask you, What is the peaceful resolution of the conflict?

Actually, always they ask me this question, and my answer is, I’m not the politician, I’m not the leader, I’m not the Palestinian president who should find the solution– to ask about this. I’m not the Israelis’ leader. From my perspective, there is no solution. Because if you look to the international law, we are talking about the two-state solution. But where is the Palestinian state? The West Bank is full with these settlements, surrounded by these settlements. The wall took 9.4 percent from the Palestinian land supposed to be the Palestinian state. And these settlers led to all this fragmentation for our life in the West Bank and Gaza.

Where is the Palestinian state? Can you evacuate all these settlements and settlers from the West Bank? I don’t think so.

That’s why when anyone asks me this question, I tell them, there’s no state solution. You cannot say a two-state solution. When they mention two-state solution they mention the state of Israel and state of settlers. That’s the two state solution! But not a Palestinian state.

Is it a surprise to some American to hear that?

Yes, during my presentation, I have to show them the maps of the West Bank. Just to recognize the situation now in the West Bank, and how much really we are suffering from moving from one Palestinian city to another Palestinian city. All of this international audience, people around the world, they think when we are talking about the Israeli wall, it’s a wall that is the border between two states. All these people, they think when you talking about settlements, that it looks like containers.

They cannot imagine that it’s become big cities with universities and facilities and marketing and big malls. That’s why I should show them pictures and the maps and all these facts and then show them my artwork, to understand that what I did by my cartoons. It’s not exaggeration. I did not exaggerate the real life of the Palestinians. Maybe I could not do the real image for our life in Palestine!

Do they ask you about coexistence? Can you get along with Israelis, or do you know any Israelis?

Yes, they always ask me this question. And some of them who came to some events ask me, Why I did not do an exhibition or joint exhibition with Israeli cartoonists as a message for peace. My answer is, As long as we are under this occupation, and this atrocity, and brutality, I will not do any exhibition with Israeli cartoonist. I will not do any joint event or joint project with any Israeli artist or citizen. Because he is a soldier. Whatever his work– artist, doctor, engineer, journalist—he served in the IDF, or will serve in the IDF, or serves in the IDF. That means he’s a soldier. You cannot separate the Israeli people and say this is army or military forces, and this is citizen or civilian, because all of them served in the IDF.

When did you reach that understanding?

I’m always calling for boycott Israel. When anyone asks me this question, I answer them, “I am a supporter for boycott movement, I consider myself part of this movement, and I will not do any exhibition, any joint project, with an Israeli.” And actually I met some Israeli cartoonists somewhere in France, at one of these international festivals. And one of my friends, this French cartoonist asked me, “Why do you refuse to do this exhibition with this Israeli cartoonist?” I answered him: “Give me just one French cartoonist, or artist, who did joint exhibition or project with any Nazi artist during the Second World War, and then I will do my exhibition with any Israeli cartoonist or any Israeli artist.” I will not!

They start to tell you the art is the way for the peace and for reconciliation and for the normalization, and all this propaganda. Right! It is! But when you get all of your rights, then you can act as an artist, as a peace holder, or anything like that. When you get all of your rights! As a Palestinian living under occupation, your art is not this peace message, your art is a way to resist.

Do you look forward to this day that you would be able to participate as an equal with an Israeli artist?

I don’t have the dream to do an exhibition with Israeli cartoonists. I don’t have this dream. I have a dream to live in peace. I have a dream to stop doing my artwork just about occupation. This is my dream.

What hope do you have about someday having that peace?

Actually I don’t think our generation will reach the peace. I don’t have like– this hope that maybe in 10 years or 20 years we reach this peace. No, I think our journey will take more time. But I have the hope we can create the new generation that can reach the peace, and can reach his independence, and reach his freedom. That’s why we are cartoonists and that’s why we are doing this art, to keep our issues and promote our issues for the next generation, and for people around the world.

How important to your dream of having political freedom in Palestine are the people in this room [Grand Central Terminal basement], and the people in this country?

They should be part of this process.

But is it essential that Americans change in order for there to be peace in Palestine?

Not just the Americans change, we need the international change. We have a lot of activity around the world, not just the United States. I told you that I’m traveling from the United States to France, to Paris, to have an exhibition there. Our mission is not just talking about the American audience. It’s also the European audience and whoever I can reach with my art I can reach. But it is important for the American people, for all the people around the world to understand what we ask for: we ask for our freedom, we are asking for our justice and rights, and they should understand that.

So you see change in the American mind toward Palestine or growing awareness of Palestine in America?

Yes. We have a new generation of Palestinian-American people, a new generation, now they can act as American people and talk about Palestine by understandable speech. American audience can understand them, they are born here in United States, they’re raised here in the United States, they have their accent and their mentality and they can deliver their message for American people best than a Palestinian immigrant who came from Palestine or from the Middle East.

Also, now we have, instead of the mainstream media—or fake media as Trump mentioned!–  we have our social media we can use Facebook and Twitter, and that’s something very, very important.

You met Eli Valley this time, was he supportive?

Yeah.

OK. So he comes out of very Jewish tradition, I guess Seth Tobocman comes out of that tradition. Myself I think it’s important to get some of these liberal Zionists to understand what they’re supporting.

This is very important. I want to clarify. I like Eli Valley artwork, I like Seth Tobocman’s work. I asked Seth Tobocman to write the forward for my book not because they are Jews, not because I will be accused as anti semite and I need some Jewish friend to be like cover for me. Because me– I will be accused of anti-semite anyway! I don’t care. Because whatever you did or whatever you do, when they want to criticize you as anti-semitic they will criticize you. Whatever you do! If you criticize Israel you will be accused of anti-semitism. Even if you are an Israeli cartoonist. Avi Katz is an Israeli cartoonist and he did a cartoon about Trump, sorry– about Netanyahu, and he was accused as anti-semite, and he was fired from his newspaper in Israel because he criticize Netanyahu. [The cartoon portrayed Netanyahu and fellow Likud lawmakers as pigs, ala Orwell’s Animal Farm, July 2018]

I like Eli– what he’s doing, what Seth’s doing, what Ethan Heitner also is doing, is very important. For their community, for their people, for their relevance. ‘We as a Jew– we should not just keep supporting Israel.” They do something very good, for us as a Palestinian. Actually, when I started, when I became friends of Ethan, and Seth, I did not recognize that they are Jewish, because I cannot recognize from their names. I did not care. I liked their art and that’s it.

Have people asked you about the Khashoggi case? Tell me your response.

Actually I did a lot of cartoons about this case. But there is something very important I should mention. That’s– all this world who react because of Khashoggi, did not react because of 7 million Yemeni children who’ve been suffering and under this siege in Yemen, because of this fucking war in Yemen, from Saudi Arabia and from this regime. This is the more important thing. This is what we should talk about. We should talk about our kids in al-Yaman, not just about Khashoggi. Our kids, it’s not just freedom of speech, or censorship or one person was killed in their consulate. As an artist, as media –it’s 7 million kids, children, in Yemen. They are dying now because they don’t have food to eat because of Saudi Arabia. This is the most important thing.

“While all eyes were on #Khashoggi’s case, #Yemen is dying…” Middle East Monitor captioned this Sabaaneh cartoon. (c) Mohammad Sabaaneh.

How long have you had this understanding?

Actually from the first day, since the war against Yemen started. From first day I started to criticize Saudi Arabia, and I used to criticize Saudi regime not just because they killed Khashoggi. This is one case. I don’t need to work like Al Jazeera, because they are Qatari and they don’t want blackmail. Because that happens with Khashoggi and they were exposing Saudi Arabia by this case. But why did they not talk about Yemen?

How many people and artists in Palestine would say what you said?

All of them. Palestinians, we have full solidarity with al-Yaman people. Quite apart from our formal position, because you know we get quite a lot of aid from Saudi Arabia.

You know America supports Saudi Arabia in the war on Yemen?

Yeah! Its army. They trade, they can sell all their weapons to Saudi Arabia to kill more people.

How do you explain that, the media doesn’t talk about it.

No one talks about al-Yaman. All these interests, benefits, between these states.

You mentioned the power of social media. How much mainstream coverage have you gotten of your art in the United States?

I think just Russia Today. They did an interview with me, in December when I came. I was invited by the UN to participate, and I had an interview with Russia Today and also Al Jazeera English came to my book launch in D.C. last year. This time no one came, but I did have one interview, I forget the name of the journalist.

You’re not bitter or disappointed about that?

No, no no! I know that the mainstream media will not support Palestinian artists who come to the United States to expose Israel! I think they will look for something else! [laughing]

When did you start traveling so much?

Actually I have to refuse a lot of invitations because I am working also at university. I had a lot of invitations this year to go to South Africa, France, Belgium, and I canceled a free trip to this country because I cannot travel a lot. In April I will go to Ireland. Three months ago I was in the UK because I published the UK version of my book. I tried to go to Istanbul, the most important invitation, because of my book I wanted to exhibit something, but now I should refuse some of these invitations.

Back to Khashoggi. That’s an atrocity, you’re not diminishing the actual atrocity?

No I did a lot of cartoons about Khashoggi. I published them in the Middle East Monitor.

Did you bring up Yemen in those cartoons?

Yes, the last cartoon also I talked about al-Yaman. Because for me — I’m sorry for this word but all this fucking world, to care about just this one journalist, and at the same time these people are suffering for more than 5 years and no one cares about their interests. Not just Saudi Arabia, you need to expose– also all this world that just care about one person because there’s no interest like when they kill one journalist– in Yemen. All the media just talk about one person.

Have you seen Islamophobia in the United States? Anti-Palestinian racism.

Actually I did not meet anyone like that. During all of my visits to the United States, I did not. Going into a lot of cities in the United States, I did not. Maybe I am lucky, but I did not.

Have you met Americans who have visited Palestine and been traumatized by that experience? 

We spend all our life in Palestine and we saw a lot and we lost our Palestinian friends– and we are normal. (laughs) Maybe we are not, but I consider myself as a normal person!

I know Americans who were traumatized by their exposure to the violence from Israel in Palestine. You say normal, but– Aren’t you traumatized too? You’ve been in prison in months. Why are you laughing?

Because, the truth, I’ll tell you a small story about that. In 2010 when I came to the United States, I went to Portland and I found an institution there where they are working with the homeless kids by art. They’ve been traumatized, they’ve been suffering or starving from being poor, and that’s why they want to help them by art. That’s why when I traveled back to Palestine, I did the same idea with the kids who were traumatized in some Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank. And that’s why when I was in the prison, in solitary confinement, in a small cell, I decided, I’m not here like a Palestinian prisoner, I‘m not a prisoner even though I’m inside this cell. I’m here as a journalist, I am here as a cartoonist and I will start doing my cartoon inside this cell, to go through this hard condition.

Anyone, as an American person who has been to Palestine– first I should thank him as a Palestinian, because he came to Palestine to support Palestine, because he believes in our issues, and he believes in our rights. That’s why I should support him, and I should thank him and all of the Palestinians should thank him. But he could be another evidence also: How much our life in Palestine sucks!

Sucks?

How much it’s hard, it’s difficult. If he just spent 2 years in Palestine and came back to the United States with all of this trauma, or all of these issues, you can imagine how much we are suffering there. You can imagine how much our kids need this support. That’s why I think, unfortunately, it would be a good evidence to convince all these Americans that the Palestinians, they live under this brutality for more than two years.

Cartoon about Palestine’s future (c) Mohammad Sabaaneh.

What do you miss about Palestine? Soon you’ll be back. What will your heart do when you get off the plane? Because here you are in western democracies, rich countries with lots of freedom.

It’s not my homeland here. I think the homeland looks like your mother. Maybe your mother is not beautiful, you know, maybe she cannot cook well, maybe she is very ugly. But you will like her, you will love her as the most important woman in your life, you will love her as your mother. You used to eat from her, you used to live with her, you used to talk with her. This is our homeland. That’s why I think yeah, when I come to the United States, I spend all of my time very happy. I like to come to the United States, I like to see these big cities and natural landscapes, rivers. We cannot go there, to see the sea in Palestine, to go to Jaffa or Haifa, we cannot see it; but [we can] in the United States, or in France or in the UK.

All of these countries, they are not our homeland. That’s why when I have this opportunity to stay in the United States and other countries, I will refuse. Because if I have this chance to go outside and go back to Palestine, I prefer to stay there.

In Palestine.

Yes. In Palestine.

 

philweiss
About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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annie
About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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19 Responses

  1. echinococcus
    echinococcus
    January 31, 2019, 1:34 pm

    No wonder he is a cartoonist, he pinpoints where it hurts right away, no messing around. Impressive.

    “I will not do any joint event or joint project with any Israeli artist or citizen. Because he is a soldier. … I answer them, ‘I am a supporter for boycott movement, I consider myself part of this movement, and I will not do any exhibition, any joint project, with an Israeli’.
    … ‘Why do you refuse to do this exhibition with this Israeli cartoonist?’ I answered him: ‘Give me just one French cartoonist, or artist, who did joint exhibition or project with any Nazi artist during the Second World War, and then I will do my exhibition with any Israeli cartoonist or any Israeli artist.’ I will not!”

    Given that Weiss isn’t wont to ever ask pointless-sounding questions if they don’t lead to some intended result, I’m still trying to figure out the purpose of his asking, after the clear statement above, something like “Do you look forward to this day that you would be able to participate as an equal with an Israeli artist?”
    Did he really expect an answer? No wonder there wasn’t one.

    • annie
      annie
      January 31, 2019, 4:25 pm

      what about — I don’t have the dream to do an exhibition with Israeli cartoonists. I don’t have this dream — is not an answer?

      a good interviewer presses until they get the goods, phil got the goods. btw, that quote you picked up about ww2 is exactly the one i picked up for a tweet (my first tweet on the article), and the same one sabaaneh picked up for his.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        February 1, 2019, 3:02 pm

        Yes, Weiss is especially good at interviewing, and this one is outstanding. That’s why I asked that, i.e. if he was aiming at that half-response. Mine was a stupid question, of course, because no interviewer would ever answer it.

    • Misterioso
      Misterioso
      February 1, 2019, 3:14 pm

      @echinococcus, etal

      Just published – Must read!!

      https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/lords-land-why-israels-victory-wont-last

      “Lords of the land: Why Israel’s victory won’t last”
      By David Hearst, Middle East Eye, Feb. 1/19

      EXCERPT:
      “Israel has a strategic choice to make: either to continue as a security state or come to terms with the people it has expelled and dominates.”
      _______________________________________________________________________

      David Hearst is author of the superb history of the conflict, “The Gun and the Olive Branch.”

      His career spans 29 years. He left the Guardian as its chief foreign leader writer and is currently Editor in Chief of Middle East Eye. .

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        February 1, 2019, 6:05 pm

        Thank you, Misterioso. Couple neat observations in there.

  2. gamal
    gamal
    January 31, 2019, 4:34 pm

    “Have you seen Islamophobia in the United States? Anti-Palestinian racism.

    Actually I did not meet anyone like that. During all of my visits to the United States, I did not. Going into a lot of cities in the United States, I did not. Maybe I am lucky, but I did not”

    Great to hear from the youth, the resolute youth…great. I have spent this evening with the Queen of Irish Coffee, hence Dear Annie reading this I have Alton Ellis original press playing “Ain’t that loving you”

    thank you that was great to read, let saxophone soothe you.

    https://youtu.be/fWA_oaEb_IY?t=1

    • annie
      annie
      January 31, 2019, 5:06 pm

      yo gamal! would the queen’s name be jameson or tullamore dew? ;) enjoy and thank you!

      • gamal
        gamal
        January 31, 2019, 5:12 pm

        it’s Joan and she won’t listen to man whine I can’t drink Powers, because of a stations of the cross I once attended, and she makes the nectar with ordinary Powers and man is compelled into silent compliance, then warmed to the marrow and Joan renders ballads and the old men weep, i love this place, fine people the very lowest of the low according to the world’s metric, i love them.

      • gamal
        gamal
        January 31, 2019, 5:54 pm

        oh it’s too late to edit so just to add Dillinger, room should always be reserved for Dillinger nothing is complete without him grown up love, nothing really does work out..

        https://youtu.be/6OQBNtGwDOw

  3. Misterioso
    Misterioso
    February 1, 2019, 8:41 am

    More evidence that the Zionist edifice is crumbling:

    https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/nora-barrows-friedman/how-did-israel-boycott-campaign-grow-2018

    “How did the Israel boycott campaign grow in 2018?”
    By Nora Barrows-Friedman, Electronic Intifada, Dec. 31/19

    EXCERPT:
    “The year 2018 was one of victories by human rights activists despite heavy pressure, attacks and propaganda efforts by Israel and its lobby groups to whitewash its image.

    “Starting off the year, it was revealed that US President Donald Trump’s alliance with white supremacist groups and anti-Semitic figures has pushed support for Israel to a low point, especially among young American Jews.

    “By October, it was confirmed in another survey that support for Israel is coming primarily from Trump’s base, a hotbed of right-wing, white nationalist and Christian Zionist views, while support from other Americans continues to erode.

    “Early on in the year, AIPAC, Israel’s powerful lobby group on Capitol Hill, was forced to admit that it was facing mounting problems in its efforts to shore up support for Israel among progressive American leaders.

    “However, AIPAC, along with the Anti-Defamation League and similar advocacy groups, continued to push for federal legislation – the Israel Anti-Boycott Act – that seeks to criminalize supporters of the boycott movement, even as the ADL determined behind closed doors that such bills are ineffective and unconstitutional:

    “But there were signals that even Israel’s hardline supporters in Congress began pushing back.

    “Just in the past few weeks, Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Dianne Feinstein of California urged top congressional leaders to pull the Israel Anti-Boycott Act from an omnibus spending package, citing blatant First Amendment violations.

    “Following Israel’s premeditated massacre of Palestinians in Gaza on 30 March, The Electronic Intifada’s Ali Abunimah noted that not one Democrat in either houses of the US Congress spoke up to defend Israel’s actions, a notable difference in policy of elected leaders who have reflexively done so in the past.

    “It reflected a recognition of Israel’s increasingly toxic brand, especially among the Democratic base.

    “Israel’s attacks on BDS activists were sometimes absurd – like when a Mossad-backed Israeli lawfare group sued two New Zealand activists for successfully encouraging pop star
    Lorde to cancel her Tel Aviv gig at the end of 2017.

    “The activists named in that lawsuit – which legal experts said could not be enforced – used the publicity generated by the case to raise money to support mental healthcare in Gaza and bring more attention to the humanitarian crisis across Palestine.

    “The Electronic Intifada’s release of a censored documentary produced by Al Jazeera on the Israel lobby’s tactics in the US helped reveal the efforts of Israel and its lobbyists to spy on, smear and intimidate US citizens who support Palestinian human rights, especially the BDS movement.

    “Despite Israel’s attacks, smears and threats, boycott activists continued to make enormous gains – much to the dismay of Israeli leaders.

    “’We are exposing Israel’s crimes and apartheid policies and building pressure to end them,’ noted prominent activists in the BDS movement in their annual roundup of boycott highlights.

    “Here are some of the top BDS victories as covered by The Electronic Intifada over the last year.

    “Israel remains a toxic brand
    “Performers continued to ditch their Israel gigs in 2018, following sustained appeals by human rights activists in Palestine and all over the globe.

    “Shakira and Gilberto Gil led a list of notable cancellations, while dozens of DJs and music producers took public pledges not to perform in the apartheid state.

    “Over the summer, Israel’s Meteor Festival fizzled without its headliner Lana Del Rey, who pulled out of her gig just days before the festival began, stating that she wanted to ‘treat all my fans equally.’

    “Sixteen other Meteor Festival acts, including Of Montreal, dropped out of the festival following sustained appeals by Palestinian and international activists to respect the boycott call.

    “Israeli-American actor Natalie Portman refused to receive an award in Jerusalem in April, ostensibly over Israel’s massacres of Palestinians, much to the scorn and shock of Israeli leaders.

    “In June, 11 LGBTQ filmmakers refused to let Israel use them to pink wash its crimes, joining the boycott of TLVFest – the Tel Aviv International LGBT Film Festival.

    “Artists also boycotted the Istanbul Film Festival after it was revealed that Israel was sponsoring it.

    “The cultural boycott also saw gains in the sports world, as Argentina’s football team canceled a high-profile match in June with Israel after an intense global campaign that kicked off in Argentina and swept Latin America and Spain. Fans and activists urged Argentina, and the team’s star, Lionel Messi, not to help Israel whitewash its massacres of unarmed civilians in Gaza.

    “Earlier in the year, a motorcycle racing event sponsored by Honda in Israel was canceled following pressure by BDS activists.

    “Other Israel propaganda efforts ended in failure, with international chefs pulling out of the Round Tables festival in the fall while an Israeli diplomatic source admitted that the hundreds of cultural events included in the Saison France-Israël (France-Israel Season) ‘had zero success regarding Israel’s image in France, or that of France here.’

    “Meanwhile across Europe, activists continue to pressure television broadcasters not to allow Israel to host next year’s Eurovision Song Contest as a part of its whitewashing campaign.

    “Protesters have held regular demonstrations outside performances by Netta Barzilai, Israel’s 2018 Eurovision winner who has been deployed as part of the country’s officially backed international propaganda efforts.

    “Churches, corporations, unions ditch Israel
    “In December, banking giant HSBC confirmed it was divesting from the Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems following a grassroots campaign.

    “The company has already been excluded from pension and investment funds around the world over its involvement in supplying surveillance systems and other technology to Israel’s wall and settlements in the occupied West Bank.

    “Saying it was the first British church to take such a step, the Quaker Church announced in November it would not invest any centrally held funds in companies that profit from Israel’s human rights violations.

    “Joining other Christian denominations in the US, the Episcopal Church voted to adopt an investment screen to avoid profiting from human rights abuses against Palestinians. It also resolved to safeguard the rights of Palestinian children and Palestinians in Gaza, support Palestinian self-determination and to call for continued US aid to Palestinian refugees.”

  4. Bumblebye
    Bumblebye
    February 1, 2019, 11:37 am

    Palestine lost a friend today.
    British comedian Jeremy Hardy, who, when he could, used his platform on the bbc to speak up for Palestine and against israeli atrocity.

    • annie
      annie
      February 1, 2019, 1:31 pm

      • Helena Cobban
        Helena Cobban
        February 2, 2019, 1:45 pm

        Thank you so much for this, dear Annie– both for transcribing/editing Mohammad’s interview and also for posting this amazing 1-hr film featuring Jeremy Hardy. JH by the way deserves a lot more notice at the time of his passing than just insertion into a comment here…

      • annie
        annie
        February 2, 2019, 2:16 pm

        helena, it was a pleasure and an honor transcribing Mohammad.

        i had not heard of Jeremy Hardy until bumblebye’s comment. curious, i did some googling and found this video with relatively few views. it’s some amazing footage of ISM during the early days, especially during the siege of the church of nativity — historical footage.

      • annie
        annie
        April 4, 2019, 12:18 pm

        that amazing video is now offline. what a shame. i’m really glad i had a chance to watch it before it disappeared.

  5. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    February 1, 2019, 2:47 pm

    Jeremy Corbyn was a lifelong friend of Jeremy Hardy. Jeremy H being a comedian would no doubt find it laughable that two “Jeremiahs” are classified in Ziofiles as rabid Anti – Semites. So much for children named afer Hebrew Biblical prophets.

    RIP Jeremy H. You had more humanity in your little finger than the entire Zio “nation”.

  6. Nathan
    Nathan
    February 4, 2019, 7:50 pm

    Muhammad Sabaaneh is quoted as saying that he won’t exhibit with an Israeli artist as long as Palestine is occupied. Well, that’s quite interesting; however, it would have been a nice journalistic service to ask Mr Sabaaneh to describe in clear geographic terms what exactly is “occupied Palestine”. I’m quite certain that there are readers who understand that he is talking about the West Bank and Gaza. And, obviously, there are readers who understand that the entire country is occupied. So, what did he mean? Will he be able to exhibit with an Israeli artist when the West Bank and Gaza are liberated? Or will he be able to exhibit with an Israeli artist only when the entire country is under Palestinian control (and in such a case, obviously, there won’t be a State of Israel, and so there won’t be Israeli citizenship – so he’ll be willing to work with an “Israeli artist” who is no longer Israeli).

    Actually, no journalist ever asks a Palestinian being interviewed to define the borders of occupation. I would imagine that in general a journalist assumes that “occupied Palestine” is the West Bank, and so there is no reason to ask for clarification. In the case of Mondoweiss, it’s a rather good assumption that “occupied Palestine” is understood as meaning the entire country, while at the same time it’s obvious that there might be a misunderstanding among the readership. Mondoweiss really should have asked bluntly “what is the territory under occupation, Mr Sabaaneh”, thus avoiding deliberate confusion (which might be seen as propaganda).

    • eljay
      eljay
      February 5, 2019, 6:05 am

      || Nathan: … In the case of Mondoweiss, it’s a rather good assumption that “occupied Palestine” is understood as meaning the entire country … ||

      It’s a rather poor assumption given the general consensus that Israel isn’t occupying itself.

    • Talkback
      Talkback
      February 5, 2019, 8:41 am

      Nathan, did he write that he will never exhibit with an Israeli? Or with a Jew as long as Israel exists? No, he didn’t. Don’t project your own confusions.

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