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May 2019

Germany has lost the right to act as a referee on anti-Semitism

Hatim Kanaaneh on

Last week, the German Parliament passed a resolution that demonizes the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel. Hatim Kanaaneh writes to German politicians, “you dare to pass judgement on us for peacefully demanding our rights under international law. Now you have the audacity to ascribe to me your predecessors’ innermost ugly sentiments in order to aid and abet our continued victimization as surrogate Germans and anti-Semites.”

Key American allies in the Middle East are the real tyrants

Danny Sjursen on
From left, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, King Salman of Saudi Arabia, Melania Trump and President Trump during the opening of an anti-extremist center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Photo: Saudi Press Agency)

National Security Advisor John Bolton recently dubbed Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua a “troika of tyranny,” but Danny Sjursen says the Middle East is where the genuine all-American troika of tyranny resides. “The kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the military junta in Egypt, and the colonizing state of Israel — all countries that eschew real democracy and are working together to rain chaos on an already unstable region,” Sjursen writes.

Trump peace plan is now ‘dead and buried’

Philip Weiss on
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, from Israeli GPO

If there’s any consensus from the political chaos in Israel, it’s that the Trump peace plan will get kicked down the road again for months, right into the U.S. election season, so it may disappear entirely. Several Israel observers say the plan is over. They warn that Trump will be even more of a presence in Netanyahu’s next campaign, but the prime minister is badly wounded by his failure to make a government.

Benjamin Netanyahu: The fugitive Crime Minister

Yossi Gurvitz on
Benjamin Netanyahu

In a move that would have been considered surreal even two days ago, Benjamin Netanyahu dissolved the Knesset to avoid a coup within his own party, and possibility of being sent to prison. Yossi Gurvitz writes, “the so-called ‘wizard’ of Israeli politics managed to pull an extraordinary act of self-immolation.”

Israeli ‘intelligence’ is fostering US bellicosity toward Iran — but ‘quietly’

Philip Weiss on
Netanyahu and Trump meet at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel on Madison Avenue. (Photo: (AP/Evan Vucci)

U.S. intelligence on alleged Iranian attacks is reminiscent of the faulty intelligence leading up to the Iraq war, and three mainstream sources have said that Israel is behind some of that questionable intelligence– the New York Times, Israel’s Channel 13, and Newsweek. But Netanyahu and Sheldon Adelson’s influence on the president ought to be a scandal.

UCLA’s anthropology grad student association supports Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi and Dr. Kyeyoung Park over accusations of anti-Semitism

Open Letter on

The Anthropology Graduate Student Association at UCLA supports Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi who has come under attack for a recent lecture at the university: “As graduate students in the Department of Anthropology who lead discussion sections with undergraduate students, we are committed to creating inclusive and justice-centered academic settings. This includes ensuring that the loudest and most dominant perspectives in our society do not silence empirically verifiable evidence of oppression.”

Beirut airport: xenophobia and racism against Palestinians

Ibaa Abu Layya on
Airplanes at Beirut–Rafic Hariri International Airport. (Photo: Francisco Anzola/ Flickr)

At Beirut’s Rafic Hariri International Airport Ibaa Abu Layaa was detained for 15 hours and then sent back home to the West Bank via Jordan after being blacklisted from Lebanon for the rest of her life. “The fracture in my heart will stay there forever,” Abu Layaa says.

Real populism is the answer to climate crisis

Jonathan Cook on
Activists with the organization Extinction Rebellion block the streets outside the Bank of England on April 25, 2019. (Photo: Mike Kemp via Getty Images)

The rise of populism in both its rightwing and leftwing manifestations, and the more general political polarization in our societies, are the symptoms of a breakdown in trust, a collapse of consensus, a rupture of the social contract. Jonathan Cook says today we desperately need the populism of Extinction Rebellion, of Greta Thunberg and the school strikes, of politicians prepared to stand by a Green New Deal and declare real climate emergencies.

James Baldwin and the Jewish State

Steven Salaita on
James Baldwin in Hyde Park, London, 1969 (Photo: Allan Warren/Wikimedia)

Steven Salaita reviews James Baldwin’s statements on Palestine and Israel which he says reveal a thinker of significant prescience and a skilled rhetorician who doesn’t allow audiences the luxury of comfort. “For Baldwin, Zionism isn’t an atavistic cultural or religious attribute, but the modern articulation of an age-old colonial logic,” Salaita writes.

Controversial ‘NYT’ cartoon could have run in Israeli papers without uproar, former ‘NYT’ reporters say

Philip Weiss on

That ‘NYT’ cartoon showing Netanyahu as a dachshund leading blind Trump in a skullcap caused the Times to apologize again and again for bigotry. But two former ‘NYT’ reporters say the cartoon could have run in Israeli papers without uproar, apparently because it’s not so bad to criticize your own. And the Times has been indifferent to its anti-Palestinian racism.

Israel’s orientalist rally for ‘democracy’

Jonathan Ofir on

The centrist Blue White opposition to Netanyahu’s Likud organized a demonstration in Tel Aviv to ‘defend democracy’. But it was rife with militant symbolism and orientalist mockery, and it marginalized Palestinian voices, as usual. Notably, protesters wore fezzes to say Israel shouldn’t become Turkey. It was surely lost on the demonstrators that many Arabs wear fezzes, including Arab Jews.

Petition to stop ban of Palestine children’s book at Highland Park, NJ, public library

Mondoweiss Editors on

On May 19, a New Jersey public library canceled a reading by Golbarg Bashi from her children’s book, “P Is for Palestine,” after vocal opposition, notably from the pro-Israel Jewish community. A coalition of Palestinian solidarity groups is petitioning the library to resist racist pressure against free speech for Palestinians and reinstate the reading at its June 5 public board meeting.

Foer and Lepore cut Netanyahu a break. Brooks doesn’t

Philip Weiss on

Franklin Foer of the Atlantic lists the authoritarian leaders who are a lot like Trump and leaves Netanyahu off the list. While David Brooks pointedly includes Netanyahu on his list of populist leaders.

Israel launches global initiative to protect its image from BDS activists

Kate on

Middle East Monitor reports that Israel has embarked on a massive recruitment drive to support the country’s online propaganda campaign one day after its companies were exposed for spreading disinformation on Facebook and meddling in the elections of several African, Asian and Latin American countries.

UNRWA rejects US calls to end agency’s mandate

Yumna Patel on
Jason Greenblatt addresses the UN in May 2019 about the US peace plan.

UNRWA officials are hitting back after a US proposal to remove the agency’s mandate by calling on countries hosting Palestinian refugees to take over food aid services. The US blames the humanitarian effort for prolonging the refugee issue. While UNRWA says political failures have sustained the issue.

NYU president slams speaker for endorsing BDS against ‘apartheid’ Israel (and doesn’t mind his calling Trump a ‘fascist’)

Philip Weiss on

NYU president James Hamilton roundly condemned graduation speaker Steven William Thrasher for endorsing BDS against “apartheid” Israel in a speech at commencement Wednesday. Hamilton issued a statement saying remarks were one-sided and made some feel “unwelcome.” Astounding obeisance to Israel supporters! And not a word about Thrasher calling Trump a “fascist.”

The Emperor’s New Palestine

Jonathan Ofir on

The deal of the century in the 1900s was the Balfour Declaration, which recognized Zionist colonization of Palestine, and Trump’s deal of the 21st century only continues that process, by giving Israel the right to annex portions of the West Bank and confine Palestinians to Bantustans.

How one Palestinian university is remaking ‘Israel Studies’

Rebecca L. Stein on
Bir Zeit University

The students in Birzeit University’s Israel Studies program are “trying to produce Palestinian knowledge of Israeli society” through critical engagement with Israeli culture, politics and society. In the process, they are fundamentally remaking the dominant paradigm of Israel Studies as it has been configured in the United States and increasingly in Great Britain, with its proud “advocacy” mandate on behalf of the Israeli state. Birzeit’s program turns this paradigm inside out, providing students with a radical alternative.