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May 2019

Palestinian Authority financial crisis deepens as Trump’s ‘deal of the century’ looms

Yumna Patel on
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meets with the American delegation led by the advisor to U.S. President Jared Kouchner, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on August 24, 2017. (Photo: Osama Falah/APA Images)

The Palestinian Authority is in crisis, and high rates of poverty and unemployment, few prospects of free and democratic presidential elections, and the unveiling of the widely unpopular American “deal of the century” around the corner, will only exacerbate the already dire situation. “The collapse of the PA is definitely something we could see happening, especially if this financial and political situation worsens,” Palestine Policy Fellow at Al-Shabaka, Dr. Yara Hawari, told Mondoweiss.

The poisoned calculus (the army education of Yossi Gurvitz)

Yossi Gurvitz on

Yossi Gurvitz reflects on his service in the Israeli army 30 years ago. “A poisonous calculus was working. You’re here. You’re a leftist. You’re here to prevent abuse. But if you expose yourself as a leftist too soon, they’ll hide the abuse from you and you won’t be able to prevent it. So you’d better keep your protest for the really tough cases, you know, like preventing a murder. There’s no point in reporting the routine beating up of cuffed and blindfolded prisoners.”

Jewish groups call on their communities: defund Islamophobia now

Defund Islamophobia on
Muslim-Jewish Collaboration postcard. (Photo: Defund Islamophobia)

A report by the Council on Islamic-American Relations revealed a money trail from over 1,000 largely mainstream charities to 39 anti-Muslim groups that it calls the “Islamophobia Network.” In New York City, activists protested one of the charities, the Jewish Communal Fund.

Despite Palestinian boycott, UAE and Saudi Arabia to attend US-led conference in Bahrain

Yumna Patel on

Palestinian officials are doubling down on their plans to boycott a US-led conference in Bahrain next month aimed at garnering regional support for President Donald Trump’s peace plan. However, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, two major regional players, announced Tuesday evening that they would be sending delegations to participate. The Saudis and the Emiratis, who in recent years have significantly warmed relations with Israel, are the first two Arab powers to announce participation in the event.

US promise of Palestinian ‘prosperity’ falls flat at UN

James Reinl on
Jason Greenblatt addresses the UN in May 2019 about the US peace plan.

The Trump administration’s long-awaited Middle East peace plan drew criticism at the United Nations Wednesday, with European and UN officials saying Palestinians should not be coerced into selling off rights to run their own country.

UNRWA: A critical but impossible mission

Alice Rothchild on

More than 2 million Palestinian refugees in Jordan are served by UNRWA and Alice Rothchild visits the Nuzha camp in Amman where refugees get vital services from family planning to mental health counseling. The school is tidy and sparkling with an atmosphere of infectious enthusiasm. One girl asks: “Is America beautiful?”

An answer to the question, ‘Why do you care so much about Israel/Palestine?’

Joel Doerfler on
An Israeli settlement sits to the right of Israel's separation wall in East Jerusalem, dividing the Palestinian neighborhood to the left, from other Palestinian neighborhoods in the area. (Photo: Eoghan Rice)

Joel Doerfler says several years ago a student in his Israel-Palestine course approached him after class with a question.  Why, he wanted to know, did he care so much about this subject? Doerfler says he never got back to him with a clear answer, but never stopped thinking about his question. Here is his answer.

Gunfight at the O.K. Kibbutz: Israel in the American reflection

Bruce Robbins on
Paul Newman in Otto Preminger's 1960 film "Exodus"

Bruce Robbins reviews Amy Kaplan’s book Our American Israel: “Kaplan argues that Israel made it possible for Americans to believe things they wanted to believe about themselves but were afraid they couldn’t, like the righteousness of their own use of military violence.”

‘NYT’ coverage of Trump peace plan news quotes 5 pro-Israel voices, 0 Palestinians

Philip Weiss on
New York Times headquarters. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Somehow the New York Times could find no Palestinians to quote on an article about the economic largesse to Palestine the Trump administration intends to unveil in Bahrain as part of its peace plan. The article includes quotes from five strong supporters of Israel: Aaron David Miller, Jared Kushner, Robert Satloff, Treasury’s Steve Mnuchin, and Brookings pundit Tamara Cofman Wittes. That’s racism in journalism, before your eyes.

Palestinians reject Madonna’s ‘fig-leaf gestures of solidarity’

Jonathan Ofir on
Madonna and Quavo stand under the words "Wake Up" at the end of the Eurovision performance of their song “Future.” (Photo via Twitter/@madonnatribe)

Madonna tried to offset criticism of her participation in the Eurovision song contest by incorporating a Palestinian flag into her final performance. “The most meaningful expression of solidarity is to cancel performances in apartheid Israel,” the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel responded in a statement.

Young Jews who don’t like Israel are not ‘healthy’ — leading Hillel director

Philip Weiss on

80 percent of Jewish college students think Netanyahu is a ‘terrible human being,’ says Andrew Getraer, Hillel director at Rutgers. While Leonard Saxe of Brandeis says that Peter Beinart and Dov Waxman are critical of Israel because they come from South African families and see Israel thru an “apartheid” filter.

Republicans push BDS bill to paint Dems as anti-Semites, and party leadership falls for the trap

Josh Ruebner on
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) (Photo: Center for American Progress/Flickr)

On Wednesday, Republicans in the House of Representatives initiated a rarely-used legislative procedure to try to force a vote on a controversial bill that encourages states and localities to penalize individuals, nonprofit organizations, and companies that boycott for Palestinian rights. This is the latest GOP move in an ongoing, concerted effort to to portray themselves as the saviors of Israel and the Jewish people and paint the Democrats as an anti-Semitic, BDS-loving, radical left horde. And Democrats seem to be falling into the trap.

Silencing the Nakba with Eurovision

Jonathan Ofir on
Im Tirtzu protesting a Nakba commemoration at Tel Aviv University, May 2013. (Photo: Lazar Simeonov)

The Jewish fascist group Im Tirtzu has a history of disrupting Nakba commemoration ceremonies at the Tel Aviv campus. This year they blasted the Eurovision-winning song ‘Toy’ over loudspeakers during a minute of silence for Nakba victims.

Actor Faisal Abu Alhayjaa appears in NY this Sunday

Philip Weiss on

The Palestinian actor Faisal Abu Alhayjaa is known to the New York theater audience for his charismatic performance as a wounded resistance fighter in Bethlehem in “The Siege”, a production from the Jenin Freedom Theatre. He will be speaking about “laughter and liberation” at the People’s Forum in NY on Sunday.

Crisis at the Whitney: ‘no safe space for profiteers of state violence’

Kim Jensen on
Protest at the Whitney Museum of American Art. (Photo: Kim Jensen)

New York City’s Whitney Museum of American Art’s legendary Biennial exhibit is taking place, but the Whitney has a problem. Warren B. Kanders, the vice chairmen of the board of trustees, has amassed a $700 million fortune selling law enforcement gear and tear gas that has been used against unarmed civilians in Ferguson, Baltimore, Standing Rock, Puerto Rico, the U.S.-Mexico border, and in Israel/Palestine. Calls for the war profiteer’s resignation are growing louder by the day.

How to Lobby Washington to Death: A business model from hell and the war in Yemen 

Mashal Hashem and James Allen on
Boys inspect graves prepared for victims of an air strike in Saada province, Yemen, which killed 40 children on their way to school on August 9, 2018. (Photo: Reuters)

President Trump’s veto of the resolution to end American support for the Saudi-UAE coalition in Yemen, and Congress’s failure to override it, has given U.S. defense contractors a green light to proceed with a business model that counts innocent Yemenis’ deaths as the cost of doing business.

‘Refugees are a tool of war’ — the view from the Syrian border

Alice Rothchild on

Rev. Nour Sahawneh aids thousands of refugees at his church in Mafraq, Jordan, near sprawling city-like camps. “Their lives are a disaster,” he tells Alice Rothchild. “They are a tool of war. They became a subject in a war, not a people to help… War is business.”

US-Israel relationship is ‘altar’ of ‘holiness,’ and Jerusalem embassy is ‘shrine’ — US ambassador

Philip Weiss on

Ambassador David Friedman’s religious remarks in Jerusalem Tuesday went well beyond his comment that Israel is “on the side of God.” Friedman likened the US-Israel relationship to the “altar” in the original Jewish temple in Jerusalem and called the embassy a “shrine” that people pray to and thank God for, and said the U.S. and Israel need to advance the relationship toward greater “holiness.”