Time is running out for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he struggles to form a governing coalition by midnight on Wednesday, or risk plunging Israel into another election.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 30,000 “ex-Gaza” Palestinians in Jerash, the poorest refugee camp in Jordan, face services stripped by Trump– though they are stateless, half are below the poverty line, and 88 percent lack health insurance. Now wonder the children drop the F-bomb when they see American visitors.
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.
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.