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October 2019

American Jews are sick and tired of Israel, says leading rabbi

Philip Weiss on

American Jews feel “shame” and “despair” and disappointment with Israel, and are so tired of fighting over it that they are starting to lose interest, says Rabbi Ayelet Cohen of the New Israel Fund. Some rabbis are dropping it from Hebrew school curricula and no one notices, she says.

UMass SJP open letter to chancellor on statement attacking BDS

UMass Amherst Students for Justice in Palestine on
UMass Amherst Students for Justice in Palestine protesting, July 11, 2014. (Photo: UMass Amherst Students for Justice in Palestine/Facebook)

UMass Amherst Students for Justice in Palestine write an open letter to the university chancellor demanding a retraction on allegations against the BDS movement and demand that the university make a clear public statement explaining the difference between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.

‘Astounded and heartbroken’: Rep. Ilhan Omar faces fallout over Armenian Genocide vote

Michael Arria on
Rep. Ilhan Omar. (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

The push to acknowledge the genocide on a federal level has hit roadblocks for decades, but recent geopolitical events have forced the issue. On October 29 the House passed H.Res 296, a resolution that recognizes the mass-killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War 1 as a genocide. While the measure passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 405-11, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) is facing criticism for simply voting “present.”

Duke students protest Tzipi Livni, former Israeli foreign minister accused of war crimes 

Brett Wilkins on

Students at Duke University in North Carolina repeatedly interrupted an event last Wednesday featuring Tzipi Livni, the former Israeli foreign minister who was subject to an arrest warrant issued by the UK and criminal complaints in two more European countries for her alleged role in war crimes committed during the 2008-09 Cast Lead invasion of Gaza.

Obama officials confess their sins on human rights at J Street

Philip Weiss on

“I look back [with] regret at Gaza,” Ben Rhodes confesses at J Street. While another Obama official Tommy Vietor says the Yemen war was “wrong” and a “disaster.” And NY City Councilman Brad Lander says he regrets keeping quiet about Palestinian human rights over 10 years of defending Israel. “I was pushed to find more courage,” he says.

‘Whitewash’: Israel closes investigations into three Palestinians killed in 2018

Yumna Patel on

The Israeli military has closed the case files of three Palestinians who were killed by its forces in 2018, prompting backlash from rights groups like B’Tselem who initially investigated the killings. “At the end of the day, these belated so-called investigations, ended in whitewashing,” B’Tselem said in a press release on Monday.

Israel’s new moves to ‘legalize’ the occupation

Jonathan Cook on
A Palestinian stands on his property overlooking the Israeli settlement Har Homa, West Bank, February 18, 2011. (Photo: UPI/Debbie Hill)

Israeli defense ministry officials want to upend the definition in international law of the settlements as a war crime by allowing settlers buy as private property the plots of occupied land their illegal homes currently stand on.

The theme of the J Street conference was conditioning aid to Israel, but where’s the action?

Michael Arria on

A major theme has emerged at this year’s annual J Street conference: conditioning U.S. military aid to Israel. This lines up with a wider shift that seems to be happening throughout the country. An October 25 report from the centrist Center for American Progress shows 56% of voters say they’d condition aid if the Israeli government continues to expand settlements or ends up annexing the West Bank. That number goes up to 71% when applied only to Democratic voters.

GOP House members say resolution affirming two-state solution contradicts administration’s peace plan

Josh Ruebner on
Rep. Michael McCaul

Democrats are pushing to pass a watered-down and toothless version of a resolution supporting a negotiated two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue in the coming weeks, and yet Republicans say even this contradicts the Trump Administration’s peace plan. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the resolution is designed to “score points against the President” and “cut the Administration’s peace process off at the knees, ensuring that any political proposal released by the Administration already has the black mark of a rebuke by the House of Representatives.”

43 children are shot at Friday march in Gaza

Kate on

In Gaza on Friday, 95 Palestinian civilians, including 43 children, a woman, 2 paramedics and a journalist, were shot and injured by Israeli forces, who fired live rounds against peaceful Palestinian protesters at the 80th Great March of Return.

Anti-Zionism is celebrated on a New York Jewish stage, at Yivo panel on Bundism

Abba Solomon on

“We oppose Zionism. We oppose the role that Zionists play in the diaspora,” historian Jack Jacobs explains Bundism at the Yivo Institute in New York, on a breakthrough panel that included Molly Crabapple calling for one democratic state to whoops and applause and Jacob Plitman saying his Zionism was “shattered” after one encounter with Palestinians and learning their story.

Israel destroyed record number of Palestinian homes in Jerusalem in 2019

Yumna Patel on
A member of the Adgluni family watching his house being demolished by Israeli authorities in Beit Hanina, East Jerusalem on January 27, 2014. (Photo: Activestills)

Israel has demolished a record number of homes in occupied East Jerusalem in 2019, the most in the past 15 years, Israeli rights group B’Tselem reported on Thursday. More than 140 Palestinian homes were demolished, resulting in the displacement of 238 Palestinians.

Georgia Tech student activists found guilty of discrimination for preventing pro-Israel staffer from disrupting meeting

Michael Arria on
YDSA GT members tabling. (Photo: Twitter/YDSAGT)

The Young Democratic Socialists of America at Georgia Tech have been found guilty of discrimination and sanctioned by the school’s Office of Student Integrity for barring a pro-Israel individual from attending one of their meetings over concerns that they would potentially be disruptive. The decision comes after a 6-month long disciplinary process from the OSI, which YDSA referred to as “open-ended, opaque, politically-motivated, and ultimately unlawful.”

Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association comes out in support of a bill that protects Palestinian children

Michael Arria on

Executive Director of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association Rabbi Elyse Wechtermanm tells Mondoweiss, “Our members have been working hard against child detention and family separation on the border here in the United States.  When the issue of child incarceration, torture and detention by the Israeli military was brought to our attention, we felt we could not ignore it – this is part of what it means to fight for justice locally and globally.”

The power of Ghassan Kanafani’s The Land of Sad Oranges

Haidar Eid on
Ghassan Kanafani

Haidar Eid discusses teaching Ghassan Kanafani’s The Land of Sad Oranges to students in Gaza. He says it not only provides insights into the tragic loss of the Nakba, but raises questions of what justice means today.