Ben Norton


Palestinian-American professor Steven Salaita was effectively fired from a tenured position in American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in 2014 for tweets critical of Israel. On August 6, a federal court upheld a Salaita against the university lawsuit on free speech grounds, ruling that the professor’s tweets “implicate every ‘central concern’ of the First Amendment.” In the midst of this ruling, Phyllis Wise, who faced harsh backlash for overseeing Salaita’s firing, resigned from her positions as UIUC chancellor and vice president, in which she had served since 2011.

The American Israel Education Foundation, the educational wing of AIPAC, is taking all but three freshmen US lawmakers on a tour of Israel in hopes of turning them against the Iran nuclear deal. In total over 50 US congresspeople will meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu in August over the course of two separate trips—one for Democrats starting August 3, and another for Republicans starting August 8. See a full list of the congresspeople headed to Israel.

Ben Norton remembers attending the 2014 Christians United for Israel summit held last summer at the height of the Israeli attack on Gaza. He writes, “a CUFI summit is a place where there is no distinction between church and state, between religion and nation, between faith and ideology. It is a place where the world is perpetually on the brink of absolute destruction, where Israel’s leaders—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Ambassador Ron Dermer—warn “Islamists” are mere moments from setting the globe ablaze, and yet all their steadfast Christian supporters can do is celebrate, dance, ululate under the ecclesiastical influence, that hallowed intoxication only the Holy Spirit can induce.”

Greece’s ruling ostensibly left-wing Syriza party signed a “status of forces” accord with Israel on July 19. The Jerusalem Post explains that the agreement “offers legal defense to both militaries while training in the other’s country.” Only one other country in the world has signed such an accord with Israel; that country is the US, which calls its uncritical support of Israel the “special relationship.”

Two American Jews were reportedly called a racial slur, detained, and subsequently deported by the Israeli government because they are black. “Once we were detained, we were never given any reason other than one female agent screaming at me ‘Eretz Yisrael isn’t a country for cushim [a racist Hebrew slur for black people],’” Idit Malka recalled.