Opportunities to visit Gaza come rarely. Harry Gunkel writes, “A place so inaccessible and so compelling deserves our full attention and our best intentions, but as we learned in our recent visit, getting lost in the tedium of the permit process and then the rush to pack the time with meetings and briefings could have caused us to miss the glory that is Gaza.”
Category Archives: Culture
Mohammed Zaanoun shares the trauma of being a photojournalist in Gaza, as his work inspires artists around the world by humanizing the Palestinian struggle.
Two years ago, there would have been no problems whatsoever in Rabbi Elimelech Firer’s medical benefit at the Bronfman Center, the Palace of Culture in Tel Aviv. But this time, it was hard to notice there were no female singers, who apparently represent a danger to orthodox men. The gala has been called off after unprecedented protest.
In order to play authentic religious music commemorating Bethlehem’s native son, the Amwaj Choir and Palestine Philharmonie needed a harpsichord. That search began a few years ago in Europe and culminated in Bethlehem in late October with the unveiling of a beautiful instrument.
Hannah Gurman reviews Bari Weiss’s How to Fight Anti-Semitism: “Ultimately, Weiss and other neoconservative analysts of contemporary anti-semitism force Jews into a cynical politics that pits Jewish survival against other movements for social justice. Progressives have a more compelling vision to offer in which a politics of solidarity addresses threats against Jewish communities not at the expense of other “others,” but alongside them.”
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.
It Must Be Heaven embodies the seeking energy that its title suggests. Elia Suleiman and the viewer are not quite in paradise, as the small but frequent indignities pile up behind Suleiman on his travels throughout the film, but peaceful olive groves and the simple satisfaction of a glass of wine and a cigarette show that he is not in hell, either.
The Dortmund City Council was set to award the novelist Kamila Shamsie its Nelly Sachs Prize until it learned she supports BDS. The council rescinded the honor which brought the author to Richard Falk’s attention, and he is thankful it did. “Selfishly, I cannot thank the Dortmund City Council enough for its outrageous behavior,” Falk writes, “In her novels, she has manifested an uncannny awareness, more so than any writer I have encountered, of the precarious existence of ethnic, gender, and civilizational outsiders, especially Muslims, if they happen to reside in the supposedly once more tolerant West.”
Artist Katie Miranda has done two versions of a Palestinian Pieta, a representation of compassion, in a Palestinian mother cradling the body of her slain son. Her paintings go on display at the Jerusalem Fund gallery in Washington on October 11.
This week marks the anniversary of Edward Said’s death and Haidar Eid reflects on how the Palestinian intellectual’s work has impacted his own. “It is important at this time of turmoil, not only in Palestine, but also globally, to remember Said as he would have wanted us to remember him, out of place,” Eid writes.
The film “The Voice of Ahmad” is screening in Israel, following the journey of Ahmad Masrawa, one of hundreds of Palestinian teenagers in Israel who were adopted by a kibbutz, agricultural communes that were at the core of the Zionist movement’s efforts to Judaize lands just stolen from the Palestinian people.
Sarah Doyel says that if you’re vegan, Israel looks like paradise. But make no mistake: Israel is using veganism as a calculated facade to gloss over the occupation of Palestine, and appropriate regional culture and traditions.
Since returning to Palestine last year after studying in the U.S., Hareth Yousef has been exploring the mountains and lands around Kobar, his family’s ancestral village in the West Bank. On one of those hikes he visited an abandoned farm known as Katilia, which his grandparents used to plant before an Israeli settlement known as Nahliel was built near there in 1984. Yousef writes about these trips, and what they have meant to him and his family.
The Museum of the Palestinian People in Washington DC exhibits Palestinians from refugee camps, Israel, Gaza, the U.S. and Canada. “Having the museum open was not something easy to be done, especially with financial challenges and starting a space in DC, collecting items to exhibit. It takes courage to do that,” says museum curator Nada Odeh.
Why is an anti-Semite not called a “Semitophobe?” Timo Al-Farooq says that what at first glance might seem like a linguistic mishap is in fact a reflection of the hierarchy of discrimination in the Western discourse on racism.
In a far-ranging interview, Palestinian author Raja Shehadeh relates how annoyed he is when American media read from the Zionist script and demand that he defend Hamas. He also talks about how difficult it is to maintain human relationships with Israelis when Israelis cannot confront the past of ethnic cleansing. And how the late Amos Oz patronized him…
Mansur Shaheen profiles Oday Aboushi the first player of Palestinian descent in the NFL. “Growing up Palestinian, [with] both parents Palestinian, they always instill the culture. That’s really shaped me as a man and my morals and current values that I have,” Aboushi tells Mondoweiss.
Haidar Eid introduces his new album Tyrants’ Fear of Songs — “I hope that these songs will document Palestinian desire to be free from the ravages of colonialism, occupation and apartheid.”
Bill Mullen writes, “Michael Fischbach’s Black Power and Palestine is the best book yet written on the contemporary history of Afro-Palestinian solidarity. The book is invaluable as a scholarly record of Black efforts to organize with and in support of Palestinian liberation, but also as a political argument about the centrality of Palestinian solidarity work to building internationalist, anti-imperialist solidarity in our time.”
Five years ago organized rock climbing in Palestine was non-existent. Then two young American climbing enthusiasts began developing rock climbing sites near Ramallah and refugee camps around the West Bank. “You know there are beautiful areas around Ramallah, but we would not go there if we didn’t climb,” local climber Momen Naeem tells Mondoweiss. “It makes people love the land, makes you love this place more.”
Susan Abulhawa reviews Anita Anand’s The Patient Assassin, the dramatic true story of a little known orphan boy who spent his life plotting a revenge that would eventually rattle the British Empire to its core: “This is a book for students of history, for lovers of thriller novels, and for anyone interested in contemporary politics, social movements, liberation struggles, biographies, or just a well-told true drama.”
Ronit Lentin’s recent book “Traces of Racial Exception – Racializing Israeli Settler Colonialism”, demonstrates the importance and centrality of race in the Palestine-Israel context, an issue downplayed by Israel-apologists. Because veiling that racism in the eyes of the world is essential to maintaining the colonialist project.
Richard Falk praises Noura Erakat’s new book ‘Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine’: “What Erakat seeks and achieves is less about the emancipatory interpretation of legal norms and more about allowing us to grasp the manipulative nexus that underlies international legal discourse, and shapes political patterns of control and resistance.”
“There is no peace without equality and there is no equality without peace,” Kohavi Shemesh always said, pointing out precisely the paradox of life in a Zionist state. Shemesh, one of the founders of the Black Panthers movement in Israel, died on April 13, 2019 at 75.
“Reclaiming Judaism from Zionism: Stories of Personal Transformation,” is a collection of autobiographical essays from 40 Jewish activists and scholars. These voices must contend with being called anti-Semitic and self-hating Jews by strangers as well as by family members, Eleanor Roffman writes.