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Palestine Writes announces postponement due to Coronavirus

Palestine Writes Organizing Committee on
Logo for Palestine Writes

The Palestine Writes Literature Festival, set to take place the weekend of March 27-29, 2020 in New York City, has been postponed due to the global uncertainty and concern surrounding the rapid spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

First-ever U.S. festival of Palestinian literature comes to NYC in March

Bill V. Mullen on
Palestine Writes flyer art by Malak Mattar

Rarely have the greatest living voices in Palestinian literature been heard in North America. That is about to change. On March 27-29, Palestine Writes, the first-ever festival of Palestinian literature in the United States will feature a three day celebration of Palestinian writing in New York City.

Tom Stoppard’s first Jewish play leaves Zionism offstage

Robert Cohen on
Aaron Neil's character in Tom Stoppard’s new play Leopoldstadt reads Theodor Herzl's Zionist manifesto Der Judenstaat. (Photo: leopoldstadtplay.com)

Robert Cohen reviews Tom Stoppard’s new play Leopoldstadt, which follows an extended Viennese family across three generations and half a century of deteriorating Jewish history. “Jewish 20th century history is so often presented as one long justification for the project of Jewish national renewal,” Cohen writes, “so it was curious to see such a major artistic telling of Jewish experience leaving Zionism offstage.”

Goliath

Judith Mahoney Pasternak on
(Illustration: Katie Miranda)

From Judith Mahoney Pasternak, “How do you feel now/You who were David for three thousand years/The lone shepherd boy/Armed only with stones, against a monster/Who would destroy your people/And only you to save them?”

‘These Chains Will Be Broken’ — Ramzy Baroud’s book on Palestinian prisoners

Michael Lesher on

From Ramzy Baroud’s groundbreaking book on Palestinian prisoners: “I have nothing to apologize for,” Mohammed al-Deirawi told the Israeli judge who sentenced him. “I will never apologize for resisting the occupation, defending my people, fighting for my stolen rights. But you need to apologize, and those who demolish homes while their owners are still inside are the ones who must apologize.”

In Zuabi’s ‘Grey Rock’, a Palestinian rocketman dreams of reaching the moon

Philip Weiss on

“Grey Rock,” a play by Amir Nizar Zuabi about a Palestinian television repairman who is secretly building a rocket in his shed to reach the moon, is about the right of Palestinians to escape their oppression and dream of great achievements. It is at the Public Theater in NY then at the Guthrie, and you should see it if you can.

A secular Palestinian’s Hanukkah 2019 message

Nada Elia on
A Jewish Voice for Peace graphic for their Deadly Exchange campaign. (Image: Jewish Voice for Peace)

Nada Elia reflects on the the complexities of the rise in antisemitism we are currently seeing in the United States. “More than ever before, as hatred sweeps this country, we must be the ones who protect each other,” Elia writes.

Maryam at the checkpoint — the Story of Christmas

Helena Cobban on

Jesus of Nazareth, who would grow up to become an amazingly inspirational teacher, was a Jewish Palestinian who was born at a time when Palestine was under the brutal rule of a foreign military occupation. Helena Cobban tells the story of Christmas.

Rereading Amos Oz a year after his death

Liz Rose on

“Amos Oz eroticized the land and language of Israel, and it gave me permission to do the same.” Nearly a year after the writer’s death, Liz Rose reflects on the ways that Oz fostered her youthful excitement about liberal Zionism. And how she looks on his writing now that she opposes Zionism.

On finding a tapestry of characters in Gaza, and at the Academy Awards

Walaa Ghussein on

Four years after working on the feature documentary project “Gaza,” Mondoweiss’ Walaa Ghussein interviews directors Andrew McConnell and Garry Keane. McConnell tells her, “we both agreed that the best way to tell people about Gaza is to let the people of Gaza tell the story for themselves because we rarely see that.”

The Mondoweiss holiday gift guide is here!

Mondoweiss Editors on
Palestinians celebrate around a Christmas tree at the Manger Square, outside the Church of the Nativity, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2012. (Photo: Issam Rimawi/APA Images)

The Mondoweiss holiday gift guide is here! From our favorite books, to dresses with hand-stitched embroidery, ethically produced Hanukkah candles, hand-crafted olive wood nativity sets, and of course Mondoweiss swag we’ve pulled together some of our favorites for your end of the year gift giving.

The glory that is Gaza

Harry Gunkel on
A picture taken on March 26, 2017 shows Gaza City. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)

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.”

The acute danger of women singing turns into a storm over Orthodox power in Israel

Yossi Gurvitz on

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.

A harpsichord is christened in Bethlehem

Tom Suarez on

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.

The Centrism of Fools

Hannah Gurman on
Bari Weiss's How to Fight Anti-Semitism

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.”

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.

Not Quite Paradise: Elia Suleiman’s It Must Be Heaven

Sarah Doyel on
Elia Suleiman in It Must Be Heaven

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.

In praise of Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire

Richard Falk on
Kamila Shamsie (Photo: Zain Mustafa/Penguin Random House)

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.”

Teaching Edward Said in Gaza

Haidar Eid on
Edward Said

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.