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.
Category Archives: Culture
Building a movement and building a business are one and the same for Murad Nofal and Mustafa Mabruk, 23 year-old Palestinian-American owners of an online clothing and accessory company called Wear the Peace.
More than 2 million Palestinian refugees in Jordan are served by UNRWA and Alice Rothchild visits the Nuzha camp in Amman where refugees get vital services from family planning to mental health counseling. The school is tidy and sparkling with an atmosphere of infectious enthusiasm. One girl asks: “Is America beautiful?”
Bruce Robbins reviews Amy Kaplan’s book Our American Israel: “Kaplan argues that Israel made it possible for Americans to believe things they wanted to believe about themselves but were afraid they couldn’t, like the righteousness of their own use of military violence.”
The Palestinian actor Faisal Abu Alhayjaa is known to the New York theater audience for his charismatic performance as a wounded resistance fighter in Bethlehem in “The Siege”, a production from the Jenin Freedom Theatre. He will be speaking about “laughter and liberation” at the People’s Forum in NY on Sunday.
Rev. Nour Sahawneh aids thousands of refugees at his church in Mafraq, Jordan, near sprawling city-like camps. “Their lives are a disaster,” he tells Alice Rothchild. “They are a tool of war. They became a subject in a war, not a people to help… War is business.”
Marc Ellis reviews Paul Mendes-Flohr’s new biography, Martin Buber: A life of Faith and Dissent: “My biggest complaint, a serious one, is that Buber’s understanding of the prophetic is mentioned but is hardly given the due needed. Buber’s analysis of the prophetic and its consistent failure, exemplified in his life both in Germany, Palestine and Israel, will, in my view, be, perhaps already is, Buber’s greatest contribution to the Jewish present and future.”
Iraqis throughout the Middle East remain unregistered, uncounted, unassisted and unprotected. But Alice Rothchild visits the Collateral Repair Project in Amman, begun in 2006, which serves 10,000 families a year and teaches everything from Capoeira, to music, to English, to mind-body medicine.
Marc Ellis was to lecture students in Gaza by Skype but Israeli bombing caused a postponement– a first for the veteran scholar, who writes, “You are witnessing the end of ethical Jewish history.”
Jonathan Ofir continues his journey in Israel-Palestine during a family visit over the Passover. The last set of journal entries concerns Druze and the Passover Seder
Jonathan Ofir continues his journey in Israel-Palestine. He visits the western wall in Jerusalem and reflects on the erasure of the Magharibah quarter, sees a sign commemorating the theft of Yemenite babies, and reflects on the utter invisibility of the Palestinian presence in Israeli life.
“Sometimes I am asked where would I begin if I were to write a Jewish Theology of Liberation today from scratch?” Marc Ellis writes. “A Jewish Theology of Liberation might begin with an addition to Emil Fackenheim’s 614th commandment or, more to the point, the positing of another commandment,” he answers, “after the Holocaust and after Israel – and what Israel has done and is doing to the Palestinian people. The 615th Commandment? ‘Thou Shalt Not Murder Those Who Resist Your Oppression.'”
A natural gas pipeline from the sea through Jordan is Israel’s latest effort to normalize relations with its Arab neighbors. But Palestinians resist. In Amman, Alice Rothchild visits an exhibit of remarkable friezes by Palestinian artist, Abdul Hay Mosallam. “They killed me and my killer denied me while turning cold in my grave,” are the words on the Gaza piece.
A plan for an alternative Passover seder which is a reaction to the Israeli occupation and the Jewish religious rites deployed in its support: Ira Glunts’s Seder lo b’seder: the seder that skips the traditional seder, and supports BDS.
Andrew Ross’ “Stone Men” is a sobering book in many ways. The subtitle tells the real story: just as Israel could not exist without the land of Palestine, so the country could not be built without the steady toil, skills, and dependability of Palestinian stonemasons.
What motivates the criticism of Israel by Jews in the diaspora? Bruce Robbins talks with Bonnie Honig, one of the most insightful and original political theorists of her generation, who argues by targeting the Jewish diaspora in order to manufacture uncritical solidarity, Israel created, paradoxically, a sense of obligation to criticize Israel.
Sara Burback travels from Washington DC to the West Bank city of Bethlehem to participate in the 2019 Palestine Marathon. Burback says it is a “special opportunity to run through Bethlehem and join runners from all over the world in defense of the basic human right to movement.”
In Shoshana’s latest installment, what she appreciates most about Ramallah on Thursday night (party night) is how committed her friends are to partying, with no hesitancy to dance, an appreciation of letting loose. Shoshana thinks it is a world away from the tension she often encounters in Jerusalem.
A new documentary called WitchHunt points out the narrow room for debate over alleged antisemitism in the British Labour Party. Anti-Zionist Jews are excluded as unrepresentative of British Jews. And why is it okay to talk about antisemitism and Zionism in Britain without asking a Palestinian what their direct experience of Zionism has looked and felt like?
“Even a thousand films on the Nakba would not suffice,” says Ahlam Muhtaseb, co-director with Andy Trimlett of a new film, “1948: Creation & Catastrophe,” which is based in part on interviews with survivors, many of them of advanced years. The film has been subject to protests by Israel supporters, and a screening in West Hollywood was scratched under pressure in December, now rescheduled for March. Stephen Shenfield interviews the co-directors.
Shoshana, an American in Palestine visits Jaffa and finds that it’s different from the movies, “I don’t like Jaffa. In my all-consuming Palestine obsession, I find it frustratingly Israeli. I hear so much Arabic but see no Palestinian flags. It feels generalized and deracinated.”
Marc Ellis writes that the rescinding by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute of an award to Angela Davis raises issues about the Black-Jewish alliance and the ability of Jews to set parameters for African Americans to speak on Jewish questions, including Israel. There is a war over that question. The Jewish establishment sees Angela Davis as an enemy. Jews of Conscience see her as an ally.
Marc Ellis on the passing of Amos Oz: “Like Wiesel, Amos Oz was a witness to the destruction and reemergence of Jewish life in the formative events of the Holocaust and the birth of the state of Israel. What they also experienced but couldn’t fathom was the formative event of Palestinian freedom as a demand on Jewish history. In missing the next question of Jewish life, while trying to deflect and demean those who did, Oz’s liberal Zionist witness became tarnished and, like Wiesel’s Holocaust consciousness, fated.”
Shoshana Austerlitz boards a bus at the Arab station in East Jerusalem and heads to Ramallah where she is about to party hard with her new friend Murad, a Palestinian Muslim from outside Nazareth.
Which is more painful: to be forced to abandon your homeland, or to remain, watching strangers erase all traces of your culture and history? This dilemma forms the crux of Rabai al-Madhon’s Fractured Destinies, which Lesley Williams calls, “a lyrically rich portrait of contemporary Palestinian society”