The framing of the Palestinian struggle within diplomatic language as a “conflict” serves to convert settler-colonial violence and genocidal erasure of the indigenous people into a diplomatic dispute. Denijal Jegic writes, “as long as settler-colonial erasure remains the underlying structure, no economic relief or political measure could effectively benefit Palestinians.”
This spring, the latest salvo in the battle surrounding Palestinian advocacy came to a head on two university campuses: the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Emory University. Following condemnations and investigations from their respective universities and communities, Mondoweiss spoke to students and faculty involved in both incidents at Emory and UNC to understand, from their point of view, the events that took place, and the wider implications for pro-Palestine activism on their campuses, and on university campuses across America.
Jared Kushner unveiled over the weekend the first part of his widely criticized “deal of the century”, drawing ire from Palestinian leaders and sparking protests in cities across Gaza and the West Bank.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been under fire for using the term “concentration camps” to describe US border detention camps. Speaking in 2015, Israeli journalist Amira Hass made a similar statement about Israeli policies toward Gaza. Jonathan Ofir says the two statements help clarify a reality that “is often far beyond the imagination.”
Israel and its rightwing supporters wanted an attack on Iran and they did not get it, this week anyway. Though of course the media did not identify the Israel lobby and Netanyahu as cheerleaders for war American people don’t want.
Pride Parade organizers have not accepted the Reclaim Pride coalition’s demands to use the parade for grassroots transformational change, so the coalition will hold the first Queer Liberation March in New York City history on June 30. The liberation of Palestine and all Palestinians — queer and non-LGBT as well — is a core commitment of the march, Pauline Park writes.
Gil Maguire’s new novel, “The Exodus Betrayal,” imagines a US president siding with Iran after Israel attacks Iran, and it is intended to get Americans out of love with Israel, much as “Exodus” got us in love back in 1958. “I am trying to show how harmful our relationship with Israel has become and how the so-called special relationship is based on a myth of Israel’s importance,” Maguire says.
Andom Ghebreghiorgis is challenging Israel lobby-stalwart Eliot Engel in the his upcoming Democratic primary. “Whether it’s in the U.S. or abroad, I believe in equal rights and freedom for all. We therefore must commit to a political solution that centers those values for Israelis and for Palestinians. Sadly, Eliot Engel has been one of the staunchest supporters of Israel’s right wing policies,” Ghebreghiorgis tells Mondoweiss.
Presidential candidate Mike Gravel talks Israel/Palestine: “The most obvious and humane path forward is the creation of a secular, democratic, binational state with equal rights for all.”
Netanyahu named an illegal settlement in the Golan Heights after Donald Trump, saying he had “torn the mask off this hypocrisy which doesn’t recognize the obvious,” and Trump promptly thanked Netanyahu for the “great honor.”
A number of lawmakers have come out in support of Congressional legislation that seeks to end Israel’s military detention practices against Palestinian children, including New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar. Introduced by Betty McCollum, the bill died in the last Congress with 30 co-sponsors.
When J Street advocates for “Israel’s future as a democratic and Jewish homeland,” it is supporting a concept that has been a contradiction-in-terms since Israel’s establishment. Abba Solomon argues that J Street and Bernie Sanders too cannot face the fact that political Zionism means perpetual Jewish domination, or at best custody, of Palestinian lives.
At the end of June the Trump administration will unveil an economic package to bolster its peace plan for the Israelis and Palestinians at a conference in Bahrain. Despite Jared Kushner’s insistence, “Peace to Prosperity” is neither new, nor likely to succeed.
On June 6, five Democratic Senators introduced a resolution denouncing Benjamin Netanyahu’s campaign pledge to annex the West Bank. Two of those Senators, Vermont’s Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts’ Elizabeth Warren, are currently running for the Democratic nomination for president.
After US Ambassador David Friedman said Israel has a right to annex parts of the West Bank, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it may file a complaint with the International Criminal Court. “What reasoning could justify Friedman’s logic? International law prohibits the annexation of a land by force,” it said.
A House amendment that would have required some individuals who boycott Israel to report as much to the IRS and potentially be penalized for it was narrowly defeated in the House, as 12 Democrats joined in support, including Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, who is running for president.
On May 21st, Amina Salah’s 14-year-old brother Mahmoud was shot by Israeli forces near Bethlehem in the West Bank and imprisoned, where he remains today. Salah writes, “Look at Mahmoud’s face in these pictures, and help to make sure that Mahmoud is soon back again with his family, in his home, where he belongs.”
Waheed Fakhoury, 74, sits behind a pottery wheel, eyes glued to a television above as his hands instinctively shape a silky mass of brown earth dug up from the West Bank city of Hebron. Within a few minutes he has modeled a large bowl. Fakhoury means “potter in Arabic.” When asked how long his family has been doing this craft, Waheed chuckles, “As long as my name has been Fakhoury.”
Sara Roy challenges the German parliament over its resolution equating boycott of Israel and anti-Semitism: “I lost a large extended family to fascism and racism. By endorsing the motion that alleges that BDS is anti-Semitic, you are criminalizing the right to free speech and dissent and those who choose to exercise it, which is exactly how fascism takes root.”
After protests from a American Jewish organizations, the California Democratic Party leadership undertook to water down resolutions that were critical of Israel and supportive of Palestinian refugees, put forward by progressive activists. But as Jack O’Dell, the civil rights activist, advised James Zogby long ago: Never be devastated by setbacks and never become overly confident due to progress.
How can the ethical precepts of Judaism be reconciled with Zionism? Carolyn L. Karcher has wrestled with this question for years, and the result is her new book “Reclaiming Judaism from Zionism: Stories of Personal Transformation” a collection meant to initiate difficult conversations within Jewish families and communities.
On May 31, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that prohibits anti-Semitism in public schools and universities throughout the state. However, the legislation also equates criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, effectively censoring the advocacy of Palestinian rights.
Dr. Benay Blend, who is Jewish, was banned from the question/answer social media platform Quora at the same time as her Palestinian colleague Dr. Rima Najjar, but their cases have been treated very differently by the website. “So, I have to wonder – Why did Quora treat my writing differently than Dr. Najjar’s,” Blend asks, “Even after we were both permanently banned, my answers remain on my profile in Quora; while her hundreds of well-researched answers have been completely erased.”
In classical racist literature and discourse, black/brown natives are portrayed as lazy groups who cannot run their own affairs; they belong to backward entities that are in conflict/clash with other modern entities. Haider Eid says this is the best way to understand Jared Kushner’s recent remarks about Palestinians.
An entire month has passed since the Trump administration started moving dangerously toward war with Iran — and Thomas Friedman, the leading foreign affairs columnist at the most influential newspaper in the world, has not published a single word about the crisis. Friedman, the star New York Times opinion writer, is demonstrating intellectual cowardice of the highest order.