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Middle East

It’s Hanukkah, and what that means

Jonathan Ofir on

The Hanukkah story is also a religious-political one from its beginnings – and it still is. It poses the question of how we view religious fundamentalism, and the separation of church and state.

Who is at home and who is in exile: a review of ‘Fractured Destinies’

Lesley Williams on

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”

Zionism: cycles of trauma and aggression in the service of settler colonialism

Yoav Litvin on

The rise of global fascistic movements, stimulated by Donald Trump and his Zionist allies in the Israeli government, are hard at work toward their mutual interest of global apartheid. Thus, it is clear that the battle against Zionist expansionism and its oppression of the Palestinian people should incorporate a comprehensive dismantling of settler colonialism and white supremacy.

To Europe we say: don’t conflate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism

Open Letter on

On occasion of a conference of the Austrian government in the context of its Presidency of the European Union entitled “Europe Beyond Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism – Securing Jewish Life in Europe”, some of Israel’s leading Intellectuals have written an open letter titled “To Europe We Say: Don’t conflate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism” to the European public.

British Quakers divest from occupation, and are accused of ‘obsessive’ tunnel vision for ‘the only Jewish state’

Robert Cohen on

After British Quakers took the deliberate step of divesting from the occupation, in a tradition of boycotting slave goods and supporting black struggle for civil rights, Marie van de Zyl of the British Board of Deputies accused Quakers of anti-Semitism for obsessing on “the only Jewish state – despite everything else going on around the globe.”

Twitter closes down my account for ‘hateful conduct’

Tony Greenstein on

On November 17, the British anti-Zionist Tony Greenstein was informed by Twitter that his account was suspended permanently. No reason was given. It turns out that according to Twitter, comparing the siege of Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto is a breach of rules whereas wishing Jewish anti-Zionists had died in Auschwitz is not.

Homeward bound, we move as foreigners

Abba Solomon on

Abba Solomon reviews “Rest in My Shade: A Poem About Roots,” writing, “The beauty of the works in this 8 by 8 inch hardbound book, of 18 artists, promote thoughts of a peaceful Palestine that could be, when exile and anger and walls of concrete and razor wire are gone, when the roles of alien and native — enforced with battle rifles carried by conscripts — are forgotten.”

Ben White’s hopeful vision may include some false positives

Joel Doerfler on

Ben White’s consistently engrossing new book, “Cracks in the Wall: Beyond Apartheid in Palestine/Israel,” argues that “The end of Israel as a bipartisan issue of concern in US politics, along with the wider left’s alienation from and the far right’s embrace of Israel” will undermine Israel’s ability to maintain the status quo. But is he right? Joel Doerfler wonders if Israel can get along without its traditional allies.

Avigdor Lieberman wants to give war a chance

Jonathan Ofir on

A lot of drama is ostensibly playing out in Israel – Defense Minister Lieberman resigned because he opposed a ceasefire and being soft on Hamas. But this drama is more about politics than actual security – it is about Israel’s upcoming elections

Survival of the fittest has become survival of the fascists

Jonathan Ofir on

Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent statement, “Empires have conquered and replaced entire populations and no one is talking about it,” is yet another fascistic justification for ethnic cleansing from Israeli leaders. It goes back a long ways, and it has support from the worst regimes in the world.

Orthodox-only Israeli views of Pittsburgh massacre show the danger of mixing church and state

Jonathan Ofir on

In the wake of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre, leading Orthodox Jewish rabbis would not recognize that the Conservative synagogue was indeed a synagogue. This is because they fear legitimizing other forms of Judaism that may endanger their political-Zionist-state monopoly in Israel. Their intolerance should be a wake up call to liberal Zionists, to recognize the dangers of mixing religion and state, a core principle for Israel.

Saudi Arabia bans 3 million Palestinians from traveling to country to perform holy pilgrimage

Yumna Patel on

Saudi Arabia has barred some 1.5 million Palestinian citizens of Israel from entering the country on temporary Jordanian passports, and thus, from performing Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca. The decision is the latest in a series of measures taken by the Kingdom limiting Palestinian pilgrims’ access to Islam’s holiest site and comes against the backdrop of increasingly normalized relations between Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf states.

With Brazil’s Bolsonaro, Israel finds another natural partner on the far-right

Jonathan Cook on

Jair Bolsonaro’s victory in Brazil’s presidential election last week has won Israel a passionate new friend on the international stage. Benjamin Netanyahu immediately called to congratulate the former army officer who many describe as a neo-fascist. One might imagine that Netanyahu is simply being pragmatic in cosying up to Bolsonaro, given Brazil’s importance. But that would be to ignore an unmistakable trend: Israel has relished the recent emergence of far-right leaders across the Americas and Europe, often to the horror of local Jewish communities.

‘Realism’ Israeli-style: A kinder, gentler occupation

Joel Doerfler on

Micah Goodman’s book Catch-67: The Left, the Right, and the Legacy of the Six-Day War has been celebrated for its “pragmatism” and “realism” and topped the Israeli nonfiction best seller list for weeks while being read by Benjamin Netanyahu and many top officials involved in administering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But Joel Doerfler says, “the most striking thing about Goodman’s argument is the utterly conventional and largely unexamined set of historical and moral assumptions on which it is founded.”

William Blum of ‘Anti-Empire Report’ needs help

Theodore Sayeed on

William Blum, 85, Vietnam-era dissident, author, and relentless critic of US bombing campaigns, suffered a serious fall in his apartment more than 2 weeks ago, and his family is seeking contributions to help him pay for care and medical bills. Please go to his website.