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Middle East

Falling off the edge: Iraqi and Syrian refugees

Alice Rothchild on

Alice Rothchild visits a church in Amman that has gained a regional reputation for caring for refugees from Syria and Iraq, many of whom fled ISIS atrocities and are afraid to return. “Forty percent of the women are widows and many refugees have experienced unimaginably severe and chronic trauma from abuse.”

As the Israel lobby in the US weakens, its UK counterpart grows more fearsome

Jonathan Cook on

Jonathan Cook writes that while there are signs politicians in the U.S. are finally ready to shine a light onto the pro-Israel lobby, the opposite is taking place in United Kingdom. He says this is due to the way the Israel lobby has recently emerged in British politics – hurriedly, and in a mix of panic and damage limitation mode due to the rise of Jeremy Corbyn, and the end of the international two-state consensus.

The problem with apology

Steven Salaita on

When should anti-Zionists apologize to apologists for Israeli war crimes? Steven Salaita writes, “we know enough about Zionist rituals of forced atonement to understand that they don’t belong to the category of détente, but coercion.  Apology is merely a pretext, a simulation of penance that reinforces the primacy of Israeli life.  If Palestinians cannot verbalize sensibilities fundamental to their identity, then it means Zionists have effectively severed them from the insuppressible proclivities that comprise a human being.”

One senseless death in Turkey: a reflection of the fate of Palestinian refugees

Issam Adwan on
Mohammed Shamla, 25, died in Turkey on April 12, 2019 after falling from a balcony while evading police who were raiding the hotel room of asylum seekers and migrants. Shamla fled Gaza earlier this year year and was living in Turkey on an expired tourist via. (Photo: Facebook)

Mohammed Shamla, 25, used to call Gaza the “grave of dreams.” Luck was his only hope. Earlier this year he paid a bribe to exit Gaza through Egypt an traveled on to Turkey where he died on April 12 after falling from a balcony while police chased him for allegedly not possessing paperwork to legally be in the country.

Algeria’s ‘Revolution of Smiles’: Where will it lead?

Helena Cobban on
Algerians gather for a demonstration in Algiers, Friday, March 8, 2019

Every Friday since February 22, the cities and towns of Algeria have seen massive demonstrations that have brought women, men, children, and old people pouring into the streets, often in high spirits but always voicing pointed political demands. Helena Cobban talks to William B. Quandt about what has been going on in this large North African country of 42 million people—and what resonance might the events there have for the rest of the Middle East.

Cultural confusion/cultural imperialism

Alice Rothchild on
Petra, Jordan. (Photo: Alice Rothchild)

Alice Rothchild travels to Jordan on a trip to report on refugee conditions and is struck by the lack of omnipresent security that she experiences in Israel. She wants to yell out to security, “I’m over here guys, in Jordan. On the east side of the Jordan River!!! It’s me!”

Deborah Lipstadt, you’re wrong to say Jewish BDS supporters are enabling antisemitism

Robert Cohen on
Deborah Lipstadt, from her twitter feed.

In her new book, Deborah Lipstadt says, “Zionism is the national liberation movement of Jews,” and therefore those who oppose the idea of a Jewish state are anti-Semitic. She distorts the values of anti-Zionists, who are for democracy not ethnic states, and offers an ideological justification for the displacement of Palestinians.

Trump’s support of Israel’s annexation of the Golan

Helena Cobban on
President Donald Trump holds up an executive proclamation recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli territory at the White House in Washington DC, Monday, March 25, 2019. (Photo: Susan Walsh/AP)

On March 25, Donald Trump signed an order proclaiming U.S. support for Israel’s annexation of the Golan. This act ended Washington’s opposition to any acquisition of territory by force– a principle that has been a key pillar of the global order since the United Nations was founded in 1945. Washington’s new policy on Golan may well now allow the US company Genie Energy to go ahead and plunder the oil and gas reserves that its Israeli subsidiary discovered in Golan in 2015, and Trump’s step changes the political dynamic within Syria, too.

Rasmea Odeh banned from International Women’s Day event in Berlin following Israeli pressure

Mondoweiss Editors on
Logo for the Rasmea Spricht (Rasmea Speaks) campaign.

Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh was banned from speaking at an event marking International Women’s Day in Berlin and faces the imminent threat of deportation. Gilad Erdan, Israeli Minister for Strategic Affairs, claimed credit for the decision taken by German authorities to revoke Odeh’s visa. The Rasmea Spricht campaign says, “Once again, Israeli officials have exerted their influence on Germany in order to prevent public criticism of its human rights abuses.”

Pitzer College battle over suspending Israel study program shows divide on the left over BDS

Philip Weiss on

Pitzer’s College Council took a historic and overwhelming vote to suspend a study-abroad program in Israel following years of organizing by progressive faculty and students. President Melvin Oliver’s swift veto of the resolution shows the discomfort that the mainstream left is feeling about Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) and also the growing moral importance of the issue on the left.

‘A shoulder to shoulder struggle against state-sanctioned violence at home and abroad’: Statement of solidarity with the refugee movement in Greece

Palestinian Youth Movement on

The Palestinian Youth Movement, the Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists and Southwest Asian & North Afrikan – Los Angeles, stand in solidarity with the growing Refugee Movement in Greece, who are self-organizing against the violences of the European Union and Greek state, the ineptitude of the International Non-Governmental Organization system and against vigilante violence by growing European right wing-ultra nationalist formations such as the Golden Dawn Party.

Bernie Sanders: Still Progressive Except for Palestine

Robert Fantina on
Bernie Sanders speaking at a campaign rally

Robert Fantina asked the Bernie Sanders campaign for his position on Palestine and was told the candidate supports “diplomatic efforts to end the occupation and broker a two-state solution.” Fantina says that as Sanders continues to ride his populist wave across the dismal political landscape of the United States, he will continue to burnish his credentials as being progressive except on Palestine.

Ilhan Omar and the anatomy of a trope

Tom Suarez on
Ilhan Omar

Tom Suarez writes that the real taboo Ilhan Omar broke was not accusing AIPAC of buying politicians, it was correctly distinguishing between Jews and the Israeli state.

British MPs won’t get to see ‘WitchHunt’ in the House of Commons – the very place it needs to be shown

Robert Cohen on

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?

The United States, Iran and the Warsaw Conference

Robert Fantina on
Top US leaders and other global officials at the Warsaw summit on Middle East security — which was mainly about building pressure on Iran — on February 13, 2019 (Photo: Michael Sohn/AP)

The United States’ much ballyhooed conference in Warsaw, the purpose of which was to gather support for more pressure on Iran, is now over. This exercise in futility did not gain the so-called ‘benefits’ that President Donald Trump and his racist, jingoistic cohorts had hoped. Rather, it exposed disagreements between the U.S. and many of its allies, and worsened some of them.

France’s Macron leads the way as western leaders malevolently confuse anti-Zionism with antisemitism

Jonathan Cook on

Jonathan Cook says that elites in the U.S. and Europe have moved on from their once-defensive posture that Zionism is not racism. Now, they are on the attack. Their presumption is that anti-Zionism is synonymous with racism and across the West there are efforts to codify this into law. Nowhere is this clearer than in France where Emmanuel Macron recently threatened to outlaw anti-Zionism.

The gaslighting of Ilhan Omar

Amith Gupta on

That Israel’s own mouthpieces, including AIPAC, openly admit to using campaign cash to push pro-Israel legislation, should end any ambiguity: Ilhan Omar and all sensible citizens were being gaslit in the name of preserving the status quo and its decades of silencing Israel’s victims. This was especially clear in the liberal Zionist attacks on Omar, which sought reduce her criticisms of the lobby to little more than an anti-Semitic fantasy.