Three years after it was founded by French musician Mathilde Vittu, the Amwaj Children’s Choir of Palestine has taken a European tour. And Norwegian, British and French children’s choirs have come to Palestine to perform with Amwaj in Bethlehem and Hebron.
Category Archives: Middle East
Ronen Bergman, an Israeli staff writer for The New York Times Magazine, gave a talk to the Israel lobby group AIPAC in White Plains Monday night and lavished praise on AIPAC for its support of Israel. “You need to do a little more to explain to Israelis how much they owe AIPAC. Israelis are not aware. I am aware… I know that you’ve got our backs. It’s such a great feeling.”
The disappearance and probable murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi is the biggest Mideast development in a long time, and once again the U.S. mainstream media is ignoring or downplaying key elements of the story.
Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi Crown Prince highly praised as a “reformer,” must now answer for the suspected murder of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. NYT columnist Tom Friedman slathered “MBS” with praise less than a year ago, surely in part because of the Crown Prince’s unspoken alliance with Israel against Iran.
Israeli left Zionist Union lawmaker Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin attended a UK Labour conference, where she said that Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-Semite because he is not “balanced” on the Israel-Palestine issue but that it would be impossible for Benjamin Netanyahu to be a racist.
A Labour government in the UK would recognize an independent Palestinian state as soon as it took office, Jeremy Corbyn said on Wednesday, during the annual Labour conference in Liverpool. During his keynote speech, the Labour leader criticized Israel’s passing of the Nation-State law earlier this summer and the killing of over 170 of Palestinian protesters along the Gaza border since March. The day before Corbyn’s speech, delegates at the conference passed a motion to support the immediate suspension of UK arms sales to Israel pending an investigation of Israel’s killing of protesters in Gaza.
Democracy won in the recent Maldives elections — after the Obama administration had stayed silent during long years of repression.
Had the Palestinians only accepted the UN partition plan in 1947, they could be celebrating their independence alongside Israel– is a common argument by those who fear the demise of the two-state solution. But partition was always an unjust and unworkable answer to the colonialist project of establishing a Jewish state in Palestine.
Palestinian author Reja-e Busailah says he loves the United States although he has witnessed Islamophobia here for 60 years, going back to an ad on a NY radio station, “Give a dollar and kill an Arab.” At 89, retired in Indiana, he reflects on the Nakba that deprived him of his home, and on what terms he would return to the land of his birth. Spoiler alert: Equality.
The Jews who led the heroic Warsaw ghetto uprising in 1943 wanted one thing: vengeance for their families and friends who had been mercilessly slaughtered. They never got that satisfaction. That thirst for vengeance has been tragically displaced onto Palestinians.
There are lots of good reasons to think the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, now adopted “in full” by Labour’s national committee and by Labour MPs, is, well, a bit rubbish, writes Robert Cohen: “The truth of the matter is, the Jewish community can no longer define ‘Zionism,’ or indeed ‘anti-Semitism,’ without the help of Palestinians.”
I forget who I made out with on my first trip to Israel at 16, because I was in love with Jerusalem, not him, Liz Rose writes. It took me decades to understand the human rights violations of Zionism, but that awareness is coming earlier for the people who walked off their Birthright trip this summer, shocking the liberal Zionist consensus.
Pete Gregson on the fallout in the UK Labour Party after the vote adopting the full IHRA definition of antisemitism: “What we are seeing is a Party in fear of the media, allowing Zionists to undermine freedom of speech. What we need to do is show those in fear of bad press that the NEC cannot pay lip service to a thing that it does not believe in. For who can argue that Israel is not a racist state? It’s as if we’re allowing Theresa May and Netanyahu to write our rule book here.”
Tamam Abusalama writes, “An inclusive and intersectional feminist movement should address the struggles of women in different contexts. It should also acknowledge that there are huge gaps of privileges between women in the West and in the East. It shouldn’t ignore the long-lasting impacts of colonization on women from colonized countries. It should understand that an inclusive movement would never be successful without acknowledging the main colonial, imperial and capitalist elements, differently shaping women experiences. There is hope but we have always to keep on calling for a diverse, inclusive, de-colonial and intersectional feminist movement.”
Itay Tiran, a top Israeli actor who is leaving for Germany, gives an interview to Haaretz where he endorses BDS and says that Zionism equals racism. He sounds free as a bird, and the interview is liberating for others.
The New York Times says that Jeremy Corbyn brought the “anti-Semitism crisis” on himself by fixating on Israel and says not a word about Palestinian human rights, thereby demonstrating a law of western politics: The instant Palestinians start getting support from someone who might have real power, the anti-Semite accusation is wheeled out, everyone remembers Who The Real Victims Are, and Palestinians are shoved under the bus.
Nada Elia writes that American academics heading to Israel for a conference in cooperation with the Israeli government give cover for Israeli human rights abuses: “The conference highlights the complicity of Israeli universities in the oppression of Palestinians, as well as Israel’s propagation of racism and law enforcement violence globally. And U.S. academics are lending their presence and their voices to this charade.”
The UK Jewish establishment war on Jeremy Corbyn continues with Rabbi Jonathan Sacks likening him to British pol Enoch Powell, infamous for a bigoted speech. British Jewry is weakening its battle against real anti-Semitism, and weakening its connection to minority communities that face harsh discrimination.
Netanyahu’s speech on the strong surviving and weak crumbling echoes Hitler in 1923, but pointing out the resonance of Israel and Nazi Germany meets the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, Norman Finkelstein notes. And whose fault is that?
Next week the UK Labour Party’s governing body, the National Executive Committee (NEC), will be voting on whether to adopt examples of antisemitism put forth by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in its definition of antisemitism. Pete Gregson wrote to all 26 NEC candidates to seek their views on the vote. Of the 12 responses that came back, 5 were for adopting the full IHRA definition and examples, 6 were for no change, and 1 was unsure. Of those in favor, he posed the question “If it’s passed and I said Israel is a racist state, would I get expelled?”
Trump’s ‘Century Deal’ and Israel’s new Jewish-state law combine to end Palestinian state and to restore the claim, “A land without a people for a people without a land,” says Palestinian member of Knesset Aida Touma-Sliman, on a visit to NY in which she discussed international resistance to an illegal act.
Last week an unprecedented intervention occurred into the debate in the UK over the definition of antisemitism. Over 80 community, professional and rights-based organisations representing black, minority ethnic and diaspora peoples decried what they say is the framing of antisemitism in a way to ‘silence’ Palestinians, and other migrant groups, from speaking about their history.
In a piece in the New York Review of Books on the Labour anti-semitism controversy, Matt Seaton lumps anti-Zionism with anti-Jewish bigotry. The unspoken assumption of the article is that Palestinians have no right to be anti-Zionist and that anti-Zionism is a form of vitriolic zealotry and can never be a principled human rights position.
John Gunther Dean, now 92, and a former American ambassador to five countries, has long maintained that Israel was behind his attempted assassination outside Beirut in 1980, which was attributed to a rightwing Lebanese group. A new book by an Israeli investigative journalist says that group was set up by Israeli security officials to sow chaos in Lebanon.
Palestinian artist and college student from Gaza, Malak Mattar, was denied a visa to the UK and France where her paintings are on display. The artists said on social media that the UK rejection letter indicated that it did not believe she was a real college student.