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The remarkable rise of the Amwaj Children’s Choir of Palestine

Tom Suarez on

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.

Israeli reporter for ‘New York Times’ praises AIPAC at closed event: ‘You’ve got our backs’

Philip Weiss on

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.”

Jeremy Corbyn backs recognition of independent Palestine as Labour calls for halt of UK arms export to Israel

Yumna Patel on

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.

Palestinians were right to reject partition

Fathi Nemer on
Palestinians were right to reject partition.

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.

‘What I gave America and what America gave me’ — an interview with the incredibly charming Reja-e Busailah

Phil Weiss and Annie Robbins on

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 Holocaust, vengeance and the Palestinians

Philip Weiss on

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.

If you want a fair definition of Zionism, it’s best to ask a Palestinian

Robert Cohen on

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.”

The loving rituals of liberal Zionism (and the Birthright breakup)

Liz Rose on

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.

Why let Netanyahu write the Labour rulebook?

Pete Gregson on

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.”

An intersectional feminist movement needs to prioritize decolonization

Tamam Abusalama on

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.”

The instant Palestinians get support from someone who might gain power– out comes the anti-semitism charge

Donald Johnson on

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.

Herzliya terrorism conference highlights complicity of Israeli and US universities in Palestinian oppression

Nada Elia on

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.”

Candidates for UK Labour Party’s governing body share their thoughts on adopting the IHRA definition of antisemitism

Pete Gregson on

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?”

UK black and minority ethnic groups blast Labour Party antisemitism debate for seeking to defend Israel by erasing Palestinian history

Mohamed Elmaazi on

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.

Anti-Zionism is the gateway drug to anti-Semitism, for the ‘New York Review of Books’

Donald Johnson on

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.

New book gives credence to US ambassador’s claim that Israel tried to assassinate him in 1980

Philip Weiss on

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.