“To tear down a school is possibly worse even than breaking a home into pieces and burying the pieces in the sand,” David Shulman writes on a visit to Khan al-Ahmar, a Bedouin village slated for demolition by the Israeli government, in a post for Margaret Olin’s site, Touching Photographs.
Category Archives: Middle East
On June 21, Jon Lansman, chair of Momentum (UK) and senior member of the UK Labour Party, will deliver a lecture in Tel Aviv on ‘Corbyn, Labour and Israel-Palestine’. Ofer Neiman writes: “Jon Lansman works hard to police the debate on Palestine, for the privileged few rather than the many. The policy which Lansman wants to impose on the UK Labour Party is the epitome of ‘Progressive Except Palestine’. Supporters of the Palestinian cause – a struggle for justice and full equality – would do well to challenge Lansman and his partners instead of viewing them as allies.”
A Palestinian Boyhood, the new autobiography by Palestinian writer Reja-e Busailah, relates a remarkable story about overcoming the challenges of growing up blind in Palestine in the years up to and including the 1948 Nakba, which uprooted his family. Georgia Beeston: “Simply written, the book takes the reader through the author’s daily life, underlining the everyday challenges of the visually impaired.””
Fifty years after she first went to Israel with other teenagers on a Ramah religious trip, Menucha Sara professes her anti-Zionism at a reunion. “I believe my fellow Ramah-niks oppose racism and injustice in our country. If they do, why won’t they see the racism of Israeli society?”
The historic contradictions of the Zionist Left are being played out in the death throes of Meretz. As Israel becomes more nakedly rightwing and racist, some elite intellectuals will delude themselves about left Zionism, but Zionism has no ideological need any longer to pretend that it can be reconciled with universalist principles.
At a May 29 performance in Jerusalem, Laurie Anderson asked the audience to think of the worst things happening in the world – from Donald Trump to US school shootings, to “any shooting on any border” — and scream together, for ten seconds. That was it. The words “any shooting on any border” were her indirect reference to the Gaza massacre, and revealed a moral/political failure. She had made her audience feel warm and fuzzy.
A bill moved by Palestinian parliamentarians saying that Israel must be a “State of All Its Citizens” was not permitted to be debated in the Israeli Knesset. Even left and centrist Zionist parties blocked its movement. The Israeli parliament has declared that Israeli democracy is for Jews only, blocking the essential reform that would transform Israel toward the equality that is at the core of democracy.
Hussein Samih on how repressive regimes attempt to harness the popularity of sports to gain international legitimacy. However, it doesn’t always work: “Governments understand all too well the political power of football; and it seems that this time, Israel has breached a red line that neither its political allies nor their footballers are willing to cross.”
Israa M. Khater on her visit to the Shatila refugee camp in Lebanon: “My nation has been reduced to human trash. We are simply meant to be sustained, contained, but never returned. So comes the international aid, a humanitarian initiative by no other than those who stripped us of everything we owned. It comes preconditioned on our admission of defeat, on our acceptance of what cannot be logically accepted. Can one be grateful to what amounts to nothing compared to what has been lost?”
This article is a plea not to forget Jaffa on the “Disappearing Palestine” maps illustrating the Palestinian loss of land from 1946 to the present. Jaffa was a gem of Palestinian urban life, with a population of 120,000, and assigned as territory of a Palestinian state under the UN partition plan that the Zionists soon overrode, ethnically cleansing the city.
The US Immigration Act of 1924 limited acceptance of European refugees, and caused many Jews fleeing oppression to go to Palestine, thus fostering the establishment of Israel. If the US had not barred refugees, we might have saved a lot of trouble in the Middle East, something Donald Trump should consider today.
Mara Ahmed attended a lecture by Amos Oz in late April and was interested to see how the liberal Zionist icon would frame his presentation in the context of the weekly Israeli attacks on defenseless protestors in Gaza: “He held up Jews as consummate rebels, whose anarchist gene forces them to doubt, argue, and perpetually reexamine the truth. Yet when I looked around the room, that’s hardly what I saw.”
Shahd Abusalama writes, “Being a Palestinian means that you wake up daily to more dehumanisation and oppression. Whenever I have a panic attack and a friend asks what started it, I realise they have no clue about how we experience violence. It’s ongoing. It’s constant.”
Many are puzzled why Gaza citizens would risk death by confronting the Israeli military at the borderline. Tom Helman, Joshua Grossman, and Peter Klutz-Chamberlin report on a recent meeting with Palestinian youth from Gaza that helps make the answer to this question clear.
Marc Ellis looks at what comes next after the Great March of return and the Gaza massacre: “In Gaza, the end will continue. As it has for decades. But not only for Palestinians. For Jews within Israel and Jews outside Israel, the historical judgment is certain. Let’s be honest. And realize that the Jewish approach to Israel and the Palestinians, improving modestly over the years but severely compromised, will continue to be interrogated by the suffering of Palestinian populations in Gaza and elsewhere in Palestine. Palestinians are trapped. Jews are too.”
In their defense of the Israeli military’s recent actions in Gaza, Israeli political leaders and pro-Israel commentators have articulated a belief that guides Israeli thinking: the existence of the Jewish state requires that Palestinians remain locked in their Gaza prison, with all the violence this entails. The sooner Palestinians accept that, the closer we will come to peace.
“We are the victims now with our tanks and artillery pounding the bodies of those who oppose our wildest dreams
We decimate and maim a people who stand in the way of our glorious vision
Their cries of despair and agony deafened by our own righteous movement
For we are God’s special victims”
Howard Cohen writes an ode to the State of Israel in the light of the massacres of the Palestinian people.
Rawan Yaghi: “The opening ceremony of the embassy, as well as the nauseating tweets of Trump and Netanyahu, confirm and conclude Israel and the US view Palestinians as unworthy of the basic right to live, let alone speak. For Gaza, it was a sad day from which people woke up in shock. Our lives only too real, not science fiction.”
Many Palestinian families have their narratives of the Nakba, especially in Gaza where nearly 70% of the population are refugees. Hamza Abu Al-Tarabeesh shares the stories of three Gaza families, including his own. Each story share incredible pain and loss, but also hope for the future and the hope of return.
Shmuel Sermoneta-Gertel: “A century after the armistice of 1918 and 70 years after the Nakba, ethnic nationalism is alive and well. It is why Palestinian protesters, whether in Gaza, Jerusalem or Umm al-Fahm, can be shot with impunity; why Gazans can be imprisoned en masse for 11 years, with no end in sight.”
Early reports on Monday suggested that Gaza’s demonstrators were being massacred by the Israeli army. Amnesty International called the events a “horror show”. But for more than a month, Israel has been working to manage western perceptions of the protests – and its response – in ways designed to discredit the outpouring of anger from Palestinians.
Nadia Naser-Najjab writes that Mahmoud Abbas’s widely criticized speech on April 30th, that has since become known as his “anti-Semitic speech,” simply served to underline his own political irrelevance.
When it came out that an Israeli security company was digging up dirt on Obama officials in order to discredit the Iran deal, you’d think that fingers would be pointed at Netanyahu, who’s been meddling in our foreign policy for years. No, the press can’t connect the dots. It treats the tale as another instance of Trump being corrupted.
Ronen Bergman’s book Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations tells that story of how from 1979 to 1983 very senior Israeli officials conducted a large-scale campaign of car-bombings that killed hundreds of Palestinians and Lebanese, most of them civilians. While the book has received the highest praise from reviewers, this secret operation has not been mentioned once. Remi Brulin writes this is a perfect illustration of the political discourse on “terrorism”: “The secret car-bombing operation Israeli officials conducted in Lebanon in the early 1980s represents a remarkable historical example of such ‘silences,’ and of the ‘rules’ that underlie the discourse on ‘terrorism’ and ensure that certain things simply ‘cannot be said,’ certain facts simply aren’t ever mentioned.”
In his book Overcoming Zionism, of 2007, the late Joel Kovel expressed the belief that the creation of Israel in 1948, as a colony of settlers who established an exclusively Jewish and discriminatory state, caused a multi-faceted disaster -– “a dreadful mistake” -– that should be undone, with Israel de-Zionized and integrated into the Middle East. A review by Michael Smith.