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‘World Refugee Day’: Palestinians keep their right of return alive through hope, resistance

Ramzy Baroud on
Palestinians fill their bottles and jerry cans with drinking water from a public tap during a heatwave in al-Shati refugee camp, west Gaza city on May 23, 2019. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour/APA Images)

The United Nations’ World Refugee Day, observed annually on June 20, should not merely represent a reminder of “the courage, strength and determination of women, men and children who are forced to flee their homeland under threat of persecution, conflict and violence.” It should also be an opportunity for the international community to truly understand and actively work towards finding a sustainable remedy to forced displacement.

Concentration camps – at the US border and in Gaza

Jonathan Ofir on
A Palestinian protester scaling the Gaza wall at the Karni crossing, July 20, 2018.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been under fire for using the term “concentration camps” to describe US border detention camps. Speaking in 2015, Israeli journalist Amira Hass made a similar statement about Israeli policies toward Gaza. Jonathan Ofir says the two statements help clarify a reality that “is often far beyond the imagination.”

Trump’s climbdown on Iran is a defeat to the Israel lobby

Philip Weiss on

Israel and its rightwing supporters wanted an attack on Iran and they did not get it, this week anyway. Though of course the media did not identify the Israel lobby and Netanyahu as cheerleaders for war American people don’t want.

J Street — and Bernie Sanders — are loyal to the ‘democratic and Jewish homeland’ contradiction

Abba Solomon on
U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman being gifted with an altered image of the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount with the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock replaced with a Jewish temple, May 2018. (Photo: Israel Cohen/Kikar HaShabbat)

When J Street advocates for “Israel’s future as a democratic and Jewish homeland,” it is supporting a concept that has been a contradiction-in-terms since Israel’s establishment. Abba Solomon argues that J Street and Bernie Sanders too cannot face the fact that political Zionism means perpetual Jewish domination, or at best custody, of Palestinian lives.

Bipartisan bill complements Kushner’s plan to try to buy off Palestinians

Josh Ruebner on
Lindsey Graham, Chris Coons, and Maggie Hassan meet with Benjamin Netanyahu as part of a a bipartisan delegation of senators to Israel in February 2018. (Photo: Israel Government Press Office)

On Wednesday, six members of Congress introduced a bipartisan bill to create a $50 million annual fund to “facilitate and finance joint economic ventures and people-to-people exchanges between Palestinians, Israelis, and Americans.” While the bill could be seen by well-intentioned members of Congress as a last-ditch attempt to revive the moribund prospects for a two-state resolution, Josh Ruebner says it should more accurately be seen as consistent with the Trump administration’s “deal of the century,” which appears in all likelihood to preclude the possibility of Palestinian statehood.

Quora has shown a double standard between my Palestinian colleague’s anti-Zionist writing and my own

Benay Blend on
Screenshot taken June 6, 2019 on of the leading users who have answered questions pertaining to Palestine in the past month. The top user lists his areas of expertise as Israel, American Football, Israel Defense Forces, and Hebrew.

Dr. Benay Blend, who is Jewish, was banned from the question/answer social media platform Quora at the same time as her Palestinian colleague Dr. Rima Najjar, but their cases have been treated very differently by the website. “So, I have to wonder – Why did Quora treat my writing differently than Dr. Najjar’s,” Blend asks, “Even after we were both permanently banned, my answers remain on my profile in Quora; while her hundreds of well-researched answers have been completely erased.”

The Navy vs. John Bolton: The Pentagon is spoiling for a fight — but with China, not Iran 

Michael T. Klare on
John Bolton

Hawks in the White House, led by National Security Advisor John Bolton, see a war aimed at eliminating Iran’s clerical leadership as a potentially big win for Washington. Many top officials in the U.S. military, however, see the matter quite differently. These days, the Pentagon is increasingly obsessed with preparations for another type of war in another locale entirely: a high-intensity conflict with China, possibly in the South China Sea.

A Palestinian response to Jared Kushner’s racist remarks

Haidar Eid on
White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner speaks during the dedication ceremony of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem on May 14.

In classical racist literature and discourse, black/brown natives are portrayed as lazy groups who cannot run their own affairs; they belong to backward entities that are in conflict/clash with other modern entities. Haider Eid says this is the best way to understand Jared Kushner’s recent remarks about Palestinians.

‘Blind Spot’ on Palestine is consistent feature of US policy for past century

Josh Ruebner on

Josh Ruebner reviews Khaled Elgindy’s new book ‘Blind Spot: America and the Palestinians from Balfour to Trump’: “Reading Blind Spot, one is struck by the coherence of US policy toward the Palestinian people over the past century even as political realities have continued to dramatically change. Indeed, there is nothing new under the sun.”

The UK Labour party has no partner in Israel

Gabriel Polley on
Labor party chairman Avi Gabbay at the podium, with by Tal Russo (R) and former Labor leader Amir Peretz (L), addressing supporters as the results in the general elections were announced in Tel Aviv, on April 09, 2019 (Photo: FLASH90)

The role which the Labor Zionist movement has played in establishing apartheid in Palestine/Israel, and the irrelevance of today’s Labor Party in Israel’s right-wing drift, reveal something important about Israeli society.

A second Israeli election proves Netanyahu’s grip on power is slipping

Jonathan Cook on
Trump and Netanyahu

Faced with the current Israeli political turmoil, however, the Trump administration might prefer to abandon efforts to press ahead with its “deal of the century” peace plan. But even if that specific threat is lifted, the next Israeli government – whether led by Benjamin Netanyahu, his successor, or Benny Gantz – is not likely to depart from Israel’s long-term consensus, one that the Trump plan was simply set to accelerate.

Palestinian cities are ghost towns between settlements, on Google Maps

Tom Suarez on

Google Maps has turned Palestinian towns and cities into ghosts. They appear, yet according to the technology Goliath they do not exist as places one can actually get to. If you want to go between major West Bank cities such as Jericho, Bethlehem, or Hebron, Google will reply Sorry, we could not calculate driving directions… But if West Bank settlers want to visit other West Bank settlements, Google is at their service.

Why the US ‘workshop’ for Palestinians in Bahrain will fail

James Zogby on

Twenty-five years ago James Zogby led the Clinton White House effort to build economic growth for the Palestinians as part of Oslo accords. He says the project failed –as the Bahrain economic conference organized by the Trump administration will — because Palestinians never gained the political freedom, including an end to occupation, that is a prerequisite to business growth.

Key American allies in the Middle East are the real tyrants

Danny Sjursen on
From left, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, King Salman of Saudi Arabia, Melania Trump and President Trump during the opening of an anti-extremist center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Photo: Saudi Press Agency)

National Security Advisor John Bolton recently dubbed Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua a “troika of tyranny,” but Danny Sjursen says the Middle East is where the genuine all-American troika of tyranny resides. “The kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the military junta in Egypt, and the colonizing state of Israel — all countries that eschew real democracy and are working together to rain chaos on an already unstable region,” Sjursen writes.

Benjamin Netanyahu: The fugitive Crime Minister

Yossi Gurvitz on
Benjamin Netanyahu

In a move that would have been considered surreal even two days ago, Benjamin Netanyahu dissolved the Knesset to avoid a coup within his own party, and possibility of being sent to prison. Yossi Gurvitz writes, “the so-called ‘wizard’ of Israeli politics managed to pull an extraordinary act of self-immolation.”

Beirut airport: xenophobia and racism against Palestinians

Ibaa Abu Layya on
Airplanes at Beirut–Rafic Hariri International Airport. (Photo: Francisco Anzola/ Flickr)

At Beirut’s Rafic Hariri International Airport Ibaa Abu Layaa was detained for 15 hours and then sent back home to the West Bank via Jordan after being blacklisted from Lebanon for the rest of her life. “The fracture in my heart will stay there forever,” Abu Layaa says.

Real populism is the answer to climate crisis

Jonathan Cook on
Activists with the organization Extinction Rebellion block the streets outside the Bank of England on April 25, 2019. (Photo: Mike Kemp via Getty Images)

The rise of populism in both its rightwing and leftwing manifestations, and the more general political polarization in our societies, are the symptoms of a breakdown in trust, a collapse of consensus, a rupture of the social contract. Jonathan Cook says today we desperately need the populism of Extinction Rebellion, of Greta Thunberg and the school strikes, of politicians prepared to stand by a Green New Deal and declare real climate emergencies.

Israel’s orientalist rally for ‘democracy’

Jonathan Ofir on

The centrist Blue White opposition to Netanyahu’s Likud organized a demonstration in Tel Aviv to ‘defend democracy’. But it was rife with militant symbolism and orientalist mockery, and it marginalized Palestinian voices, as usual. Notably, protesters wore fezzes to say Israel shouldn’t become Turkey. It was surely lost on the demonstrators that many Arabs wear fezzes, including Arab Jews.

The Emperor’s New Palestine

Jonathan Ofir on

The deal of the century in the 1900s was the Balfour Declaration, which recognized Zionist colonization of Palestine, and Trump’s deal of the 21st century only continues that process, by giving Israel the right to annex portions of the West Bank and confine Palestinians to Bantustans.