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Terri Ginsberg

Terri Ginsberg is a film scholar and Palestine solidarity activist based presently in Cairo. She is author of Visualizing the Palestinian Struggle (2016), co-author of Historical Dictionary of Middle Eastern Cinema (2010), author of Holocaust Film: The Political Aesthetics of Ideology (2007), and co-editor of A Companion to German Cinema (2012). Her co-edited collection on cinema of the Arab world is forthcoming.

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  • The Insult: Six points toward clarification
    • From a Lebanese colleague who was present at the so-called Damour massacre of 1976:

      "Me as a witness on this issue, Damour is located on the main road between the South of Lebanon and Beirut.

      The right-wing sectarian forces had turned the Damour checkpoint into a place for daily sectarian and racial massacres.

      The Phalangist group (its current extremist wing called "the Lebanese Forces"and the first to cooperate with Israel) they killed or tortured then killed people on identity in case you are a Muslim or a Palestinian or if they knew you by name as part of any communist or nationalist group , and their performance was not less brutal than ISIS.
      I experienced this daily panic of mass murder on the identity and I witnessed many horrific cases .

      We had to get around and use the mountain areas to reach Beirut because the Damour checkpoint was isolating The South from Beirut.
      The battle of Damour was a battle ( not a massacre ) waged by the nationalist and progressive movement against the right-wing sectarian forces to liberate the south-Beirut route from daily killing on identity .

      It was part of the Lebanese conflict between the Lebanese national movement and the fascist sectarian forces.
      Ziad Douiri's film is forging history.

  • 'Valentino's Ghost' makes comeback after 4 years of suppression
  • Self-exiled Israelis in Berlin now number 20,000
    • Apparently this "right of return" of Jews to Germany is official government policy--does anyone have details about that? If true, the hypocrisy vis-a-vis the denial of Palestinian right of return is astounding.

  • NY panel to discuss failure of Israeli left in fight against racism
    • The use of "Arab" in this particular instance is meant to include Mizrachi (Arab) Jews as well as Palestinians in the critical discussion of social relations in Israel/Palestine.

  • A visit to the grave of mass-murderer Baruch Goldstein
    • When I visited Hebron in 2005, there was a small monument in the now largely-closed commercial section of the old town commemorating Baruch Goldstein and engraved with words referring to him as a "zaddik bedoratov"--a saint-like, bright light of his generation. Pathetic.

  • Jabara's classic 'Zionism: Racism or Liberation?' deserves a new life
  • 'The tide of public opinion is turning' -- Committee for Open Discussion of Zionism commends Brooklyn College
    • Here's a link to the same quote, this time on Mondoweiss. The fact is that the denigrating moniker contained in Dayan's statement (and in similar statements made by many other Israeli officials) is so well-known that one can find it posted across the internet spectrum:

      According to the above article, numerous books that cite Dayan's words--which are by no means "fabricated"--may be found here:

    • In addition, Moshe Dayan said in 1967 -- see: :

      "Let us approach them [the Palestinian refugees in the occupied territories] and say that we have no solution, that you shall continue to live like dogs, and whoever wants to can leave -- and we will see where this process leads. In five years we may have 200,000 less people - and that is a matter of enormous importance."

      And just two weeks ago, Israeli soldiers baited Palestinian children in the West Bank with the moniker, "dogs," then shot one little boy to death: .

    • The exact line to which the title phrase refers reads:

      "The tide of public opinion is now turning—from intimidated silence on Israeli policies that bring shame upon a country which calls itself the only democracy in the Middle East, to a growing global chorus of condemnation of Israel’s segregation of Palestinians and bullying efforts to gag critics."

      This phrase about shifting public opinion, part of a collectively written letter, does not--nor is it intended to--refer to CODZ or any one of its members but instead refers to an increasingly broad range of increasingly vocal criticism of Israeli policy and Israel's severe mistreatment of Palestinians. Stepped up Zionist attacks on BDS and the Palestine Solidarity Movement generally are in fact a reaction to this shift in public opinion and indicate that BDS and PSM are making effective inroads against Israel's hasbara (propaganda) campaign meant to bolster its international image in the face of growing condemnation of its horrific, murderous actions.

      By the way, Zionist Israelis--including, famously, Yitzhak Rabin--have, in addition to so much other bad behavior, been calling Palestinians "dogs" for decades. Not news.

  • Cornell partnership with military-linked Israeli school greeted by protests on first day of class
    • It should also be mentioned that the Cornell-Technion Partnership came into being at the contemporary moment of massive global economic instability and restructuring. As I have written elsewhere:

      "[C]ooperation [by U.S. universities with Israeli institutions] conveniently dovetails with Israel’s desperate drive to prove the necessity of its devastating domestic policies, as it becomes further isolated economically and politically on account of growing international condemnation of its harsh treatment of Palestinians and of its self-serving manipulation of US foreign policy, all in the wake of the Arab uprisings and increasing petrodollar instability, which have challenged the sustainability of US and Israeli regional hegemony. The pro-Zionist promotion of collaborative US-Israeli projects is indeed but one manifestation of hasbara. Another is a largely neoconservative effort to ensure that US dominance in the Middle East — especially over diminishing oil reserves — retains a strong Israeli component. While scholars as diverse as Cheryl Rubenberg, James Petras, and John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt have argued that alliance with Israel is essentially unnecessary to US national interests, neocons and their followers are dubbing Israel the techno-scientific 'Start Up Nation' with the aim not only of making Israel more attractive to potential investors but of realigning and reintegrating the Israeli national interest with that of the 21st century United States as envisioned by the neocon purveyors of the Project for the New American Century. "

      We should also be concerned that Cornell NYC Tech has been hedging questions about the kind of research its students and faculty will be conducting on the new campus, since its spokespersons have merely stated--repeatedly--that it will host only a "dry lab" mainly for "robotics" research and "communications development," not a "wet lab" for biological research (see: Considering that weapons and surveillance technology development take place in dry labs, Cornell NYC Tech's insistence that it will "only" be doing dry lab research should give us much pause and lead us to ask: WHAT'S THE BIG SECRET, CORNELL??

  • Rebranding the War on Terror for the age of Obama: 'Zero Dark Thirty' and the promotion of extra judicial killing
    • In addition to what has already been said, we might consider how the film's narrative structure, which in many ways is generic, contributes to its propaganda function.

      Much like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Zero Dark Thirty presents an action-adventure "search," in this case for a "missing" bin Laden. The search is attached almost wholly to the perspective of its leader, protagonist Maya (yes, that's a Hebrew name most often given to Israelis), a woman referred to incessantly by other (male) characters in the film as a "girl." It is Maya's female intuition, to be distinguished from her apparent asexuality, that ensures the success of the mission. The other, supporting female character in the film, also a CIA operative in Afghanistan, is killed off halfway through the plot because, unlike the stoic, highly "focused" Maya, who is able to envision and project "truth," she has a warm personality and is explicitly interested in men, sex, friendship, and fun; indeed Maya and she are almost killed in a truck bombing as she discusses these very interests.

      Male characters are also positioned as inferior to genius Maya. Unlike Maya, who unlike her male CIA cohorts is 100% sure bin Laden is where her violent interrogation activities suggest he has been hiding, because she "sees" him there with/in her mind's eye, the male special operatives deployed to kill bin Laden (the word "capture" is never used) cannot actually see their target without special night-vision binoculars (technology that happens to have been developed with US money, and used against Palestinians, by Israel). This stunted male vision is reflected by the choppy, highly elliptical camerawork during the bin Laden scene that includes a clumsy helicopter crash and significant "collateral damage" ("accidental" killing of unarmed civilians in the bin Laden compound, about which one operative expresses minor remorse).

      The film's gendered search narrative serves to naturalize the political conditions that surrounded the real hunt for bin Laden, abstracting it from, for example, the Bush and Obama administrations' "failure" to locate and capture bin Laden previously, their alleged protection of the Pakistani military that has been accused of harboring him, and the U.S. military's perfunctory killing of bin Laden and controversial disposal of his body--all of which have been criticized publicly as signs of high-level incompetence at best, and of collusion and cover-up at worst.

      It's as if to say, in yet another mockery of feminism (the first, in this context, was the initial invasion of Afghanistan), that the "intuitive" CIA was right all along, that torture works, and that extraordinary rendition and extra-judicial killings are okay, because they are based on the sort of special knowledge borne by elite experience that must be respected and deferred to by the rest of us who ostensibly really don't "know" what's happening "over there" because we're too "weak" (sexual, humanistic) to handle and accept, much less "see," the "truth."

      Zero Dark Thirty is notable for being perhaps the most insidiously propagandistic of all post-9/11 films concerning that event and the ensuing Afghanistan and Iraq invasions, because the "intuitive" search advanced by its female protagonist is in fact based so myopically, almost exclusively on non-knowledge, misinformation, and BIG LIES.

  • Watch: California bill equating student activism with anti-Semitism is rubber-stamped with no debate
    • To add insult to injury, Assemblymember Linda Haldeman (R-Fresno) draws a subtle analogy between Palestinian student activism and Mexican immigration when she says, "[Antisemitism] continues to be a problem from Northern California to our southern border...." In this way she implicitly rationalizes the necessity of apartheid walls in both Palestine/Israel and along the U.S.-Mexican border. Hence "antisemitism" becomes a catch-all for anything the neocons and their right-wing Zionist lackies don't like, including especially racial and class difference and the challenges their genuine freedom poses to the present political-economic order.

  • Birzeit University group calls on Cornell to end partnership with Technion
  • The right of return and the limits of the anti-Apartheid framework
    • Indeed the U.N. definition of "apartheid" includes "ethnic cleansing" (Johnson's /Wolfe's "logic of elimination"). With this in mind, ending Israeli apartheid does in fact mean ending the conditions, including everything from Zionism to transnationalism, which produce Palestinian exile and diaspora and encourage indifference to the plight of refugees and opposition to their return.

      It should here be noted here that almost all Palestinians are refugees, most of them having been ethnically cleansed, i.e., driven out of their homes, towns and villages during the Nakba that Johnson in fact acknowledges. Many of these 1948 refugees and their progeny live in Israel "proper"; nearly 20% of the Israeli population are Palestinians holding Israeli passports. That is no small number. Johnson overlooks this fact, as he positions the "real" refugees beyond Israeli borders, thus implicitly affirming those borders despite their illegitimacy, in turn arbitrarily dividing the refugees under occupation or in diaspora (who Johnson believes are not subjects of apartheid) from those living inside Israel (who he understands are). Johnson does all of this, confusedly, despite articulating what seems an opposite perspective in his final paragraphs.

      In the larger, human geographical context that Johnson rightly insists must be considered if Palestinian refugees are to attain genuine justice, Palestinians are in fact subject to apartheid on an international scale. While undeniably conditioned by the ethnic cleansing that is the core of Zionist ideology, this "Grand Apartheid" (as Hostage calls it in her comment above) should not be disavowed with respect to any Palestinian, not least those residing in Palestine/Israel, a region that encompasses not only Israel "proper" but the OPTs, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights. It is an academic (and rather superficial) argument to claim that Palestinians in the OPTs are not subject to apartheid because they are not a minority subject to domination but instead a majority living under the gun (so, in fact, were Blacks living in South African apartheid Bantustans), or that the movement of those same Palestinians has more often been subject to closure, especially since Oslo, than limited restriction (after all, undocumented Palestinian labor from the OPTs, like undocumented Mexican labor in the US, remains a significant part of the Israeli economy, despite and perhaps because of official attempts to curtail it; the multiple problems of Israeli guest-worker programs involving African and East Asian migrants who were intended to supplant Palestinian workers have ironically made Palestinian labor more rather than less desirable to Israels).

      Palestinians living outside Palestine/Israel are also subject to varied degrees of apartheid, for prime example those confined to refugee camps in Lebanon, who have also suffered ethnic cleansing in those particular conditions (e.g., Sabra and Shatila). One might also consider the police surveillance and informal scrutiny of Palestinians residing in Western countries an albeit unofficial form of apartheid, in that it categorically separates Palestinians from others in whose midst they are living even though its application is covert and goes generally unrecognized.

      Moreover, insofar as all Palestinians living outside Palestine/Israel are subject to restrictions on their return home, they are all subject to Israeli apartheid. Saying this does not trivialize the concept of apartheid, as some critics might argue, but rather clarifies the extent of its applicability by Israel and the Zionist project that supports Israeli hegemony on global scale.

      In short, the academic separation of "apartheid" and "ethnic cleansing" is an intellectual error. While the two concepts are distinct, they are irrevocably interrelated in the Palestinian-Israeli situation and must be theorized together if a genuine and lasting peace is to be reached.

  • Update: Israeli Ministry of Ed teacher is moderator of scholars' listserv on anti-Semitism (with predictable results)
    • Readers of this blog may be interested to know that Menashe has just appointed two new Advisory Board members to the H-Antisemitism listserv.

      One of them is the mentioned Eunice G. Pollack (see my comment above), a lecturer at the University of North Texas (see: ) who has publicly endorsed Campus Watch (see:, commended Daniel Pipes for promoting "free speech" (see: ), and written for Pipes' Middle East Quarterly (see: ). Her mentioned "scholarly" collection, Antisemitism on the Campus (see: ), contains a chapter in which I am referred to as an "anti-Semite" because of my anti-Zionism.

      The other new Board member, Richard E. Sherwin, is a retired adjunct professor at Bar Ilan University in Israel ( ). According to his biography on the Bar Ilan website, Sherwin made "aliyah" to Israel many years ago; I assume he is a very committed Zionist.

    • I don't know which ones opted out. I can tell you that prior moderators included Jim Mott, a Senior Education Consultant at SPSS who teaches Statistical Analysis, modeling, Data Mining and Predictive Analytics. Mott is a self-described "experienced historian with expertise in the research and teaching of 20th Century United States Political history and Quantitative Methods. " That was during the 1990s, when H-Net was a project of the History Department of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Mott moderated H-HOLOCAUST. H-ANTISEMITISM came along a bit later. One of its moderators was Richard S. Levy, a history prof at the U of Illinois at Chicago and author of Antisemitism: A Historical Encyclopedia of Prejudice and Persecution. Later came David Meier, a history prof at Dickinson State University. To my recollection none of these people ever described themselves as representing a government agency, much less an Israeli government ministry. List discussion back then was comparatively diverse, and my (infrequent) posts were never rejected. The censorship my colleagues and I have experienced on H-Net has occurred under Menashe's editorship, i.e., once the state of Israel effectively took over these particular lists in 2003.

    • I've been told that that Menashe volunteered to fill a vacuum when the prior moderators opted out. List members whose messages Menashe regularly approves for circulation include staunch pro-Zionist Eunice G. Pollack, who has publicly endorsed Campus Watch, written for Daniel Pipes' neoconservative Middle East Quarterly, and recently published a book entitled Antisemitism on the Campus: Past and Present (Academic Studies Press, 2011), which in the spirit of Phyllis Chesler's similarly themed book, is firm in its position that anti-Zionism equates with anti-Semitism. H-Net is structured as a corporate hierarchy with an executive council, president and vice presidents, executive and associate directors, advisory boards, editors, moderators, and so on down the line. As mentioned, the H-Net consortium is housed at Michigan State University.

    • Not only has she censored them: In retaliation for my Mondoweiss article and formal complaints I lodged with and against her, Menashe unsubscribed me from both of the H-Net listservs she moderates, claiming that she had been attacked by an egregious anti-Zionist (me)! Unfortunately, none of the officers at H-Net have yet been willing to challenge her, despite my repeated complaints to them about her. "Bias and low intelligence" is apparently the rule at H-Net when it comes to serious scholarly discourse regarding the history of Zionism, Israel, and the Palestinian struggle.

    • You might e-mail the Vice President of H-Net Networks, Jonanthan Anuik , and demand that Yocheved Menashe be removed from her duties at H-Net.

    • Happily, thanks to publicity on Mondoweiss and on Tony Greenberg's Blog, Yocheved Menashe decided today to post my message to H-Antisemitism. This is probably one of the only times Menashe has caved in. For years she has been censoring my messages and those of other scholars critical of Israel and Zionism, and she has refused to post them to the listservs she moderates despite complaints. Important, however, is the fact that as an agent of a foreign (or any) government, Ms. Menashe has no business editing/moderating an N-Net listserv. Thanks in advance to everyone for helping get the word out about this travesty of academic freedom!

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