Speaking in a public forum in Tel Aviv, Palestinian civil rights activist Jafar Farah responds to a question from a Zionist Israeli about the Jewish right to the land based on a two-thousand-year history: “In the last three thousand years, I didn’t expel you from here, I’m not responsible for this. It’s a chutzpah to lay the blame for that on me. My parents lived in Haifa and one day woke up and found that rather than 70,000 Palestinians they were merely 2,000. They try every day to rebuild themselves and deal with the trauma you’ve created for us. And yes, you have no right to expel another people because God promised you something.”
Citing faculty and students who were denied entry into Israel, New York University’s Department of Social and Cultural Analysis passes a resolution that pledges non-cooperation with the university’s study abroad program in Tel Aviv.
Jonathan Ofir continues his journey in Israel-Palestine. He visits the western wall in Jerusalem and reflects on the erasure of the Magharibah quarter, sees a sign commemorating the theft of Yemenite babies, and reflects on the utter invisibility of the Palestinian presence in Israeli life.
In a historic first, around 300 Israelis protested in Tel Aviv for the right of return and in solidarity with the Great March of Return against the siege of Gaza.
Israeli artists join Palestinians in calling for contestants in the Eurovision Song Contest to boycott: “We, as Jewish Israelis who yearn to live in a peaceful, democratic society, recognize that there is no way to achieve that without ending our government’s oppression of millions of Palestinians.”
Nai Barghouti shares a story of being racially profiled and harassed at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport: “As furious as I am at the Israeli security officer’s ugly racism and vengefulness, I felt slightly bad for her. Despite her best efforts to humiliate me, I shall go on resisting her state’s racism and apartheid with my music. She, however, will continue to search Palestinians’ underwear and be an insignificant tool of a system of racist oppression.”
Writer Susan Abulhawa was detained for 36 hours at Ben Gurion airport before being deported and managed to sneak a pencil into the detention center and leave messages on the wall– Free Palestine — and read Colson Whitehead’s novel The Underground Railroad.
There are few places in Israel where its apartheid character is more conspicuous than the imposing international airport just outside Tel Aviv, named after the country’s founding father, David Ben Gurion. Jonathan Cook writes that Peter Beinart’s interrogation at Ben Gurion airport was just the opening salvo in the Israeli right’s war against Jewish dissent: “It is a slope liberal Jews will find gets ever more slippery.”
Jonathan Ofir writes that Reza Aslan’s decision to speak out about the abuse he received trying to enter Israel after Peter Beinart made his story public reminds him of the momentum and grass roots power of the MeToo movement: “There is this element of a critical mass, where people actually start to listen. It’s no longer a lone voice here, a single story there – it becomes a movement.”
Meyer Koplow is the chair of Brandeis University and gives millions to Israel. He was interrogated at the Israeli airport two days ago because he had a pamphlet with the word Palestine on it and had visited the West Bank with a pro-Israel group called Encounter. Security accused him of lying and misrepresenting Encounter’s aims– in another sign of growing chasm between US Jews and Israeli Jews.