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Palestinian Refugees Beyond the Trump Era
12 Years of Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five; a Webinar hosted by Miko Peled
Over the last few months, the Israeli Magistrates’ Court of Jerusalem has ruled to displace at least 12 Palestinian families in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah — including mine. Our homes, at any minute, might be taken by squatters backed by police. And it wouldn’t be the first time they do so.
In 1956, the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and the Jordanian government built Sheikh Jarrah as a housing project for 28 Palestinian refugee families who had been expelled during the Nakba a few years earlier. Following Israel’s conquest of Jerusalem in 1967, settler groups have been attempting to seize the housing project by manipulating history and weaponizing racist laws and policies. Some attempts were successful, some postponed. In 2009, for example, settlers took over half of my family’s house in broad daylight; the other half awaits the final stroke of an Israeli judge’s pen.
THE IMAGE has become a familiar one: A group of young Israelis is visiting Auschwitz, many of them wrapped in the Israeli flag. They chant the Kaddish; they sing songs; together, they are a phoenix that has risen from the literal ashes of the millions of Jews killed by the Nazis. Their mere existence seems to be proclaiming vengeance wrought on Hitler. They are young; they are beautiful; they are noble.
But in The Memory Monster—a brilliant, challenging, and uncompromising novel by the Israeli writer Yishai Sarid, recently translated from the Hebrew by Yardenne Greenspan—they are something far more sinister. In this grim portrait of an Israeli scholar who makes his living leading tours of the hell of the camps, Sarid, son of the late left-wing politician Yossi Sarid, forces us to question the complacency and moral blindness that accompanies the centrality of the Holocaust in Israeli life. It’s a blindness broadly on display in Israeli Holocaust memorialization, currently epitomized in the nomination of Effi Eitam—a far-right politician and former general who advocates the expulsion of Palestinians from their lands and their exclusion from political life—to head Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust memorial. Those who support the appointment, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, fail to appreciate the revolting irony of a man with these views serving as the face of an institution that memorializes the expulsion of the Jews from their homes and their exclusion from the political life of their native lands. It is this irony that courses through The Memory Monster.
A decade or so ago, I joined Israeli activists at the Palestinian village of Asira al-Qibliya in the occupied West Bank, located near Yitzhar, an Israeli military outpost that was turned into a civilian settlement in the 1980s. We arrived a few hours after settlers had raided the village, attacked Palestinian residents, and vandalized their property. Fearing the settlers might come back, some residents asked us to stay overnight.
Palestine: The Socialist Perspective
Why are Israel and Arab states getting friendly? | Start Here
Unjustified shooting in attack that never was: a-Za’ayem Checkpoint, 25 Nov. 2020
After 91 days of hunger strike in protest of Israel’s systemic practice of administrative detention, in which Palestinians are indefinitely detained without charge or trial, Palestinian prisoner Maher al-Akhras was finally reunited with his family. The image of al-Akhras hugging his daughter on his hospital bed has become a symbol of his successful struggle. But while al-Akhras’ determination secured his release, the fight is far from over.
All Palestinian families know the meaning of having a relative in prison, and any Palestinian could be jailed without charge, just like al-Akhras. Since Israel began its military occupation in 1967, it has imprisoned almost 800,000 Palestinians; currently, it is holding more than 350 Palestinians without charge. This dominating role of the prison system highlights the arbitrariness and cruelty of an apartheid regime that has been enshrined in every aspect of Israel’s relationship with the Palestinians.
Four years ago, in early September, I woke up in the middle of the night in Umm al-Fahem to the sound of machine guns. Afraid and baffled, not knowing where the shots were coming from or who they were being fired at, I called the police to report a crime. It took the officers two hours to make their way from the police station, which is a 15-minute drive away. When they finally arrived, they collected the ammunition in a clear plastic bag, and waved it in front of children looking on at the scene.
These kinds of incidents have persisted despite the Israeli government introducing several programs over the years to help eradicate crime across the country. In many Palestinian cities and towns in Israel, citizens still go to sleep to the sound of gun shots.
Gaza, Hamas and the New Middle East | Al Jazeera World
Songs for the love of Palestine | Al Jazeera World
Israel, Morocco agree to normalise relations in US-brokered deal
In the Israeli consciousness, 1973 will forever be tied to the trauma of the Yom Kippur War, when Israel struggled to turn the tide following a surprise attack by a coalition of Arab armies. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 1973 was also a key year in the history of the Israeli arms industry.
One of the lessons the Israeli security establishment took away from the war was the need to strengthen local arms manufacturing rather than relying on imports. The national investment in weapons manufacturing during the 1970s precipitated the industry’s growth into what it is today: one of Israel’s largest export industries, reaching over USD $7.2 billion in 2019.
When you talk to Israelis about the occupation, they tend to think of checkpoints. Abroad, people think about the separation wall. But as a former Israeli soldier who regularly carried out home invasions, I think about one Palestinian child that I came to arrest in the middle of the night. About his father, who charged at the biggest soldier in our squad. And about how I would have done exactly the same if I were in his place.
It happened in the city of Nablus in 2007. We were told we had to arrest someone who had made contact with the Lebanese political party and military organization Hezbollah over the internet. At the time, we spoke of “CD burner arrests” — a derogatory code name for the bottom of the barrel when it came to wanted Palestinians. We came in the middle of the night, an entire reconnaissance platoon team, to arrest a 16- or 17-year-old teen — whose room, coincidentally, was full of CD burners.
Dozens of Israeli activists demonstrated Thursday evening outside the Shin Bet’s offices in Tel Aviv, demanding the internal security agency cease using administrative detention and torture, particularly against Palestinian minors.
To mark Human Rights Day, the protesters held a theatrical display in which protesters were blindfolded and tied in various positions to resemble the torture Palestinians undergo at the hands of the Shin Bet. The protest was the first of its kind outside the agency’s offices.
The Prospect for Change in Palestine in 2021: A Webinar hosted by Miko Peled
What will Morocco gain from renewing ties with Israel? | Inside Story
Palestinian-Israeli fights for educational rights for his children
On Friday, Dec. 4, Israeli soldiers shot and killed 15-year-old Ali Abu Aliya in the West Bank village of al-Mughayyer, near Ramallah. Abu Aliya, who was reportedly due to celebrate his birthday that evening, was shot with live ammunition while watching a demonstration taking place in the village.
Following the killing, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit stressed that Palestinians “tried to roll large rocks and burning tires… risking the lives of passengers on the Allon road [the nearby main road that crosses the West Bank from north to south].” Nonetheless, the military also stated that it had opened an investigation into the killing.
A Conversation with Issa Amro: A Webinar hosted by Miko Peled
On Edward Said: Remembrance of Things Past
Palestine: A Socialist Introduction
Jewish Voice for Peace held a panel Tuesday night entitled “Dismantling Antisemitism, Winning Justice,” featuring Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, scholar and author Marc Lamont Hill, University of Illinois at Chicago professor Barbara Ransby, and journalist and commentator Peter Beinart.
What these four speakers have in common is not their expertise on anti-Jewish racism. Rather, they have all been targeted by accusations of antisemitism because of their political views on Israel-Palestine, including for supporting a binational state and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Things are pretty bleak. The Trump administration is petering out in the most predictable way, screaming about a fictional election conspiracy and continuing to ignore a deadly pandemic. The United States is basically averaging a 9/11 every day at this point. I’m old enough to remember when people made a big deal about how they’d “never forget” the magnitude of that tragedy. Less than 20 years later, here we are. At the time I type this, there’s still no new stimulus deal. Almost 8 million people have fallen into poverty since June, the largest such increase in the history of the country.
Into the shambles marches Joe Biden. He wasn’t most people’s first pick. Or second. Or third. Or fourth. He represents a return to normalcy and normal in this country means slightly less death and destruction than the last four years. So far his cabinet has predictably been stuffed with centrist hacks and foreign policy hawks. This week he appointed Pete Buttigieg as Transportation Secretary. The public transportation website for South Bend says the city has less than 50 buses. The closest subway system is Chicago’s.
Quarantine, Curfew and Videotapes
Will another vote change the political landscape in Israel? | Inside Story
Israel confiscates 3 residential shacks and one used as a carwash in al-Quds District, 14 Dec. 2020
Coronavirus pandemic dampens Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem
The Nation-State Law had its day in court, as did the farce of Israeli democracy During the hearing, the High Court justices saw no problem with demoting the status of Arabic and claimed that 'equality' is something best left for the future. Orly Noy By Orly Noy December 24, 2020 Attorneys arrive to the Supreme Court for a hearing on petitions put forth against the Jewish Nation-State Law, Jerusalem, December 22, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90) Attorneys arrive to the Supreme Court for a hearing on petitions put forth against the Jewish Nation-State Law, Jerusalem, December 22, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90) Two-and-a-half years after the Knesset passed the Jewish Nation-State Law, which constitutionally enshrined second-class status for Israel’s Palestinian citizens, the High Court of Justice held its first hearing on the law on Tuesday. As has become customary in hearings in which the farce of Israeli “democracy” is at stake, the setting was perfect: on the bench sat an expanded panel of 11 justices headed by Supreme Court President Esther Hayut, while the hearing was broadcasted live on the internet. Because the law was petitioned by 15 different groups and individuals, and due to COVID-19 restrictions, it took over an hour for people to assemble in the hall. https://www.972mag.com/jewish-nation-state-law-high-court/?fbclid=IwAR3m...
In 2019, under the guise of combating racism and bigotry, Canada adopted the highly problematic definition of antisemitism promulgated by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), which conflates political criticism of the state of Israel with anti-Jewish bigotry.
Under this working definition, legitimate critiques of Israel and its policies, such as “claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor,” may be condemned as antisemitic. Many critics have rightly warned that these provisions threaten the free speech rights of Canadians and will likely be used to silence criticism of Israel.
Earlier this month, an Israeli soldier shot and killed Ali Abu Aliya in the village of al-Mughayyer in the occupied West Bank, during a protest against an Israeli settlement outpost that was recently established on the village’s land. According to an investigation by Defense for Children International – Palestine, Ali was about 50 meters away from Israeli forces and did not present any threat when he was shot. He was struck in the abdomen with live ammunition and died shortly after in a Ramallah hospital. It was his 15th birthday.
Ali’s killing is disturbing, but not exceptional. Since I began working with DCI-Palestine in January 2013, we have documented 155 Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces with live ammunition or crowd-control weapons. Another 570 Palestinian children have been killed in Israeli military offensives and other attacks, according to our documentation. Growing up in a hyper-militarized context, including going about daily life near Israeli settlements and barriers, Palestinian children like Ali easily become targets.
7. What Normalization Means to Palestinians + What's Next for Palestine in 2021 with Diana Buttu
The Socialist left in the United States has historically offered a dissenting voice to the drumbeat of U.S. state-sanctioned support for Israel, to the apartheid Israeli state, and to liberal Zionism. Sumaya Awad and brian bean’s Palestine: A Socialist Introduction is a strong reminder of that tradition, and an urgent bulletin to socialists everywhere seeking to analyze, understand and organize for Palestinian liberation. The book rejuvenates awareness of how solidarity with Palestinian self-determination and the end of Israeli occupation remain crucial building blocks for slowing U.S. imperialism in the Middle East, reviving traditions of Arab nationalism and Socialism globally, and building a stronger revolutionary Left within the U.S. Significantly, too, the book dares to chart a semi-optimistic path forward in what appear to be dark times.
Miko Peled and Robert Martin: A One on One, No Holds Barred Conversation
For over a century, Jews around the world have maintained a robust critique of Zionism and the state of Israel.
The tradition of Jewish dissent against Zionism has taken many forms. From the moment Theodore Herzl strode upon the world stage, many of us have insisted that leaving the diaspora for a Jewish nation-state is the wrong way to achieve safety, fight antisemitism, actualize Jewish identity, and work for justice in the world. Many have claimed that our peoples’ relationship to the land of Israel is far more complicated than a narrow nationalist vision can allow, or that we are religiously forbidden, at this time, from setting up a Jewish state in the holy land. And many have protested Israel’s dispossession of the Palestinians indigenous to the land of Israel.
Israel rushes to demolish more homes this year, South Hebron Hills, 29 December 2020
Israeli settlers escorted by soldiers drive farmers off land and vandalize property, 23 Nov. 2020
The Spy in Your Phone | Al Jazeera World
Sixty Israeli teenagers published an open letter addressed to top Israeli officials on Tuesday morning, in which they declared their refusal to serve in the army in protest of its policies of occupation and apartheid.
The so-called “Shministim Letter” (an initiative with the Hebrew nickname given to high school seniors) decries Israel’s military control of Palestinians in the occupied territories, referring to the regime in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem as an “apartheid” system entailing “two different systems of law; one for for Palestinians and another for Jews.”
Palestinians Excluded From Israel's Vaccine Rollout
The much-anticipated Christmas Day release of Wonder Woman: 1984 was met with immediate controversy over its depiction of Arabs and the Middle East. Much of the online criticism of the film centers around its depictions of an Egyptian Emir and an Arab terrorist trying to obtain nuclear weapons, as well as scenes that many viewers felt shared jarring resonances with the violence Palestinians face under Israeli occupation. One scene drew particular ire: Wonder Woman lassoes a rocket to protect four Arab children playing soccer, which many felt was reminiscent of the high-profile killing of four boys from the same family who were playing soccer on a beach during the 2014 Israeli bombing of Gaza. This was all the more loaded given previous controversies over Wonder Woman star and co-producer Gal Gadot’s role as an IDF training officer during the 2006 Lebanon War, and a Facebook post she made in support of the IDF during the war in which the boys were killed.
Palestinian German filmmaker Lexi Alexander was quick to use her platform to signal boost the wave of online critiques of the film from young viewers of color. A seasoned director who has closely studied, and worked to challenge, the depictions of Arabs and Palestinians in Hollywood films, Alexander immediately recognized the tropes being described. The Punisher: Warzone, Green Street Hooligans, and Supergirl director was the first woman to helm a Marvel film adaptation, and has built her career in Hollywood while facing harsh retribution for her efforts to resist the industry’s exclusionary, and frequently racist, status quo. For Alexander, the problems with Wonder Woman are representative of an industry that considers itself progressive while consistently excluding marginalized voices and punishing those who fight back, and of a culture that still actively resists any attempt to portray Arabs, especially Palestinians, in a humanizing light. I recently spoke to Alexander about the Wonder Woman controversy, her personal experiences of racism behind the camera, and the stakes of accurately portraying marginalized communities on screen.
Protesting While White
Gaza horse race takes place on destroyed airport runway
One cannot live a single day in Israel-Palestine without the sense that this place is constantly being engineered to privilege one people, and one people only: the Jewish people. Yet half of those living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea are Palestinian. The chasm between these lived realities fills the air, bleeds, is everywhere on this land.
I am not simply referring to official statements spelling this out – and there are plenty, such as prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s assertion in 2019 that “Israel is not a state of all its citizens”, or the “nation state” basic law enshrining “the development of Jewish settlement as a national value”. What I am trying to get at is a deeper sense of people as desirable or undesirable, and an understanding about my country that I have been gradually exposed to since the day I was born in Haifa. Now, it is a realisation that can no longer be avoided.
Reading the tea leaves– and polling — for the next Israeli election in late March, experts say that Israel will elect an even more rightwing government than Netanyahu’s rightwing coalition.
Israel watchers are predicting a government led by former Netanyahu ally Gideon Sa’ar, openly committed to one “Jewish” state between river and sea, with no interest in allowing even a shadow of Palestinian sovereignty in the occupied territories. Indeed, the Israeli “center” and “left” are shattered, and the possibility exists that the Labor party that founded the state will disappear from the parliament in the next election.
Jerome Slater on Israeli history
Liberal democracy delivering power to fascist elites everywhere. Unfortunately more and more of our elites globally are xenophobic and armed to the teeth and their media have the people looking for scapegoats.
Winter CU 2021: Illan Pappé - The continuing ethnic cleansing of Palestine
Vaccine Apartheid? Occupation in the time of COVID-19 with Dr Mustafa Barghouti & Dr Yara Asi