Analysis News

'I don't want my kids to experience a third intifada'

The kidnapping of three Israeli teens started a chain of events that has affected people of all stripes, Jewish and Palestinian, and in different places. A reflective diary of the kidnappings, as they touch others.

By Leanne Gale

Clashes erupt after the Israeli army raided Balata Refugee Camp and several neighborhoods in Nablus, West Bank, June 27, 2014. (Photo by Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Clashes erupt after the Israeli army raided Balata Refugee Camp and several neighborhoods in Nablus, West Bank, June 27, 2014. (Photo by Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 2:00 p.m.

“I’m parked in front of the market.”

I have no idea what Manal is talking about.

“Do you mean, on the way to Kufr Aqab?”

“No, I live in Kufr Aqab. I am parked in front of the market.”

Alright then. Manal is waiting for me in front of some market somewhere. I hazard a guess that it is indeed on the way to Kufr Aqab, and start walking in the direction of Ramallah from Qalandia checkpoint. We stay on the phone as I describe my surroundings.

“Now I’m passing a café. There are only men inside. There is a gas station on the other side of the road. It looks closed. Wait, no, it’s open.”

Soon enough, I run into a parked car with a woman on her cell phone, smiling in my direction.

“Ahlan! So sorry I was confused!”

“Not to worry, not to worry. Today, you are my guest.”

I shake Manal’s hand and hop into her car, chuckling a bit to myself. I thought I was coming for work. Now I am certain that I will be invited to dinner. What did I expect?

2:45 p.m.

“I don’t want my children to see what I have seen, to experience what I have experienced.”

Manal was a young woman, about my age, at the time of the Second Intifada. As she speaks, I am shocked to hear her memory of the ordeal. It feels so familiar.

“When the jets would fly over Ramallah, the sound was awful. And then we would know, when the jet stopped in the sky, that it was going to release a bomb. We would all run and take cover, stay away from the windows.”

“Did you have shelters?”

“What is that?”

“You know, in Hebrew it’s called...

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Voices from Israel's 'open prison': Feeling caged in Holot

‘My curiosity drives me to walk around my prison, where I stand like an inmate near those massive buildings, guarded by imposing patrol towers.’ Musings by a Sudanese refugee in Holot prison.

By Hassan Shakur

I live in a rugged and semi-abandoned grassland. It is a very remote and isolated area that doesn’t seem to support life at all. There are numerous rocky hills without trees, and the area lives up to its name as a deserted desert.

I live in a small confined center enclosed by a fence that reminds me of a cowshed. The detention facility where I currently live consists of several housing units, each with its own small yard. The center is as tough and strange as its surrounding environment.

Detainees in Holot (Photo by Activestills.org)

Detainees in Holot (Photo by Activestills.org)

Sometimes I aimlessly wander and create a lovely evening picnic for myself. There are huge prisons, poultry sheds, animal farms and military bases around us. Often my curiosity drives me to walk around my prison. I just stand like an inmate near those huge and massive buildings guarded by the imposing patrol towers.

As I walk toward the poultry sheds, I am struck by the amount of chickens I see in such a small place. I go around to the cow sheds, hoping to see something interesting, but unfortunately I find that they are also in prison. Sometimes I tell them, “Hi cows! Look, you should come to Africa – your friends there are free to move anywhere.” Finally, if I don’t find anything enjoyable to do, I climb a hill, lay down on the rocks and wait for the wind to blow. At least then, in that moment, I can enjoy listening to the sound of the wind. Instead, I find myself listening to guns firing from a nearby army base.

Hassan Shakur during his goodbye party before being sent off to Holot.

Hassan Shakur during his goodbye party before being sent off to Holot.

The weather here is definitely stranger than anything I’ve ever experienced; it’s always changing. It ranges from very hot, to stormy and windy in the middle of the day, to cold at night. Occasionally we have beautiful, spring-like weather in the morning. This time...

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Jaffa is neither Palestinian nor Jewish: A response to Rami Younis

What kind of democratic struggle excludes people based on their ethno-religious or national identities, and what kind of liberation is really possible when it concerns only one nation and its nationalism?

By Benjamin Birely

On the evening of May 1st, 1921 the Jaffa-based Socialist Workers Party (MPS), later the “Palestine Communist Party” and a forerunner of today’s Maki, organized a small, unauthorized march between Jaffa and Tel Aviv. Participants marched under a banner in Yiddish that triumphantly called for the establishment of “Soviet Palestine.” Arabic filers were distributed to onlookers. The march ran through Manshiyya, an Arab neighborhood erased literally and metaphorically from the post-48 Israeli consciousness like so many others, on its way to Tel Aviv. When the peaceful rally collided with the large, authorized May Day celebrations of the Zionist, Labor Unity party (Ahdut HaAvoda) with its Hebrew-only language policy, a violent brawl broke out. Police sought to violently disperse the MPS activists. Some bystanders, Jews and Arabs, intervened to protect the revolutionary activists.

Rumors of the fighting spread like wildfire throughout Jaffa and, believing that Arabs were being targeted and attacked, some men organized into armed groups to allegedly defend the Arab population of Jaffa. Horrifying reports soon followed of Arab men looting Jewish businesses and attacking unarmed Jewish pedestrians. Brutal details of Jews, including young children, being murdered in their homes and on the streets shocked and terrified the Jewish populations of Jaffa and Tel Aviv. British High Commissioner Herbert Samuel declared a state of emergency, imposed press censorship, and called for reinforcements. The anti-Jewish violence continued for days and spread quickly to neighboring areas.

A demonstration commemorating Land Day, Jaffa, March 30, 2014. (Photo: Keren Manor/ActiveStills.org)

A demonstration commemorating Land Day, Jaffa, March 30, 2014. (Photo: Keren Manor/ActiveStills.org)

By May 7th 1921, most of the Jewish population of Jaffa had fled, taking refuge in makeshifts tents on the beach between Jaffa and Tel Aviv, or in neighboring Tel Aviv itself. The Haycraft Commission Report, issued shortly after the riots, found that “the racial strife was begun by Arabs, and rapidly developed into a conflict of great violence between Arabs and Jews, in which the Arab majority, who were generally the aggressors, inflicted most of the casualties.” The British Authorities and particularly the Zionist leadership also blamed the Socialist Workers Party.

In reading...

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Beyond mission creep: Why Operation Brother’s Keeper isn’t working

Eleven days later, Israel’s latest operation has been a costly, disruptive rampage that seemingly aims to incite rather than stabilize.

By Julie M. Norman

Israel’s “Operation Brother’s Keeper” is not working. It is also exploitative, legally questionable, and strategically absurd.

Launched 11 days ago, the operation has yielded no new information regarding the location or well-being of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel, the three teenagers who were kidnapped while hitchhiking in the West Bank last Thursday night. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu maintains that Hamas is responsible for the abduction, yet no evidence has been made public, and Hamas denies the allegations.

Meanwhile, five Palestinians, including a 14-year-old boy, have been killed in clashes with the Israel Defense Forces and Border Police in the West Bank; universities, newspaper offices, and over 1,000 homes have been raided; and over 350 Palestinians, mostly members of Hamas, have been arrested.

Hebron, West Bank, 17.6.2014

To say that the operation to find and free the three teenagers is suffering from “mission creep” is an understatement. IDF spokesman Peter Lerner readily stated that the operation not only aims to resolve the kidnapping, but also “debilitat[e] Hamas terrorist capacities, its infrastructure and its recruiting institutions.”

The fact that Israel would like to rout out Hamas is not new and is no secret. But doing so under the guise of Operation Brother’s Keeper exploits the situation of the kidnapped teens and the very real angst of their families. After all, it becomes difficult for observers both inside and outside Israel to question raids and crackdowns, however far removed from the abduction investigation, when the hashtag “#BringBackOurBoys” is attached. Yet by allowing the search for Hamas to take precedence– operationally, if not rhetorically – Israel is using the situation of the missing teens to its advantage.

Read +972′s full coverage of the kidnappings

The lopsided attention given to routing Hamas over investigating the kidnapping is clear when looking more closely at the arrest and detention figures. According to Israeli sources, while over 350 Palestinians have been arrested in the past 11 days, only 30 are being interrogated because they are suspected of having information related to the kidnapping. The majority of others have not been questioned at all.

Furthermore, the IDF revealed in military hearings last week that they plan...

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When the canons roar, the Israeli Left remains silent

It appears not much has changed since Operation Cast Lead, when opposition leader Haim Oron tragically decided to support the military offensive. Rather than apologizing and giving evasive answers to the media, the Left, led by the failed opposition leader, should be standing up to yell ‘enough!’

By Elinor Davidov

It took seven days of “Operation Brother’s Keeper” for the leaders of the Israeli Left in the opposition to say, sofly, that there is a problem with the current military operation, with its goals and with its implementation.

For the first time, a week of collective punishment, a closure on the southern West Bank, assassinations in Gaza, violent house searches and the killing of five Palestinians, we read the words of Meretz leader Zehava Galon and Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz. Their statements were not delivered forcefully at rallies organized by leftist parties, nor were they made clearly and unequivocally in numerous media outlets. Instead, they were written on Facebook, as if it was about just another message to their constituents aimed at winning another vote or two come election time.

Their criticism followed an obligatory disclaimer, in which they stated they do not intend to justify the kidnapping or side with the Palestinians. After all, any statement critical of the state and the army necessitates an apologetic introduction, as if the Knesset members feel they are “traitors” themselves – the same way their friends on the right see them.

Meretz Chairwoman Zehava Galon and opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog of Labor (Photo: Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

Meretz Chairwoman Zehava Galon and opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog of Labor (Photo: Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

The weak Left has lost its ability to express an unequivocal and clear position – one that opposes military operations whose goals are fabricated and whose results are disastrous, not only for the civilian population in the West Bank and Gaza, but also for the possibility (which was destroyed long ago by Israel) to negotiate with the government that represents the Palestinian public. Even Meretz and Hadash, openly left-wing parties, did not release proper statements, did not clearly call to refrain from going forward with the operation, did not bother to do a thing aside from write a few hollow sentences on their personal Facebook profiles.

From ‘Cast Lead’ until today

As if we haven’t learned the...

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What happens when the IDF embeds Israeli reporters

The Israeli army recently began allowing reporters to join night raids in the West Bank. The result is exactly what you might expect.

By Oren Persico / ‘The 7th Eye

Israeli army soldiers take part in the search operation for three kidnapped Israeli teenagers, on June 17, 2014 in the West Bank town of Hebron. [File photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israeli army soldiers take part in the search operation for three kidnapped Israeli teenagers, on June 17, 2014 in the West Bank town of Hebron. [File photo by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

One week after the start of “Operation Brother’s Keeper,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit arranged an opportunity for the Israeli press just in time for the newspapers’ weekend editions: an opportunity to report from the front lines. Journalists were invited to join military units operating in the Palestinian Authority and to cover the operation to eliminate Hamas infrastructure and the search for the three kidnapped Israelis from up close.

This system, embedded journalism, was the in the past the subject of criticism when the American army made wide use of it during its invasion of Iraq in 2003. The American army continues to use it today in its war in Afghanistan. Coincidentally, criticism of embedded journalism resurfaced last week, just a short time after the three Israeli teens were kidnapped from a hitchhiking post in Gush Etzion, this time in an op-ed by Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley Manning, who was responsible for leaking the WikiLeaks documents, and who was sentenced to 35 years in prison).

In the op-ed, which was published in the New York Times, Manning wrote about the negative consequences of embedded journalism. Firstly, she wrote, journalists who request to be embedded in a military unity are scrupulously vetted by military officials. Journalists who the army expects to provide “favorable” coverage are given preferential treatment. At the end of the process, those who are chosen must sign a document, according to which the army can cancel their embedding at will. “Reporters naturally fear having their access terminated, so they tend to avoid controversial reporting that could raise red flags,” Manning argues. According to her, the framework for embedding journalists often times results in flattery of senior decision makers. As a result, the American people’s access to the facts was seriously harmed.

Israeli daily Israel Hayom normally describes...

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The Jewish-Israeli Left can participate in the Palestinian struggle, but not as a partner

Israeli Leftists want the 1.5 million Palestinians who live in this country to become an integral part of this Israeli society. But they see their fellow Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank belonging to a different country. 

By Rami Younis

A Palestinian man and a Jewish woman are both participants at a Jaffa protest rally. The Palestinian calls out, “Yafa Arabiyeh Falastaneeyeh!” (“Jaffa is Arab-Palestinian!”). The Jewish woman doesn’t like this. She takes him aside and explains that this is a joint Jewish-Arab demonstration. Thus, according to the woman, there is no place for a chant of “Jaffa is Arab,” just as there is no place for a chant of “Jaffa is Jewish.” The Palestinian responds that he disagrees with her characterization of the demonstration and rejects her opposition to his chant, explaining that he won’t compromise on this point.

This was a pretty typical incident involving a Jewish leftist who espouses the views of Hadash, the Socialist Jewish-Arab party. Ostensibly, the woman was protesting nationalist chants at what she thought was a “joint” demonstration composed of Jews and Palestinians (all citizens of Israel). But the fallout from that incident revealed the illusory nature of Jewish-Arab political partnership in Israel .

Later that same night there was a discussion about the incident described above among the Palestinian activists, who decided they would continue with similar chants during upcoming demonstrations. The Palestinian activists also decided to publish a post on Facebook in which they clarified their intentions, adding that those who objected were obviously under no obligation to participate. The post ignited a big debate, with dozens of responses for and against.

A demonstration commemorating Land Day, Jaffa, March 30, 2014. (Photo: Keren Manor/ActiveStills.org)

A demonstration commemorating Land Day, Jaffa, March 30, 2014. (Photo: Keren Manor/ActiveStills.org)

The Jewish activist tried to defend what she had said to the Palestinian activist under the rubric of freedom of expression, but this was clearly not the issue here. I happen to like and appreciate this activist very much. But the political tent in which she grew up has always been problematic and rather detached from reality. Sometimes its views conflict with the Palestinian narrative and goals, and this is the source of the problem.

The Jewish “Hadash-y” Left (which I deliberately differentiate from Hadash, the Arab-Jewish political party) always liked to...

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Is Presbyterian divestment a BDS victory? Who cares

Both BDS supporters and detractors are touting the Presbyterian Church’s divestment vote as a BDS victory. But regardless, isn’t it a step in the direction every anti-occupation person ought to be rooting for?

By A. Daniel Roth

The Presbyterian Church U.S.A. (PCUSA) narrowly (310 to 303) voted late last week to divest some $21 million from Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola for profiting by selling goods which are used in the administration of the occupation and the destruction of Palestinian homes and property.

The full text of the divestment resolution can be read here.

Strangely enough, or perhaps quite expectedly, both BDS activists and anti-BDS activists are touting this as a victory for the global boycott movement. The former are doing so with glee, saying that the Presbyterian divestment is a step in the right direction. The latter are shaking their fists with anger saying that people will see this as a BDS victory.

To be clear about the actual intent of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., this is what the resolution says about BDS:

Only someone who has refused to read the actual resolution would think this is pro-BDS document.

It very well may be a good step — a major divestment — in the direction that BDS activists want to go, but isn’t it also a step in the direction every anti-occupation person ought to be rooting for? Shouldn’t BDS activists be happy that this is a $21 million blow to the occupation industry at the same time as anti-BDS activists — for example, some outspoken Jewish groups that  say they support a two-state solution – can also be happy that this document says things such as, “the two-state solution remains the best path to sustainable peace”?

Read also: The full BDS debate on +972

Everyone who stands for self-determination should be happy about this motion, which is a non-violent action against corporate entities profiting from the occupation’s perpetuity. After all, the perpetuation of the occupation is a moral and strategic contradiction to the notion — and reality — that all peoples have the right to self-determination.

BDS graffiti on Israeli separation wall, Bethlehem, West Bank, June 17, 2014. (Photo by Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

BDS graffiti on Israeli separation wall, Bethlehem, West Bank, June 17, 2014. (Photo by Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

As usual, the argument that the...

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Kidnapping is proof the occupation can't protect Israelis

Israelis deserve a leadership that is capable of interrupting the cycle of violence; they deserve more than juvenile assurances of retaliation.

By Nathan Hersh

Last month MKs Yariv Levin (Likud) and Orit Strock (Jewish Home) submitted a series of bills seeking to annex Area C of the West Bank to Israel. What would things look like today had the government agreed?

Such a vote would have been a victory for the Jewish Home party and the rest of the Greater Israel crowd, but it would result in a security nightmare.

The kidnapping of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Frenkel would have taken place in Israel proper. Israel already controls all civil and security issues in Area C. If annexation were to go forward, a kidnapping in Gush Etzion would no different from a kidnapping in Haifa. In such a situation, the only option for combatting terrorism that would be available to Israel’s defense establishment is amplifying the failed tactics it already employs.

Annexation is not a solution to the security threat, it is agitation of it.

Read +972′s full coverage of the kidnappings

Israeli setters hitchhike at the Gush Etzion junction, next to the Palestinian town of Bethlehem, June 16, 2014. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israeli setters hitchhike at the Gush Etzion junction, next to the Palestinian town of Bethlehem, June 16, 2014. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

These MKs promise more conflict. They promise Israelis that the prisons will be filled with Hamas members by dawn. They may promise to bring back these boys, but they offer no promises to prevent the same thing from happening again tomorrow. They don’t promise a new system that will guarantee increased security for Israeli teenagers. They don’t promise clear borders to separate us from the Palestinians, who they also tell us is the enemy. They don’t promise better coordination with PA security forces in order to prevent situations like these. They don’t promise to pursue new methods of intelligence gathering or surveillance that can be achieved without energizing Palestinian frustration. They do not promise to seek alternatives to army outposts in Israel’s innovative tech industry so that, even if an agreement with the Palestinians isn’t within reach, at least we won’t stoke the conflict and invite justified international criticism with IDF boots on Palestinian necks in the meantime.

In situations like...

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This is what a military operation in Hebron looks like

In its invasion of the city, the army has not shied away from using live fire, blowing up the doors of homes and shops and maintaining a closure on thousands of people. The goal? Demonstrating its invincible power.

By Akram Natsheh

Nour al-Kawasma, an eight-year-old resident of Hebron, will never forget how Israeli forces suddenly declared war on his home. The young boy is still hospitalized with a head wound, days after Israeli soldiers detonated the front door of his house.

Akram al-Kawasma, Nour’s father, still carries an expression of bewilderment on his face. Nour remains in the hospital while his older brother, who was arrested during the raid, sits in jail.

Israeli soldiers detain Palestinian men at the Gush Etzion junction, a settlement next to the Palestinian town of Bethlehem ,on June 16, 2014 , June 16, 2014. Over 150 Palestinians were arrested in the last nights and a tight closure was imposed on the southern West Bank city of Hebron. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israeli soldiers detain Palestinian men at the Gush Etzion junction, June 16, 2014. (Activestills.org)

The story, as Akram tells it, began when he noticed soldiers nearing the entrance of his apartment. The area was full of soldiers carrying out house-to-house searches. This is what he told me:

I expected one of them to knock on the door, but all of a sudden there was a huge explosion, I had no idea why, and the soldiers started yelling: ‘Get out of the house!’

Just then, my son Nour was wounded by shrapnel from the explosion, and I didn’t know what to do. He was bleeding as the soldiers tried to enter, and after the door opened I told them that my son was wounded and needed an ambulance. But they did not listen because they wanted to arrest my oldest son, and that’s why they left my youngest bleeding in his mother’s arms. When my older son arrived an hour later, they took him by force, blindfolded him and threw him on the ground.

Nour, still bleeding, remained in his mother’s arms, while the soldiers prevented the ambulance from reaching the house. The soldiers shot at the Palestinian ambulance, a first aid crew, journalists and neighbors to prevent them from coming near. Only when the Israeli army’s ambulance arrived did my son finally...

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'Parts of West Bank operation were planned ahead of time'

IDF officer admits Operation Brother’s Keeper has little to do with returning the kidnapped teenagers.  

By Yael Marom

Parts of Operation Brother’s Keeper were planned in advance and are being implemented with no connection to their stated purpose – the return of the three kidnapped Israelis teenagers – according to an IDF officer in Jenin. The officer, who spoke to the ultra-Orthodox news outlet “Hadrei Haredim,” (Hebrew) said that the army has been preparing for an operation in the city due to the arming of residents there.

Hebron, West Bank, 17.6.2014

According to Hadrei Hadarim, the officer stated that the army is intentionally trying to agitate the population in order to provoke stone throwers, which will allow Israeli snipers to kill them. “There was a group of snipers on the roof – an entire unit that moves on the outskirts of Jenin in order to make noise and raise tensions,” he said. “This was actually the true goal: to provoke them into causing disorder, and then put down those causing the disorder.”

+972 has not learned of any instances in which the army used live fire in Jenin since the start of the current operation.

Read: Rights groups say response to kidnapping is collective punishment

A top source in the IDF denied the accusations, stating that although Palestinians did throw stones, the soldiers did not respond with live fire. The IDF Spokesperson also responded to the claims, saying that they were “baseless” and that there “haven’t been any changes in orders regarding live fire.”

In response to an inquiry by +972, the IDF Spokesperson added that Operation Brother’s Keeper has two objectives: returning the kidnapped teens, and dealing a serious blow to Hamas in the West Bank. The Spokesperson also stated that the operation will last as long as is necessary.

Read this story in Hebrew on Local Call. Yael Marom is an editor at Local Call.

More on the kidnappings:
Badawi: Why Israel’s response to the kidnappings feels awfully familiar
Omer-Man: Rights groups say response to kidnapping is collective punishment
Matar: Israel’s crackdown moves beyond Hamas militants




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I am a Palestinian Jew, or at least I will be

In order to avoid theocracy, apartheid and civil war, one Israeli believes it is time for her fellow Jewish citizens to start re-imagining their identity.

By Dorit Naaman

Fine, I am not yet a Palestinian Jew, but in 10 to 15 years – and certainly in my lifetime – this place will be called Palestine, and I will be a citizen of Jewish-Israeli heritage. By saying I am a Palestinian Jew I am being neither flippant nor provocative, as my critics would likely hasten to argue. Instead, I am analyzing the current reality and describing the future – utopian, or apocalyptic – depending on the viewer’s position.

The truth is that it is quite odd for me to describe myself as a Palestinian Jew, since I am an Ashkenazi Israeli, and thus have no Arab-Jewish lineage. On my father’s side, I am a sixth generation Jerusalemite, but my forefathers and foremothers spoke Yiddish and prayed in the Hungarian-Jewish tradition. They were citizens of the Ottoman Empire, and then citizens of the British Mandate of Palestine, but they did not consider themselves Palestinian. In fact, my great-grandfather was a staunch Zionist and a member of the first Knesset, despite his ultra-Orthodox background. My father was an atheist since childhood, my mother was raised secular, and I grew up as a secular, liberal Zionist Israeli. Being secular and Israeli are still the most prominent markers of my identity, despite my immigrating to Canada.

Neturei Karta protesting Israel day parade (David Galalis CC BY NC-ND 2.0)

Neturei Karta protesting Israel day parade (David Galalis CC BY NC-ND 2.0)

I try to say it out loud: I am a Palestinian Jew. But it doesn’t easily roll off my tongue. I am not ready to say it to anyone else – I don’t even know what it means. But in all likelihood, I will become one sooner or later, so I better practice.

Tipping the scales

I do not know whether partitioning the land into Israeli and Palestinian states would have worked in 1947, or even as a result of the Oslo Accords. What I do know is that Israel has long made that reality impossible. In the West Bank, Israel controls nearly three million Palestinians, dispersed among towns and villages, without an independent economic infrastructure or any possibility of...

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Addressing Israel’s addiction to settlements

A former J Street leader explains why he became a supporter of BDS.

By Seth Morrison

Many of us have friends or family who suffer from addiction, and all too often it is only when we cut them off and stop enabling their negative behavior that things can actually change. It is that model of tough love that led me to become a BDS supporter.

Unfortunately the Middle East peace talks started with the best of intentions by President Obama and Secretary Kerry are dead – a victim of Israel’s unfettered development of illegal settlements and Netanyahu’s decision to go back on his promise to free Palestinian prisoners. There is no longer any doubt that Israel has become addicted to settlements, occupation of Palestinian territory and to treating the 23 percent of Israelis who are not Jewish as second-class citizens.

I am a Reconstructionist Jew from Long Island, now living outside Washington DC and for most of my life I was active in Jewish and Zionist activities – as a member, leader and regional director for Young Judaea and over the years as an activist and leader in the American Zionist Federation, local Jewish Federations, JNF, the New Israel Fund, J Street and the Friends of the Arava Institute. For the majority of my life the Zionist perspective on Israel and Palestine was how I understood the situation and targeted my activism.

As I became more involved my eyes were opened by a combinations of factors, involvement in the New Israel Fund, work with well know Israeli peace activist Gershon Baskin – a member of Young Judaea when I was a leader – and work on environmental issues and co-existence with the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies since it was founded in 1996.

As the chair of the Washington DC Metro Chapter of J Street I attended many meetings where we were told that we must oppose any form of BDS because it was anti-Semitic and would only make things worse. That sounded good until I realized that in spite of my years of work in progressive organizations, my donations to left-wing Israeli causes and a lot of lobbying in Congress, I was actually enabling the status quo.

There has been lots of propaganda equating BDS with anti-Semitism but let’s look at the facts. Boycott is a completely legitimate political and economic tactic.  From the nearly world-wide boycott of South...

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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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