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Opposing the occupation means being anti-Israel, to Netanyahu

The Israeli right has worked very hard to erase any distinction between Israel and the occupation — between Ariel and Acre, Hebron and Haifa. Ironically, this is the same thing he accuses Palestinians of trying to do.

Since B’Tselem director Hagai El-Ad spoke at the UN Security Council a week ago calling for an end to Israel’s half-century old occupation, the organization has been subject to vicious attacks and delegitimization, including by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. El-Ad’s very citizenship has been threatened by a senior member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, and thousands of Israelis have incited against him, including death threats. None of this incitement has been condemned by anyone in Israel’s ruling coalition.

Anticipating much of the backlash, El-Ad went on record throughout the Israeli press just 24 hours after his appearance in New York to clarify why he went to the UN: “I didn’t speak against my country, but against the occupation.” On the face of it, such a distinction seems fairly simple. The director of Israel’s largest human rights organization is lobbying for his country to stop policies that violate human rights, to stop exerting systemic violence against a people with no rights; in short, to stop holding the Palestinian people under military occupation.

To the establishment, that makes him subversive, unpatriotic, and anti-Israel. Contrarily, being pro-occupation and pro-settlements is indisputably pro-Israel as far as many Israelis and politicians are concerned. No one questions, for example, the patriotism of those – both in Israeli government and civil society — pushing to retroactively authorize settlement outposts built on private Palestinian land that even the government says are illegal. Nobody questions the patriotism of those who want to illegally annex the West Bank without the consent of the Palestinians who live there.

The message being propagated by Netanyahu and his government, and unchallenged by the majority of Israelis, is clear: fighting to end occupation and fighting for Palestinian human rights is not only slandering the country, it’s tantamount to treason — as far as they are concerned speaking out against occupation is the same as speaking out against Israel. This type of tactic works well to deflect criticism and silence dissent by delegitimizing the critic. Applied long enough and to enough people, such tactics set a precedent for seriously curtailing free speech and political dissent; it is no wonder the U.S. came out in defense of...

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The crisis of Israel's anti-occupation Left

Israelis emigrating — or considering emigration — for political reasons are inadvertently adopting the spirit of the boycott movement in the sense that they, too, have given up on the idea of change coming from within.

Everywhere I turn these days, many of my peers have left Israel, are leaving Israel, are planning to leave, or are talking about leaving Israel. My family and I included.

The reasons for leaving are always personal, and it’s hard to point to a specific political trend. But the discourse around leaving is indicative of a real crisis in the Israeli Left regarding the inability to effect change, the increasing sense that our ideals are unwanted, and that we are outnumbered. Not just at the polls, but at the family dinner table, too.

For me, this is not just about the normalization of racism and violence in the public sphere that goes along with the occupation. It is about the fact that so many Israelis who identify as liberal or left wing are either ignorant of the state’s actions vis-à-vis the Palestinians, or they are complicit in them.

When I first witnessed Israeli human rights violations and the violence of military occupation nearly a decade ago — through my activism with direct-action Arab-Jewish cooperative Ta’ayush — I found my most fundamental working assumptions about Israel upended.

Those experiences shaped my politics, almost instantaneously setting me apart from most Jewish Israelis. While other Israelis spent their Saturdays resting at home or going to family gatherings, I was escorting Palestinians to their wells and grazing lands in hopes that our — Israeli activists’ — presence might discourage attacks by Israeli settlers and confrontations with soldiers (sometimes it would work, sometimes it wouldn’t).

Returning to the comforts of my life in Tel Aviv I would find myself outraged that people could sit in cafes with no clue about what was being done in their name just a few miles away — or worse, that they didn’t care. That sharp dissonance began to affect more and more aspects of my life, including interactions with friends, family members and colleagues. It began to breed a constant sense of despair and resentment.

That was 10 years ago.

Likewise, it has been five years since the “tent protests,” when hundreds of thousands of — mostly Jewish — Israelis took to the streets to protest the high cost of living, ignoring the disenfranchised Palestinian population in our...

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100k Bedouin Israelis couldn't watch Netanyahu's 'apology' — they don't have electricity

In a video shot in his office, Israel’s prime minister apologizes to the country’s Arab citizens for inciting against them. But a large portion of them couldn’t watch it — they live in ‘unrecognized villages’ that Israel refuses to connect to basic infrastructure like electricity, and the internet.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu published a video addressing the country’s Arab citizens on Monday, in which he apologized for inciting against them — and undermining the most basic of democratic standards — nearly a year and a half ago, on Israeli election day, when he warned that Arab voters were coming to the polls “in droves.” It’s doubtful that it took him the past year and a half to realize the error of his ways.

The timing is more likely related to Netanyahu’s attempts to push through “law and order” conditions he reportedly slapped on an already approved economic support package for Arab municipalities in Israel worth NIS 15 billion (nearly $4 billion). The package is meant to help narrow the yawning economic and social gaps between the Arab and Jewish sectors in Israel.

The fact that Netanyahu chose to put the video out this week is a slap in the face to the Bedouin citizens of Israel who live in the “unrecognized” village of al-Araqib, who have been facing demolitions and arrests while Netanyahu sat in his comfortable chair and recorded a video they couldn’t watch. Israeli authorities demolished the village for the 101st time Wednesday morning, the latest in a back-and-forth of demolition and rebuilding that has been ongoing since 2010. The village will mark six years of its struggle for recognition this Saturday.

Joint List Chairman MK Ayman Odeh published a response to Netanyahu’s video, in which points out that the 100,000 Arab citizens living in “unrecognized” villages like al-Araqib could not view the prime minister’s apology, since the state has never hooked them up to electricity or any other infrastructure — and certainly not internet connectivity.

[Click “CC” in the bottom right of the video if subtitles don’t appear automatically.]

Odeh nonchalantly mentions that Israel’s Arab citizens are natives of this land (mistakenly translated in the subtitles as “sons of the place”). What he means is that they are indigenous peoples, that they have just as much of a right to live here as Jews. This is of utmost importance, since Israel has never recognized this fact. When it comes to Bedouin land rights specifically, at the heart of...

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Year after teen's murder, largest turnout ever at Jerusalem Pride

Massive, unexpected turnout sent a powerful message in the wake of anti-LGBTQ hate speech in recent weeks. Yet the sterile police cordon in which the Pride Parade was forced to take place also served as an eerie reminder of its insecurity.

[Photo gallery follows the text.]

More than 25,000 Israelis turned out to march in Jerusalem’s 15th annual Pride Parade Tuesday evening, the largest turnout ever in the city’s history, coming a year after 16-year-old Shira Banki was stabbed to death in a hate crime targeting the march.

The massive turnout was uplifting and sent a powerful message in the wake of anti-LGBTQ hate speech by prominent rabbis in recent weeks, the refusal of Jerusalem’s mayor to attend the parade, and the cancelation of a smaller pride march in the southern city of Be’er Sheva a week earlier.

The huge number of security forces was impossible to ignore, however. Following the police’s tragic failure the previous year, and in response to alleged threats to attack this year’s parade, police set stringent entry requirements — namely, that all participants had to pass through a single entrance.

Thousands more than anyone expected showed up, leading to long lines at undermanned security checkpoints.

Once on the march route, participants passed by the exact location where Banki was murdered by ultra-Orthodox man Yishai Shlissel, who carried out a similar stabbing attack 10 years earlier and who was accused of attempting to orchestrate a third attack this year from behind bars. Participants placed flowers next to a giant photograph of 16-year-old Banki.

The security was so tight that no counter protesters were within sight, particularly, members of the racist Jewish purity group Lehava, which in the days leading up to the march distributed fliers offering gay conversion therapy. They were apparently cordoned off somewhere far away.

In fact, the streets were totally cleared of anyone but the marchers and policemen. The only passersby were people trying to join the march. It felt bizarre, like we were marching alone, among ourselves. It felt like all of downtown West Jerusalem was on lockdown.

And while the security appeared to dominate the scene, the record turnout brought with it an uplifting and bold declaration that Israel’s queer communities are here to stay.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat’s announcement a day earlier that he would not join the march (he never has) because, as he told Yedioth Ahronoth, “I  don’t want to be part of the harm to the ultra-Orthodox public and the Religious-Zionist public,” was the worst possible thing he could have said, suggesting a...

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Police arrest three minors in Bedouin village as expulsion efforts continue

Police arrest three children in ‘unrecognized’ village of Al-Araqib, as the Jewish National Fund continues its forestation project on village land. 

Two children, 12 and 13, were arrested in the unrecognized Bedouin village of al-Araqib in Israel’s south on Monday, as the Jewish National Fund (JNF) entered the village accompanied by police forces to resume cultivating land for a forestation project. Another youth was also arrested Tuesday morning, the circumstances of which are still unclear.

After a long and successful struggle to stop the JNF from cultivating the remaining plots of land that have not been destroyed, authorities returned this week, even establishing a camp southeast of the village’s cemetery.

Two minors were arrested for allegedly disrupting police conduct and assaulting an officer; they were released the following day and ordered to keep away from the plots for 30 days.

The land in question is currently in the process of ownership registration and has yet to be legally resolved. In 2012 an Israeli court ruled that no irreversible changes should be made on these plots of land, which the Bedouin families claim as their own. Despite promises made by JNF chairman Efi Stenzler to halt any work until the issue is cleared legally, tractors began plowing this week.

Al-Araqib has been demolished 100 times since July 2010. It is one of 35 “unrecognized” Bedouin villages in the Negev desert in southern Israel, which means Israel refuses to provide residents with connections to the national water and electricity grids, provide them with health and educational services, or any basic infrastructure.

Despite being citizens of Israel that are supposed to enjoy equal rights, the Israeli government and institutions such as the Israel Land Authority and Jewish National Fund have been waging a slow and methodical war of attrition against Bedouin residents of unrecognized villages in an effort to expel them.

As a result most of al-Araqib’s residents have indeed left to neighboring towns over the past several years. The tactics used by the state against these citizens are similar to those used in Area C of the occupied West Bank, where Palestinian residents have no rights, no representation, and their homes are repeatedly demolished.

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Israeli hotel warns Jewish guests 'there will be a lot of Arabs'

Hotels in Israel are offering their Jewish clients some vacation segregation.

Staff at the Magic Sunrise Hotel in Eilat have been making phone calls of their own volition to Jewish clientele who have reservations this weekend to warn them that there will be a lot of Arabs at the hotel due to the Muslim Eid el-Fitr holiday, and offering them to cancel or push back their reservation free of charge, according to a report on Israel’s Channel 10 Tuesday.

In one audio recording of a conversation (Hebrew), the hotel employee can be heard telling a client that it will be crowded due to the end of Ramadan holiday, and that most of the clientele will be from the “migzar,” which means the “sector” in Hebrew, a common euphemism for Israel’s large Arab minority, over 20 percent of the country’s population. The hotel employee goes on to state, “albeit it Israelis, but from the migzar.”

The reporters called back to make sure the earlier call had not been from just one rogue employee. Another reservations agent confirmed the practice, saying, the hotel warns guests “that there will be a lot of Arabs this weekend.” Some guests, he continued, thank the agents for “saving the vacation” with their warnings. “I say it to all of the guests, it’s important to say it.”

According to the Channel 10 report this is a policy implemented by the Fattal hotel chain — and it is not the first time.

The same thing happened at several hotels in September 2015 (I reported on it here), when the Jewish High Holidays overlapped with the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, except then the warnings were communicated at the time of booking. At the time, the Crown Plaza, Club Hotel and Astral Hotel were telling clients who called to make a reservation that they should take into account many Arabs will also be staying there.

Hotels in Israel, which in my experience are largely overpriced and not very generous, are offering their Jewish clients some vacation segregation.

As I wrote last year about the same phenomenon:

Imagine for a moment that a hotel employee warned a white American making a reservation that blacks would also be staying there at the same time. Or if a hotel warned Christian guests that they might have to share the pool with Jewish families. This is exactly the same.

The phenomenon...

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Israel demolishes Bedouin village al-Araqib for 100th time

Al-Araqib is one of 35 ‘unrecognized’ villages in Israel that authorities refuse to provide with water, electricity or basic infrastructure.

Israeli security forces demolished the Bedouin village of al-Araqib for the 100th time Wednesday morning. It was the second demolition during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, taking place while residents were fasting. The first demolition in the village took place almost exactly six years ago, on July 27, 2010.

Al-Araqib is one of 35 “unrecognized” Bedouin villages in the Negev desert in southern Israel, a definition which means Israel refuses to provide residents with connections to the national water and electricity grids, provide them with health and educational services, or any basic infrastructure.

Despite being citizens of Israel that are supposed to enjoy equal rights, the Israeli government and its agents like the Israel Land Authority and Jewish National Fund have been waging a slow and methodical war of attrition against Bedouin residents of unrecognized villages in an effort to expel them.

As a result, most of al-Araqib’s residents have indeed left over the years to neighboring towns. The tactics used by the state against these citizens is pretty much identical to that which it uses in Area C of the occupied West Bank, where Palestinian residents are deprived of basic services and their homes are repeatedly demolished.

Like countless plots of land in the Negev, al-Araqib was expropriated under the Land Appropriation Law of 1953. The law allowed the state to easily expropriate land for purposes of “development, settlement and security,” with a few ludicrous stipulations: that the land was not in its owner’s possession on April 1, 1952, and that the state use the land for purposes of development, settlement or security, or at least that it needs the land for those purposes.

In reality, the state dispossessed the village residents of their land, and has not once used it for any purpose. The only plans for al-Araqib are to plant a “forest” on its arid land.

Nearby, Israeli authorities are expelling the residents of another “unrecognized” Bedouin village, Umm el-Hiran, in order to build a Jewish town in its place.

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What it means when occupation is the consensus

A major Israeli university revokes a prize intended for Breaking the Silence claiming that its work opposing the occupation ‘isn’t in the national consensus.’ What does that say about Israel as a nation?

Breaking the Silence, an organization of former IDF soldiers who oppose Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians, was supposed to receive the Berelson Prize for Jewish-Arab Understanding from Ben-Gurion University this week, a NIS 20,000 ($5,100) award that the university’s Middle East studies department has given out annually for a quarter century.

However, university president Professor Rivka Carmi decided to overrule the decision and vetoed Breaking the Silence’s award. The reason the university cited is that the organization, which publishes testimonies of soldiers about their military service in the occupied territories, is “an organization that isn’t in the national consensus, and giving it the prize is liable to be interpreted as an appearance of political bias.”

As Haaretz pointed out, recipients of the prize in years past have “include[d] Egyptian playwright Ali Salem; Palestinian poet in Israel, Siham Daoud; the Parents Circle – Families Forum, an organization of bereaved Israeli and Palestinian families; Physicians for Human Rights; a bilingual school in the Galilee; Sikkuy – the Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality; and the Andalus publishing house.” Considering this list, Breaking the Silence does not constitute much more “political bias” than most of the others.

Carmi’s move to deliberately go out of her way and revoke the prize is rare and noteworthy, especially because she is thought of as a liberal and an advocate of academic freedom who has taken the Right to task for opposing those values. This is the same university and the same president who have been the targets of attacks by far-right-wing group Im Tirtzu, which in 2010 threatened to encourage donor boycotts of the university over what it deemed the “anti-Zionist tilt” of its politics and government department.

At the time, Carmi came out resolutely against Im Tirzu, becoming a prominent voice in Israel advocating for academic freedom. In a 2013 oped she wrote, “a strong Israel is one where everyone’s opinion can be heard without fear, if only to help us learn to articulate why we don’t agree.” This is also the same university that is home to professors like Oren Yitachel and Neve Gordon, whose work inside and outside the classroom highlights Israeli human rights violations and directly opposes Israeli occupation. Gordon has even come out...

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Israeli peaceniks release racist video to 'save Jerusalem'

A new video portrays a ‘nightmare scenario’ in which Jerusalem residents elect a Palestinian mayor.

One would think a group that calls itself “Save Jewish Jerusalem” would hail from the right side of the political spectrum. But when it comes to maintaining Israel’s demographic dominance, it seems there isn’t much of a difference between the Right and Left.

The initiative, which seeks to maintain control over Jerusalem through further disenfranchising its Palestinian residents, released a racist video on Wednesday, portraying a scenario set in 2020 in which an Arab is elected mayor of the city, after its Palestinian residents (nearly 40 percent of the population) decide to vote in municipal elections. Despite having the right to vote, Palestinians have largely boycotted Jerusalem’s municipal elections for the last 50 years in protest of Israel’s occupation and annexation of East Jerusalem.

In the video, which its creators fashioned as a horror-thriller, revolves around a Palestinian political leader trying to convince a group of militants that the only way to get Jerusalem back is to do exactly what Netanyahu warned about on election day last March: go to the polling stations “in droves.”

After years of trying to kill Israeli Jews in a variety of ways, the leader tells the militants that it is time to “beat them using their own weapon: democracy,” and convinces them that every Palestinian resident in the city should take advantage of their right to vote in municipal elections, since they are the majority. (The video assumes that by 2020, Palestinians will constitute over 50 percent of Jerusalem’s population).

The video then shows a Palestinian man armed with explosives and guns walking to a polling station. When he arrives he puts down all of his weapons down and instead wields his new weapon — a blue ID card. The video then flashes to two months later, when the leader of the group has become Jerusalem’s new mayor. The leader is congratulated over the phone with an “Allahu Akbar” and “the Temple Mount is in our hands,” a direct reference to a similar quote by Lt. Gen. Mordechai “Motta” Gur, whose IDF division captured the Old City of Jerusalem in the 1967 War. A large picture of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem is seen behind the new mayor’s desk, straddled by photographs of Netanyahu and Rabin.

The video is offensive and blatantly...

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After Tel Aviv attack, what is going back to business as usual?

Having a daily routine to go back to that is free of violence is a privilege that most Israelis have and most Palestinians do not.

I was out last night in Tel Aviv at a poetry book launch for a good friend when the news flashed on my phone that there was a shooting in the Sarona Market. I got that sinking feeling in my gut and couldn’t take my eyes off Twitter, even as I continued to drink my beer and listen to the recitation of deeply moving and thoughtful contemporary Hebrew poetry.

Life does go on here despite the violence. That’s just the reality. But when I read the statement by Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai that Israelis cannot let such terror “disrupt our lives” and that we should “return to business as usual” tomorrow, I become enraged. Why shouldn’t this disrupt our lives? It did disrupt our lives and will continue to disrupt the lives of many Israelis — among them, the victims, their families and friends, all the people who work in Sarona, all the people who have been there, who live around there, etc. Why should we continue to sip our cappuccinos and beers without being disrupted and disturbed? Why shouldn’t such an act, and so many others like it, cause us to take pause?

The word “disruption” here also dismisses the fact that the lives of so many Palestinians are “disrupted” all the time. The entire city of Yatta, where the two murderers are from — a population of about 65,000 people in the occupied West Bank — is now under military lockdown. This is collective punishment, a mass “disruption” if you will, on top of the already systematic “disruption” of military occupation. No Israeli city, town or settlement has ever been under lockdown after one of its residents committed a violent act against Palestinians.

Mayor Huldai implored us to go back to our routine, back to business as usual. But this is completely misguided. Many people often comment on how remarkable it is that Israelis can just go on with their lives within all the terror. But strength and resilience will not come from trying to push reality aside, disregarding the entire picture and continuing on as if life here is normal. Rather true strength will come from looking critically and deeply at all the factors that go into perpetuating systematic,...

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Border Police assault Arab supermarket employee in central Tel Aviv

Eyewitnesses say Border Police officers attacked an Arab worker in central Tel Aviv after he allegedly refused to show them his identity card. Police: The suspect refused to identify himself and attacked the police officers, biting one of them.

An Arab employee of a supermarket located on the main thoroughfare of Ibn Gvirol Street, opposite Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, was reportedly beaten by plainclothes Border Police officers on Sunday afternoon. According to several eyewitnesses, the motive behind the beating was the employee’s ethnicity.

While it is still unclear what exactly happened, we do have several eyewitnesses who posted statuses on Facebook, one of whom spoke to +972, as well as a report published by Israeli news sites, among them Walla! . According to these sources,  an employee of Yuda Market, a mini-market, went out to dispose of some garbage, when he was approached by a plainclothes officer who, without identifying himself, demanded to see the man’s identity card. When the employee said his I.D. card was inside the store and asked the Border Police officer to identify himself, he and a friend began beating him. More officers and other citizens quickly joined in. The video published by Walla! shows there were numerous people involved in the assault.

This is an excerpt from the Facebook status of Erez Krispin, one of the eyewitnesses:

“His only sin was that he’s not a Jew,” said Kobi Cohen, the owner of the supermarket, to a reporter from Walla! News. +972 has tried to contact Cohen for comment but he has not yet responded.

Israel Police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld told +972:

The police response does not confirm or deny the fact that the man is, according to his employer, an Israeli citizen, a Bedouin from a Negev town. This would counter the claim that he was a Palestinian without a work permit Given the number of people seen in the video beating this one man, it is not surprising that some of the policemen were bruised in the fracas.

According to a local Palestinian media outlet, his name is Maysam Abu-Alqi’an. He was reportedly treated at Ichilov hospital, Sunday evening.

Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh responded to the incident, saying that “Instead of serving and protecting Arab citizens, the police presents a genuine danger to their safety.”

MK Dov Khenin, also of the Joint List, said he has turned to the Minister of Public Security with an...

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WATCH: Israel Prize winner on why he's giving prize money to Ta'ayush

Prof. David Shulman won Israel’s most prestigious prize. He’s giving the prize money to one of Israel’s most dedicated — and persecuted — activist groups. Here’s why.

I often get comments, specifically from family members, that I never write anything positive about Israel. So here is something positive.

Prof. David Shulman, Renee Lang Professor of Humanistic Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who just received the Israel Prize in Religious Studies for his work on Indian languages and culture, decided to donate his prize money (NIS 75,000, or about $20,000) to Ta’ayush, the group of Israeli activists who engage in non-violent direct actions to assist and protect the livelihood of Palestinian residents of the South Hebron Hills against the various hazards of occupation. (Full disclosure: I have been active with Ta’ayush since 2008, know David, and am all also a fan of his writing on Israel/Palestine, for example see here.)

Shulman, who has been active with Ta’ayush for the last 15 years, explains in this video what exactly the group, which was founded at the start of the Second Intifada and has been the target of right-wing incitement in recent months, does.

I think it’s interesting to note that most of the Israeli media outlets who covered the story characterized Ta’ayush  as a “left-wing organization,” (Haaretz in Hebrew), “anti-Israel” (Arutz Sheva) and Haaretz English originally called it “pro-Palestinian” but then changed it to “Israeli group that helps Palestinians.”

I haven’t seen a single outlet call it what it is: an activist group doing humanitarian work in the  West Bank. (Ta’ayush has just opened a new “front” of activism in the Jordan Valley.)

Ta’ayush, as David notes in the video, is not an organization, but a loose-knit group of people who dedicate their Saturdays to activism that affects the reality on the ground for Palestinians who live in Area C and have no representation or rights. You could call it “left-wing” inasmuch as it champions human rights and dignity and opposes Israel’s military occupation.

It is not anti-Israel, unless you think that being pro-Israel means supporting systematic violence and harassment of Palestinian civilians, depriving them of infrastructure and water, of security and schooling, and of the right to a basic livelihood. As for “pro-Palestinian,” this has a zero-sum connotation that it could be “anti-Israel” or somehow against Israeli interests, which is...

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Standing up to the monopoly on mourning in Israel

For those of us who confront the realities of what goes on here every day, especially those of us who cannot escape it, or who make it part of our profession, every day is a form of Memorial Day and Independence Day. That is what we are trying to change.

I went to one of my regular 6:45 p.m. yoga classes Tuesday night, knowing that at 8 p.m., just 15 minutes before the class ended, a siren for fallen soldiers and terror victims would sound. It was Israel’s Memorial Day. I wondered what I would do. I didn’t want to stop and stand in silence, but I also didn’t want to be the asshole that didn’t stand.

We had gotten to a shoulder stand position, usually the last pose before shavasana (the restorative “corpse” pose). The teacher wasn’t sure whether to stop the class or not, so she sort of deferred to us. Those who wanted to got out of their pose and stood. I stayed in the shoulder stand, remaining as erect and still as possible in the position, which is also known as the candle pose, which is fitting considering people light candles for the fallen on Memorial Day.

Being upside down for the Memorial Day siren made perfect sense to me, a metaphor for the tragic backwardness of this place. It enabled me to at once challenge the state’s rites while still respecting those who are gone and those who continue to suffer. After many years, I inadvertently found the way that suited me best.

For me and many other leftists in Israel — those who question what the state is and does, criticize it and engage in actions that challenge it out of a commitment to equality and human rights — Memorial Day and Independence Day are problematic and frustrating. Seeing the flags everywhere and silently following the herd in the state’s rituals doesn’t feel right. There is no self-reflection or humility or questioning — the qualities most needed in 2016 Israel. (Just this morning, Naftali Bennett repeated a statement that has become a government mantra: the IDF pays a heavy price for being the most moral army in the world and no one, no one has the right to preach to this nation on morality and values.)

But not wanting to participate in these rituals because you don’t subscribe to the mainstream narrative...

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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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