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  • Now is the time for American Jews to speak up on Israel

    As an Israeli in the U.S. I learned that criticizing Israel is not an option for many American Jews. But there is a legitimate way to criticize Israeli policy, and if you care about someone or something you won't let it go astray. By Abraham Gutman We were sitting in front of a lagoon at the top of a volcano in Costa Rica. We were happy to get some rest after the three-hour hike, and took a short swim in the freezing water. With us was a group of tourists along with a local guide. There was a Dutch man,…

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  • New law would demote Arabic language in the name of 'social cohesion'

    Members of Knesset say law builds a 'collective identity' that will preserve the 'values of democracy.' By Orly Noy A group of MKs from Yisrael Beiteinu, Likud and Jewish Home recently submitted a bill that calls to rescind the status of Arabic as an official language in Israel. On its own, the bill is neither out of the ordinary nor surprising, as it joins a long list of draft laws that were brought before the Knesset plenum over the past years, including the Citizenship Law, the Nakba Law, the Loyalty Law, the Basic Law that declares Israel as the nation state…

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  • WATCH: Children long for kites, not bombs, in Gaza skies

    Musa, Widad and thousands of Palestinian children in Gaza had cried out for the world’s attention when they broke the Guinness World Record. Had we heeded their message, perhaps the sky over Gaza today would not be choked with plumes of smoke. By Nitin Sawhney and Roger Hill Four years ago we began making a documentary film focused on two charismatic teenagers in the Gaza Strip, whose passion for kites seemed unusually spirited in a place beset by years of blockade and deprivation. Along with thousands of other Palestinian children, they were determined to break the Guinness World Record for…

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  • Why did Netanyahu take aim at Gaza's tallest towers?

    The answer has nothing to do with alleged militants. The third of three Gaza towers felled by Israeli F-16s housed, among other offices, a media consultancy representing several international news organizations. But when Al Basha Tower was hit early Tuesday morning, that consultancy had already been driven out by Israeli shelling, which had destroyed its eighth-floor office on July 30. "The first time we were hit, it was a random Israeli shell," said Saud Abu Ramadan, who has owned the office since 2007 and works as a stringer for American, Spanish, and Japanese news outlets. "But this time," the 50-year-old…

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  • As violence rises, Muslim moderates must do more

    My colleagues at 'Let Us Build Pakistan' and I have discovered various overlapping interests on certain issues and we occasionally cross-post material that we think our audiences would find relevant. Here is one such article I found interesting. Against the background of a fresh wave of violence in the Middle East, a Muslim writer calls for introspection. By Asif Zaidi The following book review in The Telegraph addresses two recently published books mainly defending British Muslims. A friend sent me the article, hoping that it will help me “see the light.” But I believe the review downplays some significant problems.…

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  • Gaza deaths aren't worth a mention in leading Israeli newspaper

    Five members of the Joudah family were killed by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza on Sunday. Yedioth Ahronoth, one of Israel's most widely-read papers, dedicated not a single word to the incident. Monday's issue of Yedioth Ahronoth, the "newspaper of the country," includes not a single mention of the fact that the IDF killed a mother, her four children and another two-year old girl on Sunday. Nothing. Doesn't exist. Didn't happen. This morning, Yedioth readers were greeted with plenty of information about what happened in southern Israel. The front page discusses the tragic death of four-year-old Daniel Tragerman, as well…

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  • Why does the Israeli left oppose MK Haneen Zoabi?

    The Zionist left doesn't oppose Zoabi because of her controversial comments or her participation in the Gaza flotilla. It opposes her because she calls for full equality. (Translated by Sol Salbe) Last week Haaretz columnist Ravit Hecht wrote that any true leftist ought to oppose Haneen Zoabi. True, Hecht did concede that the question "is not a legal question but a moral one"; that is, she recognizes Zoabi's right to continue serving in the Knesset (truly magnanimous of you, Ravit!). However, later on in the piece she falls squarely in line with all the right-wing accusations against Zoabi, from support for terrorism…

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  • No, Hamas isn’t ISIS, ISIS isn’t Hamas

    But equating the two is Netanyahu’s latest way of hypnotizing people into supporting the Gaza war. He gets away with it because people are afraid that if they challenge this idiotic slogan, they’ll be accused of ‘defending Hamas.’ Anybody who isn’t a shill for Israel can see through Netanyahu’s new slogan, “Hamas is ISIS, ISIS is Hamas.” It’s such a crude attempt to brainwash people, to put the most horrifying image in their minds and associate it with Gaza, thereby cleansing Israel of those images of Gaza’s agony. Like he’s been doing his whole career, Netanyahu is insulting people’s intelligence,…

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  • Israeli peace activism: Same slogans for a different reality

    As a fundamental human desire and right, peace traverses time and context. However, if it is to be realized it must be adjusted to political and social realities. By Nadia Naser-Najjab In a period degraded by extremes of violence and dehumanization, the sight of 10,000 Israeli protestors taking to the streets of Tel Aviv last Saturday to protest against their own government’s actions in Gaza appeared as a welcome chink of light illuminating unremittingly bleak skies. Despite being smaller in scale, the demonstration recalled the early 1990s, when large numbers of Israelis demonstrated in favor of peace, and the possibility…

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  • How the IDF turned a Palestinian house into a military post

    Shattered televisions, clothes and food scattered everywhere, clogged toilets, walls covered in drawings, stolen jewelry. These are the scenes that awaited Palestinians in Gaza upon returning to their homes that were used as IDF military posts. By Alexandr Nabokov The devastation is total. Furniture is overturned, clothes are torn out of the closets and scattered around. Though I try to avoid it, I trample on them as I walk over broken glass, food scraps and cartridge cases. The walls are scribbled with Hebrew writing; large maps of the surrounding houses, along with guard schedules. I am inside a house that…

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  • What would Israelis say to families of civilian casualties in Gaza?

    The personal losses of Al Mezan’s team are a microcosm of what Israel’s military operation is doing to Gaza’s population. If Israelis met them face-to-face, would they tell them the same excuses for those civilian deaths as they tell themselves and the world?  By Amjad Iraqi On August 21, the father, step-mother and niece of Issam Younis, director-general of the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza, were killed as a result of an Israeli air strike on a nearby house; five other family members, including a three-year old and two-month old, were wounded. The home of another Al…

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  • Israel's other war: Silencing Palestinian citizens

    Despite all my years of coexistence camps with Jewish Israelis, I’m starting to lose sight of peace. How can there be peace when Israel does nothing to stop the violent attacks against its Palestinian citizens? By Shadan Jabareen I had just finished my second year at Tel Aviv University and wanted to remain in the city for the summer to work, so I applied for a job at a bookshop in Ben Gurion Airport in late June; they needed employees. The operations coordinator was impressed with my fluency in Arabic, Hebrew and English, so we scheduled an interview. After explaining the requirements…

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  • Israelis in the U.S. urge the Jewish community to take a closer look at Gaza

    'We are reaching out to you because we want to re-examine what it means to be pro-Israel or pro-Palestine,' says a public letter published by Israelis for a Sustainable Future. 'We argue that these terms might be one and the same.' A group of Israelis living in the U.S. has published an open letter the the American Jewish community, calling on it to join them in opposition to the war in Gaza and the years-long blockade Israel has imposed on the Strip. While condemning Hamas' targeting of civilians, the group states that "maintaining the occupation is what this war is…

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