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  • For the Israeli media, Gazan lives are little more than expendable

    Nearly two months after the end of Operation Protective Edge, the Israeli media refuses to ask the difficult questions. Who decided that killing entire families is now allowed? What is the justification for doing so? And why won't the army explain why it killed five members of the Joudah family? Why doesn't anyone care about the Joudah family? Nearly two months have passed since Israeli Air Force pilots bombed their yard in Gaza, killing the mother of the family and four of her children. Until today, the IDF has not published an explanation of the incident. Actually, almost no one…

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  • The Beaten Path: Baha'i Haifa, Banana St. and the ultimate Other (part 3)

    From afar, the flight of the fancy complex and the boxy city appear rather harmonious. It is upon close inspection that they are revealed to be made up of entirely contradicting notions. The second stop on Yuval Ben-Ami's journey to deconstruct Israel's well-worn tourist trail is something of an exception, in every sense of the word. Welcome to Haifa's Baha'i Gardens. A few weeks ago, my dear friend Osnat had an interesting experience on the slopes of Mt. Carmel. It happened when she came to visit the famed Baha'i Gardens: an astounding pillar of greenery rising up from Haifa's port district,…

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  • Ultra-Orthodox Jews tear down 'bat mitzvah' ads in Jerusalem

    Buses carrying 'Women of the Wall' advertisements are vandalized and attacked; until earlier this year the Egged bus company refused to run ads featuring photos of women in Jerusalem. Unlike the majority of Jewish communities in western countries, most girls in Israel do not usually have bat mitzvah ceremonies. A new Jerusalem campaign promoting the right of girls to have the ceremonies at the Western Wall has been met with violence by ultra-Orthodox elements in the city. Busses carrying the advertisements, paid for by Women of the Wall, have been vandalized and the posters themselves ripped off of public buses.…

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  • WATCH: Reflections on Gaza — from Likud to 'Women Waging Peace'

    Over a month after this summer’s devastating Gaza war, small groups of Israelis are starting to reflect on what was and what will be. From a debate hosted by the youth wing of Israel’s ruling Likud party to a new group called Women Waging Peace and the Parents Circle forum of bereaved families, Social TV visits with those who are ready to start talking. Related: Channeling loss to stimulate change: 71 days of dialogue In my name, in your name, in all of our names

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  • How the very concept of human rights has failed Palestinians

    Certain rights should be inalienable — yet Israel refuses to grant them to Palestinians and the world continues to treat the country as a rights-based democracy. What does this absurdity say about human rights as a political tool, and about the powers, entities and institutions that speak in their name? Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee chairman MK David Rotem laid out some of his beliefs and world views in an extensive interview with Israeli financial daily Globes a few weeks ago. One of Rotem’s statements – which made the headline of the piece - was that “human rights are [reserved]…

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  • Nine more Jewish families take over Silwan homes in dead of night

    If settling Jews beyond the Green Line in Palestinian East Jerusalem is legitimate, why are organizations sneaking in settlers in the middle of the night? Nine Jewish Israeli families took over two empty buildings in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem overnight Sunday. According to the NGO Ir Amim, the families took control over 10 housing units in two buildings in the heart of Silwan. They moved in under the auspices of Ateret Cohanim, a settler organization based in the Muslim quarter of the Old City that works to create a Jewish demographic majority in East Jerusalem. This latest takeover comes…

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  • For near identical crimes, an Israeli and a Palestinian’s fate couldn’t be more different

    A Palestinian hit-and-run suspect is sent to prison and winds up dead; a Jewish suspected of a similar but deadlier crime in the West Bank is sent home to his family. By John Brown* (translated by Sol Salbe) Three months ago, on July 25, Raed al Jabari, a 35-year-old a father of five, was driving on Route 60 through the West Bank. He apparently fell asleep at the wheel (having earlier taken painkillers). Near the Gush Etzion Junction he hit a woman standing on the road. The woman was slightly injured. Immediately afterwards, he veered sharply back onto the road…

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  • Most Jewish Israelis oppose Palestinian state, new poll shows

    No poll is perfect, but this one happens to be an accurate reflection of the Israeli government's policies, much of its rhetoric, and the reality on the ground. A large majority of Jewish Israeli citizens (74 percent) oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 borders, according to a new poll conducted by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, a right-wing think tank. The organization also found that 76 percent oppose a Palestinian state if it means dividing Jerusalem. The poll surveyed 505 Jewish Israelis, dividing them along their personal political orientation. Three hundred and four identified themselves as right wing,…

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  • Can a Mizrahi girl fit into Israel's national story?

    I grew up in a place where my first name was nothing more than a word on my identification card. Where the Holocaust was something that didn't belong to me. Where my story had no place. All because of my ethnicity.  By Adi Sadaka Ever since I was a young girl and through my years growing up in Kiryat Tiv'on, I found myself trying my best to conceal my last name. In the small town where I lived in Israel's north, the heartland of Ashkenazi identity, I felt, without even understanding what I was feeling at the time, that it was better…

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  • How the Israeli media covers massacres: Lessons from 1953

    The killing was justified, the terrorists hid among the civilian population, the West is anti-Semitic, and on second thought, perhaps the whole thing never actually happened. From the 1953 Qibya massacre to Operation Protective Edge, the Israeli media is the same media, and the lies the same lies. By John Brown At 9:30 p.m. on the night of October 14, 1953, soldiers from Israel's Paratroopers Unit as well as Commando Unit 101 fired mortars at the West Bank villages (then under Jordanian control) of Qibya and Ni'lin. Following the barrage, over 130 soldiers swarmed Qibya, laying down land mines on the…

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  • PHOTOS: Palestinians watch harvest season disappear before their eyes

    In the village of Salem, as elsewhere in the West Bank, Palestinians are forced to harvest their olives according to the whims and restrictions of Israeli authorities. Photos and text by: Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org As every year in October, Palestinian families in the West Bank head to their groves in order to begin the olive harvest season. The harvest for any given family might take a few days or several weeks depending on the number of olive trees they have. In the village of Salem, near Nablus, the daily olive harvest routine is for families to go out at 6:00 in…

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  • At Open Hillel conference, Jews demand their spot at the communal table

    By demanding their voices be heard, Open Hillel students are making dissent within the Jewish community impossible to deny. By Sarah Anne Minkin Hillel is the Jewish home for college students. With more than 550 Hillels worldwide, mainly in North America, it is one of the primary sites where young Jews express, explore, and cultivate their Jewishness. So a few years ago when Hillel International, the parent organization, imposed strict guidelines around engagement with Israel, many students were upset to find themselves facing formal prohibitions. After years of struggles within Hillels over who was in the “big tent” of Jewish…

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  • Instead of voting to recognize Palestine, vote against occupation

    Opposing Israeli settlements is not necessarily a vote for Palestine. The British Parliament's non-binding, purely symbolic vote to recognize the "State of Palestine" on Monday was not as significant as the debate that preceded the vote (read the full transcript here). Several media outlets noted conservative MP Richard Ottaway's speech, a longtime Israel supporter who expressed genuine indignation with its latest announcement of more settlements as the reason behind his yes vote. As John Cassidy at The New Yorker put it, "for any true friend of Israel, Ottaway’s words will be hard to ignore." In fact, Ottoway sounded more like a spouse who has suddenly discovered…

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