I wish there was a kinder, gentler way than acts of ostracism to get Israel to end the occupation, but those ways have failed terribly. I would not join a BDS protest; I'm a "two-stater" who believes Israel should remain a Jewish state because the alternatives would be worse, who believes Israel's "original sin" is the occupation, not Zionism, and so I don't think I'd really feel at home at your average BDS demonstration. There seems to be way too much loathing for everything about Israel in the movement - which is not to say everyone in the movement…Read More... | 53 Comments
By choosing to avoid the Presidential Conference - an annual meeting of Israeli generals, politicians and business elites with their international fans, Prof. Hawking reminds that the occupation cannot be forgotten or avoided. A response to Haaretz's Carlo Strenger. The British Guardian on Wednesday reported that Prof. Stephen Hawking has cancelled his appearance at the fifth Presidential Conference due to take place this June, in protest of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. The report was later confirmed by Cambridge University. A spokeperson for the Jerusalem-based conference called Hawking’s decision “outrageous and improper." One of Haaretz’s leading lefty columnists, Carlo Strenger, wrote an open letter to Hawking echoing…Read More... | 71 Comments
For two student activists in Washington D.C., Israel Apartheid Week – and using the term 'apartheid' – is an opportunity to alter perceptions and the discourse surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Whereas 'occupation' defines Israel/Palestine as a military struggle with ambiguous moral implications, 'apartheid' describes a civil rights struggle with a clear moral imperative. By Joshua B. Michaels and Benjamin L. Mandel This month, cities and campuses across the U.S. participated in the 9th Annual Israeli Apartheid Week. As the apartheid paradigm becomes more and more pervasive throughout American political discourse when discussing Israel, it is fair to ask: what is meant by "apartheid?"…Read More... | 56 Comments
People who see Netanyahu as the great Jewish avenger should know how low he's willing to go in exploiting the memory of Jewish suffering. I can never get over the shamelessness with which Israeli nationalist power freaks will exploit people's memories of anti-Semitic persecution for their own low purposes. Nobody's better at it than Netanyahu; he can barely make a speech without waving around a document or two from some Holocaust-era archive. And he's always got that furious expression on his face, as if to warn his audience not to even dare think that he's faking it, that he's…Read More... | 41 Comments
Is there growing realization within Israeli society that the social, political, moral, and military basis of the occupation is unsustainable? If so, perhaps 'The Gatekeepers' need not change people’s minds, so much as express them. A college professor once taught me that a decaying empire clenches onto power with a chokehold. Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian people may not be an empire, but after nearly forty-six years, it has become a sort of reigning paradigm of Israeli life. The Israeli Left has challenged, but never truly shifted, that paradigm. In 2009 a particularly right-wing government was established after a particularly…Read More... | 9 Comments
NEW YORK -- After more than a week of controversy, including an editorial in the New York Times and a statement from Mayor Bloomberg, Brooklyn College hosted a discussion of BDS with Judith Butler and Omar Barghouti and nothing happened. That fact alone seems worthy of a story these days. In a post for +972, Mairav Zonszein wrote eloquently about the outrageous attempts to intimidate the college into canceling the event. Alan Dershowitz started the whole controversy, but New York City public officials were quick to follow, with several threatening to cut the college's funding. The New York Times published…Read More... | 59 Comments
After Alan Dershowitz started a campaign against a BDS panel at Brooklyn College, the institution's funding was threatened by 'pro-Israel' officials. The college stuck to its guns, but the entire fiasco is an excellent example of the double standard ailing the debate on Israel in the U.S. Israel is once again at the center of a heated debate in the U.S., pitting the so-called "pro-Israel" types against the so-called "anti-Israel" types. This time it's not Obama, it's not Chuck Hagel – it's Brooklyn College. An event scheduled to take place at the institution tomorrow (Thursday) will feature UC Berkeley professor and Jewish Voice…Read More... | 24 Comments
The last paragraph of the UN Human Rights Council-sanctioned report on Israeli settlements may lay the legal and practical foundations for a new, untried regime of economic and trade sanctions against Israel, or at least provide new tools to those already advocating BDS. The UNHRC-sanctioned International Fact Finding Mission’s report on Israeli settlements is by no means the harshest UN document on Israel. But its last paragraph introduces one element that previously existed only in small pro-Palestinian and human rights activist circles. Namely, it puts the “S” back in BDS. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign has had mixed, but…Read More... | 24 Comments
A new Livni ad warns the public that Netanyahu and Lieberman will bring an 'international boycott' on Israel. The condemnations Israel has suffered following the government's decision to set in motion the development plans for the area known as E1 didn't affect Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's standing in the polls, but they certainly registered with some Israelis. One of the greatest fears of the old Israeli elite – that the occupation will result in international isolation, sanctions and boycott – seems to have taken a major step into materializing. This fear is evident in a new billboard campaign Tzipi Livni's…Read More... | 18 Comments
"Those who reject dialogue as a means of ending occupation are alienating even the most sympathetic activists by positing replacement of one monumental injustice - occupation oppression and dispossession - with another: envisaging the disappearance of most Israelis from the region." An argument for why the Palestinian struggle could benefit from a new approach to dialogue. By A.M. Poppy On 10 September 2012, Noam Sheizaf wrote here that his experience with the anti-normalization debate shows “the futility of any form of ‘dialogue’ at this point in time. As long as the political issue remains unsolved, such contacts make both sides more…Read More... | 44 Comments
The Russell Tribunal is meant to expose and provide accountability for human rights abuses committed by Israel against Palestinians. But in privileging 'expert' voices over those of the victims, does it actually reinforce dominant power structures? By Elisha Baskin The fourth and final session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine took place this past weekend in New York City. The tribunal is an “international people’s tribunal created in response to the international community’s inaction regarding Israel’s recognized violations of international law.” Its stated goal is to address the complacency and responsibility of the United States, the United Nations and other…Read More... | 7 Comments
Hakem* believes that armed struggle and the strategic use of violence is the only way to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He calls BDS 'silly' and says Hamas has gone soft. He calls Israel 'the entity' and says it must be dismantled. After that, Hakem adds, Jews are welcome to stay. The situation in the West Bank is increasingly hopeless. The cost of living is spiraling out of control. Steady work is hard to find. Israeli settlements keep growing. And with the West Bank carved up by the Oslo Accords and Gaza under blockade, a Palestinian state seems more out of…Read More... | 57 Comments
Could there be a joint political space for radical Jewish leftists and activists in the Palestinian diaspora when anti-normalization is on the rise? Should there be one? Anti-normalization is becoming one of the hottest topics in progressive Israeli and Palestinian circles (ironically, it is not a problem for those elements of society who never been in touch with each other or oppose any form of common existence). Almost any event or activity – even ones which are done in resistance to the occupation – lead to debates on the merit and the legitimacy of joint actions. Here is one example. The…Read More... | 45 Comments
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The effects of occupation on minors.
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