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  • Dissent in Israel: On the margins, yes, in the mainstream, no

    Regarding the controversy over Mairav Zonszein's 'New York Times' op-ed: An ongoing climate of fear and suspicion is not conducive to ‘vibrant democracy.’ It is unfriendly to left-wing protest over security matters.    Since my colleague Mairav Zonszein published her ballbuster op-ed “How Israel Silences Dissent” in the New York Times several days ago, there’s been – what a surprise – a backlash. There was one substantive counterpoint to the article, though, by self-described leftist Noah Efron in Haaretz, who wrote that the instances mentioned by Zonszein of threats, sanctions and violence against opponents of the Gaza war also disturbed…

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  • All Israelis are implicated in the occupation

    Rather than an army secret, the systems supporting the occupation include such normal institutions as taxation, infrastructure projects, the education system and, of course, army service. The debate over refuseniks from IDF intelligence unit 8200 unleashed acrimonious debates all week. While I have already observed some of them, here are a few more that stand out. Carolina Landsmann has one of the most powerful opinion pieces I’ve read in a long time, in Haaretz. It may yet appear in English, but for now the excerpts here are my translation. Like one former member of Unit 8200 who spoke to me,…

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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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  • The world is letting Israel get away with it again

    The assault on Gaza has hurt this country’s image, and it doesn’t care. There’s no doubt that this past month of heavily televised overkill in Gaza – well, heavily televised everywhere but here – has hurt Israel’s standing in the world. The IDF has killed too many civilians, wiped out too many families, bombed too many UN shelters. Even Washington has used words like “indefensible” and “disgraceful” to describe some of Israel’s acts. And while the world’s powers-that-be don’t like Hamas, they do like the Palestinian Authority and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas, and they know very well that the Netanyahu government…

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  • PHOTOS: Gaza's half-million internally displaced

    Photos by: Basel Yazouri and Anne Paq/Activestills.org Text by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler The most commonly cited statistic from Gaza is the death toll, now rising past 1,814, according to UN figures. Such numbers can be numbing, as absorbing the reality of so many faces and names is impossible. Yet another staggering figure that is difficult to comprehend is the number of people displaced from their homes, which the UN estimates at 520,000. Gaza's half-million displaced residents are one of the most obvious refutations of the the accusation that Hamas uses "human shields." The Guardian has reported "large numbers of people fleeing…

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  • Blame Israel and Hamas both for Gaza’s civilian deaths

    Sorting through the propaganda war. The main outrage now, in the fourth day (Friday) of Operation Protective Edge, as Israel calls it, is the rising number of killings of Palestinian civilians by Israeli airstrikes, mainly as a result of attacks on residential buildings where militants live or are thought to live. Haaretz reported that the Palestinian Health Ministry said that of the 86 Gazans killed by Wednesday night, most were children (22), women (15) and the elderly (12). And that didn’t count the five members, at least, of the Ghaneem family in Rafah who were killed when their four-story building,…

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  • Why Israel's response to the kidnappings feels awfully familiar

    If the past is any gauge of what's to come, things are not looking good in the West Bank - neither for the Palestinians who remain under occupation there, nor for the three missing teenagers. From a Haaretz report: The Israel Defense Forces plans to arrest additional senior Hamas officials. Yesterday security forces arrested 65 key members of Hamas' political wing in an early-morning operation in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Among those arrested were eight ministers of the Hamas government who reside in the West Bank, and 20 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. The mayor of the town…

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  • The Israeli media’s hit job on MK Haneen Zoabi

    In a now-infamous radio interview, the nation’s Public Enemy No. 1 made it clear she disagreed with the kidnapping of the three Israeli boys. But that part has been edited out of the story by every major news medium except 'Haaretz.' Once again, Knesset member Haneen Zoabi, a Palestinian from Nazareth, is Public Enemy No. 1 in Israel. The Knesset just gave her a bodyguard because of all the death threats she's been getting, and she's being investigated for incitement. Everyone is convinced she endorsed the kidnappings of the three Israeli teenagers. I was convinced, too, after I heard the…

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  • Pathologizing ethnicity: Are Mizrahim really more prone to violence?

    A recent article claims that the higher rates of ADHD among Mizrahim leads them to violence. But can one really make such sweeping statements about an entire demographic group without looking at the broader social context? By Marcelo Weksler (translated from Hebrew by Anat Goldman) On March 16, 2014, Dr. Shlomi Antebi, an expert on Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), published an article in Haaretz (Hebrew) with the shocking headline: "The most severe and potentially violent cases of ADHD diagnoses in Israel are of Mizrahim descent." By attributing “Mizrahi violence” to a mental condition, the headline reasserts the popular image…

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  • Jeffrey Goldberg joins the 'Haaretz'-bashing club

    American columnist's liberalism stops at Ben-Gurion Airport. But then again, we already knew that. For many years there was a running joke at Haaretz is that if every person who called to cancel their subscription actually had one, the paper wouldn't have suffered a financial crisis. The latest to join the club is Jeffrey Goldbreg, who tweeted earlier today: Ok, maybe it's just time to stop reading Haaretz for a little while. An important issue, but a crazed presentation: http://t.co/VV1RDN8FjV — Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) June 5, 2014   What made Goldberg jump was an article by Palestinian columnist Salman Masalha…

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  • The tragedy of the lost Yemenite children: In the footsteps of the adoptees

    Between the years 1948 and 1952, thousands of Yemenite babies, children of immigrants to the newly-founded State of Israel were allegedly taken away from their parents and given up for adoption to Ashkenazi families. Now, poet and activist Shlomi Hatuka goes back and speaks to the adoptees about one of the most painful, covered-up stories in the history of the state. By Shlomi Hatuka (translated by Miriam Erez) Dedicated to my grandmother, who gave birth to twins in a hospital, and came home with only one of them. May her memory be a blessing. In Tsipi Talmor’s documentary film, Down…

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  • Ari Shavit: Apocalypse now, apocalypse forever

    Ari Shavit, one of Haaret'z most renowned columnists, has been warning Israelis of the coming apocalypse from time immemorial. But whether he is talking about the Iranian nuclear program or a future Palestinian state, not one of Shavit's nightmare scenario's come true. Perhaps it is time we stop taking him seriously. By False Prophet Blog (translated by Jordan Michaeli) Should Ari Shavit be taken seriously? We are, after all, talking about a senior commentator from Haaretz here. When a significant event takes place, the newspaper's editors almost always decide to publish his commentary. Apparently, serious people see Shavit as an…

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