No amount of Tweeting, tagging, posting or liking will save Gazans from an Israeli ground invasion. So why bother? By Corey Sherman Recent political upheavals in the Middle East tend to have a social media subplot, whether it's how savvy youth use it to subvert harsh authority, or how states manipulate access to it so as to stop such subversion. There’s the story about how State-Department-Official-cum-Google-Ideas-Chief, Jared Cohen, requested that Twitter delay a scheduled maintenance of their network to enable Iranians to continue to use the platform to organize during the harsh crackdown on post-election protests in 2009. Or how…Read More... | 10 Comments
Like the failed peace process or the policy of severing Gaza from the West Bank, the plight of the Bedouin in Israel is one more long-term problem that there is just no time to solve. Two Israeli sisters, 10 and 13, were wounded yesterday by Hamas rocket fire in the Negev. One of them is in critical condition with stomach wounds and underwent emergency surgery in Be'er Sheva, according to Israeli news. Maram and Atir Wakili are Bedouin; their grandfather Ibrahim, interviewed on Channel 10, explained that they live in far-flung areas where they are unable to hear sirens. And if…Read More... | 6 Comments
Israel says that 'no country in the world' would agree to live under the threat of Gaza's rockets, but ignores its own culpability in its 100-eyes-for-an eye spiral of violence. Text and photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org One of the common talking points used to defend Israel’s pummeling of Gaza is that “no country in the world" would agree to live under the threat of rockets. (Robert Fisk gives at least one historic example to the contrary.) But thin as the argument may be, it begs the question: Why single out Israel for criticism? Here’s one guess: has any other self-declared…Read More... | 18 Comments
Over the past several years, Israel’s Ministry of Justice has found itself a new angle for engaging in public diplomacy: defending some of the worst pieces of Knesset legislation, while celebrating whatever outcome the court hands down when they are challenged. By Hagai El-Ad Human rights are neither a theoretical concept nor a distant vision: for human beings, human rights are either a foundation for a just life – or, more often, humans are deprived of them. In such realities, the enumeration of rights becomes an enumeration of grievances. For human rights organizations, that enumeration of grievances becomes a workplan.…Read More... | 8 Comments
How the 'worst video ever made' can help clarify things for people who are yet undecided about Israeli policies. What you’re about to watch is, as Heeb Magazine correctly points out, the worst video ever made. It was apparently produced by Orit Arfa, who lives in the mega settlement of Ariel. http://youtu.be/7PiiJ22rRfA I’m sorry you had to go through that. But here’s some more anyway: http://youtu.be/BkObY7Uerpo http://youtu.be/TPFugDD-4NY Orit also has a way with words. In an op-ed she wrote for the Jewish Journal on Jewishjournal.com, she criticized Jeffery Goldberg’s critique of Miley Cyrus and said that “He makes Miley's famous tongue…Read More... | 35 Comments
When Gila Hashkes arrived at UC Berkeley as a Jewish Agency Israel Fellow, she felt like she was jumping into the heart of pro-Palestinian activism. Her job was to organize Jewish students on campus, strengthen their connection to Israel and give them tools to justify its policies. But after a year-long journey of digging deeper into the conflict, being pushed by both her Jewish and Palestinian peers and glimpsing the ‘mentality of fear’ that grips the American Jewish community, she had an awakening of sorts, moved back to Jerusalem and now works for equal rights for all. Tom Pessah sits…Read More... | 52 Comments
It takes a racist regime to produce images like this. Nothing less. I urge readers to look closely at the pictures and videos posted today by Mairav Zonszein, which show the detention of a five-year-old in Hebron. As Mairav correctly points out, the whole process is very calm. Very routine. I’d add one more adjective: very racist. Look at those smug soldiers, not even flinching once or thinking twice about detaining a five-year-old. As if there’s no other way for the most powerful army in the region to handle a child who threw a stone. Look at them, surrounding him,…Read More... | 64 Comments
Israeli hasbara organizations have been calling Stephen Hawking a hypocrite for daring to boycott Israel while simultaneously using an Israeli-designed chip in his wheelchair. And this, in essence, is the emblematic Israeli response: shut your mouth when you criticize me. (Translated by Sol Salbe) One of the more repulsive concepts underlying Israeli hasbara (the Hebrew term for the public relations efforts geared at disseminating information about Israel) is "redemption through technology." The concept states that since Israel is a technology leader, it is exempt from any criticism for the fact that it oppresses the Palestinians and other minorities. The same get-out-of-jail card…Read More... | 71 Comments
By Idan Landau A certain air of nostalgia dominated Maariv’s headline last Thursday: “Due to criticism in the world, IDF parts ways with white phosphorus”: just like the old Galil assault rifle and the old two-way radios that generations of soldiers grew familiar with. A couple of years ago we learned the IDF was giving up its cans of preserved meat (the kosher version of SPAM). Now, it’s white phosphorus that we say goodbye to. [Twilight. The IDF and white phosphorus exchange a final gaze. A sad violin tune is heard. Curtain down.] So the IDF is looking for a…Read More... | 41 Comments
Controversial poster juxtaposes Holocaust survivors with IDF soldiers. The only thing is, the Nazis' victims in the picture are probably not Jewish. Ami Kaufman reported here on a tasteless Stand With Us poster, politicizing the memory of the Holocaust in order to support Israeli policy and the IDF. Here is the poster, and I urge you to read Ami, who makes all the important points. (UPDATE: Stand With Us took the picture off their Facebook wall) I, however, want to bring attention to an interesting fact (pointed out by a commentator on the Stand With Us Facebook page): the survivors in the…Read More... | 15 Comments
Although the Shuafat refugee camp is under the jurisdiction of the Jerusalem Municipality, one look at the lack of basic infrastructure, the sewage running in the streets and the unsafe conditions reveal that it is part of a different world. By Chen Misgav Several weeks ago, during a late Saturday morning, a group of 20 Jewish-Israelis leave their cars at the entrance to an intimidating military checkpoint outside Shuafat refugee camp. We are meeting with A., a representative of the Jerusalem Committee Against the Wall and the Settlements, who will be giving us a tour of the camp. We walk…Read More... | 7 Comments
In response to Olga Gershenon's critique of one-sided programs that bring American academics to discover Israel, one writer counters that those very programs are actually a step in the right direction, both due to the openness by which they are run and by the people they attract. By Brent E. Sasley Olga Gershenson wrote a strong critique in these pages of three programs that aim to bring academics from around the world to Israel. Her criticism centers on the accusation that these programs, all funded by Jews, Israeli, or right-leaning individuals and organizations, present a sanitized version of Israel that highlights the…Read More... | 3 Comments
A number of programs bring international professors to Israel, shaping the way they teach their students about the country and conflict. What's missing is a Palestinian narrative. But can any alternative program match the all-expenses-paid tours and luxurious accommodations offered by the hasbara-centric Israel programs? By Olga Gershenson In the last few years, a new discipline by the name of Israel Studies has emerged on the academy scene. The field, which includes politics, society, and culture of the State of Israel, is a rather new development which has resulted in an effort to train faculty in the field and to encourage…Read More... | 26 Comments
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