Tens of thousands of Palestinians have languished for over 65 years in the Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp, waiting to return home. Now, through his documentary, Mahdi Fleifel reveals an essential side of Palestinian exile that is often forgotten: the human side. It was heartening that the Academy bestowed its highest honors this year to “Twelve Years a Slave,” a story about injustice and liberation, and recognizing America’s historic cruelty towards its people. Maybe it is the curse of the oppressed to achieve their greatest recognition only when the primary injury of oppression is long over, after it can really help. Palestinians…Read More... | 6 Comments
The president's high-profile interview with Jeffrey Goldberg will make it extremely hard for the administration to blame the Palestinians for the expected failure of Kerry's peace initiative. Obama’s interview with the Bloomberg news agency on Sunday, in which he basically blamed Netanyahu and exonerated Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas for the intractability of the occupation, is a very important event, and very good news. With Netanyahu and Abbas jockeying to avoid the blame for the likely impending failure of Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace initiative, the Obama interview with Jeffrey Goldberg will make it very hard for the administration…Read More... | 49 Comments
When you believe your enemies hate you more than they love their children, as Golda Meir put it, there's no real deterrence against them; you have to keep bombing. Most people in the West, I’d say, think that if Israel gives up the occupation, it will be healed. It will no longer be a danger to others and itself. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and additional proof of this came Monday night when Israeli jet bombers again struck Hezbollah in Lebanon. The attack was another reminder that even if Israel were to get out of the West Bank and adopt…Read More... | 56 Comments
As a rule, Palestinians working for Israelis in the West Bank hate the settlements and the occupation. But they have to feed their families, so they swallow their pride. Supporters of the occupation have found a new set of spokesmen: the Palestinian workers at the West Bank factory owned by the Israeli company SodaStream, of BDS and Scarlett Johansson fame. Reporters from The Christian Science Monitor, The Telegraph and other media outlets talked to some of the 500 Palestinians employed at the Mishor Adumim plant, and quoted them saying they were against the boycott. It was threatening their livelihood. They…Read More... | 23 Comments
Following Channel 2 News’ remarkable Saturday night prime-time feature on the boycott of Israel, 'Yedioth Ahronoth' delivers same warning in big, bold letters on Monday’s front page. “100 leaders of the economy warn of boycott on Israel,” reads the lead headline in Monday’s Yedioth Ahronoth. The sub-headline includes the quote, “The world is losing its patience and the threat of sanctions is increasing. We must reach an agreement with the Palestinians.” The commentary next to it by star columnist Sever Plocker is titled, “It’s the economy, Bibi.” Yedioth is almost as popular and influential an Israeli newspaper as Channel 2…Read More... | 27 Comments
He's dealt a blow to Israel's prospects in the all-important blame game. By making Israel look like the rejectionist side in the peace process, and by doing so in a spectacularly galling way, Defense Minister Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon’s verbal attack on John Kerry has helped the cause of ending the occupation. It’s no mystery that the overriding goal of both Israel and the Palestinians in Kerry’s peace talks has been to avoid getting blamed for their inevitable failure. Now, after Ya’alon dissed Kerry and his diplomatic baby so thoroughly and contemptuously – and, even more to the point, without…Read More... | 3 Comments
The American Studies Association may be singling out Israel for boycott, but if you look at the serious, painful punishments the world metes out to oppressor nations, Israel is not being singled out, it’s being let off the hook. As of Friday at noon, a Google search of “human rights sanctions” turns up over 40 million results. There are human rights sanctions and other punishments against China, Russia, Iran, Syria, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Yemen, Belarus, Cuba, North Korea and lots of other countries. And these sanctions weren’t put in place by some minor academic group like the American Studies Association, but…Read More... | 46 Comments
Once again, the Obama administration hangs Abbas and the Palestinian Authority out to dry. Halfway through the scheduled nine-month Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, there's been a break in the action, or rather the inaction: the Obama administration, once again, has sought to end the deadlock by backing Netanyahu's illegitimate demands and hanging the Palestinians out to dry. Last Friday the Americans presented a "security plan" ("security" in the American lexicon means security for Israelis, not Palestinians) that calls for Israeli troops to remain in the Jordan Valley - in the West Bank, in a future Palestine, on the Palestinian side of their…Read More... | 12 Comments
This piece was originally published as 'Coming home from the land of miracles' in the Jerusalem Post, April 11, 2007, after a family trip I took to South Africa. I think it says something about the difference between that country and Israel, and is also a description of the new society that Mandela and his comrades wrought. I was watching my seven-year-old boy and some black kids chasing each other around a jumping castle at a family restaurant in Johannesburg, a sight that could not have been seen a generation ago. After the joy of it passed, I got a…Read More... | 8 Comments
This time it's true: Israel really is trying to manipulate the U.S. into going to war. Who can disagree any longer that Israel is out to push America into war – and is putting on quite a show of it, too? The Obama administration is trying to neutralize Iran’s nuclear program diplomatically, and Bibi Netanyahu and the Israel lobby are the unquestioned, highest-possible-profile leaders of the campaign to stop them. Netanyahu is all over TV around the world, beating the drum against this “very, very bad deal” being put together in the Geneva talks, which resume Wednesday. His American-accented…Read More... | 46 Comments
In the last week, things have changed between the U.S. and Israel. Kerry may have the guts to continue refusing to lie for Israel's occupation – which is all that’s needed to shake its foundations. This is no tiff. If it hadn’t happened on the same day, last Thursday, that the breakthrough came in the Geneva talks on Iran’s nuclear program, John Kerry’s joint interview on Israeli and Palestinian TV – and the chain reaction it would have set off – would still be dominating the news from the Middle East. Instead, it was a one-day story, overtaken by the chain…Read More... | 30 Comments
If a militant nationalist wants to get elected prime minister of Israel, he has to repeat the word 'peace' over and over. Unlike a lot of other leftists in despair over Liberman's acquittal on Wednesday, I don't think it's a foregone conclusion he's going to succeed Netanyahu as prime minister. I agree that he may do it, it's definitely a possibility, but first he has a problem to overcome: as a candidate, he's scary to a lot of Israelis, maybe most Israelis, especially women. On the "Eretz Nehederet" ("Wonderful Country") TV news satire, he's portrayed as a KGB liquidator.…Read More... | 4 Comments
A small group of Palestinian workers this summer received confirmation from the Jerusalem Regional Court that their rights are protected under Israeli labor law. Meanwhile, Israel's Ministry of Economy is failing to proactively prevent such abuses. Kav LaOved has published a new report describing this situation, including a selective list of Israeli companies in the Occupied Territories which have been sued by their Palestinian employees in recent years. The Even Bar case court victory described above was an important step in the right direction, but only compensates an extremely small fraction of the Palestinians caught in this unjust system. Kav…Read More... | 4 Comments
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