It appears not much has changed since Operation Cast Lead, when opposition leader Haim Oron tragically decided to support the military offensive. Rather than apologizing and giving evasive answers to the media, the Left, led by the failed opposition leader, should be standing up to yell 'enough!' By Elinor Davidov It took seven days of "Operation Brother's Keeper" for the leaders of the Israeli Left in the opposition to say, sofly, that there is a problem with the current military operation, with its goals and with its implementation. For the first time, a week of collective punishment, a closure on the…Read More... | 10 Comments
Far too many times Israel has mocked peace initiatives and adored violence. Altogether, it seems that the government is about to score major points in the propaganda war, only that each such victory is another step on the path to defeat. As Israeli news outlets moved to live coverage mode over the weekend, I had a chance to speak with a friend who is involved in the politics of the mainstream Israeli left. He was enraged by the Palestinians, “who are again missing an opportunity.” At a time when Netanyahu is finally cornered, blamed for the failure of the peace…Read More... | 36 Comments
A new best-selling novel by Nir Baram takes aim at the Israeli 'peace industry,' globalization and the sense of betrayal a generation of left wing and progressive operatives is leaving behind. I've wanted to write about Nir Baram’s new novel, World Shadow (The book is alternatively titled, "The World is a Rumor" in English), for several weeks. It’s a story of power, the battle for and against it, and the inevitable corruption of all causes in the late-capitalist world. The theme is common to many works of fiction these days, but the context is unique, and especially the novel’s criticism of…Read More... | 25 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
The actual right-wing bloc looks set to win over 100 of the Knesset's 120 seats in Tuesday's election. There's only one reason to vote against it: the future. "Right-wing bloc's majority slashed," read the headline over today's election poll in Haaretz. "The gap is closing," according to the poll in today's Yedioth Aharonoth. Both surveys showed the right-religious bloc getting 63 Knesset seats and the center-left-Arab bloc getting 57, and both showed the steadily weakening Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu down to 32. Even if it is still clear to everyone that Netanyahu will lead the next government, many people will likely gather…Read More... | 54 Comments
With the butchery of children and the massacre of over 100 more civilians in one town alone, the Syrian government has reached a new peak in its gruesome list of achievements. For over a year, the world has witnessed people being slaughtered, day after day. These words will have little if any effect, and still they must be said: The actions of the Assad government, or any other forces involved in the unbearable killing of civilians is deplorable, contemptible, and inhuman. This is nothing short of a war crime and a crime against humanity. All of humanity. I say this…Read More... | 46 Comments
Somewhere along the way, security for Israeli Jews became utopia: it will never be achieved, but it exacts an infinite price of destruction for its own sake, on the road to nowhere. Isaiah Berlin's seminal critique of utopia holds that no matter how noble the idea at hand, the assumption that one truth can be universal and overriding denies the reality of conflicting, but equally vital, human truths. We may believe all humans agree on the right to life and physical security. But we also cherish other human rights and freedoms, and sometimes these are in conflict. Acknowledging and struggling…Read More... | 74 Comments
My colleague Noam heavily castigated J Street’s announcement that it would oppose the Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN in a few weeks. He qualified this by saying that he isn’t entirely convinced of the statehood plan itself; but saw political and moral failings in J Street’s position nonetheless. I, on the other hand, am not convinced of J Street’s opposition, but I respect the logic and the legitimacy of the approach. My main reservations are emotional: the Palestinians need and deserve a state, with all the problems it will face, and I want the world to be swept…Read More... | 11 Comments
Why the ad hoc alliance with international left activists is unhelpful to the Israeli left, and should end One of the phenomena characterizing the coverage of the J14 protests from the beginning was the long faces of a significant number of notable international peace activists. But…but… but you’re not talking about the occupation, they demanded of the marching Israelis. They were soundly ignored, the protest became a mass success, and they became much more bitter. At one point – it was during the third or fourth week of the protests – one of them wrote it was a struggle “about…Read More... | 61 Comments
Something caught my eye when looking through photos on The Atlantic of the Nakba day demonstrations which engulfed the West Banks and Israel's border areas last Sunday. Image 16, reprinted below, carries the following caption: Two Palestinian men struggle after being overcome by tear gas fired during clashes with the Israeli police on May 15, 2011 at Qalandiya checkpoint near Ramallah, West Bank. (Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) Actually one of the men is an Israeli from Tel Aviv named Jonathan Pollak. I suppose The Atlantic was not aware that Israeli supporters joined the Nakba demonstrations throughout the West Bank on Sunday. Maybe the…Read More... | 14 Comments
Tomorrow, a group of preeminent Israelis will endorse Palestinian statehood along the 1967 borders, and call on compatriots to join them. Will a Palestinian "state" be a game changer? And, if so, will it mark a change for the better? A couple of weeks ago, Ami asked why the Israeli left isn't debating the prospect of Palestinian statehood being proclaimed and internationally recognized this year. It did not take long for an answer to emerge. Tomorrow, 17 recipients of the Israeli state's highest honor – the "Israel Prize" – will hold an event in front of the hall where Israeli…Read More... | 25 Comments
A day after the violent arrest of Nabi Saleh Popular Committee leader Bassem Tamimi, one Palestinian, five Israelis and three international activists were arrested in Nabi Saleh on Friday. A Palestinian cameraman and three more Israelis were briefly detained. Only a day after the arrest of Bassem Tamimi, the coordinator of the village's popular committee, the IDF has escalated its attempts to suppress protest in Nabi Saleh. During the early hours of the morning, long before the weekly demonstration began, large groups of Israeli soldiers and Border Police deployed on the three roads leading into Nabi Saleh, and in the groves…Read More... | 1 Comment
Guess what? I was at the demo, too! For me, there were two parts to this demo: The march, and the gathering at the museum. The March When first arriving at the gathering area under the Zeev Fortress on King George St., one could feel the excitement in the air. Everybody knew immediately this was going to be a big one. Finally, there were faces we didn’t recognize! The drums were pounding, the horns were blowing, the Arabs and the Jews were walking down central Tel Aviv, chanting in Arabic and Hebrew. Also, I have to give credit when due:…Read More... | 4 Comments
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