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  • The Beaten Path: Framing the story at Yad Vashem (part 8)

    Exploring Jerusalem's Holocaust museum allows us to understand the way in which the Zionist narrative deals with the destruction of European Jewry. But is it the whole story? Part eight of Yuval Ben-Ami’s journey through the Holy Land's most popular tourist sites. In the early years of the 11th Century, the Holy Land was taken over by ISIS. The religious militants came from the north, their faces covered. They pillaged every town through which they passed, beheading "heathens" and abducting women. Their sense of self-righteousness and the blessings of fundamentalist clergymen made them entirely blind to their atrocities. They did not…

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  • The Beaten Path: Fixing a hole in Safed (part 6)

    The deconstructed tourist trail reaches the mystical Galillean town and its many ghosts. Safed is the incredible shrinking city, forever threatened by its own capacity to be more than one thing. Part six of Yuval Ben-Ami's journey. Safed makes me sick. Literally. As soon as I hop off the bus, take in the obligatory breath of fresh mountain air and settle at the "Baghdad Café" for an Americano, my stomach begins to torment me. I know this isn't only the snack I had in Geinosar. This place makes my spirit sad, and my body sympathizes. Safed is one of many cities…

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  • At Open Hillel conference, Jews demand their spot at the communal table

    By demanding their voices be heard, Open Hillel students are making dissent within the Jewish community impossible to deny. By Sarah Anne Minkin Hillel is the Jewish home for college students. With more than 550 Hillels worldwide, mainly in North America, it is one of the primary sites where young Jews express, explore, and cultivate their Jewishness. So a few years ago when Hillel International, the parent organization, imposed strict guidelines around engagement with Israel, many students were upset to find themselves facing formal prohibitions. After years of struggles within Hillels over who was in the “big tent” of Jewish…

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  • The many denials of liberal Zionism

    From its origins until today, liberal Zionism has been unable to reconcile Israeli policies of dispossession and military control with the image of a democratic state. Is it merely a matter of semantics, or inherent to the ideology? Part two of Ran Greenstein's analysis. By Ran Greenstein As discussed in the previous part of this article, liberal Zionists like Arthur Ruppin and Hans Kohn responded in divergent ways to the challenge of reconciling broad universal values with narrow Zionist aims. What they shared with other activists and intellectuals, though, was full realization of the costs involved in their choices. This…

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  • Accusing Israel of ‘genocide’: Major fail

    And deservedly so, because it’s a false accusation. This is not how to fight the occupation, this is how to help strengthen it. Mahmoud Abbas’ speech last Friday at the United Nations General Assembly gave the highest-profile-ever exposure to the accusation, popular among anti-Zionists, that Israel practices “genocide” against the Palestinians, and that the war in Gaza was a genocidal one. That’s the highlight of the speech that was picked for the headline in any number of major international news outlets; in Israel the speech is already known, and will be forever, as Abbas’ “genocide speech.” That one word seems…

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  • 'Dear Darwish': A poetically and politically brave book

    Israeli-American poet Morani Kornberg-Weiss breaks with conventional poetics and mainstream politics. But who, exactly, is Dear Darwish for?  Dear Darwish, Morani Kornberg-Weiss’s first collection of poetry, opens with a prose poem that that doubles as an indictment of Israeli society. Cleverly disguised as a letter, it is addressed to the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. Like the poems that follow it, “Dear Mahmoud” does many things at once. It captures the violence inherent in establishing and maintaining the Jewish state. It accurately depicts Israelis’ objectifying and dehumanizing view of Palestinians. It shows how the state’s violence against Palestinians has seeped…

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  • When 'not in my name' is all you have in the face of a massacre

    A name is more human, more familiar and more expansive than any label can ever be. It is something that everyone in the world has in common. It is therefore in that name that I refuse to step in line behind a massacre masquerading as an existential and moral crusade. By Natasha Roth "Dyke, go live in Gaza." This directive was sent to me yesterday afternoon through Facebook, from a complete stranger. A little while later another message arrived, with an attached picture of the body of a murdered child, still lying on the floor of his bedroom – the…

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  • Don't cry for me: A letter from a little girl in Gaza

    With Palestinian children in Gaza bearing the brunt of Israel's offensive on the Strip, this is what one little girl may have written to us – had she the chance. By Sam Bahour As the latest horrific obscenity of Israel’s aggression against the Gaza Strip continues, the death toll mounts. Palestinian children are paying the highest price, both those who are killed and wounded, and, maybe even more so, those who survive. Since I have written for decades about how Israel’s prolonged military occupation and endless violations of international law – let alone its blatant disregard for its very own…

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  • Hope during wartime: A Palestinian return

    The displaced former residents of Kafr Bir’im decided in the summer of 2013 to return to their village, and since then, they haven’t left. The author and his partner visited them one year later. By Eitan Bronstein Aparicio (translated by Ami Asher) We had to travel as far as Kafr Bir’em to find faith in these sad and desperate times, during the terrible war on Gaza. We spent an entire day with the Bir’em returnees. The last time we visited this community of internally displaced villagers was exactly one year ago, in their traditional summer camp, organized in order to…

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  • An open letter to the family of Mohammed Abu Khdeir

    As Israel and the Palestinians descend further into open violence, concerned Israelis challenge their fellow citizens in an attempt to forge a joint Israel-Palestinian resistance to violence.  (Translated from Hebrew by Idit Arad and Matan Kaminer) Our hands shed this blood, our hands set Mohammed Abu Khdeir on fire, our hands fanned the flames. We have been living here for too long to claim that we did not know, we did not understand, we were not able to foresee. We witnessed the actions of the vast machine of incitement to racism and revenge operated by the government, the politicians, the…

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  • In Gaza, Palestinians know why the caged bird sings

    Though she never made it there, Maya Angelou's spirit resounds in my native Gaza. For she and I have known different shades of the same tyranny: that quiet brutality wrought by generations upon the next. By Ghada Ageel It’s predictable by now. Within hours of their passing, our most famous artists—whose works outlast them precisely because they eschewed the formulaic—are memorialized in too-easy platitudes that are “shared” and “liked” but seldom felt. As a Palestinian woman, I felt Maya Angelou’s passing. I felt it deeply. For she and I have known different shades of the same tyranny—that quiet brutality wrought by…

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  • From Jaffa to Beirut: Re-imagining a borderless Middle East

    On a day trip through Israel, one truly understands how close the country is to the great cities of the Middle East. Unfortunately, distances here aren't measured by kilometers, but rather by border crossings.   By Leehee Rothschild Sometimes I think that the greatest tragedy of this place is not what it has become, but what it could have been. The greatest rupture in the Middle East was the destruction of the train route from Alexandria to Istanbul - precisely where Israeli existence takes place, spatially and linguistically. "From Yaffa to Beirut," a tour put on by Zochrot, an Israeli NGO…

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  • PHOTOS: Palestinian demonstrators try to destroy West Bank separation wall

    Dozens of Palestinians marched on Saturday toward the separation wall near Tulkarem in what they called the "March of Return." The demonstrators tried to knock a hole in the wall and join protesters on the other side. However, the Israeli army dispersed the protest with tear gas and detained several protesters.  (Photos:  Ahmad Al-Bazz / Activestills.org)         Related: Israeli army installs new, remote-controlled weapon atop separation wall PHOTOS: Palestinians destroy separation barrier in two West Bank villages

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