With the election of Donald Trump, a lot of progressive Americans must now be feeling what we here in the Israeli left have felt for a long time — outnumbered, unwanted, frustrated, and alone. For a while now, I've been writing about how lonely it is to be a leftist in Israel, to be part of the minority that opposes the occupation and 50 years of discrimination and human rights violations, a minority that insists on challenging fundamental aspects of this government's policies and this society's values. About how it has become increasingly dangerous and radical simply to speak one's mind, as…Read More... | 6 Comments
Zionism today is the fence that encircles the Jewish people, granting it supremacy over the other people of this land. By Noam Rotem The State of Israel is a Zionist state. All of us graduates of the Israeli educational system know this. Israel's first prime minister said it, Ehud Barak said it, even Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said it. This declaration can be found in our educational curriculums, and even in the IDF's educational curriculum. That is all good and well, but nowhere have I been able to find a formal definition for the term "Zionism"put forth by the Israeli…Read More... | 87 Comments
In Jerusalem, construction of Jewish neighborhoods continues unabated, while Palestinians are still struggling for basic infrastructure. By Aviv Tatarsky There is no construction freeze. As opposed to declarations by right-wing politicians such as Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat or Education Minister Naftali Bennett, construction in Jerusalem was never frozen, while the cranes and bulldozers keep working tirelessly in the city's Jewish neighborhoods located beyond the Green Line. Thousands of housing units in Gilo, Har Homa, Ramot, Pisgat Ze'ev, and Ramat Shlomo. These not only provide housing for Israelis — they establish facts on the ground in order to make partitioning the…Read More... | 2 Comments
The Palestinian flag is our symbol of resistance to occupation and land theft. Only once we remedy the injustices of the past will we be able to stop waving it. Last week the joint Arab-Jewish party Hadash and Zionist leftist party Meretz held a joint protest in Tel Aviv against the appointment of Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and the growing extremism of the Netanyahu government. During the demonstration Meretz activists demanded that Palestinian demonstrators refrain from waving their national flag, a move that angered many Palestinian activists. The controversy over the two flags shows, once again, that the Zionist Left…Read More... | 2 Comments
High-profile Palestinian journalist Omar Nazzal has been arrested on terror charges that Israel considers classified and therefore neither he nor his lawyer can see. The army issued an order to keep him in jail for another four months - without trial. The Israel Defense Forces issued on Monday a four-month order for the administrative detention of Omar Nazzal, a Palestinian journalist who was arrested last week at Allenby Crossing on his way to a meeting of the European Federation of Journalists in Sarajevo. Initially the Shin Bet claimed that Nazzal, a freelance journalist and a member of the Palestinian Journalists’ Guild, was…Read More...
A 24-year-old Palestinian and her teenage brother were shot and killed by Israeli troops after allegedly trying to stab Border Police officers. The police's version of the events doesn't add up, but nobody in Israel, including the media, feels the need to ask questions. The facts are still unclear, in fact very unclear: the exact number of knives found, the number of bullets shot, the number of meters distance, why exactly they were there. But even if we accept Israel Police's highly terse account of the events, we are still left with a bottom line: Two Palestinians, Maram Salih Hassan…Read More... | 11 Comments
Palestinian journalists are increasingly threatened, arrested and interrogated just for doing their jobs. And for the most part, Israeli journalists remain silent. By Noam Rotem On a Tuesday night in the beginning of April, Israeli armed forces raided a house in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem. They woke up sleeping family and gave al-Hayat journalist Diala Jwehan a summons to appear for interrogation. Jwehan has been covering the uprising of recent months, primarily in East Jerusalem, and is one in a long list of Palestinian journalists who have been called in for questioning because of their media work –…Read More...
Maybe even worse than the murder itself is the fact that no one in the vicinity seems at all moved by it. WARNING: This post contains a highly graphic video and images. An IDF soldier was filmed shooting a Palestinian in the head at close range in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of occupied Hebron Thursday, after he and another Palestinian reportedly stabbed a different soldier, lightly wounding him. Most Israeli media outlets initially went with the usual headline, "Soldier stabbed, assailants killed." A few hours later, however, video of the incident was released showing that the Palestinian man was already…Read More... | 20 Comments
Israelis tend to warn of the 'Islamization' of Europe in the wake of attacks like those in Brussels. But the fear of Muslims in a country where Jews and Muslims must live together is simply not an option. After events like the terrorist attacks in Brussels or Paris, it has become common to hear Israelis say that "Europe is finished" or that it is being "conquered by Muslims." In fact, people say these things even when there are no attacks. Regardless of inherent racism, I do not really understand the logic behind such statements. In France, seven percent of the…Read More... | 14 Comments
Mass funerals for terrorists are no more a representation of Palestinian society than Israelis who dance with knives and glorify Baruch Goldstein are a representation of Israeli society. By Ksenia Svetlova Yoaz Hendel, a former director of communications for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, wrote an article in Yedioth Ahronoth’s weekend supplement addressing a topic that has became popular, if not populist, in recent weeks: why Palestinians don’t experience bereavement. Or in other words, why are we better than the Palestinians and why are they worse than us. As Hendel, whose writing I love and try never to miss, wrote: “The difference between…Read More... | 4 Comments
A new report by B'Tselem and Hamoked includes testimonies of Palestinian detainees who were held in Israel's 'Shikma' interrogation facility. Human Rights organizations “Hamoked — Defence of the Individual” and B’Tselem on Wednesday published a report that draws on affidavits and statements from 116 Palestinians who spent time in the Shin Bet’s (Israel Security Agency) Shikma interrogation facility. The Palestinians, all of whom were “security detainees” — which means they were suspected of political crimes or terrorism-related offenses as opposed to criminal suspicions — spent time at Shikma between August 2013 and March 2014. Some of the testimonies describe Shin…Read More... | 4 Comments
There is nothing new about the multi-pronged attack on human rights and anti-occupation activists in Israel, but there's something different this time. Something scarier. There is nothing particularly new about the wave of attacks against human rights and the anti-occupation Left in Israel taking place recently. There is nothing new about the increasingly hostile political atmosphere. Not at all. And yet something feels far worse, and scarier, this time around. Everything happening in Israel these days has also happened in the past. We have seen scarier legislative attempts to target human rights NGOs. Politicians have called leftists traitors before. Security services have targeted…Read More... | 4 Comments
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