From Shimon Peres’ dark side to Donald Trump at AIPAC to Airbnb in settlements, here are the most popular articles we published this past year.
By +972 Magazine Staff
20. Why I had to leave Israel’s Foreign Ministry
As a former Israeli ambassador, Ilan Baruch never expected just how badly the country’s situation would deteriorate, with the Netanyahu government pushing democracy to the brink and doing just about everything in its power to entrench occupation and inequality. So he left. Read his full article here.
19. Black Lives Matter should change ‘genocide’ language — proudly
The Movement for Black Lives sparked a heated debate among American Jews this past year when it labeled Israel’s policies toward Palestinians ‘genocide.’ Dahlia Scheindlin argued against the use of the term, writing that the movement had an opportunity to set a precedent by displaying commitment to self-criticism, accuracy, and partnership — values sorely needed in America right now.
18. Did the Israeli gov’t admit to pinkwashing this year?
LGBTQ organizations in Israel threatened to cancel Tel Aviv’s yearly Pride Parade unless the government allocated more money to their groups and causes — and not just use the parade to promote Israel as a bastion of progressive liberalism overseas. The government’s response? Just pull the international promotional budget. Click here for more.
17. Hallel’s murder is a reminder we are all settlers
Just as the gruesome murder of 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel in the settlement of Kiryat Arba this past June horrified an entire country, it pushed some Israelis to blame the settlers for the violence they sometimes face. Just as we must mourn Hallel as a human being and a slain child, Dahlia Scheindlin wrote, we must also mourn her as a settler — because all Israelis are responsible for her presence in the West Bank.
16. Trump’s victory leaves Obama with only one option on Israel-Palestine
The old peace process is officially toast, the people who led it won’t be part of the next administration, and the policies they pursued are the furthest possible from a Trump administration’s agenda. That leaves Obama with one play, and one play only – a Security Council resolution against the settlements, Noam Sheizaf writes.
15. Most Israeli Jews think there’s no occupation. So what is it?
A poll conducted this past April found that 72 percent of Jewish Israelis believe Israel’s control over the Palestinian territories doesn’t constitute occupation. So what do you call military rule over a captive population? Natasha Roth clears a few things up for us.
14. In Israel, BDS is winning
The first ever anti-BDS conference in Israel brought together politicians of all stripes to show their commitment to the fight against boycotts. In doing so, however, they showed just how effective the boycott movement really is. Click here for Mairav Zonszein’s article.
13. Israel is trying to enforce gag orders beyond its borders
At Israel’s request, Twitter — among other international online platforms — began blocking Israelis from viewing certain tweets published overseas, in a move reminiscent of the kind of censorship we’re used to hearing about in countries like China, Turkey, Syria, and Iran. Read Michael Schaeffer-Omer Man’s full article here.
12. Thousands of Palestinian and Israeli women waged peace this year
The thousands of Palestinian and Israeli women who marched in Jerusalem and Jericho in October not only demanded peace from their societies, they challenged stereotypes and artificial boundaries to find true partners. Read more here.
11. Time to break the silence: An open letter to American Jews
For American Jews who haven’t been paying attention — or have simply decided to ignore what has been happening — Edo Konrad politely sums it up in three words: things are bad. But they don’t have to be this way.
10. When will the Left start talking about trauma?
It hasn’t been a great few years for the Israeli peace camp. Yakir Englander has a few ideas for how to change that: turn the Left into an open house for every Israeli, whether ultra-Orthodox, religious-Zionists, Mizrahim, expelled settlers from Gaza, Palestinian citizens of Israel, Jerusalemites, Ethiopians, and all the rest. Read more here.
9. The moral crisis exposed at the AIPAC conference
Remember when Donald Trump addressed the annual AIPAC conference this past March? That 18,000 Jews sat politely or applauded a man who tapped outright anti-Semites to run his administration was a harbinger of things to come. Read Lisa Goldman’s article here.
8. ‘There’s a vicious fight in our community’: Simone Zimmerman talks Bernie for the first time
Earlier this year, the Jewish American world was up in arms over the hiring — or firing — of Simone Zimmerman as Bernie Sanders’ Jewish outreach coordinator. For the first time, she talks about what happened in the campaign, the growing anti-occupation movement among U.S. Jews, and why the Jewish establishment lost touch with its youth. Read the interview here.
7. Meet the YouTube star taking the Jewish world by storm
2016 was the year Avi Schwartzberger launched an outlandish video series showcasing the most taboo sides of Israeli society through the lens of a Birthright alumnus. Read Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man’s terrifyingly real interview with a not-quite-real person.
6. The other, darker legacy of Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres, the last member of Israel’s founding generation, was feted internationally as a visionary man of peace. His legacy is in fact far more complex, and often nefarious. Here’s the full story.
5. Famed feminist British historian refuses prestigious Israeli award
British feminist historian Catherine Hall made a startling announcement this May when she announced she would withdraw her acceptance of an award presented by Tel Aviv University for political reasons. Hall withdrew from the prize “after many discussions with those who are deeply involved with the politics of Israel-Palestine.” Read more here.
4. Before Zionism: The shared life of Jews and Palestinians
Before the advent of Zionism and Arab nationalism, Jews and Palestinians lived in peace in the holy land. A new book maps out an oft-forgotten history of Israel-Palestine, and offers some guidance on how we may go back to that time. Read the full story here.
3. Tel Aviv mayor blames occupation for Palestinian violence
Mayor Ron Huldai shocked Israelis this year when he cited the occupation as a factor that causes Palestinians to turn to terrorism. Responding to a deadly attack on Tel Aviv’s Sarona center, which took the lives of four Israelis, Huldai argued that Israelis should focus on the fact that Israel is “perhaps the only country in the world holding another nation under occupation without civil rights.” Read Edo Konrad’s full story here.
2. Airbnb lets you vacation in illegal West Bank settlements
Fancy a vacation with breathtaking views of the Holy Land? As first reported on +972, Airbnb will let you rent out luxurious cottages atop barren hilltops, making no mention of the fact that they are in settlements on occupied land. Read more here.
1. Israeli soldier executes unarmed Palestinian attacker
On March 24, IDF soldier Elor Azaria was caught on camera firing a single bullet into Abed al Fatah a-Sharif’s head, setting off a firestorm across Israel and the world. Although the IDF’s top brass condemned Azaria and put him on trial, the 18-year-old won the support of the vast majority of Israelis, including top-level ministers. For some it was yet another painful reminder of the brutal realities under occupation, for others it was a reflection of the pressure placed on Israeli soldiers. One thing, however, is likely true: without the video, we may have never known what really happened. Read our most-read story of the year here.