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Israeli army knew it was unnecessarily killing Gaza protesters in real time

The Israeli army admits that it secretly changed its policy once it realized that shooting unarmed protesters in the leg was lethal. Rights group says the revelation is an admission that Israel was killing protesters without any justification.

The Israeli military reportedly changed open-fire regulations for its snipers deployed along the Israel-Gaza fence after it became clear that they were unnecessarily killing unarmed Palestinian protesters, something human rights groups and others had been warning all along.

Israeli snipers and sharpshooters killed 206 Palestinian demonstrators and wounded thousands of others — including children, medics, and journalists — during the Great March of Return in Gaza. The ongoing weekly protests, which began in March of 2018, called for an end to Israel’s siege on Gaza and the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

Israeli journalist Carmela Menashe, the military reporter for Israel’s public radio station, tweeted earlier this week that the IDF made the change when it understood that “firing at the lower half of the body above the knee led to death in many cases, despite this not being the objective.” According to Menashe, the soldiers were instructed to “shoot below the knee, and later, at their ankles.”

A senior officer in the IDF’s counterterrorism school told Israeli news site Ynet that the snipers’ objective was “not to kill but to wound, so one of the lessons [learned] was what they were shooting at… At first we told them to shoot at the leg, we saw that this could kill, so we told them to shoot under the knee. Later we made the order more precise to shoot at the ankle.”

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A statement published by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem on Wednesday accused Israeli officials of openly admitting that they knew their soldiers were killing people that, “even in the eyes of the state, had no reason to be gunned down.”

“No one bothered to change the orders, and the army continued to operate in a manner of trial and error, as if these were not real people who might be killed or wounded… People whose lives and the lives of their families have been destroyed forever,” said B’Tselem.

The Israeli military has long argued that the protests at the fence should be seen in the context of a long-running armed conflict with Hamas,...

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Top court throws out case demanding Palestinian kids be allowed to call parents from prison

The Israeli Supreme Court refuses to hear arguments in a case about whether Palestinian minors imprisoned by Israel should be allowed to speak to their families on the phone.

Israel’s High Court of Justice refused to hear a petition by an Israeli human rights organization demanding that Palestinian minors held in Israeli prisons be allowed to call their parents.

Palestinian minors classified by Israel as “security prisoners” are subject to restrictions identical to those imposed on adult prisoners, including the denial of telephone contact with their parents. The prison service allegedly refuses to treat minors classified as “security prisoners” according to Israeli laws and rules regulating the treatment of children.

According to HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual, which petitioned the court, the Israel Prison Service imposes these restrictions on all minors, without considering the severity of the allegations or the length of the prison term.

According to the justices, the case should have first been brought to lower court on behalf of one or more specific prisoners. In its petition, HaMoked decided to redact the names of the Palestinian minors whose testimonies it included, choosing not to bring the case in the name of a specific Palestinian minor.

Further, in justifying its dismissal of the petition, the justices pointed to a thus-far unimplemented pilot program by the Israel Prison Service to allow Palestinian minors in one out of four facilities in which they are held, to call their parents on the phone.

The petition argues that it is crucial for Palestinian minors to be allowed to have regular phone contact with their parents, detailing the psychological damage that they may face in absence of those phone calls. One 15-year-old Palestinian boy, whose full name did not appear on the petition, told HaMoked about how he had yet to contact his parents two months after he was arrested in the middle of the night.

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Monday’s hearing lasted all but five minutes, during which HaMoked attorney Nadia Dakah barely got through her opening remarks before Justice Noam Solberg cut her off, demanding to know why the High Court should rule on a petition that does not include the names of any of the Palestinian minors in question.

State Attorney Udi Eitan claimed that even if the state wanted to deal with the specific cases of those whose...

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Should Palestinian children be able to call parents from prison? Israeli court will decide

Palestinian children in Israeli jails classified as ‘security prisoners’ are denied the right to speak to or see their families, sometimes for months on end.

Israel’s top court will hear arguments about whether Palestinian children held in Israeli prisoners should be allowed to call their parents on the phone.

Palestinian minors classified by Israel as “security prisoners,” including those awaiting trial for crimes such as stone throwing, are subject to numerous restrictions identical to those imposed on adult prisoners such as the denial of telephone contact with their parents.

The prison service allegedly refuses to treat minors classified as “security prisoners” according to Israeli laws and rules regulating the treatment of children.

According to Israeli human rights organization HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual, which petitioned the court, the Israel Prison Service imposes these restrictions on all minors, without considering the severity of the allegations or the length of the prison term.

Palestinian minors in the West Bank, as opposed to those arrested in East Jerusalem and Israel, are often prevented from contacting their parents for months on end, well into their incarceration, since their parents must undergo a lengthy process to obtain a permit to visit them in prison ­— even if those prisons are inside the West Bank.

According to testimonies collected by HaMoked and many other rights groups over the years, Palestinian minors are systematically denied any contact with their parents upon arrest and are interrogated without the presence of one of their parents, contrary to legal requirements inside Israel. Those testimonies also show that Israeli interrogators often resort to verbal and physical violence, solitary confinement, and the denial of the right to see an attorney.

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The petition argues that it is crucial for Palestinian minors to be allowed to have regular phone contact with their parents, while detailing the psychological damage that they may face in absence of those phone calls.

One 15-year-old Palestinian boy imprisoned by Israel told HaMoked about how he had yet to contact his parents two months after he was arrested in the middle of the night.

“I haven’t received a visit,” a press statement from HaMoked quotes the boy, identified only as K.N., as saying. “I still haven’t talked to them [the family] at all. There’s no phone and no possibility of making phone calls from...

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The Israeli academics who helped design Palestinian emigration

Newly-uncovered documents reveal how Israel established the ‘Professors Committee’ in the days following the occupation to devise policies to pacify the Palestinians and make them leave the West Bank and Gaza permanently.

Mere weeks after nearly tripling the size of Israeli controlled territory in the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel enlisted teams of academics in the country to find ways to encourage Palestinians to emigrate from the newly occupied territories.

According to documents recently uncovered by by Omri Shafer Raviv, a PhD student in the Department of Jewish History at Hebrew University, in July 1967, then Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol assembled a committee of academics including prominent Israeli sociologist Shemuel Noah Eisenstadt, economist Michael Bruno, demographer Roberto Baki, and mathematician Aryeh Dvoretzky — all of them with connections to the corridors of power — and sent them into the territories to study the newly-occupied population.

The objective of the “Committee for the Development of the Administered Territories,” referred to as the “Professors Committee” was, on paper, to create a body responsible for “long-term planning” in the occupied territories. The professors, along with their teams of researchers, were sent to villages, cities, and refugee camps to interview Palestinians about their lives, needs, and desires.

The second goal, says Shafer Raviv, was to better understand the Palestinians of the occupied territories in order to find ways to ensure they did not resist the military regime Israel placed them under — and which still rules them today — while looking for ways to encourage them to leave. “Those early years set the tone for how Israeli policy looks today,” he says.

The threat of modernity

When the war came to an end, says Shafer Raviv, the Israeli government had all kinds of goals vis-à-vis the Palestinian population, chief among them was to reduce the number of them living in the occupied territories. “We saw this most prominently in Gaza, where the authorities believed they could halve the population from 400,000 to 200,000 in order to contend with the new demographic problem.”

Most of the Palestinians in Gaza were refugees, and the government wanted to dismantle their refugee camps and encourage them to leave the country and be absorbed or integrate themselves elsewhere, Shafer Raviv explains. “That’s the context for Eshkol’s decision to establish the Professors Committee.”

The first few years after the start of the occupation saw a wave of popular, mostly nonviolent resistance to the occupation, including several mass strikes. There...

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Why are Israeli liberals suddenly courting a far-right nationalist?

Liberman’s political maneuvering may just bring about King Bibi’s downfall, but that doesn’t mean secular liberals should forget the reasons they opposed him all these years.

Avigdor Liberman has, over the past decade, exerted a greater impact on Israel’s political discourse than any other lawmaker. In just a few years, he made once unthinkable ideas — such as stripping Palestinian citizens of their citizenship and forcing them to swear oaths of loyalty to the Jewish state — part of the mainstream discourse.

Today, Israeli liberals and their intelligentsia are ready to ignore or brush aside Liberman’s racist, hyper-nationalist remarks and polices, while crowning him the savior of Israeli democracy. Writing in Haaretz, the newspaper that represents Israel’s secular liberal elite, Editor-in-Chief Aluf Benn calls for Liberman, who torpedoed Netanyahu’s coalition building efforts by refusing to bring his party into the government and pushed the country into another election, to replace the prime minister — or, at the very least, to enter into a power-sharing agreement.

Raviv Drucker, one of Israel’s most prominent columnists, and one of Netanyahu’s most outspoken critics in the media, said in a radio interview that he would be voting for Liberman in the upcoming elections. Meanwhile Haaretz‘s Chemi Shalev calls Liberman an “anti-hero” who could “save Israeli democracy from self-destruction” by bringing about Netanyahu’s political demise.

Just a decade ago it would have been impossible to imagine someone like Liberman, whose Yisrael Beiteinu party represents older Russian-speaking immigrants to Israel, becoming one of the country’s most powerful political players — let alone the hope of Israel’s secular liberals. Today his party has only five seats in the Knesset, but Liberman has amassed so much power that he can bring down a government by refusing to compromise on the issue of exempting ultra-Orthodox men from military conscription, which he knows is non-negotiable for the ultra-Orthodox parties on whose support Netanyahu depends.

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Secular liberals are cheering Liberman on. They see Netanyahu as the arch-villain of Israeli politics, steering the country from a flawed democracy into an abyss of tyranny, with the end of the rule of law, and annexation of the occupied Palestinian territories. And they view the ultra-Orthodox as parasites living off the hard work of the majority of Jewish Israelis, who serve in the army and pay hefty taxes as well.

Israeli...

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Netanyahu wants you to think Israeli-Palestinian mourning is seditious

The prime minister pulls out all the stops in his failed attempt at preventing the annual Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day ceremony from taking place.

Prime Minister Netanyahu appears to have lied to Israel’s highest court this week in an attempt to shut down and delegitimize one of Israel-Palestine’s only successful fora for shattering the exclusive nature of national mourning.

For the past 14 years, Israelis and Palestinians who have lost family members to the conflict have come together on Israel’s Memorial Day to hold an alternative, joint ceremony. The ceremony marks the deaths of both Israelis as well as Palestinians who have been killed over the years.

Israeli leaders have consistently criticized the ceremony, organized by Combatants for Peace and the Parents Circle Family Forum, for what they say is commemorating Palestinian terrorists. For the second year in a row, Israel’s Defense Ministry, headed by Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, denied entry permits to 176 West Bank Palestinians from bereaved families who hoped to participate in the ceremony.

According to Netanyahu, the bereaved families pose a security threat.

When the organizers requested entry permits for Palestinians, the Defense Ministry initially denied the request due to the closure on the occupied territories on Memorial Day. The Israeli army places the West Bank under closure on Jewish and Israeli national holidays by shutting down checkpoints to Palestinian traffic.

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Combatants for Peace and PCFF appealed the decision to the High Court. In the state’s response, Netanyahu and State Attorney Avichai Mandelblit argued that the decision to deny entry to Palestinian participants stemmed from security concerns.

The High Court didn’t buy it and overturned the decision. In his ruling, Justice Yitzhak Amit slammed Netanyahu for claiming that the decision to deny entry came in light of the violence in Israel’s south. Yet Amit noted that the Defense Ministry made its decision prior to the latest round of fighting, and that there was no closure on the West Bank during that time. The court then ordered the state to allow 100 of the Palestinians to attend the ceremony.

Netanyahu took to social media to criticize the ruling: “The High Court’s decision is mistaken and disappointing. There should not be a ceremony that equates the blood of our sons to the blood of terrorists. That is why I refused to allow entry to the ceremony participants, and I believe the High Court should not have intervened in my decision.”

...
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'We'll build a new country': Sudanese refugees celebrate Bashir's downfall in Tel Aviv

Celebrations erupt on the streets of south Tel Aviv as Sudan’s dictator steps down after 30 bloody years in power. Despite what appears to be a military takeover, Sudanese asylum seekers in Israel believe their revolution will win out. 

By Edo Konrad and Oren Ziv

Mutasim Ali didn’t have much time to talk when we met in his south Tel Aviv office Thursday morning. The Sudanese Army had just announced that Omar al-Bashir, who has ruthlessly lead Sudan for the last 30 years, was preparing to step down, and Ali had a party to plan.

After all, for Ali and for the approximately 7,000 Sudanese asylum seekers in Israel, al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide in Darfur, is the very reason they fled their homeland. Al-Bashir’s downfall feels like it could bring them closer to the day he and hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees worldwide can return to their homes.

As a university student, Ali was persecuted and imprisoned for demonstrating against the regime, prompting him to flee to Israel. His home in Darfur was burned down by pro-government militias, and his family still lives in a displaced persons’ camp.

“This is one of the most exciting days of our lives,” says Ali, who has since become a lawyer and is one of the leading activists for refugee rights in Israel, as we leave the office and head across town to meet other Sudanese asylum seeker friends.

“On the one hand, there is nothing more beautiful than watching our people rise up against this dictatorship. On the other hand, I can’t help but feel jealous that I am not out there in the streets with them,” he says, his eyes nearly welling up with tears.

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There are thousands of Sudanese asylum seekers in Israel, where they have found safety but not refugee protections, do not hold legal status, and lack many basic services and rights. Ali is the only Sudanese national to have been recognized as a refugee by Israel. The government has invested great time in resources in finding ways to deport African asylum seekers and in lieu of that, to making their lives miserable here. Those who were able have left for more welcoming countries, but most will tell you their real dream is to return home.

“I have been...

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Why the Zionist left died this week

Stuck in a Zionist paradigm, Israel’s mainstream left-wing parties are unable to put forth a vision of equality and inclusion for all in Israel-Palestine.

Tuesday’s election results were obvious to anyone paying attention. Although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party and rival Benny Gantz’s Blue and White won the same number of Knesset seats, Gantz has already conceded to Netanyahu, acknowledging that he does not have enough partners to form a governing coalition. Netanyahu will form a government with his “natural allies,” among them the far-right and ultra-Orthodox parties.

One of the most important stories that has been largely overlooked, however, is the spectacular implosion of the Zionist left. Tuesday’s election results, in which Labor plummeted to a record low of six seats, is as close as ever to a coup de grace. The Zionist Left, which includes the liberal Meretz party, is now reduced to just 10 seats in the 120-seat Knesset.

Labor and Meretz lost voters to Gantz’s “anyone but Bibi” campaign. But there is something far more fundamental at play here: neither party has been able to come up with a compelling vision because they are unable to grapple with two issues that haunt Israeli society: the dark legacy of 1948, and five decades of military rule in the occupied territories.

They are afraid because Netanyahu has shifted the discourse so far to the right that discussing the occupation has now become a taboo. Because those who want to talk about human rights violations in the West Bank or Gaza are now labeled traitors. Because talking about the Nakba or the fate of Palestinian refugees is beyond the pale.

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There are, of course, other reasons for the downfall of the once-dominant liberal parties. For much of the past two decades, with the demise of the peace process that it once led, Labor has attempted to position itself as a centrist party with a dovish pedigree, abandoning left-wing politics altogether. While Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin reached out to Arab citizens in the early 90s — the Arab parties helped ensure he could push through the Oslo Accords while keeping his government intact — any talk of a real alliance with Israel’s Palestinian community has never been on the table.

Beset by years of accusations that it was too Ashkenazi-dominated, that it was corrupt, and that it did too little...

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IDF puts Palestinians under closure as Israelis go to the polls

While Jewish Israelis will be able to move freely in and out of the occupied West Bank, millions of Palestinians — even those with entry permits issued by the Israeli army — will be on lock-down.

As millions of Israeli citizens head to the polls to vote on Tuesday, the Israeli army will put Palestinians in the West Bank under complete closure and will seal the Gaza Strip entirely. Movement within the West Bank should not be affected.

This means that as Israeli citizens living in settlements across the occupied territories may move freely back and forth across the Green Line separating Israel and the West Bank, millions of Palestinians are barred from doing so.

Even those tens of thousands of Palestinians who have permits to work inside Israel every day — primarily in construction and maintenance jobs — will not be allowed to go to work that day. Unlike Israelis, for whom Election Day is a paid holiday, they will not be compensated for the one-day leave imposed on them by the Israeli military.

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, for whom leaving requires months-long processes of applying and waiting for an Israeli military permit, which is often denied, will be entirely stuck.

The closure is scheduled to begin at midnight Monday, April 8, and end at midnight on April 9. The army says it will make humanitarian and medical exceptions on a case-by-case basis out of humanitarian basis.

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Palestinians living in the West Bank and most in East Jerusalem — 2,953,000 in total — are not eligible to participate in Israel’s democratic system. That same system, which others get to vote in, rules nearly every aspect of their lives, decides where they can or cannot travel, where they can live, whether they can hold political protests, where they may or may not build, and in some cases even what they can and cannot say. The nearly half a million Israeli settlers who live in the West Bank are not only subject to a different set of laws, they have the right to vote in elections that can change those policies if they have grievances.

In the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army decides what goods may be imported and exported, where fishermen can fish, how much electricity is available on a daily basis, who can enter...

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Win or lose, Netanyahu has already cemented his legacy

In his 10 years in power, Netanyahu has engaged in race-baiting against his own citizens, declared the occupation a permanent feature of Israeli reality, and shifted both the national and international conversation on Palestine. It is time to acknowledge that these are no mere trends — but his very legacy.

Ten years after he was elected prime minister, it is nearly impossible to imagine an Israel without Benjamin Netanyahu at its helm. An entire generation of Israelis has come of age in the Netanyahu era, and much of what young Israelis have internalized about politics, about their identity, and about Israel is the result of the legacy he has already left behind — regardless of whether he is re-elected.

In 10 years of Netanyahu’s rule, the prime minister has emboldened and been emboldened by some of the most extremist elements in Israeli society, engaged in race-baiting against his own citizens, cozied up to authoritarian and anti-Semitic leaders around the world, meddled in the internal politics of Israel’s greatest ally, and declared the occupation a permanent, integral feature of the Israeli reality.

What he’s done differently, whether deliberately or unwittingly, is lay out in the open what previous prime ministers thought best to not openly acknowledge or declare. Israeli leaders have always been lenient toward Jewish radicals, implemented undisguised discriminatory policies against Palestinian citizens, struck deals with despotic regimes around the world, and entrenched the settlement enterprise in the occupied territories.

One of the most defining features of Netanyahu’s legacy, however, is the way in which Israeli civil and political discourse has changed on his watch. To understand the way he has changed Israel, one must first understand the ways in which Netanyahu himself was transformed by the office. While he was always viewed as an outsider in Israeli politics, even within his own party, for years the prime minister retained a certain outward respect for Israel’s minorities, the rule of law, and democratic norms.

That all changed around the last elections, says Amir Fuchs, who heads the Israeli Democracy Institute’s Defending Democratic Values Program. “Some believe Netanyahu was always against the Israeli judicial system and the rule of law — but that’s simply not true,” Fuchs explains. “Before 2015, the prime minister spoke out against attacks on the courts by politicians to his right, while surrounding himself with Likud moderates such as Benny Begin and Dan Meridor or rivals from the political center such as Tzipi...

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What Israelis aren't, but should be talking about in these elections

Could these elections bring about the end of Netanyahu’s rule? Why isn’t anyone talking about half a century of occupation? And do these elections even matter, anyway? +972 and Local Call writers open up on what’s at stake this time around.

Reading much of the Israeli and international press, one might get the impression that the upcoming Israeli elections are solely a referendum on the last 10 years of Netanyahu’s rule. That might be partially true, but there are no few number of issues that aren’t being talked about, and there are stakes — and stakeholders — not being accounted for by most observers.

In order to better understand where our attention should be, I spoke with a number of writers from both +972 Magazine and Local Call, representing various positions in Israeli and Palestinian societies, about the issues they think we need to be talking about, whether these elections matter, and why nobody is talking about the occupation.

But first, what everyone is talking about — Netanyahu. The mainstream consensus holds that these elections are a referendum on the prime minister, and his only serious challengers’ primary platform consists of very little beyond ousting him.

There is no such consensus, however, on what the consequences of ending the reign of Israel’s second-longest serving prime minister would be.

For Amjad Iraqi, there is a danger for the anti-occupation movement in simply replacing Netanyahu, often viewed in progressive and international circles as the man responsible for everything they object to about Israel, with someone seemingly more palatable.

“Part of what has helped expose people to the facts on the ground here and understanding the depth of the occupation and racist policies is Netanyahu, his anti-democratic trends, and his similarities to Trump and other authoritarian leaders,” Iraqi explains.

A victory for Netanyahu rival Benny Gantz, viewed as stately and more moderate than the prime minister, could lead to the erosion of some of the international pressure on Israel today. “Once that pressure is lifted, you lose a lot of the hard work that has been [done over] the past 10 years.” But Netanyahu the individual leader isn’t the problem,” Iraqi adds. “It’s the [entire] Israeli political spectrum.”

For Noam Sheizaf, Netanyahu’s downfall could be a watershed moment for Israeli politics. The prime minister’s reign has relied on “a powerful coalition between ultra-Orthodox, national-religious, the old right-wing elite, and Mizrahi Jews and Russian immigrants...

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Palestinian peace activist denied entry to U.S. for speaking tour

Osama Iliwat was supposed to speak to synagogues, churches, and universities across the United States about the power of nonviolence and bringing an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Instead he was sent back to Palestine.

A Palestinian peace activist was denied entry to the United States last week after being extensively questioned by American border authorities about his political affiliations and about the funders and leadership of the group for which he works. Iliwat was supposed to join a Jewish-American member of the organization for a speaking tour in synagogues, churches, and university campuses across the United States.

Osama Iliwat, a 42-year-old from Jericho, in the West Bank, had a valid visa for the United States and had been admitted into the country on numerous occasions before last week.

Iliwat, a former Palestinian Authority police officer who grew disillusioned with the violence of the Second Intifada, joined Combatants for Peace in 2014 as its Jericho-Jerusalem coordinator. Today, he serves as one of the organization’s public speakers, delivering talks to Israelis, Palestinians, and international audiences on nonviolence as a path toward reconciliation. He has never been convicted of a crime and Israel even gave him a general entry permit that allows him to cross into the country whenever he wants.

During his interrogation at New York’s JFK airport, Iliwat was repeatedly asked about Combatants for Peace and about his political affiliations. In a telephone interview with +972 upon returning to the West Bank, Iliwat said that interrogators focused most of their questions on the organization’s activities, asking for information about the its founders, their political beliefs and affiliations, how often Iliwat speaks to them, and whether they have spent time in Israeli prison. Iliwat said the interrogators also asked him about the West Bank tours Combatants for Peace organizes, and which Palestinian political movement he supports.

Combatants for Peace was formed in 2006 as an organization founded by both former Israeli soldiers and Palestinian armed fighters committed to nonviolent action against the “Israeli occupation and all forms of violence.” The group leads tours of the West Bank, supports various communities in the West Bank who face violence from settlers and the Israeli army, and has put on an alternative memorial day event for the past 11 years. While the former Israeli soldiers in Combatants for Peace served in an army that receives support from the U.S. government, Palestinian combatants are often seen as former terrorists by both Israel...

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Movement for Black Lives backs leaders hit with anti-Semitism smears

The Movement for Black Lives comes out in support of Black progressive leaders such as Ilhan Omar, Angela Davis, and Marc Lamont Hill, who have been targeted for speaking out in favor of Palestinian rights.

The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), a coalition of more than 50 organizations representing black Americans, this week came out strongly in support of Black progressive leaders who have spoken out in favor of Palestinian rights and defending them against charges of anti-Semitism they have faced as a result.

Charges of anti-Semitism against progressive black Americans, the movement said in a statement, have been “leveled to silence criticism of the Israeli government, to regulate behavior and to try and mute independent Black political voices that are connected to communities across the country and abroad.”

The last few years have seen an increasing number of prominent Black Americans openly criticizing the policies of the Israeli government. In recent months, that criticism has exacted a price, with American pro-Israel groups accusing figures such as Angela Davis, Michelle Alexander, Marc Lamont Hill, and recently Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, of anti-Semitism.

For Davis, her support for BDS led to a prestigious civil rights award being rescinded following pressure by pro-Israel groups (the decision was later annulled, following backlash). For Hill, espousing freedom and equality for Israelis and Palestinians alike meant losing his job as a CNN commentator. For Omar, it meant facing the wrath of one of the most powerful lobbies in the United States.

“We categorically reject the erroneous assumption that all criticism of the Israeli government is anti-Semitic,” continued the statement. “This strategy, that has included things like firings and public character assassinations of leaders, is intended to undermine, censor and silence Black leadership, while ignoring our movement’s history of internationalism, particularly our consistent condemnation of all forms of anti-Semitism.”

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The attacks, which M4BL likened to the McCarthyist witch-hunts of the 1950s, are part of the right’s attempts to distort the “history of anti-Jewish violence and oppression, then use this misrepresentation as a tool to promote a right-wing nationalist agenda — at home and abroad,”it said.

“[The] long-standing aversion to Black leaders expressing views on foreign policy persists today because of anti-Black racism and a fear of solidarity across movements in this country and abroad,” the statement continued.

This is not the first time M4BL has...

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