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Martin Luther King Jr

  • When we celebrate Israeli democracy, we celebrate the violence of occupation

    In democratic countries, elections are conventionally described as 'a celebration.' But in an undemocratic reality of endless military occupation, they become an overt celebration of the violence of the powerful. By Hagai El-Ad “So long as I do not firmly and irrevocably possess the right to vote I do not possess myself. I cannot make up my mind — it is made up for me. I cannot live as a democratic citizen, observing the laws I have helped to enact — I can only submit to the edict of others." Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered these words in his 1957…

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  • For Michelle Alexander’s critics, Palestinians don’t deserve civil rights

    The uproar by Jewish establishment figures over Alexander's New York Times essay in support of Palestinian rights echoes the reactions of white Americans to the Civil Rights Movement decades ago. Michelle Alexander’s powerful New York Times essay on Saturday (“Time to Break the Silence on Palestine”), ahead of the commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, was arguably a milestone for the Palestine movement in the U.S. [tmwinpost] First, for who wrote it: Alexander, the author of the seminal book The New Jim Crow, is a renowned lawyer and public intellectual respected for her activism and scholarship on racism in the U.S.,…

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  • Some Israelis think human rights are incompatible with Judaism. They’re wrong

    We must reject the false choice between giving up on our traditions and accepting narrow, tribal, and racist interpretations of Judaism. By Yariv Mohar Judaism and humanism are increasingly seen as diametrically opposed in Israel today. Labor Party chairman Avi Gabbay’s recent remarks, in which he echoed Netanyahu’s infamous comment that “the Left has forgotten what it means to be Jewish,” thrust back into the public discourse the sad and false notion that Judaism is incompatible with the belief in equality of all human beings. If nothing else, the current controversy presents an opportunity to discuss the matter. [tmwinpost] Sadly, in…

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  • Colombia's Israel connection: Peacemaking and the Peace Prize

    If the Nobel committee sought to move the needle on Colombian peace by honoring one of its auteurs, they might do well to remember a similar experiment that is all-too-familiar to observers in the Middle East. This year’s Nobel Peace Prize, which went to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos “for his resolute efforts to bring [Colombia’s] more than 50-year-long civil war to an end,” is being portrayed by some as a potential counterbalance to the October 2 referendum in which Colombians narrowly voted down a peace deal between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. [tmwinpost]…

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  • From the West Bank to NYC: Challenge Dani Dayan wherever he goes

    Now that settler leader Dani Dayan has been appointed as Israel's consul general in New York, will Jewish leaders wake up and realize that the Israeli government supports indefinite occupation over freedom for all? By Yonah Lieberman In 1963, Bull Connor became an international symbol of racism and white supremacy. A year earlier, as commissioner of public safety in Birmingham, Alabama, he shut down all of the city’s 67 parks and eight public pools, rather than desegregating them as ordered by the court. He soared to notoriety when, the following year, he oversaw legions of police officers as they blasted…

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  • Ethnic cleansing poll a dangerous sign for Israel

    The vast majority of Jewish Israelis don't want to give up their privilege. But nobody has the right to 'democratically' deny rights to another. The most shocking piece of information to come out of a Pew Research Center survey of Israeli society published Tuesday is that nearly half of Jews in the country say they support the ethnic cleansing of Arabs. Forty-eight percent of Jewish respondents agreed/strongly agreed that “Arabs should be expelled or transferred from Israel.” Digging deeper into the data, however, that glimpse into the collective political mindset of half of Israel’s Jewish population becomes less and less surprising.…

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  • What is Martin Luther King's name doing in the ruins of a Palestinian village?

    The civil rights leader's name mysteriously appears on a plaque dedicated to donors who contributed money to building a Jewish National Fund national park — on top of three destroyed Palestinian villages. By Umar Al-Ghubari (translated by Richard Flantz) Martin Luther King’s name appears on the donors wall of Ayalon Canada Park in the Latrun area, which Israel conquered in 1967 before it carried out an ethnic cleansing of the area. The site of the donors wall includes many stone panels on walls that were erected on the ruins of the Palestinian village Imwas, which Israel flattened in 1967. Imwas…

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  • 'A consciousness free of occupation': Bil'in marks 10 years of popular struggle

    The village that managed to unite the world behind the spirit of nonviolent Palestinian protest marks not only a decade of tear gas, night raids and tragedy, but also of co-resistance and victories in its struggle against settlements, the separation barrier and the occupation. Anyone who has visited the West Bank village of Bil’in on a recent Friday might think, just for a second, that they were back in 2005. At first glance, it seems like nothing has changed since the days of the first protests, which began 10 years ago this month. Now, as then, the protesters — mostly…

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  • Israel’s rabbinate reflects country's racist streak

    The people of Israel have received what they deserve: a rabbinate that is a true reflection of the current racist streak enlarging itself across the entire spectrum of Israeli society, from the streets of south Tel Aviv to the chambers of the Knesset. By Ahmadiel Ben Yehuda Israel’s new Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau wasted no time in putting his foot in his mouth: he allegedly used the Hebraic equivalent of the “N-word” (Hebrew) in chastising a group of Orthodox boys watching a televised basketball game. The new Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef preempted his counterpart, reportedly using the same invective prior to…

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  • An open letter to Barack Obama: You are welcome in Bethlehem

    Mr. President, you are welcome in Bethlehem in occupied Palestine, with open arms, in the hope that you are devoted to justice and a positive peace. By Antwan I. Saca BETHLEHEM – Just like the many other visitors that we receive here in this land, we would do our best to overwhelm you with our cultural hospitality and traditions. Mr. President, I would seize this opportunity to not only welcome you to visit Bethlehem, but also to welcome all U.S. citizens to visit my small city. I invite you, Mr. President, to be in my city and among the nation…

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  • Ethiopian Jews find inspiration in MLK, Malcolm X

    Thousands of members of the small Ethiopian-Israeli community demonstrated yesterday in Jerusalem against racism and discrimination. This was the last rally in a wave of protest that erupted after religious homeowners in Kiryat Malakhi, a town south of Tel Aviv, announced in a public letter that they will refuse to rent their apartment to Ethiopians. You can read Max Schindler's report from the protest here. What caught my eye was this photo: Black Ethiopian Jews were brought to Israel in two waves in the eighties and early nineties. A political arrangement between the Likud and religious parties had the majority…

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  • A reminder to Israel from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    As Americans remember civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., his messages ring true for many Israelis looking for this sort of inspiration that their own leaders are simply not providing. There are few times in which journalists get to say "the politicians done good."  This is one of them. First, in the past year, the US Federal Government unveiled the long overdue national memorial honoring the slain American civil rights leader, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. MLK, as he is often called, would have turned 83 years old this past weekend, had he not been gunned down…

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  • Palestinian Freedom Rides and the US Civil Rights movement

    In last week's Freedom Rides, West Bank Palestinians demanded equal access to settler roads and buses. Like African-Americans in the American Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, they seek to call attention to an inherently oppressive system and demand that it be dismantled. By Ben Lorber The “Freedom Rides” held last week in the West Bank to protest restrictions on freedom of movement of Palestinians, have a complex and contested historical legacy. As Fadi Quran, a Palestinian youth activist who was one of the organizers, said: “This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides in the US. Apart…

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