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  • When Zionism imagined Jewish nationalism without supremacy

    In his recent book, Dr. Dmitry Shumsky shows that, contrary to popular belief, the forefathers of Zionism did not envision a state based on Jewish supremacy. And yet Zionism, he says, inevitably involves the oppression of Palestinians. By Meron Rapoport No one was surprised when the authors of the Jewish Nation-State Law decided to write, in its opening clauses, that “The State of Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people,” and “the right to national self-determination in Israel is unique to the Jewish people." After all, this is precisely what every young Israeli is taught in school, whether they are Jewish or Arab. Israel, so…

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  • For Israelis the Nakba is a footnote. For Palestinians it's the heart of the conflict

    Israelis tend to view the expulsions of the 1948 war as a small, local affair that was quite restrained compared to the Nazi genocide. For Palestinians, it is an ongoing dispossession. By Sam Freed To large portions of the Jewish Israeli public, the Nakba was small event — an historical side note. To most Palestinians, on the other hand, it is a huge, exceptionally brutal, and vastly important part of their history. In order to understand why there is such a vast disparity in the way the Nakba is perceived by Israelis and Palestinians, despite very little contention as to the objective…

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  • When the Sultan took in Jewish refugees

    Bayezid II, the sultan of the Ottoman Empire, saved my family's life during the Spanish Inquisition. The Israeli government could learn a thing or two from him. By Tom Pessah I am a Jew of Sephardic origin, which means the defining moment of my family's history was their expulsion from Spain in 1492. I still have relatives who speak Ladino, the Jewish language that evolved out of medieval Spanish and was preserved in the countries the Jews arrived in. We have our own dietary customs and liturgical traditions. [tmwinpost] For years, I only heard about the villains in this story — Ferdinand…

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  • Remembering the history Israel swept aside in 1948

    In the late 19th century, travelers on the long road from Jaffa to Jerusalem could stop at a rest station to relax and have a cup of (overpriced) coffee. This past, and the story of Jerusalem opening itself to the world, has been lost in the Zionist retelling of history. By Yonathan Mizrachi There is an ongoing debate in Israel over whether an Ottoman-era site along the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway should commemorate the actions in 1948 of the late, deeply controversial Rehavam Ze’evi, or the Harel Brigade of the Palmach, the pre-state incarnation of the Israel Defense Forces. But the…

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  • I am a Palestinian Jew, or at least I will be

    In order to avoid theocracy, apartheid and civil war, one Israeli believes it is time for her fellow Jewish citizens to start re-imagining their identity. By Dorit Naaman Fine, I am not yet a Palestinian Jew, but in 10 to 15 years - and certainly in my lifetime - this place will be called Palestine, and I will be a citizen of Jewish-Israeli heritage. By saying I am a Palestinian Jew I am being neither flippant nor provocative, as my critics would likely hasten to argue. Instead, I am analyzing the current reality and describing the future - utopian, or…

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  • How the 1929 Hebron massacre invigorated the Zionist movement

    The riots made it clear that the distinctions between religious and secular Jews, or between the old established community and the newcomers were meaningless for the Arabs. That wasn't because in the eyes of Muslims all Jews should equally be put to the death, but because at the end of the 1920s, the Arabs felt that what all these currents held in common was more significant than their differences. By Hillel Cohen The 1929 events have become symbolic of Arab murderousness, at least in Jewish eyes. It's the proof that even without the 1967 occupation and the 1948 Nakba, Arabs have…

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  • Media misconceptions: Is the conflict really about Jews vs. Arabs?

    In the second post of my three-part series about media and publishing, I examine some misconceptions about the Israeli-Palestinian 'conflict,' and the ways in which the media feeds into a binary that leaves non-Jews and non-Palestinians out of the spotlight. When my agent and I shopped my book about Israel’s migrant workers and African refugees around, we got a lot of those “We love it but it’s not right for us” and “This is an important book that needs to be published. But there’s no audience for this” kind of responses. But perhaps the most common response was, “Where are…

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