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  • No Netanyahu, we refuse to keep living by the sword

    The Israeli prime minister says Israelis are doomed to a permanent state of war. It's time to show him that we aren't willing to come along for the ride — that we believe in a future for us and our children. Although it is likely that Netanyahu didn't intend it, the prime minister may have just granted the Left its ticket to victory. At a Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting on Monday, Netanyahu said the following: "I am asked if we will forever live by the sword – yes." And with those eight short words, Netanyahu summed up the…

  • It's in times of violence we need most to talk about peace

    Both Israelis and Palestinians need to start thinking far beyond what their leaders are offering them. Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas will never make peace. They will never succeed at stopping the violence, and they will never see eye to eye on anything other than the incompatibility of their respective visions. Don’t get me wrong: both men want peace. Even Benjamin Netanyahu, despite everything you’ve heard, is not a bloodthirsty warmonger who dreams of keeping an entire population under military rule in perpetuity. No. He is a master politician whose worldview dictates that the Jewish people will never be safe…

  • Why is it so hard for leftists to speak out amid terror attacks?

    Because we are shocked by the terrifying violence. Because we don’t want to play into the interests of the Right. Because we don’t want to appear disconnected from our society. But mainly because we tend to forget that, unlike the right wing, we have a solution for the conflict, and it benefits both Jews and Palestinians — not one or the other. Each morning it seems, or at least I wake up hoping, that this round of violence is over. That there won’t be any more attacks, that “neither side has any interest in an escalation,” as they like to…

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  • Will there be peace if Palestinians lay down their arms?

    The world expects millions of people in Gaza and the West Bank to happily and quietly live under occupation. While laying down arms is a positive step towards peace, it is not enough to end this conflict. Written with Dr. Marc Gopin In the past few weeks the pro-Israel pundits have been recycling an argument that runs as follows: If Palestinians were to lay down their guns tomorrow, there would be no war. If Israel were to lay down its arms, there would be no Israel. This argument is based on two false assumptions about Palestinians. The first statement is…

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  • Beyond protest: War and the Israeli Left

    This article first appeared in Dissent Magazine. Many Israelis who define themselves as “on the left” (about 20 percent of the population on a good day) support Operation Protective Edge. It’s a small and lonely subset that is both left wing and opposes the war. Over the last month, this little constituency has faithfully staged demonstrations of a few hundred—with last Saturday’s rally reaching somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000, by organizers’ estimates—and has written articles of protest. But the demonstrators tend to use such general slogans as “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies” or “No, no, we won’t let…

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  • On dual standards and the hypocrisy of peace

    Israel has no problem asserting an inviolable right to self-defense, while repeatedly denying the same right to Palestinians. The same state that decries Palestinian violence has no qualms meeting non-violent protests with fully armed aggression. By Nadia Naser-Najjab The ongoing conflict in Gaza has led international actors to reassert Israel’s right to self-defense. Any objection that these same actors have repeatedly failed to recognize, much less support, a Palestinian right to self-defense is routinely rejected upon the basis that it is not the international community’s role to take sides. Needless to say, in a context of open oppression and subjugation, this…

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  • WATCH: A voice of peace on the Gaza border

    For 14 years, the Israeli communities in the Gaza vicinity have dealt with regular rocket and mortar attacks. But not everyone shares the hardline views most often heard when news cameras show up. As 'Operation Protective Edge' began this past week, Social TV went to the area and found some different voices. Related: Live blog: Escalation in Gaza - July 2014 Why are there are no white flags in Gaza? Dispatch from Gaza: You can never be emotionally ready Why I object to this military campaign, even as missiles fall on my city

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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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  • On anti-normalization, dialogue and activism – a response

    "Those who reject dialogue as a means of ending occupation are alienating even the most sympathetic activists by positing replacement of one monumental injustice - occupation oppression and dispossession - with another: envisaging the disappearance of most Israelis from the region." An argument for why the Palestinian struggle could benefit from a new approach to dialogue. By A.M. Poppy On 10 September 2012, Noam Sheizaf wrote here that his experience with the anti-normalization debate shows “the futility of any form of ‘dialogue’ at this point in time. As long as the political issue remains unsolved, such contacts make both sides more…

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  • A waste of a summit, a waste of a lobby

    I gotta hand it to Bibi. Seriously, the guy’s a magician. Today, in what has been coined the most important summit between Netanyahu and Obama since they both took office, the most important issue will not be discussed. Instead of talking about how to end a 45-year-old unnecessary occupation, these dimwits are going to discuss an unnecessary war. Instead of talking about what America and Israel could - and should - do to stop a massacre (some already using the word “genocide”) taking place in Syria as they speak, these losers are going to talk about a massacre that doesn’t…

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  • Reports of Israeli readiness to negotiate an insult

    Ever so often, when it seems like too much time has passed since someone has addressed the "peace process," there is suddenly a meeting followed by reports that nothing has actually changed but that there is sober optimism that Israelis and Palestinians are ready to negotiate. The latest news -- following meetings in Jordan where (surprise!) no significant breakthrough was made -- is that Israel is ready to negotiate immediately with the Palestinians.  According to Haaretz, Prime Minister Netanyahu's exact words were: "I'm ready to get into my car at any time and go to Ramallah, even if it's more than a small…

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  • Second September journey interlude: A serious prayer

    Staying on the move in Israel and the Palestinian territories (and beyond) through a month of trial. And today: wishing for peace. Today is September 20th: the famous date on which the Palestinian statehood bid was supposed to move into full gear, stirring violence in its wake. In action, very little happened. The Palestinians are still trying to work a diplomatic miracle with the US to prevent a veto. The Israelis are trying to work their own miracle with the global community. Months may pass until things get off the ground. Still, September 20th has become a symbol, a keyword…

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  • Orthodox Jewish, British, Pro-Israel, Pro-peace

    Last week I met and spoke to a small group of Orthodox Jews in London, about Israeli political and social developments. I expected a challenging crowd, although the meeting’s organizer Hannah Weisfeld – who is working tirelessly to start an organization inspired by J Street in the UK – assured me that the audience was broadly pro-peace and progressive. But the reality was much more serious. These committed, active, synagogue-attending Orthodox folks, representing a range of ages and professions, were positively impassioned with the need to support Israel by supporting peace and democracy. They hung onto my talk but jumped in…

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