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War of Independence

  • Are Israeli Jews beginning to accept the right of return?

    A number of new surveys shows that at least a fifth of Israel's Jewish citizens are open to the idea of Palestinian refugees returning to their homes. So how do we reconcile this with the violence being meted out to Palestinians on the Gaza border? By Eléonore Bronstein and Eitan Bronstein Aparicio What is it about Gaza’s “Great Return March” that so threatens Israelis? What is it that Israelis are so actively preventing? The Gaza fence symbolizes the essence of the Jewish state, which was founded through the dispossession of the Palestinians, expelling the majority of them beyond its borders. Walls and fences…

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  • How we learned to forget the villages we destroyed

    'Erased from Space and Consciousness' is the product of years of meticulous research to raise awareness of the hundreds of villages Israel destroyed during and following the 1948 war. But is awareness enough to remedy the injustices of the past? By Tom Pessah Kadman, Noga: Erased From Space and Consciousness – Israel and the Depopulated Palestinian Villages of 1948. 2015. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. 256 pp. Noga Kadman’s Erased from Space and Consciousness is one of those rare books that profoundly re-shapes your perspective. Growing up inside the Zionist education system meant that even when I did eventually hear about the…

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  • When Jewish militants dug underground tunnels

    Seventy years ago it was the Zionist militias who dug underground tunnels and hid weapon caches among the civilian population. So why is it so difficult for Israelis to understand when Hamas does the same today? Whether we like to admit it or not, the Israeli press intentionally ignores the realities of Gaza. One would be hard-pressed to find articles about the fall-out from last summer's Gaza war, including home reconstruction, destroyed infrastructure, high unemployment rates and the trauma that will likely stay with many of the victims for the rest of their lives. Even during the war itself, Israel's…

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  • Why do Palestinians continue to support Hamas despite such devastating losses?

    I know of many Palestinians who do not like Hamas. Yet for them, the Gaza war is about the siege - part of their own war of independence. Israelis refuse to get that. In The Fog of War, Errol Morris’ excellent documentary, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara speaks about a certain inability to understand the enemy – one that stems from a lack of empathy. In the film, McNamara, a brilliant systems analyst, who is today associated more than anything with the Vietnam War, says that part of President Kennedy’s successful management of the Cuban Missile Crisis was his…

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  • In response: The benefits of academic Israel programs

    In response to Olga Gershenon's critique of one-sided programs that bring American academics to discover Israel, one writer counters that those very programs are actually a step in the right direction, both due to the openness by which they are run and by the people they attract.  By Brent E. Sasley Olga Gershenson wrote a strong critique in these pages of three programs that aim to bring academics from around the world to Israel. Her criticism centers on the accusation that these programs, all funded by Jews, Israeli, or right-leaning individuals and organizations, present a sanitized version of Israel that highlights the…

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  • Traces of the Nakba: Book review of 'Stone, Paper'

    Despite attempts to conceal the memory of stones in the village of Hunin, papers in the kibbutz archives left a trail revealing the hidden war. In his bold book, Stone, Paper, Tomer Gardi places history in its present, as a driving political force, while rejecting the practice of historical writing. By Yehouda Shenhav | Translated by Dana G. Peleg There is a children’s game called "rock, paper, scissors." It's played with two players: each one hides his or her hand behind the back, and then they stretch their arms out forcefully and simultaneously, making one of three possible signs that…

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