Trump plunges into campus conflicts about Israel and Palestinian rights

A guest at the White House Hanukkah reception on Wednesday wears a “Make America Great Again” yarmulke. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)
A guest at the White House Hanukkah reception wears a “Make America Great Again” yarmulke, Wed, Dec 11, 2019. (photo: Tom Brenner / Reuters)
The executive order, like many of Trump’s policy moves related to Israel, drew approval from parts of his evangelical Christian base, while Jewish leaders were divided in their responses.

By Julie Zauzmer and Susan Svrluga | The Washington Post | Dec 11, 2019

The executive order ‘has been crafted carefully in a way to paper over the inherent flaw in directing federal agencies to use a definition of anti-Semitism that reaches speech plainly protected by the First Amendment.’
— Will Creeley, a senior vice president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education

President Trump added new fuel Wednesday to a long-simmering fight about how colleges should handle activism around the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, signing a controversial executive order directing the federal government to penalize universities that allow anti-Semitism on campus.

Jewish Americans, from rabbis to college students, were deeply divided in their opinion of an order ostensibly meant to protect Jews. Advocates for Palestinian rights and for free speech on college campuses feared that the order might be used to punish students for criticism of Israel that they contend is political, not anti-Semitic.

On campuses across the country, including at George Washington University in the District, students and faculty are fighting over what constitutes bias against Jews and what is legitimate criticism of a foreign government. Continue reading “Trump plunges into campus conflicts about Israel and Palestinian rights”

House vote on two-state solution shows Congress more divided than ever over Israel

Rep. Rashida Tlaib addressing the House of Representatives on H.Res.326.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib addressing the House of Representatives on H.Res.326. (photo: Mondoweiss)
H.Res. 326 passed but it was a significantly watered down version of previous resolution text.

By Josh Ruebner |  Mondoweiss |  Dec 9, 2019

Democrats primarily rehashed the supposed benefits of a negotiated two-state resolution while refusing to offer any meaningful ideas on how to get there in light of both major Israeli political parties’ opposition to the idea.

The House of Representatives narrowly passed along mostly partisan lines on Friday its most significant piece of legislation on the Israeli-Palestinian impasse this congressional session.

H.Res.326, a non-binding resolution, affirms that “only” a negotiated two-state resolution to the issue “can both ensure the state of Israel’s survival as a Jewish and democratic state and fulfill the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for a state of their own”.

The resolution was adopted 226-188 with two Representatives abstaining.

Continue reading “House vote on two-state solution shows Congress more divided than ever over Israel”

‘Incitement’ and ‘indecency’: How Palestinian dissent is repressed online

A Palestinian youth points to logos of Facebook and WhatsApp on his computer in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip February 22, 2014. (Photo Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash90)
A Palestinian youth points to logos of Facebook and WhatsApp on his computer in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip February 22, 2014. (photo: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash90)
Censorship of Palestinian content by Israel, the PA, and Hamas is escalating at an unprecedented and dangerous speed.

By Marwa Fatafta |  +972 Magazine  |  Dec 4, 2019

To express your political views as a Palestinian, you must now tiptoe around three different authorities: Israel, the Fatah-led PA in the West Bank, and the de facto Hamas government in the Gaza Strip…

On Oct. 11, 2019, Facebook shut down the Palestinian Information Center, a news page with five million followers, without prior notice. Six days later, at the request of the attorney general of the Palestinian Authority (PA), the Ramallah Magistrates Court ordered the blocking of 59 websites under the pretext that they were threatening “national security, public order, and public manners.”

Shortly afterward — ironically, on the morning of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists — Twitter blocked three accounts of the Quds News Network, an independent Palestinian media outlet with a large online following. Metras, another Palestinian website on the PA’s blacklist, reported that a number of their Facebook posts were flagged and deleted, and that they received a warning that their page might be taken down.

Continue reading “‘Incitement’ and ‘indecency’: How Palestinian dissent is repressed online”

Seattle Times Op-Ed Response: ‘Extreme Liberals’ may not be the real problem

Gaza Anniversary Demonstration, Seattle, Dec 27, 2009. (photo: Palestine Solidarity Committee)
The following letter has been submitted to the Seattle Times in response to an op-ed by Rabbi Weiner on Dec 3, 2019.

By Rev. Richard Gibson | Presbyterian Church USA | Dec 5, 2019

Please do not allow the term ‘anti-Semitism’ to become a distraction for appropriate criticism of immoral government and military policies which violate International Law and United Nations resolutions.

Dear Editor:

“Extreme Liberals” may not be the real problem. Thanks to Rabbi Weiner (Seattle’s extreme liberals also pose a threat to the Jewish community) for raising the difficult question of “anti-Semitism”: defined as the hatred of Jewish people and their religion.

Liberals in Seattle, across the nation and in Congress, are very concerned about the immoral government and military policies of the State of Israel: denying Palestinian rights, bulldozing homes and orchards, arresting and imprisoning children in the middle of the night, sniper fire killing civilian journalists, medical persons and children at the border protests in GAZA — all of which violate International Law, and do not give Israel good publicity!
Continue reading “Seattle Times Op-Ed Response: ‘Extreme Liberals’ may not be the real problem”

Op-Ed: Seattle’s extreme liberals also pose a threat to the Jewish community

Mark Weber / Op-Art
Mark Weber / Op-Art
Rabbi Weiner responds to the  the need for supportive allies and city leaders in this time of increasing anti-Semitism.

By Daniel A. Weiner |  The Seattle Times  |  Dec 2, 2019

The unqualified support of countless voices from around the world bore out the loving affirmation of the majority over the cowardly cravenness of the marginal.

Anti-Semitism is significantly and unquestionably on the rise. Even among the many vicious acts and inciting words characteristic of these tumultuous, Trumpian times, the marked increase in what many assert as the “oldest of hatreds” is a return to a troubling trope in our history. The statistics, media coverage and lived experience of American Jews reinforce this perception as reality.

And yet, there are many within our society, supportive allies and principled civic leaders, who have spoken out and acted against the resurgence of this dark specter. While I have worked closely with Regina Friedland, director of the American Jewish Committee, Seattle region, and respect her efforts, I take issue with her overgeneralized indictment of Mayor Jenny Durkan’s responsiveness to recent anti-Jewish bigotry [“Why are Seattle’s leaders silent about anti-Semitism?” Nov. 23, Opinion].

Continue reading “Op-Ed: Seattle’s extreme liberals also pose a threat to the Jewish community”

Conversation: Turning possibility into power

Image courtesy of Dov Khenin
Interview with Dov Khenin, Israeli political scientist, lawyer, and one of the most prolific and progressive of Israel’s lawmakers.

By Libby Lenkinski  |  Jewish Currents  |  Dec 3, 2019

Fighting against the occupation is very central to our political activity in Israel—it has been and still is the main issue for my movement, and for me personally.
— Dov Khenin

Israel is stuck in parliamentary muck. After two elections in the span of six months, it’s now staring down the barrel of a third. This month marks a full year since the country has had a functioning government, while its prime minister-in-name-only—who was indicted on charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust—is hanging on by a thread. In the midst of this political turmoil, I reached out to former parliamentarian and social activist Dov Khenin to discuss the past and future of the progressive movement in Israel.

After serving in the now-deeply-dysfunctional Knesset for a dozen years as a member of Hadash (Israel’s joint Arab-Jewish Communist Party), Dov chose not to seek re-election last January. In his time there, he made his legislative mark, passing over 100 pieces of legislation, including sweeping environmental protection legislation and increases in the minimum wage. He was also the sole Jewish member of the Joint List, the alliance of the four Arab-majority political parties.

Continue reading “Conversation: Turning possibility into power”

Palestine is a climate justice issue

Palestinians walk past a pool of sewage on a beach in the northern Gaza Strip July 13, 2018. Picture taken July 13, 2018 [Mohammed Salem/Reuters]
Palestinians walk past a pool of sewage on a beach in the northern Gaza Strip July 13, 2018. Picture taken July 13, 2018 (photo: Mohammed Salem/Reuters)
The fight for climate justice for all is directly connected to the Palestinian struggle.

By Abeer Butmeh  | Al Jazerra | Nov 28, 2019

On the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, our Palestinian environmental organizations call for global pressure on Israel to end climate apartheid through boycotts of the Israeli government and institutions and companies that are complicit in destroying the environment, violating our rights and profiting from our resources.

This Friday, November 29, two major global events of great importance to me will coincide – the fourth Global Climate Strike, and the United Nations’s annual International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. This convergence also symbolically represents an important reality – that the fight for climate justice for all is directly connected to the Palestinian struggle. Palestine is a climate justice issue.

In my work coordinating Palestinian environmental organizations, I witness daily that for Palestinians, climate change is not just a natural phenomenon, but a political one. Israel’s regime of occupation and apartheid, which denies us the right to manage our land and resources, exacerbates the climate crisis Palestinians face, making us more vulnerable to climate-related events.

Continue reading “Palestine is a climate justice issue”

Israel’s next move: The real danger in US decision to normalize illegal Jewish settlements

 

Palestinians attend Friday prayer during a protest against Jewish settlements near Yata, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank November 1, 2019.
Palestinians attend Friday prayer during a protest against Jewish settlements near Yata, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank November 1, 2019. (photo: Reuters)
The U.S. is giving Israel political carte blanche and asking nothing in return.

By Ramzy Baroud | Counterpunch | Nov 29, 2019

One theory regarding the ongoing surrender of US foreign policy to Israel is that Washington is slowly, but permanently, withdrawing from the Middle East…

It is hardly shocking that the United States government has finally decreed that illegal Jewish settlements which have been built in defiance of international law, are, somehow, “consistent” with international law.

US foreign policy has been edging closer towards this conclusion for some time. Since his advent to the White House in January 2017, President Donald Trump has unleashed a total and complete reversal of his country’s foreign policy regarding Palestine and Israel.

Let us not have any illusion regarding the American approach to the so-called ‘Israeli-Palestinian conflict’ prior to Trump’s Presidency. The US has never, not even once, stood up for Palestinians or Arabs since the establishment of the State of Israel over the ruins of historic Palestine in 1948. Moreover, Washington has bankrolled the Israeli occupation of Palestine in every possible way, including the subsidizing of the illegal Jewish settlements.

Continue reading “Israel’s next move: The real danger in US decision to normalize illegal Jewish settlements”

No one in Israel knew they were committing a massacre

Palestinians mourn over the bodies of members of the same family who were killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza, Nov 14, 2019. (photo: AFP / Haaretz)
The Israel Defense Forces claims the target was an “unoccupied shack.”

By Gideon Levy | Haaretz | Nov 17, 2019

‘Why did they do this to us?’
— Mohammed Matar, who had worked in Israel for 30 years, and whose daughter, daughter-in-law and four grandchildren were killed in the bombing

The bomber pilot didn’t know. His commanders who gave him the orders also didn’t know. The defense minister and the commander in chief didn’t know. Nor did the commander of the air force. The intelligence officers who aimed at the target didn’t know. The army spokesman who lied without a qualm also didn’t know.

None of our heroes knew. The ones who always know everything suddenly didn’t know. The ones who can track down the son of a wanted man in a Damascus suburb didn’t know that sleeping inside their miserable hovel in Dir al-Balah was an impoverished family.

They, who serve in the most moral army and the most advanced intelligence services in the world, didn’t know that the flimsy tin shack had long since stopped being part of the “Islamic Jihad infrastructure,” and it’s doubtful that it ever was. They didn’t know and they didn’t bother to check — after all, what’s the worst that could happen?
Continue reading “No one in Israel knew they were committing a massacre”

Israel’s detention of Palestinian children is ‘completely preventable,’ says US congresswoman

Betty McCollum continues to rally support for bill that would stop US aid to Israel from being used in abuses of Palestinian minors.

By Ali Harb  |  Middle East Eye  | Nov 20, 2019

‘Children are being used as pawns to get their parents and those fighting for the liberation of the Palestinian people. But it’s also a means for conditioning these children to believe that they are not worthy of respect, that they are less-then, that they are not entitled to basic human rights.’
— Reverend Aundreia Alexander, associate general secretary for action and advocacy at the National Council of Churches

The Israeli army’s mistreatment of Palestinian children is “completely preventable,” a United States congresswoman said, as she urged other lawmakers to support a bill that would prevent American military aid to Israel from being used to abuse Palestinian minors.

“The Israeli system of military detention of Palestinian children is immoral, and not a single dollar of US taxpayer funds should be allowed to support what’s in explicit violation of international humanitarian law,” said Representative Betty McCollum, a Minnesota Democrat, at an event on Wednesday at the US Capitol building in Washington.

McCollum introduced the legislation, HR 2407, in late April, and since then it has gained 22 co-sponsors — mostly progressive members of the House of Representatives.

Continue reading “Israel’s detention of Palestinian children is ‘completely preventable,’ says US congresswoman”