Faith leaders support HR 4391: The Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act

(photo: No Way to Treat a Child / Facebook)
Please ask your Members of Congress to do the same.

Children under the age of 18 comprise nearly fifty percent of the population of the occupied Palestinian territory. The prospect for peace depends on their ability to thrive without fear of mistreatment at the hands of the Israeli military.

Sep 12, 2018

Dear Representative,

We are writing to express our gratitude for your leadership in co-sponsoring HR. 4391, the Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act. This legislation, as you know, seeks to ensure US aid to Israel is not used to mistreat Palestinian youth in the Israeli military detention system.

Our faith commitments call us to pay particular attention to the rights of the vulnerable, including children. We are encouraged by this legislation, and hopeful it will ensure the United States is not supporting the continued trauma inflicted on Palestinian youth entangled in the Israeli military detention system. Continue reading “Faith leaders support HR 4391: The Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act”

Conflating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism

An Hasidic Jewish man, a member of Jews United Against Zionism, hoists a Palestinian flag as he protests at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference in Washington , Mar 4, 2012. (photo: Cliff Owen / AP)
If one wants to eradicate anti-Semitism, one should fight to end all forms of racism; claiming that opposition to Zionism is anti-Semitic is a false, shameless claim.

By Miko Peled | Mint Press News | Sep 13, 2018

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, anti-Semitism is defined as ‘hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group.’ This is also how anti-Semitism is understood by people in general. However, the state of Israel and Zionist organizations around the world do not want the term to be defined as only racism against Jewish people but also to include criticism and rejection of Zionism.

. . . From early on, the Zionist movement and then the State of Israel have had a tense relationship with the Ultra-Orthodox community because of its clear anti-Zionist stance. Having grown up in Jerusalem I can recall how each year on particular days, including the Israeli Day of Independence, there would be processions at the Ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods where the Israeli flag would be burned.

The Anti-Defamation League, or ADL, which claims to be a civil-rights organization but is in reality a Zionist watchdog, maintains that “Anti-Zionism is a prejudice against the Jewish movement for self-determination and the right of the Jewish people to a homeland in the State of Israel.” This is an interesting twist on Zionism and what it means to oppose it.

To begin with it is not prejudice to oppose Zionism. The Zionist movement has been around for over a century and has a clear track record of racism and extreme violence. Nor is it prejudice against the right of Jewish people to live in Palestine. The creation of the state of Israel came at an enormous cost and included genocide, ethnic cleansing, and the establishment of an apartheid regime. That is enough reason to oppose any movement.

The ADL also claim that BDS — the Palestinian call for a boycott, divestment, sanctions campaign against Israel — is anti-Semitic. On its website, it says that “ADL believes that the founding goals of the BDS movement and many of the strategies used by BDS campaigns are anti-Semitic.” It goes on to say that “the [BDS] campaign is founded on a rejection of Israel’s very existence as a Jewish state. It denies the Jewish people the right to self-determination.”

Continue reading “Conflating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism”

Trump’s bear hug risks crushing Israel

A Palestinian refugee waits for a medical check at a UN-operated health center at the Asker refugee camp in the West Bank, Sep 1, 2018. (photo: Jaafar Ashtiyeh / AFP / Getty Images)
By gratuitously insulting and defunding the most moderate Palestinian faction, Trump is opening the door to the radicals. That’s a Rosh Hashanah present Israel could do without.

By Max Boot | The Washington Post | Sep 11, 2018

The Trump administration, which has already pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal, has jettisoned U.S. commitment to international law. The United States, once the linchpin of the international system, is turning into a rogue state.

National security adviser John Bolton made headlines on Monday with his blistering attack against the International Criminal Court. But “Bolton attacks ICC” is a dog-bites-man story if there ever was one. Bolton has been on a tear against the ICC since its inception, and his blood-curdling threats against nations that cooperate in investigations of US troops are more of the same. In substantive terms, though, his objections were already codified in the 2002 American Service-Members’ Protection Act, which went so far as to authorize military force to free any U.S. personnel held by the court.

Of greater immediate consequence is the fact that Bolton announced the closing of the Palestine Liberation Office mission in Washington, ostensibly in retaliation for “Palestinian attempts to prompt an ICC investigation of Israel.” The Trump administration thereby takes a giant step back from the Oslo Accords, which resulted in formal diplomatic relations between the United States and the Palestinian Authority.

Continue reading “Trump’s bear hug risks crushing Israel”

Trump’s latest step backward on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

The Washington office of the Palestine Liberation Organization on Nov 18, 2017. (photo: Alex Brandon / AP)
The continuation of the 50-year occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is a tragedy for Israelis and Palestinians alike.

By The Editorial Board | Los Angeles Times | Sep 11, 2018

Slowly, the administration is turning the screws, sending the unmistakable message to Palestinians that the US no longer sees itself as an evenhanded broker in the effort to find a workable solution to the conflict.

There was a time when the United States and much of the rest of the world saw the Palestinians as a non-people, or as a subset of the people of Jordan, or as a backward collection of whiners and terrorists who could easily be “absorbed” into the countries of their fellow Arabs. But over the decades, that began to change. Eventually a consensus emerged that a negotiated two-state solution was the most equitable and the most practical way to address the legitimate territorial claims of both Israelis and Palestinians.

Today, however, the Trump administration is moving that cause steadily backward in a bogus search for what the president has boasted will be the “ultimate” peace deal, but which seems increasingly likely to result in a one-sided proposal that will be both unfair and unacceptable to Palestinians when and if it is unveiled.

Just consider Trump’s actions in recent months. First, he declared that, in a reversal of long-standing policy, the United States would formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel — a needlessly provocative concession to right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that complicates future negotiations.

Continue reading “Trump’s latest step backward on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”

Pro-Israel group secretly ran misleading Facebook ads

(photo: Nikki Casey, Forward)
The smear campaign targeted a Palestinian poet, and stalked him as he toured the US.

By Josh Nathan-Kazis and Justin Elliott | Forward and ProPublica | Sepe 12, 2018

Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC) ‘coordinate’ or ‘communicate’ with Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, an Israeli government department that has become the hub of the Israeli government’s overt and covert efforts against the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement in the US and around the world.

In 2016, as Palestinian-American poet Remi Kanazi performed at college campuses around the United States, his appearances seemed to spark student protests.

Before his visit to John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, a page called “John Jay Students Against Hate” appeared on Facebook with Kanazi’s face next to a uniformed cop, painting Kanazi as anti-police. When Kanazi crossed the country a few days later to visit San Jose State, a nearly-identical Facebook page popped up, this one called “SJSU Students Against Hate,” with Kanazi’s face superimposed over an image of military graves. Paid Facebook campaigns promoted both pages.

Despite their names, the Facebook campaigns were run by professional Washington DC political operatives who work for a group called the Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC), according to promotional materials obtained by ProPublica and the Forward.

Continue reading “Pro-Israel group secretly ran misleading Facebook ads”

Israeli defense officials: Gaza will collapse without an alternative to UNRWA

Palestinian men collect aid food at a United Nations compound in the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip on Sep 1, 2018. (photo: AFP)
Israeli delegation to upcoming conference expected to encourage donor countries to help guarantee continued delivery of food, education services and salaries.

By Yaniv Kubovich | Haaretz | Sep 9, 2018

The Israel Defense Forces warned . . . that if the UN agency’s Gaza operations cease without a workable alternative being found, an escalation in violence is nearly inevitable.

Israeli defense officials agreed in a meeting last week that the government must develop an alternative to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in the Gaza Strip in order to head off a humanitarian disaster in light of the US commitment to defunding the agency.

An Israeli delegation to a donor conference in New York later this month is expected to encourage donor countries to pitch in to guarantee the continued delivery of food, education services and the salaries of the UN’s 30,000 employees in the Strip. Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rukun, the coordinator of government activities in the territories, is one of several Israeli defense officials who are scheduled to attend.

In earlier meetings ideas for projects were put forward that Israel wanted to promote, mainly in the realm of infrastructure, but now Israel will now seek ways of funding more basic needs.

Continue reading “Israeli defense officials: Gaza will collapse without an alternative to UNRWA”

Israeli music scene jolted by international boycott movement

The boycott of the festival has succeeded “beyond expectations.” BDS is now setting its sights on the Eurovision Song Contest in 2019.

By Josef Federman | Star Tribune | Associated Press | Sep 10, 2018

Now is not the time for escapism and celebrations. Now is the time for activism and protests against Israeli apartheid, Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the human rights atrocities being carried out every day in Gaza by Israeli forces.
— of Montreal, a popular indie band as posted on their Facebook page

Israel’s Meteor Festival was meant to bring together indie groups from around the world in what organizers billed as a Woodstock-like “cutting edge musical journey that surpasses borders and distorts time and space.”

Instead, some 20 acts, including headliner Lana Del Rey, withdrew at the last minute amid apparent pressure from a Palestinian-led international boycott campaign.

The cancellations turned the weekend festival, held in the bucolic setting of an Israeli kibbutz, into the latest battleground between Israel and the boycott movement that says it seeks to end Israeli rule over Palestinians.

Campaign organizers claimed success, saying it reflects growing opposition to Israeli government policies among international millennials.

Continue reading “Israeli music scene jolted by international boycott movement”

Catholics urge that Palestinian voices be heard in peace process

Palestinian family in refugee camp. (photo: Dominika Zarzycka / Shutterstock)

By Courtney Grogan | Catholic News Agency | Sep 10, 2018

I am reminded of the teachings of the great popes of our time who have pleaded that the voice of the Palestinian people be heard. Without hearing that voice, the dream of justice and peace for Israel, for Palestine and for the Middle East will remain impossible. Closing the Embassy is an attempt to silence that voice.
— Father David Neuhaus, a Jerusalem-based priest

The U.S. State Department announced Monday it will close the Palestinian Liberation Organization office in Washington because it says Palestine has failed to take “steps to advance the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.”

The Palestinian Liberation Organization, or PLO, is recognized by the United Nations as “the representative of the Palestinian people” and has diplomatic relationship with over 100 states, including the Holy See. . . .

In 1948, Pope Pius XII wrote in an encyclical on Palestine, “Even before the armed conflict began . . . We manifested our lifelong solicitude for peace in Palestine, and, condemning any recourse to violence, We declared that peace could only be realized in truth and justice.”

Continue reading “Catholics urge that Palestinian voices be heard in peace process”

Trump’s endgame in Palestine

Palestinians in Bethlehem are seen in front of the separation wall on Nakba Day, May 14, 2013. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler /
Washington defunding the Palestinian refugee agency is not merely an attack on UNRWA, as serious as that may be. It is an attempt to destroy the Palestinian national movement.

By Mitchell Plitnick | +972 Magazine | Sep 9, 2018

Trump has steered his policy on Israel-Palestine down a clear path. He is motivated by the right-wing belief, undoubtedly held by Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt, and his ambassador to Israel, David Friedman — Trump’s “Mideast peace team” — that contrary to conventional wisdom, the Palestinians can be pounded into submission.

Late last month, the State Department announced it would end all funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN agency that provides many essential services for Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. The reaction to this decision has been mostly negative.

Some have objected to the Trump administration’s decision because it runs counter to U.S. interests. Some have objected because it jeopardizes Israel’s security. Others talk about the staggering humanitarian consequences for the millions of refugees UNRWA serves.

These are all important concerns. But none of them hits the mark of what the Trump administration — apparently at the urging of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, without any consultation with anyone else in the Israeli government or defense establishment — is doing. This is not merely an attack on UNRWA, as serious as that may be. This is an attempt to destroy the Palestinian national movement.

Continue reading “Trump’s endgame in Palestine”

Webinar: Intergenerational Resilience in a Palestinian Refugee Camp Context


Please join our brothers and sisters at Jewish Voice for Peace for this important webinar.

The JVP Health Advisory Council invites you to join Devin G. Atallah, PhD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Counseling Psychology at Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development for a webinar moderated by Alice Rothchild, MD.


Date: Monday, Sep 17, 2018
Time: 6:00 – 7:00 pm PDT
Location: webinar
Information: Event information and registration here →
Event Details

Devin G. Atallah, PhD, will discuss his research, community organizing, and capacity-building work with Palestinian refugees in the occupied West Bank. He has examined intergenerational trauma across several generations of refugee families and supported health promotion efforts within the camp community.

In particular, he will share about his work with the Lajee Center in the Aida refugee camp, which is a Community Based Organization (CBO) already working on the issue of addressing trauma in children and youth, promoting intergenerational resilience and positive adolescent development for decades in the camp.

More information here →