‘When the constitution becomes racist, it’s difficult to define what racism is’

Lawyer Hassan Jabareen attends a meeting at the Knesset on December 19, 2012. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Lawyer Hassan Jabareen attends a meeting at the Knesset on December 19, 2012.          (photo: Miriam Alster / Flash90)
One year ago, Israel passed a constitutional amendment declaring that Israel belongs only to its Jewish citizens. The head of Israel’s premier Palestinian rights group discusses what has changed in Israeli courts, but also overseas.

By Henriette Chacar | +972 Magazine  | Jul 26, 2019

‘Soon, the debate in the world won’t be whether Jewish and democratic goes together or not; the debate soon will be whether Israel is apartheid.’
— Hassan Jabareen, founder and director of Adalah

In the year since the Israeli parliament passed the Jewish Nation-State Law, the equivalent of a constitutional amendment that declares Israel to be the exclusive nation-state of the Jewish people and demotes the status of Arabic, not a whole lot has changed.

That can mostly be explained by how new the law still is, and the political instability that has paralyzed policy making in Israel over the past year. But the more obvious explanation is that the law only codified an existing reality of supremacy, discrimination, exclusivity, and two-tiered citizenship that has prevailed here since the day Israel was born.

What the law has changed, is the essence of how people understand that reality — from Palestinian citizens of Israel to diplomats, and, of course, judges.

Continue reading “‘When the constitution becomes racist, it’s difficult to define what racism is’”

My name is Rachel, and Israel thinks I’m a security threat

Rachel Marandett
Rachel Marandett
The line between policing and racial profiling called into question.

By Rachel Marandett | Mondoweiss  | Jul 25, 2019

I want to tell my story because if this is what the Israeli government is doing to a 21-year-old American Jew doing research, what do you think they are doing to someone whose skin isn’t as white as mine?

My name is Rachel. I am a Jew. I don’t practice, but my grandmothers are Jewish and I identify as a Jew, so that means I am a Jew.

My name is Rachel. I study Religious and Middle Eastern Studies. My research focuses on the Holocaust and the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. I have studied in Morocco and the Czech Republic. I know a little bit of Arabic and I hope I can learn more soon.

My name is Rachel. I support human rights. I work at a non-profit that strives to prevent genocide and crimes against humanity.

Continue reading “My name is Rachel, and Israel thinks I’m a security threat”

Encountering peace: Have we no shame?

Israeli bulldozers demolish the Shepherd Hotel in the Arab East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheik Jarrah to make way for new Israeli settlements, Jan 9, 2011. (photo: Bernat Armangue, AP)
Israeli annexationist interests are a big barrier in quest for peace.

By Gershon Baskin | Jerusalem Post | Jul 24, 2019

What we did, what the State of Israel did, what we do in the name of the Jewish state is becoming pure evil.

As I watched the video of the Israeli soldiers and police blowing up one of the 13 residential buildings demolished this week in the Wadi al-Hummus neighborhood of Sur Bahir in east Jerusalem, I wanted to bury myself in shame. When the building imploded and the soldiers laughed as we heard the screams and cries from the Palestinians who became homeless, my shame turned to pure outrage and the urge to be violent. But I will not step down to that level. I will not be violent. But I will not hold back, I will not forget and I will not forgive. What we did, what the State of Israel did, what we do in the name of the Jewish state is becoming pure evil.

My first thoughts about what I see in the daily reality of east Jerusalem, and the West Bank and Gaza — things such as the Sur Bahir home demolitions; the removal of Palestinians from their homes in Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah, and the moving in of Jewish settlers in their place; settlement expansion and building at a faster pace than I have seen in many years; unauthorized settlements being built, budgeted and hooked up to Israeli infrastructure; massive police presence all over the West Bank ticketing hundreds of Palestinian cars (not cars of settlers); and the ongoing strangling the Palestinian economy in full coordination with the US government — all of these actions and more are leading to a definite explosion. My thought: Maybe that is exactly what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants? This is the perfect backdrop for Election Day. Could even Netanyahu be so cynical? I thought to myself — this can’t be.

Continue reading “Encountering peace: Have we no shame?”

Egypt takes another stab at reconciling Hamas, Fatah

man waving flag
(photo: Ahmed Abu Hameeda)
Egypt has made efforts to end the Palestinian rift and has recently stepped up efforts to bring Hamas and Fatah closer.

By Rasha Abou Jalal |  Al-Monitor  | Jul 25, 2019

‘The Palestinian reconciliation will remain idle if it’s not based on a partnership that ends the monopolization of the rule by one party or the other.’
— Abdullatif al-Kanou, Hamas spokesperson

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Cairo is resuming its efforts to reconcile the Fatah and Hamas Palestinian factions, taking a somewhat more hands-on approach to solving the main problem.

The Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank wants Hamas to give up administrative control of the Gaza Strip, including ministries, security, courts, border crossings and tax collections. But Hamas refuses to oblige and is asking for partnership in managing Palestinian affairs on the civil, security and political levels.

An Egyptian security delegation headed by Ministry of Intelligence Undersecretary Ayman Badih visited Ramallah on July 11 and met with Palestinian General Intelligence Services chief Majed Faraj, who is also a member of the Fatah-affiliated Reconciliation Follow-up Committee. The delegation then headed to the Gaza Strip the next day to meet with Hamas leadership, and returned to Ramallah on July 13 to meet with PA President Mahmoud Abbas and discuss the outcome of the talks.

Continue reading “Egypt takes another stab at reconciling Hamas, Fatah”

‘Devastation and outrage’ after Israeli forces destroy Palestinian homes in Sur Bahir

Hundreds of Israeli forces stormed Sur Bahir on Monday morning to begin demolishing 11 buildings in the area. (photo: All That’s Left: Anti-Occupation Collective)
The policy of home demolitions undermines any prospect for a lasting peace.

By Yumna Patel  |  Mondoweiss |  Jul 22, 2019

‘They destroyed the homes in front of the people, in front of their kids eyes. If you were there you could feel that everyone, the old, the young, everyone was in despair over their homes. It was a devastating, agonizing experience.’
— Hamada Hamada, local activist

It was the middle of the night, but the residents of the occupied East Jerusalem town of Sur Bahir were not asleep. They were waiting for, dreading, the arrival of Israeli forces to demolish their homes.

At around 2:15am on Monday, the people’s worst fears came true with the sounds of military jeeps, bulldozers, and heavy machinery rolled into their neighborhood of Wadi al-Hummus, on the outskirts of Sur Bahir, right next to Israel’s separation barrier.

Locals told Mondoweiss that more than 1,000 Israeli soldiers and government workers descended upon the area, with force, and began the process of demolishing 11 buildings in the neighborhood.

Continue reading “‘Devastation and outrage’ after Israeli forces destroy Palestinian homes in Sur Bahir”

When Zionism imagined Jewish nationalism without supremacy

David Ben Gurion seen in the Knesset, February 11, 1961. (Fritz Cohen/GPO)
David Ben Gurion seen in the Knesset, February 11, 1961. (photo: Fritz Cohen / GPO)
Historian Dr. Dmitry Shumsky shows that, contrary to popular belief, the forefathers of Zionism did not envision a state based on Jewish supremacy.

By Meron Rapoport  |  +972 Magazine  |  Jul 21, 2019

…the Zionist leaders envisioned the Jewish state as a multi-national one, or even as an entity within a larger framework, similar to the federalist structure in the United States.

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 it goes, is the “nation-state” of the Jewish people, and establishing a Jewish state was the goal of the Zionist movement since its inception.

Even those opposed to the Jewish Nation-State Law did not disagree with this line of thinking. There were those who argued that the law needs to include the principle of equality, as mentioned in the Declaration of Independence, as that would be “the real Zionist” thing to do. There were others who claimed that the law only proves that Zionism was and remains a racist movement. But neither group questioned the idea that a Jewish nation-state lies at the core of Zionism. Those who suggested Israel become a state of all its citizens, or, God forbid, a bi-national state, were perceived as traitors undermining Israel and the Zionist project.

Continue reading “When Zionism imagined Jewish nationalism without supremacy”

Can Israel’s courts deliver justice for Palestinians?

The Supreme Court decision to give a green light to the demolitions of buildings in areas under PA jurisdiction has raised questions [File: Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images]
The Supreme Court decision to give a green light to the demolitions of buildings in areas under PA jurisdiction has raised questions. (photo: Ilia Yefimovich / Getty Images)
Critics question merit of engaging with Supreme Court after it allows demolition of buildings under Palestinian control.

By Ben White |  Al Jazeera | Jul 17, 2019

…it is the court’s intervention – or lack of it – in Israel’s discriminatory planning system and associated demolition of Palestinian homes which has perhaps been most under the spotlight of late..

The demolition of Palestinian-owned buildings by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem is a routine occurrence.

But in Sur Baher, a neighbourhood southeast of Jerusalem, an unprecedented mass demolition is looming – with the approval of Israel’s top court.

Ten inhabited and under-construction buildings, containing dozens of apartments, are marked for destruction, after falling foul of a 2011 Israeli military order prohibiting construction within a 100-300-metre buffer zone of the separation wall.

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Trump’s attack on congressional women of color weaponizes hate, anti-Semitism and Israel

Image result for msnbc the squad image
Representatives Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) respond to President Trump saying they should “go back” to the counties they came from. (photo:  MSNBC)
Trump’s hate rhetoric should sound familiar and concerning.

By Richard Silverstein  |  Tikun Olam |  Jul 15, 2019

All this is not very far from the attitude of many Israeli Jews toward the Palestinian minority.

In his latest Twitter assault, Pres. Trump again targeted ‘The Squad’ (two of whose members are Muslim-American and two of whom are Black), the progressive Congressional women of color. His comments have taken an even more ugly twist in the past few hours, as he’s targeted Rep. Ilhan Omar claiming that she is anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and that she supports al Qaeda. Here’s what he said about the Minnesota Representative:

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Donald Trump and the perils of loving Israel just a little too much


President Donald Trump speaks on the South Lawn at the White House, July 15th, 2019. (photo: Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Trump’s latest comments should give Israel some cause for concern.

By Andrew Silow-Carroll | Jewish Telegraphic Agency| Jul 16, 2019

Trump’s attacks on four liberal congresswomen of color, telling them to ‘go back’ to their ancestral countries (only one was born outside of the United States) was exactly the kind of bigotry that the summit was devoted to combating.

It would have been remarkable in any administration: a Summit on Combating Anti-Semitism with appearances by some of the president’s top guns, including the secretary of the Treasury, the secretary of Education and the FBI director. And all hosted by and presided over by the attorney general.

That was the lineup at Monday’s all-day seminar at the Justice Department, and the turnout was appreciated by the Jewish professionals and lay leaders in the room, no matter what else they thought about President Donald Trump. Here was an entire day devoted to what that attorney general, William Barr, called “a marked increase in reported instances of anti-Semitic hate crimes.”

Continue reading “Donald Trump and the perils of loving Israel just a little too much”

Poof! One day in occupation causes young Jews on Zionist tour to question Zionism — ‘NYT’ reports


Shuhada Street in Hebron/al-Khalil. (photo: gettingoffthearmchair.wordpress.com)
Exposure to seeing what occupation looks like raises new questions.

By James North and Philip Weiss | Mondoweiss | Jul 14, 2019

‘My joy and my light shouldn’t be coming from someone else’s darkness,’
— Liyah Foye, a senior at UNC-Asheville

We are as critical of the New York Times as anyone, but we need to salute the superb report in the newspaper by David Halbfinger on a liberal Zionist trip for American Jews to see the occupation. Titled, “Touring the Israeli Occupation: Young U.S. Jews Get an Unflinching View,” the July 10 article offered horrifying glimpses of Palestinian conditions in Susiya and Hebron that left the young Jews staggered.

The article was about a very lukewarm tour of the occupation indeed, by the Zionist group J Street, which wants the visitors to engage in Israel advocacy back home, and wants to influence the more rightwing Jewish trips to Israel, notably Birthright, to stop off in Palestine.

Continue reading “Poof! One day in occupation causes young Jews on Zionist tour to question Zionism — ‘NYT’ reports”