Israel is trolling Palestinians on social media

Screenshot of an Israeli government posting on Facebook. (photo: COGAT / Facebook / Forward)
Israel posted a video on Facebook of a Chicago native who “fell in love” with serving in the occupation forces.

By Muhammad Shehada | Forward | Aug 28, 2019

I thought about my late father, who died before my eyes in the blockaded Gaza Strip after COGAT prevented him from traveling to the West Bank for life-saving medical treatment. Gaza’s own hospitals and supplies were crippled by Israel’s blockade, and my family and I couldn’t find any medications but painkillers to give him. Even when my uncle in the United Arab Emirates managed to obtain some life-saving medicines for my father and tried to send them, it was no use. With rare exceptions, COGAT allows only paper mail into Gaza.

You may not know that in addition to living under occupation and blockade, Palestinians must endure trolling on social media by the same forces that oppress us. It’s certainly not comparable to the daily, systematic humiliations, traumas, and abuse involved in living without civil rights. But there’s something downright dehumanizing about having to watch these abuses repackaged on social media as services for which we should be grateful.

That happened this week, when Israel’s occupation forces in charge of administering civil issues in the West Bank — the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories or COGAT unit — posted a propaganda video on social media. Their latest message is a promo video starring a young soldier from Chicago named Alyse, who says that she “fell in love” with the Israeli unit that runs the occupied territories.

There is so much wrong with this. For starters, COGAT embodies everything that’s problematic about the occupation of the West Bank. It is a military unit in charge of civilian affairs, a perfect encapsulation of the problem with military rule over a civilian population without the right to vote.

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Seattle Jewish Federation censors donation to IfNotNow

IfNotNow protesters. (photo: Gili Getz / Forward)
The Federation routinely approved a family’s donations for 15 years, but refused to allow them to donate to IfNotNow.

By Aiden Pink | Forward | Sep 2, 2019

‘A cohesive Jewish community tolerates a certain amount of dissent. It certainly shouldn’t eliminate it.’
— Alan Sussman, who was prevented from donating to IfNotNow

At the beginning of this year, like he did every year, Alan Sussman asked the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle to donate some of his family fund’s money to a charity of his choice.

This time, though, things went awry.

That’s because the group Sussman wanted to support was IfNotNow, the left-wing Jewish group that has made its name protesting not only Israel but also American Jewish organizations themselves — including the Seattle Federation.

Citing the protests, the federation told Sussman that supporting IfNotNow would go against their policy of “build[ing] a cohesive Jewish community.” . . .

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Israel’s one-state reality is sowing chaos in American politics

A mural depicting US President Donald Trump on the separation barrier in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, Aug 4, 2017. (Flash90)
Until US lawmakers and major Jewish organizations adjust to the current one-state reality, the acrimony that has marked the last several years under Netanyahu and Trump will only intensify.

By Joshua Leifer | +972 Magazine | Aug 26, 2019

‘If the two-state solution ceased to be possible, 64 percent of Americans would choose the democracy of Israel, even if that meant that Israel would cease to be a politically Jewish state, over the Jewishness of Israel, if the latter meant Palestinians would not be fully equal.’
— University of Maryland poll, 2018

For decades, the two-state solution has been the central pillar of the bipartisan pro-Israel consensus in Washington. Since the signing of the Oslo Accords, every single US administration has been committed, at least nominally, to the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Yet the expiration of the two-state paradigm under Prime Minister Netanyahu and the lack of a clear alternative to take its place has kicked that pillar away, disordering the politics of Israel–Palestine in the United States. Until American decision-makers adjust to the current one-state reality, the acrimony, chaos, and division that have marked the past several years will only intensify.

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The U.S. Border Patrol and an Israeli military contractor are putting a Native American reservation under ‘persistent surveillance’

ARIVACA, AZ - NOVEMBER 15:  A U.S. Border Patrol surveillance camera overlooks a remote area of the U.S.-Mexico border on November 15, 2016 near Arivaca, Arizona. Nearby, armed civilian paramilitaries with Arizona Border Recon, made up mostly of former U.S. military servicemen and women, staged a reconnaissance and surveillance operation against drug and human smugglers. The group, which claims up to 200 volunteers, does not consider itself a militia, but rather a group of citizens supplementing U.S. Border Patrol efforts to control illegal border activity. With the election of Donald Trump as President, border security issues are a top national issue for the incoming Administration.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
A Border Patrol surveillance camera overlooks a remote area of the U.S.-Mexico border on Nov. 15, 2016, near Arivaca, Ariz. (photo: John Moore / Getty Images)
Israel’s leading technology and surveillance systems are being brought to U.S. borderlands for enforcement and control that may go far beyond border security.

By Will Parrish |  The Intercept |  Aug 25, 2019

‘…technologies that are sold for one purpose, such as protecting the border or stopping terrorists…often get repurposed for other reasons, such as targeting protesters.’
— Jay Stanley, ACLU

ON THE SOUTHWESTERN END of the Tohono O’odham Nation’s reservation, roughly 1 mile from a barbed-wire barricade marking Arizona’s border with the Mexican state of Sonora, Ofelia Rivas leads me to the base of a hill overlooking her home. A U.S. Border Patrol truck is parked roughly 200 yards upslope. A small black mast mounted with cameras and sensors is positioned on a trailer hitched to the truck. For Rivas, the Border Patrol’s monitoring of the reservation has been a grim aspect of everyday life. And that surveillance is about to become far more intrusive.

The vehicle is parked where U.S. Customs and Border Protection will soon construct a 160-foot surveillance tower capable of continuously monitoring every person and vehicle within a radius of up to 7.5 miles. The tower will be outfitted with high-definition cameras with night vision, thermal sensors, and ground-sweeping radar, all of which will feed real-time data to Border Patrol agents at a central operating station in Ajo, Arizona. The system will store an archive with the ability to rewind and track individuals’ movements across time — an ability known as “wide-area persistent surveillance.”

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