Promoting Zionism is not ‘education to end hate’

Protest in support of ethnic studies in California. 
Instead of putting anti-racist education in the hands of the pro-Israel lobby, the California Department of Education should recommit to a true ethnic studies curriculum.

By Jody Sokolower |  Mondoweiss  |  Sept 29, 2020

There’s only one problem. Education to End Hate rests on the false premise that any criticism of Israel or Zionism, any effort to examine Palestinian history or current realities in the region is inherently antisemitic

Last week, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced a new initiative, “Education to End Hate.” “Our country is facing two pandemics: coronavirus and hate,” he said. “It’s time to double down on our efforts to combat all forms of hate, bias and bigotry.” He contrasted his new initiative with President Trump’s attacks on the 1619 Project Curriculum, classroom materials developed by the New York Times that investigate how slavery has shaped America. As a result, Thurmond got great press for standing up for anti-racist, anti-bias education.

Continue reading “Promoting Zionism is not ‘education to end hate’”

Gaza’s Rockets: Weapons of Terror or Liberation?

Friends at a Gaza City funeral in 2006 comfort a father whose 10-year-old son was killed by an Israeli missile in “Operation Summer Rains.” (photo: courtesy Gary Fields)

Should there be an exception to international humanitarian law made for the perpetual violation of their human rights as Palestinians are experiencing?

By Gregory DeSylva  | Washington Report on Middle East Affairs  |  October 2020

IHL [international humanitarian law] puts Gaza in a cruel catch-22 predicament. If it uses its projectiles in violation of IHL it can expect continued condemnation and the negative impacts it has on the Palestinian cause. If it forgoes them, it is likely to remain interminably under Israel’s knee.

The rockets and mortars that Hamas and other Gaza militant groups fire into Israel are almost universally condemned. Most U.S. politicians blame these projectiles for the Israel-Gaza conflicts, and the U.N. and EU have condemned them. In 2014, President Barack Obama legitimized Israel’s “Protective Edge” assault on Gaza, stating, “As I’ve said repeatedly, Israel has a right to defend itself from rocket attacks that terrorize the Israeli people.” In November 2019, presidential candidate Joe Biden followed suit: ”Israel has a right to defend itself against terrorist threats. It is intolerable that Israeli citizens live their lives under the constant fear of rocket attacks.”

Rockets are a significant reason for Gaza’s continuing split with the West Bank: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has denounced them as “counterproductive,” accomplishing little and provoking Israeli retaliation endangering Gaza civilians.

Continue reading “Gaza’s Rockets: Weapons of Terror or Liberation?”

Palestinians are not numbers: On the future of the Palestinian discourse

(photo: Travel 2 Palestine – CC BY 2.0)

A Palestinian youth project aims to liberate the Palestinian discourse from just numbers to stories and legacies that are not being told.

By Ramzy Baroud | CounterPunch  | Sept 25, 2020

‘There’s really no such thing as the ‘voiceless’. There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.’
— Arundhati Roy quote

Palestine can never be truly understood through numbers, because numbers are dehumanizing, impersonal, and, when necessary, can also be contrived to mean something else entirely. Numbers are not meant to tell the story of the human condition, nor should they ever serve as a substitute for emotions.

Indeed, the stories of life, death – and everything in-between – cannot be truly and fully appreciated through charts, figures and numbers. The latter, although useful for many purposes, is a mere numerical depository of data. Anguish, joy, aspirations, defiance, courage, loss, collective struggle, and so on, however, can only be genuinely expressed through the people who lived through these experiences.

Continue reading “Palestinians are not numbers: On the future of the Palestinian discourse”

Shuruq 4.5: A Digital Arab Festival

Please join our brothers and sisters at the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice for a creative digital alternative to the fifth Olympia Arab Festival in conjunction with the Olympia Fall Arts Walk.  
  October 5 – 30, 2020  
  Various times during the month  
  Digital Festival  
  Event information here →  
Event Details

Since 2012, the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice has provided a biennial Olympia Arab Festival coinciding with Olympia’s Fall Arts Walk. Plans were underway for our fifth festival this October when the realities of COVID-19 hit. We quickly determined that the pandemic would not stop us! We feel a great sense of responsibility for the health of our community, and the RCF office has been closed since March except for mail pick-up and essential tasks. But our small staff and dedicated volunteer committees are working as hard as ever remotely.

We’re thrilled to let you know that with the addition of youthful, creative and technical energy, and growing comfort with online platforms, we’ll be bringing Shuruq 4.5, a digital alternative to the fifth Olympia Arab Festival, to you and others.

Throughout the entire month of October viewers will be able to select, enjoy, and be inspired by an array of events featuring new work from Arab writers, Arab films, and pre-recorded and live presentations and performances exploring and celebrating Arab culture and the 22 Arab countries.

The schedule is firming up; logistics are being worked out; and excitement is building! You can expect a Moroccan cooking class, a Dabka dance tutorial, discussions on topics relevant in today’s Arab world, new poetry and prose from Arab contributors, and more. We’re thrilled to bring people together digitally from far and wide to learn and to grow in their appreciation of our Arab neighbors.

This festival will be remarkable, and we need your help now to pull off this new rendition of Shuruq!

We’ve added staff time for event management, and we have fees to cover for digital platforms and multiple film screenings throughout October, for stipends to presenters and performers who are lending their support during challenging times, for new graphic design work being completed, and more.

Please take a moment to review individual, business, and organization cosponsorship options here! You will also find important information about cosponsorship levels, available perks, and registering as a cosponsor.

Shukran (“Thank you”) in advance for your years of support and for any help you can provide now. Stay healthy and get ready for a lift in October with Shuruq 4.5 (“Sunrise”)!

More information here →

Israeli settlers’ Chelsea boss backer

A BBC News Arabic investigation follows the money.


Screen Shot 2020-09-22 at 11.42.23 AM

Link to the video here →

Produced by Rosie Garthwaite, Uri Blau and Simon Cox | BBC |  Sept 21, 2020

An investigation by BBC News Arabic has found that Russian oligarch, Roman Abramovich, controls companies that have donated $100m to an Israeli settler organisation.

Elad operates in occupied East Jerusalem. By allowing settlement activity in the area Israel is considered to be in breach of international law. Israel disputes this view.

Analysis of bank documents has revealed that Chelsea football club’s owner, Abramovich, is the biggest single donor to the organisation. The bank documents – known the FinCEN Files – were leaked to BuzzFeed News, then shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and the BBC.

Continue reading “Israeli settlers’ Chelsea boss backer”

How Israel is waging war on Palestinians in Area C

Israeli forces remove a trailer they claim was placed illegally in Area C on 6 February. (photo: AFP)
With the world distracted by Covid-19 and ‘peace deals,’ Israel is seeking an irreversible displacement in the occupied West Bank

By Ben White | Middle East Eye  |  Sept 20, 2020

This is where the language of a “takeover” comes in – a world view that sees Palestinian territory under Israeli military occupation as belonging to Israel forever by “right”. From this perspective, the Palestinian farmer, not the settler, is the “invader”.

A new report in the Israeli publication Haaretz has shed fresh light on Israel’s intensifying demolition campaign in Palestinian communities, leading to a stark conclusion: Israel is conducting a war against the very existence of Palestinians in Area C, 60 percent of the occupied West Bank.

Meetings were held by the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee in late July and mid-August, and the subject was “the Palestinian takeover of Area C”.

Under the Oslo Accords, the West Bank was divided into Areas A, B and C, with major Palestinian population centres in Areas A and B. Area C territory surrounds and fragments these enclaves, and includes smaller Palestinian communities and almost all Israeli settlements.

Continue reading “How Israel is waging war on Palestinians in Area C”

A Request: We Are Not Numbers

Screen Shot 2020-09-20 at 12.00.38 PM
A request for for support for a program Palestinian youth and giving them a voice to tell the human stories behind the numbers in the news.

By Issam Adwan  |  We are Not Numbers |  Sept 18, 2020

I want to share some information about an organization that I am very involved with, We Are Not Numbers. I am part of a group of mentors who work with young writers in Gaza, helping them to improve their craft and support their desire to tell their stories and to be heard. We are currently doing a fundraiser and things are desperate. I understand there is so much need and so many causes. The campaign goal is officially over on October 4 and we need to raise $35,000. So far, we have received $5,000. These funds are used primarily for staff salaries in Gaza, as well as rent, electricity, wifi, educational activities, and transportation. WANN has already been forced to stop producing videos due to cost. Any amount is appreciated but I am asking you to stretch and be generous. I just tripled my donation. Please join me in helping this important organization survive in incredibly challenging times and share your commitment and enthusiasm with friends and family.
— Alice Rothchild, physician, author, activist, filmmaker

A personal message from Gaza project manager Issam Adwan:

The worst of my nightmares for Gaza has unfortunately arrived. Coping with a life of electricity blackouts, water shortages and one of the highest unemployment rates in the world is bad enough, but now we have “community spread” of COVID-19.

Continue reading “A Request: We Are Not Numbers”

The conspiracy theory of the UAE-Israel agreement

Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, smiles during a meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington.  (photo: Andrew Harnik / AP,  File)
The Arab leaders who have recognized and normalized with Israel have stated they have not betrayed the Palestinians. Do they know something that we do not know?

By Gershon Baskin  | The Jerusalem Post  |  Sept 16, 2020

The ambitious plan of MBZ, if successful, will turn the entire Middle East upside down.

I have heard a lot of conspiracy theories over the years, but I tend not to believe them. This is the latest one I heard, and there might be something to it. It seeks to explain why Arab states are breaking out from the Arab Peace Initiative, which promised Israel recognition and normalization only after the creation of a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.

Now, one Arab state after the other is recognizing and normalizing relations with Israel without any concessions from Israel on the Palestinian issue.

Continue reading “The conspiracy theory of the UAE-Israel agreement”

This summer has revealed a sharp rise in suicides in Gaza

Suleiman al-Ajoury, 25. (photo: Facebook)
Mental health has become a serious challenge in Gaza over the last ten years and numbers of suicedes are increasing.

By Hamza Abu Al-Tarabeesh | Mondoweiss  | Sept 11, 2020

‘Youth in Gaza have all motives for suicide. There’s poverty, unemployment, and uncertainty about the future.’
— Muhammad Abu el-Sebah, psychiatrist in Gaza

Suleiman al-Ajoury, 23, was a handsome young man and a cherished friend. Over the last three years he found himself unemployed and had no idea how to resume his once modest, yet stable, profession as a carpenter. Like so many young people in Gaza, he was at a standstill personally, out of work with no job on the horizon, all the while our wider environment crumbling around us. Our youth unemployment rate is a staggering 65%. The age bracket that figure encompasses is up to 24.

Then, on July 4, 2020 al-Ajoury killed himself at his home, leaving a message on social media that has since been removed by the platform. He described humiliation and a sense of hopelessness.

Continue reading “This summer has revealed a sharp rise in suicides in Gaza”

Peace through weapons sales to the UAE

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in the White House in Washington on May 15, 2017.  (photo: AP / Andrew Harnik, File)

Shortly after the UAE-Israel normalization deal was announced one of the U.S.’s primary motivations came into focus: tens of billions of dollars in UAE weapons sales.

By Ariel Gold | CodePink  |  Sept 9, 2020

‘Fake news,’ Netanyahu cried when Yedioth Ahronoth, the New York Times and other outlets reported that the U.S.-UAE arms sale deal had been the driving force behind the Israel-UAE normalization deal and that Netanyahu had been in the know from the start.

Next week, on September 15, Trump will host Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan for a ceremonial signing of the Israel-United Arab Emirates deal to normalize relations between the two countries. Termed the Abraham Accord, the deal has been condemned by many for failing to secure even a single concession for Palestinians. But shortly after the deal was announced, another downside — and perhaps the U.S.’s primary motivation for pursuing the deal — came sharply into focus: tens of billions of dollars in UAE weapons sales.

Less than a week after Trump announced the Abraham Accord on August 13, the story broke that Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner and National Security Council senior director for the Middle East Miguel Correa had been secretly pushing for the U.S. to sell F-35 stealth fighters, weaponized drones, and other advanced military equipment to the Emiratis. Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s minister of foreign affairs, said that his country had placed their request for the F-35 jets six years prior. He denied that the normalization deal was connected to his country finally being granted their request, but Trump administration officials later admitted that the deal had paved the way. On August 18, leading Israeli newspaper YNet News reported that the Abraham Accord included a “secret clause” wherein the UAE would get to buy billions of dollars in advanced U.S. military hardware.

Continue reading “Peace through weapons sales to the UAE”