Israel’s pick to head Holocaust Memorial stirs international uproar

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The Hall of Names, bearing names and pictures of Jewish Holocaust victims, at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem.  (photo: Menahem Kahana / Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)
Critics are protesting the nomination of Effie Eitam, a retired general and far-right politician, to lead Yad Vashem, a hallowed Israeli institution.

By Isabel Kershner  | The New York Times  |  Nov 28, 2020

‘An institute headed by a person with such extreme opinions and controversial human values will never be taken seriously within the global academic community,’
— Israel Bartal, professor of modern Jewish history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

JERUSALEM — For years, his name was synonymous with intolerance and right-wing extremism.

So when Israel’s conservative-led government nominated Effie Eitam to be chairman of Yad Vashem, the country’s official Holocaust memorial and one its most hallowed institutions, it prompted an uproar.

Mr. Eitam, a 68-year-old retired brigadier general and former minister, has spent the last decade in the private sector. But his provocative statements from the early 2000s advocating the mass expulsion of Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and barring Israel’s Arab citizens from politics linger on the public record.

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Jeff Halper introduces Call for One Democratic State Campaign (ODSC) supporters

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 A call to join One Democratic State Campaign and help build an anti-colonial, liberation movement.

By The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions |  Nov 25, 2020

 …the fact that more than 200 Palestinian and Israeli intellectuals and activists have participated in the process and endorsed our program, sets it on firm political footing. We must still work hard to get a broad Palestinian buy-in.
— The Palestinian-led One Democratic State Campaign (ODSC)

Our One Democratic State Campaign (ODSC) has just issued a Call for people to support our initiative for establishing a single democracy between the River and the Sea — the only just and practical way to resolve the Israeli/Palestinian “conflict.” It’s a project we have been working on for several years and we’ve made some meaningful progress. Although a lot of work remains to flesh out, the outline of our program, the fact that more than 200 Palestinian and Israeli intellectuals and activists have participated in the process and endorsed our program, sets it on firm political footing. We must still work hard to get a broad Palestinian buy-in.

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Book Now Available: Beyond The Two-State Solution by Jonathan Kuttab

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Book “Beyond the Two-State Solution” by Jonathan Kuttab
Beyond The Two-State Solution, by Jonathan Kuttab, is a short introduction to the current crisis in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism have been at loggerheads for over a century.

By Jonathan Kuttab  |    Nov 20, 2020 (email communication)

The Palestinian / Israeli conflict has had many ups and downs with hopes for peace, times of war, and relentless subjugation of Palestinians.  Many people including myself and Jonathan Kuttab supported the peace initiative of a 2 state-solution even though many Palestinian leaders were initially reluctant to settle for 22% of original Palestine.
— Mubarak Awad, Founder on Nonviolence International

After decades of work promoting creative nonviolence, I am about to publish a book which I hope, with your help can address the current impasse, and perhaps change the conversation around Palestine / Israel. Many activists are frustrated, despondent, and floundering with no clear vision or direction. We need some fresh out-of-the-box thinking. This is true for Palestinians, Israelis, and our friends in the international community. I’ve asked Nonviolence International, a group I co-founded and value deeply, to lead the effort to get this book into the hands of people across the political spectrum and across the world. Even with everything else already in their established plans, the team is going above and beyond to ensure this book gets the attention we believe it deserves.

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Representative Ilhan Omar: ‘I Hope President Biden Seizes This Opportunity.’

Ilhan Omar calls on Congress to censure Donald Trump at a rally on Capitol Hill in April. (photo: Aaron P. Bernstein / Reuters)
The president-elect has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reorient US foreign policy so this country truly means what it says.

By Representative Ilhan Omar  | The Nation |  Nov 20, 2020

In truth, these aren’t peace deals as much as they’re arms sale deals to human rights abusers. And they’re less about normalizing relations with Israel than they are about forming military alliances against Iran.

his month, we begin the transition away from a Trump era and toward a new presidency based on peace and cooperation. There is no area where this renewed vision is needed more than foreign policy. Trump has taunted, mocked, and burned bridges with our allies, while simultaneously cozying up to some of the most brutal dictatorial regimes around the world—especially those in the oil-rich Middle East. The damage done by the Trump administration runs deep, and it will take hard work and a clear understanding of the extent of the damage to fix it. With foreign policy primarily driven by the Executive Branch, President Biden has a tremendous opportunity to reorient our foreign policy in the region.

Trump began his presidency by backing out of the Iran nuclear deal, which had been a major feat in diplomacy with buy-in from all five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States—plus Germany and Iran. The deal was not only notable for the countries that it brought to the table, but for what it prevented: a nuclear-armed Iran that could threaten the United States and risk a global nuclear war.

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Gaza declares COVID-19 disaster with health system near collapse

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Medical workers in Gaza face a serious shortage of equipment to battle the quickly spreading COVID-19 outbreak. (photo: Walid Mahmoud / Al Jazeera)
With a lack of ventilators, PPE, and medicine, officials say Israel’s siege is a ‘death sentence’ for Gaza’s coronavirus patients.

By Walid Mahmoud  | Al Jazeera  |  Nov 23, 2020

Early hopes that Gaza’s isolation would spare it from the pandemic were dashed as the densely populated coastal region came under severe threat with a dilapidated healthcare system that is unable to handle the onslaught of patients.

Gaza City – A rapid rise in coronavirus infections in the Gaza Strip has reached a “catastrophic stage”, with the blockaded Palestinian enclave’s medical system likely to collapse soon, health officials warn.

COVID is spreading exponentially in Gaza – one of the most crowded places on Earth – especially in refugee camps, and the health ministry has warned of “disastrous” implications.

Dr. Fathi Abuwarda, adviser to the minister of health, told Al Jazeera the recent spike in infections could soon become uncontrollable, with hundreds of people contracting the virus each day and nowhere to treat them.

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Eight climate activists arrested in protest against new West Bank industrial zone

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Israeli climate and human rights activists chain themselves to the entrance of HeidelbergCement quarry in the occupied West Bank to protest a government plan to expand the quarry and build an industrial zone nearby, November 22, 2020. (photo: Oren Ziv)
Climate justice and human rights activists chain themselves to entrance of Israeli quarry to protest the theft of Palestinian land and destruction of local ecology.

By Oren Ziv  | +972 Magazine |  Nov 22, 2020

‘We are here to demand climate justice for all who live in this land, humans and animals, Palestinians and Israelis, women and men, from every group, from every identity,’
— Ya’ara Peretz, one of the leaders of the action

Dozens of climate justice and human rights activists blocked the entrance to an Israeli quarry in the occupied West Bank Sunday morning to protest a plan to build a new industrial zone in the area. According to the protesters, the expansion plan of the HeidelbergCement Quarry, which will also include the building of a new Israeli cemetery, will destroy the ecological corridor of the center of the country and deepen the annexation of the West Bank.

The activists, which belong to the “One Climate” group, chained themselves to the entry of the quarry and unfurled a giant sign that read “Stop the Destruction,” while preventing the entry and exit of trucks transporting cement across the country. The action caused a large traffic jam of trucks outside the quarry, with one driver estimating that the protest led to over NIS 100,000 in losses for the company.

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In pandemic, of all times: Number of Palestinians Israel has left homeless hits four-year record

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The destruction in Khirbet Humsah.  (photo: Sarit Michaeli,  B’Tselem, 4 Nov. 2020)
Israel continues to treat the West Bank as its own leaving Palestinians with no almost no way to build legally.

By B’Tselem staff |  Nov 4, 2020

While the world deals with the coronavirus crisis, Israel has devoted time and effort to harassing Palestinians instead of helping protected residents living under its control.

In the midst of an unprecedented health and economic crisis, more Palestinians in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) lost their homes in the first 10 months of 2020 alone than in any full year since 2016 – the highest year on record since B’Tselem started collecting this data. As a result of Israel’s policy, 798 Palestinians have already lost their homes in 2020, including 404 minors who lived in 218 homes – compared to 677 Palestinians in all of 2019, 397 in 2018 and 521 in 2017.

Israeli authorities also demolished 301 Palestinian non-residential structures and infrastructure facilities in the first ten months of 2020. This includes humanitarian infrastructure such as water cisterns and pipes and electricity grids, which are crucial to sanitation and health at this time.

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Pompeo: US to recognize BDS movement as antisemitic

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyah in Jerusalem, Nov. 19, 2020.  photo: Amos Ben-Gershom / GPO)
This announcement that the USA will brand BDS-supporting organizations as ‘antisemitic’ is alarming.

By Lahav Harkov  | The Jerusalem Post  |  Nov 19, 2020

‘The time is right… We want to join all the other nations that recognize BDS for the cancer that it is.’
— Mike Pompeo, U.S. Secretary of State

The US will withdraw funding from groups boycotting Israel, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Thursday.

“We will recognize the global BDS campaign as antisemitic,” Pompeo said. “The time is right… We want to join all the other nations that recognize BDS for the cancer that it is.”

Netanyahu interjected that the policy is “simply wonderful.”

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Obama follows in Jimmy Carter’s footsteps and speaks out against Israel and AIPAC

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Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat (L) US President Jimmy Carter and Israeli Premier Menachem Begin (R) laugh before sign of the Israel-Egypt Peace Agreement on 26 March, 1979 on the north lawn of the White House, Washington DC. (photo:AFP/Getty Images)
Past presidents have a unique position to see abuses of power and use their platform to call out these abuses.

By Nasim Ahmed |  Middle East Monitor |  Nov 16, 2020

It would be almost politically suicidal for members of Congress to espouse a balanced position between Israel and Palestine.
— Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the USA

Upon leaving office, US Presidents have, on occasion, mustered the courage to speak their mind about America’s relationship with Israel and the influence of the Zionist lobby in Washington. Jimmy Carter is perhaps best known for this. The 39th President of the USA, despite his role in mediating the 1979 Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel, was denounced as an anti-Semite following the publication of his 2006 book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, which went on to become a New York Times bestseller.

After a fierce backlash, Carter explained why it was so difficult for US politicians to discuss America’s relationship with Israel and the policies of the Zionist state in an honest fashion. “It would be almost politically suicidal for members of Congress to espouse a balanced position between Israel and Palestine,” he wrote in the Guardian at the time. “Very few would deign to visit the Palestinian cities of Ramallah, Nablus, Hebron, Gaza City or Bethlehem and talk to the beleaguered residents.” He urged his fellow Americans to know the facts about the “abominable oppression of the Palestinians.”

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Pompeo expected to announce process for U.S. to label groups anti-Semitic

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at media briefing on Tuesday at the State Department. (photo: AP / Jacquelyn Martin)
The secretary of State’s decision would address certain organizations’ such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Oxfam as anti-Semitic toward the Israeli government.

By Nahal Toosi |  Politico  |  Nov 11, 2020

…supporters of the organizations said that by targeting them, Pompeo would send a major signal to dictators and other leaders overseas that it’s acceptable to crack down on these and similar organizations

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has decided to establish a new process by which the United States can declare groups, including NGOs, to be anti-Semitic.

For now, however, Pompeo won’t be naming any names.

The decision is a compromise. Three people familiar with the issue confirmed it, but noted that Pompeo could still change his mind and hold off on an announcement.

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