Support Rep. McCollum’s Bill, H.R.2590, to protect Palestinians

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Rep. McCollum’s bill will ensure that U.S. tax dollars are not used by Israel to detain Palestinian children, destroy Palestinian homes, or steal Palestinian land.

By Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) | Apr 16, 2021

The U.S. budget is immoral. It gives exorbitant amounts of money for militarism, while underfunding needed programs in our communities.

Support Rep. McCollum’s Bill, H.R.2590, to Protect Palestinians.

Rep. McCollum’s bill will ensure that U.S. tax dollars are not used by Israel to detain Palestinian children, destroy Palestinian homes, or steal Palestinian land. Israel imprisons around 700 Palestinian children a year; it routinely destroys Palestinian homes in the West Bank, especially East Jerusalem, leaving thousands of Palestinians homeless; and it illegally annexes more and more Palestinian land and water. All of this is being funded by our taxes!

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The illusion of a Palestinian kingmaker in Israel

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MARCH 3: Head of the Joint List Ayman Odeh (2nd L), the members Heba Yazbak (R), Mansour Abbas (L), Mtanes Shehadeh (3rd L), Aida Touma (4th R), Ahmed Tibi (4th L) and Ofer Cassif (2nd R) attend a program in Israel’s northern city of Shefa-Amr on March 2, 2020, after polls officially closed in Israeli general elections. (photo: Mostafa Alkharouf. Anadolu Agency)
As we look forward, we shall see yet another Israeli government dedicated to destroying Palestine and its people led once again by Benjamin Netanyahu.

By Miko Peled | Politics Today | Apr 14, 2021

One of the strangest misconceptions that has risen immediately after the results of the elections were announced is that Mansour Abbas, who leads the Islamic United Arab Party will somehow become “kingmaker.”

There are two things that are certain after Israel’s fourth election in two years: the first is that Benjamin Netanyahu will continue to be Israel’s Prime Minister. The second, that no Arab party will have any part in Netanyahu’s continued reign as PM. These elections had given an undeniable victory to Benjamin Netanyahu. In a strategy that can be seen as divide and rule, Netanyahu has been very successful at dividing his opposition and now he may rule over them as they come begging him for a piece of the pie.

One of the strangest misconceptions that has risen immediately after the results of the elections were announced is that Mansour Abbas, who leads the Islamic United Arab Party will somehow become “kingmaker.” They claim that his vote in the Knesset will tip the scales and that the next Israeli prime minister will be in his debt. This claim stems from a lack of appreciation for the racist Zionist ideology and how, like a thread, it runs through all of Israel’s Zionist political parties, left, right and center.

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In Conversation with Peter Beinart

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Join Jewish Currents Editor at Large Peter Beinart in a conversation with Kenneth Stern, Prof. Susan Neiman, and Prof. Saree Makdisi about how to define anti-semitism.
Date: Friday, April 16, 2021
Time: 9:00 am (PDT) / 12:00 pm (EST)
Location: On-line
Information: Event information here →
Tickets: Free, must register
Event Details

Jewish Currents Editor at Large Peter Beinart will be joined by several panelists to talk about how to define anti-semitism.

The first guest is Kenneth Stern, director of the Bard Center for the Study of Hate, who drafted the controversial International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-semitism, but has criticized its misuse. The second guest will be Professor Susan Neiman, Director of the Einstein Forum, one of the signers of the new Jerusalem Declaration on anti-semitism. The third guest will be UCLA Professor of English Saree Makdisi.

More information here →

Israel, Palestine & the Role of Congress: An Accelerated Learning Series

Co-hosted by FMEP’s Lara Friedman and MEI’s Khaled Elgindy, this learning series takes a deep dive into 8 key topics in the U.S. relationship with Israel and the Palestinians. 

By Foundation for Middle East Peace and Middle East Institute | Apr 9, 2021

The Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP) and the Middle East Institute (MEI) and are proud to release “Israel, Palestine & the Role of Congress: An Accelerated Learning Series.” Co-hosted by FMEP’s Lara Friedman and MEI’s Khaled Elgindy, this learning series takes a deep dive into 8 key topics in the U.S. relationship with Israel and the Palestinians. These series – which ran during February to March 2021 – was originally presented exclusively for members of the House and Senate and Congressional Staff, and is now being released as an educational tool for the public at large.

You can listen to a podcast with Lara and Khaled introducing the series here.

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‘The settlers brought caravans and put them on a hill next to us’

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A new outpost in the South Hebron Hills, March 2021. (photo: Basil al-Adraa)
Israel makes it easy for settlers to take over our land. Meanwhile, Palestinians who’ve lived here for generations are attacked and evicted.

By Basil al-Adraa | +972 Magazine | Apr 9, 2021

This is how it happens. Settlers bring in caravans and take over land with ease. Before they even move in, they have their own paved road and are connected to electricity and water, with the support of the regional council.

Last Monday night, I received a phone call from a friend. “Two large trucks just passed me,” he said. “They were carrying caravans. They just passed right by the road under your home.”

I live in a Palestinian community called A-Tawani in the South Hebron Hills. After my friend called me, I immediately got into my car to look for the trucks. I drove until I found them, and began following them, wanting to understand what was going on.

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The tormented dance of the colonizer: Peter Beinart, liberal Zionism and the battle for Palestine

Peter Beinart speaking at an event hosted by the Center for American Progress on February 3, 2009. (photo: The Center for American Progress / Flickr)
Peter Beinart’s call for equality seeks to reform Israel as a Jewish project instead of repudiating its system of racial supremacy, placing Jewish identity above Palestinian rights.

By Mark Braverman | Mondoweiss | Apr 6, 2021

Today, with the possibility of a Palestinian state foreclosed by successive waves of colonization and annexation, Beinart has turned to unification as the answer.

Earlier this year Jerusalem-based journalist and analyst Nathan Thrall called out the Zionist left for promoting the fiction that as long as Israel refrains from annexing occupied Palestinian land, it does not cross the line into apartheid. The essay, “The Separate Regimes Delusion: Nathan Thrall on Israel’s Apartheid,” was published by the London Review of Books on January 21, 2021. “The premise that Israel is a democracy,” he wrote, “rests on the belief that one can separate the pre-1967 state from the rest of the territory under its control.” The “separate regimes delusion” has been a key component of the almost five-decades long political theater of the peace process to establish a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. As Israel has continued to take land and impose a system of control and fragmentation that has made the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state impossible, liberal Zionists have clung desperately to the fiction of the two-state solution as all that stands in the way of the now undeniable reality that Israel and its occupied territories comprise a single apartheid state. Accordingly, a storm of protest erupted in response to the government’s espoused intent to annex 30% of the West Bank in early summer 2020. It was in the midst of this controversy that Peter Beinart’s “Yavne: A Jewish Case for Equality in Israel-Palestine” appeared on July 7, 2020 in Jewish Currents. Cutting the Gordian knot of a Jewish and democratic Israel, Beinart endorsed the idea of a single state for Jews and Palestinians.

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William Barber preaches at Easter vigil service spotlighting Christian Palestinians

The Rev. William Barber II speaks during a virtual Easter vigil service April 3, 2021, titled “Easter in Jerusalem: The Sabeel Community Celebrates Holy Saturday 2021,” led by a Christian activist group in Jerusalem. (photo: Video screengrab)
Barber’s appearance served to recognize Christians in the Palestinian liberation movement, which some American evangelicals paint as an apocalyptic conflict between Christians and Muslims.

By Daoud Kuttab | Religion News Service | Apr 6, 2021

“Jesus, a brown-skinned Palestinian Jew, called us to preach good news to the poor, the broken and the bruised and all those who are made to feel unaccepted,”
— Rev William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign

(RNS) — In a display of solidarity with the Palestinian cause, the Rev. William Barber II participated in a virtual Easter vigil service Saturday (April 3) led by a Christian activist group in Jerusalem.

Though never mentioning Israel, he called on his listeners in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, “Get up, my Palestinian brothers and sisters, my Christian and Muslim brothers, we have work to do in his name.”

The webinar, attended by more than 700 people, was broadcast by Friends of Sabeel North America and Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem, allied organizations that call attention to the plight of Palestinians.

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Blinken tells Israel: Palestinians should enjoy same rights, freedoms as you do

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during the release of the “2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices,” at the State Department in Washington, DC on March 30, 2021. (photo: Mandel Ngan / Pool / AFP)
US secretary of state to Foreign Minister Ashkenazi: ‘Israelis and Palestinians should enjoy equal measures of freedom, security, prosperity and democracy’

By AFP and TOI Staff | The Times of Israel |  Apr 3, 2021

“We believe when it comes to settlement activity that Israel should refrain from unilateral steps that exacerbate tensions and that undercut efforts to advance a negotiated two-state solution,”
— Ned Price, State Department spokesman 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Friday on Israel to ensure “equal” treatment of the Palestinians as the new US administration cautiously steps up efforts for a two-state solution.

In a telephone call with Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, Blinken “emphasized the administration’s belief that Israelis and Palestinians should enjoy equal measures of freedom, security, prosperity and democracy,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

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State Department buries Israeli occupation in word salad

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Spokesperson Ned Price attempted this week to clarify the State Department’s muddled language on the Israeli occupation. (photo: Reuters)
Biden continues to stay disturbingly close to Trump.

By Michael Brown |  The Electronic Intifada | Apr 2, 2021

Recognizing the reality of occupation, moreover, means recognizing that Israel has no sovereignty over these territories and that the Palestinians living in them enjoy essential international protections, including the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Last year, presidential candidate Joe Biden personally intervened to keep the word “occupation” out of the Democratic Party’s platform regarding Israel.

In doing so, he infuriated a portion of the party’s base – a group Biden and his advisers presumably figured would dislike President Donald Trump and his anti-Palestinian policies even more than they might have disliked Biden.

Now the Biden administration is trying to thread the needle on the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and Syria’s Golan Heights with the State Department’s latest annual human rights report.

It is titled: “2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Israel, West Bank and Gaza.”

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Why I signed the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism

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(photo: Mark Kerrison / Alamy Live News
The damage done by the IHRA definition of antisemitism is profound.

By Barry Trachtenberg | Jewish Currents | Mar 26, 2021

Although I remain apprehensive about inadvertently reinforcing beliefs in Jewish exceptionalism, the widespread adoption and abuse of the flawed IHRA definition has convinced me that it needs outright replacement

In the fall of 2017, in my capacity as a scholar of Jewish history, I advised the US House Judiciary Committee to reject codifying into law definitions of antisemitism such as those that were contained in the “Anti-Semitism Awareness Act,” which was then under consideration by Congress. I objected to the language of the bill, which was based on the definition of antisemitism adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)—a definition that equates valid criticism of Israel and Zionism with antisemitism and has thus become a tool for the suppression of protected speech. But I was also concerned with the possibility that the legislation would inadvertently reinforce perceptions of Jewish exceptionalism: By claiming that there was a need for a set of standards that was distinct from existing civil rights legislation and which defined what could and couldn’t be said about Jews, I argued, Congress not only risked putting unconstitutional limits on free speech, but also risked reinforcing the idea that Jews are a people for whom special rules need to be made. I testified that at the core of anti-Jewish hatred rests the belief that Jews are exceptionally unique in the world, and that by making legislation that was focused exclusively on antisemitism rather than religious, racial, and ethnic hatred more broadly, Congress would be singling out Jews in a way that would run contrary to the stated goals of the legislation.

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