‘The Landscape is Shifting’: Over 35,000 rally for Palestine in DC on Memorial Day weekend

Palestine march DC.  (photo: Nuha Maharoof / IG (Sri.Lankan)
Organized in less than one week, the event unfurled the potential for Muslim American and Palestinian activists to lead antiwar mobilizations.

By Nadia B. Ahmad and Faisal R. Khan | Mondoweiss | May 31, 2021

This unprecedented gathering on Saturday at the Lincoln Memorial was a clear sign to President Joe Biden, his administration, and to Israel that public opinion in the United States is shifting, and people of conscience demand a tangible solution for Palestinians who have endured decades of dehumanization, marginalization, and subjugation.

Standing atop the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Nuha Maharoof peered over the crowd at the National March for Palestine on Saturday. To her left, she saw a man on the ledge set off red and green smoke grenades, signifying the colors of the Palestinian flag. She described the cinematic moment “like a scene from a movie, every head in the crowd turned to the sky to watch the colors dissipate.” She pulled out her phone and captured the iconic moment, saying her heart filled with hope for Palestine. The image has since gone viral. She had learned of the protest the day before from social media posts and decided to go with her friends. We tracked her down through a Google image search.

Continue reading “‘The Landscape is Shifting’: Over 35,000 rally for Palestine in DC on Memorial Day weekend”

On creative disruption: the May uprising in Palestine

A Palestinian man waves a the Palestinian flag at the Al-Aqsa Compound in Jerusalem on 13 May 2021 . (ohoto: Mostafa Alkharouf / Anadolu Agency)
It is a moment that demands fresh analyses and new forms of solidarity organized not simply around Palestinian suffering, but also around resistance.

By Rana Baker | ROAR Magazine | May 29, 2021

In Palestinian mosques, Muslims do not remember God only. They remember colonial injustice, renew their commitment to fighting the powers which inflict it, and behoove God to strengthen the resolve of those who risk their lives fighting it.

The Islamic month of Ramadan is not itself the time of revolution. Yet, Ramadan holds within itself disruptions and intensifications that are always immanent — always capable of turning into an insurrection if summoned into action. These disruptions and intensifications are constitutive of the month and it is from them that the uprising that engulfed Palestine for two weeks in May drew its first spark. Ramadan’s disruptive temporality did not condition the uprising, but it did provide the immediate historical accident which ignited it and entangled all of Palestine.

Accidents, however, are materially conditioned. They are circumscribed by spatial arrangements and specific material practices which themselves are not accidents. Accidents are only accidents to the extent that their occurrence is neither pre-determined nor possible to predict. One can predict that the colonized will rise up against their colonizers, but the specific “accident” which sets an uprising in motion is not historically pre-determined.

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Tent of Nations Fire Update

Welcome Stone (photo: Tent of Nations)
A fire at Tent of Nations (TON) is a setback, but Nassar family still focuses on pursuing its mission of building understanding and hope for a better future.

May 25, 2021
Update from Daoud Nassar:

On Friday, May 20, the Tent of Nations farm was struck by a horrendous fire fed by strong winds. Our family, along with the support of many young people from the village, our neighbors and the fire department, were able to control the fire after some hours. Thank God, no one from the family was hurt, but the damage is huge and painful to see. The fire completely destroyed over one thousand new and mature olive, grape, almond, fig and pine trees. Another 700 trees were affected by the heat and the smoke and caused some damage; we are trying to rescue these trees by watering them on a daily basis, using our limited rain-water sources stored in the cisterns you all helped us to build; we are grateful for that. To this moment, we do not know the cause of the fire or who was behind it.

We know that you will want to know what is being planned to restore the loss of so many trees, what is the plan and the timing, and what you can do to help. Tree planting cannot begin until the fall, but there is much to be done to prepare the soil and repair the damage, and we will keep you informed and let you know about the ways you can help. This loss will not deter us and the Tent of Nations from pursuing its mission of building understanding and hope for a better future for our grandchildren.

With gratitude – Daoud

NOTE: Please continue to pray for the Tent of Nations. After June 1, groups and individuals will be allowed to enter the country. Volunteers will be needed to help prepare the land for planting new trees and repairing the damages to the farm (please see the Tent of Nations website in order to sign up for volunteer work or to schedule a visit).

There will be financial support needed in order to restore the land and infrastructure. Contributions (checks made out to FOTONNA) can be sent to the new FOTONNA Finance Director at: Beth Moore – FOTONNA Finance Director – 3436 East Avenue, South – La Crosse, WI 54601. A PayPal option will be made available soon; check the FOTONNA website for more information. You can also access a new Contribution Form on the Website at this time.

Please note that Tent of Nations (TON) is not an NGO. They are a small family-owned farm that welcomes individuals and groups to visit, volunteer, and hear their story.  They are not affiliated with any other organization, and are privately funded through Friends of Tent of Nations.

An open letter to U.S. Christians from a Palestinian Pastor

Palestinians gather at the scene where a house was hit by an Israeli air strike in the southern Gaza Strip on May 12, 2021. (photo: Reuters / Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)

It is time to change the theological narrative that renders the state of Israel invincible to errors and beyond any judgment.

By Munther Isaac | Sojourners | May 19, 2021

Calling things by their names is a necessary step toward resolving any conflict. Using the words racism and apartheid may cause pause — but these are the descriptors that define our daily lives.

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!”

Palestine and Israel are back in the news. So again, we Palestinians hear this common refrain. But such calls for prayer are no longer enough. I say this as a Palestinian pastor who believes in prayer, leads prayer services for peace, and genuinely values your good intentions.

But good intentions are not enough.

In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus didn’t say, “Blessed are the peace prayers.” He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” (Matthew 5:9, emphasis added).

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Facebook’s AI treats Palestinian activists like it treats American Black activists. It blocks them.

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Pro-Palestinian demonstrators rally Sunday in Karachi, Pakistan. (photo: Shahzaib Akber / EPA-EFE / REX / Shutterstock)

Palestinian activists are fighting back against a history of takedowns with one-star reviews and ancient Arabic.

By Elizabeth Dwoskin and Gerrit De Vynck | The Washington Post | May 28, 2021

“Ultimately, what we’re seeing here is existing offline repression and inequality being replicated online, and Palestinians are left out of the policy conversation,”
Jillian York, a director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation

Just days after violent conflict erupted in Israel and the Palestinian territories, both Facebook and Twitter copped to major faux pas: The companies had wrongly blocked or restricted millions of mostly pro-Palestinian posts and accounts related to the crisis.

Activists around the world charged the companies with failing a critical test: whether their services would enable the world to watch an important global event unfold unfettered through the eyes of those affected.

The companies blamed the errors on glitches in artificial intelligence software.

Continue reading “Facebook’s AI treats Palestinian activists like it treats American Black activists. It blocks them.”

As Israel’s dependence on U.S. shrinks, so does U.S. leverage

A man waving the flags of Israel and the United States in front of a rally in support of Palestine last week in Copley Square in Boston. (photo: Joseph Prezioso / Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)

Israel has quietly sought, and perhaps achieved, a large measure of autonomy from its half-century of reliance on the United States.

By Max Fisher | The New York Times | May 24, 2021

Once reliant on American arms transfers, Israel now produces many of its most essential weapons domestically.

Israel, a small country surrounded by adversaries and locked in conflict with the Palestinians, depends absolutely on American diplomatic and military support. By giving it, the United States safeguards Israel and wields significant leverage over its actions.

That’s the conventional wisdom, anyway. For decades, it was true: Israeli leaders and voters alike treated Washington as essential to their country’s survival.

But that dependence may be ending. While Israel still benefits greatly from American assistance, security experts and political analysts say that the country has quietly cultivated, and may have achieved, effective autonomy from the United States.

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U.S. policy has perpetuated the crisis and atrocities in Gaza

Palestinians gather around rubble following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah in the southern Gaza strip on May 20, 2021. (photo: Abed Deeb / APA Images)

U.S. leaders must now confront their country’s and, in many cases, their own personal complicity in this catastrophe.

By Medea Benjamin and Nicolas Davies | Mondoweiss | May 21, 2021

U.S. policy has perpetuated the crisis and atrocities of the Israeli occupation by unconditionally supporting Israel in three distinct ways: militarily, diplomatically and politically.

The U.S. corporate media usually report on Israeli military assaults in occupied Palestine as if the United States is an innocent neutral party to the conflict. In fact, large majorities of Americans have told pollsters for decades that they want the United States to be neutral in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

But U.S. media and politicians betray their own lack of neutrality by blaming Palestinians for nearly all the violence and framing flagrantly disproportionate, indiscriminate and therefore illegal Israeli attacks as a justifiable response to Palestinian actions. The classic formulation from U.S. officials and commentators is that “Israel has the right to defend itself,” never “Palestinians have the right to defend themselves,” even as the Israelis massacre hundreds of Palestinian civilians, destroy thousands of Palestinian homes and seize ever more Palestinian land.

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Tangible change in US public opinion toward Palestinians

Thousands gathered at Copley Square in Boston, Massachusetts, during a recent demonstration to support the Palestinian struggle for rights and freedom. (AFP)

There are indications of a shift in attitudes on unconditionional aid to Israel.

By Daoud Kuttab | Arab News | May 20, 2021

“Since the events in Ferguson (Missouri), there have been many black-led organizations who have traveled to Palestine and have learned firsthand what the situation is like, and have since networked Palestine with the African American community,
—Sarah Nahar, an African-American activist

PHILADELPHIA, US: A recent headline in the Boston Globe, a leading US paper, which read “US aid to Israel should be a force for peace,” has surprised many readers.

The paper, in its May 19 edition, published it as part of a hard-hitting column by its editorial board, adding: “Ultimately, conditioning aid to Israel should not be controversial.”

Trudy Rubin, a leading columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, meanwhile, put Hamas and the Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu on the same level, saying: “By treating Palestinians as irrelevant, Bibi provoked violence that has killed hundreds of mostly Palestinian civilians and threatened Israeli towns and cities.”

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Tent of Nations farm set on fire

Daoud Nassar, Tent of Nations (photo: Gied ten Berge, CC BY 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons)

Tent of Nations is an educational and environmental farm next to the village of Nahalin, on a hill top southwest of Bethlehem. The farm has been in Daoud Nassar’s family since 1916 when his grandfather purchased the land known as Dahers’ Vineyard.   For more than 25 years the Nassar family has been embroiled in a legal battle to protect their property from confiscation by the Israeli government. Despite the frustration and constant struggles, they have made their farm—the last Palestinian-controlled hilltop in the area—a symbol of peace simply by farming their land and welcoming guests and volunteers of all nationalities and religions.

By Daoud Nassar – Facebook | May 21, 2021

It was appalling to witness the rapid spread of the fire to more fields damaging thousands of olive, almond, and grape trees.

Today was a very hard day. While we were on our way to the farm after picking up some farming tools from Bethlehem for ploughing, we received a phone call that left us with no words. The neighboring farmers informed us that our farm was set on fire. Our day took a sudden shift as we rushed to the farm, tried to secure water to extinguish the fire with our very limited sources on the farm, and call for help! It was appalling to witness the rapid spread of the fire to more fields damaging thousands of olive, almond, and grape trees. Thankfully, we were able to control the situation with the help of family members and nearby villagers after spending seven hours in the smoke.

It was very devastating to see that all of the new trees that we planted and watered for the past five months were gone in seconds. To this moment, we do not know the cause of the fire or who was behind it. We will inform you as soon as we know more.

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How an Israeli attack in Gaza led to the firing of an AP reporter

The remains of Jawad Mahdi’s al-Jalaa building in Gaza City.  (photo: Yasser Abu Wazna / Insider)

Baseless claims that US journalists helped launder about the Associated Press and Hamas prompted a right-wing smear campaign

By Matthew Petti  | Responsible Statecraft | May 21, 2021

Recent college graduate Emily Wilder was fired from the Associated Press on Thursday after right-wing activists dug up her previous involvement in Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace, two pro-Palestinian campus organizations.

It started with an Israeli bomb smashing into the Associated Press offices in Gaza. It ended with an AP journalist fired for her pro-Palestinian activism while she was a college student.

The Israeli military has justified its May 15 attack on al-Jalaa Tower — which hosted numerous foreign press bureaus in Gaza — by claiming that the Palestinian militant group Hamas had offices in the building. The Associated Press has denied that claim, and Israel has not publicly provided evidence to support its side of the story.

But right-wing U.S. media and a disgruntled former AP employee have attempted to drum up justification for the airstrike by painting the American news agency as a partisan, pro-Hamas source. Their claims have been given airtime by mainstream journalists, putting the AP — rather than the foreign military that bombed it — on the defensive.

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