“An Intolerable Situation”: Rashid Khalidi & Orly Noy on Israeli Colonialism & Escalating Violence

By Democracy Now | Jan 30, 2023

U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken is in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories amid an alarming rise in violence, with Israel killing at least 35 Palestinians since the beginning of January. The deadliest incident occurred on Thursday, when Israeli forces raided the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank, killing 10 people, including two children — the deadliest Israeli raid in the West Bank in two decades. A day later, a Palestinian gunman shot dead seven people in occupied East Jerusalem, targeting worshipers observing the Sabbath. Israelis living in illegal settlements in the West Bank responded by carrying out scores of attacks on Palestinians as the far-right national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, vowed to make it easier for Israelis to get guns. We speak with Israeli activist and journalist Orly Noy, in Jerusalem, and Palestinian American scholar Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said professor of modern Arab studies at Columbia University.

Continue reading ““An Intolerable Situation”: Rashid Khalidi & Orly Noy on Israeli Colonialism & Escalating Violence”

Biden administration refuses to say Palestinians are ‘occupied’

In a shocking exchange at the State Department, the spokesman for Biden’s foreign policy team refused to describe Palestinians the West Bank as living under military occupation by Israel.

By Philip Weiss | Mondoweiss | Jan 27, 2023

So Secretary of State Antony Blinken is about to fly out to meet with Israeli leaders, and the Biden administration appears to be adopting Trump’s reflexively pro-Israel policies in yet another area.

Yesterday in a shocking exchange at the State Department, the spokesman for Biden’s foreign policy team refused to describe Palestinians in Jenin and other areas of the West Bank as living under military occupation by Israel.

In the wake of an Israeli military raid that killed ten Palestinians in Jenin, Vedant Patel of the State Department was repeatedly asked if they were occupied, and evaded the question:

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King County should not adopt antisemitism definition used to censor speech

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Photo: Mark Kerrison/Alamy Live News

By Liora R. Halperin |  The Seattle Times | Jan 23, 2023

King County’s adoption of this working definition would embolden those who continue to use its reasoning to target and intimidate those concerned about Palestinian rights.

This week, the Metropolitan King County Council is considering a proclamation adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism. This definition has already been included in a proclamation by the Bellevue City Council and some states and municipalities elsewhere in the country.

I wholeheartedly support efforts to understand and combat antisemitism, which has grown sharply amid a resurgence of xenophobia and white nationalism in our country. But I believe that adopting the IHRA definition is the wrong way to assure Jewish communities that our elected officials have our backs.

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Alice Rothchild presents ‘Finding Melody Sullivan’

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Please join physician, author, and filmmaker Alice Rothchild to Seward Park Third Place Books.  She will be discussing her newest young adult novel Finding Melody Sullivan, about a 16-year-old who must face her internal demons and the external realities of war and occupation after the death of her mother.
Date: Thursday, February 16, 2023
Time: 7:00pm
Location: Third Place Books Seward Park, 504 Wilson Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118
Information: Event information here →
Tickets: Free, but registration required in advance
Event Details

16-year-old Melody Sullivan is falling apart after the death of her mother. She pours her cynicism and grief into poetry and an intense relationship with her powerhouse best friend, Yasmina Khdour. When Melody’s father drags her to an overseas archeology conference in Jerusalem, she is left to wander alone.

Hanging out on a Tel Aviv beach, smoking dope with her Israeli cousins and their army buddies, sounds like fun. While stoned, she is sexually assaulted by a friend of her cousin. She cannot share this devastating truth with her emotionally distant dad and impulsively flees to Hebron where Yasmina is visiting her family. As a Palestinian, Yasmina is unable to enter Jerusalem. Melody’s only other source of solace is Aaron Shapiro, a shy, religious boy back home with an awkward crush on her, but Aaron’s anxious texts make it clear he believes she’s wandering into enemy territory.

This is a story about trauma and taking emotional risks, about facing internal demons and the external realities of war and occupation, about finding oneself in the most unexpected places.

More information here →

What will happen after the ICJ delegitimizes Israel’s occupation of Palestine?

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An elderly man waves Palestinian flag while he confronts an Israeli soldier during a protest against Israeli settlements in the village of Beit Dajan near the West Bank city of Nablus. (credit: Nasser Ishtayeh | Sipa via AP Images)

By Ramzy Baroud | MintPress News | Jan 12, 2023

…the ICJ could – and most likely will – delegitimize every single Israeli action taken in Occupied Palestine since 1967.

Once more, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) will offer a legal opinion on the consequences of the Israeli Occupation of Palestine.

A historic United Nations vote on December 31 called on the ICJ to look at the Israeli Occupation in terms of legal consequences, the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination and the responsibility of all UN Member States in bringing the protracted Israeli Occupation to an end. A special emphasis will be placed on the “demographic composition, character and status” of Occupied Jerusalem.

The last time the ICJ was asked to offer a legal opinion on the matter was in 2004. However, back then, the opinion was largely centered around the “legal consequences arising from the construction of the (Israeli Apartheid) wall.”

Continue reading “What will happen after the ICJ delegitimizes Israel’s occupation of Palestine?”

Why the godfather of human rights is not welcome at Harvard

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The godfather: Ken Roth, the former head of Human Rights Watch, has had a storied career exposing authoritarian governments. (Credit: Scott Heins / Getty Images)

Kenneth Roth, who ran Human Rights Watch for 29 years, was denied a fellowship at the Kennedy School. The reason? Israel.

By Michael Massing | The Nation | Jan 5, 2023

Sikkink was even more surprised by the dean’s explanation: Israel. Human Rights Watch, she was told, has an “anti-Israel bias”…

Soon after Kenneth Roth announced in April that he planned to step down as the head of Human Rights Watch, he was contacted by Sushma Raman, the executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Raman asked Roth if he would be interested in joining the center as a senior fellow. It seemed like a natural fit. In Roth’s nearly 30 years as the executive director of HRW, its budget had grown from $7 million to nearly $100 million, and its staff had gone from 60 to 550 people monitoring more than 100 countries. The “godfather” of human rights, The New York Times called him in a long, admiring overview of his career, noting that Roth “has been an unrelenting irritant to authoritarian governments, exposing human rights abuses with documented research reports that have become the group’s specialty.” HRW played a prominent role in establishing the International Criminal Court, and it helped secure the convictions of Charles Taylor of Liberia, Alberto Fujimori of Peru, and (in a tribunal for the former Yugoslavia) the Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic.

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Criticizing or Whitewashing Israel: Netanyahu’s New Government Accentuates West’s Hypocrisy

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Israel’s 37th government. (Photo: via Benjamin Netabyahu TW Page)

By Ramzy Baroud | The Palestine Chronicle | Jan 4, 2023

Palestinians and Arab countries are rightly angry, because they understand that the new government is likely to sow more violence and chaos.

Even before the new Israeli government was officially sworn in on December 29, angry reactions began emerging, not only among Palestinians and other Middle Eastern governments, but also among Israel’s historic allies in the West.

As early as November 2, top US officials conveyed to Axios that the Joe Biden Administration is “unlikely to engage with Jewish supremacist politician, Itamar Ben-Gvir”.

In fact, the US government’s apprehensions surpassed Ben-Gvir, who was convicted by Israel’s own court in 2007 for supporting a terrorist organization and inciting racism.

Continue reading “Criticizing or Whitewashing Israel: Netanyahu’s New Government Accentuates West’s Hypocrisy”

The quiet expulsion of Palestinians from Jerusalem

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Salah Hammouri, a Jerusalem-born Palestinian lawyer holding French citizenship, was expelled by Israel and deported to France on 18 December. [credit: Getty]

Salah Hammouri’s deportation highlights the longstanding Israeli policy of revoking the residency rights of Palestinians in Jerusalem. Rights groups say it is a tool of forcible transfer.

By Ibrahim Husseini  | The New Arab | Dec 28, 2022

“Israel is working to undermine and reduce the Palestinian presence in Jerusalem,”
— Jessica Montell, the director of the Israeli Center for the Defence of the Individual, HaMoked

If you are Palestinian and a resident of East Jerusalem, then beware. Israel’s interior ministry could be watching, waiting for an opportune moment to remove you from the city or the country altogether.

The criteria are fluid, and often trivial, with working or studying abroad sufficient justification to remove your residency rights. It can also include holding a foreign passport or expressing political views not aligned with the state.

Since 2018, Israeli authorities have legally been able to accuse Palestinians of ‘breached allegiance’ and revoke their permanent residency, without ever providing evidence or offering a chance to fight it in court.

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The rebellion of Israel’s second army

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An Israeli Border Police officer points his weapon at journalists and Palestinian paramedics during clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters in north Ramallah, near the Beit El checkpoint, occupied West Bank, December 22, 2017. (Oren Ziv/Activestills)

Outgoing IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi hands over to his successor a ‘policing army’ that is more autonomous, settler-led, and lethal than ever.

By Yagil Levy | +972 Magazine | Dec 26 ,2022

Indeed, the cumulative record in the occupied territories irrefutably shows that the Israeli army is not just an enabler, but in many ways a sponsor, of settler violence.

Next month, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi is set to hand over the reins of Israel’s military forces to his successor, Major General Herzi Halevi. Among the many matters Halevi will be taking up — including questions around the future of Israel’s conscription model — perhaps his biggest challenge will be how the army tackles its main arena of operations, which is subject to deep disputes among Israel’s political and military echelons: the policing warfare against Palestinians living under Israeli rule in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

This is assuming that the signing of a maritime border deal with Lebanon holds off a potential third Israel-Lebanon war, while an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities is also not expected imminently. Kochavi has not often been involved in the policing missions in the West Bank, but it seems that what happens there is liable to cast a shadow over his tenure — as shown by the furor when an Israeli soldier assaulted a left-wing activist in Hebron last month.

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Israel is on the cusp of a wave of army refusal under far right rule

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Four Israeli conscientious objectors (left to right) Evyatar Moshe Rubin, Einat Gerlitz, Nave Shabtay Levin, and Shahar Schwartz, are seen outside the Tel Hashomer induction base before their planned announcement to refuse to enlist in the Israeli army, September 4, 2022. (Oren Ziv)

The incoming government has prompted a new crop of teens to question their upcoming role in one of Israel society’s central tenets.

By Oren Ziv | +972 Magazine | Dec 11, 2022

There is already evidence that the army fears a wave of refusals, as recently demonstrated by the unusually severe punishment handed down to four conscientious objectors.

It didn’t take long for the incoming far-right government to announce its racist, anti-democratic plans, particularly for Palestinians and the Israeli Jewish liberal-secular public. What many are calling a “nightmare government” has prompted senior politicians from the opposing camp to call for mass “civil disobedience” in the form of protests and the refusal to cooperate with the religious fundamentalists who are about to run the country.

On the grassroots level, it seems refusal to enlist in the Israeli army, or at least to serve in the occupied territories — which has long been a marginal but high-profile form of civil disobedience in Israel — may very soon start to become more widespread. The fact that leader of Otzma Yehudit leader and presumed Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir, and Religious Zionism head Bezalel Smotrich, who is about to acquire broad powers in the West Bank, will be leading political figures in Israel’s security and military establishment, crosses a red line for many Israeli Jews. Some, it seems, are beginning to second-guess their instinctive resistance to refusing the draft.

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