Disenchanted with corrupt Palestinian self-governance and Israeli apathy, Issa Amro looks to American Jews for change.
By Elhanan Miller | Tablet | July 20, 2021
“I knew that participating in a public meeting with Blinken would have a political cost for me, because there are Palestinians who don’t like the U.S., and they’re right.” — Issa Amro, Palestinian political activist
When Issa Amro was invited to an intimate meeting with Antony Blinken in Ramallah in May, he decided to aim straight for the heart. “As a Jew, is this your dream?” Amro rhetorically asked him. “Did you dream of seeing an apartheid state?”
Data leaked to a consortium of news organizations suggests that several countries use Pegasus, a powerful cyberespionage tool, to spy on rights activists, dissidents and journalists.
By Ronen Bergman and Patrick Kingsley | The New York Times | July 20, 2021
The allegations may escalate concerns that the Israeli government has abetted government abuses by granting NSO an export license to sell software to countries that use it to suppress dissent.
TEL AVIV — A major Israeli cyber-surveillance company, NSO Group, came under heightened scrutiny Sunday after an international alliance of news outlets reported that governments used its software to target journalists, dissidents and opposition politicians.
The Israeli government also faced renewed international pressure for allowing the company to do business with authoritarian regimes that use the spyware for purposes that go far afield of the company’s stated aim: targeting terrorists and criminals.
On Monday Ben & Jerry’s announced that it would stop selling ice cream in Israeli settlements. Israel has promised to fight the move “with all our might,” while activists say it is yet another sign of how BDS is entering the mainstream.
By Michael Arria | Mondoweiss | July 19, 2021
“We hope Ben & Jerry’s has understood that, in harmony with its social justice commitments, there can be no business as usual with apartheid Israel.” — The Palestinian BDS National Committee
On Monday Ben & Jerry’s announced that it would stop selling ice cream in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory. The move comes after years of pressure from activists in the company’s home state of Vermont.
“We believe it is inconsistent with our values for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT),” reads a statement on the company’s website. “We also hear and recognize the concerns shared with us by our fans and trusted partners.”
Joe Biden promised to make democracy and human rights central to US foreign policy. But that means not insisting on Israel’s right to defend itself without mentioning its expansion of settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, its policy of discrimination, and its denial of the Palestinians’ right to an independent state.
By Mohamed Elbaradei | Project Syndicate | July 16, 2021
Over five decades, I have seen how the US approach to upholding Palestinians’ rights has become almost apologetic.
Vienna – For many generations of Arab youth, mine included, studying and working in the United States was a coveted opportunity to experience freedoms, possibilities, and the sense of egalitarianism that the American way of life embodied. It was a doubly enriching experience for those of us raised in authoritarian or conservative societies. It was thrilling to be able to think and act independently, without societal pressure. I was excited to take home some of the lessons I learned from a functioning democracy, not least the vital role of freedom of expression, the importance of civil society, and the exceptional benefits of empowering people.
Of course, I was also aware of the US system’s failings, and in particular the perpetuation of racism and inequality. I remember the Jim Crow laws enforcing racial segregation in the former Confederate states, and the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., who articulated African-Americans’ dreams of equality and human decency. But I was hopeful that America’s democratic system had the tools it needs for self-correction. I remain so, based on the major transformations in values, laws, and mindsets that I witnessed.
Please join our brothers and sisters with the United Methodists Kairos Response (UMKR) who are leading the struggle for Palestinian rights in the United Methodist Church. JVP’s Organizing Director, Lisbeth Melendez Rivera, and Dr. Alice Rothchild, leader of the JVP Health Advisory Council will be speaking.
Alice Rothchild is a physician, professor, author, and filmmaker who has focused her interest in human rights and social justice on the Israel/Palestine conflict since 1997. A practicing Ob-Gyn for almost 40 years, she served as Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Harvard Medical School, until her retirement. Rothchild writes and lectures widely, has contributed to a number of anthologies, and is the author of several books related to Israel/Palestine, including “Condition Critical: Life and Death in Israel/Palestine.”
She directed the documentary film, Voices Across the Divide, and is currently working on a middle grade children’s book, a young adult novel, and a memoir in verse. She serves on the board and as a mentor for the We Are Not Numbers program in Gaza, on the board of the Gaza Mental Health Foundation, and on the steering committee of Jewish Voice for Peace Health Advisory Council.
Lisbeth Meléndez Rivera, MAL, is a 30+ year veteran of the LGBTQ and labor movements, with extensive experience organizing and training at the intersections of sexual orientation, gender identity, racial/ethnic identity, and culture related explicitly to communities of color in the United States. She has crisscrossed the country, training workers and community leaders in organizing, leadership development, and community building strategies from a grassroots perspective. Most recently, Lisbeth was the Director of Faith Outreach & Training at the Human Rights Campaign. She is a graduate of the United Theological Seminary with a master’s in Theology and Social Transformation.
Assigning the label “terrorist organization,” they say, hides a more complicated truth.
By Jeff Wright | Mondoweiss | July 9, 2021
“We believe that assigning the label of ‘terrorist organization’ to Hamas hides the more complicated truth that Hamas is a reflection and result of the untenable and unjust status quo in the land,” — Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace (PCAP) letter
In a recent letter addressed to President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken, the Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace (PCAP) builds on remarks made by Blinken in Ramallah on May 25. During his press conference with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Blinken acknowledged Palestinians’ aspirations “to live in freedom; to have their basic rights respected, including the right to choose their own leaders; to live in security; to have equal access to opportunity for themselves, for their children; to be treated with dignity.”
The letter, written by the board of PCAP, acknowledges “that more positive cooperation has been taking place between the United States and the Palestinians.” While citing the reopening of the American consulate in East Jerusalem, the resumption of financial assistance to UNRWA, and the U.S. commitment to provide aid to the Gaza Strip, the letter states, “…we believe that much more than these limited actions and words must transpire for democracy, justice and peace to prevail.”
An interview that tackles how Jewish victims of the Holocaust have turned into victimizers of the Palestinians and the way out of this dilemma.
By Nihan Duran | Politics Today | July 5, 2021
The idea that as a victim, I can do anything to survive, even if that means victimizing others, is morally and politically problematic. Until the Jewish community overcomes this particular way of dealing with the traumas of the Holocaust, we will never get out of this cultural psychopathology. — Alice Rothchild
As the echoes of the global reaction to the recent human rights violations in Sheikh Jarrah and Gaza continue worldwide, Nihan Duran of Politics Today interviewed the renowned Jewish American author, physician, and human rights activist, Alice Rothchild, on how to interpret the transition from the oppressed to the oppressor and the challenges of defining, discussing and reporting the settler-colonialism in Palestine as well as the ways forward for meaningful peace advocacy and solidarity.
Q. As a Jewish American author, a human rights activist, and a physician, you have numerous works in which you critically reflect on physical realities in Israel and Palestine. Can we hear the story of who you are and how your engagement in the Israeli-Palestinian predicament has started in your own words?
My grandparents were Orthodox Jews and immigrants to the U.S. I grew up in a very traditional Jewish family, which was fairly secular. I went to a Hebrew school, I had a bat mitzvah,¹ and went to Israel when I was 14. I still have my 14-year-old diary, so I know how I felt about my trip to this magical place.
Please join our brothers and sisters at University Presbyterian Church in Seattle in this zoom class with Dr. Salim Munayer. Dr. Munayer will give a quick presentation of Musalaha, and answer questions about working in the Holy Land in these challenging times.
Dr. Salim Munayer is the founder and Executive Director of Musalaha, an organization with a Christ-centered vision of reconciliation, based in Jerusalem. Musalaha is a long-term mission partner of UPC and many other churches across the world.
Musalaha, which means “Reconciliation” in Arabic, was founded in 1990, with the mission to teach, train, and facilitate reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds, based on biblical principles of reconciliation. Over the past 30 years, the mission has grown to include international groups.