On apartheid, white supremacy and ongoing police violence: Whose words really matter?

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A new section of the Israeli Apartheid wall around Qalqiliya, in the occupied West Bank. (photo: via ActiveStills.org)
For Palestinians the information in the B’Tselem human rights report is what they have been reporting for years.

By Benay Blend  |  The Palestine Chronicle  |  Jan 19, 2021

“Everything is framed in terms of the occupier, its interests, its desires, its wants and dislikes. It’s never about the people who *face* apartheid, occupation, and Israeli settler colonialism.”
— Remi Kanazi, Palestinian poet and activist

“Everyone’s reporting on the B’Tselem report like it’s the first they’ve ever heard anyone say that Israel’s an apartheid state,” commented Susan Abulhawa, Palestinian author and activist. “It’s like nothing about Palestinian lives, realities, and experiences is true or real until Israelis proclaim it.”

Abulhawa’s commentary refers to the Israeli human rights group’s position paper (January 12) that declared “the entire area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River is organized under a single principle: advancing and cementing the supremacy of one group—Jews—over another—Palestinians.” Moreover, it labeled that system an apartheid regime.

On the one hand, B’tselem’s report got a lot of traction partly because it makes Israeli denial all that much more difficult to support, either by its own people or by journalists who are afraid of being labeled anti-Semitic.

On the other hand, Palestinian poet and activist Remi Kanazi captured the irony of this moment in a tweet:

“Palestinians are always spoken about, but rarely ever spoken to or allowed to speak. Everything is framed in terms of the occupier, its interests, its desires, its wants and dislikes. It’s never about the people who *face* apartheid, occupation, and Israeli settler colonialism.”

Read the full article here →

Online Book Launch: Decolonizing Israel, Liberating Palestine by Jeff Halper

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Please join Jeff Halper and chair Yasmin Alibhai Brown for the launch event of his latest book Decolonizing Israel, Liberating Palestine: Zionism, Settler Colonialism, and the Case for One Democratic State, published by Pluto Press and co-hosted by The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD).
Wednesday, Jan 27, 2021
7:00 pm UK time / 11:00 am PST
Webinar Online
Event information here →
Must register, Sliding Fee 
Event Details

For decades we have spoken of the ‘Israel-Palestine conflict’, but what if our understanding of the issue has been wrong all along? This book explores how the concept of settler colonialism provides a clearer understanding of the Zionist movement’s project to establish a Jewish state in Palestine, displacing the Palestinian Arab population and marginalizing its cultural presence.

Jeff Halper argues that the only way out of a colonial situation is decolonization: the dismantling of Zionist structures of domination and control and their replacement by a single democratic state, in which Palestinians and Israeli Jews forge a new civil society and a shared political community.

To show how this can be done, Halper uses the 10-point program of the One Democratic State Campaign as a guide for thinking through the process of decolonization to its post-colonial conclusion. Halper’s unflinching reframing will empower activists fighting for the rights of the Palestinians and democracy for all.

Jeff Halper is the head of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) and a founding member of the One Democratic State Campaign. He is the author of War Against the People: Israel, the Palestinians and Global Pacification (Pluto, 2015), An Israeli in Palestine (Pluto, 2010), Obstacles to Peace (ICAHD, 2003 and subsequent editions) and Redemption and Revival: The Jewish Yishuv in Jerusalem in the Nineteenth Century (Westview, 1991).

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown is a prominent political and social commentator, a journalist, an author and an Orwell Prize and National Press Awards winner. A regular columnist for the i and feature writer for the Sunday Times Magazine, she is the editor of Biteback’s Provocations series, for which she wrote Refusing the Veil in 2014 and In Defence of Political Correctness in 2018. Her other works include Exotic England, which tells the story of a nation that has always been diverse and hybrid

Register through Eventbrite to receive a link to the stream before the event. It will start at 19:00 GMT. You can also find the event on Pluto Press’ YouTube channel. The event will be recorded and uploaded to the channel after the event too.

Signed book plates are available for attendees based in the UK, just choose the relevant ticket type. Once your signed book plate ticket has been purchased, please email kierano@plutobooks.com with your address and we will post a paperback copy of Jeff’s latest book along with the book plate. These will be posted after the event and may take a couple of weeks to arrive.

The book is also available to order worldwide from our website. Attendees of this event can get £5 (or USD equivalent) off the paperback, using the coupon code HALPER5 at the checkout.

Order your copy of the book here

More information here →

‘Stripped to the bone’: Israel advances plan to cut off Palestinian suburb from Jerusalem

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Issam Faroun pointing a 1930s panoramic photo of Aizarya. (photo: MEE/Qassam Muaddi)
For centuries, Aizarya has been a satellite of the holy city. Now Israel wants to close off its access with a wall in a scheme denounced as de facto annexation.

By Qassam Muaddi |   Middle East Eye  | Jan 20, 2021

“It wouldn’t change much for me, as a minibus driver. I’d still have to drive through this crowded cage to the new way out. But it would cut the town off completely from Jerusalem,”
— Islam Rabea, minibus driver

Vehicles move slowly a few metres down the crowded main street of Aizarya, a Palestinian suburb east of Jerusalem, before stopping again.

Islam Rabea, a 23-year-old minibus driver, pulls on the handbrake and begins musing again.

“This town is more crowded than a can of tuna fish,” he says. “There’s one entrance, which is also the only exit, and I drive people to it back and forth all day.”

Aizarya’s only route to the outside world is to the east via an Israeli-built road, facing the entrance of Maale Adumim, the largest illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank, built almost entirely on lands belonging to the Palestinian town.

Continue reading “‘Stripped to the bone’: Israel advances plan to cut off Palestinian suburb from Jerusalem”

Nathan Thrall calls out J St and other liberal Zionists for enabling apartheid

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Nathan Thrall, at the Jerusalem Hotel, May 24, 2017. (photo: Phil Weiss)
A critique of the damage caused by the claim that the two “regimes” can be separated.

By Philip Weiss  | Mondoweiss |  Jan 19, 2021

Thrall’s thrust is that liberal Zionists have bolstered the persistence of apartheid by insisting that that’s not happening in Israel, it’s only the West Bank.

We all understand that this is a time of tremendous potential shift in the discourse of Palestine in the U.S. When Joe Biden comes in, liberal Zionists, who can take some credit for electing him, will make up the central branch of the Israel lobby inside the Democratic Party. Secretary of State Tony Blinken is their friend. So is his deputy Wendy Sherman. So liberal Zionists will own our Israel policy.

And Biden along with liberal Zionists will be coming under huge pressure from the Democratic left, the Sandersite progressives who have been fighting for Palestinian rights in the halls of Congress, to actually do something at last for Palestinian freedom.

The latest sign of this pressure are the official reports saying Israel is enforcing apartheid, notably Yesh Din last July and B’Tselem last week. These follow a similar declaration years ago by the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, among others. And when Israel is declared apartheid state, there’s one plain outcome: Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.

Continue reading “Nathan Thrall calls out J St and other liberal Zionists for enabling apartheid”

A rudimentary weapon of desperation

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Young men prepare incendiary balloons before launching them in 2018. (photo: Osama Baba / APA images)
The use of incendiary balloons and kites from Gaza are used as a response to Israel’s use of massive and deadly force against unarmed protesters.

By Hamza Abu Eltarabesh |  The Electronic Intifada |  Jan 15, 2021

Militarily at an enormous disadvantage, people – unaffiliated individuals or members of the main resistance groups operating in Gaza, Hamas and Islamic Jihad – have thus turned to other means to show their anger, to inflict some damage back or simply to call attention to their plight.

It was a quiet night in early August.

At a signal, five men emerged silently from the cover of some trees to an agreed meeting point.

I was there, all dry mouth and notebook, observing. I’d been specially invited. Above us, only the sound of Israeli drones could be heard, patrolling the skies, electronic eyes on the ground, watching for prey.

Prey like us.

Focused and silent the men worked for an hour under the instructions of Abu Karam, the leader of this small group who is identified only by his nom de guerre. Filling condoms with helium gas, they took until just after five in the morning before they were ready.

Continue reading “A rudimentary weapon of desperation”

The USA and Israel/Palestine Post-Trump: What are American Jews thinking today?

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Please join our brothers and sisters at Ottawa Forum on Israel Palestine for a wide ranging interview with Phil Weiss, founder of Mondoweiss and one of America’s most astute observers of Israel, Palestine and US policy. He will discuss what’s happening today in the US on the Israel/Palestine file.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
7:30 pm EST / 4:30 pm PST
Zoom Webinar
Event info / registration here →
Free, registration required
Event Details

Donald Trump’s four years as president will be remembered for many things – not the least of which is the changed US relation with Israel. Moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing Israeli control over the West Bank, and proposing the “Deal of the Century”, America moved closer than ever to the most right-wing elements in Israeli society. AIPAC and the pro-settler lobby appeared to be in the ascendant in the USA.

However, a strong backlash has developed. American Jews – including organizations like Jewish Voice for Peace, If Not Now and various campus-based organizations are taking stronger and stronger stands as NON Zionists or even anti-Zionists. Stronger pro-Palestinian voices are being heard in Democratic Party circles, as people like Bernie Sanders openly criticize both Israel and Trump’s support for Israeli aggressions.

Any resolution to the Israel/Palestine conflict will depend on the USA. As long as the USA gives diplomatic, economic and military support to Israel, the Palestinians have little chance of seeing justice. However, if American support diminishes, all bets are off.

In this wide ranging interview, Phil Weiss, one of America’s most astute observers of Israel, Palestine and US policy, will discuss what’s happening today in the US on the Israel/Palestine file.

More information here →

The US can help Israel and Palestinians reach a just peace

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Israeli border police officers, right, and Palestinians clash during a Palestinian protest against the expansion of Israeli Jewish settlements near the West Bank town of Salfit, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. (photo: AP / Majdi Mohammed)
Our newly elected leaders need to take such constructive steps if we are ever truly going to find lasting peace.

By Elizabeth A. Eaton, Mae Elise Cannon  |  Religion News Service  | Jan 4, 2021

The recent agreements between Israel and Arab states benefit these countries’ respective economies, but little or no consultation took place with the Palestinians, and the agreements did little to help end the conflict.

(RNS) — Last year, Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian lands in East Jerusalem and the West Bank and its blockade of Gaza brought increased misery and property violations to the Palestinians: home demolitions, expansion of settlements, detention of Palestinian children, continued restrictions on movement and access and (particularly in Gaza) fears of annexation.

All this took place while the occupied territories were suffering the same scourge of COVID-19 as the rest of us.

The recent agreements between Israel and Arab states benefit these countries’ respective economies, but little or no consultation took place with the Palestinians, and the agreements did little to help end the conflict.

Continue reading “The US can help Israel and Palestinians reach a just peace”

Israel is losing the fight to obscure its apartheid character

Israel’s separation wall is pictured on 11 February 2020.  (photo: AFP)
New report by rights group B’Tselem will make it harder to smear Israel’s critics as antisemites for arguing that Israel is a racist state.

By Jonathan Cook |   Middle East Eye |  Jan 14, 2021

B’Tselem has abandoned the pretense that apartheid can be limited to the occupied territories, as though Israel – the state that rules Palestinians – is somehow exempt from being classified as integral to the apartheid enterprise it institutes and oversees.

For more than a decade, a handful of former Israeli politicians and US diplomats identified with what might be termed the “peace process industry” have intermittently warned that, without a two-state solution, Israel is in danger of becoming an “apartheid state”.

The most notable among them include Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, two former Israeli prime ministers, and John Kerry, who served as former US President Barack Obama’s secretary of state. Time is rapidly running out, they have all declared in the past.

Continue reading “Israel is losing the fight to obscure its apartheid character”

We are Israel’s largest human rights group – and we are calling this apartheid

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‘The future must be radically different.’ Israel’s controversial separation barrier at the Qalandia crossing between the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem, December 2020. (photo: Abbas Momani / AFP / Getty Images)
The systematic promotion of the supremacy of one group of people over another is deeply immoral and must end.

By Hagai El-Ad | The Guardian  | Jan 12, 2021

Although there is demographic parity between the two peoples living here, life is managed so that only one half enjoy the vast majority of political power, land resources, rights, freedoms and protections.

One cannot live a single day in Israel-Palestine without the sense that this place is constantly being engineered to privilege one people, and one people only: the Jewish people. Yet half of those living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea are Palestinian. The chasm between these lived realities fills the air, bleeds, is everywhere on this land.

I am not simply referring to official statements spelling this out – and there are plenty, such as prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s assertion in 2019 that “Israel is not a state of all its citizens”, or the “nation state” basic law enshrining “the development of Jewish settlement as a national value”. What I am trying to get at is a deeper sense of people as desirable or undesirable, and an understanding about my country that I have been gradually exposed to since the day I was born in Haifa. Now, it is a realization that can no longer be avoided.

Continue reading “We are Israel’s largest human rights group – and we are calling this apartheid”

Strong views and ‘Close to the Boss’: How U.S. Envoy reshaped a conflict

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David Friedman at an embassy residence in Jerusalem. (photo: Dan Balilty for The New York Times)
David Friedman, President Trump’s bankruptcy lawyer-turned-ambassador, leaves his post having radically overhauled policy toward Israel and the Palestinians.

By David M. Halbfinger  |  The New York Times  |  Jan 10, 2021

Far from enhancing American influence on the conflict… Mr. Friedman had reduced it nearly to nil, all but destroying hopes for a two-state solution.
— Husam Zomlot, who headed the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington until it was closed

JERUSALEM — Love him or hate him, and most people who have paid attention fall into one camp or the other, Ambassador David M. Friedman will complete his tour of duty in Israel this month having etched his name in history as one of America’s most influential envoys.

It was Mr. Friedman, 62, who drove the radical overhaul of White House policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, dreaming up the seemingly endless list of political giveaways that President Trump bestowed upon Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his supporters on the Israeli right.

Continue reading “Strong views and ‘Close to the Boss’: How U.S. Envoy reshaped a conflict”