Israel’s Friends at the RNC: ‘Christian Zionists’ dictate the agenda of the Republican Party


US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addresses the Republican National Convention from Jerusalem. (Photo: Video Grab)
Both Republicans and Democrats head to the November elections with strong pro-Israel sentiments and outright support, completely ignoring the plight of occupied and oppressed Palestinians.

By Ramzy Baroud   | The Palestine Chronicle  |   Sept 2, 2020

“This is apocalyptic foreign policy in a nutshell,‘ …“Israel is not as a real country but a fantasyland, backdrop for Christian myth.’
— Gershom Gorenberg, Israeli commentator

t is difficult – and futile – to argue which American president has historically been more pro-Israel. While former President Barack Obama, for example, has pledged more money to Israel than any other US administration in history, Donald Trump has provided Israel with a blank check of seemingly endless political concessions.

Certainly, the unconditional backing and love declared for Israel is common among all US administrations. What they may differ on, however, is their overall motive, primarily their target audience during election time.

Both Republicans and Democrats head to the November elections with strong pro-Israel sentiments and outright support, completely ignoring the plight of occupied and oppressed Palestinians.

Continue reading “Israel’s Friends at the RNC: ‘Christian Zionists’ dictate the agenda of the Republican Party”

The Israel-UAE deal isn’t about peace at all

(photo: rjzaar – CC BY 2.0)
The UAE move provides political cover for other Arab states to make deals that would likely do nothing for Palestinians.

By Phyllis Bennis   | CounterPunch |  Sept 3, 2020

The Palestinians get what the Palestinians always get. Bupkes, as my grandma used to say. Yiddish for ‘nothing.’

In some ways, the U.S.-brokered plan for mutual recognition between Israel and the United Arab Emirates is big news. For more than a quarter of a century, only two Middle Eastern countries — Egypt and Jordan — had officially recognized Israel. None of the Gulf monarchies did.

So, it was a pretty big deal when the announcement was made. Except, actually, not so much.

Despite the UAE’s claimed adherence to a decades-long position that no Arab country should normalize relations with Israel until it ended its occupation of Palestinian land, ties between the UAE and Israel had been quietly underway for years. The same is true of many other Arab states.

Continue reading “The Israel-UAE deal isn’t about peace at all”

How creeping annexation is strangling hope for Israeli-Palestinian peace

Bedouin children attend improvised class in the village of Abu Nuwar, West Bank, after the Israeli army demolished their two-classroom school in the West Bank on Sunday.  (photo: AP)
A look back at the history of settlements which prevent the prospects for Palestinian statehood under a negotiated peace agreement.

By Seth Eislund  |  J Street  |  Aug 27, 2020

‘In June alone, Israel demolished 30 Palestinian homes in the West Bank (not including East Jerusalem) – the same number demolished throughout the entire first five months of 2020.’
— Israeli human rights organization NGO B’Tselem Report

Creeping Annexation is a decades-long project
Since Israel took control of the West Bank following its victory in the Six-Day War of 1967, the Israeli government has supported settlement construction on captured, occupied territory. This policy commenced just months after the end of the war, with successive Israeli governments basing much of their settlement policy in the first decade of occupation around what was known as the ‘Allon Plan’, which envisioned the annexation of large parts of the West Bank.

The settlement movement had an even more expansive view of Israel’s right to the occupied territory, pushing for the government to support Israelis in building settlements — and displacing Palestinians — across the entire West Bank. With increasing encouragement from the government, the number of Israelis living in the West Bank has ballooned from just 1,500 in the early years of occupation to almost 430,000 in the broader occupied West Bank and 220,000 in occupied East Jerusalem.

Continue reading “How creeping annexation is strangling hope for Israeli-Palestinian peace”

Evidence that U.S. pro-Israel groups may have violated U.S. laws

Israel Allies then director Joe Sabag speaks at Standing with Israel event in Texas.
Questions are being brought to light about American groups that receive Israeli government funds.

By Alison Weir |  Israel-Palestine News  |  Sept 1, 2020

Israel has been manipulating US policies – and some US organizations and politicians have been helping them, in what appears to be violation of US laws… Will the government investigate them and censure Israel, the way it did the claims of ‘Russian interference’? Or will Israel and its collaborators once again escape consequences?
— Aiden Pink, reposted from The Forward, “U.S. pro-Israel groups failed to disclose grants from Israeli government’

More than half of all American states have passed laws designed to combat the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. No advocacy group was more important to this push than the Israel Allies Foundation, an American non-profit that supports a network of pro-Israel legislators across the globe.

From Israel Allies Foundation (Israel Allies Foundation)

[Editor’s note: BDS is an international movement to oppose Israel’s systematic human rights violations. BDS upholds “the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity.”]

It was the IAF that in 2014 connected a South Carolina politician with an Israeli legal scholar who drafted the first bill to ban state agencies from contracting with entities that boycott Israel. [For details, see this.]

After that law passed in South Carolina in 2015, the IAF successfully lobbied for nearly-identical anti-BDS bills in 25 other states, including Florida, Pennsylvania and Arizona.

Continue reading “Evidence that U.S. pro-Israel groups may have violated U.S. laws”

From science to classical music, Israel clamps down on Palestinian culture

Singers sing at a music concert in Gaza City on November 21, 2013. (photo: Emad Nassar / Flash90)
The last months have seen Israel crack down on cultural figures and intellectuals in the occupied territories. Critics say the attacks are part of a larger strategy of suppressing Palestinian civil society.

By Robert Swift  |  +972 Magazine  | Aug 26, 2020

‘They don’t want Palestinians to be visible to the world; it’s difficult to dehumanize people playing classical music,’
— Suhail Khoury, Jerusalem Society for Music Teaching and Research

Suhail Khoury and Rania Elias were arrested last month by the Jerusalem Police. A married couple, they are, respectively, the Palestinian directors of the Jerusalem Society for Music Teaching and Research, and the Yabous Cultural Center — two East Jerusalem institutions that were simultaneously raided at the time of their arrests. The police accused them of tax avoidance and fraud, but have yet to present them with any charges in relation to the allegations.

Khoury and Elias were not the only prominent figures to be targeted by the Israeli authorities last month. A few days earlier, Palestinian astrophysicist Imad Barghouthi was detained at a checkpoint while traveling from Al-Quds University to his home in the West Bank; he has been charged with incitement and remains in custody. And in late July, Ahmad Qatamesh, a Palestinian author and academic, was released after being held for seven months in administrative detention — a procedure by which Israel holds detainees without due process.

Continue reading “From science to classical music, Israel clamps down on Palestinian culture”

Gaza’s health sector at risk as Israel’s week-long airstrikes continue

180820_MH_00-2-768x512 (1)
Smoke and flames rise after Israeli war planes carried out airstrikes over Gaza City on August 18, 2020. (photo: Mahmoud Alhende / APA Images)
Disappointment in Gaza over international reaction as Israeli airstrikes continue and civilians are caught in the middle.

By Yumna Patel  | Mondoweiss  | Aug 21, 2020

“We’ve been through this countless times, …But it’s harder now with a global pandemic and the whole world falling apart, no electricity and no water,’
— Omar Ghraieb, 33, a Palestinian journalist

Israel has been bombing Gaza for eight days straight, all as part of what Israel says is a response to incendiary balloons sent from Gaza into Israeli territory.

The night sky in Gaza has lit up in hues of red and orange every night for more than a week, with Thursday marking the eight consecutive night of Israeli airstrikes.

Despite reported efforts by Egyptian officials to mediate a cease fire, the cross-border tensions don’t seem to be stopping anytime soon, with the Hamas movement releasing a statement on Friday saying it “will not hesitate to wage a battle” with Israeli forces, “if the escalation, bombardment and siege [of Gaza] continues.”

Continue reading “Gaza’s health sector at risk as Israel’s week-long airstrikes continue”

Webinar: Abolition and Liberation

Please join our brothers and sisters at Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) and other partners to hear Angela Davis and Jamal Juma’ discuss the connections between the Black Lives Matter (BLM) calls for police and prison abolition and the Palestinian calls for liberation.
Thursday, August 28, 2020
10:00am PST;  1:00pm EST
Webinar on-line
Event information here →
Free, Registration required
Event Details

Our speakers bring years of on-the-ground experience and strategic thinking to the conversation. Angela Davis has been an activist and liberatory scholar since the 1960s. Her 2003 book Are Prisons Obsolete? laid the strategic groundwork for the current abolition movement, as did the first Critical Resistance Conference, which she co-organized in 1998.

She will be joined, from Palestine, by Jamal Juma’, a leading grassroots organizer since Palestine’s First Intifada in 1987. A founding member of the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees, Palestine National BDS Committee, Palestinian Association for Cultural Exchange, and Palestinian Environmental NGO Network, Juma’ is coordinator of the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign and Stop the Wall

Kristian Davis Bailey, who will be moderating their conversation, is a co-founder of Black for Palestine and a co-author of the 2015 Black Solidarity with Palestine Statement signed by more than 1,000 Black activists. He was a member of Black Youth Project 100 and Students for Justice in Palestine. Kristian currently works at Palestine Legal and is a member of LeftRoots.

Kristian Davis Bailey will be moderating their conversation.

More information here →

How Israel wages its war on Palestinian history

A Palestinian refugee camp in 1949. Israeli archives confirm massacres of Palestinian civilians carried out in 1948, the year Israel was established. (photo: Alamy Stock Photo)
The state is using a variety of means to create a perception that its policies vis-a-vis the Palestinians have been driven by security concerns.

By Jonathan Cook |   The National   | Aug 20, 2020

Israel’s archives are being hurriedly sealed up precisely to prevent any danger that records might confirm long-sidelined and discounted Palestinian history

When the Palestinian actor Mohammed Bakri made a documentary about Jenin in 2002 – filming immediately after the Israeli army had completed rampaging through the West Bank city, leaving death and destruction in its wake – he chose an unusual narrator for the opening scene: a mute Palestinian youth.

Jenin had been sealed off from the world for nearly three weeks as the Israeli army razed the neighbouring refugee camp and terrorised its population.

Bakri’s film Jenin, Jenin shows the young man hurrying silently between wrecked buildings, using his nervous body to illustrate where Israeli soldiers shot Palestinians and where bulldozers collapsed homes, sometimes on their inhabitants.

Continue reading “How Israel wages its war on Palestinian history”

Media show little interest in Israeli bombing of Gaza

Smoke and flames rise after war planes belonging to the Israeli army carried out airstrikes over the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, August 12, 2020. (photo: Said Khatib / AFB via Getty)
The US press has done little reporting on the 11-day (and counting) bombing campaign of Gaza.

By Alan MacLeod | FAIR  | Aug 21, 2020

The story clearly presents the bombing as a reactive Israeli counter-effort—not an attack on Palestine, but a response against Hamas, which it describes not as a political party but as an “Islamist group.’

Israel is bombing Palestine again, although you likely wouldn’t guess that from watching TV news. For the eleventh straight night, Israeli Defense Force warplanes have been bombing the densely populated Gaza Strip. Israel’s bombs have caused considerable damage, forcing the shutdown of the area’s only power plant.

But US corporate media, focused on the coronavirus and election coverage, have shown little interest in the renewed violence in the Middle East. Searching for “Gaza” on the websites of NBC News, CNN, MSNBC and PBS elicits no relevant results. Nor has Fox News addressed the bombings, although it did find time (8/18/20) to cover the archaeological discovery of an old soap factory in Israel’s Negev Desert.

Continue reading “Media show little interest in Israeli bombing of Gaza”

Palestinian clergy: ‘Annexation could be the final straw for a viable Christian presence in Palestine’

An icon of Mary is painted on the Israeli separation wall in the West Bank town of Bethlehem. (photo: Rrodrickbeiler /
A July letter from Palestinian clergy address crisis of Christian emigration.

By Jeff Wright  |  Mondoweiss  | Aug 20, 2020

‘As any Palestinian—Christian or Muslim—will tell you, it is the Israeli occupation that is making life unbearable for Muslims and Christians alike,’
— Rev. Alex Awad, former pastor of the East Jerusalem Baptist Church 

“Annexation could be the final straw when it comes to a viable Christian presence in Palestine,” declare pastors representing four of the Holy Land’s historic denominations. “For Palestine, Bethlehem and particularly its Christian population… annexation will be particularly catastrophic.”

The July letter sent to diplomatic missions in Palestine/Israel—later released as an Open Letter—denounces Israel’s threatened annexation and calls upon the leaders of the world to “stop this severe injustice.” Written by clergy serving seven Christian congregations in Bethlehem and the neighboring towns of Beit Jala and Beit Sahour, the letter continues, “This is land theft! We are talking about land that is largely privately owned and that our families have owned, inherited and farmed for hundreds of years.”

Continue reading “Palestinian clergy: ‘Annexation could be the final straw for a viable Christian presence in Palestine’”