The Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar on Jul 5, 2018. (photo: Thomas Coex / AFP / Getty Images)
Without even a limited censure, the Trump administration is signaling a green light.
By Loveday Morris and Sufian Taha | The Washington Post | Jul 11, 2018
Most residents are members of the Jahalin tribe, which the Israeli military expelled from the Negev desert of southern Israel at the start of the 1950’s. The Jahalin Bedouins were relocated to the area of Kfar Adumim in the West Bank in 1952, only to be moved again to their current location when an Israeli settlement was built there.
Growing up herding sheep and goats in the hills east of Jerusalem, Eid Jahalin never expected to find himself one day lobbying in the halls of the U.S. Congress.
But that is how the 51-year-old spent last week, as the small cluster of shacks he calls his home village comes under threat of demolition by Israeli bulldozers.
The Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, inhabited by 173 people, may seem unassuming, with homes made of wood and tarpaulin and surrounded by animal pens. But its strategic location puts it at the heart of the decades-long conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.
If Israel were to demolish the village and other surrounding Bedouin communities and build here as planned, Palestinian territory in the occupied West Bank would be split in two, with a portion of it isolated from any future capital in East Jerusalem.
One rabbi responds to another’s criticism of Ocasio-Cortez’s statements on Israel-Palestine.
By Rabbi Brant Rosen | Shalom Rav | Jul 10, 2018
As a public figure, Ocasio-Cortez responded to clear human rights abuses in a forthright and courageous manner. She deserved much more than a condescending lecture and a personal invitation to your own “nuanced” tour of Israel/Palestine.
Dear Rabbi Bachman,
While I share your admiration for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s recent victory in New York’s 14th Congressional District, I am dismayed by the heavy-handed way you chose to convey your congratulations. I’m referring to your open letter to her (Jewish Journal, 7/4/18) in which you expressed your concern that her public statements about Israel and Palestine indicated a “less than nuanced perspective” and invited her to join you on a tour of the region.
While you did not identify which of her public statements you were referring to, I can only assume you meant this recent tweet, which she posted in response to Israel’s violent military response to Palestinian protesters in Gaza:
This is a massacre. I hope my peers have the moral courage to call it such. No state or entity is absolved of mass shootings of protesters. There is no justification. Palestinian people deserve basic human dignity, as anyone else. Democrats can’t be silent about this anymore.
The “Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018” seeks to ban the sale in Ireland of goods originating in Israeli settlements. (photo: AP Photo)
An Irish bill on Israeli settlement goods could make history.
By Yara Hawari | Al Jazeera | Jul 7, 2018
This is not an “extreme” or “radical” measure, as some have claimed. It simply identifies settler-made products for what they are: illegal. These products are made on stolen land with stolen resources.
On July 11, the upper house of the Irish parliament, the Seanad, will vote on a landmark bill that, if passed, would ban the purchase of goods and services from illegal Israeli settlements. The “Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018” was put forward by Irish independent Senator Frances Black and co-signed by Senators Alice-Mary Higgins, Lynn Ruane, Colette Kelleher, John G Dolan, Grace O’Sullivan and David Norrison on January 24 this year.
However, just six days later, the Seanad voted to delay the debate on it indefinitely after Israel protested. On January 30, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu summoned the Irish ambassador to Israel, Alison Kelly, who explained that the Irish government did not support the bill. Netanyahu had claimed the bill sought to “harm the state of Israel” and was an attempt to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Six months later, on June 27, Black announced that on Twitter that the proposed law is back on the schedule for a debate in the Seanad. And just a week later, Fianna Fail (Warriors of Fal), the second-largest party in the Irish parliament, declared that it was going to back the bill, raising hopes among Palestine supporters in Ireland that it would indeed pass.
Birthright participants travelling in Israel, Oct 1, 2015. (photo: Taglit)
It was inevitable that the Jewish-roots trip provider would eventually become a battleground, but its co-founder decries the recent walkout by five participant.
By Allison Kaplan Sommer | Haaretz | Jul 3, 2018
Adelson’s money and his presence at events like the program’s mega-event has, justified or not, created a connection between his hard-line, right-wing Israel agenda and — even more disturbing for young American Jews — his tremendous financial and political support of President Donald Trump, which has tainted the organization for many.
Birthright Israel has done its best to stay above the political fray ever since its founding in 1999. Like most major institutions, though, in these divisive times it is losing the struggle to remain detached from deep political differences. Over the past months, it has been targeted directly by young activist Jews, angry over what they believe is the program’s refusal to deliver a balanced message to its participants regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The activities have ranged from protests against the Birthright gala in New York, to leafleting Birthright participants boarding their flights to Israel, to the high-profile walkout of five female participants toward the end their trip to Israel last Thursday, opting instead to join a Breaking the Silence tour in Hebron.
This last event kicked off what the activist group IfNotNow predicts will be a long, hot summer against the program.
(photo: Getty Images)
Instead of being drawn into Sheldon Adelson’s free trip, these women insisted on acting according to our Jewish values.
By Avrum Burg | Forward | Jul 3, 2018
[Avrum Burg has served as speaker of the Knesset, Jewish Agency chairman and interim president of Israel.]
Birthright, like every other Hasbara project, is a practice in augmented reality. It is Israel’s attempt to talk the talk without walking the walk, to be perceived as a liberal democracy while imposing a military regime on Palestinians in the territories and expanding settlements in the West Bank, all so the international community and world Jewry support — or at least don’t interfere with — what Israeli conservatives see as Israel’s real birthright: controlling the lives and future of millions of Palestinians.
Last week, five participants of Birthright walked out on the program and straight onto a tour of the segregated city of Hebron with IDF veterans from Breaking the Silence, where they saw what Birthright desperately tried to hide.
They saw the checkpoints, the streets Palestinians aren’t allowed to walk on and the caged windows that protect Palestinians from settler violence.
Their strong actions were followed by strong words as they urged fellow American Jews to refuse to cooperate with pro-occupation propaganda like Birthright: “It is morally irresponsible to participate in an institution that is not willing to grapple with reality on the other side of the wall. That’s why we’re on our way to Hebron now,” they wrote in a statement.
Activists are encouraging Birthright participants to question their tour guides about Israel’s occupation of Palestine.
By Emma Fiala | Mint Press News | Jun 30, 2018
“Like a lot of you, I came on this trip to be in a community with fellow Jewish youth and to learn. I really valued a lot of the experiences I’ve had. We have not been able to do that and as a result, the five of us will be leaving as we get off the bus and will be going on a trip with Breaking the Silence to learn about the occupation from the perspectives of Palestinians and IDF soldiers.”
— Birthright participant Bethany Zaiman
Five American Jews, who were visiting Israel as part of the Birthright Israel program, ditched the trip yesterday in protest. Instead of continuing on with the trip’s planned itinerary, on the eighth day of their trip the five Americans joined Breaking the Silence, an anti-occupation army veteran’s group, on a tour of Hebron.
One of the five Americans who walked off the trip, Sophie Lasoff, 24, insisted they did not know each other prior to their trip to Israel and had not planned to join Breaking the Silence. Instead, the five “wanted to give Birthright a chance,” says Lasoff. “We didn’t want to do something like that, but we felt that it was the right thing to do.”
Israeli Arabs protest in northern Israel for the rights of Palestinian refugees, Apr 2018. (photo: Ammar Awad / Reuters)
The mere fact that we live within Israel’s borders does not make us less Palestinian. We suffer from the same bitterly oppressive policies, even if our suffering is of a different nature and takes a different form.
By Maha Ighbaria | Haaretz | Jul 8, 2018
This is not the first time that I, a Palestinian Israeli, have fallen between the categories: Not Israeli enough on the one hand, as a Palestinian, and not Palestinian enough on the other, as an Israeli.
About a month ago I applied to attend a seminar for Israeli and Palestinian women to be held this summer in Germany. Two weeks later, I received an email from the organizers informing me that my application was rejected.
The reason, they explained, was that I called myself a Palestinian Israeli. The Israeli designation, I was told, was reserved solely for Jewish women and the Palestinian designation was solely for Palestinian women from the West Bank or East Jerusalem. So where do I fit in?