Israel is trolling Palestinians on social media

Screenshot of an Israeli government posting on Facebook. (photo: COGAT / Facebook / Forward)
Israel posted a video on Facebook of a Chicago native who “fell in love” with serving in the occupation forces.

By Muhammad Shehada | Forward | Aug 28, 2019

I thought about my late father, who died before my eyes in the blockaded Gaza Strip after COGAT prevented him from traveling to the West Bank for life-saving medical treatment. Gaza’s own hospitals and supplies were crippled by Israel’s blockade, and my family and I couldn’t find any medications but painkillers to give him. Even when my uncle in the United Arab Emirates managed to obtain some life-saving medicines for my father and tried to send them, it was no use. With rare exceptions, COGAT allows only paper mail into Gaza.

You may not know that in addition to living under occupation and blockade, Palestinians must endure trolling on social media by the same forces that oppress us. It’s certainly not comparable to the daily, systematic humiliations, traumas, and abuse involved in living without civil rights. But there’s something downright dehumanizing about having to watch these abuses repackaged on social media as services for which we should be grateful.

That happened this week, when Israel’s occupation forces in charge of administering civil issues in the West Bank — the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories or COGAT unit — posted a propaganda video on social media. Their latest message is a promo video starring a young soldier from Chicago named Alyse, who says that she “fell in love” with the Israeli unit that runs the occupied territories.

There is so much wrong with this. For starters, COGAT embodies everything that’s problematic about the occupation of the West Bank. It is a military unit in charge of civilian affairs, a perfect encapsulation of the problem with military rule over a civilian population without the right to vote.

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Seattle Jewish Federation censors donation to IfNotNow

IfNotNow protesters. (photo: Gili Getz / Forward)
The Federation routinely approved a family’s donations for 15 years, but refused to allow them to donate to IfNotNow.

By Aiden Pink | Forward | Sep 2, 2019

‘A cohesive Jewish community tolerates a certain amount of dissent. It certainly shouldn’t eliminate it.’
— Alan Sussman, who was prevented from donating to IfNotNow

At the beginning of this year, like he did every year, Alan Sussman asked the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle to donate some of his family fund’s money to a charity of his choice.

This time, though, things went awry.

That’s because the group Sussman wanted to support was IfNotNow, the left-wing Jewish group that has made its name protesting not only Israel but also American Jewish organizations themselves — including the Seattle Federation.

Citing the protests, the federation told Sussman that supporting IfNotNow would go against their policy of “build[ing] a cohesive Jewish community.” . . .

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Israel’s one-state reality is sowing chaos in American politics

A mural depicting US President Donald Trump on the separation barrier in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, Aug 4, 2017. (Flash90)
Until US lawmakers and major Jewish organizations adjust to the current one-state reality, the acrimony that has marked the last several years under Netanyahu and Trump will only intensify.

By Joshua Leifer | +972 Magazine | Aug 26, 2019

‘If the two-state solution ceased to be possible, 64 percent of Americans would choose the democracy of Israel, even if that meant that Israel would cease to be a politically Jewish state, over the Jewishness of Israel, if the latter meant Palestinians would not be fully equal.’
— University of Maryland poll, 2018

For decades, the two-state solution has been the central pillar of the bipartisan pro-Israel consensus in Washington. Since the signing of the Oslo Accords, every single US administration has been committed, at least nominally, to the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Yet the expiration of the two-state paradigm under Prime Minister Netanyahu and the lack of a clear alternative to take its place has kicked that pillar away, disordering the politics of Israel–Palestine in the United States. Until American decision-makers adjust to the current one-state reality, the acrimony, chaos, and division that have marked the past several years will only intensify.

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The U.S. Border Patrol and an Israeli military contractor are putting a Native American reservation under ‘persistent surveillance’

ARIVACA, AZ - NOVEMBER 15:  A U.S. Border Patrol surveillance camera overlooks a remote area of the U.S.-Mexico border on November 15, 2016 near Arivaca, Arizona. Nearby, armed civilian paramilitaries with Arizona Border Recon, made up mostly of former U.S. military servicemen and women, staged a reconnaissance and surveillance operation against drug and human smugglers. The group, which claims up to 200 volunteers, does not consider itself a militia, but rather a group of citizens supplementing U.S. Border Patrol efforts to control illegal border activity. With the election of Donald Trump as President, border security issues are a top national issue for the incoming Administration.  (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
A Border Patrol surveillance camera overlooks a remote area of the U.S.-Mexico border on Nov. 15, 2016, near Arivaca, Ariz. (photo: John Moore / Getty Images)
Israel’s leading technology and surveillance systems are being brought to U.S. borderlands for enforcement and control that may go far beyond border security.

By Will Parrish |  The Intercept |  Aug 25, 2019

‘…technologies that are sold for one purpose, such as protecting the border or stopping terrorists…often get repurposed for other reasons, such as targeting protesters.’
— Jay Stanley, ACLU

ON THE SOUTHWESTERN END of the Tohono O’odham Nation’s reservation, roughly 1 mile from a barbed-wire barricade marking Arizona’s border with the Mexican state of Sonora, Ofelia Rivas leads me to the base of a hill overlooking her home. A U.S. Border Patrol truck is parked roughly 200 yards upslope. A small black mast mounted with cameras and sensors is positioned on a trailer hitched to the truck. For Rivas, the Border Patrol’s monitoring of the reservation has been a grim aspect of everyday life. And that surveillance is about to become far more intrusive.

The vehicle is parked where U.S. Customs and Border Protection will soon construct a 160-foot surveillance tower capable of continuously monitoring every person and vehicle within a radius of up to 7.5 miles. The tower will be outfitted with high-definition cameras with night vision, thermal sensors, and ground-sweeping radar, all of which will feed real-time data to Border Patrol agents at a central operating station in Ajo, Arizona. The system will store an archive with the ability to rewind and track individuals’ movements across time — an ability known as “wide-area persistent surveillance.”

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When Ilhan Omar is accused of Anti-Semitism, it’s news. When a Republican smears Muslims, there’s silence.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 23: U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) participates in a panel discussion during the Muslim Collective For Equitable Democracy Conference and Presidential Forum at the The National Housing Center July 23, 2019 in Washington, DC. As a member of a group of four freshman Democratic women of color, known informally as 'The Squad,' Omar has been targeted by President Donald Trump with controversial tweets during the last week. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Rep. Ilhan Omar participates in a panel discussion during the Muslim Collective for Equitable Democracy Conference and Presidential Forum at the National Housing Center in Washington, D.C., on July 23, 2019.  (photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)
Is there a double standard?  Rep. Mo Brooks has received virtually no national media attention for saying Muslims increasingly control the Democratic Party.

By Mehdi Hasan |  The Intercept  |  Aug 28, 2019

‘Keep in mind: Muslims more so than most people have great animosity toward Israel and the Jewish faith.’
— Rep. Mo Brooks

“IT’S ALL ABOUT the Benjamins, baby.”

That is, of course, what Rep. Ilhan Omar famously tweeted on February 10, in response to a tweet from my colleague Glenn Greenwald decrying “how much time U.S. political leaders spend defending a foreign nation” — namely, the state of Israel. Then, when a journalist followed up by asking Omar who she believed was “paying American politicians to be pro-Israel,” the congresswoman tweeted: “AIPAC!”

The freshman Democrat from Minnesota “unequivocally” apologized the very next day, saying that she was grateful to Jewish allies and colleagues who were educating her “on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes” and insisting that she never intended to “offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole.”

Continue reading “When Ilhan Omar is accused of Anti-Semitism, it’s news. When a Republican smears Muslims, there’s silence.”

Palestinian set to begin classes at Harvard is questioned about his religion and friends’ political posts, then deported

Harvard University
Harvard University (photo: Citizen59/Flickr)
International students facing increased scrutiny creating fear and distrust as they arrive in the U.S. for college.

By Michael Arria |  Mondoweiss | Aug 27, 2019

Ajjawi claims that he’s never made political posts on social media, but was questioned about the political posts of his friends.

A 17-year old Palestinian set to begin classes at Harvard University was denied entry into the United States, had his visa revoked, and was deported after he was allegedly questioned by immigration officers for hours.

Ismail B. Ajjawi, a resident of Lebanon, arrived at Boston’s Logan International Airport on August 23. According to a written statement he released, Ajjawi was interrogated at the airport for hours. Other international students were also questioned, but they were allowed to leave after a certain period of time while Ajjawi was repeatedly questioned about his religion. He was also forced to hand over his laptop and phone so they could be searched. Ajjawi claims that he’s never made political posts on social media, but was questioned about the political posts of his friends.

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Anti-Semitism and white supremacy

White nationalists march in Charlottesville, VA, August 2017.  (photo: Screenshot from ADL video.)
A look into links between criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, a growing hatred of Jews and the public explosion of white supremacy.

By Alice Rothchild  |  Mondoweiss  | Aug 25, 2019

The underlying racism that allowed European Jewish trauma, aspirations, and history to be privileged at the expense of the indigenous population in Palestine was rarely acknowledged, or else justified in the name of Jewish survival.

The epithet of anti-Semitism is being hurled fairly loosely these days whether it be Trump’s characterization of Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib’s policies or the State Department’s expansive definition of anti-Semitism as criticism of Israel or comparison of Israel to Nazi Germany (a comparison that has been made by a number of Israeli thinkers), or the local and national efforts to label the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction movement of Israel inherently anti-Semitic.

So how can we calmly and thoughtfully think about this swirling controversy? Most people recognize classic anti-Semitism, the Christianity’s Jews-killed-Christ, Shakespeare’s Shylock, Nazi-graffiti-scrawled-on-a- synagogue types. Most people, (except those in the growing white supremacist, neo-Nazi movements), agree that these acts and beliefs are horrific and dangerous to a democratic society that aspires to tolerance and respect for minorities, whether it be the 7 million Jews, 3 ½ million Muslims, or 11 million Mexican immigrants among us, for starters.

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When a Republican President Supported BDS

In 1948, Palestinians, forced from their homes by Zionist militia, become refugees.
A look back when a Republican president once used BDS tactics to help contain Israeli violence and injustice.

By Mennonite Palestine Israel Network Newsletter | Aug 2019

Eisenhower used and threatened to use actions central to BDS today: sanctions and economic boycott.

The BDS movement would not begin until 2005, but President Dwight Eisenhower’s foreign policy toward Israel was, in part, shaped around principles central to BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions). Today, President Donald Trump, the Republican Party and most of the Democratic Party would have us believe that to be pro-BDS is to be anti-Israel and anti-Semitic. But Eisenhower would beg to differ.

Writing on August 22, 2019 on the American Conservative website (of all places!), Derek Leebaert detailed three instances in which the Eisenhower Administration censured the Israeli government for illegal aggression, violence and expansion against Israel’s Arab neighbors, including Palestine.

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‘Anti-Semitism’ vs. ‘Islamophobia’: How language creates hierarchies of discrimination and whitewashes bigotry


Protest against Islam at Foley Square in New York City, June 10, 2017. (Photo: Mark Peterson. markpetersonpixs @ Instagram)
Protest against Islam at Foley Square in New York City, June 10, 2017. (photo: Mark Peterson. markpetersonpixs @ Instagram)
A look at linguistics and changing the normative hierarchy of discrimination in Western discourses of racism.

By Timo Al-Farooq  |  Mondoweiss  |  Aug 22, 2019

Where the anti-Semite is by definition dangerous, a term like Islamophobe makes the Muslim-hater seem rather timid, implying that he is not a source of danger, but a victim, merely reacting to an exogenous bogeyman, and understandably with the most human of emotions which all of us have experienced at some point in our lives: fear.

From the ivory towers of academic knowledge production to the lowlands of cracker-barrel Stammtisch-culture, tactical language is omnipresent in everyday political discourse, employing certain symbols and ciphers designed to obscure bitter realities under the smoke-screen of sweet euphemization. The controlled natural language of Newspeak from George Orwell’s spot-on dystopia 1984 for instance is an – albeit extreme – example of how language manipulation is a key modus operandi for the powers that be in stifling critical thought and thus consolidating their grip on potentially subversive populaces.

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Trump ‘King of Israel’ and white supremacy

Rep Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich, attends a Shabbat service in a Detroit park arranged by Jewish Voice For Peace Action. (photo: Courtesy of JVP)
Israel’s denial of entry to US representatives provides opportunity to question the US role providing aid to Israel.

By Richard Silverstein | Tikun Olam |  Aug 21, 2019

BDS and curtailing U.S. aid to Israel have been controversial for years. But as Israel grows ever more authoritarian, these ideas become more and more reasonable as responses.

This week, Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar held a press conference to offer their views on Israel’s ban against them entering Palestine. Perhaps the most important news coming out of the event was Omar’s demand that the U.S. withhold part of all of the $30-billion offered to Israel by the Obama administration as it sought to bribe Israel to soft-pedal its opposition to the Iran nuclear deal.

Obama was suckered by the Israelis, who took the money and still opposed the deal. Obama was furthered humiliated when the Israeli eventually go their way and Pres. Trump torpedoed the deal entirely.

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