‘Arrested at any time’: Palestinian students in Israel’s crosshairs

A Birzeit University student flees from Israeli forces during a demonstration at the entrance of Israel’s Ofer Prison on 5 October 2019.  (photo: AFP)
A recent spike in detentions of Palestinian university students has put a longstanding issue back in the spotlight.

By Qassam Muaddi | Middle East Eye | Jan 9, 2020

‘The occupation tries to break the morale of young Palestinians, especially those who are preparing themselves academically, in order to push them to leave their country – especially those who are politically aware and active…’
— father of detained student Hadi Tarshah

For most students, grades, exams and social commitments are some of life’s biggest preoccupations while at university.

But not so for Hadi Tarshah. At 24, the young Palestinian man has spent the past semester in Israeli prison, and his primary concern is his court hearing in March.

Similarly, Mays Abu Ghosh, who is recovering from brutal torture in Israeli custody, is a mere semester away from graduation. And a fellow student Azmi Nafaa has struggled for three years to obtain his diploma from behind bars.

Continue reading “‘Arrested at any time’: Palestinian students in Israel’s crosshairs”

Interview: On the future of the BDS movement with BDS Palestinian coordinator

 

New York City rally protests 70 years of Nakba and supports Great Return March
New York City rally protests 70 years of Nakba and supports Great Return March. (photo: Joe Catron)
Interview with the Gaza representative for the BDS movement following recent moves by the Trump administration criticized for targeting growing support for BDS.

By Rami Almeghari | Citizen Truth  | Jan 1, 2020

The BDS movement does not tolerate any act or discourse which adopts or promotes, among others, anti-Black racism, anti-Arab racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, sexism, xenophobia, or homophobia.

On December 11, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order targeting anti-Semitism on college campuses by using Title VI of the Civil Rights Act to declare his administration would withhold federal funding from any schools found permitting anti-semitism on campus.

The executive order was criticized widely by many as an attempt to stifle criticism of Israel’s treatment of Palestine and stifle the growing support on college campuses of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement for Palestinian Rights (BDS). Supporters of the executive order argue anti-Semitism is on the rise and point to recent mass shootings targeting Jews.

Continue reading “Interview: On the future of the BDS movement with BDS Palestinian coordinator”

Embracing Palestine: How to combat Israel’s misuse of ‘anti-Semitism’

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Ramallah after the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails. (photo: Abbas Momani / AFP / Getty Images)

By Ramzy Baroud| The Palestine Chronicle |  Jan 3, 2020

I find it puzzling, indeed disturbing, that Israel, directly or otherwise, is able to determine the nature of any discussion on Palestine in the West, not only within typical mainstream platforms but within pro-Palestinian circles as well.

At a talk I delivered in Northern England in March 2018, I proposed that the best response to falsified accusations of anti-Semitism, which are often lobbed against pro-Palestinian communities and intellectuals everywhere, is to draw even closer to the Palestinian narrative.

In fact, my proposal was not meant to be a sentimental response in any way.

“Reclaiming the Palestinian narrative” has been the main theme in most of my public speeches and writings in recent years. All of my books and much of my academic studies and research have largely focused on positioning the Palestinian people – their rights, history, culture, and political aspirations – at the very core of any genuine understanding of the Palestinian struggle against Israeli colonialism and apartheid.

Continue reading “Embracing Palestine: How to combat Israel’s misuse of ‘anti-Semitism’”

The importance of knowing Bethlehem

Bethlehem skyline from Church of the Nativity. (photo: Daniel Case – own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/)
The future of Bethlehem is being strangled under Israeli military occupation.

By Dr. James J. Zogby | American Arab Institute | Dec 28, 2019

Right​-wing Evangelicals, under the sway of heretical theology, are so blinded by their obsession with Israel that they can’t see Israel’s victims.

I have long been troubled by the way so many believing Christians in the West have either been ignorant of or turned their backs on the plight of Palestinians, both Christian and Muslim. Right​-wing Evangelicals, under the sway of heretical theology, are so blinded by their obsession with Israel that they can’t see Israel’s victims. Other Western Christians simply just don’t know or about the people of Palestine.

I find this state of affairs to always distressing, but especially so at Christmas time, since the Christmas story we celebrate not only took place in that land, it continues to define the lives of the Palestinians who live in places like Bethlehem and Nazareth.

Continue reading “The importance of knowing Bethlehem”

Informational Meeting: Tour of the Holy Land (Tomorrow)

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(photo: DeAgostini / Getty Images)
Please join our brothers and sisters this Sunday, Jan 5, at Bellevue Presbyterian Church to learn about an upcoming tour of the Holy Land where you’ll visit celebrated holy sites and meet with Israelis and Palestinians working to bring peace to the Holy Land.
Date: Sunday, Jan 5, 2020
Time: 12:15 – 1:15 pm
Location: Bellevue Presbyterian Church
1717 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue, WA 98004
Room S-140
Information: Event information here →
Event Details
  • The tour is scheduled for April 25 to May 2 with an extension available from May 2 to May 5.
  • The BelPres Israel Palestine Impact Team has joined with our counterparts at University Presbyterian Church (Seattle) to organize the trip. We’ve worked closely with BelPres mission partner Churches for Middle East Peace to create the itinerary.
  • Professional Israeli and Palestinian guides along with staff from Churches for Middle East Peace will help lead the tour.
  • Our tour group will meet several times prior to our departure so we can get to know each other and gain useful historical and cultural background.

We’ll have more details about the trip and answer any questions at the meeting this Sunday at 12:15 PM in Room S-140, Bellevue Presbyterian Church, 1717 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue, WA 98004.

If you’re interested in a Holy Land tour that also explores how Christians can respond to the heartbreaking conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, we urge you to join us Sunday.

More information here →

Christianity meltdown in its own birthplace? Western churches ignore multiple warnings

Pope Francis Bethlehem 5727c
Pope Francis praying at the Grotto in the Church of the Nativity in the biblical West Bank town of Bethlehem on May 25, 2014. (photo: Globovisión / Flickr)
Ten years after Christian Palestinians issued an anguished plea to the global religious community for help, nothing has happened and life in Palestine has deteriorated even further under another decade of illegal occupation.

By Stuart Littlewood | American Herald Tribune | Dec 31, 2019

Central to the problem is the so-called Ecumenical Deal, a reluctance to question Jewish support for Israel for fear of unpicking decades of interfaith reconciliation following the Holocaust.

Ten years ago a group of Christian Palestinians issued “a cry of hope in the absence of all hope”, reflecting their country’s decades of suffering under brutal Israeli occupation. They said they had reached a dead-end in the tragedy of the Palestinian people because international decision-makers contented themselves with ‘managing’ the crisis rather than solving it.

The situation was, and still is, destroying human life and that must surely be of concern to the Church. “We call out as Christians and as Palestinians to our religious and political leaders, to our Palestinian society and to the Israeli society, to the international community, and to our Christian brothers and sisters in the Churches around the world.”

Continue reading “Christianity meltdown in its own birthplace? Western churches ignore multiple warnings”

Israel to expand colonization of Hebron

An aerial view of a group of people walking
A group of Israeli settlers walk through a Palestinian neighborhood in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron on 23 November. (photo: Mosab Shawer / APA images)
Hopes to open what was once a thriving marketplace and commercial artery for the ancient city of Hebron is now being proposed as Jewish-only settlement.

By Miriam Deprez | The Electronic Intifada | Dec 31, 2019

‘Israel’s decision to build a new illegal settlement in occupied Hebron is the first tangible result of the US decision to legitimize colonization,’
— Saeb Erakat, senior figure in the Palestine Liberation Organization

Stepping through Checkpoint 56 onto Shuhada Street is like stepping into a different world.

What was once a thriving marketplace and commercial artery for the ancient city of Hebron is now a ghost street, its only life a few Israeli soldiers and settlers where shop and home fronts were welded shut 25 years ago.

Israel shut the street – which leads to the Ibrahimi mosque, known to Jews as the Tomb of the Patriarchs – to Palestinians after an American Jewish settler, Baruch Goldstein, massacred 29 Muslim worshippers at the site in February 1994.

Shuhada Street is now the site of a new settlement plan proposed by Israeli defense minister Naftali Bennett, where he intends to construct Jewish-only residential units.

Continue reading “Israel to expand colonization of Hebron”

Informational Meeting: Tour of the Holy Land (Sunday)

780x438-n_cbea96a5d9cafa78ad6268fd984d267e
(photo: DeAgostini / Getty Images)
Please join our brothers and sisters this Sunday, Jan 5, at Bellevue Presbyterian Church to learn about an upcoming tour of the Holy Land where you’ll visit celebrated holy sites and meet with Israelis and Palestinians working to bring peace to the Holy Land.
Date: Sunday, Jan 5, 2020
Time: 12:15 – 1:15 pm
Location: Bellevue Presbyterian Church
1717 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue, WA 98004
Room S-140
Information: Event information here →
Event Details
  • The tour is scheduled for April 25 to May 2 with an extension available from May 2 to May 5.
  • The BelPres Israel Palestine Impact Team has joined with our counterparts at University Presbyterian Church (Seattle) to organize the trip. We’ve worked closely with BelPres mission partner Churches for Middle East Peace to create the itinerary.
  • Professional Israeli and Palestinian guides along with staff from Churches for Middle East Peace will help lead the tour.
  • Our tour group will meet several times prior to our departure so we can get to know each other and gain useful historical and cultural background.

We’ll have more details about the trip and answer any questions at the meeting this Sunday at 12:15 PM in Room S-140, Bellevue Presbyterian Church, 1717 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue, WA 98004.

If you’re interested in a Holy Land tour that also explores how Christians can respond to the heartbreaking conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, we urge you to join us Sunday.

More information here →

Palestinians can have human rights when they start winning Nobel Prizes — Bret Stephens

Bret Stephens at the University of Chicago's alumni weekend, June 7, 2014.
Bret Stephens at the University of Chicago’s alumni weekend, June 7, 2014. (photo: Jason Smith / JTA)
The New York Times opinion columnist has sparked controversy and outrage over his latest op-ed.

By Philip Weiss | Mondoweiss | Dec 29, 2019

Stephens’s argument is that Jews are not just smarter by IQ data, but they think differently.

There is a big controversy unfolding over Bret Stephens’s latest column, in which he says that the secret of Jewish genius is that Jews are more imaginative moral thinkers than anyone else. Even Fox News is saying that it is racist, and quoting Sen. Brian Shatz saying that the column crossed a line.

Stephens’s argument is that Jews are not just smarter by IQ data, but they think differently. Jewish intelligence is “so often matched by such bracing originality and high-minded purpose.”

One can apply a prodigious intellect in the service of prosaic things — formulating a war plan, for instance, or constructing a ship. One can also apply brilliance in the service of a mistake or a crime, like managing a planned economy or robbing a bank.

But… Jewish genius operates differently. It is prone to question the premise and rethink the concept; to ask why (or why not?) as often as how; to see the absurd in the mundane and the sublime in the absurd. Ashkenazi Jews might have a marginal advantage over their gentile peers when it comes to thinking better. Where their advantage more often lies is in thinking different.

Continue reading “Palestinians can have human rights when they start winning Nobel Prizes — Bret Stephens”

Why I’m not a Christian Zionist

Israeli flag (photo: Flickr / James Emery)
A theologian and scholar examines Christian Zionism as a theological question.

By Gary M. Burge | Banner  | Dec 16, 2019

They (Reformed theologians) worry Christian Zionists have let their zeal for prophecy and history’s end drown out other, more primary Christian values.

I have had the dubious privilege of standing in the crosshairs of one of the most divisive issues of our day: Israel and Zionism. Thanks to my many trips to the Middle East and my friendships in the Palestinian church, I have been drawn into conversations that are not casually shared, but vehemently debated. You can lose friends over this one.

Christian Zionism is a political theology with 19th-century roots. It took on its full form following the birth of modern Israel in 1948. It is a political theology because modern Israel, in this view, is not like other countries: it is the outworking of God’s plan foretold in the Scriptures, and therefore modern Israel’s political fortunes have profound theological and spiritual consequences.

Continue reading “Why I’m not a Christian Zionist”