Britain needs to recognize Palestine as an independent state

Israeli airstrikes in Gaza. (photo: UPI / Barcroft Images)
It’s time for British recognition of the state of Palestine.

By Ian Black | The Guardian | May 7, 2019

No one doubts that Gazans need urgent relief, but the latest eruption is a bleak and timely illustration of the fact that economic development alone will not resolve the Palestinian question as long as an overwhelmingly powerful Israel, backed uncritically by the US, retains overall control and prioritizes its own settlement. project and security needs.

Over the Bank Holiday weekend, coinciding with the start of the Ramadan fast for Muslims and the run-up to Israel’s Independence Day, it was touch and go whether the latest outbreak of violence – fatalities on the border, rockets fired into Israel, airstrikes against the Gaza Strip – would escalate into all-out war. Twenty-five Palestinians and four Israelis was a modest death toll compared with summer 2014, when 2,250 Palestinians and 67 Israelis were killed in Operation Protective Edge.

The ceasefire negotiated by Egypt and the UN should ease the punishing blockade imposed by Israel since the Islamists of Hamas took over Gaza in 2007. Millions of dollars donated by the Gulf state of Qatar will continue to pay official salaries and help needy families. Palestinian fishermen will be able to operate farther out to sea. Electricity and fuel supplies should be boosted.

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Gaza has made its choice: It will continue to resist

A wounded Palestinian boy is evacuated during a protest at the Israel-Gaza fence, in the southern Gaza Strip on May 3, 2019. (photo: Reuters / Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)
Weekly peaceful protesters continue to resist settler-colonial occupation.

By Haidar Eid | Al Jazeera | May 6, 2019

What is happening in Gaza is incremental genocide, not a ‘security operation’.

We have spent sleepless nights under Israeli bombs before – in 2006, 2008, 2012, 2014 and 2018. On Saturday, apartheid Israel decided to launch yet another murderous campaign of bombardment against one of the most densely populated areas on earth.

Again, the victims were children and women. Fourteen-month-old Palestinian toddler, Siba Abu Arrar, was killed along with her pregnant aunt, Falastine, who succumbed to her wounds shortly after American-made, Israeli warplanes targeted their home in Zeitoun neighbourhood.

On Friday, like all the previous 57 Fridays, I joined thousands of peaceful protesters at the eastern fence of the Gaza concentration camp, where Israeli snipers shot and killed four Palestinians and injured 51, including children. One of those killed was 19-year-old Raed Abu Teir, who was walking on crutches, having been injured during previous protests.

Continue reading “Gaza has made its choice: It will continue to resist”

EVENT: Israel, Zionism and the Jewish Community in 2019 (May 23)

Peter Beinart. (photo: Center for American Progress Action Fund / Flickr)
Please join our brothers and sisters for this exciting evening with Peter Beinart.
Date: Thursday, May 23, 2019
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Location: Temple de Hirsch Sinai
1511 E Pike St
Seattle, WA 98122
Information & Registration: Event information here →
Event Details

Join us for a discussion with Peter Beinart, a prominent columnist for The Atlantic and the Forward. He will share his thoughts on anti-semitism, the changing conversation on Israel in the Jewish community, the results of the Israeli election and more.

Peter Beinart is Associate Professor of Journalism and Political Science at the City University of New York. He is also a contributor to The Atlantic, a Senior Columnist at The Forward, a CNN Political Commentator and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Foundation for Middle East Peace. He has written three books, The Good Fight, The Icarus Syndrome and The Crisis of Zionism.

Beinart has written for The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, the Boston Globe and other prominent publications. Beinart became The New Republic’s managing editor in 1995. He became the magazine’s Senior Editor in 1997, and from 1999 to 2006 served as its Editor.

This event is co-sponsored by J Street, Kavana Cooperative, Temple Beth Am, Temple de Hirsch Sinai and Congregation Beth Shalom.

More information here →

Film: Wajib (Jun 7)

Please join our brothers and sisters at the Mideast Focus Ministry for their First Friday Film series.
Date: Friday, May 3, 2019
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Location: St. Mark’s Cathedral
Bloedel Hall
1245 10th Ave E
Seattle, WA 98102
Information: Event information here →
Tickets: Free Admission
Event Details

There’s a quiet warmth that runs like a current through ‘Wajib,’ a new film from the Palestinian director and writer Annemarie Jacir. The title is Arabic for “duty,’ and here the obligation is shared by father and son. Abu Shadi, an aging divorcee living in a Christian Palestinian community in Nazareth, is driving around his neighborhood and its outskirts all day at the beginning of the Christmas season — he’s got ‘Jingle Bells’ as his phone’s ringtone — hand-delivering invitations to his daughter’s wedding. With him is his son, Shadi, an architect who now makes his home in Rome.
— Glenn Kenny, The New York Times

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From God to art to politics, in Amman

Abdul Hay Mosallam’s frieze of Gaza, at the Darat al-Funun museum in Amman Jordan. March 2019. (photo:  Alice Rothchild)
Rothchild’s second dispatch from a Middle East trip describes the political messiness and the heartache of a complicated country facing many challenges.

By Alice Rothchild | Mondoweiss | Apr 28, 2019

Jordan has ‘the second highest share of refugees compared to its population in the world.’

March 23, 2019

Leaving the Nazarene Church, I meet up with a reporter from the Electronic Intifada, Tamara Nassar, who is excited to inform me that this week is Israeli Apartheid Week, organized by the Jordanian BDS chapter. I learn that there is a general sentiment here that supports boycotting Israel and Israelis broadly rather than just complicit institutions. Tamara talks of another unaffiliated group focused on anti-normalization called Etharrak that recently was critical of Netflix for filming a new TV series using Amman as Tel Aviv. These activists denounced this effort as normalizing relations with Israel. As Tamara wrote in a piece for Electronic Intifada, two Jordanian actors pulled out of the show and there were protests at one of the film locations.

Etharrak condemned the filming in a letter to the Royal Film Commission of Jordan, an official body that promotes and facilitates foreign film and television production in the country.

Israel uses cultural normalization “to beautify and whitewash its crimes, terrorism and occupation,” the letter stated.

Continue reading “From God to art to politics, in Amman”

Indivisible justice: Why supporters of Palestine must stand with other oppressed communities

Black Lives Matter protesters march through the streets Mar 4, 2019.  (photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)
Intersectional struggles and solidarity hinge on the understanding that we are enmeshed in a global web.

By Nada Elia | Middle East Eye | Apr 28, 2019

Justice is indivisible: as soon as we deny it to a people, we are privileging another, and that is not justice – it is racism.

An “earthquake” happened in Congress, Mondoweiss reported last month, as a bill initially proposed by Democratic leaders to condemn anti-semitism was significantly modified, within a matter of hours, after intense organizing and activism that denounced it as inappropriate.

The bill had been drafted with the intention of silencing Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who has come under attack for denouncing the pervasive influence of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on US politics, and for speaking in support of justice for Palestinians.

Anti-racist grassroots organizers were quick to detect the extreme Islamophobia and racism behind the attacks on Omar – whose advocacy for other marginalized communities has not brought any “progressive” ire upon her – and were outraged at the text of a bill that denounced anti-semitism, but not the rampant anti-black, anti-Muslim, anti-Arab and anti-immigrant current also spreading across the nation.

Continue reading “Indivisible justice: Why supporters of Palestine must stand with other oppressed communities”

Film: Naila and the Uprising (Friday)

Please join our brothers and sisters at the Mideast Focus Ministry for their First Friday Film series.
Date: Friday, May 3, 2019
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Location: St. Mark’s Cathedral
Bloedel Hall
1245 10th Ave E
Seattle, WA 98102
Information: Event information here →
Tickets: Free Admission
Event Details

When a nation-wide uprising breaks out in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, a young woman in Gaza must make a choice between love, family, and freedom. Undaunted, she embraces all three, joining a clandestine network of women in a movement that forces the world to recognize the Palestinian right to self-determination for the first time. Naila and the Uprising chronicles the remarkable journey of Naila Ayesh and a fierce community of women at the frontlines, whose stories weave through the most vibrant, nonviolent mobilization in Palestinian history — the First Intifada in the late 1980s.

Using evocative animation, intimate interviews, and exclusive archival footage, this film brings out of anonymity the courageous women activists who have remained on the margins of history — until now. While most images of the First Intifada paint an incomplete picture of stone-throwing young men front and center, this film tells the story that history overlooked — of an unbending, nonviolent women’s movement at the head of Palestine’s struggle for freedom. Continue reading “Film: Naila and the Uprising (Friday)”

Falling off the edge: Iraqi and Syrian refugees

A refugee child’s picture on the wall of the Evangelical Philadelphia Nazarene Church of Marka, in Amman. March 2019. (photo: S. Komarovsky)
Jordanian church welcoming those displaced by war and trauma as “guests” not refugees.

By Alice Rothchild | Mondoweiss | Apr 24, 2019

The pictures of Syrian families walking from their homes, carrying pillows and belongings, evokes for me the iconic photos of Palestinian expulsions in 1948. I feel my tears rising. How many more refugees will suffer this fate?

The day begins at The Evangelical Philadelphia Nazarene Church of Marka, a church in Amman that has a particular focus on refugee care. I am told that the number of refugees has doubled since 2010 with mostly Syrians followed by Iraqis (who are classified by the Jordanian government as “guests” rather than refugees). For older data see the UNHCR report here. In the never ending bureaucratic craziness, after 2007 Iraqi children were allowed to go to government schools, but many did not because of displacement due to war (arriving in the middle of the school year, falling behind), confusion over valid residency permits, financial challenges, or the already overburdened public schools. “Many Iraqis still face barriers to education as many families are running out of resources and sending their children out to work, especially in female headed households. In addition, some vulnerable Iraqis are unwilling to register their children at state schools because they do not have legal status in Jordan.”

Continue reading “Falling off the edge: Iraqi and Syrian refugees”

EVENT: Israel, Zionism and the Jewish Community in 2019 (May 23)

Peter Beinart. (photo: Center for American Progress Action Fund / Flickr)
Please join our brothers and sisters for this exciting evening with Peter Beinart.
Date: Thursday, May 23, 2019
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Location: Temple de Hirsch Sinai
1511 E Pike St
Seattle, WA 98122
Information & Registration: Event information here →
Event Details

Join us for a discussion with Peter Beinart, a prominent columnist for The Atlantic and the Forward. He will share his thoughts on anti-semitism, the changing conversation on Israel in the Jewish community, the results of the Israeli election and more.

Peter Beinart is Associate Professor of Journalism and Political Science at the City University of New York. He is also a contributor to The Atlantic, a Senior Columnist at The Forward, a CNN Political Commentator and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Foundation for Middle East Peace. He has written three books, The Good Fight, The Icarus Syndrome and The Crisis of Zionism.

Beinart has written for The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, the Boston Globe and other prominent publications. Beinart became The New Republic’s managing editor in 1995. He became the magazine’s Senior Editor in 1997, and from 1999 to 2006 served as its Editor.

This event is co-sponsored by J Street, Kavana Cooperative, Temple Beth Am, Temple de Hirsch Sinai and Congregation Beth Shalom.

More information here →

Ilhan Omar’s deeply American message

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D–Minn.). (photo: Leah Millis / Reuters)
The Minnesota lawmaker urged American Muslims to act like citizens, not guests. Other religious minorities should take note.

By Peter Beinart | The Atlantic | Apr 15, 2019

‘You can go to school and be a good student. You can listen to your dad and mom and become a doctor. You can have that beautiful wedding that makes mom and dad happy. You can buy that beautiful house.
‘But none of that stuff matters if you one day show up to the hospital and your wife or maybe yourself is having a baby and you can’t have the access that you need because someone doesn’t recognize you as fully human.’
— Ilhan Omar

I watched Ilhan Omar’s recent address to the Council of American Islamic Relations for the same reason most people did: to see whether she had—as Donald Trump claimed—minimized the 9/11 terrorist attacks. What I found was unexpected. In offering a vision for how to live as an American Muslim, her speech to CAIR beautifully evoked what I treasure about being an American Jew.

Omar’s core argument was simple: We Muslims are not guests here. We are as American as everyone else and, thus, we should bring our full selves into the public square. “For a really long time in this country,” she said, “we have been told that there is a privilege that we are given and it might be taken away. We are told that we should be appropriate. We should go to school, get an education, raise our children and not bother anyone, not make any kind of noise, don’t make anyone uncomfortable.”

Continue reading “Ilhan Omar’s deeply American message”