The Israel lobby has lost its power to sideline critical Dems

Democratic U.S. Representatives Ilhan Omar, right, and Rashida Tlaib enjoy a supportive moment during a news conference at the State Capitol in St. Paul on Monday, Aug. 19, 2019. (Photo: John Autey / Pioneer Press)
Democratic U.S. Representatives Ilhan Omar, right, and Rashida Tlaib enjoy a supportive moment during a news conference at the state capitol in St. Paul on Monday, August 19, 2019.  (photo: John Autey / Pioneer Press)
The momentum continues for young progressive people of color in the Democratic Party who are speaking up for Palestine.

By Philip Weiss | Mondoweiss | Aug 12, 2020

‘2020 was the first election year ever in which the safe side of the issue is the side that recognizes Palestinian rights and that the US can no longer stand in solidarity with apartheid in the occupied territories and Jim Crow in Israel itself.’
— M.J. Rosenberg

It’s a big news day. Senator Kamala Harris became Joe Biden’s running mate choice yesterday afternoon, and Rep. Ilhan Omar handily defeated a challenger funded by pro-Israel groups in Minnesota last night.

Omar’s victory represents an important trend: the Democratic street is progressive on Palestine. The Israel lobby is not ten feet tall. Three times in recent weeks it has tried to defeat the pro-boycott-and-sanctions movement inside the party (BDS), and been crushed. Jamaal Bowman knocked off pro-Israel heavyweight Eliot Engel in the Bronx/Westchester in June. Rep. Rashida Tlaib handily won reelection in Michigan last week. Now Omar wins by 17 points, in a race that was all about Israel.

So the “Squad” of young progressive people of color is just getting stronger and bigger in the Democratic Party.

Continue reading “The Israel lobby has lost its power to sideline critical Dems”

Beyond failed frameworks: A re-imagined collective future

photo: Al-Shabaka, The Palestinian Policy Network
A policy brief focusing on the possibilities for building a collective vision for a Palestinian future.

By Yara Hawari | Al-Shabaka | July 23, 2020

As Israel moves from de facto to de jure annexation of the rest of the occupied West Bank many third parties desperately hold on to the two-state solution as the one that best protects their diplomatic and trade interests with Israel.

Palestinian futures have long been discussed without Palestinian input or within an imposed and limited framework. Indeed, most ideas of the future in mainstream political spaces rather consistently establish the containment of the Indigenous Palestinians and security for the Israeli settler state as their primary concern. The most recent manifestation of this was the “Vision for Peace” published by United States President Donald Trump’s Administration. 1 2

This “vision” is a far cry from the revolutionary political mandate of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) that was established in the 1960s and which sought to liberate Palestine and its people from the Zionist settler colonial project that established Israel. ³ It is also a far cry from the two-state solution, which was imposed as the most appropriate and feasible future for Israelis and Palestinians and was embedded in the narrative of Israel and Palestine as two warring national groups rather than the outcome of the Zionist project.

Continue reading “Beyond failed frameworks: A re-imagined collective future”

America’s unpredictability casts doubt on annexation – analysis

 

Then-US Vice President Joe Biden (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu look at each other as they deliver joint statements during their meeting in Jerusalem March 9, 2016 (photo credit: DEBBIE HILL/REUTERS)
Then-US Vice President Joe Biden (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu look at each other as they deliver joint statements during their meeting in Jerusalem March 9, 2016. (photo: Debbie Hill / Reuters)
In order to go ahead with annexation, Netanyahu needs certainty in Washington.

By Herb Keinon | The Jerusalem Post | Aug 11, 2020

With Trump trailing in some of the polls by double digits, voices are still being raised, saying that he may push Netanyahu toward annexing now because this will play well with his Evangelical base.

It’s the Americans’ fault.

That, at least, was the subtext of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s answer Monday evening to a question in a Channel 20 interview as to why he has not gone ahead and extended Israeli sovereignty to parts of Judea and Samaria.

“It was clear from the start that the application of sovereignty would be done only with agreement from the United States. Otherwise, I would have already done it a while ago,” Netanyahu said. “Trump is now busy with other things, and this [sovereignty] is not on the top of his mind.”

Continue reading “America’s unpredictability casts doubt on annexation – analysis”

The pandemic’s savage political revelations, from the U.S. to Palestine

Palestinian policemen wearing protective gear stand guard during a simulation training organized by the ministry of health and the ministry of interior in Gaza City on July 18, 2020. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)
Palestinian policemen wearing protective gear stand guard during a simulation training organized by the ministry of health and the ministry of interior in Gaza City on July 18, 2020. (photo: Ashraf Amra / APA Images)
The issues of inequity being seen during this pandemic are also seen by Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories who suffer from high levels of structural racism and cross generational trauma.

By Alice Rothchild | Mondoweiss | Aug 8, 2020

It can be argued that race (a predominantly social construct) is not the issue– rather, that the racism within our societies where African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and other people of color live and work creates the inequities and vulnerabilities that produce the racial and ethnic differences in the data that are now obvious.

Much of the analysis of COVID-19 and Palestine examines the pandemic through a political lens. Palestinians in Israel and the territories have had less access to testing and information due to their second-class citizenship and the conditions of occupation. In the West Bank and Gaza, there are significant deficits in medical resources (such as ventilators) and trained (and adequately paid) medical staff.

In general Palestinians under occupation have high rates of diseases related to stress, poverty, smoking, and poor nutrition such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. They tend to live in environments contaminated by the detritus of war and the toxics from unregulated industries (such as Israeli industrial zones in the West Bank) with high levels of asthma and cancer. They often work in jobs that cannot be done on Zoom and that provide no labor protections– notably the construction and homecare workers who travel daily to Israel from the West Bank, waiting for hours in crowded checkpoints.

Continue reading “The pandemic’s savage political revelations, from the U.S. to Palestine”

Where do Biden’s VP candidates stand on Palestine?

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden gestures while referencing President Donald Trump at a campaign event at the William “Hicks” Anderson Community Center in Wilmington, Del., Tuesday, July 28, 2020.  (photo: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
A look at the women on Joe Biden’s VP short list and their record on the issue of justice for Palestinians.

By Kathryn Shihadah | Israel-Palestine News | Aug 6, 2020

It appears that the only VP candidates to have publicly shown any genuine concern for Palestinians are Elizabeth Warren and, to a lesser degree, Karen Bass. The rest seem focused only on what’s expedient for Israel.

Just a year ago, IAK reported on Candidate Joe Biden and where he stands on Israel/Palestine. In those days, he was one of a slate of 24, and his odds didn’t look great. But he has weathered every storm, and stands now as the presumed Democratic nominee for president.

It would be great if Biden’s running mate – he promised he’d choose a woman – makes up what he lacks in backbone vis-a-vis justice for Palestinians – but does anyone on his short list fit the bill? Let’s take a look.

Continue reading “Where do Biden’s VP candidates stand on Palestine?”

Livestreamed Event: A Conversation on a Shared Homeland

 

Jewish Currents (photo: Tanya Habjouqa / NOOR / Redux)
Please join our brothers and sisters at Jewish Currents and the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP) for a livestreamed discussion of what a shared Israeli-Palestinian homeland would actually look like.
Date: Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Time: 12:00pm EST / 9:00am PST
Location: On-line livestreamed event
Information: Event information here →
Tickets: Free, registration required
Event Details

Moderated by Jewish Currents Editor-at-Large Peter Beinart, this event will feature Sari Nusseibeh, a Palestinian academic and former activist; Meron Rapoport, an Israeli journalist; and Dr. Limor Yehuda, an Israeli legal scholar.

This event is co-sponsored by FMEP, which was created in 1979 by Merle Thorpe, Jr., a Washington-based lawyer and philanthropist, to promote a just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Foundation advances this goal through its grants program, public programming, and research.

Peter Beinart is professor of journalism and political science at the City University of New York, Editor-at-Large of Jewish Currents, an Atlantic and CNN contributor and a fellow at the Foundation for Middle East Peace.

Sari Nusseibeh is a Palestinian Professor of Philosophy and former President of the Al-Quds University in Jerusalem. Until December 2002 he was the representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization in that city.

Meron Rapoport is an award-winning Israeli journalist who writes for Local Call/972+ Magazine and collaborates with Middle East Eye. He is one of the founders of A Land for All/Two States One Homeland, an Israeli-Palestinian movement promoting a confederative solution between an independent Palestine and an independent Israel.

Dr. Limor Yehuda is a legal scholar interested in the role of human rights and international law in peace processes. She is currently a fellow at Tel Aviv University and a founder of A Land for All.

More information here →

Manchester university divests from firms complicit in Israeli occupation

Students campaigning for Manchester to divest from Caterpillar in 2018. (photo: BDS UoM)
BDS efforts to highlight investments contributing to Israel’s apartheid investments claim a victory.

By Asa Winstanley | The Electronic Intifada | Aug 3, 2020

‘University of Manchester divesting from complicit companies shows the power of the grassroots student movement to hold our institutions to account.’
— Huda Ammori, founder of BDS campaign at University of Manchester

The University of Manchester has divested more than $5 million from Caterpillar and the parent company of travel site Booking.com.

Activists on Monday said it was “a colossal win for the Palestine solidarity movement in Britain” and a “watershed moment.”

The university has been a focus for campaigners since 2016 due to its investments in firms complicit in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.

Last year students crashed a board meeting to demand divestment from Caterpillar.

Continue reading “Manchester university divests from firms complicit in Israeli occupation”

The Palestinians are caught between ‘waiting’ and ‘the possibility’ of annexation

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini shake hands during a press conference at the European Council in Brussels on December 11, 2017 [EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images]
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini shake hands during a press conference at the European Council in Brussels on December 11, 2017 (photo: Emmanuel Dunand / AFP via Getty Images)
International diplomacy has normalized delays to the detriment of populations concerned with accessing and implementing their legitimate political and legal rights.

By Ramona Wadi | Middle East Monitor |  Aug 4, 2020

‘While the international community is concerned with the ‘possibility’ of annexation…Israel is implementing its annexation scheme on the ground without any deterrence.’
— Hanan Ashrawi, PLO Executive Committee Member

While the Palestine Liberation Organisation has been calling upon the EU to step up from rhetoric to action regarding Israel’s forthcoming annexation of occupied West Bank territory, Europe’s Foreign Affairs Chief Josep Borrell invited Israeli Defence Minister Gabi Ashkenazi to Brussels to meet with the bloc’s foreign ministers.

“While the international community is concerned with the ‘possibility’ of annexation,” said PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi, “Israel is implementing its annexation scheme on the ground without any deterrence.” Israeli plans for further construction in East Jerusalem prompted Ashrawi’s comments, as EU politicians adopt activist tactics by abandoning their power to act both morally and politically and opting instead to write a “protest letter” to Israel’s Foreign Ministry.

Continue reading “The Palestinians are caught between ‘waiting’ and ‘the possibility’ of annexation”

A letter to God, from lockdown

Painting by Jawad Ibrahim (We Are Not Numbers.org)
Mentors and artists from around the world have joined with youth in Gaza to create a platform for mentoring youth to tell the human stories behind the numbers in the news.

By Basman Derawi | We Are Not Numbers | July 26, 2020

I swallow my sour saliva and try to hold on to what I believe.

Hello, God.
How are you today?
I don’t know what day
of the global lockdown it is.
Here, we are always
in lockdown.
News swirls in the rumor mill
that is social media:
Young people committing suicide.
Not just one, but five.

I swallow my sour saliva
and try to hold on to what I believe.
I want to die, but I want to live first:
out of prison, in a place where
I can move freely,
light is not a privilege
and hope is realistic.

Continue reading “A letter to God, from lockdown”

Man-made Israel (and the obsessive erasure of Palestinian history)

Masada, 2018.  (photo: Gary Todd, on Flicker)
Hellbent on crafting an umbilical cord between itself and a biblical, mythical 2000-year old past, Israel has erased the ancient history of Palestinians.

By Sam Bahour | Mondoweiss | July 31, 2020

‘The Invention of Ancient Israel’ is not an easy read. It is one of those books that when you finish reading the last lines and look up you feel like you just emerged from a washing machine.

THE INVENTION OF ANCIENT ISRAEL
The Silencing of Palestinian History
By Keith W. Whitelam
296 pp. Routledge. £24.79

What do you get when you mix ten decades of biblical studies, an Old Testament, the ideology of Zionism, and a tablespoon of politically motivated archaeology, all mixed in a bowl of historical evidence? Author Keith W. Whitelam undertook this recipe and reports on the results in “The Invention of Ancient Israel: The Silencing of Palestinian History” (of 1997). The short answer to the question is that one is left with a toxic modern state, hell-bent on crafting an umbilical cord between itself and a mythical 2000-year old past. In other words, the State of Israel.

If no one were hurt during this process, one could just turn a blind eye and be content that, To each his own. But when the results of the recipe never produce a stable product, and an entire people are continuously being battered into oblivion, we each have a responsibility to step in and say enough is enough.

Continue reading “Man-made Israel (and the obsessive erasure of Palestinian history)”