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Academic Newsletter N°49 (August 2019)

"From heat waves to 'eco-apartheid': Climate change in Israel-Palestine"
(Matan Kaminer, Basma Fahoum, and Edo Konrad, +972 Blog, Aug 8)

While Israel's nascent climate justice movement tries to get the public's attention, Palestinians under occupation remain the most vulnerable to the dangerous effects of climate change. Late last year, a group of Israeli researchers published the first detailed forecast of what climate change could mean for Israel-Palestine. The results were frightening: relative to the benchmark period of 1981-2010, the 30-year period beginning in 2041 is expected to see average temperatures rise up to 2.5 degrees Celsius, and a drop in precipitation of up to 40 percent in non-arid parts of the country... 

Struggling against 'climate apartheid'

The State of Palestine is signed on to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. But due to Israel's military rule over the West Bank and its blockade of the Gaza Strip, Palestinians have almost no control over their own natural resources, are unable to fully implement treaties or take on national projects, and cannot make concrete plans to adapt to climate breakdown. In the West Bank, the water supply is most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. According to a 2013 report by Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq, Israeli per capita consumption of water for domestic use is four to five times higher than that of the Palestinian population of the occupied territories. Israeli settlers in the West Bank consume approximately six times the amount of water used by the Palestinian population living in the same territory.

Some Palestinian communities, particularly those living in areas of the West Bank under full Israeli military control, are not connected to any water infrastructure and must travel for miles to purchase water, which is often expensive and of dubious quality. Meanwhile, the Israeli army makes it nearly impossible to approve new water cisterns, and those built without permits are routinely destroyed by the authorities. According to Al-Haq, the water sector in the occupied territories and Israel is characterized by highly asymmetrical overexploitation of shared water resources, exhaustion of long-term storage, deterioration of water quality, and increasing levels of demand driven by high population growth. Meanwhile, the area is seeing a per capita decrease in water supply - a burden that is disproportionately borne by the Palestinian population. Dr. Abdulrahman Tamimi, the general director of Palestinian Hydrology Group, says that while Israel has the technological ability to adapt its agricultural sector to the changes in climate, agriculture will become impracticable in the West Bank within a decade...


Actions -- Agenda -- Academia -- Analyses -- Antisemitism -- BDS -- Current Affairs -- EU/US -- Gaza -- Israel -- Jerusalem -- Palestine -- Prisoners -- Refugees -- Resources -- Videos

Actions & Calls:

"Guarantee full freedom of movement for international academics working at Palestinian academic institutions!"
Petition (googleform) launched by 'Academia for Equality:' click here!

Dear colleagues, Please consider signing this petition regarding the discrimination against Palestinian universities, an initiative of Academia for Equality.
The petition will be forwarded to the following: Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, Israeli Chief Military Advocate General Sharon Afek, and the Israeli military's Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).

"Academics demand EU hold Israel to account" (Jerome Hughes, Press TV, June 12):

155 leading academics write to the EU Commission demanding it hold Israel to account for its war crimes perpetrated against Palestinians. They want the 28-nation bloc to suspend trade with Tel Aviv in an effort to apply pressure on the Israeli regime. See the letter to Ms. Mogherini (with list of endorsers): "European researchers and academics protest involvement of Israeli arms companies in EU research programs" (ECCP, June 5).

Nora Barrows-Friedman, "Major UK trade union dumps HP" (The Electronic Intifada, 26 July):

The global campaign to pressure technology giant HP - also known as Hewlett-Packard - to drop its Israel contracts recently won an important victory. HP has long been a focus of activists because its businesses have supplied the Israeli military with racial profiling technology for its checkpoints restricting the movement of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. Israel also uses HP technology to maintain a population database that it uses to enforce its system of segregation, and HP products are used to support infrastructure in illegal Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank.

"Israeli censorship attempts defeated at European Parliament" (Samidoun - Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, Aug 6):

The EP has delivered a blow to Israeli efforts to censor political discussion of Palestine within its parliamentary chambers. Palestinian writer Khaled Barakat has been fighting back extensively against a political ban imposed by the German state and the denial of his residence permit because of his speeches and activities for Palestine.

"'Stop the Wall' statement on Wadi Hummus demolitions" (Stop the Wall, July 24):

Wadi Hummus, the neighbourhood in Sur Baher, between Jerusalem and Behlehem, today is full of rubble. Israeli military invaded the area on Monday and destroyed with bulldozers and explosives in only few hours the homes of almost a thousand of Palestinians. Israel hopes that the Palestinians living there will move on, disappear among the over six million Palestinian refugees that Israel's ongoing ethnic cleansing policies have already caused. It assumes we and the people around the world will forget.


# Gent, 8-15 september: Fototentoonstelling "De Verdwenen dorpen van Palestina", Johan Depoortere. Waar? Exo Zebrastraat, telkens 14u tot 19u.

Toen in mei dit jaar de finale van het Eurovisie songfestival in Israël plaats had, gebeurde dat in een arena, gebouwd op de ruïnes van een Palestijns dorp. Sheikh Muwannis, het grootste dorp ten N. van Jaffa, werd op 30 maart 1948 "veroverd" door de zionistische militie Irgun. De bewoners werden verjaagd en het dorp werd met de grond gelijk gemaakt...

# Luxembourg, samedi, 5 oct, Luxembourg symposium: "Quel futur pour les Palestiniens et les Israéliens ?" # English: "What future for Palestinians and Israelis? Views from the Palestinian and Israeli civil societies." Jour entier. Où : Luxembourg. Neimënster, 28 Rue Münster Salle Robert Krieps,  2160 Luxembourg. (Facebook)

Après des décennies d'un prétendu processus de paix entre Palestiniens et Israël, il n'y a plus guère à espérer des politiciens. Depuis longtemps, les sociétés civiles palestinienne et israélienne ont décidé de prendre leur destin en main. Que font-ils ? A quoi font-ils face ? Comment s'organisent-ils ?... Sur ces sujets, nous écouterons neuf Palestiniens et Israéliens engagés qui partagent la conviction que les êtres humains sont égaux et que chacun jouit des mêmes droits. Nous discuterons avec eux, ils discuteront ensemble. La musique et la poésie feront partie du dialogue.
Organisé par Comité pour une Paix Juste au Proche Orient. Avec le soutien de : European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine, Association belgo-palestinienne, Associations France Palestine Solidarité, Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden zu Nahost, Union des progressistes juifs de Belgique.


"Israel forcing international lecturers out of West Bank Palestinian universities" (BZU, Adalah & Al-Haq, July 11):

Birzeit University, Adalah and Al-Haq are now fighting to end escalating discriminatory Israeli policy aimed at preventing international academics from staying in the West Bank and refusing to renew visas for those with teaching contracts.   In a letter sent on 30 April 2019 to Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, Israeli Chief Military Advocate General Sharon Afek, and the Israeli military's Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Kamil Abu Rokon, Birzeit University, Al-Haq, and Adalah demand that Israel:

  • lift the restrictions preventing international academics employed by Birzeit University from staying and working in the West Bank;
  • refrain from imposing arbitrary restrictions on the duration of stay or extension of stay for international academics;
  • order the publication of a clear and lawful procedure for issuing entry visas and work permits for international academics in the West Bank, which will enable the university to manage and maintain its academic freedom.

Adalah Deputy General Director Attorney Sawsan Zaher, who drafted the letter to Israeli authorities, said: "Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip - like all other peoples around the world - are entitled to exercise their right to academic freedom as part of their right to self-determination. The Israeli military occupation cannot prevent Palestinians from exercising this right".  Indeed, according to the interpretation applied to Article 43 of the Hague Regulations of 1907, sovereignty of education does not change hands - it is inalienable - and must remain in the hands of the occupied Palestinian population.

Yumna Patel, "Palestinian universities fight back against Israel forcing international academics out of the country" (Mondoweiss, July 11):

Birzeit, which has ranked within the top three percent of universities worldwide, is fighting back. The highly acclaimed university, hand in hand with legal rights groups Adalah and Al-Haq, is "demanding an immediate halt to this policy targeting Palestinian academic freedom and isolating Palestinian institutions of higher learning," the groups said in a press release on Thursday.  "Blocking our right to engage international academics is part of an ongoing effort by the Israeli occupation to marginalize Palestinian institutions of higher education," BZU President Abdullatif Abuhijleh said in a statement. "The latest escalation in visa restrictions is just one in a longstanding and systematic Israeli policy of undermining the independence and viability of Palestinian higher education institutions."

Amira Hass, "Israel's academy for indifference" (Haaretz, July 15):

Why should the Israeli academic world care that due to the movement restrictions imposed by Israel, the West Bank's Birzeit University lacks lecturers in mathematical economics and civil engineering, for instance. After all, it doesn't bother the law faculties that judges in Jerusalem approved the expulsion of the Siyam family from their home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan by the right-wing settler group Elad, and it doesn't bother architecture students or their lecturers that the army ordered the destruction of a neighborhood in Wadi Hummus, near the separation barrier in Jerusalem...

"240 Israel and Jewish professors urge Germany not to enforce anti-BDS law" (Middle East Monitor, June 12):

Some 240 Israeli and Jewish academics and intellectuals have sent a letter to the Germany government urging it not to enact in to law a bill that would define the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement as "anti-Semitic". The professors and signatories of the letter included 24 academics from the Hebrew University, 24 from Tel Aviv University, 11 from Ben Gurion University, nine from Haifa University, 5 from the Weizmann Institute of Science and 5 from the Open University of Israel.

"British Society for Middle Eastern Studies Endorses Palestinian Call to Boycott Complicit Israeli Academic Institutions" (PACBI, June 24):

In a historic vote, the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES) joins a growing number of academic associations refusing to be complicit in Israel's grave violations of international law. We warmly salute the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES) for voting overwhelmingly to support the Palestinian call for a boycott of complicit Israeli academic institutions. 

Notice on the BRISMES website (June 27): "The British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES) has not endorsed the academic boycott of Israeli Institutions as advocated by BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions). There was an indicative vote of the membership held at the Annual General Meeting. The majority of those attending voted in favour of the boycott. This vote is not binding on the Society. The Society's position on BDS remains that which was endorsed at the 2015 Annual General meeting."

Naima Morelli, "New directions for the Palestinian Museum - Interview with director Dr Adila Laïdi Hanieh" (Middle East Monitor, June 26)

Since its inaugural exhibition "Jerusalem Lives" in 2017, the Palestinian Museum in Birzeit has presented new perspectives on Palestinian history, society and culture. Founded and developed by the Taawon-Welfare Association, an independent Palestinian non-profit organisation, over the past few years the space has launched a number of educational programmes and artistic research. Since October 2018, the museum has been blooming under the guidance of its director, the writer and academic Dr Adila Laïdi Hanieh. A former professor at Birzeit University, she was also the founder of the Khalil Sakakini Cultural Centre. Her work marries aesthetics, ideology theory and postcolonial studies, and transports them into the everyday reality of people.

Lior Dattel, "Most popular university for Arab Israelis is in the West Bank" (Haaretz, July 23):

The institution of higher education with the largest number of Israeli Arab students is no longer one in Israel. Rather, it is in the West Bank city of Jenin, part of the Palestinian Authority. Arab American University in Jenin, a private institution operated in collaboration with California State University in Stanislaus and Utah State University, has 6,215 Israeli Arab students - far more than the 5,444 studying at the University of Haifa, which traditionally attracted more Israeli Arabs than any other institution in Israel.

Edo Konrad, "The Israeli academics who helped design Palestinian emigration" (+972, June 18):

According to documents recently uncovered by Omri Shafer Raviv, in July 1967, mere weeks after nearly tripling the size of Israeli controlled territory in the 1967 Six-Day War, then Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol assembled a committee of academics - the 'Professors Committee' - and sent them into the territories to study the newly-occupied population. Along with their teams of researchers, the professors were sent to villages, cities, and refugee camps to interview Palestinians about their lives, needs, and desires. The second goal, says Shafer Raviv, was to better understand the Palestinians in order to devise policies to pacify them and make them leave the West Bank and Gaza permanently...

Analyses & Comments (A-Z):

Hamid Abashi, "The Holocaust and the Nakba: The Jew as the Arab" (Al-Jazeera, June 16):

Last month Al Jazeera Media Network suspended two journalists over a video that "downplayed and misrepresented the Holocaust". Given the resurgence of anti-Semitism, it is indeed important to scrutinise coverage of the Jewish Holocaust and be vigilant. ...As racism, white supremacy and sectarianism are on the rise across the world, we indeed need to take care not only to give the Jewish Holocaust immediate and constant attention it needs, but also all other colossal calamities in world history committed in the name of the imagined superiority of one group of humans over the rest... The Nakba, too, has been downplayed and misrepresented, time and again, in the mainstream media across the world. And beyond that, it is in fact the official policy of the state of Israel to systemically and consistently deny Palestinian suffering. In fact, the whole Israeli settler colony is built on the denial of the very existence of a Palestinian people, let alone their Nakba... In "The Holocaust and the Nakba" (2018), ed. by Bashir Bashir & Amos Goldberg, scholars reflect on the differences and similarities of the two traumatic events. See below under Resources.

Nasim Ahmed, "The core of Zionism is settler-colonialism, not democracy" (Middle East Monitor, June 18):

The passing of Israel's Nation-State Law last year rekindled age-old questions about Zionism and Jewish self-determination. To unpack these issues, I sat with Prof. Joseph Massad who was in London to give a keynote speech on "Israel's fear of democracy" at a MEMO conference in the capital.  "Zionism," he told me, "has never been a movement of self-determination. It never claimed to be. This is a new claim that began to be put forth sometime in the 60s and 70s. However, in that period, the claim was not for Jewish self-determination but something called Israeli self-determination." Israel's claim to be a democracy has always appeared to be more fiction than fact. The settler-colonial instinct of Zionism has been the main driving force of its policy over the past 72 years. 

Yara Asi, "The Conditional Right to Health in Palestine" - Al-Shabaka (June 30):

For decades, political barriers have obstructed the Palestinian health system in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, impeding rights and protections. Al-Shabaka Policy Analyst Yara Asi examines how the Israeli occupation has decreased Palestinians' ability to seek or practice health care, and offers recommendations that can support Palestinians' right to health within the current constrained circumstances. Recent events such as the injury of more than 745 medical workers during Gaza's Great March of Return, including the murder of medic Razan Al-Najjar by an Israeli sniper in June 2018, as well as drastic US funding cuts to institutions and organizations that supply or support health care for Palestinians, including East Jerusalem hospitals and the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), are emblematic of a deeper problem.

Ramzy Baroud, "Israel's War on Innocence: Palestinian Children in Israeli Military Courts" (The Palestine Chronicle, Aug 7):

On August 2, 2016, Israel passed a law that allows the authorities to "imprison a minor convicted of serious crimes such as murder, attempted murder or manslaughter even if he or she is under the age of 14." The law was crafted conveniently to deal with cases like that of Ahmad Manasra, who was sentenced on November 7, the same year, three months after the law was approved, to 12 years in prison. Ahmad Manasra's case, the leaked videos of his abuse by Israeli interrogators and his harsh sentence placed more international focus on the plight of Palestinian children in the Israeli military court system.

Chloé Benoist, "Dix-sept choses à savoir sur le plan économique de Trump et Kushner pour la Palestine" (Agence Médias Palestine, 27 juin):

En prévision de la conférence économique pour les Palestiniens organisée à Bahreïn les 25 et 26 juin, la Maison-Blanche a dévoilé un plan, intitulé « De la paix à la prospérité », qui représente une partie de l'« accord du siècle » du président américain Donald Trump. Dirigé par Jared Kushner, gendre et conseiller principal de Trump, ce plan est une feuille de route économique jargonneuse qui explique comment distribuer plus de 50 milliards de dollars. [Peinture: "This Sea Is Mine", de l'artiste palestinien Sliman Mansour]

John Dugard, "Why aren't Europeans calling Israel an apartheid state?" (Al-Jazeera, April 17):

Apartheid is alive and well and thriving in occupied Palestine. Palestinians know this. South Africans know this. Many Israelis have accepted this as part of their political debate. Americans are coming to terms with this, with new voices in Congress and NGOs like Jewish Voice for Peace unafraid of speaking this truth. Only in Europe is there a steadfast denial of Israeli apartheid over Palestinians despite overwhelming evidence underlining it. Israel's restrictions on freedom of movement in the occupied Palestinian territory are a resurrection of South Africa's hated pass laws, which criminalised black South Africans without a permit or pass to be in a "white" city. Israel's policy of forcible population removals and destruction of homes resembles the relocation of black people from areas zoned for exclusive white occupation in apartheid South Africa. The Israeli security forces engage in torture and brutality exceeding the worst practices of the South African security apparatus. And the humiliation of black people that was a feature of apartheid in South Africa is replicated in occupied Palestine.

Yara Hawari,"The Political Marginalization of Palestinian Women in the West Bank" (Al-Shabaka, July 28):

While Palestinian women have always faced political marginalization, developments since the Oslo Accords have caused them to endure perhaps even more formidable challenges when it comes to political participation. These changes have included a newfound dependence on international donor aid among Palestinian civil society, including women's organizations [the NGO-ization of the Women's Movement], and the bolstering of a corrupt and relentlessly patriarchal Palestinian Authority (PA) that complements rather than confronts the Israeli occupation and its oppression of the Palestinian population, both male and female. Such developments have caused today's Palestinian women to endure perhaps even more formidable challenges when it comes to activism and political participation.

Jonathan Ofir, "Racism is at center of Israeli settler-colonialist venture - Ronit Lentin" (Mondoweiss, July 22):

Ronit Lentin's recent book "Traces of Racial Exception - Racializing Israeli Settler Colonialism" (see below, Resources), demonstrates the importance and centrality of race in the Palestine-Israel context, an issue downplayed by Israel-apologists. Because veiling that racism in the eyes of the world is essential to maintaining the colonialist project. According to the internationally applied (yet irredeemably clumsy) definition of Anti-Semitism by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), "claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor", could amount to anti-Semitism. By this standard, Ronit Lentin, associate professor emeritus of Sociology at Trinity College Dublin, could be accused of Anti-Semitism for publishing her book.

Yumna Patel, "15 years after ICJ declared Separation Wall illegal, West Bank barrier continues to destroy Palestinian lives" (Mondoweiss, July 10):

July 9th marked the 15th anniversary of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) decision to declare the Israeli separation wall in occupied Palestinian territory as illegal under international law. Israel began construction of the separation wall, known by many as the Israeli "Apartheid Wall", in 2002 in the middle of the Second Intifada... with the construction of the wall, came unprecedented demolitions of Palestinians homes along the planned route, massive land confiscations, and the division of dozens of Palestinian communities along the Green Line.

Meron Rapoport, "When Zionism imagined Jewish nationalism without supremacy" (+972, July 21):

In his recent book, "Beyond the Nation-State," Dr. Dmitry Shumsky (a historian of the Zionist movement at the Hebrew University) shows that, contrary to popular belief, the forefathers of Zionism did not envision a state based on Jewish supremacy. And yet Zionism, he says, inevitably involves the oppression of Palestinians.

Antisemitism Politics:

Dirk Voorhoof, "De antisemitismeklacht tegen schrijver Dimitri Verhulst is misplaatst en grotesk" (vrtNWS, 6 augustus):

Em.Prof. Mediarecht Dirk Voorhoof (UGent) vindt de antisemitismeklacht tegen schrijver Dimitri Verhulst vanwege een recente column in De Morgen misplaatst en grotesk: "...De column van Dimitri Verhulst die een reeks verhalen van Palestijnse schrijvers onder de aandacht brengt, en daarbij refereert aan de mensonwaardige toestanden in Palestina en de gewelddadige acties door Israël tegen het Palestijnse volk, kan maar moeilijk als een vorm van aanzet tot haat, geweld of discriminatie tegen het Joodse volk worden beschouwd. Het is zonder meer grotesk om in de verwijzing naar Mozes, de uitverkorenheid van het Joodse volk, het beleid van de VN in verband met de aanspraak op delen van Palestina in 1948, en de onderdrukking van de Palestijnen, een strafbare uiting te zien."

Antony Lerman, "I warned the IHRA would shut down Palestinian protest - I've been proved right" (Independent, Aug 10):

When cyclists signed up for this year's Big Ride For Palestine, which raises funds for a charity aiding Palestinian children in Gaza, they were expecting to finish with a rally in a Tower Hamlets park. But the council took a secret decision to ban the rally using a false interpretation of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's (IHRA) controversial "working definition" of antisemitism.

Amos Goldberg and Raz Segal, "Distorting the definition of antisemitism to shield Israel from all criticism" (+972, Aug 5):

The IHRA initially sought to combat racism against Jews and Holocaust denialism, but its definition of antisemitism serves as a tool to silence all criticism of Israel, making it harder to identify actual forms of anti-Jewish hatred. Right-wing politicians, including Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli right-wing media, have understood that the focus of the fight against antisemitism has shifted from racist nationalists to criticism of Israel, and they use the catastrophic IHRA definition for defending the occupation itself... In this reality, Israel no longer needs to defend itself against allegation - it has a free hand to throw around accusations. [Prof. Amos Goldberg teaches at the Dpt of the Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry, Hebrew University. Dr. Raz Segal is Ass.Prof. of Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Stockton University, New Jersey.]

"45 Jewish scholars sign unprecedented letter supporting Berlin Jewish Museum director who resigned under pressure" (Ben Sales, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, June 18):

A group of 45 academic Talmud scholars has signed a letter in support of Peter Schaefer, the former director of the Berlin Jewish Museum who resigned last week amid criticism of a tweet linking to a pro-Israel boycott story. Such a letter is unprecedented among the Talmudist community, which is (unsurprisingly) disputatious and tends to shy away from commenting on current affairs, said Ishay Rosen Zvi, a Talmud professor at Tel Aviv University who co-organized the letter with a Princeton University Talmud professor, Moulie Vidas
The Talmudists' letter said that the course of events indicated censorship. "We are deeply concerned about the growing censorship of free speech and the shrinking possibility of criticizing or even questioning government policies which are manifested in these recent developments," it said. Rosen Zvi, speaking for himself and not the signatories, called the criticism of Schafer a "blood libel." He feels the criticism reflects a trend of people trying "to erase differences between criticism of Zionism, criticism of Israel, criticism of the policies of the government of Israel and anti-Semitism." A separate letter signed by a broader group of Jewish studies scholars protested "that the reputation of a scholar devoted to Judaism would be smeared in public." That letter has 300 signatures.

Dani Karavan & Avraham Burg, "Germany is betraying the fight against anti-Semitism" (Haaretz, June 17):

The Bundestag mixed up the struggle against anti-Semitism with support for the most right-wing, populist government ever to rule Israel. Will Germany's government now make the same dangerous mistake? - We're sorry to say it, but the Bundestag has betrayed its duty to fight anti-Semitism in a principled and honest manner. It has betrayed its liberal and democratic values, as well as its duty to promote human rights and the rule of law, in Germany and Israel. It actually betrayed its duty as a true friend of Israel as well. It betrayed the crucial legacy of 1948. We hope the German government itself will not follow suit.

Rachel Hodes, "As the Far Right Goes Global, So Do Anti-BDS Bills" (truthout, Aug 3):

Israeli politics have moved into uncharted territory over the past several months, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu found himself unable to form a coalition large enough to claim victory in last spring's elections. However, even as the Israeli state enters into political turmoil at home, it is becoming increasingly immune to criticism from the international community abroad.

Wendy Elisheva Somerson, "Anti-Semitism and Zionism Have Formed a Brutal Alliance" (truthout, July 26):

After President Trump tweeted his attack on "the Squad" of four women of color in Congress - Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna S. Pressley - telling them to "go back" to their own countries, he immediately followed his racist rant with a chaser: an accusation of anti-Semitism. He claimed that they "hate Israel with a true and unbridled passion," and that they are anti-Semitic and anti-American. In our upside-down political world, accusations of anti-Semitism are routinely getting trotted out to justify a right-wing nationalist agenda.

Tony Greenstein, "Let's be honest about Britain's obsession with "anti-Semitism"" (The Electronic Intifada, 26 June):

Cries of "anti-Semitism" are the charges every supporter of the Palestinians has to face. I doubt that there is a single Palestine solidarity activist who hasn't been accused of anti-Semitism. The rationale for these accusations include the suggestion that we are operating "double standards" in singling out Israel for criticism. We are alleged to criticize Israel because it is a "Jewish" state. Israel is the "targeted collective Jew among the nations," Irwin Cotler, a former government minister in Canada, has writtenToday, a different, more subtle argument is developing: Israel and Zionism are an integral part of Jewish identity. That is why opposition to Zionism and Israel is automatically anti-Semitic.

Nora Barrows-Friedman, "Canada adopts Israel lobby's contested definition of anti-Semitism" (The Electronic Intifada, 28 June):

Canada has announced that it will formally adopt a definition of anti-Semitism that could characterize Palestinian rights campaigning as anti-Jewish bigotry. The definition is contained in the Canadian government's new strategy to "combat racism and discrimination in its various forms." The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association says the definition "is extremely vague, open to misinterpretation" and a "threat to freedom of expression." Israel lobby groups hope however that by adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's "working definition" in full, it will be easier to demonize and crack down on campaigners who call for Israel to respect Palestinian rights or who oppose Israel's state ideology, Zionism.


"Arab MK calls for boycott of Israel" (Arutz Sheva, Aug 7):

MK Yousef Jabareen (Hadash) publicly called for a boycott of Israel in remarks he gave at the anti-Israel 'Palestine Expo' event taking place in London, Kan 11 News reported Sunday. "The international community has all the tools to deal with war crimes," Jabareen said. "To boycott settlers, to boycott settlement products, to boycott international companies - and there are a lot of these  that deal with expanding the settlements."

Amir Tibon, "University must recognize pro-BDS group, New York court rules" (Haaretz, Aug 6):

A New York judge has ruled that Fordham University must recognize a chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine as a university-sanctioned club, and that the university's 2016 decision not to do so did not abide by its own rules.

Yumna Patel, "'Huge win for Palestinian activism': Canadian court rules settlement wines can't be labeled "Product of Israel"' (Mondoweiss, Aug 2):

A federal judge in Canada ruled on Tuesday that wines made in Israeli settlements in the West Bank cannot be labelled as Products of Israel. The landmark ruling in Kattenburg vs. Attorney General of Canada was decided by Justice Anne Mactavish, who said in her decision that labeling settlement wines, made in the occupied West Bank, as products of Israel was "false, misleading and deceptive." The activist who filed the suit, Dr. David Kattenburg, is celebrating the ruling as a huge win for Palestine activism in Canada and around the world.

Lara Sheehi, "Disavowing Israeli Apartheid" (Middle East Report Online, June 22, 2019):

The Palestinian Union of Social Workers and Psychologists (PUWP) issued a call on October 1, 2018, to clinicians, unions and institutions around the world to join them in boycotting the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy's (IARPP) conference scheduled for Tel Aviv, Israel on June 20-23, 2019. The PUWP asked those engaged ethically and responsibly with human suffering through psychological clinical work, thought and research to heed the call from their clinical colleagues from Palestine and acknowledge and act against the deleterious mental health effects of Israel's repressive military occupation over Palestinians.

Ciaran Tierney, "Battle underway in Ireland over ban on settlement goods" (EI, 11 July):

A battle is underway in Ireland to ensure that a ban on imports from Israel's settlements in the occupied West Bank will not be vetoed. Legislation to introduce such a ban has received majority support in both houses of Ireland's parliament, the Oireachtas. Yet the country's government is expected to try and wreck the legislation by invoking the little known "money message" provision. Ireland's political leaders have been under pressure from Israel and its lobbyists - including some members of the US Congress - to thwart the Occupied Territories BillFrances Black, the Oireachtas member who formally proposed the bill, vowed to fight for its implementation "even if it' the death of me."

Philip Weiss, "Israeli government minister takes credit for 27 U.S. states passing anti-BDS laws" (Mondoweiss, July 2):

Gilad Erdan, Israeli minister of strategic affairs under Netanyahu, says his government campaign against BDS has produced laws in U.S. "Our efforts are producing results. 27 US states now have counter-BDS legislation." He vows to promote even tougher laws against advocacy for boycott. "When I was charged with leading this fight, BDS leaders operated freely and were largely successful in disguising themselves as human rights organizations... We tore off their masks. We exposed their ties to terror, we exposed their deeprooted antisemitism, we exposed their opposition to peace, and we exposed of course their hypocrisy. They couldn't care less about the real human rights violations, for example in Syria and Iran. All they care about is demonizing and delegitimizing the world's only Jewish and democratic state."

Current Affairs :

Ramzy Baroud, "Killing Tariq: Why We Must Rethink the Roots of Jewish Settlers Violence" (The Palestine Chronicle, July 24, 2019):

Seven-year-old Tariq Zabania from Al-Khalil (Hebron) was killed on the spot when an Israeli Jewish settler ran his car over him (in hit-and-run) on July 15. Little Tariq's photograph, lying face down on the road, was circulated on social media. His untimely death is heartbreaking. Tariq's innocent blood must not go in vain.
For this to happen, we are morally obliged to understand the nature of Jewish settler violence, which cannot be viewed in isolation from the inherent racism in Israeli society as a whole. We are all often guilty of perpetuating the myth that militant Jewish settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories are a different and distinct category from other Israelis who live beyond the so-called "Green Line". Undoubtedly, the violent mentality that propels Israeli society, wherever it is located, is not governed by imaginary lines but by a racist ideology, of which disciples can be found everywhere in Israel, not just in the illegal Jewish colonies of the West Bank. It is this racism and bigotry that makes Tariq invisible to most Israelis. For most Israelis, Palestinian children do not exist as real human beings, deserving of a dignified life of freedom. This callousness is a defining quality, common among all sectors of Israeli society - right, left and center... 

Palestina Solidariteit, "De staat Israël is wel degelijk gestolen land" (De Wereld Morgen, 13 augustus)

Historische leugens worden nog elke dag verspreid via allerlei media. Zo ook door Benoit Lannoo in het artikel "Antisemitische karikaturen helpen Palestijnen geen meter vooruit" op DeWereldMorgen, waarin hij schrijft: "De staat Israël is geen 'gestolen land" want in 1948 opgericht door de Verenigde Naties." 
1. Israël is geboren uit oorlog en niet opgericht in 1948 door de VN.
Ter verduidelijking: In de VN ontstaat in 1947 het verdeelplan van VN-resolutie 181... Dit plan is een aanbeveling van de Algemene Vergadering van de Verenigde Naties en dus geen beslissing. Het wordt uiteindelijk nooit uitgevoerd. Zowel Joden als Palestijnen verwerpen het verdeelplan... Israël ontstaat dus niet als gevolg van een VN-beslissing maar als gevolg van de geplande etnische zuivering die tijdens de oorlog van 1948 werd uitgevoerd...

David M. Halbfinger & Rami Nazzal, "Israel pursues possible war crime in village demolition" (NYT via If Americans Knew, June 25):

The Bedouins in Khan al-Ahmar are considered an "existential threat" to the Jewish State. Israel plans to demolish the village and relocate the entire tribe to a location that denies the people their ancient culture. Israel's Supreme Court has green-lighted the process, which will enable the state to cut the West Bank into pieces - although it may be a war crime. For decades, Israel has wanted to clear a large section of the West Bank of several thousand Bedouins - who raise sheep and goats in the creases of the hills east of Jerusalem - to make room for the expansion of Jewish settlements. The army issued scores of demolition orders for the Bedouins' rickety hovels of corrugated tin, scrap wood and nylon fabric. Periodically, soldiers tore down a few shacks, toppled water tanks, carted off solar panels or staged military training exercises on the site, in what critics called a drip-drip campaign to make life so miserable that residents would simply leave. But the army did not dare demolish an entire village again. Now, however, the brakes may be off. With the Trump administration providing diplomatic cover, right-wing ministers in Israel pressing to exploit that while it lasts and international support for the Palestinians focused for the moment on Gaza, a new ruling by a settler-majority panel of Israel's Supreme Court appears to have freed the government to proceed with the removal of entire Bedouin communities on the West Bank.

"Daily life under occupation: Israeli soldiers, Border Police and settlers harass a Palestinian family in the neighborhood of Tel Rumeidah, Hebron" (B'Tselem, 25 June):

The Abu Shamsiyeh family lives in the neighborhood of Tel Rumeidah in the center of the city of Hebron. The settlement of Admot Yishai was established just a few meters away from Tel Rumeidah in 1984. Ever since, Israeli settlers and security forces have turned the lives of the local Palestinian residents into a living hell of draconian travel restrictions and constant harassment and violence.

"Israel releases Palestinian minister of Jerusalem affairs" (Al-Jazeera, July 1):

Hours-long detention came after Fadi al-Hadami joined Chilean President Sebastian Pinera on tour of Al-Aqsa compound. Police in the early hours of Sunday arrested Fadi al-Hadami at his home in occupied East Jerusalem without explaining why he was being held. Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld told AFP news agency that al-Hadami was detained for "activities in Jerusalem"

WAFA: "Newspapers Review: Israeli destruction of tourism project in West Bank" (July 29, 2019):

The Israeli army destruction of a tourism project in the archeological town of Sebastia in the north of the occupied West Bank was highlighted on the front page of the three Palestinian Arabic dailies today. They said the tourism project was funded by the Belgian Development Cooperation and the Palestinian municipalities' fund. 


Yara Hawari, "Do not punish Palestinian refugees for UNRWA dysfunction" (Al-Jazeera, Aug 1):

Recently revealed abuses by top UNRWA management should not be politicised and used as an excuse to defund the agency. - Earlier this week, an internal ethics report about the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian refugees was leaked to both Al Jazeera and the AFP news agency... The millions of Palestinian refugees and the Palestinian employees, many of whom are struggling to provide for their families, should not be collectively punished for the offences and selfishness of UNRWA's top management, many of whom are foreigners.

Marjorie Cohn, "Israel's Ban on Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar Backfires" (truthout, Aug 24):

During US Congress's August recess, a group of 41 Democratic and 31 Republican congressmembers traveled to Israel on a delegation sponsored by American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). AIPAC subsidizes congressional trips to Israel in order to further the "special relationship" between Israel and the United States. Israel is the largest recipient of U.S... The outrageous exclusion of members of Congress from Israel-Palestine has focused unprecedented attention on the Israeli occupation and the BDS movement. This is the time to pressure congressional representatives to rethink their uncritical support for Israel and the $3.8 billion annually the United States provides to Israel.

Gaza :

Gideon Levy, "'I don't feel like a human being': The Gazans who lost everything in an Israeli bombing" (Haaretz, July 12):

According to the UN, 327 residents of the Gaza Strip lost their homes in the wake of bombing by the Israel Air Force during the latest round of fighting, in May. In new testimony, compiled by Olfat al-Kurd, a field researcher for the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem in Gaza, the occupants of two large apartment buildings that were bombed and left in ruins recall the moments of horror when they were forced to leave and the devastation wreaked on their lives.

Edo Konrad, "Israeli army knew it was unnecessarily killing Gaza protesters in real time" (+972 Magazine, July 24):

The Israeli army admits that it secretly changed its policy once it realized that shooting unarmed protesters in the leg was lethal. Rights group says the revelation is an admission that Israel was killing demonstrators in Gaza without any justification... A statement published by Israeli human rights group B'Tselem on Wednesday accused Israeli officials of openly admitting that they knew their soldiers were killing people that, "even in the eyes of the state, had no reason to be gunned down." 

Shlomi Eldar, "Israel encourages Gazans to leave (the) prison (the) Strip has become" (Al-Monitor, Aug 21):

A source in Netanyahu's entourage [during visit to Ukraine] whose name was not divulged told journalists covering the visit that Israel was willing to encourage one-way emigration of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip... The plan - or should we say fantasy - of the Israeli right is unlikely to pan out. The leaders of Hamas now know that Israel is preparing a sophisticated population transfer and they will be keeping an eye on anyone asking to leave. More importantly, however, instead of addressing the root cause of the Gaza problem and resolving it, Israel has opted for a delusional plan that will only deepen the misery of Gaza's two million Palestinians. Wealthy families, traders and sons of traders, well-to-do Palestinians who keep what is left of Gaza's economy going, will leave forever and Gaza will sink deeper into destitution.

Gideon Levy, "A Young Gazan's Dream, Amputated" (IAK, reposted from Haaretz, June 28):

Alaa ad-Dali is a young man who had a dream - quite a rare thing in Gaza - and it was crushed by the IDF. What does he have left? 138 young people in Gaza have lost legs in the protests at the fence as a result of IDF sniper fire, and they aren't even a story. Their motivations don't interest anyone. They are all labeled "terrorists." Alaa ad-Dali was the Gaza cycling champion. He won the Tokyo Race twice in a row. The Tokyo Race is held in Gaza. No rider from Gaza was ever able to get to the Tokyo Race in Tokyo. 

Oliver Holmes & Hazem Balousha, "A Jerusalem hospital where Palestinian babies die alone" (The Guardian, July 20):

Israeli blockade on Gaza means parents are separated from critically ill children. - Critically ill Palestinian infants taken from impoverished and war-battered Gaza to the better equipped Makassed hospital are suffering and dying alone. Israel allows temporary exit from Gaza for medical reasons in some cases, but not all. At the same time, it prevents or seriously delays many parents of patients from leaving, and others never apply in the first place, fearing that extensive security checks for adults will hold up their child's exit permit and lose vital time. Since the beginning of last year, 56 babies from Gaza were separated from their mothers and fathers, six of whom perished without a parent present, according to the hospital. 


Shlomi Eldar, "Israel encourages Gazans to leave" (Al-Monitor, Aug 21):

A source in Netanyahu's entourage whose name was not divulged told journalists covering the visit [to Ukraine] that Israel was willing to encourage one-way emigration of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip. He added that Israel had expressed its willingness to cover the costs of moving the Gazans abroad and to put Air Force bases at their disposal to facilitate their departure... Instead of addressing the root cause of the Gaza problem and resolving it, Israel has opted for a delusional plan that will only deepen the misery of Gaza's two million Palestinians. Wealthy families, traders and sons of traders, well-to-do Palestinians who keep what is left of Gaza's economy going, will leave forever and Gaza will sink deeper into destitution.

Amira Hass, "Israeli right resurrects 'voluntary transfer' of Palestinians, despite 50 years of failure" (Haaretz, Aug 24):

On Monday, when a "senior government official" said Israel was willing to help Palestinians emigrate from the Gaza Strip, it sounded to many people like empty talk. But this statement follows a series of Israeli attempts at demographic manipulations, so what the official said shouldn't be played down. The proposal to assist emigration from Gaza joins the efforts of esteemed Israeli leaders and professors, but they haven't been able to suppress Palestinian aspirations. Still, Israel has a history of utter failure in getting Palestinians to respond to material enticements to emigrate. The remarks and the speed with which the leader of the right-wing Yamina alliance, Ayelet Shaked, came out in support of the government official's philosophy shows the strength of the Israeli delusion that Palestinian demands and national aspirations will disappear, diminish or be defeated through emigration.

"Likud joins far-right appeal to bar Arab parties from running in election" (The Times of Israel, Aug 20):

Members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party on Tuesday joined an extremist faction's legal bid to ban the Joint (Arab) List from running in the upcoming elections. The appeal to the Supreme Court, which was filed by Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben Gvir, accuses the Joint List of incitement to terrorism, supporting a terror group, and denying Israel's existence as a Jewish state.

Joseph Massad, "'Deal of the century': Safeguarding Israel's Jewish minority" (Middle East Eye, June 26):

This week's workshop in Bahrain is the latest effort to ensure Israel remains a Jewish state - and to deny rights to the people whose land it has stolen. Since its inception, the Zionist project to colonise Palestine has been determined and uncompromising, while also demonstrating ideological innovation and acrobatics in packaging its theft of the country. While the initial goal was to create a Jewish majority in Palestine, successfully achieved for a few decades through the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in 1948 and 1967, Zionists have more recently had to face the old/new reality of Jews as a minority in their own settler-colonial state. 

Asa Winstanley, "How Israeli Schools Erase or Demonize Palestinians for the Next Generation" (MEMo via Informed Comment, July 27):

Dissident Israeli scholar Nurit Peled-Elhanan's important academic study, "Palestine in Israeli School Books" is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand some important realities about the Israeli state and Israeli society. As a settler-colonial entity, real change can never come from within Israeli society. It must be imposed from the outside. 

Tamara Nassar, "Teens forced to take Israel propaganda course before overseas trips" (The Electronic Intifada, 19 July):

Israel's education ministry is requiring all high school students, including Palestinian citizens of Israel, to take a propaganda course and test as a condition for going on overseas school trips. Adalah, a legal advocacy group for Palestinians in Israel, sent a letter last month to the ministry of education demanding that it remove the requirement and end the hasbara course.

Yonathan Mizrachi, "How the once-fringe Jewish Temple Movement is going mainstream" (+972 Magazine, Aug 14):

The Jewish Temple Movement has for years tried to change the status quo in one of the most contested holy sites in the world. Now the most mainstream figures on the Israeli right are finally listening. Matters of religion and state will be a central issue in the upcoming elections, and Jewish worship at the Temple Mount aligns perfectly with the right's aspirations to strengthen religious elements in Israeli society, including in the education system and the legal establishment. 

Jerusalem, occupied and colonized :

Annelies Keuleers, "Living in fear of the bulldozers" (The Electronic Intifada, 22 Aug):

The setting sun painted the houses on the hills of East Jerusalem yellow. A few ducks and chickens scrambled around amid a seemingly random collection of items. The items had been rescued from Qusay Burqan's house, demolished at the end of April when Israeli municipal authorities sent in bulldozers to Wadi Yasul, between the Silwan and Abu Tur neighborhoods of occupied East Jerusalem, to clear away the homes of Qusay and his brother Anas. Eleven people were left homeless, including seven children, and Qusay said he felt almost numb when it happened.

Jeff Halper, "The Meaning of Israel's Massive Housing Demolitions in East Jerusalem" (The Nation, Aug 6):

On July 22, the Israeli Civil Administration - that's the Orwellian term Israel uses for its military government in the Occupied Palestinian Territory - deployed 900 IDF soldiers and Border Police to demolish 13 apartment blocks, evicting 17 people in 70 apartments that were slated to house hundreds more in the Palestinian neighborhood of Wadi al-Hummus, to the southeast of Jerusalem. The act itself wasn't unusual. Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes is a routine, almost daily occurrence. What set it apart was the scale, the impunity, and the political implications. 

Gideon Levy and Alex Levac, "Abdallah, 15, dreamed of praying at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque. He was shot dead on his way" (Haaretz, July 4):

The Palestinian teen's father dropped him off near the separation barrier, but Israeli Border Police shot him as he tried to pass through. In his living room, the bereaved father continues to pour out his agony: "Every day I am sadder than on the day before. I thought it would lessen, but the pain only increases. My life is pointless now. You [Israelis] live far away. You do not feel us. You think our pain is small. But Abdallah was my whole life. When a person loses a cat or a dog, it is painful. But when you raise a child... You just don't know… it's far more than you imagine. May God burn whoever killed my son. Everything is worthless now. Worthless. I will live until 70 or 80 with this pain, together with my wife. There is no life after this. Your government is criminal. You don't know what mercy is. This is the gift I received from the State of Israel, besides the regular suffering of life under the occupation: to see my son shot to death in front of me,' says Luai. 'He will never return, Abdallah."

"PA condemns US envoys' presence at Israeli settler-linked event" (Al-Jazeera, July 1):

Palestinians have condemned the attendance of two US officials at the inauguration of a tunnel at a contested archaeological site in occupied East Jerusalem that was organised by an Israeli settler-linked group. White House adviser Jason Greenblatt and Ambassador to Israel David Friedman took part in Sunday's event, which marked the completion of the project next to the Old City in the neighbourhood of Silwan, according to the group, the 'City of David Foundation'. The Israeli NGO, 'Emek Shaveh', working to prevent the politicization of archaeology and committed to protecting archaeological sites as the shared heritage of all cultures and faiths in the country, also condemned the US presence, calling it "a political act which is the closest the US will have come to recognising Israeli sovereignty over the Old City basin of Jerusalem".

Moriel Rothman, "10 reasons the "City of David" is not the wholesome tourist site you thought it was" (The Times of Israel, Feb 9, 2014):

1. "The City of David" is located in Occupied Palestinian Territory. While the 'City of David's website' may lead to you believe that the City of David is located in, well, the City of David, in the reality of 2014, the City of David is located in middle of the Wadi Hilweh neighborhood of the East Jerusalem (Palestinian) village of Silwan... 2. Your 'City of David' entrance fee goes into the pockets of a private settler organization called 'Elad'... 3. The City of David's managers' "Judaization" is not just rhetoric. Elad doesn't just speak of "Judaization." Elad Judaizes. For more than two decades, Elad has been working to evict Palestinian families from their homes by taking advantage of an Israeli legal system which discriminates between Palestinians and Jews...

Gideon Levy & Alex Levac, "Why Israeli Police Are Terrorizing This Palestinian Village" (Haaretz via If Americans Knew, Aug 12):

Israeli police in the village of Isawiyah have an agenda, and it involves brutality, incitement, humiliation, and violence. On Sunday, the Obeid family wanted to arrange a meal in memory of their son, who was killed by Jerusalem District police, to mark the conclusion of the traditional 40 days of mourning. Mohammed Obeid, 21, had worked in the dining room of a company in the city's Har Hotzvim high-tech park. Police officers claimed that he had thrown firecrackers at them near his home, and therefore shot him at close range, killing him.

"Palestinian From Jerusalem Dies From Serious Wounds Suffered Two Weeks Ago" (IMEMC News, June 19):

A Palestinian man died, Wednesday, from serious wounds he suffered two weeks ago, when several undercover Israeli soldiers repeatedly assaulted and struck him, in Shu'fat refugee camp, in occupied East Jerusalem. The Palestinian, identified as Mousa Abu Mayyala, 60, was assaulted by the undercover soldiers while standing in front of his home in the refugee camp. 

Palestine, occupied and colonized :

Whitney Webb, "50,000 Palestinian Children Imprisoned by Israel Since 1967" (Mint Press News, April 29):

While Israel's government often touts itself as the "only democracy" in the Middle East, it is also the only government in the entire world that detains children through military courts with a near 100 percent conviction rate, something that even Saudi Arabia does not do. - According to figures released by the Prisoners' and Freed Prisoners' Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on Sunday, the state of Israel has imprisoned more than 50,000 children since the occupation of Palestine's West Bank began in 1967. The PLO report, which was cited by Middle East Monitor, also noted that around 17,000 of those child arrests had occurred since the year 2000. The report used the UN definition that states that a child is any person younger than 18 years of age. However, Israel's government has defined children younger than 16 as children, while applying the UN definition to Israeli children.