Saturday, November 19, 2022, was according to Jewish tradition Shabat Chayei Sarah – the Shabbos, or Saturday commemorating the death and burial of the biblical matriarch Sarah. In the biblical story, her husband Abraham purchased her burial plot in the ancient city of Al-Khalil. According to Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro, the “commemoration” events that Al-Khalil has been subjected to over the last few decades have nothing to do with Jewish tradition, only, “Zionist Embellishments.” Al-Khalil, or Hebron in Hebrew, is the largest city in the West Bank, with close to a quarter of a million residents. The Old City part of Al-Khalil, also known as H-2, is a beautiful place, with narrow alleyways and architecture that bears witness to the centuries of grandeur it enjoys, the fourth-holiest city in Islamic tradition.
During his previous terms in office, Benjamin Netanyahu oversaw some of the most brutal attacks on Gaza, attacks that caused thousands of civilian casualties. He was also indicted on corruption charges, and yet enough Israelis found him suitable to return to the post of Prime Minister, and he was elected with a comfortable majority. In the United States, Netanyahu is respected in spite of his 2002 appearance in the U.S. House of Representatives saying that, “If you take out Saddam’s regime, I guarantee you that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region.” The Iraq War cost countless lives and billions of dollars and caused disastrous reverberations in the region.
After its success in organizing the Week of Return and Liberation in a number of areas among Palestinians in exile and diaspora, conducting mass demonstrations in the streets of Brussels and elsewhere. Thousands participated, raising images of the martyrs of the resistance and leaders of the prisoners’ movement, chanting for the Jenin Brigade, the Lion’s Den and the Palestinian resistance. The march was endorsed by over 100 organizations. After the Zionist ambassador failed to cancel the march through repression, intimidation and distortion, it must be said that the Masar Badil took an important step forward in terms of strengthening the role of the Palestinian diaspora and the position of the international popular incubator for Palestine and the Resistance.
In what must be an alarming surge of antisemitism, the council of Montgomery County, Maryland, is planning a vote to adopt a new definition of antisemitism. But why is there a need for a new definition? Antisemitism is racism directed against Jews, pure and simple. So what is so wrong with this definition that Montgomery County feels the need to have a vote to adopt a new one? What is wrong in this county that requires this vote? The council issued a statement in July announcing that, The resolution, introduced by the Council and led by Councilmember Friedson, comes in response to the disturbing rise of antisemitism and acts of assault, vandalism and harassment against Jewish community members and Jewish organizations across the County and nation.” Even if it is true that there is a rise in antisemitism, a new definition will not help.
Until recently, Israeli politics did not matter to Palestinians. Though the Palestinian people maintained their political agency under the most demoralizing conditions, their collective action rarely influenced outcomes in Israel, partly due to the massive discrepancy of power between the two sides. Now that Israelis are embarking on their fifth election in less than four years, it is important to raise the question: “How do Palestine and the Palestinians factor in Israeli politics?” Israeli politicians and media, even those who are decrying the failure of the ‘peace process’, agree that peace with the Palestinians is no longer a factor and that Israeli politics almost entirely revolves around Israel’s own socio-economic, political, and strategic priorities. This, however, is not exactly true.
Below are key points identified by Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network in responding to the Biden-Lapid Declaration (“The U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Joint Declaration”) issued on Thursday, 14 July 2022. While the declaration largely holds nothing new, it once again reveals the joint commitment to imperialism and Zionism that is responsible for the past 75 years of colonization in Palestine. Imperialism here means more arms, more support and more money for Israel. It means Phantom jets, atomic bomb secrets, and the building of an economy capable of facing the permanent blockade and state of war which we try to impose. Here millions upon millions of … American dollars are converted into a concrete force which increases Israeli strength and should therefore be taken into account in our calculations for the battle. Our enemy then is not Israel alone. It is Israel, Zionism, imperialism, and unless we have a clear scientific knowledge of our enemy we cannot hope to triumph over it.
Glasgow, Scotland - Hundreds of international scholars have begun a fightback against pro-Israel lobbyists who have been scoring increasingly high-profile victories on UK campuses as they seek to curb academic freedoms under the guise of stamping out antisemitism. Glasgow university officials have found themselves in the eye of a storm this week, accused of “capitulating” in two separate cases that have undermined academic research into the activities of Israel and its supporters. More than 500 scholars from around the world, including a Nobel prize winner, Royal Society fellows, and former and current presidents of major academic bodies, signed a petition delivered to the university this week in protest.
Palestine - As these words were being written, the final two Palestinian freedom prisoners who escaped from Gilboa Prison were caught by the Israeli authorities. Palestine is still reacting to this courageous escape and the consequent re-capture of the six political prisoners who escaped and defied the entire Israeli security apparatus. However, even though they managed to free themselves from this high-security prison, they found a world that doesn’t care. The rest of the world did not step up to save these brave men and did not provide them with sanctuary, and so they were caught. One of the great tragedies of Palestine is that almost every day there is a commemoration of one massacre or another, the death of a child or destruction of a home or village, leading one to think that the Palestinian narrative is one of death and destruction, which is what Israel wants people to think.
Lyd, Palestine — One of the toughest challenges facing those who fight for justice in Palestine is breaking the Zionist paradigm, which limits the name Palestine to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. These two delineations of territory have no historical meaning and no geographical significance. They are no different from other parts of Palestine except that they were drawn by Zionists who, after the murderous 1948 campaign of ethnic cleansing, decided that they would not include those two areas within the boundaries of the Zionist state. In 1967 the State of Israel occupied these two areas, and today the West Bank exists only in people’s imagination, while the Gaza Strip operates as a prison. After the disastrous Oslo process began in 1993, and the Palestinian Authority came into being, these two areas became known to the world as the State of Palestine.
A unique but critical conversation on Israel and Palestine is taking place outside the traditional discourse of Israeli colonialism and the Palestinian quest for liberation. It is an awkward and difficult – but overdue – discussion concerning American Jews’ relation to Israel and their commitment to its Zionist ideology. For many years, Israel has conveniently dubbed Jews who do not support Israel, or worse, advocate Palestinian freedom, as ‘self-hating Jews’. This term, designated to describe dissident anti-Zionist Jews, is similar to the accusation of ‘antisemitism’ made against non-Jews, which includes Semitic Arabs, for daring to criticize Israel. This approach, however, is no longer as effective as it once was.
I know they said there would be no exams this year, but here’s a question just to keep you in practice. Compare and contrast these two definitions of antisemitism. Discuss them in terms of their clarity, efficacy, and what you might deduce from the text about their purpose. Antisemitism is discrimination, prejudice, hostility or violence against Jews as Jews (or Jewish institutions as Jewish). – Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism (JDA), 2021 Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities. – International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism, 2016 Don’t worry if you’re struggling with the second one.
The new Israeli government takes office already largely paralyzed. With eight diverse parties, they agree only on two things. One, they want to get rid of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Check — that’s done. Two, given the unlikeliness of reaching agreement on any major policy changes, they all agree that the current situation of occupation and apartheid for Palestinians is quite sustainable for Jewish Israelis. For now, the status quo will prevail. And that’s a problem. Despite the presence of centrist, center-left, and one small Palestinian party, power in the new government lies with the far right. New Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, a longtime leader of Israel’s illegal settlers, has bragged about being significantly to the right of his far-right mentor, Netanyahu.
On April 27, one of the world's largest and most credible rights groups, Human Rights Watch (HRW), concluded, in a comprehensive 213-pages report, that Israel is an apartheid state. "Across these areas and in most aspects of life, Israeli authorities methodically privilege Jewish Israelis and discriminate against Palestinians. Laws, policies, and statements by leading Israeli officials make plain that the objective of maintaining Jewish Israeli control over demographics, political power and land has long guided government policy," the report entitled "A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution" read in part. More specifically, HRW wrote that Israeli "authorities have dispossessed, confined, forcibly separated and subjugated Palestinians by virtue of their identity to varying degrees of intensity."
As the holy month of Ramadan comes to a close, it is becoming clear that the violence against Palestinians in Jerusalem has been ramped up in a coordinated effort by the Israeli government, the Jerusalem municipality, the Israeli police, and violent Zionist gangs. These latest events must be seen in the larger context of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in general, and of Jerusalem in particular. They should also be seen in the context of internal Israeli politics. Jerusalem is burning and Israeli politicians go on about their business of mud-slinging as if this was not their problem and not a single one thinks anything is wrong with the way the Israeli authorities are handling the situation.
Last week the Guardian newspaper in London expressed shame over one of its worst errors of judgment: that in 1917 it supported and facilitated the Balfour Declaration, the imperial document that awarded Jews the “right” to make a homeland in Palestine. This counter-declaration was met with rage by Israel supporters. And well it should, for it represents another blow to the legitimacy of Zionism in the west. All around us today we hear these blows falling on the central creed of Israel: the supposed right of a Jewish collective to national self-determination in a land populated by others. I’ll remind you of some of those blows: Human Rights Watch has issued a report saying that Israel is guilty of the crime of “apartheid and persecution” against its Palestinian subjects, and millions of Palestinians have the right to return to the homes from which they were expelled in 1948.