Given his background, what American Jewish leader Henry Siegman has to say about Israel’s founding in 1948 through the current assault on Gaza may surprise you. From 1978 to 1994, Siegman served as executive director of the American Jewish Congress, long described as one of the nation’s “big three” Jewish organizations along with the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League. Born in Germany three years before the Nazis came to power in 1933, Siegman’s family eventually moved to the United States. His father was a leader of the European Zionist movement that pushed for the creation of a Jewish state. In New York, Siegman studied the religion and was ordained as an Orthodox rabbi by Yeshiva Torah Vodaas, later becoming head of the Synagogue Council of America. After his time at the American Jewish Congress, Siegman became a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He now serves as president of the U.S./Middle East Project. In the first of our two-part interview, Siegman discusses the assault on Gaza, the myths surrounding Israel’s founding in 1948, and his own background as a German-Jewish refugee who fled Nazi occupation to later become a leading American Jewish voice and now vocal critic of Israel’s policies in the Occupied Territories. Continue reading
“What Comes Next?: A forum on the end of the two-state paradigm” was initiated by Jewish Voice for Peace as an investigation into the current state of thinking about one state and two state solutions, and the collection has been further expanded by Mondoweiss to mark 20 years since the beginning of the Oslo peace process.
This is an important set of articles. Highly recommended… Continue reading
By Gideon Levy | Jul. 6, 2014
Now we know: In the Jewish state, there is pity and humane feelings only for Jews, rights only for the Chosen People. The Jewish state is only for Jews.
The youths of the Jewish state are attacking Palestinians in the streets of Jerusalem, just like gentile youths used to attack Jews in the streets of Europe. The Israelis of the Jewish state are rampaging on social networks, displaying hatred and a lust for revenge, unprecedented in its diabolic scope. Some unknown people from the Jewish state, purely based on his ethnicity. These are the children of the nationalistic and racist generation – Netanyahu’s offspring.
For five years now, they have been hearing nothing but incitement, scaremongering and supremacy over Arabs from this generation’s true instructor, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Not one humane word, no commiseration or equal treatment. Continue reading
Electronic Intifada founder Ali Abunimah and TRNN’s Lia Tarachansky describe Israeli media coverage and the political rhetoric surrounding the Palestinian teen’s murder.
The Washington Post is reporting intense clashes in East Jerusalem after a 16-year-old Palestinian was kidnapped and murdered in East Jerusalem. This comes a couple of days following the lifting of the gag order on the Israeli press regarding the killing of three Israeli teenagers almost three weeks ago. Here to give us an update on the situation in Israel and Palestine are our two guests. Lia Tarachansky is a Real News Middle East correspondent. She’s also the director of the documentary On the Side of the Road. And also joining us is Ali Abunimah. He’s the cofounder and executive director of the Electronic Intifada and author of the new book The Battle for Justice in Palestine.
Original: The Real News
Posted on June 30, 2014 by Vicky, Bethlehem Blogger
This follows a wave of army raids, arrests, and killings across the West Bank and Gaza, with over four hundred Palestinians detained (most without being accused of any crime or given access to a lawyer) and eight people dead. Hebron was sealed off entirely, with the city’s residents being prevented from entering or exiting. “If this is what happened when those teenagers were missing,” one friend said worriedly, “God knows what they’ll do to us now they’re dead.” During the night raids, when we heard the honking of jeeps in Beit Jala and the army was going from house to house, she and I were both seized with an urge to tidy our belongings just in case soldiers should come bursting in and notice that we had not washed up our breakfast bowls. The next morning, looking at photos from the night raids – furniture smashed in, food pulled out of fridges and trampled underfoot – we concluded that perhaps our fear of judgmental houseproud soldiers arriving to conduct an episode of How Clean is Your House? had been a little misplaced, but at least it had given us something to do.
Collective punishment (most infamously the retaliatory home demolitions, which the army has just officially reintroduced) is only to be expected when Israeli teenagers die. When Palestinian children are killed, their families are lucky if there is even an investigation. Continue reading
By Dorit Naaman
Fine, I am not yet a Palestinian Jew, but in 10 to 15 years – and certainly in my lifetime – this place will be called Palestine, and I will be a citizen of Jewish-Israeli heritage. By saying I am a Palestinian Jew I am being neither flippant nor provocative, as my critics would likely hasten to argue. Instead, I am analyzing the current reality and describing the future – utopian, or apocalyptic – depending on the viewer’s position.
The truth is that it is quite odd for me to describe myself as a Palestinian Jew, since I am an Ashkenazi Israeli, and thus have no Arab-Jewish lineage. On my father’s side, I am a sixth generation Jerusalemite, but my forefathers and foremothers spoke Yiddish and prayed in the Hungarian-Jewish tradition. They were citizens of the Ottoman Empire, and then citizens of the British Mandate of Palestine, but they did not consider themselves Palestinian. In fact, my great-grandfather was a staunch Zionist and a member of the first Knesset, despite his ultra-Orthodox background. My father was an atheist since childhood, my mother was raised secular, and I grew up as a secular, liberal Zionist Israeli. Being secular and Israeli are still the most prominent markers of my identity, despite my immigrating to Canada.
I try to say it out loud: I am a Palestinian Jew. But it doesn’t easily roll off my tongue. I am not ready to say it to anyone else – I don’t even know what it means. But in all likelihood, I will become one sooner or later, so I better practice. Continue reading
By Benjamin Birely
On the evening of May 1st, 1921 the Jaffa-based Socialist Workers Party (MPS), later the “Palestine Communist Party” and a forerunner of today’s Maki, organized a small, unauthorized march between Jaffa and Tel Aviv. Participants marched under a banner in Yiddish that triumphantly called for the establishment of “Soviet Palestine.” Arabic fliers were distributed to onlookers. The march ran through Manshiyya, an Arab neighborhood erased literally and metaphorically from the post-48 Israeli consciousness like so many others, on its way to Tel Aviv. When the peaceful rally collided with the large, authorized May Day celebrations of the Zionist, Labor Unity party (Ahdut HaAvoda) with its Hebrew-only language policy, a violent brawl broke out. Police sought to violently disperse the MPS activists. Some bystanders, Jews and Arabs, intervened to protect the revolutionary activists. Continue reading
By Rami Younis
A Palestinian man and a Jewish woman are both participants at a Jaffa protest rally. The Palestinian calls out, “Yafa Arabiyeh Falastaneeyeh!” (“Jaffa is Arab-Palestinian!”). The Jewish woman doesn’t like this. She takes him aside and explains that this is a joint Jewish-Arab demonstration. Thus, according to the woman, there is no place for a chant of “Jaffa is Arab,” just as there is no place for a chant of “Jaffa is Jewish.” The Palestinian responds that he disagrees with her characterization of the demonstration and rejects her opposition to his chant, explaining that he won’t compromise on this point.
This was a pretty typical incident involving a Jewish leftist who espouses the views of Hadash, the Socialist Jewish-Arab party. Ostensibly, the woman was protesting nationalist chants at what she thought was a “joint” demonstration composed of Jews and Palestinians (all citizens of Israel). But the fallout from that incident revealed the illusory nature of Jewish-Arab political partnership in Israel. Continue reading
By Avi Shlaim, The Guardian
Zionism achieved its greatest triumph with the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. The Zionist idea and its principal political progeny are the subject of deeply divergent interpretations, not least inside the Jewish state itself. No other aspect of Zionism, however, is more controversial than its attitude towards the indigenous population of the land of its dreams. Chaim Weizmann, the first president of the state of Israel, famously said that it is by its treatment of the Palestinians that his country will be judged. Yet, when judged by this criterion, Zionism is not just an unqualified failure but a tragedy of historic proportions. Zionism did achieve its central goal but at a terrible price: the displacement and dispossession of the Palestinians – what the Arabs call the Nakba, the catastrophe.
The authors of these two books are both Israelis, but they approach their subject from radically different ideological vantage points.
1. Once upon a time it was a commonplace that Israel’s founding entailed the dispossession of the indigenous population. After World War II, Hannah Arendt observed matter-of-factly, “it turned out that the Jewish question, which was considered the only insoluble one, was indeed solved—namely by means of a colonized and then conquered territory…. [T]he solution of the Jewish question merely produced a new category of refugees, the Arabs.”
Nonetheless, Israel’s public relations apparatus managed through repetition to instill the myth that this “new category of refugees” was not the inexorable outcome of colonization and conquest, but instead the result of a circumstantial and incidental event for which Israel bore no culpability. The official Zionist tale alleged that via radio broadcasts, and despite Israeli pleas that the Palestinian population remain in place, neighboring Arab states had instructed Palestinians to flee in order to clear the field for invading Arab armies. Although researchers had already disproved this claim by the early 1960s, it required the industry and pedigree of an Israeli historian to lay it to rest. Continue reading