Place: Israel/Palestine

BDS: Discussing Difficult Issues in a Fast-Growing Movement


Israel’s attacks on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and other human rights defenders living under occupation, such as Al Haq staff, have dominated the headlines in recent weeks, including the direct threats made by leading Israeli officials against BDS activists and in particular against the movement’s co-founder Omar Barghouti.

New Jersey anti-BDS bill is an affront to the first amendment and basic human rights


On May 9, 2016, the New Jersey State Senate approved by a vote of 39-0 S1923, a bill prohibiting the investment of state pension and annuity funds in companies that boycott Israel or Israeli businesses. One of the bill's sponsors was liberal stalwart and Democratic Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg. Among the co-sponsors were Democratic Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Republican Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. There is a similar bill in the Assembly, A925, still in committee. [Update: The bill was released by the Assembly committee on May 19, 2016.] Both bills are an affront to basic principles of human rights that many NJ liberals seem to support everywhere else in the world except when it comes to Israel-Palestine.  And both bills are an affront as well to the First Amendment.

A Global City, Emptied of Inconvenient Reality


The English translation of this article was originally published by International Boulevard

From Al Safir Al Arabi

Behind the violence shaking occupied Jerusalem, writes Haneen Naamnih in Al Safir Al Arabi, is a vast colonial enterprise slowly remaking the city.

Treyf Pesach


Hilton Obinzenger is a poet and a long-time informed critic of Zionism and Israeli policy toward the Palestinians. His new poem, Treyf Pesach (Dirty Passover), is a blunt speaking and not unhumorous effort to ask fellow Jews how they can celebrate the slave insurrrection in Egypt millennia ago and yet be struck dumb by the Israeli government's dissembling and bloody practices  toward "the stranger in our midst" today. You can read Obinzenger's smart, snappy work here, and visit his website here.

Rasmea Odeh Action Alert

Image[Ed. note: Readers of David Finkel's November article on "The Trials of Rasmea Odeh" will be interested in this alert from the Rasmea Defense Committee.]

New York Times perpetuates myth Israel was ‘fighting for its very survival’ during 1967 war

ImageOn January 25, the New York Times posted an article by their Israel correspondent, Jodi Rudoren, about a new Israeli film, “Censored Voices,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this pas


A Broken Romance? 
Israel and American Jews

Norman Finkelstein has made his career taking the nasty assignments. It’s been dirty work, but presumably someone had to do it: plowing through the works of Joan Peters, Daniel Goldhagen, Elie Wiesel, Alan Dershowitz, and a small army of official and unofficial Israeli state propagandists.

‘Anyone but Bibi’ Strengthens the Israeli Right Wing


[Editors’ note: The Da’am Workers Party is an Israeli revolutionary socialist organization formed by Palestinian and Jewish activists in 1995. The party initiated the formation of the WAC-MANN trade union movement that aims to organize sectors and populations traditionally neglected by Israel’s mainstream union federation, the Histadrut, and does so based on an explicitly anti-corporate, anti-austerity platform. It opposed the Oslo accords, but supports a two state solution based on the 1967 borders and the dismantling of all settlements. In the last Knesset election, Da’am ran with a Palestinian feminist, Asma Aghbaria-Zahalka, at the head of its list. This article was published on the Da’am website on Dec. 20, 2014.]

The Trials of Rasmea Odeh

ImageRasmea Odeh, a 67-year-old Palestinian-American, associate director of the Arab American Action Network and organizer of the acclaimed Arab Women’s Committee in Chicago, was convicted in Detroit on November 10 of “unlawful procurement of naturalization” at the time she became a U.S. citizen in 2004.

Her imprisonment immediately afterward has been the most shocking part of the case, as explained below.

Reply to Bennett Muraskin on Gaza Protest Blog

Bennett Muraskin complains that a blog post of mine — a report on a demonstration in Newark protesting the blank check given by NJ senators Menendez and Booker for Israel's crimes — is missing "full recognition of Hamas' war crimes and vile ideology."

Response to Stephen Shalom’s Blog on Israel’s War Crimes in Gaza

There is something missing from Stephen Shalom’s blog post on Israelis crimes in the recent Gaza conflict and it is full recognition of Hamas’ war crimes and vile ideology.

Thirteen arrested as protesters tell Senators Menendez and Booker: ‘No more blank check for Israel’s crimes,’

Outside the Gateway Center, where Menendez and Booker have offices. (Photo by Tom Bias.)

[This article was first published on Mondoweiss.]

Israel and Imperialism

A Response to Bennett Muraskin

I would like to thank Bennett for his kind and appreciative comments on my artcile and use the opportunity presented by his letter to answer some essential points of contention.

Kshama Sawant on Gaza Solidarity: End the Brutal Violence and Killings

[Because Kshama Sawant is at the moment the leading elected socialist official in the United States her opinions carry a weight far more important than those of many other socialist groups and activists. We print below Sawant's recent statement on Israel's attacks on Gaza made in the Seattle City Council and reprinted on the Socialist Alternative website. – Eds]

Response to Barry Finger on Israel-Palestine

I wish to commend Barry Finger for his analysis of the Israel-Palestine conflict dating back to the establishment of 1947 UN Partition Plan. (Finger makes a minor error in calling it the “1948 partition.”)

Michael Walzer's Defense of Israel's Crimes

ImageThere is so much wrong with Michael Walzer’s brief essay on the New Republic website, supporting Israel in its latest onslaught, while criticizing “a little uneasily” some of the excessive civilian deaths, that it is hard to know where to begin.

Supporting the Struggle Against Apartheid Then and Now

The discussion of a socialist strategy towards Palestine never recedes from global pertinence and urgency. The basic terms of the Palestinian tragedy established in 1948 remain a festering wound—unaddressed, malignant and oozing in blood and rot. With it the Israeli garrison state continues to descend, and rightfully so, into isolation and disrepute in the court of civilized opinion.

Obama Foreign Policy – A Brief Postscript

JULY 21, 2014 — Since the writing of my effort to analyze the Obama foreign policy (“Droning On, Fracking the Planet,” New Politics Summer 2014), a confluence of events – in various ways, all blowback from ravages of U.S policies past and present – combined to transform much of world politics in nasty and dangerous directions, with huge tolls in destruction and human misery. To review very briefly:

An Open Letter to Israeli Academics

These are desperately bad times. The government of Israel, having provoked the firing of rockets by its rampage through the West Bank, is now using that response as the pretext for an aerial assault on Gaza which has already cost scores of lives. An atmosphere of hysteria is being deliberately provoked in Israel, and whole communities are being subject to collective punishment, a war crime. People are dying, and for what? To prevent a unity government of Fatah and Hamas? 

Imagining a New Political Landscape in Israel and Palestine

Ramallah. In November 2012, the United Nations General Assembly approved a resolution to upgrade Palestine to a “nonmember observer state”. The usual suspects—Israel, their American financers, and a few of their mutual allies—voted against the resolution, but it overwhelmingly passed.

Jewish Alternatives to Zionism

Zionism is but one of many ideologies/movements that have competed for the loyalty of Jews as the guarantor of their freedom and security. The fact that it achieved success with the establishment of Israel in 1948 causes people to forget that its success was not pre-ordained. Further, no one can deny that it has come with a heavy cost in both Jewish and Arab lives. From a historic perspective, it may be worth examining other visions to secure a Jewish future. Every road not taken need not be a dead end.