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 Israel/Palestine ItemsEntire Archive
Norman Finkelstein, May 2, 2017, in his apartment in Brooklyn. Photo by Phil Weiss.
The Six-Day-War and its mythology
On May 2, James North and Phil Weiss talked with Norman Finkelstein in his Brooklyn home about the Six Day War, its history, its mythology and its impact on US Jewish life. Finkelstein then revised the transcript of that conversation. Weiss: How important was the Six-Day War in your neighborhood when you were a kid?... Read More
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Take the Salt Water Challenge
Marwan Barghouti has stopped drinking water. He started his hunger strike thirty-six days ago, together with 1,500 other Palestinians who are being held in Israeli prisons. Each day the strikers have been drinking water mixed with salt, the salt needed to keep their electrolytes functioning to stay alive, but their health has reached a critical... Read More
Delegates at the 2009 Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism convention in London. The organization issued a declaration calling on governments to use an Israel-centric definition of antisemitism and to outlaw and prosecute such “antisemitism.”
As the world has witnessed the oppression and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, many people have risen in protest. In response, the Israeli government and certain of its advocates have conducted a campaign to crack down on this activism, running roughshod over civil liberties (and the English language) in the process. The mechanism of this crackdown... Read More
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Trump leans on Abbas but Israel is afraid of surprises
For many Palestinians, President Mahmoud Abbas is seen as something like a Quisling, a timid man who has dedicated himself to selling out to American and Israeli interests in exchange for his remaining in power. Others, recognizing that a return to an intifada would bring down terrible destruction, accept that the enormous disparity of force... Read More
A Sign by Henry Herskovitz
Say Ann Arbor and people will think of Michigan football, with the second biggest stadium in the entire world, behind only North Korea’s Rungrado May Day Stadium. The annual marijuana rally, Hash Bash, may also come to mind. Downtown is filled with hip cafés, trendy shops, comfy brewpubs and sophisticated restaurants. These kids have money,... Read More
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave Theresa May a frightening account during their meeting of the threat posed by Iranian aggression to Israel and everybody else. In Mr Netanyahu’s eyes, Iran is a much more dangerous enemy than Isis or al-Qaeda, seeking “to annihilate Israel, it seeks to conquer the Middle East, it threatens Europe,... Read More
RELOCATING the American Embassy to Jerusalem, as President Donald Trump has pledged to do, is more than symbolic. It’s what Christians should be praying for if they value celebrating future Easter Holy Weeks, in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, located in Jerusalem’s Old City. With such a forceful gesture, the Trump Administration will be... Read More
By Sage Ross - Flickr page of Sage Ross, CC BY-SA 2.0
Sometimes the Outreach Becomes Intolerable
Lately I’ve been watching the blossoming lovefest between the conservative-Republican establishment and those on the Left who are raging over the Obama administration’s reaction to the UN resolution against Israel. Arguably, this resolution was an attempt to take away Israel’s bargaining chips in negotiating with the Palestinians. The UN Security Council, which passed the resolution,... Read More
Protest outside AIPAC Convention, Washington 2015
John Kerry’s speech of December 28th, 2016 is an eye-opening indictment of Israel. Though prolix and padded with platitudes, its meat is a long overdue j’accuse. Much of the world has long viewed the Jewish state as a serial landgrabbing killer. Indirectly, Kerry converged with this near consensus, “the settler agenda is defining the future... Read More
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Good evening, thank you so much for taking time out of what I know are your busy schedules to be here now. My thanks to Jenny Tonge for making this meeting possible; and I would like to thank three people without whom the book would not exist: Karl Sabbagh, my publisher; Ghada Karmi, who inspired... Read More
One of my favorite literary expressions is the term ‘Parthian shaft.’ It refers to the favored tactic of the Parthians, a Persian people, of turning while on horseback and firing arrows while retreating. The Roman consul Crassus, who defeated Spartacus, may have died from such a Parthian shaft after his defeat at the battle of... Read More
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When Christmas and New Year’s both fall on a weekend, that week in between is the silliest of all silly seasons in the Western world. Unless there’s a natural disaster, or some non-Western lunatic tries to start a war, nothing happens. So I’m going to write at length about the one newsy thing that did... Read More
Did the community organizer from Harvard Law just deliver some personal payback to the IDF commando? So it would seem. By abstaining on that Security Council resolution declaring Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem illegal and invalid, raged Bibi Netanyahu, President Obama "failed to protect Israel in this gang-up at the UN,... Read More
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I learned of Trump’s choice for his ambassador in Tel Aviv ten days before it was announced (and published that in Russian), so I had enough time to discuss the nominee with Palestinians and Israelis, as well as with Russian diplomats. The nomination of David Friedman horrified liberal Israelis, cheered Palestinian activists, befogged the Israeli... Read More
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The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel, by Alison Weir
Alison Weir’s relatively short book covers the history of Zionism in the United States from the last decades of the 19th century until the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. (She is working on a second volume that will carry this history to the present.) Its brevity does not mean, however, that it... Read More
Okay, here’s your quiz of the day: What country, according to the Congressional Research Service, has been the “largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II,” to the tune of $124.3 billion, and most of it military in nature? Great Britain, Germany, Japan, the Philippines? The answer: none of the above. The... Read More
What the Bankruptcy of White House Policy Means for the Israelis and Palestinians
Washington has finally thrown in the towel on its long, tortured efforts to establish peace between Israel and the Palestinians. You won’t find any acknowledgement of this in the official record. Formally, the U.S. still supports a two-state solution to the conflict. But the Obama administration’s recent 10-year, $38-billion pledge to renew Israel’s arsenal of... Read More
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Washington's Role as Israel's Enabler
The persistence of the Israel-Palestine conflict together with its clash of civilizations subplot invites inquiry far beyond the simplistic explanation that it is about two peoples seeking to occupy the same land at the same time. It has spawned hundreds of books and articles, some well informed and others purely polemical. Scores of “experts,” most... Read More
In our days of darkness, spreading ignorance, and absence of serious debate in public forums, we can take hope from the fact that some scholars still produce serious and informative books on the most critical issues of our time. If in the future policymakers again seek the guidance of truth, they will have the information... Read More
garycorseri
On Political Activism, Wars, George W. Bush and Obama, 2016 Presidential Candidates, and Bernie Sanders
(Conducted via emails by Mohammad Homaeefar (MH) at Muslimpress.com) Muslim Press has conducted an interview with poet, writer, and columnist Gary Corseri to discuss the foreign policy of the United States. Here’s the full text of this interview: MP: Thank you for agreeing to give us an interview Mr. Corseri. Gary Corseri: Thank you for... Read More
normanfinkelstein
We interviewed Norman Finkelstein, the noted scholar of the Israel/Palestine conflict, in Brooklyn on April 8 and followed up with email exchanges. The following text contains both oral and written responses to our questions. PART 1: SANDERS Q. You’ve been canvassing for Bernie Sanders. Tell us why you’re so excited. I’ve witnessed three great social... Read More
Water and the Creeping Annexation of the West Bank
The radical Israeli settlers in the West Bank city of Hebron present what is certainly a candidate for being the ugliest face of Israel’s creeping annexation of of the West Bank. The expansion of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem has reached a point that renders the so-called Two State Solution an impossibility.... Read More
Benny Morris: History by Subtraction (Part 5)
When Benny Morris was a historian (the “old” Morris), he documented that, if Palestinians opposed Zionism, it was because the Zionist movement intended to dispossess the indigenous population. But when he transmogrified into a Court Historian (the “new” Morris), Morris reversed cause and effect: he depicted the indigenous Palestinian population as jihadi anti-Semites and the... Read More
Benny Morris: History by Subtraction (Part 4)
When Benny Morris was still an historian (the “old” Morris), he documented how the Zionist objective of creating a Jewish state in Palestine by ethnically cleansing it engendered Palestinian resistance. But after he metamorphosed into a State propagandist (the “new” Morris), Morris reversed cause and effect: he purported that Palestinian jihad-ism engendered Zionist intolerance. Coming... Read More
Benny Morris: History by Subtration (Part 3)
When Benny Morris was still a historian (the “old” Morris), he anchored the resistance of Palestine’s indigenous population in its rational fear that Zionist settlers intended to “transfer”—i.e., ethnically cleanse—it (see Part 2). The “new” Morris, however, has a very different story to tell. He drastically reduces the salience of transfer in Zionism; locates the... Read More
Benny Morris: History By Subtraction, Part 2
The conclusion of Righteous Victims, Benny Morris’s sweeping “history of the Zionist-Arab conflict,” opened with a quote from Zionist leader (and Israel’s future first prime minister) David Ben-Gurion. The “conflict”with the Arabs, Ben-Gurion said in 1938, “is in its essence a political one. And politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves.” Morris then... Read More
From Clerk to Kook
Israeli historian Benny Morris played a pivotal role in molding the current scholarly consensus on the Israel-Palestine conflict. Until his generation of scholars came along (the so-called new historians), the dominant depiction of the conflict, even in academia, amounted to little more than a footnoted version of Leon Uris’s potboiler, Exodus. The current consensus casts... Read More
Is There a New "New Anti-Semitism"? Part 10
The historical record shows that Israel’s rights have not been prejudiced but in fact privileged by the international community. It has been not the victim but the beneficiary of a global double standard. Therefore, the thesis that a primal hatred of Jews accounts for its current pariah status cannot be sustained. Still, hasn’t Israel been... Read More
Is There a New "New Anti-Semitism"? (Part 6)
The allegations of a new “new anti-Semitism” have not only been directed at Europe. American college campuses are also said to be awash in anti-Semitism. The New York Times reported a “surge of hostile sentiment directed against Jews at many campuses in the country.”[1] As if in corroboration, a recent survey of Jewish college students... Read More
Divide, Conquer, Colonize
As US-driven wars plummet the Muslim world ever deeper into jihadi-ridden failed state chaos, events seem to be careening toward a tipping point. Eventually, the region will become so profuse a font of terrorists and refugees, that Western popular resistance to “boots on the ground” will be overwhelmed by terror and rage. Then, the US-led... Read More
Is There a New "New Anti-Semitism"? Part 5
Former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami denies a causal nexus between spikes in Israeli violence against Palestinians and upticks in anti-Semitic violence. But that’s what all the data collected over many years demonstrates.[1] Each time Israel launches another of its murderous assaults, anti-Semitic incidents peak in Europe, often perpetrated by disaffected, angry Muslim youths. (Far-rightists/neo-Nazis... Read More
Whenever Israel commits another atrocity, its propagandists stage a revival of the “New Anti-Semitism” extravaganza to deflect or squelch global condemnation.[2] Under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s megalomaniacal leadership, climaxing in Operation Protective Edge during summer 2014,[3] Israel has come to rank among the most hated countries on Earth. A 2015 survey of British public opinion... Read More
Ryan Rodrick Beiler / Shutterstock.com
Autumn is beautiful in Palestine: overripe blue-green figs, unpicked pomegranates pecked by birds, heavy grapes turn red. Now is the olive harvest time, and the burghers of Bethlehem and its twin city Beth Jala (everyone owns a plot with olive trees) bring heavy sacks full of green and black olives to the local oil press... Read More
Rostislav Glinsky / Shutterstock.com
A DAY IN THE LIFE. The Bennett family’s day began with a prayer at “the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism.” It ended in the murder of the family’s father, stabbed to death in the Old City as he attempted to save wife and son from the same fate. A rabbi who rushed to... Read More
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Netanyahu's response to kids throwing rocks
I have become weary of the dancing around by politicians and denial by Jewish organizations over what Israel has been doing to the Palestinians. That anyone can with a straight face deny that there is anything wrong with a nearly fifty year occupation and strangling of the Palestinians because they have been demonized as “terrorists”... Read More
Keeping Human Rights Organizations Honest
In an 11-part series exclusive to Byline, Norman Finkelstein subjected Amnesty International’s reports on Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s summer 2014 assault on the Gaza Strip, to a forensic critique. But why is it important to keep organizations like Amnesty honest? Jamie Stern-Weiner, who is co-authoring a forthcoming book, HOW TO SOLVE THE ISRAEL-PALESTINE CONFLICT, with... Read More
Has Amnesty International Lost Its Way? Part 11
CONCLUSION It cannot be seriously disputed that Amnesty International’s reports on Operation Protective Edge lacked objectivity and professionalism. They betrayed a systematic anti-Palestinian bias amounting to apologetics on Israel’s behalf. They also marked a steep regression from the high standard Amnesty set in its reports on the Israel-Palestine conflict during the past two decades. Amnesty... Read More
Has Amnesty International Lost Its Way? Part 10
Failure to Take All Feasible Precautions International humanitarian law obliges all parties to a conflict to take “all feasible” precautions/precautions “to the maximum feasible extent” in order “to protect civilians and civilian objects under their control against the dangers resulting from military operations.” One example is to “avoid locating military objectives within or near densely... Read More
GAZA UNSILENCED. Edited by Refaat Alareer and Laila El-Haddad. Just World Books, Charlottesville, VA., 2015. When I received this book in the mail, about a week ago, the first thing that struck me was the amazing cover photo. Now, I think I’m as wary of judging a book by its cover as the next reader/reviewer;... Read More
Has Amnesty International Lost Its Way? Part 9
The criminal dimensions of OPE can be gleaned from the Breaking the Silence testimonies (see Table 5). TABLE 5 How Israel Fought OPE: A Selection of IDF Testimonies 18* When we left after the operation, it was just a barren stretch of desert…. We spoke about it a lot amongst ourselves, the guys from the... Read More
Indiscriminate and Deliberate Targeting of Civilians and Civilian Objects
Beyond indicting Hamas for the commission of war crimes because it used indiscriminate weapons, Amnesty also, and as a discrete line in its ledger, indicts Hamas for the commission of war crimes because it used these indiscriminate weapons to launch “indiscriminate attacks” and “attacks targeting civilians.” Article 51 of the Additional Protocols to the Geneva... Read More
Hamas War Crimes and Violations of International Law
The allegation that not just Israel but Hamas as well committed massive war crimes underpins Amnesty’s “balanced” indictment of both sides. Amnesty’s accusations that Hamas was guilty of “flagrant violations of international law”—that is, war crimes—fall under two heads: (1) its use of inherently indiscriminate weapons, and (2) its indiscriminate or deliberate targeting of Israeli... Read More
The Whole Point of OPE Was To Leave "Families Under the Rubble."
The ghastly truth of what unfolded in Gaza is captured, not in Amnesty’s effective whitewash but, instead, in the Breaking the Silence collection of testimonies of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers who served in Gaza during OPE (see Table 4).[1] TABLE 4 Property/Home Destruction in Gaza during OPE: A Selection of IDF Testimonies 1* [Did... Read More
A forensic analysis of Amnesty's reports on Operation Protective Edge
Amnesty’s biased evidentiary approach is also manifest in Families under the Rubble, which examines targeted Israeli attacks on inhabited civilian homes. It does find that the eight attacks on which it focused were on various grounds unlawful and possibly war crimes.[1] However, although it asserts that “the onus is on Israel to provide information concerning... Read More
A forensic analysis of Amnesty's reports on Operation Protective Edge
Hospitals (cont.) Shuhada al-Aqsa. Israel shelled Shuhada al-Aqsa hospital, killing at least four people and wounding dozens. Noting that Israel alleged it had targeted a cache of antitank missiles stored “in the immediate vicinity of the hospital,” Amnesty states that it “has not been able to confirm this” incident and calls for it to be... Read More
Amnesty’s citation of official Israeli sources produces skewed results that validate Israeli propaganda at Hamas’s expense. In some instances more credible contrary evidence is simply ignored. In its hyperbolic inventory of Hamas’s arsenal, Amnesty quotes the Israeli allegation that it intercepted a vessel carrying Iranian rockets “bound for Gaza.” It omits the widely reported finding... Read More
We’ve just passed the first “anniversary” -- if such a word can even be used with such a catastrophe -- of Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s third invasion of the Gaza Strip in recent years. That small bit of land has now suffered more devastation than just about any place on the planet. In the wake... Read More
Before Homes Are Even Rebuilt in the Ruins of the Gaza Strip, Another War Looms
"A fourth operation in the Gaza Strip is inevitable, just as a third Lebanon war is inevitable,” declared Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in February. His ominous comments came just days after an anti-tank missile fired by the Lebanon-based guerrilla group Hezbollah killed two soldiers in an Israeli army convoy. It, in turn, was a... Read More
A forensic analysis of Amnesty's reports on Operation Protective Edge
To justify its unchecked violence in Gaza, Israel invariably spotlights the arsenal of rockets Hamas allegedly amassed. Amnesty echoes this story line. Thus, the reader learns from Unlawful and Deadly that, as far back as 2001, Hamas had been stockpiling short-range rockets; that it then “developed longer-range Qassam rockets”; that “in more recent years, armed... Read More
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How Amnesty International’s attempt at a ‘balanced’ approach at the conflict turns into an apologetic for Israel’s aggression against Gaza.
Amnesty International is among the premier human rights organizations in the world. Its pronouncements shape public opinion, while councils of state feel obliged if not to heed them at any rate to respond. A movement for justice aspiring to reach a broad public and inflect state policy can ill afford to ignore Amnesty if and... Read More