Tag Archives: occupation

Letter to the Editor: Razan Anabtawi

A liberal arts education advocates freedom. In most cases, Lawrence advocates free speech and clear and open debate. However, after a series of incidents, it has come to my attention that this is not being upheld in certain circumstances. While I still have the utmost respect for Lawrence University and its policies of tolerance and respect, I believe these matters need to be addressed publicly, instead of through a series of passive gestures.

A few weeks before the end of Winter Term, I started a campaign to communicate the struggle of every-day Palestinian life through hanging up posters around campus visualizing the Israeli occupation of Palestinians. The posters encompassed a variety of aspects of the Israeli occupation of Palestine from the illegal separation wall built by Israel, to the issue of the indefinite administrative detention. Tammara

Nassar, another Palestinian student here at Lawrence, put up various posters visualizing Israeli confiscation of Palestinian land between the years of 1947 and 2012. To our shock, all of these posters got torn down a few days after we had put them up. This is not disputed information and we had only aimed at raising awareness on campus, yet for some reason someone felt compelled to remove them. This is a direct act of opposition and oppression to freedom of speech and expression.

A couple of months ago President Mark Burstein and Provost and Dean of the Faculty David Burrows, released a statement where Lawrence University committed to opposing the academic boycott of Israeli educational institutes that directly thrive from the ongoing suffering and discrimination Palestinians face everyday. This statement also touted the benefits of dialogue as a necessary component to promoting conflict resolution and mutual understanding. Of course, opposition of this kind produces a variety of drawbacks for Palestinian civil society. It is important to recognize that there needs to be a Palestinian lead struggle against the occupational force of the Israeli government. The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement is perhaps the last of what the international community can do to assist this Palestinian lead struggle.

As renowned philosopher and BDS advocate Judith Butler asserted, interfering in the Palestinian choice of this form of resistance is an infringement on the Palestinian right to express self-determination. The BDS movement is not only asking for international solidarity with the Palestinian cause, it also aims to represent Western corporate, cultural, and academic involvement in the reproductive nature of the discriminatory policies and inhumane structure of the Israeli military occupation of Palestinians.

Here, I find myself questioning the universitys opposition: if youre going to reject the military tactics of ending the occupation, you cant also reject the major non-violent tactics to ending the occupation. (You can be pro-occupation, but thats for another conversation.)

Part of the Lawrence statement also reads: The longer we live and work within an academic community, the more deeply we are convinced that our most precious possession is the freedom to speak what we think, and to listen thoughtfully to one another. As much as I value this sentiment, I find myself filled with conflicted feelings about being affiliated with an institute that does not recognize my peoples right for self-determination much less an institute that hosts members that are actively working to silence our voices. Mediating conflict of this kind has proven to be very frustrating, particularly within the boundaries of our shared community. One of the biggest drawbacks of such actions is that if you view me through a stereotypical lens, I will automatically be marginalized in a community that I strive to be part of.

In the coming weeks, Tammara and I will actively work to provide a platform for discussion, dialogue and debate on The Question of Palestine. So please, if you have something to say, an opposition of any kind come talk to us rather than sabotage us.

Tagged israel, Letter to the Editor, palestine, updated

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Letter to the Editor: Razan Anabtawi

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Israel’s Occupation of West Bank – Video



Israel's Occupation of West Bank
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Israel’s Occupation of West Bank – Video

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Mass squatter eviction in Rome causes riots

Riot police have dragged away some 350 squatter families from abandoned offices in Rome amid violent clashes which are the latest to come in a rising tide of forced evictions in Italy fuelled by the economic crisis. Several people were injured on Wednesday as police used truncheons to break through a large group of protesters outside the building, where squatters had barricaded themselves in. An AFP photographer saw between 100 and 150 officers then entering the building – a former state-owned insurance agency – and escorting the residents out, nine days after the occupation began.

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Mass squatter eviction in Rome causes riots

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Violent clashes with Roman squatters

Riot police have dragged away some 350 squatter families from abandoned offices in Rome amid violent clashes which are the latest to come in a rising tide of forced evictions in Italy fuelled by the economic crisis. Several people were injured on Wednesday as police used truncheons to break through a large group of protesters outside the building, where squatters had barricaded themselves in.

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Violent clashes with Roman squatters

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I want to love Israel, but

I wear a Star of David around my neck, the same one that Israel uses to embellish its flag. I am proud to be Jewish, proud of Judaisms centuries-old tradition of resisting oppression a pride that Israel invariably insists it shares. I believe in equality, humanity, democracy and progress, the very same values Israel claims to uphold. It is due to my deeply held convictions that, while appreciating the ideal of Israel, I cannot but detest the reality of the settler-colonialist, ethnocentric, militarist state that occupies the land between the Jordan and the sea.

The invitation by Brown/RISD Hillel of Sgt. Benjamin Anthony, an Israel Defense Forces veteran and apologist for the occupation of Palestine, sparked a large protest that I was proud to participate in and help organize. Anthony is the embodiment of much of what is so terribly wrong with Israel today. His philosophy mirrors that of so many on the increasingly dominant Israeli right, which justifies unconditionally all of Israels actions based on an intellectually vacuous rhetoric of nationalism and duty to ones country. If history has taught us anything, it is that this type of discourse is exactly the perfect catalyst for atrocities.

Israel was founded in 1948 largely due to the horrendous crimes of the Holocaust. However, what followed was the brutal military dispossession of almost a million indigenous Palestinians of their land and the subsequent denial of their right to return, for which they and their descendants still fight today. This catastrophe is called the Nakba, and looms as large in Palestinian cultural memory as the events three years preceding it loom in Jewish collective memory. This campaign of incidental and purposeful cleansing of the land was the first step in ensuring an ethnically dominant Jewish population in Israel, a campaign that continues to the present day.

Israel was created as a state to allow Jews to escape persecution and anti-Semitism, and to live freely and proudly among equals. It is a tragic irony that the actions of this state have appropriated the identity of Jewishness while perpetrating atrocities in the name of the Jewish state. Many Jews in Israel and around the world are certainly not proud to be associated with military occupation and war crimes by virtue of the state that claims a monopoly on their religion, yet they do not believe they have had the freedom to express this fundamental dissent.

Moreover, Israels own policies and the prejudices of the dominant white Ashkenazi population do not allow all Jews to live in peace and equality, as darker-skinned Sephardi Jews are lucky if they pass, and the horrible reports of forced sterilization of black Ethiopian Jews immigrating to Israel are becoming far too frequent. By placing the star I wear around my neck on its flag, Israel attempts to speak in my name, and in the names of all Jewish people worldwide, while acting in ways that many of us not only vehemently oppose, but consider literally anti-Jewish.

Of course, Israels most egregious crimes are the occupation of the West Bank and the siege of Gaza. While the common stereotype propagated by Western media is that Palestinian resistance is violent, those committing violence on the Palestinian side make up a minuscule minority. Overwhelmingly, Palestinian resistance is nonviolent peaceful protest, resembling Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi far more than al-Qaeda.

However, these peaceful protests are brutally repressed by the IDFs rubber bullets, live bullets and tear gas canisters used as direct projectiles, with lethal consequences for those struggling for freedom and autonomy. Men, women and children are killed or arrested in the night and held without trial for months or years. Freedom of movement is restricted by countless checkpoints, where Palestinians are stopped for hours and humiliated on a daily basis. Many roads are only for Jewish settlers, who are able to harass and attack Palestinians with impunity. All these crimes against the very humanity of a people occur against the backdrop of a separation read: apartheid wall that not only steals Palestinian land, but looms as the most concrete representation of their status as unwelcome outsiders, dehumanized others.

My parents, fierce Zionists and Israeli nationalists, lived under the heavy mental, emotional and at times physical abuse of anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union. I was lucky enough to not have to experience any anti-Semitism in my life, as I grew up in the United States. Jews do not make up a majority of the United States, nor is ours a Jewish nation. Still, I and countless other American Jews are able to live as equals among equals, unafraid of discrimination and proud of our Judaism. This should serve as a lesson to Israel: It has no need to fear the demographic threat of the Palestinians, no need to brutally repress others so that Israeli Jews can enjoy freedom. Israels fear of Palestinian freedom will prove as baseless as the fears of white Southerners and South Africans for the survival of their populations once they were forced to stop their oppression of blacks.

While much reconciliatory work would need to be done to build a nation in which all people can live equally and with dignity, an end to the occupation and full equal rights for everyone will not doom Israel or preclude it from being a state safe and welcome for Jews. Rather, it will give a rebirth to Israels Judaism and create a Judaism that loves rather than hates, that accepts rather than discriminates. Israelis can confidently look to the sea and be assured that the Palestinians will not drive them into it. They will never return the favor.

I want to love Israel, as my parents do. I want to feel a connection to my peoples historic land. However, my peoples history is one of fiercely resisting oppression, not perpetrating it, of fighting for all that is right, not defending all that is wrong. I want to love Israel, but first Israel has to learn to love itself enough to accept all people as equals between the Jordan and the sea.

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I want to love Israel, but

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Lawrence Davidson

Michael Jay Rosenberg is a well-known, sharp-minded critic of the Israeli government. But he is also a liberal Zionist who believes in the legitimacy and necessity of a Jewish state. This point of view has led him to attack the BDS (Boycott Israel) movement in a recent piece, The Goal of BDS is Dismantling Israel.

In the process he seriously underestimates the movements scope and potential in an effort to convince himself and others that BDS has no chance of actually achieving the goal he ascribes to it.

However, the only evidence he cites of the movements weakness is the recent failure of the University of Michigans student government to pass a divestment resolution. At the same time, he fails to mention an almost simultaneous decision by Chicagos Loyola University student government to seek divestment. Rosenberg also makes no reference to BDSs steady and impressive efforts in Europe.

Rosenberg continues by asserting that the reason the boycott movement keeps failing is because its goal is to destroy Israel rather than to attack the occupation and pressure for a two-state solution. He writes: The BDS movement is not targeting the occupation per se. Its goal is to end the State of Israel itself.

What does that mean? Well, according to Rosenberg, it means replacing Israel itself with a state that would be in theory, hospitable to Jews [but] would no longer be Israel.

At this juncture there are several points in Rosenbergs thinking that warrant scrutiny. First of all his emphasis on in theory in the comment above implies that, in his view, only a Zionist state can really be hospitable to Jews. Take the Zionism out of Israel and you really have to take the Jews out as well.

One can understand his concern, since he is aware of the wrongs committed by the Israeli government and knows that reconciliation with the Palestinians will not come easily. However, given the right sort of compromises, his fear for the well-being of Jews in a non-Zionist Israel does not have to necessarily translate into fact.

Secondly, he is still arguing that a two-state solution is possible. The solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is two states for two peoples. Maybe in theory that is the case. However, in the real world (to use Rosenbergs words), it is almost impossible to envision this happening given the make-up of the Israeli power structure and its worldview.

Most of those who organize and participate in the movement to boycott Israel know that the two-state solution is dead in the water. Even if the present negotiations led by Secretary of State John Kerry produce some pale imitation of a Palestinian state, it is hard to see it amounting to anything but a Bantustan.

The fact is, even now, there is only one state between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and that is Zionist Israel. Having realized this, the boycotters have two choices: to give up the cause or to pressure for the transformation of Zionist Israel into a democratic, religiously and ethnically egalitarian state a new Israel. This is what Mr. Rosenberg calls dismantling Israel.

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Lawrence Davidson

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Zionist Occupation Forces invade village in central West Bank – Video



Zionist Occupation Forces invade village in central West Bank
Zionist militias have invaded a village in the central occupied West Bank, breaking into and searching dozens of homes. The wave of attacks– which took plac…

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Zionist Occupation Forces invade village in central West Bank – Video

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The Occupation At The Pacifica Foundation: An Interview With Summer Reese – Video


The Occupation At The Pacifica Foundation: An Interview With Summer Reese An occupation has been taking place at the Pacifica Foundation network offices in Berkeley, California.

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The Occupation At The Pacifica Foundation: An Interview With Summer Reese – Video

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What Kind of One-State Solution

As the illusion of a two-state solution fades away with the deadlocked Israeli-Palestinian talks, what remains is a one-state solution that will be either democratic and egalitarian or a de facto apartheid system with a permanent Palestinian underclass, as Lawrence Davidson observes.

By Lawrence Davidson

Michael Jay Rosenberg is a well-known, sharp-minded critic of the Israeli government. But he is also a liberal Zionist who believes in the legitimacy and necessity of a Jewish state. This point of view has led him to attack the BDS (Boycott Israel) movement in a recent piece, The Goal of BDS is Dismantling Israel.

In the process he seriously underestimates the movements scope and potential in an effort to convince himself and others that BDS has no chance of actually achieving the goal he ascribes to it.

A section of the barrier erected by Israeli officials to prevent the passage of Palestinians with graffiti using President John F. Kennedys famous quote when facing the Berlin Wall, Ich bin ein Berliner. (Photo credit: Marc Venezia)

However, the only evidence he cites of the movements weakness is the recent failure of the University of Michigans student government to pass a divestment resolution. At the same time, he fails to mention an almost simultaneous decision by Chicagos Loyola University student government to seek divestment. Rosenberg also makes no reference to BDSs steady and impressive efforts in Europe.

Rosenberg continues by asserting that the reason the boycott movement keeps failing is because its goal is to destroy Israel rather than to attack the occupation and pressure for a two-state solution. He writes: The BDS movement is not targeting the occupation per se. Its goal is to end the State of Israel itself.

What does that mean? Well, according to Rosenberg, it means replacing Israel itself with a state that would be in theory, hospitable to Jews [but] would no longer be Israel.

At this juncture there are several points in Rosenbergs thinking that warrant scrutiny. First of all his emphasis on in theory in the comment above implies that, in his view, only a Zionist state can really be hospitable to Jews. Take the Zionism out of Israel and you really have to take the Jews out as well.

One can understand his concern, since he is aware of the wrongs committed by the Israeli government and knows that reconciliation with the Palestinians will not come easily. However, given the right sort of compromises, his fear for the well-being of Jews in a non-Zionist Israel does not have to necessarily translate into fact.

Originally posted here:

What Kind of One-State Solution

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Palestine threatens to take Israel to UN, ICC

Ramallah: Palestinian politicians have lashed out at Israels stalling of an agreed-on prisoner release, arguing that an Israeli spy serving a life sentence in the US should not be part of the deal.

After the Israelis reneged on their pledge to free a fourth batch of Palestinian prisoners as a gesture of goodwill towards the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinians have threatened to hold the Israelis accountable in international institutions and courts, which they had pledged to refrain from had Israel fulfilled its end of the agreement.

In recent days, however, regional media has speculated that in order to revive the stalled agreement, the United States may offer the Israelis the freedom of Jonathan Pollard, an American who was jailed for life for passing classified material to the Israelis.

The last batch of the 26 Palestinian prisoners that were expected to be released includes Palestinian citizens of Israel. The Israelis have argued that those prisoners are an internal matter.

Wasel Abu Yousef, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation Executive Committee, said the group had decided to approach UN institutions for membership in the event the Israelis fail to release the fourth batch of prisoners.

The prisoner release deal was reached between the US Administration and the Israeli government in return for a Palestinian pledge not to approach UN institutions, including the International Criminal Court, during the nine-month time frame for the peace talks, he told Gulf News, warning that the Palestinian leadership will be free to act once it makes sure that the fourth batch of the prisoners will not be released as per the terms of the deal.

The Palestinian leadership had demanded the release of the Palestinian leaders from the Israeli prisons, mainly Fatah leader Marwan Al Barghouthi and Ahmad Sadat, the leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. These attempts have increased since the possibility of the release of the US spy Pollard was first broached.

Haneen Zoubi, a Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset, pointed out that this is not the first time that Palestinian citizens of Israel have been included in prisoner release agreements, referring to those released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange and a 1985 prisoner swap deal.

She does not see any difference between the rights of the Palestinian prisoners from the Occupied West Bank and Gaza or those who are citizens of Israel.

Imprisoned [Palestinian citizens of Israel] did not struggle and resist the occupation as Israelis. They struggled against the occupation as Palestinian fighters seeking freedom and independence, she told Gulf News.

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Palestine threatens to take Israel to UN, ICC

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