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Andrew Yang [kee]: Champion of Memes, Math and Murder

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 12/05/2021 - 12:09am in

WASHINGTON (Substack // Alex Rubinstein) — Andrew Yang made a name for himself during the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, primarily by being nothing like the other candidates. More interested in meme causes than bread and butter political causes, Yang’s name was synonymous with the words “outsider,” “memes,” and “math.”

But how different was he, really?

Hours after it was reported that the Israeli apartheid regime had murdered nine Palestinian children in the Gaza ghetto, Yang tweeted his unquestioning support for Israel.

“I’m standing with the people of Israel who are coming under bombardment attacks, and condemn the Hamas terrorists,” he wrote. “The people of NYC will always stand with our brothers and sisters in Israel who face down terrorism and persevere.”

Since Yang’s tweet, the hashtag “#YangSupportsGenocide” has trended.

Many have brushed this off as cynical pandering to New York City’s large and politically powerful Jewish community, as Yang has gone from democratic primary laggard to frontrunner in the city’s democratic mayoral primary.

After all — Yang was known for his quirky remarks and millennial sensibilities, how could he take such a loathsome, if run-of-the-mill stance on this issue?

During his presidential campaign, his crowds were primed to chant “Math!” when he talked numbers. The Washington Post noted that he was a “former gamer” when he talked about regulating video game “loot boxes.” He was billed as “the candidate for the end of the world.” He made headlines for planning to campaign as a hologram. The New York Times said of the democratic field: “Only one of them will be focused on the robot apocalypse.” He made campaign stops at hip hop concerts. He was the only candidate to take a stance against circumcision, in favor of thorium reactors, and even promised to, as president, eliminate the penny and “empower MMA fighters.”

He even had the support of Silicon Valley oddball oligarchs like Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey.

In its typically stupid fashion, the media pontificated about whether Yang Gang was comprised of Gen Z’ers or White Nationalists.

Even though the Democratic field was crowded, it was clear that one of them was not like the others.

But when it came to foreign policy, a topic rarely discussed by Yang, he took standard democrat positions, much like his recent stance on Israel.

While he was praised by alternative media for signing a pledge to end the “forever wars,” — a nebulous term that coming out against provides enough wiggle room to get away with maintaining the status quo — the majority of his stated foreign policy positions aren’t so different from his former campaign rival Joe Biden.

Queried by the New York Times, Yang said that he would “consider military force for a humanitarian intervention,” that the United States should “maintain its current level of military aid to Israel,” that he does not support the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement, that Russia should be considered an adversary or enemy of the US, and that normalizing U.S.-China  relations and trade should be “contingent on China’s closing its internment camps for Uighurs.”

For the sake of brevity, I’ll simply be sharing some quotes from the meme king himself. I won’t be hyperlinking, as these quotes are all easy to find on Google:


  • The treatment of the Uighurs in China is unacceptable, and we need to be a part of the chorus of voices across the world calling the situation out for what it is. It’s also troubling to see China take a more aggressive stance throughout the region, whether towards Hong Kong, Taiwan, or in the South China Sea.
  • There are aspects of Chinese behavior that are deeply problematic—their piracy of intellectual property. … They have taken advantage of frameworks to their own benefit, and we haven’t had some of the same benefits.
  • Their system of government is becoming increasingly authoritarian as they develop more technologies that allow them to monitor and control their population. It’s important that we work with our allies to combat the spread of this authoritarian capitalism, and provide a model for democratic capitalism.
  • We need to make sure China isn’t stealing our IP or exporting their authoritarianism to other countries, and we must ensure that we have reliable access to rare earth metals.
  • I think most Americans stand in solidarity with the people of Hong Kong.
  • [We should use diplomacy] to build a coalition to help us put pressure on China in terms of the treatment of their ethnic minorities and what’s going on in Hong Kong.


  • Russian aggression in Ukraine is a blatant violation of international law, and we have the obligation to work with our allies to act.
  • Russian aggression is a destabilizing force, and we must work with our allies to project a strong and unified face against Russian expansionism.
  • The Russian interference in Ukrainian elections was a precursor to their interference in US elections.
  • I’d say [to Russian President Vladimir Putin] “I’m sorry I beat your guy.” Second I would say ‘the days of meddling in American elections are over and we will take any undermining of our democratic as an act of hostility and aggression.” The American people would back me on this, we know that they’ve found an underbelly and they’ve been clawing at it and it has made it so we can’t even trust our own democracy.
  • We need to expand sanctions against Russia, and Putin and members of his government specifically through the Global Magnitsky Act, in order to pressure the country to play by international rules.


  • It’s hard to tell whether there was widespread fraud or interference in the last election.


  • The United States must promote free and fair elections in Venezuela to determine their next leader. The most recent elections were obviously marred by fraud, intimidation, and voter suppression.
  • The United States must push with our allies for Maduro to step down, through diplomacy, and through sanctions targeted at Maduro and his supporters. We must also work with Guaido, and with him consider amnesty for some of Maduro’s military support to entice them to support Guaido as President of the National Assembly and interim President.


  • Iran is a destabilizing force in the region.
  • We need to build on the [JCPOA] to get Iran to stop destabilizing the region, attacking our allies, funding terrorist organizations, and causing conflict in the Strait of Hormuz.


  • Israel has been an important ally to the US, and it will continue to be an important ally. It is a democracy in a region where that is rare.

In addition to his response to the New York Times rejecting BDS, Andrew Yang recently wrote that “not only is BDS rooted in antisemitic thought and history, hearkening back to fascist boycotts of Jewish businesses, it’s also a direct shot at New York City’s economy. Strong ties with Israel are essential for a global city such as ours, which boasts the highest Jewish population in the world outside of Israel.”

In an interview with the alternative media show Secular Talk, Yang defended this position citing his on the record support for a “two-state solution,” which he characterized as a “fairly mainstream perspective.”

Yang is absolutely correct that the two-state solution is mainstream: it is supported by everyone from former CIA Director John Brennan, who recently penned an op-ed in which he pushed it, to Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The two-state solution is an easy answer to a problem that few can bring themselves to admit.  It gives Israelis control over the geographically and economically important areas while Palestinians get a Jackson Pollock-style archipelago of overpopulated safe havens with few natural resources. Any serious progressive, at this point, is advocating for a one-state solution with equal rights for all citizens, not a segregationist policy we could call Jafar Crow.

While Andrew Yang may not have much influence over US foreign policy should he get elected as Mayor of New York City, this kind of analysis of his positions was missing when it really mattered — while he was running for president. Yang enamored the left with his young and hip charade, popularizing fresh ideas like a universal basic income despite his mostly rotten, imperialist positions.

Because of the next to zero scrutiny the left gave to Yang’s foreign policy positions until his tweet on Monday supporting Israel as it bombs Gaza, I thought it was important to revisit this history in hopes that it will inform us for the future. I also propose a new nickname for the mayoral candidate: Andrew Yangkee.

And with this nickname, I humbly put forward this offering to the meme king of 2020.

Andrew Yang

Credit | Alex Rubinstein

Feature photo | Credit | Alex Rubinstein

Alex Rubinstein is an independent reporter on Substack. You can subscribe to get free articles from him delivered to your inbox here, and if you want to support his journalism, which is never put behind a paywall, you can give a one-time donation to him through PayPal here or sustain his reporting through Patreon here.

The post Andrew Yang [kee]: Champion of Memes, Math and Murder appeared first on MintPress News.

The Israel Narrative Is Crumbling Because Of Phone Cameras And The Internet

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 11/05/2021 - 10:05pm in

Listen to this article:

The Israel Narrative Is Crumbling Because Of Phone Cameras And The Internet

“Twenty-four people, including nine children, were killed in Gaza overnight, most of them in Israeli strikes,” reads a new report from AP.

Nine children, killed with the help of United States funding to the tune of $3.8 billion a year.

Remember kids, the US loves Muslims and just wants to protect their human rights.

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The Monday night airstrikes were in response to rocket attacks by Gaza resistance groups which had reportedly injured six Israelis, and those rocket attacks were in turn were a response to a deluge of Israeli police brutality footage in Jerusalem in preceding days. Electronic Intifada reports:

This came at the end of a day of violence that began in occupied East Jerusalem, where Israeli forces assaulted worshippers at the al-Aqsa mosque compound, injuring hundreds.

Scenes of brutality in Jerusalem generated outrage and solidarity among Palestinians and around the world.

The military wing of the Palestinian resistance organization Hamas issued an ultimatum giving Israel an hour — until 6 pm local time — to withdraw its forces from al-Aqsa and the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, and free detainees.

When the deadline passed, resistance groups in Gaza fired volleys of rockets towards Jerusalem for the first time since the summer 2014 war, prompting celebrations from some Palestinians.

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The mass media are working furiously to spin this in a way that rivals my satire piece from the other day. The New York Times has been cartoonishly re-writing its own reporting in a desperate attempt to make Israel look like an innocent victim of unprovoked attacks instead of the obvious aggressor against people protesting a brutal apartheid regime backed by an entire empire. The New York Post falsely reported that the deaths on Monday were caused by “Airstrikes from Hamas militants” (when did Hamas get an air force?) when sharing an article which falsely implied that those fatalities were inflicted by both sides. DW News framed its headline in a way that suggested the nine children killed had been involved in “fighting” against Israeli forces, and the word “clashes” is being thrown about willy nilly to describe a very one-sided assault.

But it isn’t working.

Social media is teeming with viral video footage of police assaulting peaceful worshippers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, of Israelis cheering and chanting “Yimach shemam (may their names be erased)” at the sight of a fire near the mosque, of Israeli soldiers arresting Palestinian protesters using the signature knee-on-neck maneuver made famous by the murder of George Floyd, many of which have millions of views. Mainstream politicians on both sides of the Atlantic are putting out statements explicitly condemning Israel as the aggressor in these attacks, and the White House is facing some actual adversarial journalism for once regarding its refusal to denounce the killing of Palestinian children and its absurd position that Palestinians have no right to defend themselves.

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This is the most mainstream that criticism of Israeli apartheid oppression has ever been in my lifetime, and as more and more mainstream human rights groups begin acknowledging the reality of that oppression it’s only getting more so.

Whenever I say something critical of Israel I always get readers saying “Oh man, you’re going to get attacked so bad for this, dissent on Israel is not tolerated,” but quite honestly that hasn’t been my experience at all and I think it’s an outdated perception. In the few years I’ve been at this commentary gig I’ve found I get far more aggressive pushback when I criticize establishment narratives regarding Russia or China, or even Syria and Venezuela, than I do when I criticize Israel. The pushback is there of course, but it’s not nearly as virulent as what I’m used to.

There are a lot of factors contributing to the growing awareness of Israel’s brutality, but I think the main reason is very simple: there are only so many viral videos of unconscionable acts that can be dismissed with “Actually this is way more complicated than it looks.” It is not more complicated than it looks. Clearly. It looks bad because it is bad.

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At a recent video appearance for the International Festival of Whistleblowing, Dissent and Accountability, Israel-based journalist Jonathan Cook described the changes he’s seen as smartphones and internet access made Palestinians less dependent on the work of sympathetic activists and gave them the ability to directly share footage of their own abuse. Cook says the following:

Sadly most corporate journalists paid little attention to the work of these activists. In any case, their role was quickly snuffed out. That was partly because Israel learnt that shooting a few of them served as a very effective deterrent, warning others to keep away.

But it was also because as technology became cheaper and more accessible — eventually ending up in mobile phones that everyone was expected to have — Palestinians could record their own suffering more immediately and without mediation.

Israel’s dismissal of the early, grainy images of the abuse of Palestinians by soldiers and settlers — as “Pallywood” (Palestinian Hollywood) — became ever less plausible, even to its own supporters. Soon Palestinians were recording their mistreatment in high definition and posting it directly to YouTube.

Seeing is believing, and a video is difficult to narrative manage. The dominant narrative is no longer solely in the hands of propaganda outlets like The New York Times which can spin everything that happens with a pro-Israel slant, it’s being spread all over the internet in a medium that is far more objective than print.

This is so effective because, unlike so many other ugly aspects of the US-centralized power alliance, Israeli apartheid is not some covert government operation being run by highly trained agents and manipulators. Those responsible for carrying out its day-to-day abuses are just ordinary civilians, police and soldiers who have not been trained on the sinister craft of perception management. Who aren’t acutely aware that it’s bad optics to tell a Palestinian family on camera that if you don’t steal their house then someone else will. Who don’t have bad PR at the forefront of their attention when they’re cheering as they shoot Palestinian protesters. Who just react to the racist nationalist propaganda they’ve been ingesting all their lives instead of considering how difficult it will be to narrative manage a video of them cheering and chanting “may their names be erased” at the sight of flames.

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Awareness is spreading of Israeli apartheid brutality for the same reason awareness is spreading of US police brutality: the internet combined with smartphone cameras. Seeing is believing. Seeing brings change.

This is why the powerful are working so hard to censor the internet. If they can’t control what our dominant narratives are going to be, they will not be able to rule us.

Will they succeed? Jonathan Cook’s aforementioned speech concludes with some words of hope and encouragement:

The establishment are being forced into a game of whack-a-mole with us. Each time they bully or dismantle a platform we use, another one — like Substack — springs up to replace it. That is because there will always be journalists determined to find a way to peek behind the curtain to tell us what they found there. And there will always be audiences who want to learn what is behind the curtain. Supply and demand are on our side.

The constant acts of intimidation and violence by political and media elites to crush media pluralism in the name of “democratic values” will serve only to further expose the hypocrisy and bad faith of the corporate media and its hired hands.

We must keep struggling because the struggle itself is a form of victory.



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This Is Not Fine: Why Video of an Ultranationalist Frenzy in Jerusalem Is So Unsettling

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 11/05/2021 - 7:01pm in

Weeks of protests in Jerusalem, where Palestinians are resisting an effort by Israeli settlers to force them from their homes and challenging Israeli police restrictions on their freedom to worship at Al Aqsa Mosque, spiraled into armed conflict on Monday, as Israeli airstrikes on Gaza killed 24 Palestinians, nine of them children, health officials said, after Hamas militants fired a barrage of rockets into Israel.

The rockets fired from Gaza, seven of which reportedly reached the outskirts of Jerusalem but caused no serious casualties, came hours after Israeli police had entered the Aqsa mosque compound on Monday morning, firing stun grenades and rubber bullets at Palestinian protesters defending the site with rocks and fireworks.

At one point during the daylong battle inside the compound, a large tree caught fire near the mosque, with conflicting reports as to which side was to blame.

No damage was caused to the mosque, but before the fire was extinguished, Israeli television broadcast what Daniel Seidemann, the director of Terrestrial Jerusalem, called the “apocalyptic” image of “flames rising high above” the compound known as Haram al-Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary, to Muslims and the Temple Mount to Jews.

The conservative Jerusalem Post journalist Lahav Harkov shared an image of the broadcast on Twitter.

Akiva Weisz, a reporter for Israel’s public broadcaster, Kan, posted video on Twitter of the flames burning near the mosque as a group of Israeli flag-waving, far-right religious extremists celebrated Jerusalem Day, an annual commemoration of Israel seizing full control of the city in 1967.

Palestinian Italian journalist Rula Jebreal shared another, closer angle on the scene from Israeli TV, which showed some of the religious Zionists on the plaza recording the fire on their phones.

Another video clip of ultranationalist Israelis in ecstatic celebration in front of the Western Wall, as flames near the Aqsa mosque leapt into the night sky above, unsettled and appalled many Palestinian and Jewish critics of the 54-year-old Israeli occupation of the city.

Ayman Odeh, the leader of the Joint List of predominantly Arab parties in Israel’s parliament, called the images he posted on Twitter, of the party atmosphere on the plaza below the fire, shocking.

Odeh, a Palestinian citizen of Israel and an uncompromising critic of Israel’s attempt to make its occupation of East Jerusalem permanent, tweeted his one-word comment in Hebrew, but the frightening image of the region teetering on the edge of the abyss seemed to need no translation, as religious extremists — many of whom would like nothing better than to see the mosque destroyed — continued their celebration, at least untroubled by the flames.

Nathan Thrall, a Jerusalem-based expert on the conflict and the author of “The Only Language They Understand,” noted that the celebration of conquest was also taking place on a plaza that was constructed by demolishing a Palestinian neighborhood.

The video shared by the Palestinian legislator reached millions of viewers on Twitter, in part because of a claim he did not make, that it showed the Israeli extremists celebrating what Turkey’s state-owned channel TRT World called “a blaze at Al Aqsa Mosque.”

The viral spread of the video, and false rumors that the mosque was on fire, prompted journalists to clarify that the fire had not spread from the tree, while defenders of Israel tried to contain the damage to the country’s image by insisting that Palestinians were to blame for starting it and noting, correctly, that the nationalistic celebrations on the plaza below were already well underway before it began.

Israeli nationalists and reporters shared a distant video clip of the confusing battle between the protesters and the police around the mosque, which they presented as proof that the fire had been started by Palestinians. Judah Ari Gross, a military correspondent for the Times of Israel, suggested on Twitter that fireworks that started the blaze were fired toward the plaza “where thousands of Jews were gathered for Jerusalem Day celebrations.”

While the video evidence is far from clear, it seems possible that Palestinian protesters did accidentally start the fire. But this focus on who started the fire, and whether the Israeli extremists were celebrating the blaze, is a distraction from what is most disturbing about the video shared by Odeh.

That’s because, as several Israeli journalists, as well as activists and scholars who speak Hebrew, pointed out, what was most horrifying about the scene was the song the ultranationalists were singing along to as a fire raged in front of them near Islam’s third holiest site.

It was, as Yair Wallach, a senior lecturer in Israeli Studies at SOAS University of London, explained, a 1990s Hassidic rock tune associated with the far-right Jewish supremacist movement of Rabbi Meir Kahane.

Kahane was the virulently anti-Arab founder of the Jewish Defense League, whose extremist Kach party was designated a terrorist organization and banned in 1994 after one of its members, Baruch Goldstein, killed 29 Muslims praying at the Tomb of the Patriarchs shrine in the West Bank city of Hebron.

Before he was assassinated in 1990, Kahane served in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, where he introduced legislation to strip non-Jews of citizenship and called for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the occupied territories.

In March, Itamar Ben-Gvir, the former head of Kahane’s youth movement and the current head of the far-right Jewish Power party, was elected to the Knesset. Ben-Gvir, who has called for the destruction of Al Aqsa Mosque, made a provocative visit on Monday to the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, to advocate for the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes, and then went to the Temple Mount, Haaretz reported.

Activists from the Kahanist youth organization Lehava, which is dedicated to preventing romantic relationships between Jews and Arabs, were in the city to take part in the annual Jerusalem Day flag march, in which religious Zionists usually parade through Palestinian neighborhoods in the Old City.

That parade was halted on Monday, but the activists were at the heart of the musical celebration on the plaza as the fire burned above them.

“Hard to capture how deeply horrifying this video is,” Simone Zimmerman, the U.S. director of the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, wrote on Twitter of the clip Odeh shared. “Thousands of Israeli Jews singing about revenge, chanting ‘Yimach shemam (may their names be erased),’ dancing as a fire burns on the Temple Mount. This is genocidal animus towards Palestinians — emboldened and unfiltered.”

“The song is not only genocidal, it’s also suicidal — from the story of Samson, who kills himself while getting revenge on the Philistines,” she added.

“These teens are student of pre-military yeshivas (the flag being waved is for the Tzvia Yeshiva in Dimona),” Elizabeth Tsurkov, a research fellow at the Forum for Regional Thinking, pointing out some of the young Israelis gleefully singing about taking revenge on the biblical enemies of the Jews. “Imagine what these boys will do once they are given guns and authority over millions of Palestinians, while they enjoy near-total impunity.”

“As a Jew, it hurts me to see this disgusting show of hatred at the holiest site for the Jews, the Western Wall,” she continued. “Young boys celebrating as east Jerusalem burns. Zionism is infecting Jewish identity in Israel with ethno-nationalism, militarism and glorification of violence.”

While several Jewish observers who understand the meaning of the song the young extremists were singing echoed Tsurkov’s comments, Yair Wallach pointed out earlier in the day that the Palestinian struggle to keep Israel from asserting control over their access to the Aqsa mosque compound is not entirely, or exclusively, about religion.

“The thing about al-Aqsa/Temple Mount is that it’s the most important place in Palestine/Israel, and its in Palestinian hands,” Wallach wrote in an incisive Twitter thread. “Israeli police can storm it, take the keys, lock the doors, beat up or shoot people. All this doesn’t change the fact that it’s in Palestinian hands.”

“Palestinian effective sovereignty in al-Aqsa is not due to diplomatic negotiations, or international law, or armed struggle (although all these played a role in defending it). It’s about moral authority. Israeli policies in the last decade threaten the status quo by effectively allowing ritual Jewish visits to the site (although nominally banned). But Israel has not dared to take over the site, and it remains in Palestinian hands, at least for now,” he continued.

“So lots of people will emphasise the religious dimension, which is clearly there and is important, but it’s not just about that. It’s also about basic freedom,” Wallach observed. “And this effective and symbolic sovereignty, despite its clear limitations, is deeper than the limited self-rule of Ramallah or Gaza and ultimately provides a far greater challenge to Israel.”

The post This Is Not Fine: Why Video of an Ultranationalist Frenzy in Jerusalem Is So Unsettling appeared first on The Intercept.

Palestinian Infant Sustains Punching-Related Injury In Violent Clash With Israeli Police

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 08/05/2021 - 10:22pm in


Israel, Palestine, News

Today’s Caitlin Johnstone article has been replaced with a breaking news report from the National News Conglomerate. NNC: Obey.

Listen to this article:

JERUSALEM — A four-month old Palestinian infant has sustained fist-related injuries to the face on Saturday during a violent clash with Israeli police officers.

Early reports are unclear whether the violence was instigated by the police or the baby girl. Also unknown is whether the child’s injuries were incurred by being struck or by attacking the officers’ fists with her face.

The knuckle-associated trauma occurred when violence broke out between the infant and several officers in riot gear in East Jerusalem, where clashes have been occurring due to rising anger over evictions of Palestinian families on land claimed by Jewish settlers. Both sides lay claim to the disputed properties, with the families arguing that the houses are their homes that they live in, and the settlers arguing that they were given the houses by decree in ancient scriptures authored by an invisible omnipotent deity.

Video footage of the incident went viral on social media minutes before being deleted from all platforms, leading to calls for peace from US officials.

“Very concerned about this violent clash, both sides should have de-escalated,” Vice President Kamala Harris said in a Twitter response to the video, adding, “Violence is never the answer, no matter your age.”

“We call on all babies to obey the rules-based international order,” added Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Asked for comment on the incident during a Saturday interview with NNC’s Ray Theon, New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said that “It’s not so much about the what of these happenings, but the how. Sometimes the how gets lost in the what, and then the what gets obscured by the why, and the why gets eaten by the who, and who even am I anyway? Who is anybody? Ultimately nobody knows. It’s a philosophical mystery, just like that incident with the baby.”

“Israel has a right to defend itself from terrorists of any developmental stage,” the Israel Police told NNC when asked for comment.

Les Overton, a senior fellow at the Washington-based think tank American-Israeli Center for Strategic Genocide, says both sides have been equally affected by this latest wave of violence, with Palestinians sustaining numerous fatalities and serious injuries and Israeli law enforcement suffering emotional discomfort and great inconvenience.

“It’s just a really perplexing situation,” Overton said. “On one hand you’ve got the Palestinians suffering under what more and more human rights groups are calling an ‘apartheid regime’, but on the other hand you’ve got the Israeli government and violent far-right extremists suffering from a desire to not have Palestinians living near them anymore. It’s hard to say who’s in the wrong here.”

“While Palestinians claim they have a right to live with basic human dignity in the homes they’ve spent their entire lives in, Israelis contend that those demands are invalidated by a religious text written thousands of years ago,” Overton added. “It’s a real pickle.”

“But let’s be real here,” Overton said. “Who among us, at some point in their lives, hasn’t needed to punch a baby in self-defense?”


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“The Present” — A Painful Short Film Tells the Whole Story of What It Means to be Palestinian

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 29/04/2021 - 2:31am in

OCCUPIED PALESTINE — “The Present” — a Palestinian film directed by Farah Nabulsi, with Saleh Bakri in the main role — was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Live Action Short Film. In the end it did not win an Oscar, although it was deserving of one. In his acceptance speech, Travon Free, who won the award for his movie “Two Distant Strangers,” quoted James Baldwin, who said that “the most despicable thing a person can be is indifferent to other people’s pain.”

“The Present” is only about 23 minutes long, yet it encomapses the totality of Palestine and the Palestinian experience. It also shows the indifference that is so prevalent to the pain of Palestinians.

The story is simple; in fact, it could not be more simple. A father, Yusef, played convincingly by Saleh Bakri, wakes up in the morning and takes his daughter Yasmin, played beautifully by Mariam Kanj, to buy a gift for his wife on the day of their anniversary. The gift is a surprise and the two set out happily planning to return and surprise the mother. But they are Palestinians living in Palestine and as such they are not permitted to enjoy even the simplest of pleasures.

The short trip to the store and back is filled with the indignities and humiliation that are part of a Palestinian’s daily life. These indignities are imposed on men, women, and even children. Even a father wanting to spend a special day with his daughter is denied that pleasure because Palestine is occupied and governed by a ruthless militant regime that is not only indifferent to the suffering and the feelings of Palestinians; it humiliates them and makes their life unliveable as a matter of policy.


An alternate path

Anyone who has been to Palestine has seen the checkpoints placed on roads where one part of the road, usually the wider part, provides free and easy access to Jews while Palestinians have to go through a narrow path and a checkpoint. Jews walk or drive freely and Palestinians are stopped; they must show their ID cards and quite often are randomly held for hours. Some are killed.

Humiliation, degradation and fear are built into the part of the road through which Palestinians must pass. Israeli soldiers and contractors who operate the checkpoints have long known that security is not their purpose, but rather humiliation and a show of power, such as it may be.

In “The Present,” the father and daughter leave their home, which is walking distance from the checkpoint, to go to the store. As they stand and wait, a car with Israelis drives by and the soldiers wave them through with a smile. I’ve seen and experienced this countless times as I drove through checkpoints. “Shalom, ma nishma,”  Hello, how are things, they say; and I answer back “Yofi hakol beseder,” Great, all is well.

The Present two roads

Scenes from “The Present.” Credit | Native Liberty

For reasons beyond understanding, the soldier at this checkpoint decides to pull Yusef out of the line and make him sit and wait in a cage built next to the road. The young daughter has to sit outside the cage and wait as well. There are no facilities, and no one cares what happens to the Palestinians, be they children or adults.

At last they leave the checkpoint and the daughter straggles behind her father as they walk to the bus stop. Yusef turns to see why his daughter is walking so slowly and he realizes she is embarrassed and uncomfortable because she has wet her pants. Yusef cuddles his daughter and tries to comfort her in this moment of shame and discomfort. They must board the bus like that until they reach a store, where he is able to buy her new clothes and eventually the gift they had gone to buy for Yasmin’s mother.


Back pain

Anyone who has suffered from severe chronic back pain, to the point where pain medication is needed constantly, can relate to this movie. In a brilliant aside, Yusef suffers from terrible back pain. In fact, in the very first scene we see him take his meds. Then his wife asks him how his back is doing and he replies, “same as always.”

On top of the indignities, the humiliation, the constant fear of the soldiers, and the ease with which they use their weapons on Palestinians, Yusef is struggling with this constant pain. He had not anticipated that their journey would last as long as it did and therefore he did not have his meds with him when the pain hit. He says nothing but his face says it all.

The Present Back Pain

Scenes from “The Present.” Credit | Native Liberty

At the store, Yusef asks why the pharmacy next door is closed — a death in the family, he is told. “Have you any painkillers?” he asks, “We did but we are sold out,” the lady at the register tells him. Now he knows the pain will remain with him and the day is not yet over.

Yusef and Yasmin proceed to purchase the gift, and return home. But on the way they must still go through the checkpoint, the same checkpoint where they had both already suffered humiliation. Now it is evening, the memories come back; the soldiers remember Yusef and harass him again for no reason; his pain, both physical and emotional, are severe and reach a boiling point.


An eerie resemblance

One of the soldiers at the checkpoint bears an eerie resemblance to a solider I had encountered once while traveling with a Palestinian friend. We were traveling in the West Bank to visit a mutual friend and a checkpoint was placed on the road for no explicable reason. The young soldier in charge was white — as in European white — with a beard. He wasn’t tall and he wore his helmet and gun in a clumsy manner. Like the soldier in the movie, he had no reason to stop us from proceeding but he had the power and the gun and so he was king.

The Present IDF Soldiers

Scenes from “The Present.” Credit | Native Liberty

As these words are written, Jerusalem is burning and Israelis are in the streets calling for the killing and forced expulsion of Palestinians. In “The Present,” as throughout all of Palestine, soldiers, police officers, secret police, or Shabak agents, have the power — indeed they are instructed — to harass, humiliate, and take the lives of Palestinians in the most arbitrary fashion. Farah Nabulsi with Saleh Bakri gave the world a glimpse into a day in the life of a Palestinian. How long will the world remain indifferent?

Feature photo | A scene from the 2020 short film, “The Present.” Credit | Native Liberty

Miko Peled is MintPress News contributing writer, published author and human rights activist born in Jerusalem. His latest books are”The General’s Son. Journey of an Israeli in Palestine,” and “Injustice, the Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five.”

The post “The Present” — A Painful Short Film Tells the Whole Story of What It Means to be Palestinian appeared first on MintPress News.

Elizabeth Warren Suggests U.S. Explore Conditional Aid to Israel

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 20/04/2021 - 5:42am in

At today’s meeting of the annual J Street conference, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., suggested that the U.S. consider conditional aid to Israel.

“I support military assistance to Israel,” said Warren’s planned remarks, referring to the aid as “the elephant in the room.” 

“But if we’re serious about arresting settlement expansion and helping move the parties toward a two-state solution, then it would be irresponsible not to consider all of the tools we have at our disposal,” her speech went on. “One of those is restricting military aid from being used in the occupied territories. By continuing to provide military aid without restriction, we provide no incentive for Israel to adjust course.”

Warren’s position is consistent with the more progressive stance on Israel policy the senator has taken in recent years. Before the 2020 election cycle, Warren had come under fire for her vote on U.S. aid to Israel during the 2014 Gaza war. At the time, she defended the vote, saying, “America has a very special relationship with Israel.” 

But Warren went out of her way during her presidential campaign to position herself among the new class of Democrats not afraid to question that special relationship. In October 2019, she said “everything is on the table” should Israel move away from a two-state solution, and in May 2020, she signed a letter with 18 Senate Democrats opposing Israel’s unilateral annexation of territories in the West Bank. On the campaign trail, the senator said she would push Israel to end its ongoing occupation of Palestine and denounced the country’s decision to bar Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich, and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., from entering the West Bank and East Jerusalem. 

Those decisions came with a price. After Warren told activists from the Jewish anti-occupation group IfNotNow that she would push Israel to end the occupation, Republicans blasted her as anti-Israel, and some even labeled her an anti-Semite. Criticisms flowed from within her own party as well. Democratic Majority for Israel, a centrist Democratic PAC working to elect pro-Israel candidates, sent a memo warning other Democratic presidential candidates about IfNotNow, advising them to stick to a script saying they supported a two-state solution.

“Warren’s support of the common-sense idea that US military funding to the Israeli government should never go toward the occupation is a huge sign of the growing support among Democratic voters to take on the foreign policy hawks who no longer have complete control over the debate,” said Morriah Kaplan, spokesperson for IfNotNow.

Mark Mellman, a longtime strategist for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, launched Democratic Majority for Israel with several other Democratic strategists in 2019, aiming to curb the growing willingness among the party’s left wing to criticize the U.S. relationship with Israel and human rights abuses in the occupied territories. DMFI was the first Democratic group to run ads — with help from AIPAC — attacking Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., by name in either of his presidential campaigns. Most recently, DMFI came under criticism after a 2018 social media post surfaced from a board member who wrote, “Gaza is full of monsters. Time to burn the whole place.”

After news that Warren’s presidential campaign had hired an IfNotNow co-founder, Mellman made a personal call to her campaign manager. He wanted to make sure the staffer wasn’t working on Israel policy or Jewish outreach; Warren’s campaign assured him the staffer was not.

During the J Street speech, Warren also reiterated support for a two-state solution, condemned the continued expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and called on Israel to help Palestinians access Covid-19 vaccines. She called on the Biden administration to restore access to the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem to Palestinians, to reopen the Palestine Liberation Organization delegation office in Washington, D.C., and to take steps to end the ongoing blockade and ensuing humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.

The post Elizabeth Warren Suggests U.S. Explore Conditional Aid to Israel appeared first on The Intercept.

Battle of Antisemitism Definitions is Actually a Proxy War For Criticism of Israel

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 16/04/2021 - 4:28am in

Last month, a global consortium of leading scholars released the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism (JDA),...

Palestinian Elections Under Fire: An Impossible Democracy Dilemma

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 12/03/2021 - 1:52am in

Many Palestinian intellectuals and political analysts find themselves in the unenviable position of having to declare a stance on whether they support or reject upcoming Palestinian elections which are scheduled for May 22 and July 30. But there are no easy answers.

The long-awaited decree by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas last January to hold legislative and presidential elections in the coming months was widely welcomed,  not as a triumph for democracy but as the first tangible positive outcome of dialogue between rival Palestinian factions, mainly Abbas’ Fatah party and Hamas.

As far as inner Palestinian dialogue is concerned, the elections, if held unobstructed, could present a ray of hope that, finally, Palestinians in the Occupied Territories will enjoy a degree of democratic representation, a first step towards a more comprehensive representation that could include millions of Palestinians outside the Occupied Territories.

But even such humble expectations are conditioned on many “ifs”: only if Palestinian factions honor their commitments to the Istanbul Agreement of September 24; only if Israel allows Palestinians, including Jerusalemites, to vote unhindered and refrains from arresting Palestinian candidates; only if the US-led international community accepts the outcome of the democratic elections without punishing victorious parties and candidates; only if the legislative and presidential elections are followed by the more consequential and substantive elections in the Palestinian National Council (PNC) – the Palestinian Parliament in exile – and so on.

If any of these conditions is unsatisfactory, the May elections are likely to serve no practical purpose, aside from giving Abbas and his rivals the veneer of legitimacy, thus allowing them to buy yet more time and acquire yet more funds from their financial benefactors.

All of this compels us to consider the following question: is democracy possible under military occupation?

Almost immediately following the last democratic Palestinian legislative elections in 2006, the outcome of which displeased Israel, 62 Palestinian ministers and members of the new parliament were thrown into prison, with many still imprisoned.

History is repeating itself as Israel has already begun its arrest campaigns of Hamas leaders and members in the West Bank. On February 22, over 20 Palestinian activists, including Hamas officials, were detained as a clear message from the Israeli occupation to Palestinians that Israel does not recognize their dialogue, their unity agreements or their democracy.

Two days later, 67-year-old Hamas leader, Omar Barghouti, was summoned by the Israeli military intelligence in the occupied West Bank and warned against running in the upcoming May elections. “The Israeli officer warned me not to run in the upcoming elections and threatened me with imprisonment if I did,” Barghouti was quoted by Al-Monitor.

IDF soldiers patrol the Palestinian side of Israel’s apartheid wall in front of a mural of Marwan Barghouti. Nasser Shiyoukhi | AP

The Palestinian Basic Law allows prisoners to run for elections, whether legislative or presidential, simply because the most popular among Palestinian leaders are often behind bars. Marwan Barghouti is one.

Imprisoned since 2002, Barghouti remains Fatah’s most popular leader, though appreciated more by the movement’s young cadre, as opposed to Abbas’ old guard. The latter group has immensely benefited from the corrupt system of political patronage upon which the 85-year-old president has constructed his Authority.

To sustain this corrupt system, Abbas and his clique labored to marginalize Barghouti, leading to the suggestion that Israel’s imprisonment of Fatah’s vibrant leader serves the interests of the current Palestinian President.

This claim has much substance, not only because Abbas has done little to pressure Israel to release Barghouti but also because all credible public opinion polls suggest that Barghouti is far more popular among Fatah’s supporters – in fact all Palestinians – than Abbas.

On February 11, Abbas dispatched Hussein al-Sheikh, the Minister of Civilian Affairs and a member of Fatah’s Central Committee, to dissuade Barghouti from running in the upcoming presidential elections. An ideal scenario for the Palestinian President would be to take advantage of Barghouti’s popularity by having him lead the Fatah list in the contest for the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). Hence, Abbas could ensure a strong turnout by Fatah supporters, while securing the chair of presidency for himself.

Barghouti vehemently rejected Abbas’ request, thus raising an unexpected challenge to Abbas, who now risks dividing the Fatah vote, losing the PLC elections, again, to Hamas and losing the presidential elections to Barghouti.

Between the nightly raids and crackdowns by the Israeli military and the political intrigues within the divided Fatah movement, one wonders if the elections, if they take place, will finally allow Palestinians to mount a united front in the struggle against Israeli occupation and for Palestinian freedom.

Then, there is the issue of the possible position of the ‘international community’ regarding the outcome of the elections. News reports speak of efforts made by Hamas to seek guarantees from Qatar and Egypt “to ensure Israel will not pursue its representatives and candidates in the upcoming elections,” Al-Monitor also reported.

But what kind of guarantees can Arab countries obtain from Tel Aviv, and what kind of leverage can Doha and Cairo have when Israel continues to disregard the United Nations, international law, the International Criminal Court, and so on?

Nevertheless, can Palestinian democracy afford to subsist in its state of inertia? Abbas’ mandate as president expired in 2009, the PLC’s mandate expired in 2010 and, in fact, the Palestinian Authority was set up as an interim political body, whose function should have ceased in 1999. Since then, the ‘Palestinian leadership’ has not enjoyed legitimacy among Palestinians, deriving its relevance, instead, from the support of its benefactors, who are rarely interested in supporting democracy in Palestine.

The only silver lining in the story is that Fatah and Hamas have also agreed on the restructuring of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which is now largely monopolized by Abbas’ Fatah movement. Whether the democratic revamping of the PLO takes place or not, largely depends on the outcome of the May and July elections.

Palestine, like other Middle Eastern countries, including Israel, does have a crisis of political legitimacy. Since Palestine is an occupied land with little or no freedom, one is justified to argue that true democracy under these horrific conditions cannot possibly be achieved.

Feature photo  | Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti appears in an Israeli court. Bernat Armangue | AP

Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) and also at the Afro-Middle East Center (AMEC). His website is

The post Palestinian Elections Under Fire: An Impossible Democracy Dilemma appeared first on MintPress News.

Professor Alison Bashford, please reconsider the Dan David Prize: an open letter from academics, researchers and students

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 11/03/2021 - 3:01am in


Israel, Palestine

NB. This letter is open to receiving signatures from academics, students and researchers. To sign it, follow this link. It has also been published by the BDS campaign, here is their statement on the issue.

Dear Professor Bashford,

We are academics, researchers and students. We ask you to please reconsider accepting your share of the prestigious 2021 Dan David Prize,[1] the academic award administered by and headquartered at Tel Aviv University (TAU).[2] This year’s prize rewards scholars who have contributed to advances in and understanding of medicine and public health. In reality, however, accepting it serves to legitimise and normalise Israel’s colonial violence and apartheid.

As we are sure you are aware, for decades, through its military occupation, blockade and apartheid, Israel has been undermining Palestine’s health systems and systematically denying Palestinians medical care.[3] In a report from November last year, the director of the World Health Organization noted that Israel’s ‘chronic occupation has profound implications for the sustainability of health-care provision by public authorities, in terms of both revenue raising and affordability’.[4] Palestinians are regularly blackmailed into collaboration with the Israeli Security Services in order to get the permits they need to leave the West Bank and Gaza for medical treatment.[5] Currently, while Israel has been hailed for vaccinating its population, it is refusing to immunize all Palestinians under its rule,[6] as is its responsibility,[7] and placing obstacles in the way of transfer of vaccines into Gaza and the West Bank, entry to which it fully controls—clear testament to the apartheid regime it maintains.[8]  

Since 2005, Palestinian civil society organisations have been calling on supporters of justice and antiracism around the world to express solidarity with the Palestinian people and the Palestinian cause by boycotting Israel, including its academic institutions. Accepting the prize would be a clear violation of this call, and an outright refusal of Palestinians’ aspirations for freedom. We ask you to respect the wishes of Palestinian people and not side with their oppressor.

TAU directly facilitates Israel’s ongoing illegal occupation of the West Bank and its illegal blockade of Gaza. It must be held accountable for supporting Israel’s repression of Palestinians. Examples of TAU’s complicity in Israel’s anti-Palestinianism are numerous: 

  • An affiliate of the university’s Sackler School of Medicine, the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute,[9] is currently stockpiling the bodies of scores of Palestinians for use as leverage in negotiations, refusing to release them to their families, a practice that contravenes international treaties and conventions.[10]  
  • TAU hosts the Institute for National Security Studies, whose 2018 ‘Plan’ recommends completing the illegal separation wall, and ‘ongoing construction in settlement blocs’—in other words, perpetuation of Israeli apartheid—and which declares in its current report that ‘it is necessary to prepare for the next war’.[11] 
  • TAU’s Yuval Ne’eman Workshop for Science, Technology and Security cooperates closely with the Israeli Defence Force and other security services, and hosts work on, among other things, ‘missiles and guided weapons, homeland security, [and] force build-up policy’.[12] In 2008 the TAU president described himself as ‘awed by the magnitude and scientific creativity of the work being done behind the scenes at TAU that enhances the country’s civilian defense capabilities and military edge’.[13]  
  • TAU’s Iby and Aladar Fleischman Faculty of Engineering runs an ‘entrepreneurship program’ with Elbit Systems,[14] a major Israeli arms manufacturer, whose weapons and technology are battle-tested on Palestinians.[15] 
  • Since 2016, as at all Israeli universities, soldiers’ TAU tuition fees are paid after discharge from the army.[16]  
  • In 2014, TAU offered a year’s free tuition to students who had participated in the murderous military attacks on Gaza.[17] 
  • In 2012, TAU started collaboration with settlement organisations in archaeological digs in Palestinian East Jerusalem, in violation of international agreements.[18] 

Professor Bashford, we call on you to follow the lead of your colleague and fellow historian Professor Catherine Hall, who in 2018 refused the Dan David Prize.[19] Doing so would make an important contribution to the cause of antiracism and opposition to apartheid in Israel in a context in which state-led resolution efforts have failed. It would also avoid a flagrant contradiction with your own published work, which aims to contribute to ‘the critical history of colonialism, nationalism and public health’, investigating, among other topics, ‘segregation as both hygienic—that is, as part of public health—and racial—as part of the systems and cultures of race management’.[20]  

Israel’s racist policies against Palestinians, long criticised as instances of apartheid by Palestinians themselves, as well as by international legal and humanitarian authorities (including recently by the Israeli NGO B’Tselem), are an egregious example of racial segregation imposed on an entire population, with all the desperate consequences for Palestinians’ health and well-being that this implies.[21] 

Professor Bashford, you have a significant opportunity to contribute to public understanding of the importance of antiracism and anti-apartheid. In 2003, you and a co-author noted that ‘even repressive regimes have been eroded through criticism generated by external human rights groups attempting to universalise democratic ideals’; as you pointed out, ‘it is difficult to imagine the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa, for example, without the chorus of international calls to release high-profile political prisoners on Robben Island’.[22] Palestinians’ appeal for boycott is an attempt to mobilise a chorus of international calls of exactly this kind. 

Nothing obliges you to accept the Dan David Prize and the financial reward that accompanies it. Doing so would be a sharp rebuke to the unanimous call from Palestinian organisations to support their struggle for freedom. As you have noted, ‘liberalism and the idea of democratic rule—most recently through the language of human rights—problematises arbitrary detention, the incarceration of non-criminals and of political prisoners’.[23] These are, however, among the very practices that Israel imposes on Palestinians. Refusing the award, opposing the whitewashing of Israel’s crimes, and rejecting collaboration with an Israeli academic institution complicit with the oppression of Palestinians would earn you the respect and admiration of all those who believe that academic research must serve the cause of freedom, in Palestine and in the world.

NB. This letter is open to receiving signatures from academics, students and researchers. To sign it, follow this link.

Samah Sabawi, independent scholar, Melbourne
Nick Riemer, University of Sydney
Rima Najjar, Al Quds University, Palestine
Ahmed Alnajjar. Director of Public and International Relations, Ministry of Education, Palestine
Randa Abdel-Fattah, Macquarie University
Randa Farah, University of Western Ontario
Wael Hallaq, Columbia University
Laleh Khalili, Queen Mary University of London
Lila Abu-Lughod, Columbia University
Rashid Khalidi, Columbia University
Nadia Abu El-Haj, Columbia University
Saree Makdisi, UCLA
Judith Butler, UC Berkeley
Ilan Pappe, University of Exeter
Omar Barghouti, independent scholar
J. Kehaulani Kauanui, Wesleyan University
Jasbir Puar, Rutgers University
Peter Slezak, University of New South Wales
John Keane, University of Sydney
Alistair Sisson, University of New South Wales
Michael Grewcock, University of New South Wales
Alana Lentin, University of Western Sydney
David Brophy, University of Sydney
James Godfrey, Birkbeck, University of London
Jumana Bayeh, Macquarie University
Adi Ophir, Tel Aviv University, Emeritus, Brown University, visiting
Sara Dehm, University of Technology, Sydney
Ntina Tzouvala, Australian National University
Lucia Sorbera, University of Sydney
Kieron Cadey, Canterbury Christ Church
Inna Michaeli, independent scholar, Germany
Michael Griffiths, University of Wollongong
Sara Saleh, University of New South Wales
Liyana Kayali, Australian National University
Micaela Sahhar, University of Melbourne
Kate Davison, University of Melbourne
Daniel A. Segal, Pitzer College of the Claremont Colleges, USA
Nicola Perugini, University of Edinburgh
Sharri Plonski, Queen Mary, University of London
Ronit Lentin, Trinity College Dublin
Ryan Al-Natour, Charles Sturt University
Robert Boyce, London School of Economics
Mohd Nazari bin Ismail, University of Malaya
Lobna Yassine, Australian Catholic University
Suzita Noor, University of Malaya
Karel Arnaut, KU Leuven
Paola Manduca, University of Genoa, Italy
John King, New York University
Angelo Baracca, University of Florence
Zati Azizul, University of Malaya
Marcelo Svirsky University of Wollongong
Elsa Haniffah Mejia Mohamed, University Malaya
MY Musa, USM
Aneesa Abdul Rashid, Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia
Herman De Ley, Ghent University
Bruce Robbins, Columbia University
Brinkley Messick, Columbia University
Gil Hochberg, Columbia University
Samera Esmeir, UC Berkeley
Mark Ayyash, Mount Royal University, Canada
Raja Jamilah Raja Yuso, University of Malaya
Norhayati Ab.Rahman, University of Malaya
Brian Boyd, Columbia University
David Faber, Flinders University
Noor Fadiya Mohd Noor, University of Malaya
Noor Adwa Sulaiman University of Malaya
Fatiha Shabaruddin, Universiti Malaya
Marc De Meyere Gent University
Susan Ferguson, Wilfrid Laurier University
Nozomi Takahashi, Staff scientist, VIB/Ghent University
Snehal Shingavi, University of Texas, Austin
Hassan Basri, University of Sultan Zainal Abidin
J. Ahmad, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia
Meera Atkinson, University of Notre Dame Australia
George H Morgan, Western Sydney University
Brian Brophy, University of Adelaide
Zul’aini Zainal Abidin, Kolej Poly-Tech MARA
Sharmani Patricia Gabriel, Universiti Malaya
Amir Nor, Islamic Science University
Omar bin Yaakob, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
Mike Cushman, London School of Economics
Harry Smaller, York University, Canada
M.Tashid, University of Technology Malaysia
Rozaini Roslan, UTHM
Mohamed Hatta Shaharom, Chairman Ikram Foundation of Malaysia
Harlina Halizah Siraj, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)
Prof Dr Hayati, USIM
Borhanuddin Mohd Ali, Universiti Putra Malaysia
Azman Che Mat, UiTM
Mustafa Mohd Hanefah, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia
Ramli Bin Nazir, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
Ahmad Hariza Hashim, Universiti Putra Malaysia
Prof Dr Norhasmah, UPM
Nor Azan, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
Abdul Rashid Mohamed, Universiti Sains Malaysia
Daing Nasir Ibrahim University Malaysia Pahang
Sahrim Ahmad, UKM, Malaysia
Haiyun Ma, Frostburg State University, USA
Mahamod Ismail, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
Tengku Shahrom Tengku Shahdan, Universiti Selangor
Suhaimi Mhd Sarif, International Islamic University Malaysia
A’zzah, CEO, Al Musab Institute
Wan Jefrey Basirun University Malaya
Adlina SuleimanAcademy of Professors Malaysia
Khairul Saidah Abas Azmi, University of Malaya
Noorsyazly Rameli, Malaysia
Mohammad Nazri, Universiti Malaya
Kelton Muir Sydney University
John Michael O’Brien, University of Sydney
Souheir Edelbi, UNSW
Paul Russell, Victoria University
Toby Fitch, University of Sydney
Finola Laughren, University of Sydney
Azmi Aminuddin, UiTM
Rohana Hassan, UiTM
Christiane Schomblond, Université Libre de Bruxelles
Kathryn Ticehurst, University of Sydney
Carol Que, University of Melbourne
Noor Sapiei, University of Malaya
Alan Hill, RMIT University, Melbourne
Goldie Osuri, University of Warwick
Azman Hassan, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
Meloni Muir, University of Sydney
Liam Ward, RMIT University, Melbourne
David Klein, California State University Northridge
Vannina Sztainbok, University of Toronto
Colin Mooers, Ryerson University, Canada
Sylvat Aziz, Queens University, Toronto
Joy Moore, Dawson College, Montreal
Asha Varadharajan, Queen’s University
Brett Story, Ryerson University
Larry Hannant, University of Victoria
Sumi Hasegawa, McGill University
Nicola Pratt, University of Warwick
David Borgonjon, Rhode Island School of Design
Kevin Moloney, York University, Toronto
Steven Jordan, McGill University
Tim Anderson, Centre for Counterhegemonic Studies
Peter Chidiac, University of Western Ontario
Anne Meneley, Trent University
Edwin E. Daniel, University of Alberta
Christo El Morr, York University
Natalia Maystorovich Chulio, University of Sydney
Matilda Fay, University of Technology Sydney
Mark LeVine, UC Irvine
Robert Austin, University of Sydney
Viviana Ramírez, independent scholar, Chile
Mohd Hilmi Jaafar, University of Malaya
Victor Wallis, Berklee College of Music
Zuhaimy ismail, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
Shira Robinson, George Washington University
Daing Nasir Ibrahim, University Malaysia Pahang
Malek Abisaab, McGill University
Graham Holton, University of Queensland
Ben Golder, University of New South Wales
Izlin Ismail, University of Malaya
Suzannah Henty, University of Melbourne
Shamsul Izwan bin Saharani, University of Malaya
Yara Hawari, University of Exeter
Nate George, Columbia University
Jake Lynch, University of Sydney
Michael Leonard Furtado, University of Queensland
Lewis Turner, Newcastle University
Owen Marsden-Readford, Sydney University SRC
Sonia Qadir, University of New South Wales
Susan Spronk, University of Ottawa
David Heap University of Western Ontario
Ximena de la Barra, lecturer and writer, Spain
Lim Yat Yuen, Universiti Malaya
Briony Neilson, University of Sydney
Didier Samain, Sorbonne Université, Paris.
Mohd Rais Mustafa, Universiti Malaya
UNSW Students for Palestine club, UNSW
Lauren Banko, University of Manchester
Evan Jones, Sydney University
Sujatha Fernandes, University of Sydney
Raja Hisyamudin, Senior Lecturer University of Malaya
Ben Etherington, Western Sydney University
Nurhazwani Abdul Rahman, Assistant Bursar, University of Malaya
David Pritchard, The University of Queensland
Judith Grbich, Griffith University
Eshah AWahab, University of Malaya
Muhammad Shamil, Pondicherry University
Roza Hazli Zakaria, University of Malaya
Sharmila Jayasingam, Universiti Malaya
Paola Rivetti, Dublin City University
Kevin Bruyneel, Babson College
Marc Lamont Hill, Temple University
Michelle Hartman, McGill University
Stephen Sheehi, William & Mary
Ariella Azoulay, Brown University
Haim Bresheeth-Zabner SOAS, University of London
Sarah Schulman, City University of New York, College of Staten Island
Sherene Seikaly, UCSB
Peter Eglin, Wilfrid Laurier University
Andrew Brooks, UNSW
Holly High, University of Sydney
Valentina Baú, University of New South Wales
Noam Peleg, UNSW
Safiah Muhammad Yusoff, University Malaya
Jonathan Dunk, University of Melbourne
Mohamad Said Bin Othman, University Of Malaya
Joseph Pugliese, Macquarie University
Andy Kaladelfos, UNSW
Matthew Abbott, Federation University
Claire Launchbury, Leeds
Meaghan Morris, University of Sydney
Anna Hush, University of New South Wales
Aurelien Mondon, University of Bath
Helen Goritsas, Academy of Information Technology, Australia
Judith Mcvey, University of Sydney
Amy Thomas, University of Technology Sydney
Diana Shahinyan, University of Sydney
Marcus Banks, RMIT University, Melbourne
Tasnim Sammak, Monash University
Lina Koleilat , Australian National University
Catriona Menzies-Pike, Western Sydney University
Jordy Silverstein, La Trobe University
Iseult Mc Nulty, Trinity College Dublin
Maayan Geva, University of Roehampton
Cynthia Wright, York University
Ilan Kapoor, York University
Maya Ober, FHNW Academy of Art and Design, Switzerland
Michael Mohammed Ahmad, Western Sydney University
Najib Safieddine, University of Toronto
Diana Jefferies, Western Sydney University
Ned Curthoys, The University of Western Australia
John Docker, University of Sydney
Sophie Loy-Wilson, University of Sydney
Jimmy Yan, University of Melbourne
Anna Saunders, Harvard Law School
Caitlin Biddolph, University of New South Wales
Shaira Vadasaria, University of Edinburgh
Emma Russell, La Trobe University
Scott Burchill, Deakin University
Tarik Cyril Amar, Koc University, Turkey
Samia Khatun, SOAS, University of London
Gavan Titley, Maynooth University, Ireland
Francesco Saverio Leopardi, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice
Laurence Davis, University College Cork
Ismail Patel, independent researcher, England
Mohamad Faithal Haji Hassan, University of Malaya
Effie Karageorgos, University of Newcastle, Australia
Dalia Abdelhady, Lund University, Sweden
Mod Faizul Sabri, University of Malaya
Roland Loh, Kingston University, UK
Hussain Mohd, University Malaya
Awangku Abdul Rahman, Islamic Science University of Malaysia
Khadijah Md Khalid, University of Malaya
Sarah Keenan, Birkbeck School of Law
Leah Price, Rutgers University
Saul Takahashi, Osaka Jogakuin University, Japan
Ben Silverstein, Australian National University
Terence Gomez, Universiti Malaya
Roshidah Hassan, Universiti Malaya
Maha Nassar, University of Arizona
Suria Zainuddin, University of Malaya
Dr Bedj Bedj Toufik, University of Malaya
NW Salman, University of Malaya
M Zaidi A Rahman, University of Malaya
Aishah Ahmad Fauzi, University Malaya
Rodiah Zawawi, University of Malaya
Aileen Moreton-Robinson, RMIT, Melbourne
Muhamad Ammar Remli, Islamic Science University of Malaysia
Ghazala Mir, University of Leeds
Judith E. Tucker, Georgetown University
Salwa Mohd Saleh, University College London
Yasmine Kherfi, London School of Economics and Political Science
Kamakshi Amar, London School of Economics
Zulqarnain Mohamed, Universiti of Malaya
Tg Muzaffar Tg Muda, Lancaster University
Roger Markwick, University of Newcastle, Australia
Shuaib Manjra, University of Cape Town
Zulqarnain Mohamed, University of Malaya
Usuf Chikte, University of Stellenbosch
Jasmine Duff, University of Wollongong
Fairuz Mullagee, University of the Western Cape
Abu Bakar, University of Indonesia
Catherine Ann Cullen, Trinity College Dublin
WZ Kamaruddin Ali, University of Malaya
Prof. Dr. Mohd Afandi Salleh, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, Malaysia
Yau’Mee Hayati Hj Mohamed Yusof, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia
Wan Muhammad Afiq bin Wan Muhamad Fauzan, INSPEM Universiti Putra Malaysia
Zulfakar Ramleem International Islamic University, Malaysia.
Tuti Iryani Mohd Daud, Universiti Kebangsaan, Malaysia
Sahrim Ahmad, Universiti Kebangsaan, Malaysia
Zul’aini Zainal Abidin, Kolej Poly-Tech MARA, Malaysia
Abdul Rashid bin Abdul Rahman, University of Cyberjaya, Malaysia
Hadhrami Ab Ghani,Universiti Malaysia Kelantan
Syamimi Saadon, Universiti Putra Malaysia
Alwani Ghazali, Universiti Malaya
Rohaida Mohd Saat, independent scholar, Malaysia
Siti Zarina Mohd Muji, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn, Malaysia
Ahmad Ainuddin Nuruddin, Universiti Putra, Malaysia
Nurul Iffah Bt Ghazali, UiTM Puncak Alam
Mandy Turner, University of Manchester
Dror Warschawski, Sorbonne Université, France
Ahmed Abbes, CNRS, France
Professor Hairuddin Mohd Ali, International Islamic University Malaysia
Nada Elia, Western Washington University, USA
Carolyn D’Cruz, La Trobe University
Siti Zaiton Mohd Hashim, Universiti Malaysia Kelantan
Priya Kunjan, University of Melbourne
Rabah Tahraoui, Université de Rouen, France.
Poppy de Souza, Griffith University and UNSW
Maree Pardy, Deakin University
Dr Crystal McKinnon, RMIT, Melbourne
Mohammed Massoud Morsi, Independent Scholar, Australia
Clive Gabay, Queen Mary University of London
Mahanim Hanid, Universiti Malaya, Malaysia
AbdulRahman Sufi, City University of Mogadishu, Somalia
Michael Harris, Columbia University
Zoë Lawlor , University of Limerick
James R. Levy, University of New South Wales Sydney
David Landy, Trinity College Dublin
Haim Bresheeth-Zabner, SOAS University of London
Professor Yosefa Loshitzky, SOAS University of London
Anam Matariyeh, Independent Scholar
Kenneth W. Burchell, Independent historian
Sarah Dweik, PSU
Waad Marzuqi , University of London
Lorenzo Ramero, Université de Lille
Zuhair Idris, Independent Scholar
Nour Ali, Brunel University
Erik Karlström, Lund University (masters student)
Abdulrachman Teves UPLB
Adel Yousif , University of Tasmania
C. Michael Hall, University of Canterbury
Ana Madeira, Universidade Nova de Lisboa
Anas Elkady, Ryerson University
Rachid Darradji, MIT
Shahd Al-Janabi, Charles Darwin University
Elaine Bradley, independent scholar, Ireland
Timothy Erik Ström, independent scholar, Australia

List as of the 10/3/2021


[3] A 2020 report by the WHO director general, Health Conditions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Including East Jerusalem, and in the Occupied Syrian Golan, for instance, finds that ‘Israeli settler population in the West Bank, estimated to comprise more than 600000 persons, compared to Palestinians living in the same territory, have a life expectancy almost nine years higher, infant mortality more than six times lower and maternal mortality nine times lower’, p. 12.
[4] Health Conditions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, p. 18.
[20] A. Bashford, (2004) ‘Introduction: Lines of hygiene, boundaries of rule’, in Imperial Hygiene, London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp 13 and 2.
[22] A. Bashford and C. Strange, ‘Isolation and Exclusion in the Modern World: An Introductory Essay’, in A. Bashford and C. Strange (eds), Isolation: Places and Practices of Exclusion, London: Routledge, 2003, p. 14.
[23] Bashford and Strange, ‘Isolation and Exclusion in the Modern World’, p. 14.

Engaging the World: The ‘Fascinating Story’ of Hamas’s Political Evolution

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 03/03/2021 - 7:23am in

On February 4, representatives from the Palestinian Movement, Hamas, visited Moscow to inform the Russian government of the latest development on the unity talks between the Islamic Movement and its Palestinian counterparts, especially Fatah.

This was not the first time that Hamas’s officials traveled to Moscow on similar missions. In fact, Moscow continues to represent an important political breathing space for Hamas, which has been isolated by Israel’s Western benefactors. Involved in this isolation are also several Arab governments which, undoubtedly, have done very little to break the Israeli siege on Gaza.

The Russia-Hamas closeness is already paying dividends. On February 17, shipments of the Russian COVID-19 vaccine, Sputnik V, have made it to Gaza via Israel, a testament to that growing rapport.

While Russia alone cannot affect a complete paradigm shift in the case of Palestine, Hamas feels that a Russian alternative to the blind and conditional American support for Israel is possible, if not urgent.

Recently, we interviewed Dr. Daud Abdullah, the author of ‘Engaging the World: The Making of Hamas’s Foreign Policy’, and Mr. Na’eem Jeenah, Director of the Afro-Middle East Center in Johannesburg, which published Dr. Abdullah’s book.

Abdullah’s volume on Hamas is a must-read, as it offers a unique take on Hamas, liberating the discussion on the Movement from the confines of the reductionist Western media’s perception of Hamas as terrorist – and of the counterclaims, as well. In this book, Hamas is viewed as a political actor, whose armed resistance is only a component in a complex and far-reaching strategy.


Why Russia?

As Moscow continues to cement its presence in the region by offering itself as a political partner and, compared with the US, a more balanced mediator between Israel and the Palestinians, Hamas sees the developing Russian role as a rare opportunity to break away from the US-Israel imposed isolation.

“Russia was a member of the Quartet that was set up in 2003 but, of course, as a member of the (United Nations) Security Council, it has always had an ability to inform the discourse on Palestine,” Abdullah said, adding that in light of “the gradual demise of American influence, Russia realized that there was an emerging vacuum in the region, particularly after the (Arab) uprisings.”

“With regard to Hamas and Russia the relationship took off after the (Palestinian) elections in 2006 but it was not Hamas’s initiative, it was (Russian President Vladimir) Putin who, in a press conference in Madrid after the election, said that he would be willing to host Hamas’s leadership in Moscow. Because Russia is looking for a place in the region.”

Hamas’s willingness to engage with the Russians has more than one reason, chief among them is the fact that Moscow, unlike the US, refused to abide by Israel’s portrayal of the Movement. “The fundamental difference between Russia and America and China … is that the Russians and the Chinese do not recognize Hamas as a ‘terrorist organization’; they have never done so, unlike the Americans, and so it made it easy for them to engage openly with Hamas,” Abdullah said.


On Hamas’s ‘Strategic Balance’

In his book, Abdullah writes about the 1993 Oslo Accords, which represented a watershed moment, not only for Hamas but also for the entire Palestinian liberation struggle. The shift towards a US-led ‘peace process’ compelled Hamas to maintain a delicate balance “between strategic objectives and tactical flexibility.”

Abdullah wrote,

Hamas sees foreign relations as an integral and important part of its political ideology and liberation strategy. Soon after the Movement emerged, foreign policies were developed to help its leaders and members navigate this tension between idealism and realism. This pragmatism is evident in the fact that Hamas was able to establish relations with the regimes of Muammar Gaddhafi in Libya and Bashar al-Assad in Syria, both of whom were fiercely opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood.”

The Making of Hamas's Foreign PolicyIn our interview, Abdullah elaborated:

From the very beginning, Hamas adopted certain principles in respect to its international relations and, later on, in the formation of a foreign policy. Among these, there is a question of maintaining its independence of decision-making; non-alignment in conflicting blocks, avoidance of interference in the affairs of other states.”

Mr. Jeenah, an accomplished writer himself, also spoke of the “delicate balance.”

“It is a delicate balance, and a difficult one to maintain because, at this stage, when movements are regarded and regard themselves as liberation movements, they need to have higher moral and ethical standards than, for example, governments,” Jeenah said.

For some reason, we expect that governments have to make difficult choices but, with liberation movements, we don’t, because they are all about idealism and creating an ideal society, etc.”

Jeenah uses the South Africa anti-apartheid struggle which, in many ways, is comparable to the Palestinian quest for freedom, to illustrate his point:

When the liberation movement in South Africa was exiled, they took a similar kind of position. While some of them might have had a particular allegiance to the Soviet Union or to China, some of them also had strong operations in European countries, which they regarded as part of the bigger empire. Nevertheless, they had the freedom to operate there. Some of them operated in other African countries where there were dictatorships and they got protection from those states.”


Hamas and the Question of National Unity

In his book, which promises to be an essential read on the subject, Abdullah lists six principles that guide Hamas’s political agenda. One of these guiding principles is the “search for common ground.”

In addressing the question of Palestinian factionalism, we contended that, while Fatah has failed at creating a common, nominally democratic platform for Palestinians to interact politically, Hamas cannot be entirely blameless. If that is, indeed, the case, can one then make the assertion that Hamas has succeeded in its search for the elusive common ground?

Abdullah answers:

Let me begin with what happened after the elections in 2006. Although Hamas won convincingly and they could have formed a government, they decided to opt for a government of national unity. They offered to (Palestinian Authority President) Mahmoud Abbas and to (his party) Fatah to come into a government of national unity. They didn’t want to govern by themselves. And that, to me, is emblematic of their vision, their commitment to national unity.”

But the question of national unity, however coveted and urgently required, is not just controlled by Palestinians.

“The PLO is the one that signed the Oslo Accords,” Abdullah said, “and I think this is one of Hamas’s weaknesses: as much as it wants national unity and a reform of the PLO, the fact of the matter is Israel and the West will not allow Hamas to enter into the PLO easily, because this would be the end of Oslo.”


On Elections under Military Occupation

On January 15, Abbas announced an official decree to hold Palestinian elections, first presidential, then legislative, then elections within the PLO’s Palestine National Council (PNC), which has historically served as a Palestinian parliament in exile. The first phase of these elections is scheduled for May 22.

But will this solve the endemic problem of Palestinian political representation? Moreover, is this the proper historical evolution of national liberation movements – democracy under military occupation, followed by liberation, instead of the other way around?

Jeenah spoke of this dichotomy: “On the one hand, elections are an opportunity for Palestinians to express their choices. On the other hand, what is the election really? We are not talking about a democratic election for the State, but for a Bantustan authority, at greater restraints than the South African authority.”

Moreover, the Israeli “occupying power will not make the mistake it did the last time. It will not allow such freedom (because of which) Hamas (had) won the elections. I don’t think Israel is going to allow it now.”

Yet there is a silver lining in this unpromising scenario. According to Jeenah, “I think the only difference this election could make is allowing some kind of reconciliation between Gaza and the West Bank.”


Hamas, the ICC and War Crimes

Then, there is the urgent question of the anticipated war crime investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Yet, when the ICC agreed to consider allegations of war crimes in Palestine, chances are not only alleged Israeli war criminals are expected to be investigated, but the probe could potentially consider the questioning of Palestinians, as well. Should not this concern Hamas in the least?

In the Israeli wars on Gaza in 2008, 2012, and 2014, Hamas, along with other armed groups had no other option but to “defend the civilian population,” Abdullah said, pointing out that the “overriding concept” is that the Movement “believes in the principle of international law.”

If Hamas “can restore the rights of the Palestinian people through legal channels, then it will be much easier for the Movement, rather than having to opt for the armed struggle,” Abdullah asserted.


Understanding Hamas

Undoubtedly, it is crucial to understand Hamas, not only as part of the Palestine-related academic discourse, but in the everyday political discourse concerning Palestine; in fact, the entire region. Abdullah’s book is itself critical to this understanding.

Jeenah argued that Abdullah’s book is not necessarily an “introductory text to the Hamas Movement. It has a particular focus, which is the development of Hamas’s foreign policy. The importance of that, in general, is firstly that there isn’t a text that deals specifically with Hamas’s foreign policy. What this book does is present Hamas as a real political actor.”

The evolution of Hamas’s political discourse and behavior since its inception, according to Jeenah, is a “fascinating” one.

Many agree. Commenting on the book, leading Israeli historian, Professor Ilan Pappé, wrote,

“This book challenges successfully the common misrepresentation of Hamas in the West. It is a must-read for anyone engaged with the Palestine issue and interested in an honest introduction to this important Palestinian Movement.”

[Dr. Daud Abdullah’s book, Engaging the World: The Making of Hamas’s Foreign Policy, is available here.]

Feature photo | Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, waves during a rally marking the 31st anniversary of the founding of Hamas, in Gaza city. Khalil Hamra | AP

Romana Rubeo is an Italian writer and the Managing Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. Her articles appear in many online newspapers and academic journals. She holds a Master’s Degree in Foreign Languages and Literature and specializes in audio-visual and journalism translation.

Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) and also at the Afro-Middle East Center (AMEC). His website is

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