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Bookmarked “On Palestine, the Media Is Allergic to the Truth”

Original post found at: https://jacobinmag.com/2021/05/media-press-palestine-israel-gaza-violence-hamas

There are two ways you could report on the bloody conflict unfolding right now in Israel and Palestine.

One would be to put every new headline and story, whether that’s about Hamas’s rocket attacks or Israel’s wildly disproportionate airstrikes, in context.

That would mean explaining that the rockets came in the wake of a series of outrageous and criminal Israeli provocations in occupied East Jerusalem: a series of violent police raids on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the third holiest site in Islam during its holiest month, that have damaged the sacred structure and injured hundreds, including worshippers; that Israeli forces were attacking Palestinians who were occupying Aqsa both to pray and to protect it from bands of far-right Israeli extremists who have been marching through East Jerusalem, attacking Palestinians, and trying to break into the compound; and that all of this sits in the shadow of protests against Israel’s most recent attempt to steal land from Palestinians in the city, and the ramping up of Israel’s theft of Palestinian land more broadly under Trump.

While you’re at it, you might at least make clear that the Israeli attacks on Gaza have been far more vicious and deadly than the rockets they’re supposedly “retaliating” against, having killed forty-three people so far, including thirteen children, and leveled an entire residential building. You might make clear that Hamas’s rockets are, owing to their own cheapness and Israel’s Iron Dome defense system, at this point closer to the lashing-out-in-impotent-frustration part of the spectrum (which, of course, is not to say they don’t do damage or occasionally take lives — they’ve killed six Israelis thus far). All of this would help people understand why what they’re seeing unfold on their screens is happening, and what might be done to stop it.

Or there’s the more traditional way of reporting on the Israel-Palestine conflict in Western media. That way involves boiling systemic injustice down to nondescript “rising tensions,” describing state violence and resistance to it as nebulous “clashes,” subtly presenting Israeli and Palestinian violence as roughly equivalent in scale and moral propriety, and generally making it impossible for casual consumers of news to do anything but throw their hands up in frustration and ask: “When will they learn to live together in peace?”

Bookmarked “What cats’ love of boxes and squares can tell us about their visual perception”

Original post found at: https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/05/what-cats-love-of-boxes-and-squares-can-tell-us-about-their-visual-perception/

It is a truth universally acknowledged—at least by those of the feline persuasion—that an empty box on the floor must be in want of a cat. Ditto for laundry baskets, suitcases, sinks, and even cat carriers (when not used as transport to the vet). This behavior is generally attributed to the fact that cats feel safer when squeezed into small spaces, but it might also be able to tell us something about feline visual perception.

Bookmarked “Is your kid studying a second language at school? How much they learn will depend on where you live”

Original post found at: https://theconversation.com/is-your-kid-studying-a-second-language-at-school-how-much-they-learn-will-depend-on-where-you-live-155219

The main thing I took away from this piece is that Victoria makes some of the most thorough recommendations for how much language-learning schoolkids should get, but in my experience no primary school student gets anywhere near 150 minutes of foreign language instruction per week. Try one-third of that at best. And kids end up not learning much except rote-memorised lists of numbers, days of the week, members of the family, etc. and basic pleasantries like “Hello, my name is…” and “How are you? I’m fine thanks.” The whole system needs a big overhaul.

Bookmarked “In Sheikh Jarrah, Palestinian youth are leading the struggle to defend their homes”

Original post found at: https://www.972mag.com/sheikh-jarrah-palestinian-youth/

Over the past several weeks, Palestinians have been protesting the displacement of a families from the neighborhood following an Israeli court order. The eight families facing displacement, like all the families in the Karm al-Jaouni complex, are Palestinian refugees who were forced out of their homes in the 1948 war and their descendants. In the 1950s, the Jordanian authorities and UNRWA housed them in that area, which was an open space with no buildings at the time. Following Israel’s occupation of Jerusalem in 1967, settler organizations have been trying to take over the properties, claiming they were originally owned by Jews.

The legal battle over these homes has extended over decades. Last year, the Jerusalem District Court ordered the eviction of eight families, which would leave 500 people homeless. Last week, the Supreme Court held a preliminary hearing regarding an appeal of the district court’s decision. Justice Dafna Barak-Erez ordered four of those families to decide by Thursday whether they agree to a settlement according to which they can continue living in their homes if they recognize the settlers’ ownership of the property.

photo of Jessica Smith is a left-wing feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also very interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.