As children, we were led to imagine that the primarily European Jews fighting in the 1948 war had battled faceless villains intent on barring them from settling in a rightful homeland, a justified inheritance in the wake of genocide. Like so many before them, these enemies were intent on destroying the Jews yet again. Never once did we imagine that perhaps the people they fought were our cousins and siblings from long ago, whose homes and villages were being stolen beneath their feet. Never once did we fathom that Palestinian Jews, Muslims, and Christians lived side by side for hundreds of years in peace as a community. Because Zionism centers European Jews over others, even Arab Jews were left out of the narratives taught to us.
I grieve that, as children, we didn’t have a choice. The adults we loved and trusted imbued us with a sense of Zionist pride, a commitment to the unquestioned defense of this nation-state, and an ingrained colonial entitlement that this land was, in fact, exclusively ours. But how can anybody create a home on top of others’ remains? On top of stolen lives, communities, and memories?
Posts tagged ‘Israel’
Good backgrounder on the Palestinian Authority, and how it’s used as an enforcer for Israel in the West Bank.
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?”
Interesting article on the American Jewish Left’s opposition to Zionism in the immediate post-WW2 era (favouring instead a single, secular state), and the about-turn they did after the Soviet Union changed its position.
More shadiness from a major social media company. The sooner independent and federated models of social media gain widespread traction, the better.
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.
Human Rights Watch has accused Israeli officials of committing the crimes of apartheid and persecution, claiming the government enforces an overarching policy to “maintain the domination by Jewish Israelis over Palestinians”.
A good article about the role the JNF has always played in the Middle East: controlling vast swathes of land (they own 13% of Israel, apparently) to permit only Jewish people to live on it, and planting monoculture forests over the ruins of Palestinian villages to try to obliterate all evidence that they ever existed there. It’s some evil shit.