"If Lapid thinks Issawiya, Shuafat and Beit Hanina need to be part of the Jewish state and that stopping settlement construction is an American, European or Qatari interest, then apparently our Finance Minister is more connected to the settlers than the reality."
Labor MK Omer Bar-Lev on Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid's statement to the New York Times.
- Israeli forces issue demolition orders to Bedouins in Yatta - Israeli military vehicles raided an area east of Yatta and forces issued the orders to seven Bedouin families from the al-Hathalin tribe. (Maan)
- Israel nixes UNESCO Jerusalem visit, alleging Palestinians tried to make it political - Foreign Ministry rescinded its offer to let a team from the UN cultural agency inspect historical sites in the Old City of Jerusalem, saying the Palestinians violated a prior agreement that the visit be apolitical. (Haaretz+)
- Qatar: Arab Spring makes Israeli-Palestinian peace more pressing - Gulf state's emir tells Doha Forum Mideast revolutions put Israel 'in direct confrontation with Arab people, not only their rulers.' (Agencies, Ynet)
- Rachel's Tomb attacked: 200 Molotov cocktails in three months - The firebombs were thrown at people going to pray and at soldiers, according to senior army and Border Guard officers in a meeting of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense committee. (Israel Hayom, p. 17)
- Mohammed al-Dura's father calls for international probe into whether IDF killed his son - Palestinians say the 12-year-old died during a shootout with the IDF at the start of the second intifada; Israeli committee disagrees. Says he is willing to have his son exhumed from his grave. (Haaretz+ and NRG Hebrew)
- Palestinian village hangs large Swastika flag on electric line - The Israel Defense Forces Civil Administration on Monday ordered the Palestinian Electrical Company to remove a Swastika flag hanging on one of its electric wires in the Palestinian village of Beit Ummar. (Israel Hayom)
- Israel to demolish car dealership in Jerusalem - Israeli bulldozers demolished a car dealership in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem. The owner was shocked when he received a call from the Israeli side informing him that he had to remove 65 cars from the site ahead of the demolition. (Maan)
- Israel Police looking into allegations Yacimovich appointed donors to top Labor posts - The examination is in response to a complaint filed last month by party activist Yoni Ariel, a supporter of Yacimovich rival Amram Mitzna, who later left the party for Hatnuah. (Haaretz+)
- Minister Yuval Steinitz: "Israel prefers Assad falls - to weaken the Iranian regime" - The minister contradicted the media report according to which Israel is interested in Assad staying in power. "We received messages from Europe that it's time to gie Iran a military threat." (Maariv/NRGHebrew)
Naftali Bennett was slated to be the keynote speaker at the final event of the year organized by MASA, an extra-governmental organization that seeks to "inspire the next generation of Jewish leaders and strengthen their connection to the Jewish people and to Israel." But soon after Bennett took the podium, albeit a bit late, a group of some thirty young Diaspora Jews shouted him down. The chants went like this: "Diaspora Jews say, No to occupation; Diaspora Jews say, No to annexation; Diaspora Jews say, dai la'kibush"—end the occupation, in Hebrew. It would appear that if Bennett is popular with young Israelis, he may be just the opposite with young Diaspora Jews. They really don't seem to like him.
Naftali Bennett, head of the Israeli hardline national religious party, Jewish Home, looks over during the first high-tech conference for Israel's Haredi Sector, on January 15, 2013, in Jerusalem. (Gali Tibbon / AFP/ Getty Images)
The group that protested was made up of mainly 19-year-old gap-year students, organized through a new, diverse leftist collective that calls itself All That's Left—with which I have been involved—and members of HaShomer HaTza'ir's World Movement. According to the All That's Left press release disseminated following the hullabaloo, after the students had been escorted out, they sat down outside and started talking. They want to explain to other MASA students why, exactly, Naftali Bennett was so bad.
That they would want to do this makes a great deal of sense: many Diaspora Jews—particularly American Jews—find Bennett a pill almost too hard to swallow. For one thing, American Jews like Obama's position on Israel—and that means two states. According to recent polling, some 78 percent of Jewish-American voters who saw ads that "criticize President Obama for his positions or actions towards Israel" were either unaffected by the ads or "more likely to support" Obama afterwards. And Bennett, well, he promised to "do everything in [his] power to prevent a Palestinian state."
I was moved to read your piece commemorating the flight of your husband from a village near Jerusalem in 1948. He has kept the rusty iron key to his home. Yours was one of hundreds of articles in the global media, together with demonstrations and marches, marking your Nakba—the flight of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs in 1948.
A picture dated February 10, 2009 shows the entrance of an abandoned Jewish synagogue with a removed Star of David from the wall in Fallujah, west of Baghdad. (Saddam Hussein / AFP / Getty Images)
But let me tell you a little known-fact: as your husband's family was fleeing their village, a greater number of Jewish refugees were streaming out of the Arab world with one suitcase—in the opposite direction.
Over 800,000 Jewish refugees fled in the years immediately following 1948. This is the Jewish Nakba—a forgotten tragedy shrouded in silence. One of those refugee families was mine. We lived in a comfortable house in a riverside Jewish neighbourhood in Baghdad.
Most Israelis are familiar with the Arab League resolution from 1967 in Khartoum, Sudan—if not by name, then certainly by its principles. Its infamous “Three No’s”—no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it—made up the strategy of the Arab League for the decades to come, and validated the fears of most Israelis. Those principles meant to the Israeli public that no matter what policy may be adopted for the territories occupied in the Six Day War, Israel’s neighbors would always consider it a tumor on the map of the Middle East. That approach of the Arab world does not justify the expansion of Israeli settlements into the West Bank and Gaza, but it certainly explains in part the dwindled resistance of the moderates in Israel against their creation.
On the other hand, most Israelis are not aware of the Arab Peace Initiative (API). I myself came across it by sheer coincidence, through a PR stunt by the OneVoice Movement. A month later I joined OneVoice, which has been working since to spread the word about it and propel Israeli politicians to give it a chance. The initiative offered to reverse the Khartoum resolution with a triple “Yes.” Yes to ending the conflict, yes to security cooperation, and yes to normalization with Israel. In 2007, U.N. General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon urged Israel to restart the peace process based on the API. The Israeli Foreign Ministry, however, had considerable reservations about the initiative. The MFA spokesman, Mark Regev, said that “if the Arab initiative is take it or leave it, that will be a recipe for stagnation.”
Dept. Foreign Minister Elkin addresses the launch at the Knesset in Jerusalem, Israel on May 20, 2013. (Hadas Grinvald)
Six years later, contrary to the fears of many who deal with the conflict, the API is still on the table. Several things have actually made it even more relevant. Firstly, the API withstood the turmoil of the “Arab Spring,” and was ratified twice in its last two summits in Baghdad and Doha. Secondly, U.S. Secretary of State Kerry has recently pushed the Arab League towards flexing its intransigent position on borders. Accordingly, in a conference in Washington D.C. last month, Arab foreign ministers accepted the principle of land swaps based on the 1967 Green Line.
The Israeli government has yet to issue an official response and, as far as we know, did not even hold a comprehensive discussion about it. How many of the decision makers in Israel can confidently respond to the nuances of API?
Yair Lapid's signature is all over Israel's new national budget, and not just because the former TV emcee is now the minister of finance. In the most generous reading, Lapid's willingness to adopt ministry technocrats' austerity measures shows that he's in over his head, and that his campaign promises to help the middle class have as much substance as the smile of a talk-show host. But Lapid did make some choices among the ideas offered to him, and his choices will most harshly affect the two groups in Israeli society that Lapid most likes to dislike: Arabs and the ultra-Orthodox. The budget is an economic offensive against the cultural outsiders.
Already approved by the cabinet, now before the Knesset, the budget is supposed to cure the swollen deficit created by the same ministry wizards under Prime Minister Netanyahu's last government. Here are a few ingredients of the purported treatment: The budget increases the utterly regressive value-added tax. It cuts child allowances—the government stipend to families, essential to the livelihood of poor and working-class families, especially large families. For the first time, housewives will have to pay taxes for health care and national insurance, which provides Israel's social safety net.
An Ultra Orthodox Jewish child stands during an anti-election rally on January 20, 2013 in Jerusalem, Israel. (Lior Mizrahi / Getty Images)
A half-explicit purpose of the new budget is to push Arab women and ultra-Orthodox men to get jobs. The goal itself is more than reasonable. Forty-five percent of working-age Israelis aren't employed. That's an immense drag on the economy. The proportion of Arab women and ultra-Orthodox men in the labor force is especially low—even if, nearly unnoticed, more members of both groups have been going to work. But the assumption built into Lapid's budget is that if you make the poor even poorer, takers will be motivated to become makers. (I use those terms deliberately; the budget has a Romneyite streak as wide as a runway.) This, in turn, presumes that low motivation is what keeps people from working.
"The expert opinion attached to the report reads like an article by a movie critic and not by a pathologist."
--Haaretz's Barak Ravid on the government inquiry report that claimed Mohammed Al-Dura was never killed.
- Israeli man 'sexually assaults' 2 boys in Jordan Valley - In late April an Israeli man wearing a police uniform approached two 14-year-old boys attending goats north of Jericho, and with his firearm visible, ordered them to strip before sexually assaulting them one at a time. (Maan)
- Clashes as locals try to unblock major linking road closed by Israel - Israeli forces and Palestinians clashed on Sunday as locals tried to unblock a road between that links Dair Jarir and neighboring villages with Ramallah and Jericho. Israel's military closed it a day earlier with cement blocks. (Maan)
- Since beginning of 2013, Israel effectively barring tourists from West Bank by neglecting to explain mandatory permit -To visit Palestinian-controlled areas, some foreign nationals need military entry permit that Israel doesn't explain how to get. (Haaretz+)
- Jordanian regime scuttles attempt to expel Israeli envoy - Legislators drop no-confidence motion under palace pressure; protesting Israeli settlements, MP promises to push again for ambassador's expulsion. [Note: Media Line claims that police 'allegedly' detained Jerusalem Mufti. That is a fact. -OH] (Media Line, Ynet)
- Livni: Erdogan wrong to think Hamas can be part of peace process - Justice minister says Turkish PM's assertion that Hamas is imperative to peace talks is skewed by his personal, Islamic politics. (Israel Hayom)
- Ultra-Orthodox riot in Jerusalem as soldiers cross Mea Shearim - Police claim dozens set fire to trash bins, hurled stones in protest of two ultra-Orthodox soldiers crossing ultra-Orthodox neighborhood. No injuries reported. (Ynet)
- Nablus vendor tries to set self on fire after crackdown - Muhammad Yaesh, 40, tried to set himself on fire in Nablus on Sunday in protest against a police campaign to regulate street vendors in the West Bank. (Maan)
- Peres sends condolences to Turkey following May 11 terror attack - Message is first high-level expression of sympathy; Netanyahu had refrained from contacting Turkish PM after the bombings near the Syrian border. (Haaretz+)
- Final exams start in West Bank schools despite ministry's opposition - Palestinian school children across the West Bank started final exams Sunday despite the ministry of education’s decision to delay them until the end of the month. (Maan)
By now the story almost writes itself: A high-ranking representative of the U.S. government—in this case, John Kerry—is slated to arrive soon in Israel, part of an effort to reinvigorate a peace process described as “moribund” since at least the early aughts. That effort is already making everyone mad, and Israel has taken the same steps it always takes to ensure that the U.S. government understands exactly where it stands: It’s expanding settlements.
The state said that it will act to legalize four West Bank outposts for which a delimitation order was issued in 2003 by the Israel Defense Forces GOC Central Command. Such an order allows the army to demolish at any time structures located within the delimited area.
In 2007, attorneys Michael Sfard and Shlomi Zecharya petitioned the High Court on behalf of the Israeli anti-settlement organization Peace Now, to implement the order.
…construction in the outposts continued despite the order. The High Court requested clarification from the state, and on Tuesday a detailed opinion concerning each one of the four outpost[s] was submitted to the court. In the document, the government said it had taken steps in recent weeks to retroactively authorize the outposts, which were built without official permission.
Israeli settlers walk past caravans decorated with posters calling for struggle against Israel’s government's decision to dismantle the West Bank settlement of Givat Asaf, northeast of Ramallah, on October 27, 2011. (Menahem Kahana / AFP / Getty Images)
Built illegally, even by Israel’s standards; acknowledged as illegal, and thus ordered demolished; construction continues, despite state acknowledgement of the illegality of the outposts’ very existence—so sure, ten years later, why not rejigger your country’s laws to provide a patina of respectability? Why not give cover and support to lawbreakers in a manner that is not only insulting to all Israelis who respect the law, but which also flies in the face of the very thing to which your greatest ally has called you to commit yourself time and again?
John Kerry is so far not having a good run at Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. It's not for a lack of effort: he's about to make his fourth trip of his young tenure as Secretary of State to Israel and the Palestinian territories to try to jumpstart talks. So far he seems to have done little but raise the ire of both sides—or so say a host of Israeli and Palestinian sources speaking to Haaretz reporter Barak Ravid:
One of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s senior advisers was asked a few days ago for his opinion of Kerry’s efforts. The man responded with a smile and a wink. “The guy has a lot of energy,” he said dismissively.
About one thing, there’s no disagreement between Jerusalem and Ramallah: Kerry has a lot of good intentions and a real sense of mission; he truly wants to make peace in the Middle East. But despite his good intentions, Kerry so far looks like a naive and ham-handed diplomat who has been acting like a bull in the china shop of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Or as former Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan once put it, he’s a good chap in the worst sense of the term.
Over the last two months, Kerry has managed to upset both sides and make both more suspicious of him by a series of misguided moves and statements.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) in 2010 in Jerusalem. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO via Getty Images)
So what has Kerry done that's riled up both sides of the conflict? According to Ravid, anything and everything. Kerry said he would launch an initiative for economic growth in the Occupied Territories... and didn't tell either side in advance (never you mind that the occupation itself is the largest obstacle to Palestinian economic growth, according to the World Bank). Then there was Kerry's deadline on the feasibility of a two-state deal, upsetting the Israelis... because though it may never come, continued lip-service to a two-state solution remains essential to veiling the increasing permanence of Israeli control over the territories.
"This is a slap to the efforts of Kerry. Instead of protecting the interests of the State, the Defense Minister is protecting the 'Hilltop Youth' and asking for the legalization of outposts that are supposed to be evacuated."
--Peace Now on the Israeli government's request to legalize four settlement outposts.
- Israeli law professors call out IDF on draft resister's 10th jail sentence - Academics wrote letter criticizing policy of jailing conscientious objectors, called for release of Natan Blanc after 150 days in prison. (Haaretz+)
- After one-year break, weekly protests to resume in East Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah - Activists to demonstrate Friday ahead of Supreme Court's hearing of a Palestinian family's appeal against its eviction. (Haaretz+)
- Settlers plan to build road in Hebron's Old City - A group of extremist settlers on Thursday assaulted Palestinian homes and lands in Wadi al-Husayn neighborhood of Hebron in the southern West Bank. (Maan)
- Senior Fatah officials call for single democratic state, not two-state solution - New initiative would allow Palestinian refugees the right of return to ‘a state of all its citizens.’ (Haaretz+)
- Israel closes al-Aqsa Mosque - Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the mosque was closed to visitors "to prevent incidents." On Wednesday, dozens of Israeli right-wingers raided the compound through the Moroccan gate, leading to clashes at the Bab al-Hutta gate as Israeli forces escorted rightists into the mosque area. (Maan)
- Israeli ministries propose toll on Palestinian goods to plug budget deficit - The Defense and Finance Ministries proposed making Palestinians pay more for importing and exporting goods; opponents say move violates international treaties Israel signed. (Haaretz+)
- Nakba survivor: 'If you wanted to live, you left' - Ghatheyya Mifleh al-Khawalda was 15 years old when she fled her home during the Nakba of 1948. "We had a very nice house, a big house with marble floors in the hallway. My father was a farmer, and we had farmland with orange trees, apple trees, grapefruit trees and others." (Maan)
- Despite US objection, Erdogan to travel to Gaza, West Bank - US President Barack Obama hosts Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at White House. On agenda: Syrian civil war, Iranian sanctions, Jerusalem-Ankara relations. (Ynet)
A peaceful and sustainable resolution to the Syrian crisis is not within reach in the short-term. But a significant reduction in the violence and bloodshed can be achieved because the appetite for diplomacy is stronger now than at anytime in the past two years. The peace summit prepared by the U.S. and Russia can achieve this if they bring all the parties to the table.
What started as peaceful struggle for political reform in Syria has been hijacked by geopolitical rivalries at the regional and global levels. Today, it is above all a proxy war between Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and the U.S. and E.U. on the one hand, and Iran, Russia, Hezbollah and the Assad regime on the other. Several factors has led to a situation in which the desire for diplomacy among most of these parties is at a climax.
Members of the U.S. delegation photograph a vote tally display following a UN General Assembly vote in favor of a resolution calling for political transition in Syria on May 15, 2013 in New York City. (John Moore / Getty Images)
First, despite expectations of imminent downfall, the Basher al-Assad regime has managed to survive and even regain military momentum. Whereas talks could have provided Assad with an undeserved lifeline in the past, there is a different perception of the regimes sustainability today which in turn has reduced the perceived risk of talking.
Moreover, Assad’s military gains and the likelihood of it having used chemical weapons has strengthened the chorus of voices demanding U.S. military intervention at a time when the U.S. is dead set against such a move. Few factors would strengthen the President's ability to resist military intervention than a productive diplomatic process.
As the push for military action has increased, so has Obama's appetite for diplomacy.
Nour Joudah, a 25-year-old Georgetown master's degree-holder, set out for Palestine last fall to teach English at a nearly 150-year-old school founded in the West Bank by American Quakers. But Joudah lasted only a semester at the Ramallah Friends School. The length of her stay had nothing to do with her work: by all accounts, Joudah was great with the kids. Instead, she left a classroom full of students behind because Israeli authorities refused to let her back into the country. Twice. For the second try, in February, she brought to bear her power as an American citizen, seeking assistance from Congress and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which funds the school. All to no avail. As Israeli authorities turned her away and deported her, she didn't even receive an explanation. "They didn't say anything at all," she said of being rejected. "They processed me for deportation, I spent the night in detention, and they put me on the first flight in the morning."
An Israeli border policeman stands next to the international arrivals board at Ben Gurion air port near Tel Aviv on April 15, 2012. (David Buimovitch / AFP / Getty Images)
A week after Joudah's deportation, California Democrat Barbara Boxer introduced a bill—the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013—that would add Israel to the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, ensuring visa-free travel for Americans and Israelis to each others’ countries. Boxer's bill stated that to ensure the required reciprocity, Israel must make "every reasonable effort, without jeopardizing the security of the State of Israel, to ensure that reciprocal travel privileges are extended to all United States citizens.” While no nation would agree to forfeit its security, the words “without jeopardizing the security of the State of Israel” were unique. None of the 37 other countries currently in the program are subject to that caveat.
Boxer claimed in a letter to the Los Angeles Times that her bill "gives us important leverage to ensure Israel welcomes Americans" and doesn’t compromise Americans' rights. "This provision does not waive reciprocity. In fact, it requires the Department of Homeland Security, in consultation with the State Department, to certify that Israel is taking appropriate action to ensure that Americans receive reciprocal travel privileges," said Peter True, Boxer's press secretary. “If Israel does not live up to the principle of reciprocity, the country could be blocked from entering the program or removed at a future time." It's unclear why, then, the language specific to Israel's entry into the program remains necessary. Israel’s supporters maintained, according to JTA, that the country faces unique and acute security threats. But opponents of the bill said Israel needs the special language because the Jewish State routinely turns away Americans with impunity—especially Americans of Muslim or Arab background, as evinced by the case of Nour Joudah and others. Because many such entry denials are justified by unexplained claims of security concerns, critics said the unique caveat gives Israel wiggle room to continue turning Americans away.
Asked about Joudah's rejection in a March briefing, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said, "The decision of whether or not to admit a foreign citizen rests solely with the country controlling the port of entry. So our country-specific information on Israel advises that travelers may be denied entry or exit without explanation." The rejection patterns so strongly suggest discrimination that the State Department outlines profiling at the border in its travel warning for Israel: "Some U.S. citizens," it reads, "of Arab or Muslim origin have experienced significant difficulties in entering or exiting Israel or the West Bank."
This week I spoke with Sarah Posner of Bloggingheads.tv about Friday's confrontation at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, which saw thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews protesting the pluralistic prayer group Women of the Wall. I explain why I think this was a watershed moment for Israeli feminism, and put it in the broader context of last week's other feminist victories, including the introduction of a new bill aimed at criminalizing gender-based discrimination in Israel.
In our Bloggingheads conversation, Sarah and I also ask: Have Women of the Wall's goals become blurred, over time, with the goals of their American Jewish egalitarian supporters? To what extent do mainstream Israeli Jews support Women of the Wall—or even follow this story closely? And finally, were the thousands of ultra-Orthodox girls sent to protest Women of the Wall's activities inadvertently offered a radical opportunity to encounter feminist activism firsthand? Click through below to watch a clip, and then head over to the Bloggingheads site to watch the whole video.
A rusty, iron key to the past sits on a windowsill in my home. Three years ago, when the man I married left the refugee camp he was born and raised in to move to The States, this clunky key came with him. It is his prize possession. The key opens the door to a house that no longer exists, in a village that no longer exists called Dar Abayn. Dar Abayn is located underneath present-day Mahseya, which was founded by Israel in 1950, two years after my refugee’s grandparents fled their farming village and began the trail of tears that led them to Dheisha Refugee Camp in Bethlehem. Six decades later, and older than dirt, they have never given up hope that they will someday miraculously return. That hope is symbolized by the keys they carry to this day.
A key belonging to the author's husband, a Palestinian descended from refugees who were expelled from what is today Israel during the state's founding, on top of a shirt commemorating the Nakba. (Maysoon Zayid)
Dar Abayn is one of the over 500 villages whose name is remembered by Palestinians on Nakba Day 2013. Now in its 65th year, Nakba Day has become a global event, making it a challenge for Israel to escape a history it would much rather forget. It is not a celebration, but a commemoration of all the cities and villages that were depopulated to make room for Israel in 1948, and the folks who lost everything in the process. My village, Deir Debwan, is not one of those villages. Nestled in the hills near Ramallah, we still exist. I like to tease my refugee husband by claiming that we weren’t yellow-bellied and didn’t run and get displaced like his people. We also weren’t being massacred and chased at that time, because my people lived on the right side of the Green Line. While hundreds of thousands, on the wrong side, ran for their lives during the original Nakba, some 150,000 Palestinians in grave danger held strong and refused to leave. They and their offspring now comprise the over 1 million Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship.
While some Israelis acknowledge the harsh reality of the Nakba, most seem to have severe issues with it. The Nakba deniers are a fun bunch. They claim Palestinians didn’t exist; that there was nothing there before Israel made the desert bloom and these so called refugees were just marauding gangs of Arabs that rushed to the empty land, when they heard the Jews were moving in. I like old people. They love to tell me their stories and I’ve talked to a bunch that fled during the Nakba. They most certainly did exist. They had communities, businesses, schools, fashion sense, and farms and they lost everything except those darn keys. As much as Israeli extremists like to deny it, the Nakba most definitely did occur and there are pictures to prove it.
I was not going to begrudge the Netanyahus their ice cream.
When it emerged in February that Israel’s Prime Minister was spending hundreds of dollars every month at a local ice cream parlor, I honestly thought “C’mon, now. Let the man have his ice cream!” Because you know what? He’s the Prime Minister, and I’m comfortable with the notion that heads of state get little perks here and there. You want $2,700 worth of ice cream every year? Go ahead. You’re Prime Minister.
But dagnabbit, even in those rare moments in which I’m feeling magnanimous toward Bibi, he has to come along and ruin it.
Spencer Platt / Getty Images
You see, on Monday we learned that the Netanyahus have been extravagant with much more than just dessert. According to Ynet, between 2009 and 2012 the Prime Minister’s food and hosting bills more than doubled; cleaning expenses went from $17,000 to $30,000; and “representation expenses”—clothes, shoes, makeup, and hair—“nearly doubled.”
And then, then—then there was the in-flight rest chamber.
In a rambling essay on Al Jazeera, Columbia University professor Joseph Massad seeks to establish what he calls the “anti-Semitic” roots of Zionism. It’s not the first time this year that an alleged relationship between Zionism and Nazism has been tossed into the wind. Back in January, Mahmoud Abbas made similar claims, prompting historian David N. Myers to respond in Open Zion.
But Massad’s argument goes beyond historical aspersion and into the realm of the philosophical. It can be summed up by this sentence:
What Israel and its American and European allies have sought to do in the last six and a half decades is to convince Palestinians that they too must become anti-Semites and believe as the Nazis, Israel, and its Western anti-Semitic allies do, that Jews are a race that is different from European races, that Palestine is their country, and that Israel speaks for all Jews.
Let’s start with the least controversial—but still lacking—of these three claims, namely that Israel and its allies attempt to cast Israel as the legitimate speaker of the Jewish people. Certainly there is some truth to this observation. But Massad misses an important component of the dynamic.
Matthew Kalman broke the story of physicist Stephen Hawking’s boycott of Israel. Then Cambridge University tried to falsely deny it.