Latest Entries

House of Cards takes on Israel-Palestine — here’s what the producers did right

Warning: spoilers ahead

One of the main storylines in season three of Netflix’s House of Cards follows President of the United States Francis J. Underwood as he squares off against his Russian counterpart in the Jordan Valley. Referring to the longstanding Israel-Palestine crisis as a mere “tension,” the producers ignore much of its key historical context and, for the purpose of a plot that American viewers can collectively digest, write it off instead as the underlying cause of the most recent escalation between American and Russian brass. But as nonsensical as the plot is, the producers did get plenty right, and I think this season is evidence of a positive shift in the mainstream treatment of Israel-Palestine. Read More

Why I take online polls seriously

I should begin with a disclaimer. It’s not that I take all online polls seriously. Only the ones that might have an effect on my future.

Four years ago, The Atlantic launched a Twitter-based book club, #1book140, to get people from all around the world talking and debating. Each month, readers are given a genre and a selection of books to mull over. Readers vote for their choice and the winning book is announced. The world reads and a conversation on Twitter ensues.

Last week, The Atlantic ran a poll for the month of March’s non-fiction book choice. Fifteen books were lined up. Nearly 2,800 votes were cast. “The Battle for Justice in Palestine,” by Ali Abunimah, won with a 58.97% majority.

The link to the poll went viral, which could explain the final vote tally. January’s 1book140 poll ended with a total of 51 votes. February’s closed with 47. Ali’s book alone earned 1,631. Read More

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs unveils Oscars-themed art project

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs really outdid itself this time.

The government institution published three strange images on its Facebook page earlier today after Ambassador Ron Prosor presented his Oscars-themed speech at the United Nations Security Council.

We’d like to reiterate that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is a government institution. In fact, it is one of Israel’s most important ministries, responsible for giving Israel’s public image the facelift it needs after, say, dropping bombs on thousands of heads. And this is no easy task, which is why we presume that its employees undergo some kind of strategy training. Standards have gotten so low. Oh so low. Read More

Horowitz behind posters depicting Palestine solidarity organizers as ‘Jew haters’ (Updated)

Inflammatory posters demonizing Palestinian solidarity organizers have been found on at least five universities, including DePaul University (right) and Drake University (left).

Update: David Horowitz of the David Horowitz Freedom Center has taken responsibility for the posters in a recent interview.

Students at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) were greeted yesterday by inflammatory posters depicting Palestinian solidarity organizers as ‘Jew haters’.

At least five other universities have since reported similar posters on their campuses, including Amherst College, DePaul University, Drake University, and the University of California, Irvine. The University of Virginia was the latest campus to find them.

The posters were all part of a campaign by the David Horowitz Freedom Center, an organization known for its right-wing, anti-Islam, and anti-Islam positions. Founder David Horowitz claimed responsibility for the posters in an interview with the Jewish Journal.

Emblazoned on the top of each of the posters is the campaign’s target: Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a student group active on over 130 colleges and universities across the United States. At the bottom is the hashtag #JewHaters.

The images are designed to depict Palestinians as menacing. They “rely on Islamophobic and anti-Arab tropes to paint Palestinians as terrorists and to misrepresent Students for Justice in Palestine as anti-Semitic,” reads a statement by SJP at UCLA. Read More

Life goes on in Khuza’a

A massacre took place in the Palestinian town of Khuza’a between July 23 and July 24, 2014. Testimonies from survivors recall instances when charred corpses littered the streets, ambulances where shot at and forced to retreat, and Israeli soldiers fired on families waving white flags and rallied them into homes that would later be struck by missiles.

Khuza’a, just east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, is no stranger to war crimes. In Israel’s 2008-9 invasion of the Gaza Strip, Khuza’a was besieged by snipers who fired on civilians and tanks that blew holes into buildings in which families sought refuge. But in Israel’s latest invasion, Operation Protective Edge, the brutality reached new levels.

When residents of Khuza’a were told that ambulances had finally broken through the siege, nearly a thousand injured and uninjured Palestinians rushed outside to greet their only way out. But the ambulances were absent. Tank shells rained on their heads, according to Abu Ali Qudail who was there at the scene. Family members were left behind to bleed in the ensuing scramble. Read More

Israel’s historical fear of the Palestinian mind witnessed in Gaza today

Israel’s occupation is deliberate and intentionally extensive. It is designed to inflict maximum damage on Palestinians while shirking as much responsibility as possible.

In the Gaza Strip, the ongoing siege has ruined the lives of tens of thousands of families and has effectively crushed the dreams of so many bright Palestinian students. The siege was created in 2006 to deprive Palestinians not just of food, water, and daily-use products but of safety, opportunity, and a window to the outside world as well.

This weekend, students unable to leave Gaza to pursue further education staged a protest and threw mock diplomas into the sea as a symbol of their achingly lost dreams.

Israel has historically feared the Palestinian mind. The exaggerated stories of Palestinian parents walking miles over rocks and in between tanks, barefoot and carrying recycled notebooks bearing the scuffed graphite strokes of last year’s notes, are truer than we are inclined to believe. Education is emphasized and then it is overemphasized. Palestinians allow very little to get in the way of education, and it is not uncommon for families to send their children to school even with Israeli air strikes ringing just miles away. Hours-long delays at military checkpoints are factored into the travel time. Palestinians don’t arrive to class late — they leave home early.

Despite its challenging circumstances, Palestine is recognized throughout the Middle East for its academic achievement. Literacy rates are among the highest in the Middle East. Education, many Palestinians will say, is one of Palestine’s most sacred institutions. Read More

Call-Out: Seeking submissions on the ‘identity shaming’ of Palestinians

Sixteen Minutes to Palestine (SMP) is preparing to launch a new series on the many ways in which Palestinian-Americans have had to hide their identities in academic or professional settings.

There are many instances when Palestinians have been encouraged to keep their identities hidden to avoid offending colleagues or peers, or to avoid hurting their career, academic, or personal prospects.

The implication is that being Palestinian is inappropriate and that its rich and complex heritage is inherently offensive. This is largely due to the way Palestinians are vilified in mainstream news and pop culture. There are, however, many other reasons, and this is where you come in.

Little has been written about this issue and its implications on Palestinian academic and professional progress. Little is also understood about what contributes to this identity shaming. Our goal is to highlight how extensively Palestinians are shamed for their identity. After that, we hope to expand the conversation into possible solutions.

We are currently in need of guest contributions. If you have ever experienced some kind of identity shaming, if you have ever been advised to hide your identity as a Palestinian in order to “better your chances,” or if you have ever been punished because of your Palestinian identity, we humbly request that you consider submitting. Read More

Exposed: IBSI’s exploitation of African refugees to promote anti-Palestinian agenda

We’d like to take this moment to share with you the latest and one of the most offensive and disingenuous campaigns we have seen in a long while. The image above was one of many shared by Dumisani Washington who, according to his Twitter page, is the Diversity Outreach Coordinator for the right-wing and notably Islamophobic organization Christians United for Israel (CUFI) and the Director of the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel (IBSI).

We’ve all heard about and discredited CUFI. The organization’s latest annual convention fell during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, and on the thirteenth day of Israel’s assault, attendees applauded at the death and destruction Israel brought to the Gaza Strip. It was as though they sought an encore. CUFI, run by some of the most fanatical pro-Israel Evangelicals this country has ever seen, is ironically more pro-Israel than it is pro-United States.

IBSI, though, is another story. They appear relatively unestablished and very few appear to take them seriously, but that shouldn’t surprise anyone considering the kind of inflammatory, exploitative, and fictitious material they publish. Read More