Israel is a country rift with multiple overlapping narratives. They drift into each other, defy one another and wrestle for the unachievable title of ultimate truth. And although there is no such thing, it appears as if the current Israeli government is working hard to officially establish one authoritative story as part of the ongoing construction of a Jewish-Zionist only national identity. Tuesday night, March 22nd, the Knesset passed a piece of legislation that seemed to go largely undetected, despite its significance. The “Nakba law,” which legislates the withdrawal of state funding from any institution that commemorates the Palestinian day of mourning, is discriminatory and threatening to Palestinian citizens, and harmful for Palestinians and Jews alike. Continue reading →
In Maine, “our” governor is planning to waste time and effort removing a few walls with murals depicting the history of labor unions in our working man’s state. The murals are located inside the lobby of the Department of Labor. In a simultaneously brilliant and idiotic move, this blatant political obfuscation is yet another insult in a litany of “dumb stuff Paul LePage does” and puts him in prime position as a contender in the arena of GOP extremism laughing stock. Well, hilarious, but dreadfully scary. Running his mouth yet again about making Maine “pro-business,” (he wanted Maine to be the red light state by changing our highway welcome sign from “The Way Life Should Be” to “Open For Business”) LePage is waging a war on the labor movement, on worker’s rights, on community organizing, and on everything that is democratic and socialist and good in our state. Continue reading →
The group GazaYBO (Youth Breaking Out), a phenomenal, outspoken group of young people whose only premise is that they have been screwed over by Israel, Palestinian leadership of any and all party affiliation, and the international community, has organized the March 15 day of protest in order to demonstrate solidarity between divided areas of Palestine, their unity, and dedication to “ending the division.”
WARNING: This will probably be a little bit incendiary and unquestionably littered with social democratic and possibly Marxist or even anarchistic sentiment.
After much discussion and rumination and explication, I think I am finally able to explain and possibly even support the full call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel.
There is a LOT of information out there about it. It’s dense, seemingly contradictory at times, and very difficult to parse through. Having people to talk about it with is immensely helpful. For your own purposes, some good resources are PACBI, BNC, and IMEU.
To be completely honest, though so many people speak in favor of BDS, they only do so in the context of the real and physical occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. But even among so many leftist Jews, it is very difficult to acknowledge or talk about the State of Israel as its own form of occupation, but to fully support BDS, which is critical for complete justice throughout all of historic Palestine, we must talk about the harder aspects.
While it almost answers some really poignant questions about PACBI and the limitations and scope of the academic and cultural aspects of the boycott, I have to strongly take issue with the last sentence or two.
recognize their land claims as indigenous people and has been demolishing Bedouin villages at an alarming rate, and being women in a traditional patriarchal society), these women work together to empower their community, and they inspire me. Continue reading →
After speaking at the conference, I got heckled for the first time in my life by a Palestinian refugee from Nablus who left at the age of 20 over 30 years ago. “Why do Jews and the US and Israel remember the Holocaust and not the Nakba?!” he said. “If you’re American and Israeli, tell me why America and Israel do the horrible things they do?!” I avoided his questions-I’m not the government, I told him, there’s a difference between the government and the people. Continue reading →
I was listening to NPR this morning and they were talking about both Democrats and Republicans discussing possibilities for intervening in Libya. Naturally, non-interventionist that I am, I took the opportunity to draft a letter to my elected representatives in Washington. It looks like this. Comments welcome, and feel free to copy/edit and send to your own Senators and Congressmen and Congresswomen.