One can be a Zionist and believe that the Jews constitute a people with the right to self-determination without believing that such self-determination must be implemented in an exclusivist religio-ethnic state like the one founded hastily by Russian Jewish Zionists in 1948. One can believe that the Jewish people’s right to self-determination cannot be implemented in Palestine at the expense of a Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and to live as a free people in their native land. And, of course, one can believe, as do many anti-Zionists, that Jews do not constitute a people with any right to national self-determination, but are rather a religio-ethnic community. All of these viewpoints are kosher. It is preposterous to label them “anti-Semitic.”
A Ha’aretz editorial brought my attention back to a bill a Kadima MK is pushing through Knesset: Basic Law: Israel — the Nation-State of the Jewish People. The bill was originally presented in August, following several years of what seemed to be efforts to strengthen the legally Jewish character of the state, such as the passage of the Nakba Law and the Loyalty Oath debacle, in which non-Jewish citizens would be required to swear allegiance to Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state.”
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli authorities on Saturday began deporting pro-Palestinian activists who tried to breach the Jewish state’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.
What does it mean, actually, to be pro-Palestinian? Is that an accurate description of the activists aboard the flotilla?
What does it mean that the writer switched from “Israel” to “Jewish state”? Can they be used synonymously, or do they carry different connotations?
Israel is constantly in a bizarre state of one-sided war which it wages on anyone it can find, pummeling them with its superior American-made bullets and drones and gas canisters and grenades. It drops white phosphorous over Gaza and shoots live bullets at unarmed demonstrators. It takes as prisoners anyone it so desires and holds them in endless confinement. The only thing is, in this war, you’re not allowed to fight back. We can imprison them, you see, but they can’t imprison us.
I’ve been thinking about OWS in the context of comparisons to Tahrir, and whether or not this is an apt analogy, but it makes me realize something else: whether or not it changes anything in the US, I think it will affect conflicts in the rest of the world and our relationship as individuals and a society to these conflicts.
Think about it: as well-meaning, socially-conscious Americans, we have been so apathetic and unaware of our own issues for so long as we have become wholly concentrated on and invested in conflicts overseas. In Israel/Palestine. In Egypt. In Haiti. In Iraq and Afghanistan. In drug wars in Central and South America. In blood diamonds. In a classist philanthropic charitably-minded society, we have dedicated our free time and our spare change to helping (or interfering with) other people.
Can or will OWS achieve something? Yes and no.
On many levels, it already has. It has brought attention to the discontentment of and economic inequality facing thousands, and probably millions, of Americans. It has presented an alternative to the current options: The System and the Tea Party. It has created an outlet in which we can express our anger. It has brought some unity of thought and action to a hugely diverse group of people.
There is some impression from the media that the occupy wall street protestors are disorganized, are messy, are visionless, and are altogether insignificant.
But what kind of grassroots movement would it be if it wasn’t disorganized and messy, if it didn’t seem visionless at times, and how would they gain any credibility and any viable power without seeming insignificant?
This morning, Mahmoud Abbas presented his application for statehood, and UN membership, to Banh Ki Moon. What happens after the vote?
There is no consensus on this whole bid for statehood thing. Personally, I think the most compelling reason for the bid to fail is that it completely ignores the rights and needs of Palestinians outside the narrow bounds of PA control in pockets of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In other words, it ignores the rights and needs of the majority of Palestinians world-wide. I’m hoping this feed will provide some good reading on the subject…
There is no question in any warm-blooded human mind that refugee camps are terrible, terrible places. Captain Jack Sparrow warns “the deepest circle of hell is reserved for betrayers and mutineers”; then the one deeper must be reserved for those displaced by war, flood, and famine.
The stories of refugee camps are unfathomable. Generation after generation are born into circumstances so hopeless the word “hopeless” itself provides far too much hope. There is no education, no adequate nutrition, and less than no way out. For the small percentage of the nearly 750,000 Somali refugees who are able to leave Dadaab and other massive camps in Africa, they find new homes and new kinds of assistance in their new states. But the vast majority are left to fester.