This the wording in the opening paragraph of an article in today’s Daily Star (emphasis mine):
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israeli activists have called for a “demonstration of 1 million” people as part of their ongoing protest movement against rising costs of living in the Jewish state, organizers said Friday.
And this is the wording farther down:
That rally was the biggest demonstration for a social cause in the history of the state of Israel.
Why “Jewish state” first, even at all, and “the state of Israel” when headline-skimmers have already stopped reading? It’s like reading “Israel is a Jewish state, but here’s something that happened there today.”
I spent the last hour listening intently to the Fresh Air broadcast on NPR, during which host Terry Gross interviewed Jose Antonio Vargas, the journalist who recently outed himself as an undocumented immigrant in the New York Times Magazine and the brains behind the Define American project. As her counterpoint, the second interview was with Mark Krikorian, the Executive Director of a think tank styling itself the Center for Immigration Studies whose mission is not just anti-illegal immigrant but severe restrictions immigration of all legal varieties, including refugee migration.
I think the best part of this is: “As we say in Jewish…” .. “I think it’s bad when there are like sects of Judaism that are like against Israel” … “American Indians! Looking real nice in their clothes” …
I have about 5 tabs open right now to read up on this latest leak. But once I do that I’ll inevitably have less clarity than I do now, so first I’ll just offer some initial reactions based on a quick perusal of online media (and of course NPR).
Maybe. The propaganda machine of the Israeli government has thus far been incredibly successful in rallying mass global support for Israeli policies, mostly citing security concerns as justifications for violence and occupation. Continue reading →
I suppose someone should say something about Brazil and Argentina recognizing an independent Palestinian state along the 1967 Green Line this week. First of all, I have to congratulate these nations. They’ve taken a stand in an international community that would never have had the guts to do this without a North American initiative.
It’s also an interesting indication of a split that we’ve known about for a while: between the “European” world (Europe and South America) in their empathy? sympathy? with the Palestinian cause and the “American” world in their undying sympathy for the plight of Israel. See anything and everything Viva Palestina for proof of this, as juxtaposed with the prevailing American and Canadian official and public sentiments which tend to lean towards Israel and the continuation of these futile peace processes as the only option. Although, news that the Obama administration is going to give up on pressuring Netanyahu on settlements could indicate either our abdication of the role of mediator and the recognition of the futility of this process and the first steps towards recognizing Palestine, or that the Israeli government has a worse stranglehold on ours than we previously thought and ever dared dream… Continue reading →
In Israel people on all sides of the political spectrum remind me frequently that I am not “Israeli.” But in Spain, my first stop out of the Holy Land, right off the bat, my friend Laura introduces me to her friend, “This is Shiri, she’s from Israel…” I smiled and corrected her, “I’m not really Israeli, we met there.” This exchange happened again and again that night and the following day, as I met one friend after another. Finally, Laura looked at me, “Shiri, you are American. But you are Israeli.”
My initial bristling at being identified as Israeli pinpoints the actors at play within my own personal arena of identity politics. While I have been going to Israel my whole life, it was only this year that the receptionist at the Haifa Ministry of the Interior refused to stamp my traveler’s visa, kindly reminded me that I have been a citizen since leaving my mother’s womb, and set the appointment for me to get a light blue ID card. Now, I can vote, I have a bank account, a phone plan, an Israeli passport, am categorized as a toshevet choseret-returning citizen, and I suspect that the officials in the Ministry of the Interior believe I am staying forever.
But it’s taken me a while to internalize that my ID card is not a toy from a playset and I’m not playing pretend. Continue reading →
Living in this country is a lesson in stereotypes: how they are sometimes quite rooted in reality, and how they can often be blown to bits by one casual encounter. I had the latter experience recently, when I had a conversation with an American Evan
gelical preacher about Israel/Palestine. He said that living in the U.S. and being part of the Evangelical community, he has only heard one narrative regarding this region: that Israel needs to be supported against its enemies. Continue reading →