Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights

Book Review: A Rabbi's Journey from liberal Zionism to anti-Zionism

Written by Rod Such   
Saturday, 22 June 2013 12:09

Book review: Outspoken rabbi urges American Jews to "look oppression in the face"

21 June 2013

 

If Adam Shatz was still collecting material for his valuable work Prophets Outcast: A Century of Dissident Jewish Writing about Zionism and Israel (2004), he would probably want to consider including an excerpt from the recently publishedWrestling in the Daylight: A Rabbi’s Path to Palestinian Solidarity by Brant Rosen.

Many of the contributors selected in Shatz’s work were Jews who opposed politicalZionism from its inception, with some offering an alternative vision of cultural Zionism in which Jews and Arabs would share a common homeland under a neutral state guaranteeing equal rights for all.

Unlike these writers, Rosen initially embraced a “liberal” form of political Zionism but then embarked on a political journey that led him to question and ultimately break with it, the turning point coming with Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s murderous assault on the people of Gaza in late 2008 and early 2009. Read more: Book Review: A Rabbi's Journey from liberal Zionism to anti-Zionism

 
 

Full Text of UN Committee on the Rights of the Child detailing Israeli torture of Palestinian children

Written by Webmaster   
Saturday, 22 June 2013 11:59

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child issued the following report on June 14, 2013, detailing Israeli human rights abuses of Palestinian children, including torture. The full text of the report can be found at this link:

http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crc/docs/co/CRC-C-ISR-CO-2-4.pdf

 

His Name Was Ahed Zaqout: Former Palestinian Soccer Star Killed in Gaza

Written by Dave Zirin   
Tuesday, 26 August 2014 11:31

All it took was a recording of Donald Sterling insulting Magic Johnson in a derogatory manner for the twenty-four-hour news world to stop on its axis. Now imagine if Donald Sterling—in all of his paranoid, racist fervor—had an army at his disposal and bombed Magic Johnson in his home, killing him in his sleep.

If such a scenario sounds like hacky Phillip K. Dick fan fiction as written by Mike Lupica, then you have not been paying attention to the dystopian, genocidal panorama in Gaza, where no one is safe. You are unfamiliar with the name Ahed Zaqout.

Ahed Zaqout was a 49-year-old sportscaster and television host in Gaza, a national sports voice for a people without a nation. Two decades ago, he was a soccer star: the midfielder for the Palestinian national soccer team. On Wednesday, he was killed in his bed by the bombs of the Israeli Defense Forces.

As Gaza sports journalist Khaled Zaher told Reuters, “Palestine has lost one of its best players, he may have been the best midfielder we ever had.”

Why the IDF was “defending” itself against Zaqout is a mystery. He was no Muhammad Ali, using sports to advance any kind of political cause. He was that most conventional and familiar of person in sports: the ex-star jock turned broadcaster. But in Gaza, what we may see as conventional can become political. Zaqout was someone whose voice, sharp wit, and trenchant analysis was a source of joy and escape for a people under constant siege. Providing escape to the trapped of Gaza was in and of itself a political act.

Read more: His Name Was Ahed Zaqout: Former Palestinian Soccer Star Killed in Gaza
 
   

Can Israel be Jewish and democratic?

Written by Joseph Levine   
Monday, 11 March 2013 11:22

 

MARCH 9, 2013, 7:30 PM

On Questioning the Jewish State

 

By JOSEPH LEVINE

I was raised in a religious Jewish environment, and though we were not strongly Zionist, I always took it to be self-evident that “Israel has a right to exist.” Now anyone who has debated the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will have encountered this phrase often. Defenders of Israeli policies routinely accuse Israel’s critics of denying her right to exist, while the critics (outside of a small group on the left, where I now find myself) bend over backward to insist that, despite their criticisms, of course they affirm it. The general mainstream consensus seems to be that to deny Israel’s right to exist is a clear indication of anti-Semitism (a charge Jews like myself are not immune to), and therefore not an option for people of conscience.

Over the years I came to question this consensus and to see that the general fealty to it has seriously constrained open debate on the issue, one of vital importance not just to the people directly involved — Israelis and Palestinians — but to the conduct of our own foreign policy and, more important, to the safety of the world at large. My view is that one really ought to question Israel’s right to exist and that doing so does not manifest anti-Semitism. The first step in questioning the principle, however, is to figure out what it means.

One problem with talking about this question calmly and rationally is that the phrase “right to exist” sounds awfully close to “right to life,” so denying Israel its right to exist sounds awfully close to permitting the extermination of its people. In light of the history of Jewish persecution, and the fact that Israel was created immediately after and largely as a consequence of the Holocaust, it isn’t surprising that the phrase “Israel’s right to exist” should have this emotional impact. But as even those who insist on the principle will admit, they aren’t claiming merely the impermissibility of exterminating Israelis. So what is this “right” that many uphold as so basic that to question it reflects anti-Semitism and yet is one that I claim ought to be questioned? Read more: Can Israel be Jewish and democratic?

 

Judith Butler's talk on BDS at Brooklyn College

Written by Judith Butler   
Friday, 08 February 2013 12:40

Judith Butler's Remarks to Brooklyn College on BDS

Judith Butler | February 7, 2013

[Editors Note: Despite a campaign to silence them, philosophers Judith Butler and Omar Barghouti spoke at Brooklyn College on Thursday night. In an exclusive, The Nation presents the text of Butler's remarks.]

Usually one starts by saying that one is glad to be here, but I cannot say that it has been a pleasure anticipating this event. What a Megillah! I am, of course, glad that the event was not cancelled, and I understand that it took a great deal of courage and a steadfast embrace of principle for this event to happen at all. I would like personally to thank all those who took this opportunity to reaffirm the fundamental principles of academic freedom, including the following organizations: the Modern Language Association, the National Lawyers Guild, the New York ACLU, the American Association of University Professors, the Professional Staff Congress (the union for faculty and staff in the CUNY system), the New York Times editorial team, the offices of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Brooklyn College President Karen Gould whose principled stand on academic freedom has been exemplary.

The principle of academic freedom is designed to make sure that powers outside the university, including government and corporations, are not able to control the curriculum or intervene in extra-mural speech. It not only bars such interventions, but it also protects those platforms in which we might be able to reflect together on the most difficult problems. You can judge for yourself whether or not my reasons for lending my support to this movement are good ones.   That is, after all, what academic debate is about. It is also what democratic debate is about, which suggests that open debate about difficult topics functions as a meeting point between democracy and the academy. Instead of asking right away whether we are for or against this movement, perhaps we can pause just long enough to find out what exactly this is, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, and why it is so difficult to speak about this.

I am not asking anyone to join a movement this evening. I am not even a leader of this movement or part of any of its governing committee, even though the New York Times tried to anoint me the other day—I appreciated their subsequent retraction, and I apologize to my Palestinian colleagues for their error. The movement, in fact, has been organized and led by Palestinians seeking rights of political self-determination, including Omar Barghouti, who was invited first by the Students for Justice in Palestine, after which I was invited to join him. At the time I thought it would be very much like other events I have attended, a conversation with a few dozen student activists in the basement of a student center. So, as you can see, I am surprised and ill-prepared for what has happened. Read more: Judith Butler's talk on BDS at Brooklyn College

 
   

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