Critical Thinking vs. Critical Theory

29.09.22

Editorial Note

Last week, an interesting article was posted on the Bashaar-IL forum from Times Higher Education, titled “Do universities teach critical thinking skills?”

The article attracted considerable attention, and scholars debated what universities provide their students.

The article discusses a book that was recently published, which claims that “There’s a discrepancy in that people are qualified – they have the stamp from universities that says they can do certain occupations – but then employers find they don’t have the skills needed for the workplace.”

The book discusses the results of tests conducted by the OECD that were published on 30 August under the question ‘Does Higher Education Teach Students to Think Critically?’ The results were disappointing since only 45 percent of the students were proficient in critical thinking.

One of the book authors said, “Critical thinking is a skill that I think [many people] just assume is taught… Universities, at least the ones that we have talked to, have said ‘It is not our job; they should have learned these things in high school’…everyone feels like it is somebody else’s responsibility to teach these things.”

The book suggests that some of the world’s “largest employers are losing faith that a good university qualification guarantees a candidate of a certain quality.”

Interestingly, however, none of the scholars mentioned the case of the critical theory, the postmodern theory that permeated the social sciences along with the neo-Marxist scholarship.

The two theories hijacked the liberal arts education in favor of a dogmatic view of reality comporting with the left-leaning political agenda of scholar-activists.

Hundreds of Israeli scholar-activists have been recruited to teach critical, neo-Marxist themes in the last three decades. They have been promoting each other.

For example, when Neve Gordon, then a professor at Ben Gurion University Department of Politics and Government, wrote his book Israel’s Occupation at UC Berkeley under the guidance of Nezar AlSayyad in 2005, he wrote that since 1967, during the Israeli occupation’s first two decades, in the health field, “practices were introduced to encourage women to give birth at hospitals (a means of decreasing infant mortality rates and monitoring population growth) and to promote vaccinations (in order to decrease the incidence of contagious and noncontagious diseases). Palestinian teachers were sent to seminars in Jerusalem, where they were instructed in methods of ‘correct’ teaching. A series of vocational schools were established to prepare Palestinians who wished to join the Israeli workforce, and model plots were created to train farmers. Many of these controlling devices aimed to increase the economic productivity of the Palestinian inhabitants and to secure the well-being of the population.”

Most unbiased readers would applaud Israel for helping the Palestinians to improve their living standards. But for Gordon, all these good measures were “Biopower,” a term taken from critical theory denoting the means of governing and control.

As for promoting each other, Professor Yehouda Shenhav, another critical scholar who was recruited to research the Sociology of Organizations but shifted to exploring the “Arab Jews,” helped to recruit Yael Berda to the Sociology Department at the Hebrew University. Berda has recently published an article about Queen Elizabeth II’s legacy, that “British colonialism here is not a thing of the past.” She writes. “Israel-Palestine is one of the few remaining places in the world where the organizing principles of British colonialism form the basis for present-day bureaucratic, legal, and political mechanisms. One of the central characteristics of British colonialism is the combination of racial hierarchy and extreme violence meted out against non-European subjects.”  

According to Berda, Queen Elizabeth II’s legacy “looms large over the Israeli regime’s obsession with separation and segregation of communities and its racial discrimination against native and ‘uncultured’ groups.” 

Berda’s article is another example of “critical” theory.

Using the term “critical” scholarship for denoting leftist agenda robbed students of engaging in critical thinking.

References

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/do-universities-teach-students-think-critically?

https://montagnedistribution.com/will-universities-teach-critical-thinking-skills/
Do universities teach critical thinking skills?OECD researchers offer evidence that students aren’t getting ‘generic skills’ needed for world of work – with potentially big implications 

September 6, 2022 

Tom Williams

Professional services giant PwC’s recent announcement that new recruits will no longer require at least a 2:1 degree was seen by many as the latest sign that some of the world’s largest employers are losing faith that a good university qualification guarantees a candidate of a certain quality.

The firm is by no means the first to look for new ways of determining the talent and potential of recent graduates as employers become increasingly vocal about the supposed failures of even the top universities to ensure that those entering the workforce have obtained the status of being “job-ready”.

In response, governments and policymakers around the world have emphasised the need for more practical, vocational degree courses that are closely tied to real-world experiences. But a new publication from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) argues that it is in the teaching of more generic critical thinking skills where universities can make the most difference.

“There’s a discrepancy in that people are qualified – they have the stamp from universities that says they can do certain occupations – but then employers find they don’t have the skills needed for the workplace,” said Dirk Van Damme, who co-edited the new book and recently retired as the OECD’s head of innovation.

“The assessment done by universities doesn’t guarantee that candidates have the problem-solving skills that employers think are important, and so they have to find ways to test this themselves.”

The notion that institutions are lacking in this regard has long been suspected, and the researchers behind the study think they may finally have come up with a way to prove it.

If all this sounds familiar, it is because it is. Many of those involved in the research also worked on the OECD’s aborted Assessment of Higher Education Learning Outcomes (Ahelo) project, which sought to establish a global system for assessing students’ skills at the end of their degrees.

Billed as a university-level equivalent of the highly influential Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) tests for school pupils, the scheme faced stiff opposition from elite institutions – some of which were arguably motivated by fears for their positions at the top of the hierarchy if teaching outcomes were to become better known.

More fundamental questions were also raised about whether such skills could accurately be assessed across institutions and borders, and the project fell apart in 2015.

A handful of countries remained committed to the idea, however, and have been testing students’ critical thinking skills ever since using the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA+), developed by the Council for Aid to Education (CAE), a US-based non-profit. The assessment includes a performance task and set of questions designed to test a student’s cognitive thinking, rather than their ability to recall knowledge.

“There’s no way that any one specific assessment can measure all of critical thinking,” acknowledged Doris Zahner, CAE’s chief academic officer and the co-editor of the new book.

“What we do really well is measure a specific, well-defined component of critical thinking: namely, analytical reasoning and evaluation and problem-solving,” she said.

“That includes data literacy, understanding quantitative information, being able to gather information from various sources and then making a decision based on this and crafting an answer that supports your argument and refutes the opposite – that’s what the assessment does.”

The results of the tests, published by the OECD on 30 August in the book Does Higher Education Teach Students to Think Critically?, are stark: on average, only 45 per cent of tested university students were proficient in critical thinking, while one in five demonstrated only “emerging” talent in this area.

What’s more, the “learning gain” of students between the start and the end of their courses was found to be small on average, while there were big discrepancies between courses, with those studying fields closely aligned to real-world occupations – such as business, agriculture and health – scoring the worst.

For Dr Van Damme, the results reflect a move away from the teaching of critical thinking in higher education, with less emphasis being placed on engaging with content and with some sectors abandoning exercises such as essay writing.

“Critical thinking is a skill that I think [many people] just assume is taught,” Dr Zahner said. But she pointed out that it has never been reported in university transcripts, so there has traditionally been no way of knowing if a student has developed these skills. “Universities, at least the ones that we have talked to, have said ‘It is not our job; they should have learned these things in high school’…everyone feels like it is somebody else’s responsibility to teach these things,” she said.

The authors recognise the limitations of the research, particularly the self-selecting sample of students, confined mostly to campuses in the US, with only a fraction coming from the other five countries taking part – Chile, Finland, Italy, Mexico and the UK – meaning that data for these countries could not be said to be representative.

But the authors believe they have demonstrated that “an international, cross-cultural, comparative assessment of generic learning outcomes of higher education is feasible”.

While the OECD does not yet seem to have mustered the will for another go at instigating an Ahelo-type project, the study’s repercussions could be major.

“What I personally believe this will do is lay the foundations for placing greater weight on the quality of teaching in higher education,” Andreas Schleicher, the OECD’s director for education and skills, told a launch event for the book in Hamburg.

He said that employers had “seen through” the degree system and that students were becoming more discerning consumers because they were having to shoulder more of the cost of their education.

Therefore, he continued, it was getting harder to “hide poor teaching behind great research”, while demand for skills that were easiest to test and teach – such as memorising and regurgitating knowledge – were exactly the areas that were losing value most quickly.

“Teaching excellence needs to obtain the same status – the same recognition – as academic research, which is still the dominant metric for valuing academic institutions, whether you look at rankings, research assessment frameworks or performance-based funding,” Mr Schleicher said.

To critics, all this sounds suspiciously like groundwork for the creation of a new ranking, something that was never an aim of Ahelo even though many thought its data were likely to eventually feed into institutions’ scores in global league tables.

Dr Van Damme said that while many criticisms of rankings were justified, there should be a recognition that they are not going to go away and, therefore, it would be better to find ways to ensure that they accurately reflect the quality of teaching – something that could change the complexion of league tables completely.

“In an ideal world, where you have as much transparency for teaching and learning as you have for research, there would be a profound impact not only on rankings but the hierarchy and landscape of the system,” he said.

“It is certainly not the case that universities that are excellent in research are also automatically excellent in teaching and learning; and if you placed greater weight on teaching, you would get different results [in rankings].”

As well as an upheaval in institutional reputation, greater focus on the teaching of critical thinking could fundamentally alter the types of courses that are seen as necessary for societies and economies to thrive, according to Dr Van Damme.

Politically influenced drives towards utilitarian approaches to education that produce students who are immediately employable in a certain occupation – which tend to favour the STEM subjects – neglect to consider volatility in the labour market and the need to train young people for their entire lifetime, he said.

“The economy and labour market are in transformation because of digitalisation, and so the job reality in 10 years’ time will be completely different from today. There should be more interest in teaching the generic skills that matter in the long term,” he added.

In this world, it is the much-maligned humanities that truly come into their own, and the CLA+ results showed that those students pursuing these fields displayed much higher levels of critical thinking, according to Dr Van Damme.

He said studies have demonstrated that while vocational training produces better employability results in the short term, these wane after five years and “those with better generic skills have much better employability and earning prospects over a lifetime”.

Dr Zahner said universities would likely come under increased pressure from industry and governments to address these issues, whether they like it or not.

“Hopefully the universities will hear this messaging. It’s great if you can graduate your students, but it is not so great if you graduate all these students and they don’t have success in their careers. We’re hoping being able to increase critical thinking skills will be able to close that gap.”

tom.williams@timeshighereducation.com

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https://www.972mag.com/queen-colonial-legacy-israel-palestine/

The Queen is dead, but her colonial legacy lives on in Israel-Palestine

While the British Mandate ended 74 years ago, its legacy of racial hierarchy, divide and rule, and emergency regulations is still visible in Israeli policy.

By  Yael Berda September 20, 2022

This article was published in partnership with Local Call. 

Of all the countries Queen Elizabeth II visited over the course of her 70-year reign — of which there were over 120 — she never once set foot in Israel. But she needn’t have; the legacy of the British Mandate continues to have a tangible impact on the day-to-day management of the Israeli regime.

Israelis tend to think about the British Mandate as a historical remnant, and the rule of the Monarchy as a brief moment in time that belongs in the past. Israeli Jews who hold liberal views often joke that they hope for the “return of the British Mandate,” as if British rule over Palestine ushered in an era of infrastructure and efficiency, replete with cars, maps, statistics, and electricity. The implication is that ever since the British left, things have only gone downhill.

While they may say these things in jest, British colonialism here is not a thing of the past. In fact, Israel-Palestine is one of the few remaining places in the world where the organizing principles of British colonialism form the basis for present-day bureaucratic, legal, and political mechanisms.

One of the central characteristics of British colonialism is the combination of racial hierarchy and extreme violence meted out against non-European subjects, with a near-obsessive preoccupation with political legitimacy and legal normativity. In other words: a fixation on the rule of law.

Since the days of the East India Company— which was the first to use emergency legislation to establish the death penalty and the practice of deportation — this obsession meant that as long as there was some semblance of procedure, any violence against a given population could be justified under the pretext of warding off “security risks.” As “hostile” natives increasingly resisted the violence of empire, however, the definition of “security risks” had to be muddied further. 

In recent years, historians of the British Empire from across the political spectrum have come to understand that colonialism and liberalism — including the importance of the “rule of law” as a supreme value — cannot be separated. But while the world tries to rid itself of this legacy and begins to think about decolonization in the realm of politics, society, and even the economy, it ignores the fact that British colonialism continues to shape the lives of citizens, residents, and subjects between the river and the sea.

The British administrators in the colonies realized fairly quickly that they could not maintain control over native people through force alone. Therefore, they began to adopt advanced population management methods, including the classification of different populations in accordance with their supposed level of security risk. This is the first organizing principle of colonial bureaucracy: the systematic separation of populations, followed by the creation of separate governing practices for each group.

Another key tool used by the British was the restriction of movement. This was done through declaring closed military zones; administrative detentions; preventing passage from one colony or subdistrict to another; and permit regimes, which blocked, limited, and slowed the movement of the population. British surveillance systems turned not only policemen and soldiers into sources of control and intelligence, but also teachers, postal clerks, and medical staff.

One can recognize some of these colonial organizing principles in Israel-Palestine today. They are, of course, most strongly expressed in the privileged treatment of Jewish settlements on both sides of the Green Line — whether the kibbutzim and moshavim inside Israel, or the settlements in the occupied West Bank.

The first principle is racial hierarchy: initially between Europeans and natives, and later within Jewish population groups— Mizrahim, Ethiopians, Jews from former Soviet states — according to how “cultured” they are. The second principle is administrative flexibility, meaning the management by officials in the field, due to their proximity to the subject population, rather than by laws passed in parliament. 

The third is secrecy. While most bureaucracies work with published laws, colonial bureaucracy uses secret laws, unknown decrees, directives, and internal regulations that even colonial officials don’t know about, cloaked under the guise of threats to security or “the order of the colony.” The fourth is personalization. A person’s identity determines the laws or the practices that will be applied to him — the exact opposite of equality before the law. The fifth is the creation of exceptions. This form of control is actually based on a collection of exceptions, which constantly change in a routine manner, as opposed to long-term planning.

Legacies of racial separation and partition 

In Israel, the historical relationship between Zionism and British colonialism is usually considered through two prisms. The first is that of the final two years of the British Mandate, during which the three Jewish underground organizations — Haganah, Etzel, and Lehi — declared armed struggle against British rule to expel the occupiers, which the colonial authorities deemed “terrorism.”  

The second prism through which the relationship is viewed is that of one of the main tools of the executive authority in Israel: emergency legislation. We tend to forget that both the construction of relations between Jews and Palestinians as one of racial hierarchy, as well as the 1947 Partition Plan — which sought to split Palestine between Palestinians, who made up the majority of the population at the time, and mostly Jewish settlers — were both born out of an imperial desire to manage the conflict while maintaining its control and influence over the region. 

When the British Mandate came to an end, the newly established State of Israel adopted the (Emergency) Defense Regulations, enacted by the British during its rule, which grant extraordinary powers to Israel’s executive authority. In fact, a declared state of emergency has been in effect ever since the founding of the state.|

There is no doubt that these regulations are the beating heart of the Israeli regime, nor is there any doubt that their abolition is an essential step on the way to the establishment of a truly democratic regime. In practice, the Defense Regulations shaped how Israel’s first governments treated its Jewish opposition, but most importantly it shaped the military government that ruled over Palestinian citizens of Israel between 1949 and 1966, allowing the government to seize Palestinian land and property under the guise of “military necessity,” and prevent Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons from returning to the homes that the state expropriated after 1948 as “absentee property.” 

The organizational infrastructure of the occupation is also based on the emergency regulations. While preparing military orders for a possible future military occupation in 1963, four whole years before Israel would come to control the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, the army cut out the words “His Majesty” as the ultimate sovereign in the region, and replaced them with “the military commander of the area.” Israel’s Supreme Court, far from questioning the existence of these regulations, has continually upheld their legitimacy and the military occupation that derived from it.

Israel’s anti-terrorism law, which was passed by the Knesset in 2016 and which contains broad and vague definitions of terrorism while entrenching many of these emergency regulations into law, turned British colonial legal tools that had been in use for 80 years into legislation. This same logic — which transforms any political risk into a security risk — was the motivation behind the decision by Defense Ministry Benny Gantz to declare six Palestinian civil society organizations as terrorist groupsand try to have them shut down.

Queen Elizabeth II’s legacy is not only seen in Israel’s emergency regulations. It looms large over the Israeli regime’s obsession with separation and segregation of communities and its racial discrimination against native and “uncultured” groups living between the river and sea under a single government, without fixed borders of sovereignty. In that sense, even in her passing, the empire she represented is still very much with us.

A version of this article first appeared in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

Yael Berda is an assistant professor of sociology and anthropology at Hebrew University and a visiting researcher at Harvard Kennedy School. She is the author of ‘The Bureaucracy of the Occupation’ and ‘Living Emergency: Israel’s Permit Regime in the Occupied West Bank.’

A Group of Jewish Scholars Politicizes Antisemitism

22.09.22

Editorial Note

Recently, a group of thirty-eight Jewish scholars, among them prominent figures of the radical political left, have written “A letter from Jewish Scholars to the UN.” The group, which describes itself as “scholars, experts and Jewish leaders,” addressed their letter to Mr. Federico Villegas, President of the UN Human Rights Council, with copies sent to Mr. António Guterres, UN Security-General, and Mr. Miguel Ángel Moratinos, UN High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC). 

They expressed concern over the “instrumentalization of antisemitism against UN Commission of Inquiry.”

The letter was triggered by an interview with Miloon Kothari, a member of a commission to investigate human rights abuses in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The U.N. Human Rights Council created the commission during the Israel-Gaza conflict in May 2021. In the interview published by the anti-Zionist website Mondoweiss, Kothari used the phrase “Jewish lobby,” a well-worn antisemitic trope.   Kothari said: “We are very disheartened by the social media that is controlled largely by – whether it is the Jewish lobby or specific NGOs, a lot of money is being thrown into trying to discredit us, but the important thing is our mandate is based on international human rights and humanitarian standards and that we are all seeking the truth… the Israeli government does not respect its own obligations as a U.N. member state. They, in fact, consistently, either directly or through the United States, try to undermine U.N. mechanisms.” After a storm of protest, Kothari was forced to apologize.

In their letter, the Jewish scholars and activists praised Kothari’s apology: “we agree that ’s words in a recent interview about Israel’s UN status and ‘the Jewish lobby’ were mistaken and poorly chosen. We therefore welcome Mr. Kothari’s letter to you, in which he clarified his intentions and expressed regret about the offense his words have caused.”

However, the signatories agree with Kothari’s message: “Mr. Kothari was specifically criticizing Israel’s systematic refusal to cooperate with UN investigations and the escalating campaigns by politically-motivated groups to discredit and delegitimize the work of the UN Human Rights Council in general and the UN Commission of Inquiry in particular. Neither of these critiques are in and of themselves antisemitic, although both should have been articulated appropriately and with more sensitivity.”

The letter states, “In recent years, right-wing advocates, representing both Jewish and non-Jewish groups, have invested enormous energy and resources to frame legitimate criticism of Israel and attempts to hold Israel accountable for its ongoing violations of international law as inherently antisemitic. Regrettably, the Israeli government has been applying the same approach.” 

For the Jewish scholars and activists, right-wing groups and the Israeli government are “seizing this opportunity to leverage allegations of antisemitism, in order to divert attention from the gross human rights violations taking place in Israel-Palestine.” The group ends by urging the Human Rights Council “not let this political instrumentalization, which targets the human rights mandate and mission of the UN as such, succeed. Undermining and blocking human rights investigations in such circumstances neither helps the global fight against antisemitism, nor international efforts to secure and protect the human rights and well-being of Palestinians and Israelis alike. Human rights in Israel and Palestine and the safety and well-being of Jews across the world must both be advanced. Indeed, these are two mutually reinforcing goals.”

Among the group are several well-known radical Israeli political activists, including Moshe Behar, Alon Confino, Amos Goldberg, Eva Illouz, Anat Matar, Atalia Omer, Adi Ophir, Raz Segal, Oren Yiftachel, and Moshe Zuckermann. The group includes prominent Jewish figures, among them Peter Beinart and scholars such as Sara Roy, Ian S. Lustick, and Libby Lenkinski, the vice-president of the New Israel Fund. 

There are several problems with their letter. The group’s concern is with the charge of antisemitism in the words that Kothari expressed. They don’t see any problem with an investigator’s biased views against the subject of his inquiry. It is unacceptable that an investigator is selected when it is known he holds biased and prejudiced views before his investigation.  

Some of the scholars have held anti-Israel and anti-semitic views themselves. Prof. Adi Ophir once described Israel in a co-authored article, “the garbage heap of Europe.” Prof. Moshe Zuckermann once called the Israeli soldier “Kalgas,” loosely translated as a Nazi-like soldier. Prof. Oren Yiftachel pioneered the accusation that Israel is an apartheid state. Dr. Anat Matar has been calling for BDS against Israel for two decades. Profs. Alon Confino and Amos Goldberg often equate the Holocaust to the self-inflicted Palestinian Nakba. Moreover, by negating the right of “right-wing” views, the group aligns itself with left-wing views, suggesting that right-wing views are not morally accepted. Clearly, expressing concerns about human rights abuses is not truly what motivates the group.

There are often reports on human rights abuses by the two Palestinian dictatorships against the Palestinian people, such as the hanging of dissenters, physical abuses, and the abuse of children by turning them into soldiers. Not once did these Jewish and Israeli scholars express their dismay. For that matter, neither did the UN Human Rights body.

More to the point, the scholars failed to discuss the broader issue of antisemitic and anti-Zionist sentiments in the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights. For once, the Palestinian probe is unprecedented in the sense that it is open-ended. No other country, even the most egregious human rights violators, was subjected to an open-ended examination of its record. Navi Pillay, the former High Commission for Human Rights and the head of the Palestinian commission, has lobbied for sanctions against the “Israeli apartheid state.”  

To recall, the widely adopted International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) states that using double standards to target the Jewish state alone is antisemitic. Just because these scholars are Jewish or Israelis does not absolve them from the charge of antisemitism. Even worse, they are being used as stooges by antisemitic and anti-Zionist regimes eager to prove that Israelis share their views.

Genuine concern for human rights is based on equality. By singling out Israel, the UN Human Rights Council (and the signatories of the letter) are politicizing human rights advocacy and robbing it of the legitimacy needed for success.

References

https://medium.com/@diasporaalliance/stop-instrumentalizing-antisemitism-df4afd7ba019

Diaspora Alliance

Diaspora Alliance

Aug 23

·

Stop Instrumentalizing Antisemitism

A letter from Jewish Scholars to the UN

TO: UN Human Rights Council
Mr. Federico Villegas, President

CC: Mr. António Guterres, UN Security-General
Mr. Miguel Ángel Moratinos, UN High Representative for the UNAOC

Concerns: instrumentalization of antisemitism against UN Commission of Inquiry

Dear President of the Human Rights Council,

As scholars, experts and Jewish leaders, we agree that Miloon Kothari’s words in a recent interview about Israel’s UN status and “the Jewish lobby” were mistaken and poorly chosen. We therefore welcome Mr. Kothari’s letter to you, in which he clarified his intentions and expressed regret about the offense his words have caused.

At the same time, the response to Mr. Kothari’s words deserves our careful attention. Since being aired, his words have been repeatedly misrepresented and mischaracterized.

In his interview, Mr. Kothari was specifically criticizing Israel’s systematic refusal to cooperate with UN investigations and the escalating campaigns by politically-motivated groups to discredit and delegitimize the work of the UN Human Rights Council in general and the UN Commission of Inquiry in particular. Neither of these critiques are in and of themselves antisemitic, although both should have been articulated appropriately and with more sensitivity.

Human rights defenders must apply a level of care and precision in their language when raising their concerns. This is true in every case, including and perhaps especially when it comes to sensitive issues such as the situation in Israel-Palestine. But a parallel responsibility rests on civil society organizations, opinion leaders and governments to honestly reflect the concerns of human rights defenders and to fairly address the context in which they operate.

In recent years, right-wing advocates, representing both Jewish and non-Jewish groups, have invested enormous energy and resources to frame legitimate criticism of Israel and attempts to hold Israel accountable for its ongoing violations of international law as inherently antisemitic. Regrettably, the Israeli government has been applying the same approach.

With the recent escalating call from Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid to “disband” the Commission of Inquiry in response to Mr. Kothari’s statements, the Israeli government and groups politically aligned with it are doing exactly that — seizing this opportunity to leverage allegations of antisemitism, in order to divert attention from the gross human rights violations taking place in Israel-Palestine.

We strongly urge you to not let this political instrumentalization, which targets the human rights mandate and mission of the UN as such, succeed.

Undermining and blocking human rights investigations in such circumstances neither helps the global fight against antisemitism, nor international efforts to secure and protect the human rights and well-being of Palestinians and Israelis alike.

Human rights in Israel and Palestine and the safety and well-being of Jews across the world must both be advanced. Indeed, these are two mutually reinforcing goals.

We also welcome the clarifications of Commissioner Navi Pillay in her letter to you and call on all UN Member States, including Israel, to support and protect the Commission of Inquiry in its important work.

Yours respectfully,

Anita Altman, co-founder ReelAbilities
Meir Amor, Dr. (ret.), Concordia University, Montreal
Leora Auslander, Professor, Associate Chair, Department of Race, Diaspora and Indigeneity; Professor, Department of History; Arthur and Joann Rasmussen Professor of Western Civilization, University of Chicago
Moshe Behar, Dr., Programme Director, Arabic & Middle Eastern Studies, School of Arts, Languages & Cultures, The University of Manchester
Peter Beinart, Associate Professor of Journalism, Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism; Associate Professor of Political Science, City University of New York
Seyla Benhabib, Eugene Meyer Professor of Political Science and Philosophy, Emerita, Yale University; Senior Research Associate, Columbia Law School
David Biale, Emanuel Ringelblum Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Department of History, UC Davis
Avraham Burg, former Speaker of Knesset and Head of the Jewish Agency
Alon Confino, Pen Tishkach Chair of Holocaust Studies, Professor of History and Jewish Studies, Director Institute for Holocaust, Genocide and Memory Studies, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Hasia R. Diner, Paul And Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History, New York University
Debórah Dwork, Director, Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, Graduate Center, City University of New York
Efrat Gal-Ed, Professor Dr., Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf
Katharina Galor, Hirschfeld Senior Lecturer in Judaic Studies, Brown University
Amos Goldberg, Professor of Holocaust Studies, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Atina Grossmann, Professor of History, Cooper Union, New York
Eva Illouz, Professor, School of Advanced Studies, Paris
Natasha Josette, Director, Breathe (UK)
Marion Kaplan, Skirball Professor of Modern Jewish History, New York University
Brian Klug, Dr., Emeritus Fellow in Philosophy, St. Benet’s Hall, University of Oxford
Daniel Levy, President, US/Middle East Project
Libby Lenkinski, Vice-President, New Israel Fund
Ian S. Lustick, Professor Emeritus, Bess W. Heyman Chair, Department of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania
Anat Matar, Dr., Department of Philosophy, Tel Aviv University
Paul Mendes-Flohr, Professor Emeritus of History and Religious Thought, University of Chicago; Professor Emeritus at the Divinity School, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Atalia Omer, Professor, The Keough School of Global Affairs, The University of Notre Dame; Dermot TJ Dunphy Visiting Professor of Religion, Violence, and Peace Building, Harvard Divinity School
Adi Ophir, Professor Emeritus, The Cohn Institute, Tel Aviv University, Visiting Professor, The Cogut Institute, Brown University
Katheen Peratis, Co-chair, Jewish Currents
Na’ama Rokem, Associate Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature, Director the Joyce Z. and Jacob Greenberg Center for Jewish Studies, University of Chicago
Michael Rothberg, Professor, 1939 Society Samuel Goetz Chair in Holocaust Studies, UCLA
Sara Roy, Dr., Senior Research Scholar, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University
Raz Segal, Associate Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies and Endowed Professor in the Study of Modern Genocide, Stockton University
Rachel Shabi, Journalist and Author
Simone Susskind, Former Belgian Senator and Former Member of the Brussels Parliament
Jessy Tolkan, Founder and President, Drive Agency
Barry Trachtenberg, Associate Professor, Rubin Presidential Chair of Jewish History, Wake Forest University
Enzo Traverso, Susan and Barton Winokur Professor in the Humanities, Department of Romance Studies, Cornell University
Oren Yiftachel, Professor, Lynn and Lloyd Hurst Family Chair of Urban Studies, Geography Department Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beersheba; University College London (Hon.)
Moshe Zuckermann, Emeritus Professor in History and Philosophy, Tel Aviv University

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https://www.jta.org/2022/08/05/israel/un-investigator-apologizes-for-jewish-lobby-remark-and-other-comments-deemed-antisemitic
UN investigator apologizes for ‘Jewish lobby’ remark and other comments deemed antisemitic

BY MADELINE FIXLER AUGUST 5, 2022 4:21 PM

(JTA) — A United Nations investigator has apologized for recently using the phrase “Jewish lobby” and suggesting that Israel could lose its U.N. membership, comments that drew widespread condemnation, including from U.S. officials.

Miloon Kothari sent an apology letter on Thursday to Federico Villegas, head of the U.N. Human Rights Council, for statements he made during a podcast interview last week with the anti-Zionist Mondoweiss site.

Kothari is a member of the Human Rights Council’s commission to investigate human rights abuses in the Occupied Palestinain Territories that was formed following Israel-Gaza violence in the spring of 2021.

In the interview, he said, “We are very disheartened by the social media that is controlled largely by – whether it is the Jewish lobby or specific NGOs, a lot of money is being thrown into trying to discredit us, but the important thing is our mandate is based on international human rights and humanitarian standards and that we are all seeking the truth.”

He added that “the Israeli government does not respect its own obligations as a U.N. member state. They, in fact, consistently, either directly or through the United States, try to undermine U.N. mechanisms.”

At the time, the head of the commission, Navi Pillay, defended Kothari’s comments as being taken out of context. Deborah Lipstadt, the State Department’s special envoy on antisemitism, and Michèle Taylor, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Council, both condemned Kothari’s rhetoric.

“We are outraged by recent antisemitic, anti-Israel comments made by a member of the Israel COI,” Taylor tweeted last week.

In his letter sent Thursday, Kothari wrote that “It was completely wrong for me to describe the social media as ‘being controlled largely by the Jewish lobby.’ This choice of words was incorrect, inappropriate, and insensitive.”

Israel, which has refused to participate in the U.N. commission’s inquiry, was unsatisfied with Kothari’s apology. A deputy director general at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the statement “pitiful” and “unconvincing.”  

==============================================================

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/stop-weaponising-antisemitism-jewish-scholars-urge-un-members-support-israel-probe

Stop weaponising antisemitism: Jewish scholars urge UN members to support Israel probe

Dozens of Jewish scholars signed a letter to the UN urging member countries to back the probe into Israeli war crimes against Palestinians

By 

MEE staff

Published date: 24 August 2022 22:12 UTC 

Dozens of Jewish scholars around the world signed a letter sent to the United Nations which urges member countries to support the UN’s probe into Israeli war crimes against Palestinians.

The letter comes after the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has come under attack from Israeli groups who accuse the body of being biased and antisemitic in its targeting of Israel.

“In recent years, right-wing advocates, representing both Jewish and non-Jewish groups, have invested enormous energy and resources to frame legitimate criticism of Israel and attempts to hold Israel accountable for its ongoing violations of international law as inherently antisemitic,” the letter read.

The latest pressure on the UN body comes after commissioner Miloon Kothari gave an interview chastising Israel for not cooperating with the investigation, adding that if Israel wants to be part of the UN, it has to abide by its rules.

“I would go as far to raise the question of why are they even a member of the United Nations, because the Israeli government does not respect its own obligations as a UN member state. They in fact consistently, either directly or through the United States, try to undermine UN mechanisms,” he told Mondoweiss.

The UN investigation’s primary critics, Israel and the US, pounced on the statement as evidence of the body’s apparent bias. One pro-Israeli organisation went as far as to accuse Kothari of questioning Israel’s right to exist and antisemitism, charges he denies.

Kothari recently also faced accusations of antisemitism after claiming social media was “being controlled largely by the Jewish lobby”. Kothari later apologised for his remarks, saying his choice of words was “incorrect, inappropriate, and insensitive”.

But the letter’s signatories say that Israel and pro-Israel groups are capitalising on the special rappartour’s remarks to attack the validity of the probe and taint it with claims of antisemitism.

“I signed the letter because I strongly object to practices, all to common, by Israel advocacy groups and by the Israeli government, to avoid substantive discussion of real issues by making ad hominem attacks on critics,” said Ian Lustick, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

Atalia Omer, a signatory to the letter and a professor of religion, conflict and peace studies at the University of Notre Dame, told Middle East Eye that the “accusation of antisemitism undergirds and entrenches Israeli impunity”.

“It needs to be called out, especially when deployed to demobilise an inquiry into Israeli state violence at the level of the United Nations.

“The letter is significant because it again demonstrates that many Jewish scholars and public intellectuals reject the weaponisation of antisemitism to avoid holding Israel accountable for its policies and actions while also recognizing that antisemitism is a real phenomenon.”

Last year, the UNHRC agreed to launch an investigation – with a broad mandate – to probe all alleged violations Israel had committed against Palestinians following its May offensive on Gaza, which killed 260 Palestinians, including 66 children, according to the UN. 

The first of its findings which came out this June said that Israel’s occupation and discrimination against Palestinians are the main causes of the endless cycles of violence in Israel and Israeli-occupied territory, UN investigators have concluded.

Earlier this year, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories also submitted a report to the UNHRC that concluded that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians amounts to apartheid.

Is the BDS Movement Winding Down?

15.09.22

Editorial Note

By the end of last month, Omar Barghouti, the BDS movement’s leader, sent his followers a request for donations.

Barghouti writes, “We need more BDS power to dismantle Israeli apartheid.” We are “escalating our cultural, academic & sports boycott campaigns.” He declares that “To achieve justice and dismantle Israel’s decades-old regime of settler-colonialism and apartheid, we need to keep building massive grassroots power to affect a radical policy change. Power comes in diverse shapes and forms. We in the BDS movement for Palestinian rights have always understood that we must continue building our powerful, principled, intersectional and strategic movement to contribute significantly to Palestinian liberation.” We urge you to “push even harder to end international complicity in Israeli apartheid, starting with pressuring the UN to assume its responsibility for investigating and then ending this regime. Further strengthen our global, nonviolent movement for freedom, justice and equality. U.S. and European hypocrisy, endless support for apartheid Israel, and deep-seated anti-Palestinian racism make our struggle that much more challenging. Needless to say. Israel and its Western allies are allocating massive resources and becoming even more repressive in their war on BDS, which they regard as a top priority in their desperate attempts to shield apartheid from serious international accountability.”

According to Barghouti, the Palestinian movement is “supported by mass movements representing tens of millions worldwide… our campaigns targeting the most complicit corporations and institutions, our divestment campaigns focusing on churches and large pension funds, and our pressure for state and inter-state accountability measures. We shall continue to build our movement’s power to #DismantleApartheid; until we end occupation, siege, massacres and ethnic cleansing; until our refugees can return and receive reparations; and until the entire Indigenous Palestinian people can finally live in justice, peace and dignity.” 

To prove his case, Barghouti asks supporters to donate to the Alliance for Global Justice (AFGJ), an extensive network of social justice groups. Interestingly, the Alliance does not list the BDS movement on its website but does include other pro-boycott groups such as Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network; Ta’ayush; Legal Defense for Palestine; Coalition of Women for Peace; and Arizona Palestine Solidarity Alliance. 

Although Barghouti sounds like his usual triumphalist note, the BDS and its antecedent – the notion that Israel is an apartheid state – are more difficult to sell today than in the early 2000s. This particular narrative was successfully pushed by the Islamist regime of Iran and adopted by the NGOs which met on the side of the UN-sponsored meeting in Durban in 2001. The so-called “Durban strategy” inspired Barghouti, a Qatar-born Palestinian, to organize the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Palestine (PACBI) in 2004.  

While accusing Israel of apartheid, Barghouti, an electrical engineer, was a postgraduate student of Ethics in the Department of Philosophy at Tel Aviv University between 2000 and 2009. Even before, Barghouti married an Israeli Arab, Safa Tamish, a health worker who was previously an Israeli government employee through the Ministry of Health. In 1993 the couple moved to Israel and forced the Israeli authorities, through a legal battle in the Israeli courts, to provide Barghouti with residency in Israel, as his wife detailed on Israeli TV. 

Barghouti, who co-founded PACBI in 2004, positioned PACBI as a founding member of the BDS National Committee in 2005. The BDS manifesto took an extremist position on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It advocates for a one-state solution and the return of all the 1948 refugees and their descendants.   

Almost a quarter century after Durban, the BDS does not resonate as much, undermined by a regional geopolitical shift. The signing of the Abraham Accords has launched a flourishing economic exchange between Israel and key Arab countries in the Middle East and North Africa, belying the claim that Israel is an apartheid state and a no-go zone for investment. More to the point, with the support of the United States, Israel took the lead in a budding strategic coalition of the Abraham Accords countries that some compared to a Middle East NATO. The coalition is directed at Iran, the self-proclaimed defender of the Palestinians, which has used drones and missiles to undermine the stability of the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia and the shipping lines of the region. 

In the United States and Great Britain, two key centers of the BDS movement, the increasingly violent and antisemitic anti-Israel protests have exacted a high price on the organizers. Many constituencies where BDS operates adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), which defines certain forms of anti-Israel critique, including allegations of mass massacres and Nazi-like treatment of the Palestinians as antisemitic. Public opinion and law would make it more difficult to spread scurrilous propaganda to justify BDS. For instance, Berkeley University Professor Hatem Bazian, the founder of Students for Justice for Palestine (SJP) and a major leader in the BDS movement, retweeted a cartoon showing a Jewish man declaring, “I can now kill, rape, smuggle organs and steal the land of Palestinians.” He was roundly denounced for antisemitism and was forced to apologize. 

It is too early to know whether the BDS movement is winding down. What is clear, however, is that the “Durban strategy” has met with very strong headwinds. 

References:
From: “Omar Barghouti, BDS” <info@bdsmovement.net

Sent: Wed, Aug 31, 2022 at 5:21 PM

Subject: We need more BDS power to dismantle Israeli apartheid


   It’s all about people power and moral consistency. To achieve justice and dismantle Israel’s decades-old regime of settler-colonialism and apartheid, we need to keep building massive grassroots power to affect a radical policy change.
Power comes in diverse shapes and forms. We in the BDS movement for Palestinian rights have always understood that we must continue building our powerful, principled, intersectional and strategic movement to contribute significantly to Palestinian liberation.
With your collective efforts, the BDS movement has played the leading role in mainstreaming the apartheid analysis of Israel’s regime of oppression and in charting the most effective form of solidarity with our struggle for justice. We are winning increasing support from mass movements, trade unions, progressive political parties and even governments.
We thank you dearly for all your support and urge you to help push even harder to end international complicity in Israeli apartheid, starting with pressuring the UN to assume its responsibility for investigating and then ending this regime.   Further strengthen our global, nonviolent movement for freedom, justice and equality.  
DONATE  
U.S. and European hypocrisy, endless support for apartheid Israel, and deep-seated anti-Palestinian racism make our struggle that much more challenging. Needless to say. Israel and its Western allies are allocating massive resources and becoming even more repressive in their war on BDS, which they regard as a top priority in their desperate attempts to shield apartheid from serious international accountability. This all attests to our movement’s fast rising impact.
Rooted in a long heritage of Palestinian popular resistance and supported by mass movements representing tens of millions worldwide, the BDS movement is undeterred by this repression. With your support, we shall march on, escalating our cultural, academic & sports boycott campaigns, our campaigns targeting the most complicit corporations and institutions, our divestment campaigns focusing on churches and large pension funds, and our pressure for state and inter-state accountability measures.We shall continue to build our movement’s power to #DismantleApartheid; until we end occupation, siege, massacres and ethnic cleansing; until our refugees can return and receive reparations; and until the entire Indigenous Palestinian people can finally live in justice, peace and dignity.  Please consider becoming one of our monthly sustainers who donate $15 per month.  
DONATE  
Truly,
Omar Barghouti
Co-founder of the BDS movement and co-recipient of the 2017 Gandhi Peace Award.  The nonviolent BDS movement for freedom, justice and equality is supported by the absolute majority in Palestinian society. BDS rejects all forms of racism and racial discrimination.

============================================

AfGJ’s Fiscally Sponsored Projects

The Alliance for Global Justice fiscally sponsor organizations and projects with a local focus to organizations with a global focus, as well as organizations not based in the U.S. We sponsor humanitarian aid projects, direct service organizations, networks and coalitions, racial and social justice organizations, international human rights accompaniment work, legal defense projects, the list goes on.

Read more about AfGJ’s Fiscal Sponsorship Program and how to apply.

AfGJ Fiscally Sponsored Projects:

Action Bail Fund

Action LA (Los Angeles)
www.actionla.org

African Awareness Association (Richmond, VA)
www.aaa-cubatours.com

Alianza Indígena Sin Fronteras/Indigenous Alliance Without Borders
www.indigenousalliance.org

Alerta Migratoria
alertamigratoria.org

Amigos de la Playa
facebook.com/Amigos-de-la-Playa-Ometepe-106474677758911/

Arizona Palestine Solidarity Alliance
southernarizonabds.weebly.com

ASOTRECOL
asotrecol.org

Assata’s Daughters
assatasdaughters.org

AZ Jobs with Justice
www.facebook.com/TucsonJobswithJustice
www.facebook.com/PhoenixJobswithJustice

Beef Relief
http://beefrelief.org/

Black Lives Matter Tucson

www.BlackTucson.com

Black Movement Law Project
www.bmlp.org

Black Trans Media
www.blacktransmedia.org

Bukit Bail Fund of Pittsburgh
facebook.com/bukitbailfundpgh/

BV Solidarity Project (BVSP)
vb4cuba.com

Camino Común

Central Ohio Freedom Fund
www.centralohiofreedomfund.org

Change-Links Newspaper (Los Angeles)
www.change-links.org

Chico Mendes Reforestation Project
chicomendesguatemala.org

Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox
cindysheehanssoapbox.blogspot.com

Clean up the Mines
www.cleanupthemines.org

Coalition of Women for Peace
www.coalitionofwomen.org

Colorado Freedom Fund
ColoradoFreedomFund.org

Community Action Relief Project
phlcarp.org

Creating a More Beloved Community” Film & Discussion Series

Denver Justice Project
facebook.com/DenverJusticeProject

DC African American Legacy Foundation
facebook.com/dcaalf/

Disability Justice Culture Club
www.instagram.com/disabilityjusticecultureclub
www.facebook.com/disabilityjusticecultureclub

Eritye Papa Desalin
erityepapadesalin.podbean.com

Erie Bail Fund
linktr.ee/eriebailfund

Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition (NYC)
www.freemumia.com

Friends of Loudoun Hills (Virginia)

Friends of Asociación de Trabajadores Campesinos
www.friendsatc.org

Friends of the Congo
http://www.friendsofthecongo.org/

Good Shepherd Collective
goodshepherdcollective.org

Hands Up United
www.HandsUpUnited.org

Honduras Solidarity Network
www.hondurassolidarity.org

IALA Mesoamerica
www.ialamesoamerica.wordpress.com

InterNational Indigenous Initiative for Transformative Collaboration (INITC)
www.storiesandsongs.org

InterOccupy
www.indyows.org
www.interoccupy.net

International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching (IJFLT)
www.IJFLT.org

Irish Diaspora Decolonization Alliance

www.decolonize.irish

Jericho Movement
www.thejerichomovement.com

Juthour Arboretum (Ramallah)
juthour.org

Just Info (New York, NY)
nylawcollective.com

Kindred Connections
www.facebook.com/kindredconnectionsqtbipoc
www.instagram.com/kindredconnectionstuc

La ColectiVA
lacolectiva.org

Lazos de Dignidad
fundacionlazosdedignidad.org

Lancaster Bail Fund
www.lancasterbailfund.org

LGBT Freedom and Asylum Network
www.lgbt-fan.org

LGBT Voice Tanzania
lgbtvoicetz.org

Lajee Center
www.lajee.org

Legal Defense for Palestine
legaldefenseforpalestine.org/

Miracle For Mikeals Legacy Foundation
https://www.facebook.com/MikealsMiracleDIPGCure

Mosaic Black Trans Funding Network
www.mosaicfundingnetwork.org

Movement Net Lab
www.movementnetlab.org

National Association of Human Rights Defenders
www.facebook.com/HumanRightsDefenders

National Coalition to Protect Student Privacy
www.studentprivacy.org

National Immigrant Solidarity Network
www.immigrantsolidarity.org

National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth (NNOMY)
www.nnomy.org

New York Mechanical Gardens Bike Co-operative
bikecoop.nyc

O’odham Anti Border Collective

People Helping People
www.phparivaca.org

Philly Thrive
www.phillythrive.org/

Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign
www.economichumanrights.org

Popular Resistance
www.popularresistance.org

Queer Food Foundation
queerfoodfoundation.org

Real Food Generation
www.realfoodgen.org
uprootedandrising.org
facebook.com/uprootedandrising
instagram.com/unr_now
twitter.com/unr_now

Reale Justice Network
realejusticenetwork.org

Refuse Fascism
refusefascism.org/

Resurgent Seeds

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
https://samidoun.net

Solentiname Friendship Project
www.poluscenter.org/solentiname.html

South Bronx Unite
southbronxunite.org

Stop Mass Incarceration Network
www.stopmassincarceration.org

Sustainable Orphanages for Haitian Youth
www.sustainableorphanagesforhaiti.com

Suriname Indigenous Health Fund
www.sihfund.org

Ta’ayush
www.taayush.org

The Hatuey Project

The L.I.C. Project
Thelicproject.com

The Nation Report
www.thenationreport.org

Thompson House Tucson
Instagram: @thompsonhousetucson

United National Antiwar Coalition
http://UNACpeace.org

United Students Against Sweatshops
www.studentsagainstsweatshops.org

Upland Grassroots

US Labor Against the War
www.uslaboragainstwar.org

Vermont Freedom Bail Fund / El Fondo para La Libertad VT
fondo.migrantvt.org

We Are Not Numbers
www.wearenotnumbers.org

We Can’t Breathe, Inc.

White Noise Collective
www.conspireforchange.org

Woodbine Education Center (Colorado)
www.woodbinecenter.org

World Can’t Wait
www.worldcantwait.org

Canada’s New McGill Scientific Project of $29M Assaulted for Ties to Israel

08.09.22

Editorial Note

Last week, the Canadian McGill University launched the Sylvan Adams Sports Science Institute (SASSI). The new Institute aims to advance world-leading research into sports science and human performance. McGill received a $29-million donation gift from Sylvan Adams, a Quebec-born entrepreneur. The largest-ever gift given to a faculty of education in Canada. The Institute is the home of McGill’s Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education in the Faculty of Education, “ushering research and discovery in sports science with a long-term goal of improving elite human performance and promoting healthier living across the human lifespan. Through its support for the science of high performance, Adams’ gift also promotes a new lens through which to conduct health research – one that focuses on learning from the study of optimal health rather than disease,” per McGill’s website. 

McGill also reports that SASSI will comprise “state-of-the-art testing labs, training suites, research offices, and meeting rooms, in a new facility neighboring the Montreal Neurological Institute… Approximately $24.4 million will be used to build the facility and purchase equipment, while $4.6 million will be allocated to the development of the Institute’s sports science research program through the creation of research grants, scientific conferences, student fellowships, and international exchanges.”

In particular, the sports scientists will focus on “human performance during intense training, leveraging their respective and complementary research strengths in physiology, biomechanics, motor control, psychology, nutrition, and molecular biology.”

Overall, SASSI sounds very promising. It will focus on “studying elite athletes using evidence-based approaches with best practices, knowledge transfer, and scientific innovations.” 

This is, of course, great news for Canada in general and the sports field in particular.

Suzanne Fortier, McGill Principal, commented, “We are deeply grateful to Mr. Sylvan Adams for his generous gift in support of McGill’s Faculty of Education and its Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education… This contribution will allow McGill researchers and students to develop new insights into sports science education, research and practice, elevate the performance of Canadian athletes and improve our understanding of human health.” 

John McCall MacBain, McGill’s Chancellor, said, “Sylvan Adams’s extraordinary gift is a testament to his passion for sport and innovation… Thanks to his vision and support, the Sylvan Adams Sports Science Institute will position McGill as a leader in academic sports science research in Canada and internationally, with the resources to optimize performance, recovery, and health, not just in the world’s elite athletes, but in all of us.” 

However, Palestinian BDS activists targeted SASSI because its researchers will partner with other leading institutions, notably the Sylvan Adams Sports Institute (SASI) at Tel Aviv University (TAU), established in 2017. Adams, who is Jewish, is a respected philanthropist and passionate supporter of both countries’ sports, healthcare, education, and social programs. He also excels as a champion cyclist.

However, on behalf of the BDS movement, Yves Engler, a pro-Palestinian activist, interrupted the inauguration ceremony of SASSI on August 31, 2022, by shouting, “whether students have right to oppose killing of Palestinian children.” Engler wrote on his Twitter account, “I interrupted a big funding announcement today… The funding announcement was for a project that partners McGill and Tel Aviv university. The money was from arch anti-Palestinian Sylvan Adams, who has spent tens of millions of dollars with the explicit intent of white washing apartheid & violence.” The Palestinian media outlet Palestine Chronicle published an account by Engler on the incident.

Canada, like Australia – as IAM reported recently – is targeted by Palestinian and pro-Palestinian activists by using the connection to Israel. The allegations are scurrilous and come from the same playbook BDS operatives have used over the years: The notion that Israel is an apartheid state that the highly antisemitic NGOs Forum first propagated at Durban in 2001. Adams did not donate the money to Tel Aviv University to “whitewashing apartheid and violence.” Like McGill, Tel Aviv University has an outstanding academic reputation, and the collaboration between the two schools would benefit society at large. 

The BDS protestors should be reminded that following the Abraham Accords, the UAE, Morocco, and other Arab countries signed academic agreements with Israeli universities. The scientific cooperation between them and Israel is not for “whitewashing apartheid and violence.” It is a recognition that scientific collaboration would benefit the region and its people. 

Harassing McGill’s new science project is a cheap virtue signaling tactic to generate more headlines about Israel’s “apartheid state.” It does not benefit Canada’s higher education system; it aims to harm it. Even worse, it does not benefit the Palestinians who are caught in a cycle of “perpetual victimhood” and Iranian-sponsored jihadist violence known as the “Axis of Resistance.” 

References:

https://giving.mcgill.ca/all-stories/mcgill-launches-sylvan-adams-sports-science-institute-advance-world-leading-research
McGill launches Sylvan Adams Sports Science Institute to advance world-leading research into sports science and human performance

$29-million donation is largest-ever gift to a faculty of education in Canada

By McGill University Advancement

2022-08-31

A $29-million gift from Quebec-born entrepreneur Sylvan Adams will launch an exciting venture for McGill’s Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education in the Faculty of Education, ushering in a new era of world-leading research and discovery in sports science, with the long-term goal of improving elite human performance, and promoting healthier living across the human lifespan. Through its support for the science of high performance, Adams’ gift also promotes a new lens through which to conduct health research – one that focuses on learning from the study of optimal health, rather than disease.

The donation will support the creation of the Sylvan Adams Sports Science Institute (SASSI) comprising state-of-the-art testing labs, training suites, research offices, and meeting rooms, in a new facility neighbouring the Montreal Neurological Institute and adjacent to the Sir Arthur Currie Memorial Gymnasium on Pine Avenue West. Approximately $24.4 million will be used to build the facility and purchase equipment, while $4.6 million will be allocated to the development of the Institute’s sports science research program through the creation of research grants, scientific conferences, student fellowships, and international exchanges.

This gift represents the largest donation ever to a faculty of education in Canada.

“We are deeply grateful to Mr. Sylvan Adams for his generous gift in support of McGill’s Faculty of Education and its Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education,” said McGill Principal Suzanne Fortier. “This contribution will allow McGill researchers and students to develop new insights into sports science education, research and practice, elevate the performance of Canadian athletes and improve our understanding of human health.”

“Sylvan Adams’s extraordinary gift is a testament to his passion for sport and innovation,” said McGill’s Chancellor, John McCall MacBain. “Thanks to his vision and support, the Sylvan Adams Sports Science Institute will position McGill as a leader in academic sports science research in Canada and internationally, with the resources to optimize performance, recovery, and health, not just in the world’s elite athletes, but in all of us.”

Putting the focus on elite athletes

The new Institute at McGill will focus on studying elite athletes, using evidence-based approaches and best practices, knowledge transfer, and scientific innovations. SASSI researchers will partner with those at other leading institutions, notably the Sylvan Adams Sports Institute (SASI) at Tel Aviv University (TAU), established in 2017. 

Sylvan Adams noted: “I am pleased to support McGill’s work in sports science research. As a former Montrealer, I am especially proud to have this opportunity to invest in McGill’s track record of research excellence and potential for innovation – and contribute to building a culture of collaboration between McGill and Tel Aviv University.”

Together, McGill and TAU sports scientists will focus on human performance during intense training, leveraging their respective and complementary research strengths in physiology, biomechanics, motor control, psychology, nutrition, and molecular biology. 

“Collaboration will be one of the key pillars for the success of this institute,” said Dilson Rassier, Dean of McGill’s Faculty of Education. “This gift from Sylvan Adams will be the catalyst that will enable McGill, Tel Aviv University, and other collaborating universities from around the world to share information and ideas integral to research on sports science and advancing human performance.” 

About Sylvan Adams

A former Montrealer who led one of Canada’s largest real estate development companies, Sylvan Adams now lives in Tel Aviv, Israel. A respected philanthropist and passionate supporter of sports, healthcare, education and social programs in both countries, Adams boasts an impressive and diverse resume of accomplishments. In 2015, Sylvan Adams signed the Giving Pledge, established by Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Melinda French Gates, for philanthropists devoted to giving away a majority of their wealth to charitable causes. He also excels as a champion cyclist, having won multiple World Masters Championships, Canadian Masters championships and Quebec Masters titles.

Learn more about Sylvan Adams and this landmark gift to the Faculty of Education.

=======================================

McGill-Tel Aviv University Partnership: Why I Interrupted Major Funding Announcement

September 2, 2022

Canadian activist and writer Yves Engler. (Photo: Yves Engler website)

By Yves Engler

On Wednesday, August 31, I interrupted a major funding announcement at McGill to ask the head of the university about her suppression of Palestine solidarity.

As she spoke from the Faculty Club’s stage I asked Principal Suzanne Fortier, “Do McGill students have the right to oppose the killing of Palestinian children? Do they have the right to oppose Israeli colonialism and apartheid?” McGill’s principal failed to respond.

I then stated that her administration’s threat to cancel the student union’s funding after students voted overwhelmingly for a “Palestine Solidarity Policy” was “anti-democratic and anti-Palestinian”. I added it was “shameful” and made her “complicit in Israeli colonialism and violence”.

In 24 hours, my 70-second video has been viewed 80,000 times on Twitter. Though multiple corporate media outlets were in the room, they all appear to have ignored my disruption, which included me holding up a “Free Palestine” placard in the front of the room.

In March 71% of undergraduate students voted for a “Palestine Solidarity Policy” committing the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) to take a stand against Israel’s system of racial discrimination. The resolution called for a host of measures including SSMU divesting from and boycotting “corporations and institutions complicit in settler-colonial apartheid against Palestinians.”

In March 71% of McGill undergrads voted to boycott firms complicit in Israeli apartheid. Admin responded by threatening student union funding. I interrupted a big funding announcement today to ask McGill’s head whether students have right to oppose killing of Palestinian children pic.twitter.com/No39BrI3lL

— Yves Engler (@EnglerYves) August 31, 2022

In response, B’nai B’rith “called on McGill University to immediately cease funding SSMU until it rescinds this bogus referendum result.” McGill’s administration acted by threatening to terminate its Memorandum of Agreement with SSMU, which regulates fees, use of the name, and other matters between the university and the student union.

In response, students organized rallies and outside groups petitioned the administration with over a thousand individuals emailing Fortier. Rock legend Roger Waters, author Yann Martel, former MP Libby Davies, author Chris Hedges, and 200 others signed a public letter criticizing the administration’s threats as anti-democratic and anti-Palestinian. On the eve of his July 15 performance at Montreal’s Bell Centre, Waters participated in a well-mediatized online rally in support of McGill’s Palestine solidarity activists.

McGill is the site of the most important campus battles over Canadian complicity in Palestinian dispossession. On one side are those promoting student democracy, academic freedom, and universalist values. On the other side of the fence, there are powerful outside pressure groups, wealthy donors, and proponents of apartheid.

The event I disrupted highlights one element of the power balance. It was a funding announcement for a project that partners McGill with Tel Aviv University. In another step in the corporatization of higher education, Canadian-Israeli billionaire Sylvan Adams put up $29 million to establish the Sylvan Adams Sports Science Institute. In recent years Adams has plowed tens of millions of dollars into various sports and cultural initiatives explicitly designed to whitewash Israeli apartheid and violence.

Zionist donors have significant influence at McGill. Pro-Israel individuals have contributed far more money to the university than pro-Palestinian voices, which has greatly strengthened anti-Palestinianism among administrators focused on funding.

The Israel lobby understands the fundraising dynamic. As I detailed here, it’s not uncommon for pro-apartheid voices to publicly call on the Jewish community to withhold donations to universities to pressure them to clamp down on pro-Palestinian activism. An understanding of fundraising dynamics partly explains why B’nai B’rith is so emboldened in their reaction to McGill.

Last month B’nai Brith announced a lawsuit against McGill University, SSMU and student group Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR), which sponsored the Palestine Solidarity Policy. B’nai Brith is suing an administration that effectively did what was asked of them by threatening SSMU’s funding arrangement. For their part, SSMU buckled in the face of administrative pressure and refused to ratify a Palestine solidarity policy backed by 71% of undergraduate voters.

In an interview with Rabble.ca, SPHR member Leila Kanafani labeled the suit “laughable”. She noted, “it’s ridiculous for B’nai Brith to also sue the McGill administration and the SSMU when they’re actually on their side and they’ve succeeded in stopping the policy from being implemented.” (SPHR says they haven’t been served with court documents so it’s unclear if B’nai Brith’s lawsuit announcement was simply a public relations exercise.)

Irrespective, B’nai Brith’s over-the-top response to student democracy has offered the Palestine solidarity movement a unique opportunity to talk about growing opposition to apartheid at Canada’s most famous university (and among youth more generally). Student activists have pushed back against the wealthy, pro-apartheid, forces dictating McGill’s policy.

SPHR says it won’t back down in the face of B’nai Brith’s legal threat. “I’m really not worried at all. In fact, it’s the opposite, we’re quite proud,” Kanafani told Rabble. “We’re going to walk on this campus with our heads held high. If this lawsuit is an attempt to intimidate us, to try and make us cower and afraid of bringing anything on, it’s invigorating us to do quite the opposite.”

 – Yves Engler is the author of Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid and a number of other books. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle. Visit his website: yvesengler.com

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Yves Engler

@EnglerYves

In March 71% of McGill undergrads voted to boycott firms complicit in Israeli apartheid. Admin responded by threatening student union funding. I interrupted a big funding announcement today to ask McGill’s head whether students have right to oppose killing of Palestinian children

9:58 PM · Aug 31, 2022

10:07 PM · Aug 31, 2022

Yves Engler

@EnglerYves

The funding announcement was for a project that partners McGill and Tel Aviv university. The money was from arch anti-Palestinian Sylvan Adams who has spent tens of millions of dollars with the explicit intent of white washing apartheid & violence

Palestinians use Australian Campuses to Delegitimize Israel and Australia

01.09.22
Editorial Note

Last week, the University of Melbourne Student Union council voted in favor of BDS against Israel in solidarity with the Palestinians.

In their statement, the union declared that the University of Melbourne proudly supports Israel. The University “works hand in glove with Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest weapons manufacturer and a major collaborator with Israel.” The University of Melbourne opened up a research and development center for Lockheed Martin in 2016, “which is used to advance research in military technology and channel students into the military sector. In partnership with Lockheed Martin, Melbourne University is funding the creation of drones and missiles that will be used to attack Gaza and the West Bank. Another partnership the University maintains is with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which offers programs to train up future Israeli Defense Force soldiers, the same people who go on to terrorize, brutalize and kill Palestinians. In 2014, the Hebrew University publicly declared its support for Israel’s war on Gaza and called for donations to bolster the war effort. More than 2,000 Palestinians were murdered during this eight-week onslaught. The Hebrew University administration called the cops on Palestinian students as they protested the war.”

For the Student Union, the Israeli Apartheid Week activities on campus “demonstrate that there is support for the Palestinian struggle, and that people will not easily be intimidated by legal threats from Liberal students. Around 65 students and staff attended a speak-out in solidarity with the people of Gaza, where Victorian Socialists candidate for Northern Metro Jerome Small spoke about Israel’s recent attack on the Gaza Strip. The attack killed more than 47 Palestinians, among them 16 children, and 360 people were injured. Just prior to launching the attack, Israel ramped up its long-standing blockade of Gaza, cutting off access to fuel and electricity and bringing an already strained hospital system to the brink of collapse.”

It is customary that pro-Palestinian advocates de-contextualize the events. shey do not discuss the background of the conflagration, which was triggered by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad operating under orders from Iran. They don’t mention that the PIJ launched hundreds of missiles into Israel. The declaration conveniently omitted that more than half of those killed were PIJ operatives. Many civilians were killed when the rockets misfired and landed in urban centers from the jihadist operation. Hiding among the civilian population is against international war conventions, which all Palestinian terror groups have ignored.

The student union runs other activities including a forum on “Why you should oppose Israeli Apartheid” and an artwork on the university’s South Lawn that encouraged students to write solidarity messages on Palestinian flags. The union’s official endorsement of BDS “means there is an opening for students and staff to further demonstrate their solidarity with Palestinians. Given there have been threats of further legal action, continuing to unapologetically stand with the oppressed against Israel will be important.”

Already a BDS motion was passed before. On April 29, the University of Melbourne Student Union passed a motion calling for BDS against Israel entitled “UMSU stands with Palestine – BDS and Student Policy.” The motion condemned Zionism as a “racist, colonial ideology” and called for the University to cut ties with Israel and divest from companies associated with Israel. The resolution was followed by a similar resolution attacking Israel passed by the Sydney University Students’ Representative Council and a resolution in support of a student at the Australian National University. But on May 27, 2022, the student union rescinded the motion following complaints that it was antisemitic and caused Jewish students to feel unsafe on campus, as described by the University of Melbourne.

Indeed, these are not spontaneous activities. Last year, WAFA, the official Palestinian news agency, following the war between Gaza and Israel, announced that “More than 400 Australian scholars and academics have released an open letter in solidarity with Palestine, and called on the Australian government to condemn Israel and its actions. “As scholars, academics and students in Australia, we stand in solidarity with Palestinians in their struggle for liberation and against Israeli settler colonialism,” the letter said. “In the past month, Palestinians have faced brutal Israeli settler colonial violence in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem and al-Aqsa mosque, the West Bank, Gaza, and in Palestinian cities and towns in Israel. This violence is rooted in a century of colonization and Palestinian dispossession.” And that “Israel has declared a war on Palestinians. We have seen worshipers attacked in al-Aqsa mosque during the holy month of Ramadan, families facing the threat of forced removal from their homes, protestors shot and tear gassed, Israeli security forces and Israeli-Jewish mobs attacking Palestinians in Lydda, Jaffa and Haifa. We have witnessed massacres in Gaza, with entire families obliterated.”

It means that the Palestinian Authority is pulling the strings in Australia.

The petition by the scholars and academics also stated that “As scholars, academics and students in Australia, a settler colony built on the dispossession of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

Also, as mentioned before, in 2016, the University of Melbourne opened up a research and development center for Lockheed Martin, “which is used to advance research in military technology and channel students into the military sector.” As if such development is negative.

In other words, the Palestinians are working on the delegitimization of Australia, not only Israel. The student union accuses the University of Melbourne of “anti-colonial posturing and pink-washing.  “The University shrouds itself in progressive gloss—from the huge WOMENJIKA sign at one entrance to the campus (Womenjika is the Woi-wurrung word for welcome) to the array of pride and trans flags scattered throughout campus.”

Worth noting that the two Palestinian entities, Gaza and the West Bank, persecute the LGBTQ community, forcing them to seek refuge in Israel.

Although small, the Palestinian diaspora community in the West is highly busy trying to delegitimize the West. Australia is a good example of this trend.

References

https://redflag.org.au/article/melbourne-university-student-union-reaffirms-support-palestine

Melbourne University student union reaffirms support for Palestine

by Emma Dynes and Bella Beiraghi

Sunday, 28 August 2022

The University of Melbourne Student Union council for the second time voted in favour of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel and in solidarity with Palestine on 15 August.

The motion, which was passed 16 votes to three, was moved by Palestinian international student and activist Dana Alshaer, and recognised that “the growth of the Israeli economy and land is built on the exploitation and colonisation of Palestinians” and called for the university to “divest from corporations complicit in and profit from the Israeli apartheid and that operate on illegally occupied Palestinian land”.

This follows a months-long battle between Zionists and Palestine solidarity activists over a previous pro-Palestine motion passed in April. That motion provoked a significant backlash from Zionists on campus, as well as from the University administration and the Murdoch press. Threats from a Liberal Party-aligned student to launch a class action against the union resulted in the council rescinding the motion in June.

The union then hired a consultancy firm to survey the student body on the question of Palestine. A large majority—73 of 124 surveyed—believed the union should adopt a motion endorsing the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel. This was an important factor in strengthening the council’s resolve.

The successful vote also followed the Israeli Apartheid Week event on campus, organised by Students for Palestine. The central demand of the week was for the University of Melbourne to sever its ties with Israel. The University shrouds itself in progressive gloss—from the huge WOMENJIKA sign at one entrance to the campus (Womenjika is the Woi-wurrung word for welcome) to the array of pride and trans flags scattered throughout campus. But despite this anti-colonial posturing and pink-washing, the University proudly supports Israel.

The University works hand in glove with Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest weapons manufacturer and a major collaborator with Israel. According to a Lockheed Martin information webpage, the value of “collaboration between Lockheed Martin and Israeli industries [from 2004 to today] is expected to exceed $4 billion”. The University of Melbourne opened up a research and development centre for Lockheed Martin in 2016, which is used to advance research in military technology and channel students into the military sector. In partnership with Lockheed Martin, Melbourne University is funding the creation of drones and missiles that will be used to attack Gaza and the West Bank.

Another partnership the University maintains is with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which offers programmes to train up future Israeli Defence Force soldiers, the same people who go on to terrorise, brutalise and kill Palestinians. In 2014, the Hebrew University publicly declared its support for Israel’s war on Gaza and called for donations to bolster the war effort. More than 2,000 Palestinians were murdered during this eight-week onslaught. The Hebrew University administration called the cops on Palestinian students as they protested the war.

Israeli Apartheid Week activities on campus demonstrate that there is support for the Palestinian struggle, and that people will not easily be intimidated by legal threats from Liberal students. Around 65 students and staff attended a speak-out in solidarity with the people of Gaza, where Victorian Socialists candidate for Northern Metro Jerome Small spoke about Israel’s recent attack on the Gaza Strip. The attack killed more than 47 Palestinians, among them 16 children, and 360 people were injured. Just prior to launching the attack, Israel ramped up its long-standing blockade of Gaza, cutting off access to fuel and electricity and bringing an already strained hospital system to the brink of collapse.

Other activities included a forum on “Why you should oppose Israeli Apartheid” and an artwork on the university’s South Lawn that encouraged students to write solidarity messages on Palestinian flags.

The union’s official endorsement of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign means there is an opening for students and staff to further demonstrate their solidarity with Palestinians. Given there have been threats of further legal action, continuing to unapologetically stand with the oppressed against Israel will be important.

============================================

https://english.wafa.ps/Pages/Details/124734

+400 Australian academics send open letter in solidarity with Palestine, call for action

RAMALLAH, Tuesday, May 25, 2021 (WAFA) – More than 400 Australian scholars and academics have released an open letter in solidarity with Palestine, and called on the Australian government to condemn Israel and its actions.

“As scholars, academics and students in Australia, we stand in solidarity with Palestinians in their struggle for liberation and against Israeli settler colonialism,” the letter said. “In the past month, Palestinians have faced brutal Israeli settler colonial violence in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem and al-Aqsa mosque, the West Bank, Gaza, and in Palestinian cities and towns in Israel.  This violence is rooted in a century of colonisation and Palestinian dispossession.”

“Israel has declared a war on Palestinians. We have seen worshipers attacked in al-Aqsa mosque during the holy month of Ramadan, families facing the threat of forced removal from their homes, protestors shot and tear gassed, Israeli security forces and Israeli-Jewish mobs attacking Palestinians in Lydda, Jaffa and Haifa. We have witnessed massacres in Gaza, with entire families obliterated.

Israel’s actions are in violation of international law. East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza are considered occupied under international law and Israel is responsible to guarantee Palestinian residents of these territories special protection. Instead, Israel is confiscating Palestinian land and homes, committing ethnic cleansing, and engaging in war crimes and grave breaches of the Geneva Convention. The recent report of Human Rights Watch has concluded that Israeli actions towards Palestinians in territories it controls, from both sides of the Green Line, amount “to the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.”

“The shelling of Gaza from air, sea and land; the mob violence enacted against Palestinians within Israel; and Israeli military and settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem should not go unanswered by the international community. While ceasefire with Hamas in Gaza has been declared, we remind the world that Palestinians across all historic Palestine continue to be subject to Israeli colonisation, apartheid and occupation,” the statement added.

The letter emphasized that ‘silence is not an option.’

“We call on the Australian government to condemn the state of Israel and its actions, and re-evaluate its current and proposed trade agreements. We also call on the Australian government to suspend its defence cooperation with Israel and halt acquisitions of Israeli military equipment. As scholars, academics and students committed to decolonising knowledge, it is our responsibility to speak up and stand with Palestinians against the forces of colonialism, injustice and inequality and for an immediate cessation of Israeli violence in all its forms,” the letter concluded.

K.T./ K.F.

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https://australiaacademicspalestine.weebly.com

Palestine and Australian Academics

OPEN LETTER

AUSTRALIAN ACADEMICS OPEN LETTER IN SOLIDARITY WITH PALESTINE AND CALL FOR ACTION

SIGN HERE
As scholars, academics and students in Australia, a settler colony built on the dispossession of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, we stand in solidarity with Palestinians in their struggle for liberation and against Israeli settler colonialism. In the past month, Palestinians have faced brutal Israeli settler colonial violence in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem and al-Aqsa mosque, the West Bank, Gaza, and in Palestinian cities and towns in Israel.  This violence is rooted in a century of colonisation and Palestinian dispossession.

Israel has declared a war on Palestinians. We have seen worshipers attacked in al-Aqsa mosque during the holy month of Ramadan, families facing the threat of forced removal from their homes, protestors shot and tear gassed, Israeli security forces and Israeli-Jewish mobs attacking Palestinians in Lydda, Jaffa and Haifa. We have witnessed massacres in Gaza, with entire families obliterated.

Israel’s actions are in violation of international law. East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza are considered occupied under international law and Israel is responsible to guarantee Palestinian residents of these territories special protection. Instead, Israel is confiscating Palestinian land and homes, committing ethnic cleansing, and engaging in war crimes and grave breaches of the Geneva Convention. The recent report of Human Rights Watch has concluded that Israeli actions towards Palestinians in territories it controls, from both sides of the Green Line, amount “to the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.”

The shelling of Gaza from air, sea and land; the mob violence enacted against Palestinians within Israel; and Israeli military and settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem should not go unanswered by the international community. While ceasefire with Hamas in Gaza has been declared, we remind the world that Palestinians across all historic Palestine continue to be subject to Israeli colonisation, apartheid and occupation.

Silence is not an option.

We call on the Australian government to condemn the state of Israel and its actions, and re-evaluate its current and proposed trade agreements. We also call on the Australian government to suspend its defence cooperation with Israel and halt acquisitions of Israeli military equipment. As scholars, academics and students committed to decolonising knowledge, it is our responsibility to speak up and stand with Palestinians against the forces of colonialism, injustice and inequality and for an immediate cessation of Israeli violence in all its forms.
SIGN HERE
PLEASE NOTE: signatories are being uploaded manually by a few volunteers. Please be patient with us while we continue to update the list daily. Thank you for your support!
Signatories:

Aileen Moreton-Robinson, RMIT Randa Abdel Fattah, Macquarie University Gary Foley, Victoria University Lana Tatour, University of New South Wales Amy McQuire, University of Queensland Ghassan Hage, The University of Melbourne Tony Birch, Academic and Author Samah Sabawi, Independent Scholar Crystal McKinnon, RMIT Sara Saleh, University of New South Wales Alison Whittaker, University Technology Sydney Suvendrini Perera, Curtin University Jane Lydon, The University of Western Australia Joseph Pugliese, Macquarie University Chelsea Bond, The University of Queensland Karima Laachir, Australian National University Fethi Mansoori, Deakin University Evelyn Araluen, The University of Sydney Micaela Sahhar, The University of Melbourne Tasnim Mahmoud Sammak, Monash University Mohamad Abdalla, Griffith University Sameeha Elwan, Curtin University Anas Iqtait, Australian National University Lucia Sorbera, University of Sydney Paula Abood, University of New South Wales Michael Mohammed Ahmad, Western Sydney University Bassam Dally, The University of Adelaide Eugenia Flynn, Queensland University of Technology Ryan Al-Natour, Charles Sturt University Sary Zananiri, Leiden University Ahmad Shboul, The University of Sydney Amin Saikal, University of Western Australia Halim Rane, Griffith University Muhammad Sulaiman, University of South Australia Andrew Brooks, University of New South Wales Nick Riemer, University of Sydney Alana Lentin, Western Sydney University Na’ama Carlin, University of New South Wales Ayman Qwaider Debbie Bargallie, Griffith University Jumana Bayeh, Macquarie University Samya Jabbour, Curtin University Ben Golder, University of New South Wales Tanja Dreher, University of New South Wales David Brophy, University of Sydney Liyana Kayali, Australian National University Adel Yousif, University of Tasmania Farah Fayyad, Macquarie University Jessie Moritz, Australian National University Andy Kaladelfos, University of New South Wales Leila Kouatly, Australian National University Janja Peric, Australian National University Esther Armanious, Australian National University Philip Etches, Australian National University Ian Parmeter, Australian National University Amro Ali, American University in Cairo Nesrine Basheer, The University of Sydney Ali Aldahesh, The University of Sydney Kirill Nourzhanov, Australian National University Stephanie Hemelryk Donald, Monash University Scheherazade Bloul, Deakin University Eda Gunaydin, University of Sydney Mariam Farida, University of New South Wales Azima Akhmatova, Australian National University Dara Conduit, Deakin University Marika Sosnowski, GIGA Hamburg Hadeel Abdelhameed, Deakin University Sarah Philips, The University of Sydney Nora Amath, Griffith University Meaghan Morris, The University of Sydney Nasser Ghobadzadeh, Australian National University Peter Manning, UTS Burcu Cevik-Compiegne,  Australian National University France Meyer, Australian National University Jonathan Dunk, Deakin University Giovanni Tiso, Overland Literary Journal Toby Fitch, The University of Sydney Claire Corbett, UTS Souheir Edelbi, University of New South Wales Mike Griffiths,  University of Wollongong Samy Akil, Australian National University Khalid AlBostanji, Australian National University Mona Albluwi, Australian National University Eva Nisa, Australian National University Firouzeh Khoshnoudiparast, Australian National University Muath Amayreh, Australian National University Geir Henning Presterudstuen, Western Sydney University Laura Smith-Khan, UTS Linda Briskman, Western Sydney University Intan Paramaditha, Macquarie University Carolyn D’Cruz, La Trobe University Jordana Silverstein, La Trobe University. James Godfrey, Independent Scholar Fahad Ali, Sydney University Felicity Gray, ANU Roanna Gonsalves Scott Poynting, QUT and Charies Sturt Jess Whyte, UNSW Maria Giannacopoulos, Flinders University John Maynard, University of Newcastle Justine Lloyd, Macquarie University Dave McDonald, The University of Melbourne Margaret Mayhew, Independent Scholar Samina Yasmeen, University of Western Australia Mehal Krayem, UTS Paul Tabar, Western Sydney University Faisal Al-Asaad, Melbourne University Lobna Yassine, Australian Catholic University Dilnoza Ubaydullaeva, Australian National University James Trevelyan, University of Western Australia Nafiseh Ghafournia, University of Newcastle Anisa Buckley, University of Melbourne George Morgan, Western Sydney University Noah Basil, Macquarie University Maree Pardy, Deakin University Julia Dehm, LaTrobe University Randi Irwin, The University of Newcastle Rifaie Tammas, University of Sydney Baden Offord, Curtin University Zora Simic, University of New South Wales Anastasia Murney. University of New South Wales Brigitta Olubas, University of New South Wales Anne Monsour. University of Queensland Padraic Gibson, University of Technology Sydney Effie Karageorgos. The University of Newcastle Scott Burchill, Deakin University Marcelo Svirsky, University of Wollongong Helen Groth, University of New South Wales Rusaila Bazlamit, Curtin University Julian Murphet, The University of Adelaide Freya Higgins-Desbiolles, University of South Australia Suzannah Henty, University of Melbourne Ben Silverstein, Australian National University Kathryn Daley, RMIT University Sara Dehm, University of Technology Sherene Idriss, Deakin University Anjali Walisinghe Barbara Bloch, Independent Scholar S A Hamed Hosseini, University of Newcastle Nisha Thapliyal,  University of Newcastle Debbi Long, University of Newcastle Sharlene Leroy-Dyer, University of Queensland Timothy Laurie, University of Technology Sydney Benjamin Kelly, University of New South Wales Nadia David, RMIT Tristan Dunning, University of Queensland Adis Duderija, Griffith University Jan A. Ali, Western Sydney University Ned Curthoys, University of Western Australia Una Stone, RMIT Peta Malins, RMIT Meghan A. Bohren, Melbourne University Martin Kear, University of Sydney Evan Smith, Flinders University Heba Al Adawy, Australian National University Ari Jerrems, Independent scholar Kurt Sengul,  University of Newcastle Leila Khaled, Charles Sturt University Indigo Willing, Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research Fiona Lee, University of Sydney Sarah Attfield,  University of Technology Sydney Max Kaiser, University of Melbourne Eugenia Demuro, Deakin University Lara Palombo, Macquarie University Briony Neilson,  The University of Sydney Kate Clark, Monash University Paige Donaghy, University of Queensland Gok-Lim Finch, University of Western Australia Yves Rees, La Trobe University Jarrod Hore, UNSW Priya Kunjan, University of Melbourne Carlos Morreo, Institute of Postcolonial Studies Sulagna Basu, University of Sydney Nicholas Harrigan, Macquarie University Claire Parfitt, Independent Giles Fielke University of Melbourne Ingrid Matthews,  Western Sydney University Emma Mitchell, Western Sydney University Amanda Wise, Macquarie University Melanie Ashe Monash University Radha O’Meara, University of Melbourne Francesco Ricatti, Monash University Padraic Gibson, University of Technology Sydney Jack Shield, University of Queensland Melissa Fagan, Curtin University Alistair Sisson, University of Wollongong Sarah McDonald, University of South Australia Anastasia Kanjere, La Trobe University Raihan Ismail, Australian National University Lina Koleilat, Australian National University Jack Buckley, Independent Tyler Gleason, University of Melbourne Iain Davidson, University of New England Arathi Sriprakash, University of Bristol (formerly USyd) Dashiell Moore, University of Sydney Flávia Julius, Macquarie University Alissa Macoun, QUT Rachel Coghlan, Deakin University Peter Slezak, University of New South Wales Abdul Rahman,  Deakin University Catherine Weiss, RMIT Umut Ozguc, Deakin University Sophie Rudolph, University of Melbourne Beth Marsden, La Trobe University Tony Allison, Australian National University Rebecca Sheehan, Macquarie University Jordan Mcswiney, The University of Sydney Abdulla Al-Etaibi, Australian National University Jane Carey, University of Wollongong Joel Stern, Monash University Caitlin Biddolph, UNSW Mohammed Afefy, Latrobe University Zainab Mourad,  Western Sydney University Megan Weier, University of New South Wales Mhamed Biygautane, The University of Melbourne Ayda Succarie, Western Sydney University Khalil Al Jerjawi, Western Sydney University Chin Jou, University of Sydney Elisabeth Yarbakhsh, Australian National University Isabella Gullifer-Laurie, The University of Melbourne Lauren Piko, Independent scholar Valentina Baú, University of New South Wales Lindsay Kelley, UNSW Phillip Wadds, UNSW Hana Assafiri, APAN Verónica Tello, UNSW George (Kev) Dertadian, UNSW Shakira Hussein, The University of Melbourne Dan Tout, Federation University Rafa Marjan, Australian National University Ismail Albayrak, ACU Fleur Johns, UNSW Astrid Lorange, UNSW Benjamin Richmond, Swinburne University of Technology Mohamed Ibrahim, Swinburne University Jessa Rogers, Macquarie University Mahmood Nathie, University South Australia Heather Gaye Anderson, Griffith University Mary Anne Kenny, Murdoch University Ihsan Yilmaz, Deakin University Jon Piccini, Australian Catholic University Monika Barthwal-Datta, University of New South Wales Ntina Tzouvala, ANU Cin Webb, Western Sydney University Lucas Lixinski, UNSW Peter Burdon, University of Adelaide Cait Storr, University of Technology Sydney Ghena Krayem, University of Sydney Jeff sparrow, University of Melbourne Jessica Gannaway, University of Melbourne Salmaan Parkar, Charles Sturt University Camilla Palmer, UNSW/Curtin Jessica Mamons, Griffith University Muhammad Ashraf, Islamic medical association of QLD Lara Daley, University of Newcastle Sara Cheikh, Deakin University Jason Hartley, Griffith University Justine Lloyd, Macquarie University Hannah Carey, Griffith University Lisa Hartley, Curtin University Hakan Coruh, CISAC Dina Afrianty, La Trobe University Elizabeth Strakosch, University of Queensland Gaala Watson, University of Queensland Martin Clark, University of Tasmania Jonathan Dunk, Deakin University Rosalind Bellamy, La Trobe University Saffaa, University of Sydney Stephanie Green, Griffith University Katie Maher, University of South Australia Larry Stillman, Monash University Enya Moore, University of Technology Sydney Noah Riseman, Australian Catholic University Hanan Dover, Psychcentral PTY LTD Tobia Fattore, Macquarie University Lindsay McCabe, University of Sydney Marc Mierowsky, University of Melbourne Mark LeVine, Sydney University Alexia Derbas, Western Sydney University Mainul Islam, University of Southern Queensland Rosalie Atie, Western Sydney University Christopher Mayes, Deakin University Eman Taleb, University of Sydney Shawna Tang, University of Sydney Claire Akhbari, University of Melbourne Michael Richardson, UNSW Anna Copeland, Murdoch University Simeon Gready, University of Melbourne Katie Brennan, University of Queensland Zarlasht Sarwari, Western Sydney University Zuleyha Keskin, Charles Sturt University Sigi Jottkandt, UNSW David Pritchard, University of Queensland Erick Viramontes, Australian National University Mehal, University of Technology Sydney Aidan Craney, La Trobe University Isobel Beasley, University of Melbourne Amanda Porter, Melbourne law school Rosi Aryal Lees, Monash University Matt Partridge, Australian National University Ahmad Hassan, Charles Sturt University Zeynep Nevzat, University of Technology Sydney Fia Hamid-Walker, University of Melbourne Claerwen O’Hara, University of Melbourne Natalie Osborne, Griffith University Dirk Moses, University of Sydney Mohammed Rashidh, Jamia Madeenathunnoor Shahjahan Khan,  University of Southern Queensland Nazanin Zadeh-Cummings, Deakin University Selvaraj Velayutham, Macquarie University Susan Forde, Griffith University Cai Fong, University of Queensland Brady Robards, Monash University Joshua Badge, Swinburne University Susie Latham, Western Sydney University Batool Moussa, Swinburne University of Technology Gavin Trewella, Charles Darwin University Exequiel Sepulveda Escobedo, The University of Adelaide Taylor Redwood, University of Sydney Dylan Lino, University of Queensland Bridget Backhaus, Griffith University Jaime Pineda-Araneda, Griffith University Aysun Veliefendi Jamal Nabulsi, University of Queensland Lila Moosad, University of Melbourne Georgina Mulcahy, University of Sydney Dhakshayini Sooriyakumaran, Australian National University Ika Willis, University of Wollongong Sertan Saral, University of Sydney Catherine Greenhill, UNSW Freya Moran, Griffith University Ksenia Arapko, University of New South Wales Anna Carlson,  University of Queensland Helen McCue, Sydney University Leticia Anderson, Southern Cross University Kyle Harvey, University of Tasmania David Singh, University of Queensland Edwin Kwong, University of Melbourne Emily Hogan, JMC Academy Tooran Alizadeh, The University of Sydney Quah Ee Ling, University of Wollongong Abdul Hadi Shah-Idil, Charles Sturt University Zahra Taheri, Australian National University Andrew Whelan, University of Wollongong Kathryn Henne, Australian National University Cristina Rocha, Western Sydney University Greg Giannis, La Trobe University Bonnie Jane Gordon, University of Melbourne Rhiannon Bandiera, Maynooth University Sophie Hardcastle, UNSW Niall Edwards-FitzSimons, The University of Sydney Mouna Elmir,  University of Sydney Achini Imesha Munasinghe Vitanege, Swinburne Online Emma Rayward, Western Sydney University Felicity Royds, Monash Robert Brennan, University of Sydney Adam Brown, Mt Maria College Mitchelton Emma Ismawi, Collarts Wahib Ali, RMIT University Charlotte Mertens, University of Melbourne Lisa L. Wynn, Macquarie University Cyma Hibri, The University of Sydney Tony Williams, Monash University Rawah, Independent Karla Elliott, Monash University Joe Hughes, University of Melbourne Yung En Chee, University of Melbourne Mykaela Saunders, The University of Sydney Lysander Wilkins, RMIT Ben Howard,  Southern Cross University Lydia Mardirian, University of Melbourne Richard S. Lyons, YAQUI Tribe Siti Nur Hidayah, University of South Australia Nadeem Memon, University of South Australia Berhan M Ahmed, The university of Melbourne Ramila Chanisheff, University of South Australia Imad Mustafa, Iwaa aged care Husnia Underabi,  Western Sydney University Arzu Yilmaz, Your Community Health Sven Schottmann, Griffith University Ania Anderst, The George Institute for Global Health Alanna Kamp, Western Sydney University Karen Burd,  Griffith University Mokh. Arif Bakhtiyar, Curtin University Taelah Daley, UOW Jane Brophy, University of Melbourne Siti Rohmanatin Fitriani, University of South Australia Sky Croeser, Curtin University Lara Fielding, University of Melbourne Sujatha Fernandes, University of Sydney Annie Werner,  University of Wollongong Pekeri Ruska, RMIT Maria Ishaq Bhatti, Western Sydney University Tartila, Murdoch university Sabrina Islam, University of Melbourne Rebecca Scott Bray,  The University of Sydney Naama Blatman, The University of Sydney Fuad Fudiyartanto,  University of South Australia Paul Kelaita, University of Sydney Liz Conor, La Trobe University Merve Onder, ICMG Kazi S Rashid, Western Sydney University Anna Dunn, University of Sydney Jeremy George,  The University of Melbourne Fahim said Hashimy, University of South Australia Sherine Al Shallah,  University of New South Wales Rhonda Itaoui, Western Sydney University Noam Peleg, University of New South Wales Abdul Rahman, University of South Australia Suleyman Sertkaya, Charles Sturt University Aisya,  University of Queensland Mostafa El-Gashingi, Charles Sturt University Christine Hatton, Newcastle University Elliot Dolan-Evans, Monash University Paul Russell, Victoria University Geoffrey Mead, The University of Melbourne Elizabeth Dowding, UNSW Brett Woods, Victoria University Cat Hope, Monash University Sam Coulter, Griffith University Helen Keane, Australian National University David Carter, University of Queensland Niro Kandasamy, Australian Catholic University Amy Thomas, UTS Liam o’sullivan, Griffith University Effie Sfrantzis, Indepdendent Charlotte Epstein, The University of Sydney Mary Lou Rasmussen, ANU Aisha Ismail, Monash University Daud Batchelor, Australasian Muslim Times Alison Holland, Macquarie university Elias Nasser, University of Wollongong Jake Lynch, University of Sydney Cut Dhia Fadhilah, University of South Australia Ann El Khoury, University of Sydney Mark Bahnisch, Intercultural Communication Australia Kate Clayton, La Trobe University Michael Clarke, Australian National University Alexis Bergantz, RMIT Daphne Arapakis, The University of Melbourne Janelle Low, RMIT Tinonee Pym, Swinburne University of Technology Amin Rahman, BUET Megan Tighe, University of Tasmania Jasmine Westendorf, La Trobe University Karen Crawley, Griffith University Muhammad Mus’ab Yusof, ANU Kareem Akila, ANU Deborah Cleland, ANU Sahiba Maqbool, La Trobe Law School Tulsi Achia, University of Queensland Cheuk Yui Kwong, Australian National University Mandy Truong, Monash University Mathew Marques, La Trobe University David Au, Victoria University Michelle Ryan, Australian Naional University Ayema Samnakay Chad Toprak, RMIT University Patrick Thomsen,  Griffith University Brian p Brophy, University of Adelaide Nadeen Madkour, University of New South Wales Anastasia Gramatakos, University of Melbourne Edward Clarke, Federation University Australia Poppy de Souza, Griffith University and University of New South Wales Jacob Ian Forsyth, Western Sydney University Winnifred Louis, University of Queensland Kathy Bowrey, University of New South Wales Micah Goldwater, University of Sydney Simon Farley, University of Melbourne Paul Byron, UTS Shaazia Esat, Murdoch University Connie Musolino, Flinders University Lana Laham, Victoria University Kirk Graham, UQ Hafsa Pirzada,  Griffith University Zelmarie Cantillon, Western Sydney University Darren Austin, La Trobe University Maria Elander, La Trobe University Jessica Gerrard, University of Melbourne Teresa Jopson, Australian National University Louise Olliff, University of Melbourne and Western Sydney University Jan Breckenridge, UNSW Reema Alqassem, Monash University Adrian Farrugia, La Trobe University Elene Papazoglou, RMIT University Sarah Maddison, University of Melbourne Mia Martin Hobbs, University of Melbourne Gabrielle Appleby, UNSW Sianan Healy, La Trobe University Naser Alziyadat, Murdoch University Eden Bywater, University of Queensland Sonia Qadir,  UNSW Sydney Kyle Smith, Queensland University of Technology Bonnie Evans, University of Queensland Angela Smith, UNSW Anita Trezona, Deakin University Christopher Teuma Tash Reynolds, University of Adelaide Mark Clayton, University of Queensland Sharon Honeywood,  Sydney university Katimarie Finn, La Trobe University Alice Gorman, Flinders University Rawan abuyosef,  UQ Emma Green, University of Technology Sydney Evan Lawless, Curtin University Felicity Castagna, Western Sydney University Rajni Gamage, University of Queensland Cormac Opdebeeck, Wilson University of Queensland Eloise Rapp, UNSW Mel Robinson, Griffith University Hasan, Curtin University Ruth De Souza, RMIT University Muhammad Ibrahim Shaikh, ANU Hafsa Pirzada,  Griffith University Rerose Roro, Monash University Halima Goss, Griffith University Sidrah Samnakay, University of Western Australia Jane Haggis, Flinders University Alison Pullen,  Macquarie University Richard Joyce, Monash University Daniel Palmer, RMIT Madelaine Chiam, La Trobe University Ali Asgher Ali Formerly, Macquarie University Leah Williams Veazey, University of Sydney Maria, University SA Stephen Morgan, Queen Mary University of London Yasmin Chilmeran, Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Monash GPS Blair Williams, The Australian National University Cass Lynch, Curtin University Areej Yousef, Griffith University Sabah Rind, Curtin University Natalia Figueroa, University of Technology Sydney Noor,  University of Queensland Nazar Imam Khan, Jamia Millia Islamia Monica Campo, Women’s Legal Service Victoria Fulya Seker, Southern Cross University Kelly, University of Wollongong Shaun Wilson, Macquarie University Jason MacLeod, The University of Sydney Laura Roberts, Flinders University Nida Denson, Western Sydney University Shannon Kurt Brincat, University of the Sunshine Coast Sumaiya Muyeen, University of Melbourne Paola Balla, Victoria University Sam Bowker, Charles Sturt University Roxanne Moore, University of WA/ New York University John Keane, University of Sydney Jade Mcgarry, Griffith University Nadia Niaz, The University of Melbourne Julia Pelosi, ACU Lu Lin, RMIT University Wajeehah Aayeshah, University of Melbourne Marianne van Galen Dickie,  USQ Abigail Fisher,  University of Melbourne Cameron Hurst, University of Melbourne Kirsty Fentiman, Murdoch University David Charles Harris,  Monash University Nicholas Anderson, University of Melbourne Lara Kawtarani, University of Sydney Jacqueline Mackaway,  Macquarie University Mehrnosh Lajevardi Fatemi, Western Sydney University Justine Poon, Australian National University Dianty Ningrum, Monash University Kathleen Ann Butler, Victoria University Shoshana Rosenberg, Curtin University Nick Apoifis, UNSW Ben Spies-Butcher, Macquarie University Dadung Muktiono,  University of Sydney William Clapton, University of New South Wales Jawad Al Majedi, Griffith University Debra Kunda, Swinburne University of Technology Gary Foley, Victoria University Brett Martin, University of Western Australia. Kim  Munro, RMIT University Lisa Radford, University of Melbourne Charlie Sofo, Monash University Clare Land, Victoria University Benji Doyle, La Trobe University David Baker, Griffith University Tay Pitts, Swinburne University Antonio J Traverso, Curtin University Can Yalcinkaya, Macquarie University Amanda Lourie, Deakin University Eliza Crespis, Macquarie University Rachel Sharples, Western Sydney University David H McKinnon Edith, Cowan University Kathleen Dunning Zoë Jay, University of Tasmania Semra Mese, Australian Catholic University Hanne Worsoe, University of Queensland Hadil Albarqi, University of Melbourne Christian Meng Fai Liu, Monash University Monica Keily, La Trobe University Chloe Sinclair, University of Sydney Steve Bell, University of Queensland Maazuza Othman, RMIT University Jyhene kebsi, Macquarie University Claire Weiss, La Trobe University Nur Shkembi, University of Melbourne Mahmut Temurci, University of Melbourne Jessica Kirk, Griffith University Amelia Johns, UTS Timothy Thornton Molly Murphy, University of Queensland Sahar Bajis, UNSW Will Bracks, Victoria University Mohammed Moishin, University of Southern Queensland Souha Korbatieh, Monash University Chris Rodd, Indeoendent Lubna HADDAD, Macquarie University Emad E Soliman, Independent David Ellison, Griffith University Diana El Masri, UWS Rini Akmeliawati, University of Adelaide Rosanna Taylor,  UTS Catalina Labra Odde, La Trobe University France Karrubee, Independent Tim King, Independent Mary Goring, Independent Jordan Wood, Griffith University Tim Calabria, La Trobe University Georgina Murray, Griffith University Zehra La, Trobe University Alan Hill, RMIT Kamran Khalid, University of Sydney Andrew Dougall, University of Queensland Heather Valerio, University of New South Wales Alexandra Roginski, Deakin University Bianca Ibrahim, Western Sydney University Rami AR, University of Tasmania Omar AlMutoteh,  University of Warwick Leticia Funston, Sydney University Yasmin Khan, Griffith University Bilquis Ghani, University of Technology Sydney Shabana khan, Western Sydney University Rossella Tisci,  Macquarie University Tania Canas, University of Melbourne Sadiq Abubakar, UNSW Samira alimi, Deakin university Diarmaid Harkin, Deakin University Dalia Bajis, University of Sydney Derya Iner Charles Sturt University Marissa Dooris, University of Queensland Azeem Mushtaq, NCBAE Peter Klostos, University of Sydney Sen Ada, Victoria University Antonina Gentile, Macquarie University Rosario Citriniti Karim, Bologna  University Susannah Ostojic, La Trobe University Moorina Bonini, Monash University Andrew Tang, La Trobe University Iroda Sodikova, LMU Tung Tran, UMONS Ahmed Alabadla, Australian National University Mohammad Abdul-hwas, University of Canberra Omar quiader, Independent Elias adam, Independent Maria Pia Lima, Italian Miur Michael Fox, AM Access Australia William Collins, University of Tasmania Michael McKinley, Australian National University Doug Hewitt,  Formerly Australian Catholic University Ian Hamilton McNicol Ala MOHD Mustafa, Queensland University Chris Nyland, Monash University Elspeth Liberty, University of New England Wendy Michaels, University of Newcastle Margaret Scally Oscar Granowski, Deakin University Marie kennefy-burdekin Barry Matthew Dale Raymond Markey, Macquarie University John Mester Chris Geraghty Henry Reynolds, University of Tasmania Hans Rijsdijk Terrry Mcauliffe, UNE John Wallace Bob Aikenhead, La Trobe University Wayne Sanderson, UQ Scott MacWilliam, ANU Ron A Witton, University of Wollongong John BRENNAN Eberhard Frank, Adelaide University Joyce Priest Ginny Dixon Lowndes, Griffith University Aaron Flanagan, RMIT Alice Beauchamp, University of Sydney Joseph Anthony Camilleri, La Trobe University Paul Dickie Ronald Kenneth  Chute, Charles Darwin University Martin Munz, Independent Leslie Bravery Judy Hemming, University of Canberra and Australian National University BURT JOHNS Haskell Musry, University of Technology Sydney Sidney James Boucher Raymond Millikin Maria P Harries, University of Western Australia Mac Halliday David Coady, University of Tasmania Terence Frank Jane Kenway, Monash University Rory McGuire Lama Al Ramahi, Notre Dame University & University of New England Claude Mostowik Elizabeth Dale, University of Sydney Michael Melki, University of Technology Sydney Mike Callanan Jack Dale, Ikon institute Francis Flannery Mark Diesendorf, UNSW Amarjit Kaur, University of New England Olivia Tasevski, University of Melbourne Megan Evans, UNSW Maryam Alizada, Flinders University Roma Lois Dix Paul Duffill, The University of Sydney Jack Desbiolles, University of South Australia Ben Nunquam, Federation University Bouchra Chikhi Jaguar Stevenson, Holmesglen Institute Shakira Ali, Western Sydney University Taibah Roberts, Salford university

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Australian Academics Open Letter in Solidarity with Palestine and Call for Action

As scholars, academics and students in Australia, a settler colony built on the dispossession of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, we stand in solidarity with Palestinians in their struggle for liberation and against Israeli settler colonialism. In the past month, Palestinians have faced brutal Israeli settler colonial violence in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem and al-Aqsa mosque, the West Bank, Gaza, and in Palestinian cities and towns in Israel.  This violence is rooted in a century of colonisation and Palestinian dispossession.

Israel has declared a war on Palestinians. We have seen worshipers attacked in al-Aqsa mosque during the holy month of Ramadan, families facing the threat of forced removal from their homes, protestors shot and tear gassed, Israeli security forces and Israeli-Jewish mobs attacking Palestinians in Lydda, Jaffa and Haifa. We have witnessed massacres in Gaza, with entire families obliterated.

Israel’s actions are in violation of international law. East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza are considered occupied under international law and Israel is responsible to guarantee Palestinian residents of these territories special protection. Instead, Israel is confiscating Palestinian land and homes, committing ethnic cleansing, and engaging in war crimes and grave breaches of the Geneva Convention. The recent report of Human Rights Watch has concluded that Israeli actions towards Palestinians in territories it controls, from both sides of the Green Line, amount “to the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.”

The shelling of Gaza from air, sea and land; the mob violence enacted against Palestinians within Israel; and Israeli military and settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem should not go unanswered by the international community. While ceasefire with Hamas in Gaza has been declared, we remind the world that Palestinians across all historic Palestine continue to be subject to Israeli colonisation, apartheid and occupation.

Silence is not an option.

We call on the Australian government to condemn the state of Israel and its actions, and re-evaluate its current and proposed trade agreements. We also call on the Australian government to suspend its defence cooperation with Israel and halt acquisitions of Israeli military equipment. As scholars, academics and students committed to decolonising knowledge, it is our responsibility to speak up and stand with Palestinians against the forces of colonialism, injustice and inequality and for an immediate cessation of Israeli violence in all its forms.

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https://plus61j.net.au/latest-news/melbourne-university-student-union-rescinds-israel-boycott-motion/Melbourne University student union rescinds Israel boycott motion

By Deborah Stone

May 27, 2022

Melbourne University students have rescinded a motion calling for Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel

The University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) has voted to rescind the motion it passed on April 29 following complaints it was antisemitic and caused Jewish students to feel unsafe on campus.

The motion entitled “UMSU stands with Palestine – BDS and Student Policy” condemned Zionism as a “racist, colonial ideology” and called for the University to cut ties with Israel and divest from companies associated with Israel.

The resolution was followed by a similar resolution attacking Israel passed by the Sydney University Students’ Representative Council and a resolution in support by student at the Australian National University.

But it was condemned by the University of Melbourne, which described it as antisemitic.

The decision to rescind the motion comes after extensive meetings between the Australian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) and UMSU and after a legal action launched by Melbourne University student Justin Riazaty against UMSU for racial discrimination.

AUJS welcomed the decision to rescind the motion and released a statement asking that Jewish students be consulted on motions that affect them.

“AUJS calls on UMSU and other student unions to ensure that unions represent the viewpoints of all students. Universities and their student representative bodies should be places for well-informed, nuanced and open dialogue rather than hectoring polemics.

“The original UMSU motion was put forward over the objections of Jewish students. UMSU attempted to define Judaism, Zionism and antisemitism in a way that solely reflects the views of a fringe group of Israel-haters but bears no relationship to the lived experience of the Jewish people.

“We simply ask that student unions consult AUJS and relevant Jewish bodies on campus before putting forward motions impacting Jewish students on campus.”

The decision to revoke the motion was condemned by many students at the meeting. Palestinian advocate Fahad Ali wrote on Twitter, “UMSU has just voted to rescind a motion in solidarity with Palestine, following a legal threat from a Young Liberal. This sets a dangerous precedent by validating lawfare tactics against student organisations, and leaves UMSU open to legal attack in the future. 

“One can conceive of a situation where any ideological group — TERFs, homophobes, white nationalists, etc. — can sue UMSU in response to any motion they don’t like. By taking this decision today, UMSU has given those groups a green light. 

Ali reported the UMSU was considering passing an amended motion in supported of Palestine.


Deborah Stone is Editor-in Chief of Plus61J. She has more than 30 years experience as a journalist and editor, including experience as a reporter and feature writer on The Age, and as editor of the Australian Jewish News and ArtsHub.

Alliance for “Justice” Between Israelis and Palestinians Pushing for BDS in Germany

25.08.22

Editorial Note

Mahmoud Abbas’s visit to Germany and his accusation of 50 Holocausts that Israel causes the Palestinians are in line with the long-standing efforts of pro-Palestinians in Germany against Israel that have been taking place for years. 

For example, the German emeritus Professor Norman Paech is the founder of the Alliance for Justice between Israelis and Palestinians (BIP – Bündnis für Gerechtigkeit zwischen Israelis und Palästinensern). According to journalist Jan-Philipp Hein, Paech frequently puts Israel near state terrorism and racism, while regarding anti-Israeli terrorism as mere resistance.(“Linkspartei: Ein Problem namens Israel.” Stern, 28 May 2016). Paech, however, denied the article’s claims of him belittling Palestinian violence. (“Warum meine Kritik an der israelischen Politik nicht zur Denunziation taugt”) [Why my criticism of Israeli politics does not indicate denunciation] (in German). Worth noting that Paech was on board the infamous Gaza-bound flotilla in 2010 that Israel prevented its arrival. 

In May, BIP held a three-day conference titled “Israelis and Palestinians – living under discrimination and lawlessness?” The conference was a pro-Palestinian assault against Israel. In his opening remarks, Prof. Paech (BIP): “Justice between Israelis and Palestinians” Paech remembered how in 1975, he was against dropping the UN accusation of “Zionism is Racism.” He also suggested that during the conference, “At the end of every discussion, every speech has to ask itself what we can do to close the wound that has been open to the occupation for more than 50 years and to create justice. No one is obligated to join or support the Palestinian BDS movement. Even those who decide to do so must ask themselves whether that is enough and what alternatives there are. This is not a question of resignation. There are many ways of showing solidarity with the resistance and this conference should be a sign of that. The lectures over these three days will prove that.” 

Other speakers at the conference included Omar Shakir (Human Rights Watch): “The threshold to apartheid has been crossed.” Michael Sfard: “Human rights against occupation and annexation.” Orly Noy (B’tselem): “Jewish supremacy from the Jordan to the Mediterranean?” Dr. Shir Hever:” Apartheid? Ambivalence in Israeli Politics.” Rania Muhareb and Wesam Ahmad (Irish Center for Human Rights, Al-Haq): “Self-determination, freedom, justice and equality.” Among others.

Several Israeli academics are involved with BIP. Dr. Shir Hever, according to his website, “studies the economic aspects of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory. He is a correspondent for the Real News Network. He published two books and gives talks on various topics related to his research.”

Hever holds a Ph.D. from the Free University of Berlin. His most recent book, based on his Ph.D. dissertation, is titled The Privatization of Israeli Security (Pluto Press, 2017). “Affiliations: Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost (board member) – a Jewish German organization promoting just peace in Israel/Palestine. The organization is a member of the EJJP: European Jews for Just Peace. Alternative Information Center, a joint Palestinian-Israeli organization active in Jerusalem and Beit Sahour.” 

The Real News Network published an interview with Hever on Apr 2, 2014, who promoted BDS and discussed the “BDS movement including large scale divestment by big corporations and approaching the level of government sanctions.”

Dr. Tamar Amar-Dahl, whom IAM mentioned before in connection to Moshe Zuckermann, was born in Nahariya, Israel, in 1968. She is an Israeli-German historian. Amar-Dahl studied history, philosophy, and general studies in humanities at Tel Aviv University. In a Hebrew article published by Haaretz in 2011, titled “Zionism or Peace,” Amar-Dahl wrote that “Jewish national existence in Israel was largely achieved by the sword. The Israeli leadership for generations has held to the principle that the Zionist project was built on the basis of the Jewish people’s historical possession of the Land of Israel. Israel was established with a tremendous military effort, and since then it has conducted a war policy whose main goal is to preserve its territorial gains. The occupation of the land and Jewish colonization while suppressing the Palestinian residents of Zion are one of the main policies of Zionist Israel since its foundation. The Zionist left actually led this policy.” She continues, “The possibility of a Palestinian state scares the Israeli leadership, and not just the Zionist right. So the fear and helplessness of the order imposed by the international community sharpen the historical impasse into which Zionism has fallen as a solution to the “Jewish problem”: On the one hand, Jewish nationalism is still perceived as the only option for a secure Jewish existence. On the other hand, there is a growing recognition that a Jewish national existence in the Land of Israel does not provide security, and certainly does not go hand in hand with peace. Dr. Tamar Amar-Dahl teaches history at the University of Berlin.”

BIP has been pushing for divestment from the settlements. Last month, BIP announced that “More than 100 civil society organizations are launching a campaign to collect 1 million signatures from EU citizens to stop the European trade in illegal settlements in occupied territories to end. The European Citizens’ Initiative is an official tool to amplify the voices of EU citizens and improve their democratic participation. If the initiative collects one million signatures from citizens in all EU member states within a year of its launch, the European Commission will be legally obliged to examine the proposal, discuss it with the signatories and take legislative action. The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) is subject to EU regulations.”

The people of Germany need to know that Palestinians have recruited many Germans, Jews, and non-Jews, to help them in their war against Israel. The aim is to whitewash Palestinian terrorism against Israelis and deflect accusations of antisemitism.

References

GDP Conference

Israelis and Palestinians – living under discrimination and lawlessness?

27.5.-29.5. 2022, Nuremberg

Meistersinger Hall, Munich Street 21

Room 5/6

with public Transport bus 36 and 55; tram 8

Friday

Moderator: Gisela Siebourg

17.00  Prof. Norman Paech (BIP):  Justice between Israelis and Palestinians

17.30  Omar Shakir (Human Rights Watch): The threshold to apartheid has been crossed

18.30 Dinner

19.30  Michael Sfard: Human rights against occupation and annexation

20.15 Discussion

Saturday

Moderator: Dr. Daniel Alexander Schacht

9.30  Orly Noy (B’tselem): Jewish supremacy from the Jordan to the Mediterranean?

10.15  Dr. Shir Hever: Apartheid? Ambivalence in Israeli Politics

11.00 Discussion

11.30 am Coffee break

12.00  Rania Muhareb and Wesam Ahmad (Irish Center for Human Rights, Al-Haq): Self-determination, freedom, justice and equality

12.45 Discussion

13.15 lunch break

2.15 pm  Prof.  Helga Baumgarten: Resistance in the Apartheid System: Options and Scenarios. A personal view from Jerusalem

15.00 Discussion

Moderator: Dr. Martin Breidert

15.30 coffee break

16.00  Dr.  Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff (EU delegation for Palestine): What can the international community do?

16.45  Dr.  Muriel Asseburg (Foundation for Science and Politics): What can German politics do?

17.30 Discussion.

Moderator:

18.30 Dinner

20.00 Play  : I will not hate  (Mohammad-Ali Behboudi)

Sunday

9.30 a.m. Closing panel: Moderation Dr. Daniel Alexander Schacht

Perspectives for a future Middle East policy

Christine Buchholz (former MP) 

dr Bettina Marx

Jean Asselborn (Luxembourg Foreign Minister)

Margrete Auken (MEP)

Nirit Sommerfeld

11.00 coffee break

11.30 Discussion

12. 30 Closing words: Dr. Martin Breidert

*

Translation into German for all English lectures

The conference pass costs €125 in its entirety, reduced €80 for pupils, students, Hartz IV recipients and pensioners with basic security

Please note the Corona protection regulations valid in May

Please register by April 30, 2022 by email or in writing to:

dr Goetz Schindler

Breite Wiese 23, 85617 Assling

goeschi42@googlemail.com

Account number: BIP Alliance for Justice DE43 2545 1345 0051 0579 58

Venue: Meistersinger Hall,

Room 5/6

Munich Street 21  

Nuremberg

who we are

The Alliance for Justice between Israelis and Palestinians eV was founded in 2016 to influence German politics and the media

– for the unlimited validity of human rights in Israel and Palestine

– for the implementation of international law also in this conflict

– for a peaceful coexistence of the Israeli and Palestinian

Nationality based on justice.

Unfortunately, Israel’s policy has met with a response from right-wing nationalists worldwide in recent years, and unfortunately a wind of change is blowing in parts of the German public

Repression of opposition to Israel’s nationalist course. Therefore, our mission has also become a fight for freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and democracy in Germany. One means to that end is this conference.

BIP eV organizes lectures, seminars, trips to Palestine and Israel and other educational events.

We are looking forward to your participation!

All further information about the conference:

http://www.bip-jetzt.de/bip-konferenz.html

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BIP-Aktuell #220: Contributions to the BIP conference in Nuremberg

Israelis and Palestinians – living under discrimination and lawlessness?

This week we publish the contributions of the speakers at the BIP conference in Nuremberg, which took place on May 27th and 27th. The text below is the presentation by BIP member and co-founder Prof. Dr. Norman Paech entitled:  Justice between Israelis and Palestinians.
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More than  100 civil society organizations  are launching a campaign to collect 1 million signatures from EU citizens to stop the European trade in illegal settlements in occupied territories to end.
The  European Citizens’ Initiative is an official tool to amplify the voices of EU citizens and improve their democratic participation. If the initiative collects one million signatures from citizens in all EU member states within a year of its launch, the European Commission will be legally obliged to examine the proposal, discuss it with the signatories and take legislative action.
The  European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI)  is subject to EU regulations:   https://www.cidse.org/de/2022/04/07/take-action-to-end-european-trade-with-illegal-settlements/
Here you can  participate .
************************************************** *******************

Dear friends, dear guests,

I would like to extend a warm welcome to you on behalf of the “Alliance for Justice between Israelis and Palestinians”. When we were planning this conference, it went without saying that Rolf Verleger should welcome you and give this presentation. Now he is no longer with us, he died on November 8th last year. So incredibly early and sad for all who knew him. He was the  spiritus rector of our association, the authentic voice of a Judaism of reconciliation and of the great humanistic Jewish tradition. He was such a friendly and at the same time ironic conversationalist, it was always a particularly stimulating and pleasant encounter to be with him. We should commemorate him here for a short minute before our lectures and discussions, which are influenced by his contributions…… Thank you.

Protests in London. Source: Alisdare Hickson, 2021, Flickr .

Our association had a different name when it was founded:  “Alliance to End the Israeli Occupation” . However, after two years, in 2018, we changed it to “ Covenant for Justice between Israelis and Palestinians“. This is not a retreat from calling for an end to the occupation, it just says something about what we consider to be justice and what I am talking about here. For us, justice does not derive from the order of creation, as in the Greek Stoa and later in Christianity, in which the higher law is the standard of justice for the subordinate law. This means that the justice of human law is derived from natural law and ultimately from divine law – and accordingly embodies a claim to absoluteness and eternity. We – which is particularly true for me as a lawyer – orientate ourselves more towards the materialism of the Epicureans, which, in Marx and Engels, freed justice from all transcendence and predetermination. For him there is no justice per se, but only as a contract between people living together. The basic principle of such a contract, which the Epicurean/Materialist defines as inherently just, is the requirement “not to harm one another and not to be harmed”. In this way, the concept of justice is materialized, relativized and historicized, because it can be changed over time and geographically. This frees us from some of the dogmatic burdens that weigh on the justice debate between Israelis and Palestinians. because it is temporally and geographically changeable. This frees us from some of the dogmatic burdens that weigh on the justice debate between Israelis and Palestinians. because it is temporally and geographically changeable. This frees us from some of the dogmatic burdens that weigh on the justice debate between Israelis and Palestinians.

I was leafing through my early work and came across a topic that has been largely taboo and scandalized since its formulation. In 1975, under the title “Zionism – State Ideology and Racism”, I wrote a commentary on the then notorious Resolution 3379, with which the General Assembly by a majority vote (72:35:32) “proclaimed Zionism (as) a form of racism and racial discrimination “ condemned. I wrote at the time: “The National Socialist-anti-Semitic legacy may still be too fresh to expect the Federal Government to recognize the Zionist ideology in the same way as the majority of UN members. But the federal government simultaneously voted against two other resolutions in which, among other things, the Palestinians’ right to self-determination and state-building and the equal rights of the Palestine Liberation Front (PLO) to participate in all UN Middle East negotiations. A month later, 101 UNO states condemned the collaboration, in particular by Great Britain, the USA, France, the FRG, Japan and Italy, with the Republic of South Africa and called on them to stop working with the “racist regime”. The federal government also voted against this: they will continue to condemn apartheid while at the same time giving it strong support through trade and scientific and technical cooperation. In its Resolution 3151 of December 14, 1974, the UN already stated that there is a close relationship between Zionism, apartheid and colonialism. Resolution 3379 was repealed in December 1991 after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, but the racism of Israeli politics was not. And we have to admit that since then all federal governments have slid further and further down this precipitous path of moral decay towards the wrong side of history in their Middle East policy, as Ilan Pappe recently accused German politicians of doing. Because it’s not about justice, but – according to Ilan Pappe – probably still about absolving oneself of the Holocaust. as Ilan Pappe recently accused of German politics. Because it’s not about justice, but – according to Ilan Pappe – probably still about absolving oneself of the Holocaust. as Ilan Pappe recently accused of German politics. Because it’s not about justice, but – according to Ilan Pappe – probably still about absolving oneself of the Holocaust.

I could now answer my question about justice about the evictions and destruction in Silwan/East Jerusalem or the current eviction of 2400 Palestinians from Masafer Yatta and the ruling of the Israeli  High Court to report. I must point out the murder of Shirin Abu Akleh in cold blood while she was observing a military raid on the Jenin refugee camp. This cowardly act has rightly created horror and sadness around the world. Will there ever be a trial by which the shooter and his superiors will be held accountable? The answer is no. Foreign Minister Baerbock is dismayed, but the Foreign Office only issues a press statement condemning a deadly Palestinian attack in Eilat five days earlier as a despicable act. These perpetrators will no doubt be brought to justice. But who names the 79 dead since Naftali Bennett took office in June 2021? In March of this year 12 dead, in April 22, more dead than not since 2008 – and 18 dead,

But that’s not the point now. All illusions associated with the names of Oslo, Camp David and Taba are gone. The dispute over a one-state or two-state solution is purely speculative and academic. And let’s face it, even arguing about whether apartheid and settler-colonialism are just hateful defamations or accurate socio-economic notions of Israeli reality doesn’t change that reality. We shall be presented with a wealth of depressing examples in the course of our lectures and discussions. I am concerned here with the question of why politicians and the media are so unconditionally behind the crimes – because settlement policy, displacement and the regular death toll are crimes – and how can this consensus be broken in order to end the miserable occupation, in order to achieve justice gain?

When our advisory board member Alfred Grosser spoke in Frankfurt’s Paulskirche on November 9, 2010 on the 72nd anniversary of the Night of Broken Glass, he was heavily criticized by the Central Council of Jews beforehand. And Rafael Seligman accused him from Tel Aviv that it was improper on such a day to criticize the Israeli government for its dealings with the Palestinians. Grosser replied: “Yes, you have to do it. I even go so far as to say that young Germans are only allowed to commemorate Auschwitz if they also stand up for the equality of people everywhere in the world, including the Palestinians. That is the compelling consequence of Auschwitz, and a commemoration of it demands that it be said openly.” That is the interpretation of Auschwitz as given by Felicia Langer, Lea Tsemel, Amira Hass, Gideon Levy, Avraham Burg, Moshe Zuckermann and many other Jews are represented – but it is still a minority opinion, especially in Germany. But this argument about the correct interpretation of Auschwitz is obviously at the core not only of the strong accusations of anti-Semitism, but also of the paralysis of German politics in the question of justice and their siding with the Israeli side.

Achille Mbembe, Farid Esack, Kamila Shamsie, Source:  Wikipedia , 2015,  Wikipedia  2015,  Wikipedia  2017

Anyone who remembers the past campaigns against Achille Mbembe from Cameroon because of a planned speech at the Bochum Ruhr Triennial, against Farid Esack from South Africa because of a speech in Hamburg City Hall or Kamila Shamsie from Great Britain because of the Nelly Sachs Prize from the city of Dortmund in reminders and has followed the fight for venues up to the highest courts, has to realize that with the intensification of land grabbing and displacement, i.e. apartheid in Israel and the occupied territories, the defense against any criticism of these conditions has intensified to the same extent . The statement that the BDS movement is anti-Semitic and therefore cannot be a means of resistance has even received parliamentary consecration. While this is strange for a state that is imposing increasingly severe sanctions on Iran, Syria and Russia even go to their own pain threshold, but this becomes understandable when we take into account the overwhelming power of Holocaust remembrance. This decision by the Bundestag is the current high point of “political orthodoxy”, as the historian Wolfgang Reinhard has called it, and a low point in parliamentary judgment.

The uniqueness of the Holocaust and the ongoing responsibility of the Germans for the Nazi crimes have long been understood as the foundation of German raison d’état. With the decision, however, the Bundestag is reaching beyond its sphere of influence by making a resistance movement in Palestine illegal with this taboo, so to speak.

Memory no longer remains in the open field of culture, but becomes a power factor with executive powers. This dictate of remembrance not only superimposes all decisions about the future of the coexistence or coexistence of Israelis and Palestinians, but also places all discussions about the conflict under the commandment of mourning.

This is related, for example, to the refusal to classify the Holocaust as a crime of colonialism. The canonization of Holocaust memory prohibits comparison with other genocides. Like an irremovable mortgage, it weighs on all attempts to overcome the past and redesign the future. With the sharp sword of the accusation of anti-Semitism, it can not only block criticism and censor freedom of expression, but also prevent discussions and declare those who are themselves fighting anti-Semitism, whether Palestinians or non-Zionist Jews, to be anti-Semites themselves. Suffice it to say the far-fetched rumor of an obscure anti-fascist one-man group from the anti-German milieu to set in motion the media scandal machine against the organizers of the Documenta exhibition. The attempt of ruangrupa to clarify the allegations with the suddenly numerous critics in an open forum is blocked. It is clear that this smear campaign has racist traits and uses anti-Semitism to devalue the Global South perspective in the exhibition makers’ concept. The occasion is the invitation of the Palestinian artist collective “ The Question of Funding“. It also shows that there is more at stake than just questioning the exhibition concept. It is about the stigmatization of the Palestinians as anti-Semitic and thus about their exclusion from the cultural circle. The myth of uniqueness demands not only total commitment to the Israeli state, but at the same time the exclusion of the Palestinians with their legitimate claims against colonial oppression. Because anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. And just as the Holocaust does not tolerate any other genocides, the culture of remembrance as the moral foundation of German politics does not tolerate equal treatment of the Palestinians. It is fixated on unconditional support for Israeli policy as a matter of state, which excludes support for the Palestinian side.

This prevents non-material aid deliveries and development projects to alleviate the miserable situation. It makes them more bearable, but without changing them. A justice treaty between Israelis and Palestinians is impossible on this basis and is not on the agenda of German politics. With this claim to singularity, the Holocaust is completely unhistorical. He downplays his place in a history of genocide and cements his exclusivity against any relaxation of violence and apartheid.
We know that the Holocaust remembrance culture, with all its rituals, memorials, obligations and reparations, helped the Federal Republic to achieve its geopolitical legitimacy. To this day, neither the unification of the two German states nor the fall of the Soviet Union and the socialist camp have changed anything in this ideological foundation of Germany. But we also have to recognize that it puts itself like a straitjacket around everything that would be necessary for a justice treaty with the Palestinians: self-determination, independence, non-violence and human dignity. To avoid misunderstanding, I am not denying the uniqueness of the Nazi genocide, the Holocaust, but I oppose its instrumentalization to prevent criticism and to justify the occupation. We cannot accept that its claim to totality extends to demanding impunity for flagrant crimes by the settlers and the Israeli army, which the federal government, despite all its professed values, supports. She joined Israel in opposing the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court to investigate possible settlement crimes and possible war crimes in the 2014 war against Gaza and during the 2018 Gaza Memorial March. unimpressed, the federal government made itself available to defend Israel before the court. The preliminary investigations have been going on for a year. It is not known whether an investigator from the International Criminal Court has turned up in Israel or Gaza or whether an indictment is being prepared. This will not happen in the foreseeable future either, because the new chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, began investigating Russia for possible war crimes and crimes against humanity immediately after Russian troops invaded Ukraine. He has now sent 42 experts to Ukraine to secure evidence. The limited resources of the criminal court obviously do not allow further investigations in other theaters of war. Khan had already dropped investigations into alleged atrocities committed by US soldiers in Bagram, Afghanistan, due to a lack of personnel.

But let’s get back to the culture of remembrance, which, like a claim to civilization, does not tolerate any relief. As long as this claim exists, it serves to legitimize a policy that, in lockstep with the respective Israeli governments, supports all crimes – albeit with expressions of regret, sometimes even dismay. The implication is clear. Only when this claim to totality no longer superimposes all of the Palestinians’ claims to justice and suffocates them from the start will there be a balance between the two peoples that deserves the term justice. This will require the separation from an expansive and militant Zionism in the tradition of Vladimir Zeev Jabotinsky and the acceptance of a liberal Zionism, say, in the tradition of Uri Avneri. It would require Israeli society to agree to a bootless peace of a colonized people. German politics should also free itself from the shackles of its dogma of remembrance and recognize the Palestinians’ claim to justice free from the burden of the Holocaust. Of course, this does not mean that I dispute the legitimacy of remembering the crimes of the Nazi era. However, remembrance should be separated from a Palestine policy to the extent that it allows for an independent handling of the legitimate interests of Palestinian society. Palestinian demands do not have to go through the Holocaust filter before they can be considered legitimate and fulfilled.

Zeev Jabotinsky, Source: 1930s,  Wikipedia .

At the moment, however, both Israeli and German politics are far from it. It is amazing that when it comes to Israel, German politicians belie their own values, which they constantly invoke with the greatest emphasis. Nothing, neither the countless UN resolutions nor the horrendous sacrifices of the Palestinians, have led to a correction of the policy. It is therefore also highly unlikely that the Palestinian BDS movement will lead to a rapid change in policy. However, it is the only remaining means of resistance left for the Palestinians to appeal to the international public for justice. The overwhelming majority of votes which regularly comes together in the UN General Assembly for resolutions condemning the Israeli occupation policy, has so far not been able to move Israeli politics. No country is currently willing to impose sanctions that are otherwise unhesitatingly imposed on Iran, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela or Cuba. Decades later, they led to the fall of the white racist regime in South Africa. Many reasons can be given against sanctions, but no one has the right to discredit the BDS movement, the last resort of peaceful resistance to decades of violence and oppression, as anti-Semitic. This is in ours Venezuela or Cuba will be imposed. Decades later, they led to the fall of the white racist regime in South Africa. Many reasons can be given against sanctions, but no one has the right to discredit the BDS movement, the last resort of peaceful resistance to decades of violence and oppression, as anti-Semitic. This is in ours Venezuela or Cuba will be imposed. Decades later, they led to the fall of the white racist regime in South Africa. Many reasons can be given against sanctions, but no one has the right to discredit the BDS movement, the last resort of peaceful resistance to decades of violence and oppression, as anti-Semitic. This is in ours Alliance for Justice between Israelis and Palestinians e. V. (BIP)  undisputed.

At the end of every discussion, every speech has to ask itself what we can do to close the wound that has been open to the occupation for more than 50 years and to create justice. No one is obligated to join or support the Palestinian BDS movement. Even those who decide to do so must ask themselves whether that is enough and what alternatives there are. This is not a question of resignation. There are many ways of showing solidarity with the resistance and this conference should be a sign of that. The lectures over these three days will prove that.

In 1934 Bertolt Brecht wrote his “In Praise of Dialectics” in Berlin. Imagine if he had written it yesterday in Jerusalem:

Injustice today goes hand in hand with a sure step.
The oppressors prepare themselves for ten thousand years.
Violence assures: It stays the way it is.
No voice is heard except that of the rulers.
And on the markets, exploitation says loudly:
Now I’m just beginning.
But many of the oppressed now say:
What we want will never work.
If you’re still alive, don’t say never!
The safe is not safe.
It won’t stay the way it is.
When the rulers have spoken
Will the ruled speak
Who dares say never?
Who is responsible if the oppression remains?
To us.
Who cares if it breaks?
Also to us.
Let those who are crushed rise!
Who is lost, fight!
Whoever has recognized his situation, how can he be stopped?
Because today’s vanquished are tomorrow’s winners
And it will never be: today.

Thank you for listening to me.

Norman Paech, Nuremberg, May 27, 2022

Further presentations from the conference:

The lecture can also be seen and heard on video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FBo7CkOvbk&feature=youtu.be&ab_channel=Segror2

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A new  episode  of the BIP Talk is out. This week we speak to BIP member Dieter Kaltenhäuser.
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On July 13th, BIP invites you to an event with Dr. Tamar Amar-Dahl on “Israel in the new millennium: occupation, civil militarism, neo-Zionism”. Here  ‘s the invitation.


BIP Aktuell reports here regularly on human rights violations in occupied Palestine, which are mostly not mentioned in our media.

Another Palestinian journalist killed by the Israeli military

“JUST 21 DAYS after the killing of Palestinian-American Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), another journalist has been killed. The latest victim is 31-year-old Ghufran Harun Warasneh, who was shot dead by IDF soldiers on June 1 while being interrogated at an Israeli checkpoint at the entrance to al-‘Arroub refugee camp near Hebron.
The camp, set up by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) after the Nakba in 1949, has been under Israeli occupation since 1967 and is now home to more than 10,000 displaced Palestinians.
Warasneh was murdered while she was with a friend on her way to her new job as a radio host at  Dream, a local news agency in Hebron. Middle East Eye  reports that their first assignment was a report on Shireen Abu Akleh.
According to Israeli media reports, the shooting happened when Varasneh tried to stab a soldier, after which the soldiers opened fire to repel a “terrorist threat”. However, eyewitnesses dispute this statement, saying that the journalist did nothing wrong. Her brother Mohammad said she was shot “twice in the left side, in the armpit and in the chest” and had to lie in her blood for 20 minutes because a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance was stopped at the checkpoint.
Middle East Eye reported: “After her body was prepared for burial, her family and neighbors carried Warasneh to her final resting place, passing by the spot where she was killed. A group of Israeli soldiers were waiting for them there. The funeral ceremony was attacked when the soldiers tried to prevent it by firing flashbangs and tear gas and beating the pallbearers. Her brother Mohammad was quoted in the same article as saying: “Abu Akleh was a journalist. My sister was a journalist. Abu Akleh was killed at her work. My sister was killed at her job.”
In January of this year, after covering a pro-Palestinian march, Warasneh was detained for three months and her camera equipment was confiscated and destroyed. This is an indication that she was targeted by the Israeli authorities long before she was killed.
Without international pressure to conduct an unbiased, impartial, comprehensive and transparent investigation into her death, it is highly unlikely that the Israeli authorities will find fault with the IDF. Following the usual Israeli pattern, a narrative will be created accusing Warasneh of complicity in her own death.
The targeted killing of Shireen Abu Akleh and now the wanton killing of Ghufran Harun Warasneh amounts to an open season killing of journalists by IDF forces. This latest killing brings the number of (mostly Palestinian) journalists killed by the IDF since 2000 to 45.”
Phil Pasquini, Published June 15, 2022 at  https://www.wrmea.org/web-exclusives/ another-palestinian-journalist-killed-by-the-idf.html
Also among others:  https://www.womeninjournalism.org/threats-all/israel-ghufran-harun-warasneh-second-palestinian-woman-journalist-killed -in-west-bank-in-a-month


The editorial team of BIP-Aktuell consists of the board and the managing director Dr. Shir Hever. V. i. s.d. Fr Dr Götz Schindler, BIP board member.

BIP-Aktuell #220: Contributions to the BIP conference in Nuremberg

July 9, 2022

BIP talk #30: Dieter Kaltenhäuser

July 6, 2022

BIP-Aktuell #219: Who is responsible for the death of Shireen Abu Akleh?

July 2, 2022

BIP Update #218: Shireen Abu Akleh

May 21, 2022

BIP Talk #29: Sarah el-Bulbeisi

May 18, 2022

BIP News #217: Ethnic cleansing in Masafer Yatta

May 14, 2022

BIP-Aktuell #216: Israel tightens rules for foreign visitors to the West Bank

May 7, 2022

BIP Talk #28: Michael Kellner

May 6, 2022

BIP-Aktuell #215: Raids on the Haram al-Sharif during Ramadan

April 30, 2022

BIP-Aktuell #214: Seven new settlements for Jews only

April 23, 2022

BIP Talk #27: Dr. Michael Lüders

April 20, 2022

BIP-Aktuell #213: Revenge

April 9, 2022

BIP-Aktuell #212: Germany buys weapons from the occupying power Israel

April 2, 2022

BIP Talk #26: Ahmed Tubail

March 31, 2022

BIP-Aktuell #211: National service in illegal outposts

March 26, 2022

BIP-Aktuell #210: The state of all its citizens?

March 19, 2022

BIP talk #25: Claus Walischewski

March 16, 2022

BIP-Aktuell #209: Is Israel living up to its responsibility for Ukraine?

March 12, 2022

BIP-Aktuell #208: 28 years after the massacre at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron

March 5, 2022

BIP talk #24: Eberhard Hirschler

March 2, 2022

Daniel Mann, anti-Israel Israeli Academic Recruited to King’s College London to Espouse anti-Israel Agenda

18.08.22

Editorial Note

IAM reported before on anti-Israel Israeli academics such as Prof. Eyal Weizman and Dr. Hagar Kotef, who deliberately obfuscate the Palestinian war against Israel.

They are now joined by Dr. Daniel Mann, a King’s College London research fellow.

Daniel Mann’s bookOccupying Habits: Everyday Media as Warfare in Israel-Palestine was published by I.B.Tauris this year. According to Mann, Israel and the IDF have been able to “increase their oppression and colonial violence against Palestinian civilians.” The book is about the IDF’s media technology. According to a Palestinian book reviewer

the book is showing how “The defensive stance which the Israeli colonial state has so successfully disseminated is also entrenched within Israeli society.” As Mann notes: “The model of the defense self that kills the other.” According to the reviewer, “Other forms of impunity which exist within Israel include the use of sniper teams, as well as public lynching of Palestinian civilians by Israeli settler-colonists.” The reviewer sums up decrying the “limited understanding we can have of media technology in Israel, unless its use is analyzed from within the colonial framework.”

The book’s chapters are as follows: Introduction; Domestic inspectors: The First Gulf War and the militarization of the home; The death of a cameraman: The al-Aqsa Intifada and the demise of the military film units; The split wall: Homes to return to and homes to destroy; Saving face: Between uniformity and isolation; The Azaria Case: The selective enforcement of the visual; The regime of the self: Between the one and the many; Conclusion.

Mann was born in the USA and went to the Film School at Tel Aviv University. He completed his Ph.D. thesis at Goldsmiths, University of London, on “image warfare and the integration of media into armed conflict.” Using his “deep knowledge of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and reality.” 

Mann has collaborated with the notoriously anti-Israel Israeli activist Eyal Weizman’s Forensic Architecture in an investigation titled “Killing in Umm al-Hiran” (2017).

Mann’s book is based on his Ph.D. thesis. He researched the Israeli Defence Forces’ archives. He discovered that the “expansion of media technology has actually created a form of impunity for the military and the state, while desensitizing Israeli soldiers and the settler population in the process.” The reviewer wrote that Mann’s “desensitization” is “intertwined” with the writing of Hagar Kotef, as she discussed in her book, The Colonising Self Or, Home and Homelessness in Israel/Palestine. Mann refers to it in his treatise “to show how the colonial experience is attached to violence, while also detached from the consequences which the Palestinian victims suffer.” In particular, “the IDF’s violence against Palestinian civilians. Building upon Kotef’s research, Mann writes how the home rooted in colonial violence sanctifies life for the colonizers and vilifies, as well as constructs a site of violence, the homes of Palestinians.” Mann writes that “media technologies were incorporated into the very fabric of the occupation.” 

His Ph.D. advisors at Goldsmiths were Profs. Susan Schuppli and Pasi Valiaho. Susan Schuppli’s books include JUSTice: Cold Rights in a Warming World (monograph in-progress), Singing Ice: Ladakhi folk songs about mountains, glaciers, rivers, and steams, a book project with Morup Namgyal, Faiza Ahmad Khan, Radha Pandey, Jigmet Anjmo, British Council / Delhi India, 2022 “Learning from Ice: Notes from the Field by Susan Schuppli.” Fieldwork for Future Ecologies / Radical Practice for Art and Art-based Research. Eds. Bridget Crone, Sam Nightingale, Polly Stanton, Onomatopee 225, Eindhoven, 2022.

Pasi Valiaho’s books include Projecting Spirits: Speculation, Providence, and Early Modern Optical Media (Stanford University Press, 2022; in press), Biopolitical Screens: Image, Power, and the Neoliberal Brain (MIT Press, 2014), Mapping the Moving Image: Gesture, Thought, and Cinema circa 1900 (Amsterdam University Press, 2010).

As can be seen, none of his supervisors has any expertise in Israel Studies or similar. But Schoppli is the board chair of Eyal Weizman’s Forensic Architecture.

Mann has “received guidance from Eyal Weizman,” as he wrote in the introduction, and added, “I also feel greatly indebted to the SOAS Palestine Studies series editors Dina Matar and Adam Hanieh for their trust in the project.”

In his book, Mann states that “In the last three decades of documentation, “both Israeli soldiers and Palestinian activists has routinely exposed grave abuses of state power, such as illegal arrests or unlawful killings. The increasingly visible use of excessive military force by the IDF has posed a new problem for it and Israeli society at large: violent incidents have been photographed and filmed, providing representations of punishing acts performed by Israeli soldiers.”

In other words, when speaking of Israel, the author considers it violent, abusive, and unlawful—thus hinting that he possibly sees the Palestinians’ attacks against Israel as lawful. 

According to the author, the IDF’s approach to media coverage was an “integration of visual media into their strategies of public relations and propaganda… media technologies were incorporated into the very fabric of the occupation.”

This should come as no surprise because Mann is one of a growing number of scholars engaged in what Harvard University recently described as “advocacy writing.” Unlike standard research, advocacy writing is designed to provide academic legitimacy to a pre-selected ideological platform, in this case, the permanent victimhood of Palestinians. Blaming Israel only requires an intellectual sleight of hand: Palestinians are not responsible for any decisions their leadership has made over time: Rejecting the 1947 UN Partition Plan, squashing the Oslo peace process through a violent Intifada sponsored by Iran, and the repeated missile assault on Israel from the Gaza Strip, a territory run with singular brutality by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the latter a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Islamist regime in Iran. Little wonder that Mann’s book does not mention the thousands of Israelis killed and wounded after the Oslo peace agreement in 1993. To contextualize the conflict would have meant acknowledging that the Palestinians are at fault.

Advocacy writing does not serve the Palestinian case, nor does it help to understand the changes that the Abraham Accords triggered in the Middle East. Israel is now a core partner in this new anti-Iranian, pro-Western alliance. 

Rather than recruiting more anti-Israeli activists, King’s College London should follow the example of Harvard and repudiate activist writing. 

References

https://books.google.co.il/books/about/Occupying_Habits.html?id=IRVwzgEACAAJ

Occupying Habits: Everyday Media as Warfare in Israel-Palestine

Front Cover

Daniel Mann

I.B. Tauris, 2021 – Arab-Israeli conflict – 208 pages

0 Reviews

“Beginning from the early 2000s, constant and pervasive documentation using mobile phone cameras by both Israeli soldiers and Palestinian activists has routinely exposed grave abuses of state power, such as illegal arrests or unlawful killings. Two decades on, the Israeli authorities have not only learned to cope with the deluge of images, they have in fact appropriated everyday habits of communication in flexible and innovative ways. This book explores the impact that mobile phone cameras and social media have had on Israel’s security regime. Daniel Mann shows that although visual media poses a threat to Israel’s modus operandi in the West Bank and Gaza, it is also paving the way for new modes of surveillance and control that are becoming ubiquitous. By examining photos, film and footage – and identifying the individuals that created them – the book reveals how Israel has expanded its capacity to shape the narrative of the military occupation of the Palestinian territories and how it delegates the responsibility of image production and distribution to soldiers and civilians. In doing so, everyday media practises are becoming part of Israel’s arsenal of weapons for military ends. The book argues that this is a radical remodelling of its modes of governance and a reconfiguration of the stakes of political action, showing the growing function of media shaping warfare.”

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https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20220626-occupying-habits-everyday-media-as-warfare-in-israel-palestine/Occupying Habits. Everyday Media as Warfare in Israel-Palestine

Book Author(s) : Daniel Mann
Published Date : February 2022
Publisher : I.B. Tauris
ISBN-13 : 9780755633906

Ramona Wadi

June 26, 2022 at 10:13 am

“Sovereignty is made out of a patchwork, weaved together from institutions, private companies, and most significantly technology itself, which dictates certain behaviour and habits.” Israel’s security narrative has become heavily reliant on media technology, as Daniel Mann’s book “Occupying Habits: Everyday Media as Warfare in Israel-Palestine” (I.B.Tauris, 2022) shows. Drawing upon the Israeli Defence Forces’s archives, the author discovers that the expansion of media technology has actually created a form of impunity for the military and the state, while desensitising Israeli soldiers and the settler population in the process.

The desensitisation which Mann writes about is intertwined with the perception of home and violence, which in Israel are synonymous and which Hagar Kotef discussed in her book, “The Colonising Self Or, Home and Homelessness in Israel/Palestine” and which the author refers to in his treatise to show how the colonial experience is attached to violence, while also detached from the consequences which the Palestinian victims suffer. The home is also the place where Israelis can view through media technology and in a detached manner, the IDF’s violence against Palestinian civilians. Building upon Kotef’s research, Mann writes how the home rooted in colonial violence sanctifies life for the colonisers and vilifies, as well as constructs a site of violence, the homes of Palestinians.

Mann writes, “the more media technologies were incorporated into the very fabric of the occupation, the less evidence I could find of its application by the IDF.” The increasing use of social media has expanded Israel’s control and as a result, the way Israel’s military occupation is portrayed, or promoted, depending on who is behind the lens, has also altered. With such alterations, Israel and the IDF have been able to increase their oppression and colonial violence against Palestinian civilians, and create alternative options when it comes to deciding or declining accountability and responsibility.

While media technology can record the state’s abusive power, it can also be incorporated into the state’s apparatus, as Israel and the IDF did, creating a new form of warfare that is manipulative and also strengthens the state’s narrative of security threats.#

Spacing Debt. Obligations, Violence, and Endurance in Ramallah, Palestine

The author notes that the IDF’s film unit traces its roots back to 1948, its role changing through decades from accompanying combatants to taking the role of journalists in recent decades, when the military started reassessing the role of media technology and media coverage. Mann writes of how phone companies play a role in structuring the IDF’s media technology, noting that Motorola had signed a $100 million contract with the IDF. “The central role of cellular companies strengthened the know between private communication companies and surveillance,” Mann writes. As media technology use increased in Israel by 2006, the IDF had to content with the singular use of social media by its soldiers as well, thus opening a possibility of liability for both state and institution. “Individuating soldieries through the exposure of their faces, therefore, constitute an inherent threat to this collective authority.”

On one hand, the author notes, such liability could, possibly, contribute to evidence of Israeli military violence against Palestinian civilians as a result of the soldiers’ individual use of social media and posting. However, the IDF has also emphasised the singular use of media technology to differentiate between the soldier posting acts of violence and the institution itself. “The IDF can afford the admission of a singular violent act in order to spare the system itself.” Additionally, instances where individual soldiers’ violence was recorded and disseminated on social media rarely sparked the majority’s outrage within Israel, as happened in the case of Elor Azaria, where only 30 per cent of the Israeli public condemned the extrajudicial killing of a Palestinian civilian.

The defensive stance which the Israeli colonial state has so successfully disseminated is also entrenched within Israeli society, as Mann notes: “The model of the defence self that kills the other.”

Other forms of impunity which exist within Israel include the use of sniper teams, as well as public lynching of Palestinian civilians by Israeli settler-colonists. “When violence takes place out in the open, in front of the cameras, it hides in plain sight,” Mann writes. Even if the culprits are identified, the crowd is still protected through the same impunity which the IDF generates for itself when a soldier is identified and his action described as a singular violent act with allegedly no links to the IDF or the Israeli state itself.

In his introduction, Mann notes that Israel has constantly blurred the lines between the military and civil society. The widespread use of media technology has enabled the IDF to make use of the ambiguity which enables the state the strengthen its survival – by transferring responsibility solely upon the individual, the state’s institutions are permanently safeguarded. It is the obfuscation which the book seeks to delve into, which in turn also exposes the limited understanding we can have of media technology in Israel, unless its use is analysed from within the colonial framework.

==============================https://www.gold.ac.uk/architecture/research-students/past-phd-students/daniel-mann/

Home Alone: Weaponising Habitual Media

My PhD research examines how state and military actors in Israel embrace digital media technologies to activate citizens and soldiers as mediators between civil society and state authority. Based on materials gathered from social media platforms and military archives in Israel, the dissertation documents and conceptualises the role of media practices and images in shaping governance. The study gives particular attention to the technological and social circumstances that led the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) to incorporate and utilise vernacular media in its day-to-day and tactical military activities.

I argue that the threat of hyper-visibility introduced by mobile phone cameras and social media applications have had a profound impact on military policy; and that the spread of new media persuaded the IDF that ubiquitous personal use of social media technologies by citizens and soldiers presented new possibilities for shaping state sovereignty in the complex set of challenges faced by the Israeli military and civil society. Starting in the early 1990s policy makers in the Israeli army began to sense that with the rise of social media the army was losing control of the circulation of still photographs and moving images. This phenomenon fits into a larger global picture of structural changes in information circulation. Media scholars have argued that the permeation of distribution networks and digital media into mundane patterns of life destabilises vertical structures of power. For the Israeli military, by 2017 the omnipresence of social media changed the relationship between the military command and the individual, generating new configurations of power and influence. The hierarchical exercise of authority predicated upon official media outlets was upended, creating a decentralised, diffused ‘soft power’. In this new dynamic, the modes of suppressing individuality within an institutionalised military collective were adjusted significantly, actively taking advantage of decentralised use of digital media. Against the backdrop of what has been described as technological determinism, my study contends that the overwhelming influence of militarism on civilian life has been significantly reorganised by media practices and online image circulation.

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  ‘The Glow that Illuminates and the Glare that Obscures’ Habitual Media As Warfare In Israel And Palestine 

Hebrew Studies 

Public Talks 

Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies 

The depth of Israeli military control and surveillance of the West Bank, together with the routine use of mobile phone cameras and social media by both civilians and soldiers, have turned the Occupied Palestinian Territories into a highly visible stretch of land. Alongside traditional forms of state surveillance, the rapid circulation of images online exposes the abuses of state power. In light of this, how does the military itself respond to preserve its structural invisibility and control? After decades of trying to censor any compromising or scandalous images, Israel finally embraced the overwhelming flood of images and online data. Instead of containing it, the levees of censorship have been lifted and the overabundance of visual evidence is used to obscure and over-saturate the public image of the security regime. In light of the co-option of everyday media practices into warfare, this talk asks how the Israeli military has come to rely on vernacular media in its routine monitoring and control of the West Bank. Dr. Daniel Mann is a postdoctoral fellow at the Film Studies Department at King’s College London. Mann completed his doctoral degree at the Media and Communications Department at Goldsmiths College, where he was also a member of the Centre for Research Architecture. His writing has been published with Media, Culture & Society, Visual Cultures Journal and World Records. Mann is also a filmmaker. His films were screened at festival and venues such the Berlin Film Festival, the Rotterdam Film Festival and the Institute for Contemporary Art, London. Tuesday 29th of January 2019, 5:15 to 7:00 pm Common Room, FAMES, Cambridge, CB3 9DA

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Doc’s Kingdom

22 August 2018  · 

Welcome to Doc’s Kingdom!

Daniel Mann (1983) was born in the USA and went to Film School at Tel Aviv University. He is completing his PhD thesis at Goldsmiths on image warfare and the integration of media into armed conflict. Investigating the notion of habit both visually and conceptually, his work revolves around the embedding and embodying of media technologies into life within conflict zones. The visuality produced by everyday practices and its political (re)appropriation is at the core of his general inquiry. Mann’s films and writing seek to redefine the politics of images through the entanglement of representations, users, media practices and the automated operation of data. With deep knowledge of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and reality, Mann has also made films in collaboration with Sasha Litvintseva (“Salarium”, 2018), Sirah Foighel Brutmann and Eitan Efrat (“Complex”, 2009). He has collaborated with Forensic Architecture in the investigation “Killing in Umm al-Hiran” (2017).

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‘I Am Spartacus’: individualising visual media and warfare

Daniel Mann

First Published March 16, 2018 Research Article

https://doi.org/10.1177/0163443718764805

Article information 
Article has an altmetric score of 5
Free Access

Abstract

The constant presence of cameras and social media has become a given during day-to-day military activities in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Such technologies shift the focus of warfare onto the individual, and in particular onto the faces of soldiers and Palestinians caught on camera. Due to the habitual use of mobile phones and social media by both soldiers and civilians, the face is singled out as a new battleground, where political action is substituted for individual responsibility. On one hand, the co-option of personal social media into armed conflict enables state actors to zero in on the faces and identities of Palestinian dissidents and alleged terrorists. On the other hand, the faces of Israeli soldiers are also captured and circulated on social media as digital images, posing a new threat to state authority, which depends on remaining faceless. Images of IDF soldiers’ faces, once recorded and shared, figuratively strip off the improvised masks they often wear to hide their identity and preserve their impunity. In Israel and Palestine, where everyday social media habits have become inseparable from routines of security and armed conflict, the image of a soldier’s face individualises his or her actions and demands accountability.

Keywords 

camouflagedigital imagesdistributed networksfacial recognitionindividualisationmilitary occupationsocial mediasurveillancevernacular media

Herald:

By command of His Most Merciful Excellency, your lives are to be spared. Slaves you were and slaves you remain. But the terrible penalty of crucifixion has been set-aside on the single condition that you identify the body or the living person of the slave called Spartacus.

Antoninus:

I’m Spartacus!

Slaves:

I’m Spartacus! I’m Spartacus! I’m Spartacus! I’m Spartacus! I’m Spartacus! I’m Spartacus! I’m Spartacus!

(Spartacus, 1960, Stanley Kubrick)

In August 2015, a Palestinian activist filmed a routine arrest carried out by Israeli soldiers in the village of Nabi Saleh in the West Bank. Almost immediately, videos of the incident were circulated widely on social media platforms. One such video shows a masked soldier chasing down the 12-year-old Mohammad Tamimi, who has allegedly thrown a rock towards a nearby patrol. The soldier is wearing a balaclava to cover his face (Figure 1). He grabs and tries to detain the boy, who gasps for air under the weight of the soldier’s body. Unwilling to abort the arrest, the masked soldier struggles with the Palestinian activists surrounding him, warning them against intervening. The activists ignore his warnings. They reach into the entanglement of limbs and eventually tear off the soldier’s mask to reveal his face to the camera lens. The soldier suddenly looks bewildered like an actor who has lost his costume in the midst of a scene. The lifting of the mask, and the revelation of his face, is a tipping point, beyond which the mission cannot continue.

Figure 1. The attempted arrest of Mohammad Tamimi. Available at: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/arrested-for-making-the-occupation-look-bad-1.5629119 (accessed 1 October 2017).

The incident in Nabi Saleh was not an isolated event. On a number of occasions in 2015, Israeli soldiers (IDF) and Israeli law enforcement officers were seen or photographed wearing masks of various kinds, which were often improvised during regular security exercises in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. ‘A new phenomenon: Policemen in Jerusalem wear masks in concern of being exposed on Facebook’, one newspaper headline ran (Eli, 2015). Media commentators suggested that due to the omnipresence of cameras, both border police and soldiers were becoming worried that their faces could end up on social media and that, as a result, they might become targets for Palestinian reprisal. ‘It’s not an official instruction’, one policeman explained. ‘[M]asks were usually worn only by special units for particular operations, but today it’s essential for everyone’ (Eli, 2015). But such comments divert the attention from a more pressing problem: the circulation of images of faces can potentially expose legally questionable military procedures. Once a camera captures the faces of a soldier engaged in such a procedure, his or her image is likely to circulate virally on social media and to force the soldier to confront the social and legal implications of his or her actions. What, in such a situation, does the hidden face have to hide? And why does its uncovering seem to pose a new threat to the Israeli military regime? How does the face – unlike the body – undermine authority?

In this article, I argue that the human face has emerged as a new site of politics driven by the use of social media in warfare. While IDF soldiers have begun to hide their faces, the Israeli government has begun to track down the faces of Palestinians on social media platforms with increasing urgency. In 2015, the Israeli government and the IDF updated their surveillance tactics in accordance with growing social media usage. Supplementing their own advanced facial recognition technologies, the IDF began to exploit social media extensively to facilitate preemption strategies, including arrests of Palestinians. At the same time, Facebook has gradually become an online forum for public adjudication: videos of IDF soldiers and Israeli police officers killing or attempting to kill Palestinians are frequently uploaded to social media platforms for public discussion. Israeli leaders, meanwhile, have been quick to accuse social media of inciting violence.

As a result of the rapid co-option of vernacular media technologies and practices into the military routine, the collective appearance of Israeli soldiers is gradually being replaced by an individualised appearance. Images of the faces, I argue below, can be singled out as a new Achilles heel for a long-standing and highly media-conscious military regime. The state derives its power, in part, from the way its agents appear as a homogeneous whole and cohere into an undifferentiated group of representatives. Individualising soldiers through the exposure of their faces, therefore, constitutes an inherent threat to authority. The disclosure of images of the face undermines the military’s attempt to present its agents as abstract figures. Nicholas Mirzoeff (2011) argues that power relies on the ability to visualise a territory from the widest possible angle, while limiting its subjects’ capacity to see. In this way, the subjects of power are prevented from shaping a collective political identity. Authority remains faceless while framing the faces of those subjugated to it. The facemask is, thus, a shield against a gaze that threatens to fragment and divide the military’s homogeneous collective body and to penetrate the layers of impunity that protect the soldier as a representative of state authority.

Particularly in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, where everyday life and habits are shaped by and inseparable from military and security routines, the face becomes a symptom of individualisation. The term ‘individualisation’ here refers to the rapid concentration of media attention on identifiable individuals. This process, accelerated by social media, is inextricably linked to two broader developments: first, the outsourcing of governance onto supra-national private companies such as Facebook, and second, the shifting of media focus from the collective to the individual (Beck and Beck-Gernshein, 2002Foucault, [1977] 1978Giddens, 1991Luhmann, 1996).

Furthermore, where every soldier and civilian is likely to be holding a mobile phone, and with more than 1700 security cameras installed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem alone, visibility is inevitable (Harel, 2017). Vast networks of video cameras have been installed to facilitate military rule in the West Bank and to capture the faces of Palestinians. Today, this system of surveillance is gradually being turned against the face of authority itself. In an unexpected boomerang effect, the technologies that were set up to govern and control are now being used by the colonised population itself to document the faces of soldiers.

The risks and political dynamics created by this constant visibility are shifting over time; rather than attempting to hide themselves entirely, today IDF soldiers are more concerned with keeping their faces shielded from the cameras and, hence, from the social media algorithms that disseminate and individualise their images. Thus, the soldier’s concealment of his face is not an attempt to hide from view altogether. Rather, the dichotomy of visibility and invisibility turns increasingly around the face itself. This dichotomy, therefore, must be redefined against a new political context that emphasises similitude and distinction – collectivity and individuality.

In the context of the Israeli occupation West Bank and the Gaza Strip, social media initially introduced a new threat to military practices before being adopted wholesale to extend the reach of the military itself. As I will argue, due to the military co-option of social media, the human face now constitutes a battlefield where collective groupings are atomised and personalised. The surface of the face lends itself to measurement and calculations that make it a central target for this kind of identification and individuation.

Examining photographs and videos that have gone viral on social media, I aim to make the often-invisible connection between disparate images tangible. The sources used here are compiled from available data shared on social media platforms – Facebook in particular. Following the connections made by social media algorithms can shed light on the ramifications of new media on the exercise of state power. By analysing photographs and videos produced and circulated by soldiers and civilians over the last 3 years, I attempt to rethink how such images function, both as representation–showing what happened at a particular place and time–and as information.

Looking back over the history of portrait photography, I contend that the photographic image of the face has long been torn between its representational mode and its biometric calculability; today, this split function has been renewed by social media and by facial recognition algorithms embedded into its operating systems (Belting, 2016Sekula, 1986). To focus on the face is to frame it as both an image and a vehicle for communication and information. Sigrid Weigel reminds us of the wider historical significance of portraits by considering both what the images represent and how the faces operate as media. As she explains, on one hand, ‘[T]he face has become a concentrated image of the human’; on the other, ‘emotional codes and cultural technologies show the history of the face as first and foremost a history of media’ (2015; 26 cited in Belting). The face is torn between its representational and medial values. For Emmanuel Levinas, the face is that which stands between the ‘I’ and the Other. The human face, in his view, forces a confrontation with the Other, ‘exceeding the idea of the other in me’: ‘the face of the Other at each moment destroys and overflows the plastic image it leaves me’ (Levinas, 1985: 50–51). For Levinas, the face is a conduit precisely because it refuses to be fossilised into a picture – what he referred to as a plastic image. Hans Belting, on the other hand, approaches the visual history of the face through its masked counterpart. The expressions of the living face reveal and proclaim as much as they conceal and deceive.

Whereas Levinas spoke of an unfathomable depth, Belting insists that the face is first and foremost a vehicle for an array of images, and an image in itself. ‘The concept of the face as mask is ambiguous because it is not merely a face that resembles a mask’, writes Belting, ‘but also a face that creates its own masks when we react to, or engage with, other faces’. (p. 5)

Theorists of visual media, meanwhile, have analysed the face as a surface subject to measurements and calculations. For Zach Blas, the face has become the target of numerous recording devices from CCTV cameras to mobile phones, which derive information from human bodies. Blas adopts Shoshana Magnet’s conception of the ‘Information Cage’ to depict the way the face is recorded and held captive in information networks. ‘The cage is always with us’, writes Blas (2016), ‘hovering over the surface of our bodies – softly and virtually – awaiting activation’ (p. 87).

Such perspectives encompassing the history of the portrait, as well as the face in contemporary visual cultures, together shed light on various tensions that surround images of faces on social media: between representation and quantification, depth and surface, and presence and absence. Such digital images both represent individuals and operate on them by activating automated protocols and algorithms through which the individual is singled out and disembodied. To understand the significance of faces caught on camera in the context of highly charged political and military conflicts, representation and quantification should be thought together, both supporting and contradicting each other. It is this duality that makes the face a unique target within the context of war and security.

Facing social media

War has always been a testing lab for new media. During the 2006 Israel–Lebanon War, the wide availability of mobile phones and digital cameras resulted in an unexpected surge of images taken by soldiers on the battlefield (Shavit, 2016). Soldiers, conscripts and reservists deployed in Lebanon took hundreds of photographs that collectively substituted the official photographs and videos released by public affairs officers. Before the Lebanon war, Miri Regev, the IDF spokesperson at the time, dismissed the importance of online images, claiming that ‘they pose no problem whatsoever to military conduct’ (Rid and Hecker, 2009: 82). Regev failed to recognise a paradigmatic shift, underestimating the unofficial channels soldiers would use to publicise their videos such as YouTube and Flickr. Together, these alternative channels painted a grim image of the IDF’s incompetence during the war.

At the same time, Hezbollah, Israel’s long-standing opponent in Lebanon, proved that its media strategy was superior. In comparison to the IDF, Hezbollah’s flexibility and spontaneity allowed it to disseminate more images and at a much faster pace. Hezbollah operated a YouTube channel followed by thousands of users, while the IDF relied on traditional strategies of communication. To avoid being spotted by the Israeli army, reporters for Al-Manar, Hezbollah’s broadcasting agency, disguised themselves as civilians, riding motorbikes and taking photos on the go.

During the military operation in the Gaza Strip in 2008, Israel shifted its attention to social media. When the operation began, the IDF was already armed with its own YouTube channel, embracing wholesale the hype of self-promotional slogans from social media textbooks. In their book ‘War 2.0’, Thomas Rid and Marc Hecker show how the IDF embraced social media as a platform for its public affairs, continuing to run its YouTube channel even when it enforced a comprehensive press ban (Rid and Hecker, 2009). Two weeks after the operation in Gaza was launched, more than 40 videos were already uploaded, some showing footage recorded from drones of targeted killings of Hamas officials. In the end, however, the IDF relied too heavily on the spectacle of advanced technology, which seemed proof of its own technological superiority, and its social media strategy failed to recognise the importance of the bottom-up, amateurish media practices of soldiers on the ground. As Rebecca Stein and Adi Kuntsman (2016) have shown, in addition to the military’s foray into social media, the 2008–2009 military operation was a moment of mass civilian engagement with new media technologies.

Only in the aftermath of the war did the IDF realise that Facebook had unleashed a new and popular way for combatants to share photos and videos on the ground, across all sites of conflict, including even the refugee camps within the Gaza Strip. Posting thousands of photographs on their personal Facebook pages, soldiers documented their deployment and activities in Gaza, exhibiting raids into houses, violent arrests, explosions and more than anything else–their own faces.

Coincidentally, in the same year, the German software company Betaface introduced an online facial recognition search engine called MyFaceID, which allows users to upload photos of faces and match them with others in the MyFaceID database. In Betaface’s words, MyFaceID allows you to ‘automatically process your photos, find all faces, help you tag them and let you search for similar people’ (Gates, 2011). The company was immediately contracted by Facebook, which began to actively encourage users to tag faces and names, and to search for resemblances between them. This shift turned the face into a pivotal site of identification, not only for governments and institutions attempting to monitor and control populations but also for social media users themselves. The face became a means of self-branding through which users could maintain and personalise their online personas. A new database of faces was in the making, fed by what Mark Andrejevic (2005) calls ‘lateral surveillance’, the two-fold process through which users follow and search for one another, while tagging and assisting the processes of identification.

While soldiers use social media for their own self-expression, their adoption of this technology also serves broader institutional aims. By tagging and naming pictures of themselves, IDF soldiers unknowingly maintain and feed the algorithms that connect geographic locations, identities and real bodies, making it increasingly easy for the algorithm to identify faces and link additional personal information. Social media turns IDF soldiers into constant contributors to a multifaceted database of images, which in the future might be used as incriminating evidence of military actions in the Occupied Territories.

In 2010, more than a year after the operation in Gaza, the head of information security for the IDF, Lieutenant Ami Weissberg, sent a warning to high-ranking commanders. The subject line read ‘regarding your own personal safety and the information you disclose on the Internet’. The letter contained a cautionary request against sharing images and data on social media: ‘Your pictures, together with additional personal information on social media, will allow the enemy to locate your home address’ (Buchbutt, 2010). The letter was strongly worded and expressed grave concerns about the circulation of images on social media and the ease with which the personal identities of soldiers can be extracted from them.

Anxiety about the use of new media was aggravated further when an anonymous source published a list of 200 Israeli soldiers who had participated in Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. This came against the backdrop of the United Nation (UN) verdict on the war, declaring it a potential violation of international law. The list, which came to be known within the IDF as the ‘200 List’, included a compilation of selfies that had been shared on social media by the soldiers themselves or tagged by their friends. From these images, it was possible to trace the identities of the soldiers and to attach them to names, military units and even home addresses (The Guardian, 2010). An inversion of a typical ‘most wanted’ terrorist list, the 200 List was comprised of faces of alleged accomplices in a military campaign that took the lives of 1385 Palestinians, of which 960 were civilians (B’tselem, 2009). Combining photographs of soldiers taken during both family events and military operations, the list marked a shift in the traditional role of the mug shot in juridical and policing procedures. That is to say, given that image aggregation has been developed by state institutions to monitor governed populations, the 200 List showed that social media can flip the cameras onto the faces of soldiers and reverse the processes of control. Facebook algorithms, in allowing users to pin down specific individuals, briefly turned social media into an open-source counter-surveillance system, which could be used to identify those responsible for the outcomes of war.

In 2011, the year that saw the Arab Spring in Egypt propelled by Facebook users, Palestinian dissidents also used Facebook as a key instrument for investigating and demanding accountability for the unlawful actions of IDF soldiers. In December of that year, one of the weekly demonstrations in Nabi Saleh ended with the violent killing of a Palestinian activist. A mobile phone documented an IDF soldier shooting a gas canister at 28-year-old Mustafa Tamimi and directly striking his head. A frame extracted from the video, showing the tip of a rifle poking out of a military jeep, caught the exact moment the IDF soldier fired the canister, milliseconds before it hit Tamimi. This frame, which included both the weapon and Tamimi, was the catalyst of a Facebook page titled ‘Who Killed Mustafa Tamimi?’, devoted to unveiling the identity of the rogue soldier. The Facebook campaign was initiated by residents of Nabi Saleh and Israeli activists, who together conducted an independent investigation into the unlawful killing of Tamimi (2013). While the soldier’s face was not exposed in the frame, the viral campaign allowed users to explore social media databases and to narrow down the number of soldiers who might have fired the deadly shot. Following a trail of links and hashtags, users eventually arrived at the perpetrator’s Facebook profile, where he openly boasted of his actions (Figure 2). The soldier, whose name was Aviram Boniel, actually facilitated the investigation by uploading numerous selfies from his profile, linking them to specific times and locations (Cohen, 2013). The identification of his face marked the success of the investigation, which had taken full advantage of the digital footprint left by the soldier’s habitual practices of photographing, tagging and sharing.

Figure 2. The Facebook profile pictures of Aviram Boniel, the IDF soldier who Killed Tamimi, 2011. Tweet available at: https://twitter.com/richards1052/status/277544553471422464 (accessed 1 October 2017).

The Who Killed Mustafa Tamimi? Facebook campaign utilised social media algorithms to zero in on the individual behind the killing. Such algorithms accelerate the process of individualisation and maintain direct links between selfies and embodied subjects. Facial recognition technologies today are deeply embedded into social media platforms but too easily ignored. ‘Our media matter most when they seem not to matter at all’ (2016: 1), Wendy Chun reminds us, referring to the influx of media into everyday life, which brings with it constant self-identification: capturing, uploading, tagging, updating, sharing and linking. As a ubiquitous self-detection instrument, Facebook contributes to the splitting up and atomising of a military network into its individual agents, the soldiers themselves.

Facial recognition technologies use various techniques to convert the image of a face into a ‘facial template’. This template contains a condensed amount of data that can be compared to existing images stored in a database. The digitisation of the face is only one step within the multiple procedures performed by an algorithm: faces are detected in images and then extracted from the background, torn from their context, before being standardised to fit a given format. Using this condensed template as an index, facial recognition systems aim to link an image to a real and embodied person (1999: 253–263).

Facial recognition technologies are most often used in security and surveillance equipment by state actors. Today, not only public spaces are surveyed by a panoptic gaze but also everyday patterns of communication using mobile phone cameras and social media are automatically tracked and recorded. Still more importantly, whereas technologies of state surveillance often spark debate around privacy and extra-juridical actions, it is rarely taken into consideration that the ubiquity of social media proliferates the use of algorithms that capture, analyse and detect individuals in everyday life. And it is rarely taken into account that these procedures require the active participation of users, who willingly tag images and, thus, expand the databases which algorithms search and analyse.

Mass individualisation

Facial recognition technologies have historically depended on the ability to capture in photographs the data that identifies a face, while excluding the particular variations in facial expression that have such a significant role in face-to-face communication. In the 1960s, technologies of facial recognition were developed to address growing concerns around the problem of ‘disembodied identities’, a term used by Kelly A. Gates (2011) to refer to individuals that exist and circulate only as visual and textual representations, independently of real bodies. The ‘disembodiment of identities’ results from floods of images that detach embodied individuals from their physical presences, culminating in what Frederic Myers, as far back as 1886, coined ‘phantasms of the living’. ‘What men and women in the late nineteenth century faced with alarm’, writes John Durham Peters (1999), ‘is something we have had over a century to get used to: a superabundance of phantasms of the living appearing in various media’ (p. 141). Whereas such replicas are today embedded into the fabric of everyday life, social media platforms have intensified image circulation and with it the issue of how to reconnect images to individuals.

Facial recognition algorithms aim both to automate the procedure of connecting faces to identities and to allow the sharing of those identities across computer networks, leading to a regime of mass individualisation (Gates, 2011Tagg, 1988). The idea of ‘mass individualisation’, surely an oxymoron, points to a long-standing ambiguity in the photography of faces: on one hand, photographs of faces represent particular individuals; on the other, photography from its early days envisaged categories or types of human faces, sharing natural and physiognomic qualities. The term ‘mass identification’, originally coined by John Tagg, describes a technique of individuation, central to the emergence of a liberal form of governance in the 19th century, whereby individuals were converted into images. These images, in turn, could be meticulously examined one by one and categorised in filing systems and archives. Mass individuation names the procedure for subjecting entire populations to scrutiny, individuating each specific case according to pre-existing categories. This process is augmented by computerisation and the advent of networked databases. ‘Mass individuation is a modern governmental strategy for security provision and population management’, writes Kelly A. Gates, ‘[…] a social regulatory model that involves knowing in precise detail the identity of each member of the population in order to differentiate individuals according to variable levels of access, privilege and risk’ (2011; 15–16).

Social media and facial recognition algorithms represent the culmination of mass individualisation, which has expanded from state-controlled social regulation to omnipresent social media platforms. While facial recognition technologies were initially developed for military purposes, like many other technologies they are by now part of everyday communication. The habituation of facial recognition technologies implies that the detection of the face and the subsequent identification of the individual have been co-opted into a network that no longer distinguishes between military prerogatives and the habits of everyday communication. The embedding of facial recognition into everyday communication is facilitated predominantly by social media, which has become a new site of social regulation and governance, where users offer their personal information as a means of communicating with friends and other interested parties, while similarly partaking in the monitoring of other users online.

Hiding in photographs

The significance of the human face as a site of incriminating information is deeply rooted in the history of portrait photography, used as a tool for classification and identification. The notion that portrait photography can be used to produce vast archives of potential criminals and prevent unruly behaviour by individualising the collective dates back to scientific, medical and epistemological shifts during the mid-19th century. In parallel with these shifts, photography became adopted as a new instrument for scientific studies of the human body, and in particular the human face. The fundamental assumption underlying studies in physiognomy and phrenology was that faces, once compared, juxtaposed and superimposed, reveal similarities and likenesses from which categories of classification can be produced. These studies sought to demonstrate that the face not only marks the individuality of the person but also exposes natural connections that tie groups together through shared characteristics.

As Allan Sekula (1986) notes, ‘from 1860 photography produced a system of representation capable of functioning both honorifically and repressively’ (p. 6; emphasis in original). On one hand, Sekula (1986) argues, the photographic portrait is inseparable from a cultural tradition of portraiture in which the image of the face provides a ‘ceremonial presentation of the bourgeois self’ (p. 6). That is, photography marked the face as an icon of social class and familial heritage, which celebrated individuality. On the other hand, photographs also lent themselves to anatomical illustration. What connected these two modes of portraiture was not merely the face as a site of identity but the assumption that an image of a face can tip over from its socially individuating function to its mere indexical use for identification.

Already in the 1840s, photography was accepted as having juridical reliability. The use of photography for juridical purposes can be seen in the way it was used to categorise and archive populations on the basis of class types. In turning the new objectifying lens towards socially excluded and out-cast ‘types’, a new form of degenerate ‘social body’ was posited. The human face was arrested in order to ‘read’ criminal states of mind in its features. An archival process was undertaken to subordinate and territorialise faces into predefined social strata, categorising them by different criminal propensities (Sekula, 1986Tagg, 1988).

The idea of a typology of human behaviour arose from the assumption that ideal or representative ‘types’ could be deduced from the physiological characteristics of individuals, as though by superimposing photographs upon one another, a new face emerges that combines all other faces, illuminating the generic image of the criminal. This technique was explored in the summer of 1877 by the Victorian biologist, anatomist and physician Francis Galton who presented his new findings in photography and portraiture to the British Anthropology Association (Gillham, 2001: 87). Galton began his research by collecting hundreds of photographs of prisoners. Through multiple exposures, he then developed a technique of superimposing one image upon another, creating a combination of multiple portraits consolidated into a single face; in this way, he created an ideal type that both concealed the individuals and revealed an imaginary typology. Galton (1879) first published his research in Nature in 1878, where he wrote,

The photographic process enables us to obtain with mechanical precision a generalised picture; one that represents no man in particular, but portrays an imaginary figure, possessing the average features of any given group of men. (p. 97)

One of Galton’s more zealous followers adapted this technique to produce an image of the ideal soldier. A Professor of Physiology at Harvard University in 1876, Henry Pickering Bowditch, was particularly interested in identifying resemblances among soldiers, merging the faces together to detect the ‘average soldier’ (Bowditch, 1894).1 The ideal-type soldier was deduced from this process, clearly identifiable in the resultant image and simultaneously hidden within it. This composite image supported the idea that soldiers were merely nodes that together formed the ideal face of authority. Put together, the soldiers projected an imaginary figure of authority, which then materialised as a singular generic face, belonging to no one and to everyone.

Bowditch’s experiment supports the view that the perfectly generic face is another kind of mask. It conceals individuality and as such plays a crucial military role in shielding individuals underneath a cloak of generality. Where bodies appear to be uniform, the soldier is partially hidden; this is a long-standing principle of military concealment based on uniformity among the men. In fact, military uniform itself forms a visual insignia that connects subjects together under the same banner; it is precisely this shared costume, or disguise, that allows the military to cohere as a whole. The word uniform is a derivation from the Latin uniformis, meaning ‘having only one form or shape’; the word is comprised of the una (one) and the forma (form), which merges the heterogeneous into one homogeneous entity by rendering the average image in the manner prescribed by Bowditch.

From the early 20th century, the uniformity of soldiers’ uniforms was inseparable from various techniques of concealment, which were developed as visual media became integrated into combat. How the soldier disappears was, thus, indivisible from the technologies that made him visible. In 1914, the French general and artist Lucien-Victor Guirand de Scévola coined the term ‘camouflage’ to refer to systematic dissimulation to avoid photographic detection (Shell, 2012). The better the enemy could see with the aid of optical technologies, the better and more precise camouflage needed to be. As Hanna Rose Shell emphasises, techniques of camouflage reveal much more than military tactics; they form part of political imagery and articulate indirectly what a given state wants to keep hidden. Military concealment always seeks to incorporate the enemy’s mechanised gaze and to envision the battle through its enemy’s eyes. While the extension of the human eye through visual technologies allowed armies to perceive the battlefield more clearly and to take control of it, such technologies at the same time exposed soldiers to the camera. In 1896, Abbott Thayer, an American portrait painter and one of the pioneers of camouflage, introduced the principle of ‘snapshot invisibility’. The idea took inspiration from how animals conceal themselves in a moment of danger; Thayer suggested that a camera’s snapshot presents exactly the same kind of danger to the combatant. With camouflage, he explained, the 20th-century soldier could find a way to ‘hide in photographs’ through an alteration in his or her dress, just as the primitive warier once hid in the undergrowth, and just as animals adapt to his or her natural environment (Shell, 2012: 64).

The conditions of visibility when policing dense urban areas are hardly similar to those of trench warfare; nevertheless, the historical origins of war camouflage shed light on how visual technologies dictate the way authority ‘appears’ in the eyes of others. The masked face is part of the history that links concealment both to the photographic medium and to the increased threshold of visibility that photography introduced. The resolution and proximity of visual technologies have radically increased, and as a result, the face has become a focal point of individuation and distinction. The history of camouflage reveals the conditions of visibility and invisibility, pointing to a desire to dissolve and disintegrate into the environment by shedding off personal traits. Camouflage was once used to mimic the environment; now the masked face is used to dissolve, not into the environment but into the group, that is, into the average face. Consequently, soldiers no longer hide their location or actions but their identities, not their existence but their individuality, not their bodies but their faces.

Camouflage is a phenomenological articulation of what the psychiatrist Roger Caillois (1984) called ‘depersonalization’. In his essay Mimicry and Psychasthenia, Caillois conceived of mimicry as a kind of blurring of the singularity of the individual by dissolving them into space. ‘From whatever side one approaches things’, he writes, ‘the ultimate problem turns out in the final analysis to be that of distinction […] Among distinctions there is assuredly none more clear-cut than that between the organism and its surroundings’ (54). In Callois’ view, distinctions are identified and delineated by a gaze that seeks to distinguish the body from its surroundings. Providing numerous examples from animal life, Caillois contends that mimicry allows animals to diminish the distinction between themselves and their environments, so that they begin to resemble the very spaces they inhabit. This ‘depersonalization by assimilation to space’, as Caillois puts it, requires the animal or the human being to eradicate the visual attributes that mark them out from their surroundings. Rather than defining camouflage in terms of exposure and concealment, Caillois proposes the alternative dichotomy of distinction and resemblance. The act of blending in, for him, requires the erasure of the self and what he calls the ‘pathological evacuation’ of identity. In Caillois’ terms, then, the act of hiding the face becomes an extension of military camouflage, the aim of which is not so much disappearance as the erasure of personality. As I have argued, visual technologies define the tactics of concealment. Accordingly, where the presence of the camera is a given, the line between visibility and invisibility increasingly hinges on markers of personal distinction, such as the human face.

Collective selfie

The ubiquity of mobile phones and social media, which increasingly substitute traditional forms of military reconnaissance, reintroduces the traditional notion of camouflage. The facemask enables the combatant to ‘depersonalise’ his or her appearance, and hence, hide his or her face from algorithms. In this way, the soldier protects his or her impunity through depersonalisation and uniformity.

The omnipresence of capture devices within conflict zones requires militaries to pursue new tactics of obfuscation. The word ‘obfuscation’, notes Helen Nissenbaum, suggests bewilderment and ambiguity; in this way, it differs from disappearance and erasure. ‘Obfuscation assumes that the signal can be spotted in some way and adds a plethora of related, similar, and pertinent signals – a crowd which an individual can mix, mingle, and, if only for a short time, hide’ (Nissenbaum, 2015: 47). To illustrate, Nissenbaum refers to one of the simplest and most memorable examples of obfuscation during a scene in the film Spartacus in which the rebel slaves are asked by Roman soldiers to identify their leader for crucifixion. As Spartacus is about to speak, one by one the others around him stand up and say, ‘I am Spartacus!’ until the entire crowd is on its feet (Nissenbaum, 2015: 21). By becoming identical, the rebels save the one true Spartacus from detection and crucifixion.

One particular incident vividly exemplifies this conflict between similitude and distinction. In April of 2014, an IDF soldier was caught on camera, cocking his weapon and threatening to kill a young Palestinian man who refused to follow his orders while passing through a checkpoint in the Palestinian city of Hebron. The video, which clearly showed the soldier, whose name was David Adamov, grossly abusing his authority, was uploaded to YouTube and circulated on social media (Rotner, 2014). Following the public controversy that the video sparked, Adamov was arrested and tried in a military court. After the release of this video, IDF soldiers initiated a spontaneous Facebook campaign trying to justify Adamov’s behaviour. As part of this campaign, which slowly went viral, the soldiers released photos of themselves, all covering their faces (Figure 3). They also displayed a sign with the slogan ‘We are all David the Nahlawi’, deliberately and ironically echoing the title of the well-known Facebook page ‘We Are All Khaled Said’, which spearheaded the Egyptian revolution (‘Nahlawi’ refers to his military unit). The juxtaposition of the hidden faces and a slogan that directly articulated a speech act of identification aimed to construe the rogue soldier as a kind of ‘everyman’.

Figure 3. Soldiers joining the protest: We are all David Hanachlawi. Available at: http://actualic.co.il/%D7%97%D7%99%D7%99%D7%9C%D7%99%D7%9D-%D7%97%D7%A8%D7%93%D7%99%D7%9D-%D7%9E%D7%A6%D7%98%D7%A8%D7%A4%D7%99%D7%9D-%D7%9C%D7%9E%D7%97%D7%90%D7%94-%D7%9B%D7%95%D7%9C%D7%A0%D7%95-%D7%A2%D7%9D-%D7%93%D7%95/ (accessed 1 October 2017).

By taking these self-portraits, which nonetheless hid their faces, the soldiers produced selfless selfies. The removal of the self from the selfie invokes, once again, Caillois’ notion of mimicry as a technique of self-evacuation. Implicitly, this gesture also expresses a refusal to be subjected to the individuating force of social media. If Facebook contributes to the mass individuation of its users, the repeated gesture of hiding the face aims at ‘de-individuation’ in order to counteract the algorithms that lock faces to individuals. The succession of concealed faces sought to pull Adamov back into the shadows of generality; although Adamov’s face was caught in the net of visual media, the campaign was intended to reinstate his impunity. ‘I am Adamov!’ says each soldier to save the real Adamov from crucifixion by algorithms.

Conclusion

The potential of social media to restrain state authority and empower Palestinians routinely subjected to advanced surveillance systems is turned inside-out. While soldiers hide their faces to maintain the unity of the military group, Israeli authorities capture and identify the faces of Palestinians, even before they are politically mobilised. After a decade of online activism during which social media has opened new windows for political mobilisation and counter-visualities, today this window appears to be quickly shutting down. State authorities are co-opting what initially posed a challenge to their seamless operation: social media and everyday practices are appropriated to cater for security needs, while individualisation is used as a weapon to single out activists from wider political groupings.

Unlike modern camouflage tactics, which protect the body of the soldier from both the cameras and gunfire, the erasure of the face is essentially an inoculation against accountability; it is a shield against ethical critique. Not being seen no longer means becoming invisible; rather, it means becoming indistinguishable from others. Soldiers themselves recognise that their faces have become sites of contestation due to the way images are circulated, analysed and identified on social media. These technologies, thoroughly embedded in everyday life, are now increasingly integrated into military routines and practice.

As I have argued, the image of the face is split by two contrasting readings. On one hand, portrait photographs are inextricably tied to the individuals they represent; on the other, the image of the face is a mere surface that lends itself to automated calculations and algorithms, which assimilates it along with additional data online. As such, the face defines what is at stake for state authority: a fine slicing and dissecting of the body politic into the sum of its individualised parts. In other words, the soldier’s personal use of media technologies and intimate engagement with social media decentralise and individualise authority. The image of the soldier’s face is the visual expression of this individualisation; the algorithms that distribute and identify such images deprive the soldier of an impunity rooted in the facelessness of sovereignty. The masked face preserves the uniformity and generality exemplified in Bowditch’s ‘average appearance’. But while Bowditch’s ideal face is the construct of national imagery, its equivalent today is the erasure of the face altogether, counteracting the individualising effects of social media to shield soldiers from accountability.

Funding
The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship and/or publication of this article.

Notes

1.Bowditch HP (1892) Portraits of Wend soldiers and a composite portrait. The Harvard Medical Library (Image). Available at: https://collections.countway.harvard.edu/onview/exhibits/show/galtonschildren/item/6214 (accessed 1 October 2017).

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==========================================================================

Dead Lands
(Adamot Metot)

When Bashir watches Sylvester Stallone riding a horse in the desert, he sees much more than Rambo. In between the frames, he sees the Naqab desert in Palestine, a land once confiscated by Israel and turned into popular locations for epic Hollywood films. He sees his lost home. No doubt, Israel’s climate simulates the Afghan steppe. But it was another advantage that made Israel a ‘natural’ stand-in for oriental warzones. Declassified papers from the Israeli Military Archive reveal bureaucratic exchanges between Hollywood executives and military officers, containing pitches and lists of weapons to be used as props in the making of action films. Guns, tanks, aeroplanes and, above all, desert lands, regularly used by the army for training purposes, were offered as lucrative film locations. Back in 1987 Bashir has been hired to make special effects and explosion for the film Rambo. Today he returns to those same locations to gather evidence that may prove that this land is tribal land.

DIRECTOR

Daniel Mann – Israel

FILMOGRAPHY

  • The Magic Mountain / 2020 / 68′
  • Salarium / 2018 / 43
  • Low Tide / 2017 / 80′
  • The Birdman / 2015 / 83′
  • Complex / 2010 / 9’

Daniel Mann

TECHNICAL SHEET

Genre : Documentary
Runtime (min) : 80′

Production country : Israel
Production company : Laila Films
Producer’s name : Itai Tamir

Project status : development
Estimated budget : 140 000 €
Acquired Budget : 10 000 €

Shooting countries : Israel, Palestine

Production company’s filmography:
Laila Films
– Abu Omar / Roy Krispel / 2021 / 90′
– Deads of Jaffa / Ram Loevy / 2019 / 96′
– Red Cow / Zivya Barkai / 2018 / 90′
– The Cake Maker / Ofir Raul Grizer / 2017 / 113′
– Low Tide / Daniel Mann / 2017 / 80′
– Above the Hill / Raphaël Nadjari / 2016 / 119′
– Closed Season / Franziska Schlotterer / 2012 / 100′
– Sharqiya / Ami Livne / 2012 / 85′
– Not in Tel Aviv / Nony Geffen / 2012 / 84′
– Policeman / Nadav Lapid / 2011 / 112′

 Camargo Foundation prize

FIDLab Project

American Activists and Israeli Academics Support the Palestinian Struggle Against Israel


11.08.22

Editorial Note

The US Committee on Ethics by the House of Representatives recently published an Employee Post-Travel Disclosure Form by Ruben Goddard, the legislative Assistant of Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ). Goddard’s trip was sponsored by an American NGO, Rebuilding Alliance, to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories.

According to their website, “Rebuilding Alliance is dedicated to advancing equal rights for the Palestinian people through education, advocacy, and support that assures Palestinian families the right to a home, schooling, economic security, safety, and a promising future… Our Life-Affirming Vision: To realize a just and enduring peace in Palestine and Israel founded upon equal rights, equal security, and equal opportunity for all.”

But this is not true.

As seen from Goddard’s Employee Post-Travel Disclosure Form, Rebuilding Alliance aims to support the Palestinians’ struggle against Israel. In particular, in Area C. The Palestinians and Israel have signed an interim agreement whereby the Palestinian Arabs belong to the Palestinian Authority, yet they live in an area under Israeli control. Rebuilding Alliance provides material support to the Palestinians, so they can seize land and build without having legal permits. The delegation’s visit to Area C is described as “seeing this will allow House staff to consider how U.S. policy and aid can support the aspirations of Palestinian village who seek to stay on their land by preventing the demolition of Palestinian homes.”

The Disclosure Form states, “The separation wall has been called a security measure by some and a land grab by others. It has long been controversial due to its route- which cuts deep into Palestinian territory and separates Palestinian communities. One of the missions of this trip is to discuss barriers to peace and the separation wall has long been considered by the Palestinians to be an Israeli attempt to create more facts on the ground, and to include as much Palestinian land on the Israeli side as possible.”

The document did not mention that the security barrier was erected to prevent terrorists from crossing into Israel.

Goddard’s delegation went on a tour of the City of David, that “provides a lens into the foundations of the City of Jerusalem and how that archaeological foundation has been used to expand Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem, as well as appropriating the field of archaeology to achieve those ends.”

In particular, the delegation is interested in house demolitions and evictions ordered by the Israeli Supreme Court. The delegation was provided with background information on the case of the Sumarin family who described “the challenges they have faced and are facing in their appeal of the eviction order.”

The delegation was told about demolitions of houses that had no building permits. “The Abu Khyara family had their home demolished in recent years. Our partner in the planning of this delegation, the Holy Land Trust, funded and assisted in the rebuilding of the family’s home. Why: One of the goals of this delegation is to discuss the remedies to some of the issues in the area, and how those remedies can lead to a longer lasting peace. Organizations that are rebuilding demolished homes are working towards that goal.”

Israeli academics are also involved with Rebuilding Alliance. The delegation has met with Dr. Laura Wharton, a political scientist from the Hebrew University, who is, according to the Disclosure Form, “an ally of the Palestinian communities in Jerusalem,” who “exemplifies what it means to ‘cross the aisle.'” As stated, Wharton has been one of the only advocates for “fair housing” on the Jerusalem City Council. “She discussed issues related to home demolition orders and planning policies in the area.” 

The delegation also meets the “Military Court Watch” (MCW), a Palestinian NGO, to “prepare them with context and background information to their visit to Ofer Prison. They were to explore how the “peaceful aspirations of all can be furthered when Palestinians and Israelis both enjoy equal rights.” it is important to “observe this separate, unequal form of juvenile justice.” The delegation observes court proceedings for cases of Palestinian child prisoners. MCW’s work is guided by the basic principle that “children detained by the Israeli military authorities are entitled to all the rights and protections guaranteed under international law. Further, and in accordance with the principle that no State is permitted to discriminate between those over whom it exercises penal jurisdiction, there is no legal justification for treating Palestinian and Israeli children differently under Israel’s military and civilian legal systems. In accordance with these principles, MCW advocates, and where appropriate, litigates, to ensure that all children that come in contact with the military legal system are treated fairly and in accordance with the law.” 

The delegation is not interested in preventing the abuse of Palestinian children by Palestinian adults who instruct them on stone-throwing so that the Israeli military would detain them. The delegation ignores that children should be protected at home by their families and not become child soldiers.

There are more Israeli academics involved with Rebuilding Alliance. One of them is Prof. David Shulman, an expert on Indian culture and literature. A long-time peace activist who co-founded the activist group Taayush, Shulman would want us to believe that he is evenhanded when discussing the absence of peace between the two communities. However, a closer look at his writings, such as on the website of Rebuilding Alliance, reveals a different picture. By his own admission, he seems to preferer the Palestinians over the Israelis and, as a result, has nothing to say about the persistence and violent refusal of the former to accept the Oslo peace agreement or any other reasonable solutions. As a matter of fact, one cannot find in his writings any reference to the fact that the PLO rejected the offer of Camp David II in 2000 and launched a bloody Intifada. Needless to say, the professor has never mentioned the role of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad and their sponsor, the Islamic Republic of Iran, in destroying any subsequent opportunity for peace. 

 This type of one-sided presentation is known as de-contextualization, whereby the complex dynamics of a conflict are ignored. The technique is favored by Israeli peace activists who portray the Palestinians as passive victims of Israeli brutality. Of course, it makes a great story for visiting delegations whose members are probably unfamiliar with the history and reality of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. They go back home and help to gain material support for the Palestinian struggle against Israel. 

References:

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Signatures must comply with section 104(bb) of the Travel Regulations.
For questions, please contact the Committee on Ethics at:
1015 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
ethicscommittee@mail.house.gov | 202-225-7103
More information and forms available at ethics.house.gov
______________________________________
1 Please be aware that the Committee’s review of the proposed trip does not extend to either the security
situation in the destination country or security related to foreign travel in general. We recommend you contact the
Office of House Security (OHS) for a safety and security briefing prior to your departure. OHS may be reached at
(202) 226-2044 or ohsstaff@mail.house.gov. House travelers should also register for the U.S. State Department’s
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program at https://step.state.gov.
May 10, 2022
Mr. Ruben Goddard
Office of the Honorable Donald M. Payne, Jr.
106 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Mr. Goddard:
Pursuant to House Rule 25, clause 5(d)(2), the Committee on Ethics hereby approves
your proposed trip to Israel,1 scheduled for May 27 to June 4, 2022, sponsored by Rebuilding
Alliance.
You must complete an Employee Post-Travel Disclosure Form (which your employing
Member must also sign) and file it, together with a Sponsor Post-Travel Disclosure Form
completed by the trip sponsor, with the Clerk of the House within 15 days after your return from
travel. As part of that filing, you are also required to attach a copy of this letter and both the
Traveler and Primary Trip Sponsor Forms (including attachments) you previously submitted to
the Committee in seeking pre-approval for this trip. If you are required to file an annual
Financial Disclosure Statement, you must also report all travel expenses totaling more than $415
from a single source on the “Travel” schedule of your annual Financial Disclosure Statement
covering this calendar year. Finally, Travel Regulation § 404(d) also requires you to keep a copy
of all request forms and supporting information provided to the Committee for three subsequent
Congresses from the date of travel.
Because the trip may involve meetings with foreign government representatives, we note
that House employees may accept, under the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act (FGDA), gifts
“of minimal value [currently $415] tendered as a souvenir or mark of courtesy” by a foreign
government. Any tangible gifts valued in excess of minimal value received from a foreign
government must, within 60 days of acceptance, be disclosed on a Form for Disclosing Gifts
from Foreign Governments and either turned over to the Clerk of the House, or, with the written
approval of the Committee, retained for official use.
Theodore E. Deutch, Florida
Chairman
Jackie Walorski, Indiana
Ranking Member
Susan Wild, Pennsylvania
Dean Phillips, Minnesota
Veronica Escobar, Texas
Mondaire Jones, New York
Michael Guest, Mississippi
Dave Joyce, Ohio
John H. Rutherford, Florida
Kelly Armstrong, North Dakota
ONE HUNDRED SEVENTEENTH CONGRESS
COMMITTEE ON ETHICS
Thomas A. Rust
Staff Director and Chief Counsel
David W. Arrojo
Counsel to the Chairman
Kelle A. Strickland
Counsel to the Ranking Member
1015 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515–6328
Telephone: (202) 225–7103
Facsimile: (202) 225–7392
If you have any further questions, please contact the Committee’s Office of Advice and
Education at extension 5-7103.
Sincerely,
Theodore E. Deutch Jackie Walorski
Chairman Ranking Member
TED/JW:adw
Rebuilding Alliance LLM StaffDel May 28-Jun 4 2022: Confirmed Travellers
Congressional
Office State or District Staff Position Staffer Reason for Invitation
1
2
Rep. Al Lawson D-FL-05
Foreign
Policy/Leg.
Director
Amber
Milenkevich
Amber has been to Israel before and would like to see the West Bank. Her
boss, Rep. Lawson, has an interest in the region, as stated by the staffer. As
a foreign policy staffer, this region is relevant to her official duties.
Rep. Donald
Payne D-NJ-10 Foreign Policy Ruben Goddard
As a foreign policy staffer, Ruben is looking for first hand knowledge in the
area. His boss has been very involved in issues related to Israel and the
West Bank, and the staffer would benefit from seeing conditions on the
ground.
3
Rep.
Gwen
Moore
D-WI-04
Foreign
Policy/ Senior
Legislative
Adviser Izmira Aitch
Izmira’s boss has been involved in these issues. Staffer herself has been
invited to and attended our briefings on Israel and the West Bank in the
past.
50 Woodside Plaza, Ste. 627, Redwood City CA 94061 Phone: (650) 440-9667 Email: Contact@RebuildingAlliance.org
www.RebuildingAlliance.org
Congressional StaffDel
Leadership Learning Mission to Jerusalem and the West Bank
With financial support provided by Rebuilding Alliance, an American 501(c)3 organization
May 28 – June 3, 2022
Detailed Agenda as Completed
MISSION GOALS: The overall goal of this Leadership Learning Mission is to explore how the peaceful
aspirations of all can be furthered when Palestinians and Israelis both enjoy the benefits of equal
rights, and how U.S. policy and aid can support those aspirations.
RELEVANCE TO OFFICIAL DUTIES: The Leadership Learning Mission offers senior Congressional
staff the opportunity to further their understanding of this region of the world and to better
understand the implications of American policies in the region, to better support constituents. This
fact-finding trip will:
● Provide participants with an understanding of the history of Jerusalem, the West Bank, and
Gaza leading to the current conditions;
● Consider the implications and impact of Israeli control of building and planning rights in East
Jerusalem and the West Bank and explore successful ways to prevent the demolition of
Palestinian homes, schools, water systems, and neighborhoods;
● Visit Palestinians and Israelis who work for peace and justice to understand the challenges
they are facing, learn about their efforts including joint efforts to address those challenges,
consider what Congress is uniquely able to do to support such efforts, and how this makes a
difference; and
● Show how US aid benefits the health and education of Palestinian children.
LOCATION: The purpose of travel to Jerusalem and the West Bank is to give senior Congressional staff
the opportunity to see the evolving facts on the ground, attend on-site meetings, and where possible,
to hear from Palestinians and Israelis working together to keep neighborhoods standing and
safeguard human rights.
Of Note: Holy Land Trust is the tour operator selected by Rebuilding Alliance to implement this
fact-finding mission.
Friday, May 27th: Travel
22:45 United Flight 72 Departing IAD at 10:45 PM, Nonstop Boeing 787 w Dinner
Nonstop Boeing 787 w Dinner Arriving at TLV 4:40 PM
Note: One staff member was delayed and and arrived a day later.
Saturday, May 28th: Arrival
15:00 16:40 Arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv
16:40-17:30 Transportation by minibus to the St. George Hotel in East Jerusalem. The
St. George Hotel is conveniently located, recently renovated, and known for
great breakfasts.
Location: St. George Hotel
19:30-21:00 Welcome! Hotel dining room dinner with introductions.
Presenters: Donna Baranski-Walker, Exec. Dir. of Rebuilding Alliance and Matthew
Walsh, Assistant Leadership Learning Coordinator. A warm welcome,
discussion of safety guidelines of the trip.
Accommodations: Overnight at the St. George Hotel, Jerusalem
Rebuilding Alliance NoDel May 28-Jun 3 2022 Page 2
Start
Time
End
Time
Sunday May 29, 2022: Bethlehem.
Note: Many people anticipated that violence would erupt in Jerusalem due to the controversial flag march. Because the
U.S. Embassy issued a Security Alert preventing U.S. employees from entering the Old City on Sunday, May 29th,
Rebuilding Alliance changed our schedule to start our LLM 3.0 in Bethlehem instead of Jerusalem. We notified the House
Ethics Committee and the U.S. Embassy’s Regional Security Officer of this change, and asked if it would be possible for
us to stay overnight in Bethlehem if safe return to our Jerusalem hotel was not possible. We received the following reply,
“If there is an emergency situation and you need to change lodging, then that would likely be an exceptional circumstance
and would be allowable. It would just need to be reflected on the post-travel paperwork.”
At 6pm Sunday, when our driver, who lives in East Jerusalem, expressed concern about our return to Jerusalem, we
relocated to stay at the Manger Square Hotel in Bethlehem, just across from the Nativity Church and down the street
from the office of our tour agency, Holy Land Trust.
8:00 8:45 Breakfast
9:00 9:05 Meet in the Saint George Hotel lobby to depart to first destination
9:05 9:30 Transportation by mini bus to Bethlehem
1:15:00 9:30 10:45 Discussion with Holy Land Trust
What: Delegation begins the trip by learning about Rebuilding Alliance and our partner for this delegation, the
Holy Land Trust., as well as getting to know one another. We also were introduced to the historical, political,
and geographic issues in the area.
Why: This information provides context and setting for what we will be learning throughout the week.
Location: Holy Land Trust office, Old City Bethlehem
Tour Guide: Elias D’eis, Executive Director of HLT and facilitator, Said Zarzar
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity.
1:45:00 10:45 12:30 Tour of Rachel Tomb Area from Bethlehem side/ The Wall
What: A look at the wall and the area around Rachel’s Tomb (inaccessible from the Bethlehem side), a site
that is important for both Palestinians and Israelis but that is now almost entirely encircled by the wall- and
accessible only to Israelis. This visit includes a walk along the separation wall and an introduction to the
geo-politics of the Bethlehem area.
Why: The separation wall has been called a security measure by some and a land grab by others. It has long 

been controversial due to its route- which cuts deep into Palestinian territory and seprates Palestinian communities. 

One of the missions of this trip is to discuss barriers to peace and the separation wall has long been considered by 

the Palestinians to be an Israeli attempt to create more facts on the ground, and to include as much Palestinian land 

on the Israeli side as possible.
Presenter: Said Zarzar, HLT Tour Guide
Rebuilding Alliance NoDel May 28-Jun 3 2022 Page 3
Location: Bethlehem
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity.
12:30 13:15 Lunch at Memories of Bethlehem restaurant, Bethlehem
13:30 14:15 Shopping at Local Souvenir Shop: Mitri Souvenir Shop, Bethlehem
14:15 14:30 Transit to Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem
1:15:00 14:45 16:00 Visit the Church of Nativity, Old City of Bethlehem, Star Street area
What: Walking tour of the Old City area of Bethlehem- to include Manger Square and the Church of the
Nativity. The Church of the Nativity is the oldest site continuously used as a place of worship in Christianity,
and the basilica, dating back to 325/26 is the oldest major church in the Holy Land.
Why: “This presentation is relevant to the mission of the trip and the Congressional staff’s official duties
because it meets one major goal of this trip: to provide participants with an understanding of the history of the
region, which includes religious and historical.
Location: Manger Square, Bethlehem
Tour Guide: Sana Sansour
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity
0:20:00 16:00 16:20 Drive to Al Walajeh Village
0:55:00 16:20 17:15 Meeting with Khader Al-Araj, head of Village Council, and Adv. Ibrahim Al-Araj, attorney
What: Al-Walajeh provides a unique introduction to the administrative and military “areas” of the West Bankportions
of the village are located in Areas B, and C. The village also is an example of the impact of vast
settlement blocs on Palestinian villages in the area. Home demolitions are considered to be disruptive to the
establishment of conditions that should lead to a future peace deal- and Al-Walajeh currently has large
numbers of homes facing demolition.
Why: This presentation is relevant to the mission of the trip and the Congressional staff’s official duties
because it addresses many of the issues that are seen to impact peace in the region: settlement takeover of
Palestinian village lands, home demolitions, and discriminatory planning policies. Understanding these issues
and seeing a village that is being impacted by them will give staff insight into the challenges faced by
Palestinian communities on mulitple fronts.
Location: Al-Walajeh Village
Presenter: Khader Al-Araj; Ibrahim Al-Araj
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity.
0:45:00 17:15 18:00 Visit with Khaled Abu Khyara Family
Rebuilding Alliance NoDel May 28-Jun 3 2022 Page 4
What: The Abu Khyara family had their home demolished in recent years. Our partner in the planning of this
delegation, the Holy Land Trust, funded and assisted in the rebuilding of the family’s home.
Why: One of the goals of this delegation is to discuss the remedies to some of the issues in the area, and how
those remedies can lead to a longer lasting peace. Organizations that are rebuilding demolished homes are
working towards that goal.
Location: Al-Walajeh Village
Presenter: The Abu Khayra family
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity
18:00 18:05 Ruben Goddard, Jr. arrived at Ben Gurion airport and joined our team
18:05 18:30 Transportation by mini bus to Manger Square Hotel, Bethlehem for check-in
0:30:00 18:45 20:00 Taxies to Dinner at Shepherd’s Tent Restaurant, Beit Sahour
6:45:00 20:00 Overnight at Manger Square Hotel, Bethlehem
Start
Time
End
Time Monday May 30, 2022: Jerusalem Area
8:00 9:00 Breakfast
9:00 10:30 Free time in Bethlehem
0:30:00 10:30 11:00 Transit by Minibus to Haas Promenade
What: The drive between Bethlehem and Jerusalem provides the opportunity to see the block of settlements
that separates the two areas, effectively cutting the Bethlehem area from Jerusalem- the city to which it has
been connected for several thousand years. In our case it also offered a sense of what closure is like because
the Bethlehem/Jerusalem checkpoint was entirely shut down. Our bus driver had to take an alternate route.
Why: Settlement construction has been described as one of the main impediments to peace and to realizing a
two state solution. Seeing the layout of settlements helps one understand how the future prospect of peace is
impacted by the Gilo Settlement bloc.
Where: Bethlehem-Jerusalem
Presenter: Itamar Shapirra, LLM Guide
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity.
0:30:00 11:00 11:30 Haas Promenade, view over Jerusalem
Rebuilding Alliance NoDel May 28-Jun 3 2022 Page 5
What: Overview of Jerusalem’s evolution as a center point in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including the 1948
Green Line, the 1967 conquests, East Jerusalem and West Bank annexations, Jewish
neighborhoods/settlements, Palestinian neighborhoods, and discussion of civil status in the city of Jerusalem.
Why: This presentation is relevant to the mission of the trip and the Congressional Staff’s official duties
because it is providing the Staff with the base of information that they will need and draw upon throughout
the remainder of the trip.
Presenter: Itamar Shapirra, LLM tour leader
Location: Jerusalem’s Haas Promenade, Daniel Yanofsky Street, Jerusalem, Israel
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity.
0:15:00 11:30 11:45 Transportation by bus to Damascus Gate for Old City Tour
1:15:00 11:45 13:00 Guided walking tour of Old City, Jerusalem
What: Entry via Damascus Gate. This will include an overlook of the Wailing Wall, the Dome of the Rock and
Al Aqsa Mosque, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and other significant religious, historical, and cultural sites
and neigbhborhoods to help Congressional staffers and constituents begin to understand the varied aspirations
of Palestinians and Israelis and provide a better understanding of what the New York Times calls, “a distinctly
20th century story, with roots in colonialism, nationalism, and anti-Semitism.”
Why: A major objective is to provide the Congressional staff with an understanding of the history of the area
leading up to the current conditions. Any discussion of that history must include the historical sites in the Old
City of Jerusalem.
Tour Guide: Itamar Shapirra, LLM tour guide
Location: Old City of Jerusalem
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity.
0:20:00 13:00 13:20
Guided discussion as we passed the public area of the City of David (delegation will walk out the Dung Gate
of the Old City and walk over to the City of David which is just adjacent to the Sumarin Family’s home)
What: The City of David, one of the largest and richest settler groups in Jerusalem, is in the oldest part of
Jerusalem, predating the walled Old City, and was believed to be the area that the ancient Israelites first
inhabited.
Why: This is relevant to the mission and the staffer’s official duties because it provides a lens into the
foundations of the City of Jerusalem and how that archaeological foundation has been used to expand Israeli
settlements in East Jerusalem, as well as appropriating the field of archaeology to achieve those ends.
Tour Guide: Itamar Shapirra, LLM tour guide
Location: City of David, Jerusalem
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity.
Our guide will take us, walking, next door to the Sumarin Family’s home
Rebuilding Alliance NoDel May 28-Jun 3 2022 Page 6
Presenter: Itamar Shapirra, LLM tour leader
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity.
0:40:00 13:20 14:00
Participants will have a catered lunch in the family’s gated courtyard and meet with the family and many of
the Israeli Jewish groups that have been advocating to save their home.
0:30:00 14:00 14:30 Meeting with the Sumarin Family and Sumarin Coalition
What: Meeting will update the delegation and provide background on the case of the Sumarin family. They
will describe the challenges they have faced and are facing in their appeal of the eviction order.
Why: Silwan has served as a flashpoint in recent years. Understanding the various legal mechanisms and laws
that allow settler groups and NGOs is vital. Discussion also includes the issue of American NGOs that are
listed as charities funding some of these activities.
Presenters: Sumarin Family, Rabbi Arik Ascherman- Torat Tzedek, Rabbi Moshe Silver and Reza Green, Seek
Peace Jerusalem
Location: Silwan, Sumarin family home
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity.
1:00:00 14:30 15:30 Discussion with Sumarin Coalition Partners
What: Meeting will update the delegation and provide background on the case of the Sumarin family; will also
introduce staff to the coalition of groups that worked together to save the family home.
Why: The coalition exemplifies various groups coming together and working to save a home- starting small,
with one home, but that home being very important to that family. This will serve as an introduction to some
of the advocacy work RA has undertaken.
Presenters: Sumarin Family, Rabbi Arik Ascherman- Torat Tzedek, Rabbi Moshe Silver and Reza Green, Seek
Peace Jerusalem
Location: Silwan, Sumarin family home
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity.
0:15:00 15:30 15:45 Walk from the Sumarin home to the Bustan neighborhood of Silwan
1:00:00 16:00 17:00 Meeting Dr. Laura Wharton
Rebuilding Alliance NoDel May 28-Jun 3 2022 Page 7
What: Dr. Wharton has been one of the only advocates for fair housing on the Jerusalem City Council. She
discussed issues related to home demolition orders and planning policies in the area.
Why: One of the goals of the trip is to understand planning issues in Jerusalem and how the system does not
work for all of the people of Jerusalem. Dr. Wharton, an ally of the Palestinian communities in Jerusalem,
exemplafies what it means to “cross the aisle” and is a model of cooperation and of diverse communities
coming together in Jerusalem to find solutions that will lead to a prosperous and thriving Jerusalem for all.
Presenters: Dr. Laura Wharton
Location: Bustan neighborhood, Silwan
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity
1:00:00 17:00 18:00 Discussion with Dr. Amani Odeh and Fakhri Abu Diab of Al Bustan neighborhood
What: Local leaders discuss the issues that are impacting their community, including home demolitions, lack of
planning and services, and one of the highest rates of child arrests in Jerusalem.
Why: This presentation is relevant to the mission of the trip and the Congressional Staff’s official duties
because it provides insight into local issues from the perspective of female members of the community, as well
as other local leaders.
Presenter: Mr. Fahkri Abu Diab and Dr. Amani Odeh
Location: Al Bustan neighborhood, Silwan
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity
18:00 18:15 Minibus to St. George Hotel
18:15 18:30 Free Time
0:45:00 18:30 19:15 Dinner at Saint George Hotel with Andrea DiDomenico of UNOCHA
0:15:00 19:15 19:30 Walking to U.N. Office near hotel
1:30:00 19:30 21:00 Discussion with Samer Abdel Jaber & Andrea DiDomenico
What: Discussion of the humanitarian need and relief required in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza,
and possible underlying reasons for this ongoing crisis.
Why: Discussing the impact of U.S. aid in the region is relevant to the mission of this trip. This discussion
revolved around funding to UNOCHA and the World Food Programme, and what funds are needed; discussing
the potential humanitarian and security concerns that are related to the lack of funding for these food and
social programs.
Presenters: Samer Abdel Jaber (WFP head and U.N. Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator), Andrea DiDomenico
(special assistant to the UN Humanitarian Coordinator)
Location: U.N. Office, East Jerusalem
Rebuilding Alliance NoDel May 28-Jun 3 2022 Page 8
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity.
21:00 21:15 Walking back to hotel; Overnight at St. George Hotel, East Jerusalem
9:45:00
Start
Time
End
Time Tuesday May 31, 2022: Ramallah, Al Aqaba, Al Maleh, Al Auja, Dead Sea, Jericho
8:00 9:00 Breakfast at Saint George Hotel
9:00 Meet in lobby to depart for day
1:00:00 9:00 10:00 Transportation by bus to Ramallah
What: Guide to discuss route between Jerusalem and Ramallah, including checkpoints/separation wall, and
introduce Ramallah as the current capital of the P.A.
Tour Guide: Itamar Shapirra, LLM tour guide
Location: Jerusalem-Ramallah
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity.
1:00:00 10:00 11:00 Meeting with P.A. Minister of Health, Dr. Mai Kaleh
What: Our delegation will meet with the Minister of Health to discuss current challenges facing the P.A. in the
health care sector, including Covid-19, malnutrition, PKU, etc.
Why:This presentation is relevant to the mission of the trip and the Congressional staff’s official duties
because this visit meets one major goal of this trip: to provide participants with an understanding of how US
aid benefits the health and education of Palestinian children.
Presenter: Minister of Health Dr. Mai Kaleh
Location: Ministry of Health building in Ramallah
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity
1:00:00 11:00 12:00 Transportation by bus to Firing Zone 900
What: Tour Guide to discuss the previous meeting with P.A. Health Ministry, as well as introduce the Jordan
Valley area we will be visiting.
Tour Guide: Itamar Shapirra, LLM tour guide
Location: Ramallah-Al Aqaba
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity
Rebuilding Alliance NoDel May 28-Jun 3 2022 Page 9
0:45:00 12:00 12:45 Al Aqaba Village Meeting
What: This is the first Palestinian Village in Area C to issue its own building permits — and for the 12 years,
no demolition orders were issued agains the new homes — that changed in January, placing the whole village
at risk of demolition and expecially the homes under construction. The walking tour of Al Aqaba’s
kindergarten, tea factory, community park, goat cheese factory, and past the homes that were finished
without demolition orders. Rebuilding Alliance was instrumental in helping build the kindergarten and in
2011, we organized a design charrette to help villagers design and build their own homes. Rebuilding Alliance
worked with the Al Aqaba Housing Cooperative to launch the Rebuilding to Remain home construction
finance program, and we crowd-funded affordable loans for the construction of three homes. The people of
the village have continued to build in accordance with their village-issued building permits and a remarkable
town has taken shape.
Why: This tour is relevant to the House staff’s official duties because (1) it is important to see what a
Palestinian village looks like when the village is allowed to thrive, (2) seeing this will allow House staff to
consider how U.S. policy and aid can support the aspirations of Palestinian village who seek to stay on their
land by preventing the demolition of Palestinian homes, schools, and neighborhoods, and (3) to hear from this
important Palestinian leader who is working to safeguard human rights.
Note: Rebuilding Alliance continues to crowdfund and provide grants for the kindergarten in Al Aqaba as well
as to the Al Aqaba Housing Cooperative Association for their home construction finance program.
Tour Guide: Khaled Sawafta (Head of Village Council), Rawheye Alsbaih (Chair of the Rural Women’s
Association), Hisham Sbaih (Chair of the Al Aqaba Cooperative Assembly for Housing the Displaced & Head
of Agricultural Association)
Location: Al Aqaba
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity.
0:55:00 12:45 13:40 Walking Tour, visit Sahar & Ismael’s home, and possibly other homes too
13:40 14:15 Lunch at the Rural Women’s Association Dining Room
14:15 15:00 Minibus Departure
0:30:00 15:00 15:30 Meet with principal of Al-Maleh School
What: Al Maleh School is an important school to the local inhabitants- it allows children from nearby areas the
chance to have an education. Last year, the Israeli Army confiscated the portable classroom and shade
structures. Israeli settlers stole their water tanks. RA has partnered with Middle East Children’s Alliance to
bring this back
Why: Staff will learn about the the issues impacting education for Palestinian children, particularly in remote
and rural areas. They will also have the opportunity to be introduced to RA advocacy work to see the impact
that the occupation has on education.
Presenter: Principal Jafar Fuqha
Location: Al Maleh Elementary School
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity.
Rebuilding Alliance NoDel May 28-Jun 3 2022 Page 10
15:30 16:00 Transportation by bus to al-Auja
1:00:00 16:00 17:00 Meeting with Rabbi Arik Ascherman and Bedouin Shepherds in al-Auja
What: The Israeli settlement movement openly advocates for the creation of “agricultural settlements” to
plunder or destroy Palestinian crops, and disrupt traditional sheepherding to damage the food supply and
threaten the farmers and herders to make them up and leave. Palestinians in this rural area face land, crop,
and water theft and settler violence.
Why: This is related to the mission of the trip and the Congressional staff’s official duties because part of our
mission is to meet with people and groups working to bring peace and security for all.
Presenters: Rabbi Arik Ascherman, from Torat Tzedek, Bedouin shepherds
Location: Al-Auja countryside
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity.
17:00 17:30 Transportation by bus to Dead Sea
0:30:00 17:30 18:30 Discussion of the day’s activities, debrief
What: Debriefing of a long day of activities, and a visit to the Dead Sea
Why: Discussion time to process and reflect on the large amount of various activities and a time for questions
is essential.
Presenters: Donna Baranski-Walker (Executive Director, Rebuilding Alliance), Elias (Executive Director, HLT),
Location: Dead Sea
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity.
18:30 19:00 Minibus to the Green Valley Restaurant, Jericho
19:00 20:30 Dinner at The Green Valley, a Jericho Restaurant
6:40:00 20:30 22:00 Minibus back to Saint George Hotel; Overnight at St. George Hotel
Start
Time
End
Time Wednesday June 1, 2022: Ofer Prison, then Tel Aviv
7:00 8:00 Breakfast
1:30:00 8:30 10:00 Presentation by Military Court Watch
Rebuilding Alliance NoDel May 28-Jun 3 2022 Page 11
What: Military Court Watch will introduce their work to the delegation, and prepare them with context and
background information to their visit to Ofer Prison.
Why: Because the key goal of this LLM is to explore how the peaceful aspirations of all can be furthered when
Palestinians and Israelis both enjoy equal rights, it is important for Congressional staff to observe this
separate, unequal form of juvenile justice.
Presenters: Gerard Horton and Salwa Duiabis, Military Court Watch
Location: Meeting room in the St. George Hotel, East Jerusalem
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity.
0:30:00 10:00 10:30 Transportation by bus to Ofer Military Prison
2:00:00 10:30 12:30 Observation of court proceedings
What: Observation of court proceedings for cases of Palestinian child prisoners. Military Court Watch
(MCW)’s work is guided by the basic principle that children detained by the Israeli military authorities are
entitled to all the rights and protections guaranteed under international law. Further, and in accordance with
the principle that no State is permitted to discriminate between those over whom it exercises penal
jurisdiction, there is no legal justification for treating Palestinian and Israeli children differently under Israel’s
military and civilian legal systems. In accordance with these principles, MCW advocates, and where
appropriate, litigates, to ensure that all children that come in contact with the military legal system are treated
fairly and in accordance with the law.
Why: Because the key goal of this LLM is to explore how the peaceful aspirations of all can be furthered when
Palestinians and Israelis both enjoy equal rights, it is important for Congressional staff to observe this
separate, unequal form of juvenile justice.
Tour Guides: Gerard Horton, Salwa Duaibis, Military Court Watch
Location: Ofer Military Court, just outside the Palestinian town of Beitunia
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity.
12:30 13:45 Lunch on the bus enroute to Tel Aviv
13:45 14:00 Security to enter US Embassy-Tel Aviv Annex
1:30:00 14:00 15:30
Brian M. Grimm, Political Counselor, | U.S. Department of State, U.S. Embassy Jerusalem – Embassy Branch
Office Tel Aviv
Rebuilding Alliance NoDel May 28-Jun 3 2022 Page 12
What: Meeting with Political Counselor at the U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv Branch
Why: Discussing the structure of the U.S. Embassy and State Dept. presence in the region and why there are
different entities to deal with the Israeli and Palestinian governments.We will have just come from visiting
Ofer Prison with Military Court Watch, amongst many other visits. The group will likely have an opportunity
to ask questions regarding official U.S. policies in the region.
Presenter: Brian M. Grimm, Political Counselor and Nicholas A. Engquist
Location: U.S. Embassy Branch Office, Tel Aviv
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity.
15:30 15:45 Transportation by minibus to office of Gisha
0:30:00 15:45 16:15 Meeting with representatives from the NGO Gisha
What: Gisha is an organization that works to protect the freedom of movement of Palestinians, mostly those
that live in Gaza.
Why: This is relevant to the mission of the trip and the Congressional staff’s official duties because one of the
goals of our trip is to meet groups working towards peace. Meeting Israelis who work and advocate on behalf
of Palestinians is part of this. The siege on Gaza has had a major impact on peace and security in the entire
region.
Presenter: Rebecca Lederkramer
Location: Office of Gisha, Tel Aviv
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity.
16:15 16:30 Walking to the nearby law office of Adv. Michael Sfard
0:45:00 16:30 17:15 Meeting with Michael Sfard
What: Meeting with a prominent Israeli attorney that Rebuilding Alliance works with. One of the discussion
topics will center on Palestinian civil society and the recent designation of 6 key Palestinian CSOs as illegalthis
designation was made last October and still has not been seen as having any merit for most of the
international community. Solutions for how to continue to support Palestinian civil society will be discussed.
Both speakers will present an overview of history, policies, and what has led to the current crisis.
Why: This is relevant to the mission of the trip and the Congressional staff’s official duties because one of the
goals of our trip is to meet groups working towards peace. Meeting Israelis who work and advocate on behalf
of Palestinians is part of this. For peace and stability to be achieved, Palestinian civil society must be supported
and strengthened.
Presenter: Adv. Michael Sfard Yesh Din
Location: Michael Sfard’s Law Office in Tel Aviv
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity.
17:15 17:30 Walking back to the Office of Gisha
Rebuilding Alliance NoDel May 28-Jun 3 2022 Page 13
0:45:00 17:30 18:15 Teleconference with Gazans
What: We will meet, via teleconference, with RA staff and partner organizations that are based in Gaza to
hear about their work and their lives, and the challenges faced with living under a prolonged siege.
Why: This is relevant to the mission and to the Congressional staff’s official duties because Gaza has been
under blockade for nearly 15 years now. This has brought humanitarian issues to the forefront- but also
security issues. Discussing life in Gaza will allow staffers to see what is happening there, and how it impacts
the prospect for peace and security for all in the region.
Presenter: Heba Khozondar and Nesbah, RA staff in Gaza
Location: Gisha Offices, Tel Aviv
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity.
18:15 19:15 Transportation by minibus to the Saint George Hotel
19:15 20:15 Late Dinner at the St George Hotel; Overnight at the St George Hotel, Jerusalem
7:30:00
Start
Time
End
Time Thursday June 2, 2022: J Hebron, then South Hebron Hills/Masafer Yatta
7:00 8:00 Early Breakfast
1:00:00 8:00 9:00 Transportation by bus to Hebron
2:00:00 9:00 11:00 Tour of Palestinian Access Side Hebron
What: The issue of Palestinian homes being taken over by Israeli settlers is prevalent in Hebron. An
understanding of the city will help the delegation learn what this means for Palestinian homeowners. The
delegation will also visit the Ibrahimi Mosque and other historical sites of importance.
Why: A major objective is to provide the Congressional Staff with an understanding of the history of the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict leading to the current conditions and any discussion of that history must include
discussion of the historical sites and current conditions in Hebron.
Presenter: Tariq Tamimi, Founding Director, Hebron Chamber of Commerce and industry
Location: Old City, Hebron
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity.
0:45:00 11:00 11:45 Transit from Hebron to Susiya
0:45:00 11:45 12:30 Overview of the history of the Palestinian village of Susiya
Rebuilding Alliance NoDel May 28-Jun 3 2022 Page 14
What: Overview of the history of the Palestinian village of Susiya. In 2013, the Sub-Committee for Planning
and Licensing of the Civil Administration’s Supreme Planning Council rejected the village’s proposed master
plan stating that the “women and children would be better off living somewhere else.” In 2015, Israel’s High
Court decided that the Palestinian Village of Susiya can be demolished before its case is even heard, and the
case is still pending. We’ll hear their story and learn of their aspirations to see the recognition of their master
plan and live and build their future on their land without fear of demolition.
Why: A key goal of this LLM is to consider the implications and impact of Israeli control of building and
planning rights in Jerusalem and the West Bank and explore ways to prevent the demolition of Palestinian
homes, schools, barns, and neighborhoods. Susiya is also an example of a place that is still standing today
because of Congressional intervention.
Presenters: Nasser Nawaja, spokesperson of the Susiya Village Council and B’Tselem Regional Staff, Fatma
Nawaja – head of Susiya Rural Women’s Association and Social Worker with Rebuilding Alliance
Location: Inside the tent home of the spokesperson for the Palestinian village of Susiya in the South Hebron
Hills
Assurance:The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity.
12:30 1:30 Lunch in Susya
1:30 1:45 Transit by tour bus to village of At-Tuwani
1:15:00 1:45 3:00 At-Tuwani meeting w/ Youth of Sumud
What: At-Tuwani is one of only six villages in Area C granted a master plan by the Israeli Army (2013). As
such, it should be safe from demolition — but five homes and a youth center are facing demolition orders.
Youth of Sumud, founded in 2017, is a Palestinian grassroots human rights org that advocates principles of
nonviolence in all community-building activities in the South Hebron Hills Region of the West Bank. The
Youth of Sumud Center is an activities center and a guest house for Americans, Canadians, and Israelis. It
serves as the main office of Youth of Sumud since settlers destroyed their building in nearby Sarura in June
2021.
Why: A core goal of the trip is to bring staffers to visit Palestinians and Israelis who work for peace and justice,
to understand the challenges they are facing, learn about their efforts including joint efforts to address those
challenges, and consider what Congress is uniquely able to do to support such efforts.
Location: Youth of Sumud Center, At-Tuwani
Presenters: Sami Hureini, Youth of Sumud, co-Founder.
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity.
0:30:00 15:00 15;30 Meet Nidal Younis, Masafer Yatta Village Council Head
Rebuilding Alliance NoDel May 28-Jun 3 2022 Page 15
What: At-Tuwani is also the gateway to the threatened Masafer Yatta region. Currently designated as Firing
Zone 918. Despite having inhabited the area for generations, 12 villages are facing eviction and demolition in
this area. These actions are widely perceived as a preliminary to Israeli seizure of the land. A pivotal court
ruling in May allows the military to forcibly evict the residents.
Why: A core goal of the trip is to consider the implications and impact of Israeli control of building and
planning rights in the West Bank and explore successful ways to prevent the demolition of Palestinian homes,
schools, water systems, and neighborhoods.
Presenter: Nidal Younis, Head of Masafer Yatta Villages Council
Location: At-Tuwani Youth of Sumud Center
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity.
15:30 16:15 Walk to the village of Rakeez (10 min); discussion.
What: Rakeez is one of the 12 Masafer Yatta villages whose case will soon be decided by Israel’s High Court.
Demolition of their homes has meant that many families returned to living in caves. A young man from this
village, Harun abu Aram, was shot by the Israeli military last year and remains paralyzed.
Why: This discussion and visit is relevant to the mission of the trip and the Congressional staff’s duties
because the forced relocation of the villages of Masafer Yatta is illegal under international law. The case is
gaining international attention with 2 Congressional letters having been sent to the U.S. Secretary of State
urging intervention.
Presenter: Nidal Younis, Head of Masafer Yatta Villages Council
Location: Village of Rakeez
Assurance:The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity.
1:45:00 16:15 18:00 Transit by tour bus past Mufaqarra, and Khirbet Al Dale to Um Al Kheir Village
What:The drive will provide a sense of the cost to these communities of the Firing Zone areas. The delegation
then travels to the Palestinian Bedouin village of Umm Al Kheir, immediately adjacent to the Israeli
settlement of Carmel.
Why: This is relevant to the mission of the trip and the staff’s official duties because it shows the challenges of
settler incursion into village lands and the impact of discriminatory planning regimens.
Presenter: Eid Suleiman, artist, activist, and staff of Rebuilding Alliance, a resident of Umm Al Kheir who
presented to Congress in 2017 and 2018
Location: Masafer Yatta
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity.
18:00 19:30 Transit back to hotel
19:30 20:30 Dinner at hotel
8:00:00 Overnight at the St George Hotel, Jerusalem
Rebuilding Alliance NoDel May 28-Jun 3 2022 Page 16
Start
Time
End
Time Friday June 3, 2022: US Embassy, Journalist Safety, Khan al Ahmar, Wahat al-Salam
6:30 7:00 Quick, early breakfast at the Hotel
7:00 7:15 Check out of hotel
7:15 8:00 Minibus to U.S. Embassy Jerusalem
8:00 8:15 Clear Security check at U.S. Embassy, Jerusalem
0:50:00 8:15 9:05 Meeting with Desiree Baron and Jill Hutchings, U.S. Embassy, Jerusalem
What: Meeting with PAU political affairs officers at the U.S. Embassy. This meeting will include a discussion
about the State Department’s role in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza. Congressional staff and guests will
have the opportunity to ask questions about the “on the ground” operating environment.
Why: This ‘off the record’ disscussion is relevant to the House staff’s official duties because the U.S. Embassy
will present the official U.S. policy on the many topics of special interest to the delegation including
discussions we held earlier in the week: East Jerusalem and Palestinian Area C planning issues, human rights,
child detentions, Gaza aid, Israel and Palestinian safety and security, prospects for return of confiscated
portable school classrooms, and hope for peace agreements.
Presenter: Desiree Baron, Jill Hutchings
Location: U.S. Embassy annex, Jerusalem, 18 Agron Road
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity.
9:15 10:15 Coffee break at Mamilla Shopping Center
0:15:00 10:15 10:30 Minibus to meet with Shirin Abu Akhleh’s family, Beit Hanina
1:00:00 10:30 11:30 Meeting with the family of journalist Shirin Abu Akhleh, Beit Hanina
What: In recent weeks, the issue of journalist safety and threats to journalism in Israel and the West Bank have
come to the forefront of news, even in the United States, as Shireen was killed by an Israeli soldier and she is
an American citizen.
Why: According to Reporters Without Borders, 35 journalists have been killed in the Occupied Palestinian
Territories by the Israeli military since 2000. The U.S. State Dept. has visited the Abu Akleh family and
offered condolences. A Congressional letter to the State Dept. and the FBI calls for an American
investigation, since Israel announced they won’t investigate further. Meeting with the family will give the
delegation an opportunity to discuss what happened to Shireen, and also discuss the broader issue of
journalism under attack in the area.
Presenter: Anton Abu Akleh (Shireen’s uncle)
Location: Beit Hanina (East Jerusalem)
Rebuilding Alliance NoDel May 28-Jun 3 2022 Page 17
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity.
0:30:00 11:30 12:00 Minibus to Khan al Ahmar
1:00:00 12:00 13:00 Meeting Abu Khamees and residents of Khan al Ahmar
What: Khan Al Ahmar, a Bedouin community standing between Jerusalem and the E1 corridor/Maale Adumim
settlelemnt bloc, has long been threatened with forced displacement. This village, which predates the
settlements around it, is one of the last Palestinian villages standing in the way of connecting the massive
Maale Adumim settlement bloc to Jerusalem. Our meetings are with local leaders and residents to discuss the
history of the area, the current legal standing of the court case filed against the community pressing for
relocation, the recurring attacks by some of the settlers who live in the neighboring Kfar Adumim, and the
efforts by other Kfar Adumim settlers to keep them safe.
Why: E1 refers to the area between Jerusalem and the Maale Adumim- a massive bloc of settlements outside
Jerusalem and in the West Bank. The small Bedouin community of Khan Al Ahmar has been at the center of
court cases in Israel for years, with the State wanting the community evacuated, and moved elsewhere. They
say it is for the community’s own good, but the skeptics say it is to remove the final barrier to making Maale
Adumim part of the Greater Jerusalem area and Israel proper. This area has received much international
support from Europe and the U.S., that has helped keep it standing for now.
Presenter: Eid Abu Khamees Jahalin
Location: Khan Al Ahmar
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity
13:00 14:00 Lunch in Khan al Ahmar
1:00:00 14:00 15:00 Meeting with Dr. Danny Turner of Kfar Adumim
What: Meeting with a local leader from the settlement nearby to Khan Al Ahmar, Kfar Adumim
Why: This is relevant to the mission of the trip because one of the things that our program is exploring is ways
that various groups, from both sides, are able to come together to work towards peace. Contrary to the
overriding narrative, there are some Israelis living in Israeli settlements who are working to help ensure that
their Palestinian neighbors are able to stay on their land. Khan Al Ahmar, long a community facing court cases
and potential displacement, is one such community. Some of the Israelis in Kfar Adumim speak out to keep
Khan Al Ahmar standing.
Presenter: Dr. Danny Turner
Location: Khan Al Ahmar
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity
15:00 15:30
Minibus to Lifta Park next to Bayt Iqsa. Because the road to Bayt Iqsa was in disrepair, we transferred to
private SUV’s to make the drive.
1:30 15:00 16:30 Meeting with Mahmoud Salhiah
Rebuilding Alliance NoDel May 28-Jun 3 2022 Page 18
What: Mahmoud Salhiah and his wife Lital had their home in Sheikh Jarrah demolished in January. Rebuilding
Alliance brought their case before Congressional staff to explain what it was that happened and possible
remedies. The family now hopes to buy land in the town of Bayt Iqsa, overlooking historical Lifta and the
village of Ein Karem (where Mahmoud’s grandfather and his family lived before being expelled in 1948) and
build a new home and work the land.
Why: This is related to the mission of the trip because one the goals of the trip is to understand the impact of
home demolitions on Palestinian communities- and to discuss the broader implications of actions such as
home demolitions, and what impact they have on the possibility of peace and reconciliation.
Presenter: Mahmoud Salhiah and guide Itamar Shapirra
Location: a private home in Bayt Iqsa
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity
16:30 17:00 Minibus to Wahat al- Salam/Neve Shalom
0:30 17:00 17:30 Meeting with Mayor Rita Boulos of Wahat al- Salam/Neve Shalom
17:30 19:15 Farewell Dinner at Wahat al-Salam Restaurant
What: Farewell Dinner and time for reflection in this intentionally mixed Jewish/Palestinianin Community.
Why: Wahat al-Salam – Neve Shalom (WAS- is a village
of Palestinian and Jewish citizens of Israel dedicated
to building justice, peace and equality in the country and the region. Situated equidistant from Jerusalem and
Tel Aviv-Jaffa, the community was established in 1970 by Fr. Bruno Hussar on land of the Latrun Monastery. It
is a model of equality, mutual
respect and partnership that challenges existing patterns of racism and
discrimination as well as the continued conflict. The community has established educational institutions based
on its ideals and conducts
activities focused on social and political change. Many of the village members work
in peace, justice and reconciliation projects. It has a population
of 70+ families and will grow to 150 families.
Location: Wahat al-Salam/Neve Shalom (a village in Israel)
Presenter: Donna Baranski-Walker (RA Executive Director), Elias D’eis (HLT Executive Director), Itamar
Shapirra (LLM Tour Guide)
Assurance: The entirety of allotted time will be covering officially-connected activity
6:35 19:15 19:45 Minibus Tel Aviv, delegation ends

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https://www.rebuildingalliance.org/new-blog/2022/1/28/umm-al-khair-hajj-suleimans-funeral-by-david-shulman-and-margaret-olin
Umm al-Khair, Hajj Suleiman’s Funeral by David Shulman and Margaret Olin

January 20, 2022

Hajj Suleiman Hadhalin

He was like one of those rocky hills in South Hebron, a living, breathing, feeling mass of sunlight, rain, wind, earth, and stone. Though he wasn’t all that tall, he always dwarfed everyone around him. The soldiers and the border police were afraid of him, because he told them the truth and gave no quarter.

He was unafraid. He hated violence. Israel hurt him into fiery protest—everywhere where wrong was being done, he was there, that is, everywhere in South Hebron. Countless times he faced the soldiers down and shamed them with his words. He was the father of our good friend, ‘Id. I’ve known him for close to twenty years. I thought he was indestructible. I was wrong. They got him. He died a particularly horrible death at the hands of his enemies. His name was Hajj Suleiman Hadhalin.

I last saw him about a month ago, at Tuba, where, as so often, the soldiers had arrested him. He had turned up to harangue them for what they were doing to the people of Tuba. They had him sitting, handcuffed, for some hours in an army jeep with a soldier. The soldier was sick and at one point passed out. Hajj Suleiman, true to character, managed somehow to catch the soldier’s head and hold it in his hands before it collided with the metal dashboard.

January 5, 2022. Hajj Suleiman came home to Umm al-Khair from a funeral. It was early afternoon. The driver of a police tow-truck, accompanied by another car with a policeman and a soldier, was busy confiscating unlicensed cars. I’d better say something about the unlicensed cars, mashtubot, as they’re called in Arabized Hebrew. There are lots of them in the South Hebron hills. That’s partly because the army won’t let Palestinians build roads, so they are left with the dirt paths filled with potholes and jagged rocks, and they have to use those roads to get water and other necessities. Any car wears out after a couple of years on those paths. For cars to be roadworthy, it helps to have roads.

Apart from that, Israel controls the importing of any vehicles from Israel into the West Bank. The supply is severely limited, and the price of second-hand vehicles is over ten times higher than their cost in Israel. Since Palestinian shepherds and farmers can’t afford to buy halfway-decent second-hand cars, they buy these barely viable wrecks, most of them brought into Palestine allegedly for repairs but then sold. There is no way they would be licensed. Then the police, and sometimes even the Palestinian Authority, come, as logic demands, to confiscate them. For the owners, the risk of driving an unlicensed car is no doubt less than the risk of death by thirst or starvation.

That afternoon the confiscation was proceeding apace, and the villagers came to watch, and some of them may have thrown some rocks, though Hajj Suleiman pleaded with them not to. Then he stood, as always, smack in front of the tow-truck and wouldn’t budge. And the driver, a settler from Kiryat Arba’, drove right over him and dragged him for some ten meters over the rocks. Later, the police released an obviously mendacious version of what happened, including a poignant, also ironic, final sentence affirming that “the police will continue to do whatever has to be done in order to ensure good governance (mshilut).” They said the driver of the tow-truck and the other two were afraid, which might be true. The camera in the tow-truck probably recorded those moments, but it’s not at all certain, or even likely, that anyone will ever get to watch that footage.

There wasn’t much left of Hajj Suleiman after being run over. He had a gaping hole in his skull, his spinal cord, his pelvis, and many of his inner organs were crushed, he was bleeding profusely, and of course he was unconscious. The driver and the other police car took off without even stopping to see what had happened to their victim, the person they had just mortally injured, or calling an ambulance—as anyone involved in an accident is required to do by Israeli law. They presumably didn’t think that an elderly Palestinian man fits the category of “person.”

The villagers got him to hospital, where he lingered, unconscious, for a few days, but in fact, as ‘Id says, he was no longer alive in any meaningful sense when he got there. The people of Umm al-Khair have been orphaned.

The South Hebron Hills were closed down today in his honor, and thousands came to accompany him to his grave in the village cemetery deep in the wadi, at the edge of the desert. Umm al-Khair has never seen such a crowd.

The slopes were alive with people, mostly men, a vast cascade pouring downhill to the grave site. No one, with the possible and intermittent exception of our activists, was wearing a mask. Some men had their faces covered with their white or checked keffiyeh.

The bier passed beside me, the body draped in a Palestinian flag. Women are not supposed to come to the cemetery, so Peg joined them at a high vantage point in the village …

where a ban on photographing the women’s faces, and reticence, prevented her from documenting the tears, prayers, the warm welcome from old and new friends, and the occasional outburst that greeted her.

I couldn’t walk all the way down because of a torn ligament, but I hobbled far enough to be able to hear the eulogy and the prayers. The words were moderate and restrained compared to other speeches I’ve heard. “The Palestinian people continuously faces the forces of oppression, zulum—settlements, army, police, all of them stealing more and more land. We face them here in Umm al-Khair and in Twaneh and in Susya and in Mufagara and in Yata and in al-Khalil and everywhere else. We refuse to give in. We persist, we will face them in the name of Hajj Suleiman, who died a martyr; for his sake, and for the nobility of his soul and his courage, we will go on, if necessary forever, or until justice is done. God will be with us.”

It was like listening to the desert singing, in wave after wave, a threnody for a rare being. A cold, sun-drenched day, the hills of Moav across the River glowing in every crack and crevice. I sat on a rock, trying to believe that Hajj Suleiman, one of the most alive human beings I’ve known, had somehow been compressed into that green-draped bier. I watched the men go down and, an hour later, climb back up. Many friends were there: ‘Ali ‘Awad from Tuba; Nasser from Susya; Ramzi, Harun’s father, from A-Rakiz. Enough tragedy and suffering to go around. Many I didn’t know greeted me with words of welcome. Everyone knows of Ta’ayush in the South Hebron hills.

I was thinking: there is no end to the utter foolishness of Israel; they think they can pen all these people in as if they were goats and leave them to die of sorrow and thirst, they think they can take all their land and kill some of them day by day, and get away with it, since no one even notices, and someday the Palestinians will give up; but the very idea is absurd. Someday there will be an end.

For what it’s worth, I mention this thought to Amiel as we sit outside the mourners’ tent after we have made the rounds inside, speaking the formulas of comfort. “May the days he—Hajj Suleiman—wasn’t able to live be accredited to your account.” And so on. And Amiel says, “So far that absurd idea is working quite well.”

Text © 2022 David Shulman

Ronit Lentin: Radical anti-Israel Israeli Academic

04.08.22

Editorial Note

Two months ago, Irish courts ordered Prof. Ronit Lentin, a radical Israeli academic living in Ireland, to apologize and compensate Yoseph Haddad, a pro-Israeli Arab activist, after she defamed him on social media. 

Lentin served as a professor of social sciences and the director of the Ethnic Studies program at Trinity College Dublin until her retirement in 2014. 

Haddad explained that “When I announced my visit to Ireland, my identity was denigrated and I was wrongly labelled a “ collaborator” by Ronit Lentin. As an Israeli Arab I am pleased to have now received Ms Lentin’s apology below for her defamatory tweets.”

Lentin wrote on social media that “‘Yoseph’ Haddad is a Palestinian collaborator with the racial colony. Having Hebrew-ised his first name, having volauntarily served in the IOF, he is employed full time as a propaganda officer, disregarding the ongoing colonisation of Palestine by the apartheid state. Shame.”

This is not the first time. Last year, Lentin was ordered by the Irish courts to apologize and compensate an Irish Jewish member of Parliament for defamation. Alan Shatter, who served as Ireland’s Justice Minister from 2011 to 2014, was the target of a barrage of her tweets which included two outrageous and defamatory claims about his character. 

Lentin has been a radical activist for a range of issues for decades. She advocates for open-door immigration to Ireland and opposes all deportations. She is also an activist for Palestinian liberation and the right to turn to “one democratic state in historic Palestine where Palestinians, Jews, and migrants live in full equality.”  

Her books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict reflect the view that the Palestinians cannot do any wrong and the Israelis cannot do any right. Accordingly, the Palestinians are presented as lacking in agency, passive and mindless victims of alleged Israeli brutality. Thinking Palestine and Co-memory and MelancholiaIsraelis Memorializing the Palestinian Nakba are prime examples of this genre of writing. 

The underlying message is even more insidious. Lentin tries very hard to present the Holocaust as a physical and moral equivalence of the Nakba, the Palestinian catastrophe. For instance, Thinking Palestine – based on a workshop of a group of Palestinian, Israeli, British, and Irish scholars “critically committed to supporting the Palestinian quest for self-determination”- offers a theorization of Palestine as a camp, ghetto and prison.” In a piece of psychobabble characteristic of this genre, Lentin claims that “the memory of the trauma of the Holocaust and of Israel’s war dead competes with the memory claims of the dispossessed Palestinians.”

Lentin is also a prolific blogger on her blog named Free Radikal. No doubt that her affiliation with the highly respectable Trinity College helps in her advocacy work. 

Her views were picked up in 2008 by Al Quds al Arabi, an Arabic newspaper published in Britain, which wrote that Lentin spoke at an event held by the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, at the invitation of the Palestinian Society. There Lentin explained that the direction of her book “indicates that Israel is a racist state, and that the large number of Israeli researchers and academics who conduct studies on the Palestinians do so from an orientalist perspective.” She was also quoted as saying that  there are “many years of Nakba denial, land appropriation, political discrimination against the Palestinians within Israel and the denial of rights to Palestinian refugees.”  And that “the State of Israel’s continued positioning itself in a state of emergency, makes it more and more vulnerable to violent attacks (called terrorism) by its Palestinian opponents and others.” 

Lentin is among the numerous academics who use their writings to push for favorite causes. Unfortunately, “advocacy scholarship” has become commonplace in many universities. 

Harvard University recently denied tenure to a scholar whose output was described as “advocacy writings.” The case triggered a huge public debate, with many accusing liberal arts departments of tolerating activist scholars who tarnish the university’s image as a venue for the dispassionate pursuit of truth. 

Although Lentin is retired, her high-octane activism reflects poorly on Trinity College. 

References

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/FVZs4U_XwAAiCgc?format=jpg

יוסף חדאד – Yoseph Haddad

19 June

זכיתי בתביעה נגד פעילה אנטי ישראלית!

בפברואר האחרון הגעתי לאירלנד לסבב הסברה וגם נאמתי שם בפרלמנט. לפני ההגעה שלי הייתה מחאה גדולה שם וניסיון למנוע זאת. אחת מאלו שניסו לפעול נגדי היא רונית לנטין, ישראלית שחיה באירלנד ומגדירה עצמה כאנטי ציונית.

בשורה של ציוצים היא הכפישה אותי וסילפה את האמת נגדי ולמעשה הציגה אותי ואת כל הערבים שמזדהים עם המדינה ופועלים למענה כמשת”פים.

לאחר שניהלתי מולה הליך משפטי באירלנד היא נאלצה לפרסם מכתב התנצלות וגם להעביר 2,500 יורו לעמותה שלי.

אני מקווה שהיא תשמח לדעת שאת כל הכסף הזה שלה אנחנו מעבירים לטובת ערב מפנק ליחס”ר הבדואי, לוחמים ערבים שמשרתים את מדינת ישראל ומגנים על כל אזרחיה בגאווה.

נמשיך להילחם בגאווה למען האמת!

When I announced my visit to Ireland, my identity was denigrated and I was wrongly labelled a “collaborator” by Ronit Lentin. As an Israeli Arab I am pleased to have now received Ms Lentin’s apology below for her defamatory tweets.

Rhetoric such as hers is deeply damaging to those pursuing peace between Arabs & Jews. Her donation to Together Vouch for Each Other will be put to good use for the Israeli Arab soldiers of the IDF as they defend Israeli Arabs and Jews alike! 💪

יחס”ר 585 יחידת הסיור המדברי

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https://www.thejc.com/news/world/pro-palestine-israeli-academic-pays-damages-after-libelling-irish-ex-minister-alan-shatter-1.521854?reloadTime=1655721360887Pro-Palestine academic pays libel damages

Dr Ronit Lentin has apologised and withdrawn tweets containing ‘untruthful assertions’

BY JC REPORTER

OCTOBER 24, 2021 13:02

Alan Shatter

A pro-Palestine Israeli academic has been forced to issue an apology and pay damages after libelling a former Irish minister during a debate about Israel.

Alan Shatter, the former Dublin South TD, who is a lawyer and author, was taking part in a discussion on Irish broadcaster RTE about the controversy surrounding writer Sally Rooney’s refusal to print her latest book in Hebrew.

Listening to the show was Dr Ronit Lentin who launched a barrage of tweets against Mr Shatter, including two which made outrageous and libellous claims about his character.

Mr Shatter, who served as Ireland’s Justice Minister from 2011 to 2014, told the JC he often received abuse online for his defence of Israel but mostly from anonymous accounts.  

However he said Dr Lentin’s tweets were so “egregious” he had no option but to launch legal proceedings.

The JC has seen the tweets which were not antisemitic but made damaging claims about Mr Shatter’s character.    

The JC will not repeat the substance of the libel which left Dr Lentin having to make a public apology and pay thousands in damages to the charity which Mr Shatter is chairman of.

Mr Shatter said: “I am sadly well used to being abused on social media and I am well used to being targeted with antisemitic abuse on social media but most people do this from the heroic stance of being anonymous.

“Dr Lentin’s depictions of me were so despicable, so egregious that they need to be addressed.”

In a tweet on Thursday, Dr Ronit Lentin said she had deleted two tweets “containing untruthful assertions” about Mr Shatter.

She added: “I apologise for any hurt caused and damage done to his good name and reputation.”

At Dr Shatter’s request, Dr Lentin paid a sum of 2,000 euros in damages to Magen David Adom, Israel’s National Blood and Medical Emergency Service which works across the religious divide.

This is not the first time Ireland’s former Minister for Justice and the pro-Palestine Israeli academic have clashed.

Mr Shatter, a lawyer who was the last Jewish member of the Irish Government until his resignation in 2014, wrote a letter to the Irish Times to rebut a letter from the retired sociology professor Dr Lentin in which he accused her of “failing to take antisemitism seriously”.

Dr Lentin, a supporter of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Jewish Voice for Just Peace Ireland, argued she did not believe that “elevating antisemitism above other forms of racism, particularly Islamophobia and anti-migrant racism, is helpful in tackling racism”.

She claimed the debate about antisemitism was “masquerading” as anti-racism and that it undermined “the understanding of racism as a colonial technology of power aimed at maintaining a white supremacy”.

In his response, Mr Shatter wrote that her view had “no relevance to my being spat at and also being called a dirty Jew on Dublin’s streets when a TD (the Irish equivalent of an MP), my being targeted with antisemitic abuse on social media which still occurs, the posting to my home when Minister for Justice of ashes, together with images of skeletal concentration camp survivors and Nazi symbols.”

And he slammed Dr Lentin’s “extreme” views which he said represented only an “infinitesimal number of members of the Jewish community”.

The apology follows a report published earlier this month into antisemitism by journalist David Collier which exposed the extent to which antisemitic views had become commonplace in mainstream politics and within academia.

Mr Shatter told the JC Mr Collier had “done an extraordinary job and produced an important piece of research” but it was being “largely ignored” by a media and political class that did not want to confront the antisemitism rife within Irish society.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week promised to speed up the introduction of the Online Safety Bill amid mounting concerns about the levels of abuse on major sites like Twitter.  Among the measures now being called for is identity verification for Twitter accounts so users can be better held to account for what they write.

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https://www.manchesterhive.com/view/9781847793225/9781847793225.xml

Co-memory and melancholia

Israelis memorialising the Palestinian Nakba

Author: Ronit Lentin

The 1948 war that led to the creation of the State of Israel also resulted in the destruction of Palestinian society, when some 80 per cent of the Palestinians who lived in the major part of Palestine upon which Israel was established became refugees. Israelis call the 1948 war their ‘War of Independence’ and the Palestinians their ‘Nakba’, or catastrophe. After many years of Nakba denial, land appropriation, political discrimination against the Palestinians within Israel and the denial of rights to Palestinian refugees, in recent years the Nakba is beginning to penetrate Israeli public discourse. This book explores the construction of collective memory in Israeli society, where the memory of the trauma of the Holocaust and of Israel’s war dead competes with the memory claims of the dispossessed Palestinians. Taking an auto-ethnographic approach, it makes a contribution to social memory studies through a critical evaluation of the co-memoration of the Palestinian Nakba by Israeli Jews. Against a background of the Israeli resistance movement, the book’s central argument is that co-memorating the Nakba by Israeli Jews is motivated by an unresolved melancholia about the disappearance of Palestine and the dispossession of the Palestinians, a melancholia which shifts mourning from the lost object to the grieving subject. The book theorises Nakba co-memory as a politics of resistance, counterpoising co-memorative practices by internally displaced Israeli Palestinians with Israeli Jewish discourses of the Palestinian right of return, and questions whether return narratives by Israeli Jews are ultimately about Israeli Jewish self-healing.eISBN: 9781847793225DOI: https://doi.org/10.7765/9781847793225Online Publication Date: 19 Jul 2013

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رونيت لينتن: استمرار حالة الطوارئ في اسرائيل يعرضها للمزيد من الاعتداءات والحل يكمن في تخليها عن العنصرية ضد الفلسطينيين

4 – أكتوبر – 2008

محاضرة في جامعة ايرلندية تؤكد ان السلام الاسرائيلي مع الفلسطينيين هو في رأس القائمةلندن ـ ‘القدس العربي’ من سمير ناصيف:اكدت رونيت لينتن، المحاضرة في جامعة ترينيتي في دبلن (ايرلندا)، ومحققة كتاب بعنوان: ‘التفكير حول فلسطين’ صدر مؤخرا عن دار ‘زد’ في لندن وجمع آراء مفكرين من سائر انحاء العالم، موئدين لحقوق الفلسطينيين ان ‘استمرار دولة اسرائيل في وضع نفسها في حالة طوارئ، يجعلها اكثر فأكثر عرضة للتعرض للهجمات العنيفة (المسماة ارهابية) من قبل خصومها الفلسطينيين وغيرهم’.وكانت لينتن تتحدث في ‘كلية الدراسات الشرقية والافريقية’ في جامعة لندن، بدعوة من ‘الجمعية الفلسطينية’ في الكلية، وكان من المفترض ان يشارك في الندوة المفكر والاستاذ في جامعة اكستر البريطانية ايلان بابي، الذي اضطر للغياب لاسباب عائلية، علما انه كتب فصلا في الكتاب بعنوان ‘دولة اسرائيل المخابراتية: الدولة القمعية ليست دولة استثنائية’.واوضحت لينتن ان ‘توجه كتابها يشير الى ان اسرائيل دولة عنصرية، وان كثرة الباحثين والاكاديميين الاسرائيليين الذين يقومون بدراسات حول الفلسطينيين يفعلون ذلك من منطلق استشراقي حسب مفهوم المفكر الفلسطيني الراحل ادوارد سعيد ـ وانهم يركزون على كون الاسرائيليين هم الضحايا’.وتساءلت لينتن حول ‘علمية’ المفهوم الذي ‘يعتبر اليهود وكأنهم جنس بشري’ والذي ركز ثيودور هيرتزل، أب الصهيونية، نظرياته حوله، وتبعه في ذلك مفكرون آخرون بينهم عدد من مدعي التوجه الليبرالي اليهودي.وبما ان لينتن هي استاذة في العلوم الاجتماعية، ومديرة برنامج الدراسات الاثنية في كلية ترينيتي في دبلن فانها دحضت وتحدت ‘هذا المفهوم الخاطئ المؤدي الى توجه ايديولوجي عنصري يفرق ما بين البشر’. واتهمت لينتن مستخدمي هذا التوجه العنصري بأنهم يستعملونه ‘كأداة لفرض الايديولوجية القومية في اسرائيل على حساب الفلسطينيين العرب، الذين يعاملون وكأنهم مواطنون من الدرجة الثانية، وبشر لا تنطبق عليهم حقوق الانسان’.وتساءلت لينتن: ‘كيف يحق ليهود العالم العودة الى فلسطين ـ اسرائيل، ويحرم العرب الفلسطينيون من هذا الحق؟ واي ذريعة علمية او ايديولوجية تسمح بذلك؟’.واكدت بان’ الوجه الديمقراطي الذي تعرضه اسرائيل للعالم مخصص ليهود هذا البلد، وليس للسكان العرب الفلسطينيين فيه ايضا، وبالتالي فانه وجه ديمقراطي عنصري’.وسئلت لينتن لماذا يتم قتل او عزل القياديين السياسيين الاسرائيليين الذين يحاولون التوصل الى سلام مع الفلسطينيين، او مع جيرانهم العرب، بطريقة تحفظ الجانبين؟ ولماذا تظل الآراء المطروحة في هذه المجال محصورة في توجهات مثقفين اسرائيليين يساريين لا يملكون القرار السياسي؟ فهل في ذلك توجه لتبييض صفحة وساحة دولة عنصرية عبر مثقفيها، بدلا من اتخاذ الخطوات السياسية الفعالة لالغاء العنصرية كما تم في جنوب افريقيا في العقود الماضية؟ولعل السؤال طرح بشكل وكأنه دفاع عن رئيس الحكومة الاسرائيلي السابق اسحق رابين ورئيس الحكومة المستقيل ايهود اولمرت، فكان الرد عليه من المحاضرة سلبيا، اذ اعتبرت بأن اولمرت استحق اقالته، وان قيادات الاحزاب الاسرائيلية الحاكمة عموما لم ترغب بالقضاء على العنصرية في اسرائيل ولعلها على حق في موقفها.وسألتها البروفسورة ناديا العلي،(الاستاذة في الكلية)، التي ادارت الندوة، عن الدور المخابراتي للباحثين الاسرائيليين في دولة المخابرات الاسرائيلية حسب ما وصفه ايلان بابي؟ فقالت: ‘ان ايلان بابي على حق في ان الديمقراطية في اسرائيل مخصصة لليهود الاسرائيليين فقط ، وليس للسكان العرب، وبالتالي فانه من حق العرب الفلسطينيين المقاومة وان مقاومتهم شرعية’.واضافت: ‘انني شعرت بالتزامي مواقف العرب الفلسطينيين خصوصا بعد استماعي الى اخبار المآسي التي يتعرض اليها الفلسطينيون على الحواجز الاسرائيلية في اماكن سكنهم، وبشكل خاص النساء، حيث ماتت اعداد منهن على هذه الحواجز، وهن في طريقهن للمعالجة الطبية’. واضافت: ‘القضية انسانية قبل اي شيء آخر، ولعل النساء ابرز ضحاياها، ولا يحق لاسرائيل ان تستثني نفسها من شرائع حقوق الانسان في هذا المجال بحجة ان اليهود تعرضوا للتنكيل من قبل النازية’. واستطردت قائلة ‘اذا أردنا استثناء اي مجموعة من بعض ملتزمات حقوق الانسان، فان هذا الامر ينطبق على الفلسطينيين وليس على الاسرائيليين’.وفي ردها على اسئلة حول حل الدولتين او الدولة الواحدة، قالت لينتن: ‘يقولون ان السلام يجب ان يوقع مع العرب (مع الاردنيين او مع المصريين او غيرهم) انا لا اوافق على هذا التوجه، السلام الاسرائيلي يجب ان يتم مع الفلسطينيين مهما كان قالبه دولتين او دولة واحدة’.

New Book on Anti-Israel Advocacy in Canada

27.07.22

Editorial Note 

Several Canadian scholars co-authored a new book Advocating for Palestine in Canada Histories, Movements, Action. 

As has been the norm in pro-Palestinian academic circles, the book and its review are mostly focused on attacking Israel rather than discussing Palestinian issues. 

The review proclaims the book to be “a valuable and positive examination of the Palestinian solidarity movement located in Canada. It highlights… efforts to disguise Israeli transgressions against human rights and demonstrates that there is an ongoing and growing solidarity and understanding of Palestinian interests in a peaceful equitable solution to Israeli colonial-settlerism.”

In the book, “advocacy may result in personal attacks from pro-Zionist organizations working from the top down. In Canada that top-down starts with the government of Justin Trudeau, down through the media (much of which is owned by the Asper family who strongly supports Israeli objectives), continuing on down through a powerful variety of pro-Israeli NGOs to the identities of a white, Christian, conservative base within the populace.”

The first chapter, “The Elephant in the Room” discusses the colonialism, and racism the author encountered as “cobbled together through some combination of Zionist historical narrative and contemporary Israeli propaganda… This has helped Israel enjoy widespread and institutionalized impunity while committing violations of international law on an ongoing basis.” 

The chapter “Zionist Loyalty and Euro-Jewish Whiteness” discusses how the Jews in Canada maintain a position of eternal victim to an “ascent…into whiteness by permission… Pro-Palestianism is not tolerated by an institutional Jewish community which strives for acceptance in white settler societies like Canada which are incontrovertibly racist in both their colonial histories and contemporary exclusionist postures and structures.” 

The chapter “Singled Out” talks about the new antisemitism, that Israel “may not be unique after all but is like that experienced by other states” such as South Africa. 

The chapter “Israel Apartheid Week” (IAW) discusses the problems and successes of Israeli apartheid week and its associated boycott, divestment, and sanctions activism. the IAW examines similarities between settler colonialism in Palestine and “Turtle Island” (North America). As recognized elsewhere, “pro-Israeli attempts at censorship and oppression have only encouraged popular dissent and creative interventions in support of Palestine.” 

The chapter “Two Jews, Three Opinions” Cites recent Canadian polls, which “undermine the legitimacy of the Canadian government’s claims to be acting on behalf of Jews when it sides with Israel.” 

The chapter “Knowing and Not Knowing – Canada, Indigenous Peoples, Israel and Palestine” examines Canadian history of racism, ethnic cleansing, and genocide and its – mostly – similarities with Israel-Palestine. Violence and dispossession are still elements of current Canadian society against its indigenous people.

The chapter “Canadian Media and Pro-Israel Bias – An Insider’s Perspective” examines media and its alleged pro-Israel bias. Journalists are unwilling to do their “role in dissuading the public from working to hold Israel to account.” They should “give readers the tools to combat the pro-Israeli Bias.” 

The chapter “Palestinian Solidarity Work in Canada” looks at the “intersectionality with other groups working against racism and other societal concerns.”    

The final chapter, “Campus Palestine Activism in Ottawa from the 1970s to the 2010s”, compares “two universities and the different levels of activism through the author’s experiences. The activism derives from Arab student movements, anti-war interests (vis a vis the Gulf wars), the rise and fall of the Oslo process, and the renewed attacks on Gaza after the 2006 elections. The BDS movement is currently becoming more active as the “now dysfunctional PLO and discredited PA.” Focusing on international law through the BDS movement, the recognition very recently of the apartheid nature of Israel, and the discussions around the vague and poorly stated IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.” 

The book concludes that the Palestinian solidarity movement “is at its core an inclusionary movement closely linked to anti-apartheid, anti-colonial, and anti-racist values, resonating with people seeking social justice and basic human rights.”

Intersectionality, as IAM repeatedly pointed out, is a fashionable academic movement that postulates that all minorities should speak against the alleged misdeeds of the oppressors. Since the Palestinians are considered a “minority,” all other minorities should form a coalition to target Israel, their alleged oppressor.

Clearly, the book cares little about real Palestinian issues like the tyrannical rule of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza and the corruption and mismanagement of the PLO rule in the West Bank led by the octogenarian Mahmoud Abbas.  The incessant attacks on Israel do little to help the Palestinians who live under brutal or inept rules.

The book authors are shackled by the ideological dogmas of intersectionality and the social justice movement to acknowledge that the Abraham Accords have created momentum toward peace and prosperity in the Middle East. According to reports, the Palestinians were given a choice to join Israel and Arab countries such as UAE, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, and others to create a more prosperous future. Hopefully, they will make this choice.

References

https://fernwoodpublishing.ca/book/advocating-for-palestine-in-canada

Advocating for Palestine in Canada

Histories, Movements, Action

Edited by Emily Regan WillsJeremy WildemanMichael Bueckert and Nadia Abu-Zahra  Foreword by Libby Davies  

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Why is it so difficult to advocate for Palestine in Canada and what can we learn from the movement’s successes? This account of Palestine solidarity activism in Canada grapples with these questions through a wide-ranging exploration of the movement’s different actors, approaches and fields of engagement, along with its connections to different national and transnational struggles against racism, imperialism and colonialism. Led by a coalition of students, labour unions, church groups, left wing activists, progressive presses, human rights organizations, academic associations and Palestinian and Jewish community groups, Palestine solidarity activism is on the rise in Canada and Canadians are more aware of the issues than ever before. Palestine solidarity activists are also under siege as never before. The movement advocating for Palestinian rights is forced to contend with relentless political condemnation, media blackouts, administrative roadblocks, coordinated smear campaigns, individual threats, legal intimidation and institutional silencing. Through this book and the experiences of the contributing authors in it, many seasoned veterans of the movement, Advocating for Palestine in Canada offers an indispensable and often first-hand view into the complex social and historical forces at work in one of our era’s most urgent debates, and one which could determine the course of what it means to be Canadian going forward.

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CONTENTS

  • Foreword (Libby Davies)
  • Introduction (Emily Regan Wills, Nadia Abu-Zahra, Michael Bueckert and Jeremy Wildeman)
  • Anti-Palestinian Racism: A Personal Account (Nyla Matuk)
  • Campus Palestine Activism in Ottawa from the 1970s to the 2010s (Hassan Husseini)
  • Israeli Apartheid Week: Popular Dissent, Creative Intervention (Rana Nazzal)
  • Two Jews, Three Opinions: Jewish Canadians’ Diverse Views on Israel- Palestine (Diana Ralph)
  • Canadian Media and Pro-Israel Bias: An Insider’s Perspective (Davide Mastracci)
  • A SWOT Analysis for Palestinian Solidarity Work in Canada (Thomas Woodley)
  • Knowing and Not Knowing: Canada, Indigenous Peoples, Israel and Palestine (Michael Keefer)
  • Singled Out: South Africa, Israel and Accusations of Unfair Criticism (Michael Bueckert)
  • Zionist Loyalty and Euro-Jewish Whiteness: Untangling the Threads of a Lethal Complicity (Sheryl Nestel)
  • Conclusion (Nadia Abu-Zahra, Michael Bueckert, Jeremy Wildeman and Emily Wills)

AUTHORS

Emily Regan Wills

  • University of Ottawa
  • Emily Regan Wills is an associate professor of comparative politics at the University of Ottawa. She is the co-director of the Community Mobilization in Crisis project, which develops and implements innovative multilingual digital pedagogical tools for teaching community mobilization skills in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Jeremy Wildeman

  • University of Ottawa, HRREC
  • Jeremy Wildeman is a Fellow at the Human Rights Resource and Education Centre (HRREC), University of Ottawa. He is a scholar of international relations, Middle East politics, Canadian foreign policy, human security and development aid.

Michael Bueckert

  • Canadians for Justice
  • Michael Bueckert is Vice President at Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME), a national advocacy organization based in Montreal. He has a PhD in Sociology with a specialization in Political Economy from Carleton University; his dissertation explored the opposition to boycott movements.

Nadia Abu-Zahra

  • University of Ottawa and Carleton University
  • Nadia Abu-Zahra is an Associate Professor and Joint Chair in Women’s Studies at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University, and a member of the University of Ottawa’s Human Rights Research and Education Centre, Centre for Research on Educational and Community Services, and Centre for International Policy Studies.

Libby Davies

  • Libby Davies has been a social activist for 45 plus years and began as a community organizer in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside in 1972. She was elected to Vancouver City Council for 5 consecutive terms, 1982-1993. As the Member of Parliament for Vancouver East for six consecutive terms, 1997-2015, she became NDP House Leader, (2003-2011) and Deputy Leader (2007-2015). Libby continues to be an outspoken advocate for human rights, housing, peace, and social justice. She was awarded the Order of Canada in 2016.
  • Libby was appointed to the board of governors of Vancouver Community College in 2018, and serves as Vice Chair. She is also a board member and Vice Chair, of the Portland Hotel Community Services Society (PHS).
  • She is the author of “Outside In: A Political Memoir” (May 2019, published by Between The Lines, Toronto) and is a frequent public speaker on progressive transformative change and its relationship to politics. Libby is currently writing a new book.
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  • https://www.palestinechronicle.com/advocating-for-palestine-in-canada-histories-movements-actions-book-review/

Advocating for Palestine in Canada: Histories, Movements, Actions – Book Review

  • July 14, 2022 ArticlesCommentaryReviews
  • Advocating for Palestine in Canada – Histories, Movements, Actions. (Photo: Book cover)
  • By Jim Miles
  • (Advocating for Palestine in Canada – Histories, Movements, Actions. Ed.: Emily Wills, Jeremy Wildeman, Michael Beuckert, Nadia Abu-Zahra. Fernwood Publishing, Halifax/Winnipeg, 2022.)
  • Different groups advocate for Palestine from a variety of perspectives while developing several common themes. Advocating for Palestine contains nine presentations looking at Palestine from the viewpoint of students, Jewish activism, indigenous issues, being Palestinian-Arab in Canada, and Zionism and Euro-Jewish whiteness. Several themes are common to all the discussions.
  • The book starts with fear from a global perspective, recognizing that advocacy may result in personal attacks from pro-Zionist organizations working from the top down. In Canada that top-down starts with the government of Justin Trudeau, down through the media (much of which is owned by the Asper family who strongly supports Israeli objectives), continuing on down through a powerful variety of pro-Israeli NGOs to the identities of a white, Christian, conservative base within the populace.
  • This fear is connected to “a broader project of liberation from all forms of systemic injustice”, an “anti-racist movement” with “people of all backgrounds who are critical of the globalized Israeli military-industrial complex and its link to global militarism.” On the other side of fear is “in transforming fear into solidarity, in seeing ourselves as in relation to one another, we can build those futures [of a free Palestine and world] in the present.”
  • The first essay “The Elephant in the Room” discusses the unseen internalized colonialism that permeates Canadian society and the author’s recognition as to how it affects her encounters within different social situations. Most of the racism she encounters includes “highly educated scholars, professional writers, journalists, newspaper columnists, clergy and the like.”
  • This racism is “cobbled together through some combination of Zionist historical narrative and contemporary Israeli propaganda, in combination with the sheer laziness of media commentators who could not …decolonize their viewpoints….This has helped Israel enjoy widespread and institutionalized impunity while committing violations of international law on an ongoing basis.”
  • The essay “Zionist Loyalty and Euro-Jewish Whiteness” discusses how the Jew “must be understood as simultaneously under attack and as the beneficiaries of racial privilege.” Jews in Canada maintain a position of eternal victim to an “ascent…into whiteness by permission,” a combination of Holocaust memorials and contemporary positioning within the western world today. “Pro-Palestianism is not tolerated by an institutional Jewish community which strives for acceptance in white settler societies like Canada which are incontrovertibly racist in both their colonial histories and contemporary exclusionist postures and structures.”
  • The essay “Singled Out” talks about the new antisemitism, being essentially how Israel is singled out but with comparisons to South Africa showing that criticizing Israel “may not be unique after all but is like that experienced by other states.” The ‘new’ standard is composed of demonization (negative attacks), double standards (other countries do it to), and delegitimization (right to exist) as the new currents of antisemitism. However, activism does focus on a particular target and in this case on a state “which refuses to be held accountable.”
  • “Israel Apartheid Week” [IAW] discusses the problems and successes of Israeli apartheid week and its associated boycott, divestment, and sanctions activism. In Canada, the IAW examines similarities between settler colonialism in Palestine and “Turtle Island” (North America). As recognized elsewhere, “pro-Israeli attempts at censorship and oppression have only encouraged popular dissent and creative interventions in support of Palestine.”
  • The Jewish community’s values are examined in “Two Jews, Three Opinions”. Citing recent Canadian polls, it is found they “undermine the legitimacy of the Canadian government’s claims to be acting on behalf of Jews when it sides with Israel.” The author concludes “Neither public opinion nor a significant proportion of Jewish Canadians share our government’s uncritical support of Israel.”
  • Canada is an example of British colonial settlerism that compares readily to the colonial settlerism in Palestine. The essay “Knowing and Not Knowing – Canada, Indigenous Peoples, Israel and Palestine” examines Canadian history of racism, ethnic cleansing, and genocide and its – mostly – similarities with Israel-Palestine. Contemporary events still uphold our “enacted values” which are “for the most part those of the corporate and security-state interests that have guided public policy.” Violence and dispossession are still elements of current Canadian society against its indigenous people.
  • The media and its pro-Israel bias is critically examined in “Canadian Media and Pro-Israel Bias – An Insider’s Perspective.” CanWest Global Communications owns a disproportionate share of Canadian media and its original owner Israel Asper maintained a strong pro-Zionist bias (now within family control). The CBC, supposedly independent of government, carries the Trudeau government pretense of balance while extolling the virtues of Israel while ignoring Israel’s ongoing settler-colonialism in Palestine. The word Palestine is not allowed to be used by CBC broadcasters.
  • “The core journalistic function of informing the public,” the “unwillingness of journalists to address the power imbalances” and the resulting “role in dissuading the public from working to hold Israel to account” when exposed will hopefully “give readers the tools to combat the pro-Israeli Bias.”
  • The problems and successes of Canadian activism are presented in “Palestinian Solidarity Work in Canada.” From the discussion of strengths and opportunities the “PSM must try to keep its focus on human rights and international law.” Part of that is the intersectionality with other groups working against racism and other societal concerns.
  • The final essay focuses on “Campus Palestine Activism in Ottawa from the 1970s to the 2010s”, comparing two universities and the different levels of activism through the author’s experiences. The activism derives from Arab student movements, anti-war interests (vis a vis the Gulf wars), the rise and fall of the Oslo process, and the renewed attacks on Gaza after the 2006 elections. The BDS movement is currently becoming more active as the “now dysfunctional PLO and discredited PA” have been abandoned.
  • Political rhetoric/programs have transformed to one that is more directed at international law through the BDS movement, the recognition very recently of the apartheid nature of Israel, and the discussions around the vague and poorly stated IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.
  • In their conclusion the editors state, “the Palestinian solidarity movement as described in this book is at its core an inclusionary movement closely linked to anti-apartheid, anti-colonial, and anti-racist values, resonating with people seeking social justice and basic human rights.”
  • “Advocating for Palestine in Canada” is a valuable and positive examination of the Palestinian solidarity movement located in Canada. It highlights the government, corporate, and media efforts to disguise Israeli transgressions against human rights and demonstrates that there is an ongoing and growing solidarity and understanding of Palestinian interests in a peaceful equitable solution to Israeli colonial-settlerism.
  • – Jim Miles is a Canadian educator and a regular contributor/columnist of opinion pieces and book reviews to Palestine Chronicles. His interest in this topic stems originally from an environmental perspective, which encompasses the militarization and economic subjugation of the global community and its commodification by corporate governance and by the American government.

https://fernwoodpublishing.ca/book/advocating-for-palestine-in-canada

Advocating for Palestine in Canada

Histories, Movements, Action

Edited by Emily Regan WillsJeremy WildemanMichael Bueckert and Nadia Abu-Zahra  Foreword by Libby Davies  

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Why is it so difficult to advocate for Palestine in Canada and what can we learn from the movement’s successes? This account of Palestine solidarity activism in Canada grapples with these questions through a wide-ranging exploration of the movement’s different actors, approaches and fields of engagement, along with its connections to different national and transnational struggles against racism, imperialism and colonialism. Led by a coalition of students, labour unions, church groups, left wing activists, progressive presses, human rights organizations, academic associations and Palestinian and Jewish community groups, Palestine solidarity activism is on the rise in Canada and Canadians are more aware of the issues than ever before. Palestine solidarity activists are also under siege as never before. The movement advocating for Palestinian rights is forced to contend with relentless political condemnation, media blackouts, administrative roadblocks, coordinated smear campaigns, individual threats, legal intimidation and institutional silencing. Through this book and the experiences of the contributing authors in it, many seasoned veterans of the movement, Advocating for Palestine in Canada offers an indispensable and often first-hand view into the complex social and historical forces at work in one of our era’s most urgent debates, and one which could determine the course of what it means to be Canadian going forward.

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CONTENTS

  • Foreword (Libby Davies)
  • Introduction (Emily Regan Wills, Nadia Abu-Zahra, Michael Bueckert and Jeremy Wildeman)
  • Anti-Palestinian Racism: A Personal Account (Nyla Matuk)
  • Campus Palestine Activism in Ottawa from the 1970s to the 2010s (Hassan Husseini)
  • Israeli Apartheid Week: Popular Dissent, Creative Intervention (Rana Nazzal)
  • Two Jews, Three Opinions: Jewish Canadians’ Diverse Views on Israel- Palestine (Diana Ralph)
  • Canadian Media and Pro-Israel Bias: An Insider’s Perspective (Davide Mastracci)
  • A SWOT Analysis for Palestinian Solidarity Work in Canada (Thomas Woodley)
  • Knowing and Not Knowing: Canada, Indigenous Peoples, Israel and Palestine (Michael Keefer)
  • Singled Out: South Africa, Israel and Accusations of Unfair Criticism (Michael Bueckert)
  • Zionist Loyalty and Euro-Jewish Whiteness: Untangling the Threads of a Lethal Complicity (Sheryl Nestel)
  • Conclusion (Nadia Abu-Zahra, Michael Bueckert, Jeremy Wildeman and Emily Wills)

AUTHORS

  • Emily Regan WillsUniversity of OttawaEmily Regan Wills is an associate professor of comparative politics at the University of Ottawa. She is the co-director of the Community Mobilization in Crisis project, which develops and implements innovative multilingual digital pedagogical tools for teaching community mobilization skills in the Middle East and elsewhere.
  • Jeremy WildemanUniversity of Ottawa, HRRECJeremy Wildeman is a Fellow at the Human Rights Resource and Education Centre (HRREC), University of Ottawa. He is a scholar of international relations, Middle East politics, Canadian foreign policy, human security and development aid.
  • Michael BueckertCanadians for JusticeMichael Bueckert is Vice President at Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME), a national advocacy organization based in Montreal. He has a PhD in Sociology with a specialization in Political Economy from Carleton University; his dissertation explored the opposition to boycott movements.
  • Nadia Abu-ZahraUniversity of Ottawa and Carleton UniversityNadia Abu-Zahra is an Associate Professor and Joint Chair in Women’s Studies at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University, and a member of the University of Ottawa’s Human Rights Research and Education Centre, Centre for Research on Educational and Community Services, and Centre for International Policy Studies.
  • Libby DaviesLibby Davies has been a social activist for 45 plus years and began as a community organizer in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside in 1972. She was elected to Vancouver City Council for 5 consecutive terms, 1982-1993. As the Member of Parliament for Vancouver East for six consecutive terms, 1997-2015, she became NDP House Leader, (2003-2011) and Deputy Leader (2007-2015). Libby continues to be an outspoken advocate for human rights, housing, peace, and social justice. She was awarded the Order of Canada in 2016.Libby was appointed to the board of governors of Vancouver Community College in 2018, and serves as Vice Chair. She is also a board member and Vice Chair, of the Portland Hotel Community Services Society (PHS).She is the author of “Outside In: A Political Memoir” (May 2019, published by Between The Lines, Toronto) and is a frequent public speaker on progressive transformative change and its relationship to politics. Libby is currently writing a new book.==================
    https://www.palestinechronicle.com/advocating-for-palestine-in-canada-histories-movements-actions-book-review/
    Advocating for Palestine in Canada: Histories, Movements, Actions – Book ReviewJuly 14, 2022ArticlesCommentaryReviewsAdvocating for Palestine in Canada – Histories, Movements, Actions. (Photo: Book cover)By Jim Miles(Advocating for Palestine in Canada – Histories, Movements, Actions.  Ed.: Emily Wills, Jeremy Wildeman, Michael Beuckert, Nadia Abu-Zahra.  Fernwood Publishing, Halifax/Winnipeg, 2022.)Different groups advocate for Palestine from a variety of perspectives while developing several common themes. Advocating for Palestine contains nine presentations looking at Palestine from the viewpoint of students, Jewish activism, indigenous issues, being Palestinian-Arab in Canada, and Zionism and Euro-Jewish whiteness. Several themes are common to all the discussions.The book starts with fear from a global perspective, recognizing that advocacy may result in personal attacks from pro-Zionist organizations working from the top down. In Canada that top-down starts with the government of Justin Trudeau, down through the media (much of which is owned by the Asper family who strongly supports Israeli objectives), continuing on down through a powerful variety of pro-Israeli NGOs to the identities of a white, Christian, conservative base within the populace.This fear is connected to “a broader project of liberation from all forms of systemic injustice”, an “anti-racist movement” with “people of all backgrounds who are critical of the globalized Israeli military-industrial complex and its link to global militarism.” On the other side of fear is “in transforming fear into solidarity, in seeing ourselves as in relation to one another, we can build those futures [of a free Palestine and world] in the present.”The first essay “The Elephant in the Room” discusses the unseen internalized colonialism that permeates Canadian society and the author’s recognition as to how it affects her encounters within different social situations. Most of the racism she encounters includes “highly educated scholars, professional writers, journalists, newspaper columnists, clergy and the like.”This racism is “cobbled together through some combination of Zionist historical narrative and contemporary Israeli propaganda, in combination with the sheer laziness of media commentators who could not …decolonize their viewpoints….This has helped Israel enjoy widespread and institutionalized impunity while committing violations of international law on an ongoing basis.”The essay “Zionist Loyalty and Euro-Jewish Whiteness” discusses how the Jew “must be understood as simultaneously under attack and as the beneficiaries of racial privilege.” Jews in Canada maintain a position of eternal victim to an “ascent…into whiteness by permission,” a combination of Holocaust memorials and contemporary positioning within the western world today. “Pro-Palestianism is not tolerated by an institutional Jewish community which strives for acceptance in white settler societies like Canada which are incontrovertibly racist in both their colonial histories and contemporary exclusionist postures and structures.”The essay “Singled Out” talks about the new antisemitism, being essentially how Israel is singled out but with comparisons to South Africa showing that criticizing Israel “may not be unique after all but is like that experienced by other states.” The ‘new’ standard is composed of demonization (negative attacks), double standards (other countries do it to), and delegitimization (right to exist) as the new currents of antisemitism. However, activism does focus on a particular target and in this case on a state “which refuses to be held accountable.”“Israel Apartheid Week” [IAW] discusses the problems and successes of Israeli apartheid week and its associated boycott, divestment, and sanctions activism. In Canada, the IAW examines similarities between settler colonialism in Palestine and “Turtle Island” (North America). As recognized elsewhere, “pro-Israeli attempts at censorship and oppression have only encouraged popular dissent and creative interventions in support of Palestine.”The Jewish community’s values are examined in “Two Jews, Three Opinions”. Citing recent Canadian polls, it is found they “undermine the legitimacy of the Canadian government’s claims to be acting on behalf of Jews when it sides with Israel.” The author concludes “Neither public opinion nor a significant proportion of Jewish Canadians share our government’s uncritical support of Israel.”Canada is an example of British colonial settlerism that compares readily to the colonial settlerism in Palestine. The essay “Knowing and Not Knowing – Canada, Indigenous Peoples, Israel and Palestine” examines Canadian history of racism, ethnic cleansing, and genocide and its – mostly – similarities with Israel-Palestine. Contemporary events still uphold our “enacted values” which are “for the most part those of the corporate and security-state interests that have guided public policy.” Violence and dispossession are still elements of current Canadian society against its indigenous people.The media and its pro-Israel bias is critically examined in “Canadian Media and Pro-Israel Bias – An Insider’s Perspective.” CanWest Global Communications owns a disproportionate share of Canadian media and its original owner Israel Asper maintained a strong pro-Zionist bias (now within family control). The CBC, supposedly independent of government, carries the Trudeau government pretense of balance while extolling the virtues of Israel while ignoring Israel’s ongoing settler-colonialism in Palestine. The word Palestine is not allowed to be used by CBC broadcasters.“The core journalistic function of informing the public,” the “unwillingness of journalists to address the power imbalances” and the resulting “role in dissuading the public from working to hold Israel to account” when exposed will hopefully “give readers the tools to combat the pro-Israeli Bias.”The problems and successes of Canadian activism are presented in “Palestinian Solidarity Work in Canada.” From the discussion of strengths and opportunities the “PSM must try to keep its focus on human rights and international law.” Part of that is the intersectionality with other groups working against racism and other societal concerns.The final essay focuses on “Campus Palestine Activism in Ottawa from the 1970s to the 2010s”, comparing two universities and the different levels of activism through the author’s experiences. The activism derives from Arab student movements, anti-war interests (vis a vis the Gulf wars), the rise and fall of the Oslo process, and the renewed attacks on Gaza after the 2006 elections. The BDS movement is currently becoming more active as the “now dysfunctional PLO and discredited PA” have been abandoned.Political rhetoric/programs have transformed to one that is more directed at international law through the BDS movement, the recognition very recently of the apartheid nature of Israel, and the discussions around the vague and poorly stated IHRA definition of anti-Semitism.In their conclusion the editors state, “the Palestinian solidarity movement as described in this book is at its core an inclusionary movement closely linked to anti-apartheid, anti-colonial, and anti-racist values, resonating with people seeking social justice and basic human rights.”“Advocating for Palestine in Canada” is a valuable and positive examination of the Palestinian solidarity movement located in Canada. It highlights the government, corporate, and media efforts to disguise Israeli transgressions against human rights and demonstrates that there is an ongoing and growing solidarity and understanding of Palestinian interests in a peaceful equitable solution to Israeli colonial-settlerism.– Jim Miles is a Canadian educator and a regular contributor/columnist of opinion pieces and book reviews to Palestine Chronicles.  His interest in this topic stems originally from an environmental perspective, which encompasses the militarization and economic subjugation of the global community and its commodification by corporate governance and by the American government.