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More Jewish Babies

February 23, 2010

I was reading this Amira Hass article when this huge advertisement saying “Have more Jewish babies” was blinking at me. This is the charity. It’s funny to see how pro-life politics in Israel are being framed in the context of the demographic “time-bomb,” as it is called in Israel, meaning that by common estimates, the number of Arab residents of Israel will outnumber the Jewish ones. Unfortunately, along with advocating higher birth rates for Jews, some are also calling for a reduction of the Palestinian population, aka genocide. Martin Kramer should be fired immediately from his post at Harvard. Recalling a class I took once on American electoral politics, I think it’s never a good thing when politicians start talking about babies. Really, babies need to be fed, cleaned up after and loved. That’s about it. Anytime babies start becoming the focus of politics, we should be alarmed. At best, it might be a shameless play for popularity; kissing babies, putting child-safety locks on car doors, etc. At worst, it locates the complicated issues facing contemporary citizens on the most vulnerable and un-responsible members of our society. Martin Kramer does this when he calls UN subsidies “neo-natal.” It sounds like he just threw in the only baby-related word he could think of, because  children in Gaza are surely not receiving neo-natal care.

See: Berlant, Lauren. The Queen of America Goes to Washington City: Essays on Sex and Citizenship. Duke University Press: Durham & London, 1997.

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Rachel Corrie

May 28, 2009

Here are a couple of interesting things that I’ve stumbled upon in the past few days.

“So this film is an independent investigation into the death of Rachel Corrie, but it turned out also to be an inquiry into the investigation itself, into the inquiry process of the Israeli army. Now, for example, the Israeli army says they are investigating possible violations of human rights during the bombings in Gaza in January. All the time the Israeli army investigates the killing of civilians, and in 99.9 of these cases, there is no independent investigation, and nobody’s punished, you know?

Not that it is the only army in the world that kills civilians. I’m not naive — it’s not. But maybe it is the one who kills civilians and it is so easy for the Western world to accept it and to swallow it. Maybe it is the only one where there are so many lies and hypocrisy around it, you know? It is not the army who kills the most civilians in the world, but maybe it is the army for which it is so easy to lie about it and to still be presented as democratic — this is a problem. The hypocrisy about it, you know? As an Israeli I would prefer them to be less hypocritical. If they continue to kill, at least I would like them to stop lying.”

“In Israel, when you are a Jew you can say what you want. When you are a Jew. That part is very important.”

 “it’s really time for the Americans, especially the Jews among them, to stop being intimidated by this pressure, from the Israeli lobby or whoever it is. They should say what they really feel. A lot of people are talking in our name who are not entitled to talk in our name.”

Hamid Dabashi article

April 6, 2009

Just as in the Summer of 2006 against the Hezbollah, the Christmas massacre of 2008-2009 in Gaza is the final indication of the military meltdown of Israel – that it has run out of military ideas, and that it is now not just morally bankrupt but far more crucially militarily clueless. Israel has already lost the Gaza invasion. The more the massive propaganda machinery of Israel around the world tries to hide its brute barbarity against civilian targets the more it has lost credibility in the eye of the global public opinion and the more its ugly militaristic disposition becomes naked.

More than from Obama, Israelis and their AIPAC operatives in the United States are afraid of the liberating and progressive movement that Obama has unleashed in the US – the movement of a new generation of Americans who wish to come to the fold of humanity at large and stop being the principle sponsor of warmongering around the globe. No one knows what will happen to this movement – will Obama deliver on his promises of change, will this movement dissipate, or will a new generation of young and progressive Americans wrest the destiny of their homeland from the confounding pathologies of predatory imperialism, vicious Zionism, and Christian messianism? It is impossible to tell – there is much cause for fear, and every reason for hope.

Naming names and denouncing individually every prominent Israeli intellectual who has publicly endorsed their elected officials’ wide-eyed barbarism, and then categorically boycotting their universities and colleges, film festivals and cultural institutions, is the single most important act of solidarity that their counterparts can do around the world. 1.5 million impoverished human beings have been choked to death in Gaza and this obscenity that calls itself “Israeli intellectuals” does not even blink and says it is the Hamas’ fault that they are being slaughtered in their hundreds by the Israeli military. 

“Hamas is the poor and impoverished representative of a poor and impoverished people.”

http://palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=14656

Great article from Alternet:

http://www.alternet.org/audits/127698?page=entire

Only A Matter of Time…

March 11, 2009

Ministry, Israeli consulate in New York embark on mission to fight search results showing images of war-torn Gaza when asked to find ‘Israel’; plan to flood web with positive images of Jewish state courtesy of topnotch photographers

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3683202,00.html

This goes nicely with the piece I found today about airbrushing of women’s bodies in magazines. 

http://video.nytimes.com/video/2009/03/09/opinion/1194838469575/sex-lies-and-photoshop.html

On Tibet and Palestine

March 10, 2009

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Before I learned about Palestine, I used to campaign for Free Tibet. What happened? I suppose I just got sidetracked by many other atrocities that were happening in the world. Because Tibet has nothing to offer the geopolitical interests of any major nation, it has been pushed out of the international consciousness and left in silence. It has been taken for granted that there will never be a free Tibet, that China will never give up its claim to the region. 

But today, after reading the Dalai Lama’s speech in which he describes Tibet as “hell on Earth,” I began thinking that occupation happens in very similar ways. Truck in a couple thousand troops, set up checkpoints and start building settlements on the ‘free’ land. Then, lay claim to the region’s natural resources, build roads (Palestine) or railroads (Tibet) to cart these valuable materials away. Then, deny that the occupied culture and/or people ever existed. Finally, make yourself indispensable to the international community (America and Western Europe) and its interests ($) so that no one will be able to interfere although they can criticize your human rights abuses to their heart’s pitiful content.

 

Chinese forces have set up checkpoints to seal off the region while foreign tourists as well as journalists were told to leave several weeks ago.

The government has also apparently stopped internet and text-messaging services – which helped spread word of last year’s protests – in parts of the region.

Nevertheless, the Dalai Lama still has hope that the truth will prevail in the case of Tibet. He advocates for a Tibetan autonomous region which would still fall under the political rule of greater China. The Tibetans are seeking only the freedom to keep their culture and heritage alive, something that the Chinese refuse to allow.

Lamenting that Tibetan culture and identity were “nearing extinction”, he said “even today Tibetans in Tibet live in constant fear … regarded like criminals, deserving to be put to death”.

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia-pacific/2009/03/20093104183107889.html

The Dalai Lama is frequently referred to as a “wolf in monk’s clothing”, by the Beijing authorities, and it is clear they regard him as devious and untrustworthy.

For his part the Dalai Lama seems to have reached a level of frustration with that process that has made him suggest he is on the verge of retiring.

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia-pacific/2009/03/2009310313204736.html

From Johannesburg to Jerusalem: Anti-Apartheid Organizing in the US

Monday, March 2nd, 7 pm
St Mary’s Episcopal Church, 521 West 126th Street, NYC
 

Showing of critically acclaimed film Have You Heard from Johannesburg? Apartheid And The Club Of The West, followed by a discussion with David Wildman of the United Methodist Church and Sam Anderson, anti-apartheid activist, educator, and founding board member of The Malcolm X Museum.
Event organized by the IAW New York Organizing Coalition

NYU-Tel Aviv University: A Partnership in Occupation

Tuesday, March 3rd, 8 pm
Kimmel Center, NYU (Room 802), 60 Washington Square South (between Thompson and Laguardia), NYC

Panel discussion on NYU’s relationship with Tel Aviv University, featuring award-winning novelist Elias Khoury, New York University professor Andrew Ross, and Nir Harel, member of Israel’s Anarchists Against The Wall.
Event organized by NYU Students for Justice in Palestine
Identification required to enter building

The Impact of Occupation: This Body Is A Prison

Wednesday, March 4th, 7:30 pm
Kimmel Center, NYU (Room 914), 60 Washington Square South (between Thompson and Laguardia), NYC

Screening of the critically acclaimed This Body Is A Prison, followed by a discussion with filmmaker Dylan Bergeson.
The film addresses the psychological impacts of growing up under occupation in different areas of the West Bank, exploring how isolation and violence existentially impact the way that children construct their sense of self.
Organized by NYU Students for Justice in Palestine & the Arab Student Association at Columbia University’s School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA)
Identification required to enter building

The Art of Resistance: Culture and the Boycott of Israel

Read a special invitation from the organizers here:

http://newyork.apartheidweek.org/friday-invitation

Friday, March 6th, 7 pm
Judson Memorial Church, 243 Thompson St., just off of Washington Square Park, NYC 

Panel discussion with best-selling author Ahdaf Soueif, founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel Omar Barghouti, and NYC poet Remi Kanazi; moderated by Brooklyn College Professor Moustafa Bayoumi.
Event organized by the IAW New York Organizing Coalition

The Israeli attack on Gaza: What is needed for a just solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict?

Saturday, March 7th, 3 pm
Judson Memorial Church Assembly Hall, 239 Thompson St. (1/2 block south of Washington Square Park), NYC

Israel’s three-week-long attack on Gaza in December and January left over 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis killed and thousands of Palestinians wounded. Israel’s bombardment left the infrastructure in Gaza in a shambles, with schools, hospitals, mosques destroyed, while Israel continues to blockade needed supplies of food, electricity and water.

Panelists:
– Riham Barghouti, Adalah-NY, Coalition for Justice in the Middle East
– Nellie Hester Bailey, Harlem Anti-War Coalition
– Joel Kovel, Committee for an Open Discussion of Zionism & Author of “Overcoming Zionism”
– Dorothy Zellner, Center for Constitutional Rights & “Jews Say No”
– Steve Bloom, Activist Poets’ Roundtable
– Moderator: Justine McCabe, Co-Chair, Green Party U.S. International Committee
Event organized by the West Side Green Party

Party Against Apartheid

Saturday, March 7th, 9 pm
Alwan for the Arts, 16 Beaver Street, 4th Floor (bet. Broad & Broadway), NYC

Event organized by the IAW New York Organizing Coalition