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Commentary

TitleDescriptionDate
Barghouti will not bring salvationYacov Ben Efrat - Challenge "The Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike led by Marwan Barghouti has global repercussions. The Israeli political-security cabinet discussed the issue in light of the strike`s potential to ignite widespread unrest in the West Bank and sever the “idyllic” security cooperation between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel...This strike is unlike others we have known. It bears a strong personal imprint, and Barghouti`s status and prestige are linked to the prisoners’ demands." ca27/4/2017
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Israel’s poisonous political discourseNadav Eyal - Ynet - "One of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s great ‘contributions’ to the Israeli discourse is turning the definition of ‘left’ into a curse, an accusation and a condemnation and turning any legitimate argument into an identity conflict." - id 26/4/2017
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Germany`s foreign minister calls Netanyahu`s bluff — and rightly soDahlia Scheindlin - +972 - "He was right simply because what would he have actually learned from Netanyahu? Those organizations will give Gabriel concrete information: B’Tselem will update him on developments regarding the 50-year-old occupation and its most current manifestations, in the form of data, documentation and analysis. Breaking the Silence will give him human experiences of occupation, and tell the truth about growing attempts to intimidate and suppress the group for daring to oppose Israeli policies." - id 26/4/2017
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Palestine`s Nelson Mandela Uri Avnery - Gush Shalom - "One gets the impression that the prison service is the enemy of the prisoners, making their life as miserable as possible. This has worsened now, in response to the strike. This policy is cruel, illegal and counter-productive." - id 26/4/2017
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Red Rag column - letter to settler Judge Mintz - missiles in Syria - Israeli post office propagandaGideon Spiro - No doubt Assad is a cruel dictator and a war criminal who should be put on trial at the court for war crimes. But the crimes of Assad do not wipe away Israel’s crimes, even if they do not rise to the same level of cruelty as those of the Syrian dictator. I would not support firing 60 tomahawk missiles at Israeli targets in order to put a stop to the Israeli Occupation. That goal can be realized by purely non-violent means like an international boycott. gm26/4/2017
Is Marwan Barghouti The Palestinian Nelson Mandela?Peter Beinart - The Forward - Israeli Deputy Minister Michael Oren tweeted that "Barghouti is not the Palestinian Nelson Mandela". According to Oren, Barghouti was convicted of terrorism - and therefore, his cause is illegitimate. The problem with this argument is that it doesn’t only explain why Marwan Barghouti isn’t Nelson Mandela. After all, Nelson Mandela was convicted of terrorism, the US considered him a terrorist until the mid-1980`s, he refused to renounce violence until the very day when he was released from prison. So, if Barghouti is not Nelson Mandela, Nelson Mandela isn’t Nelson Mandela either. [ak] 25/4/2017
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Zionist Colonization is not "exceptional" –a Marxist viewpointThis article aims to challenge the rather widely accepted claim that the nature of Zionist settler colonization is exceptional 1 and even "defies appeal to any precedent that can usefully be invoked as to its evolution and eventual revolution".23/4/2017
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Any resistance becomes an “act of terror”James J. Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute - What Israel will not acknowledge and is attempting to obfuscate is that their 50 year long illegal occupation has driven a captive people to resist their systematic oppressive violence. In the process, Israel terms every Palestinian response “terrorism.” Whether throwing rocks at checkpoints, boycotting Israeli products or writing op-eds and going on a hunger strike—all become “terrorist” acts. [bz for dn] 23/4/2017
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A Just Bill for PalestiniansChristian Sorensen - CounterPunch - "What would a just U.S. foreign policy look like? This faux bill lays forth a vision regarding one pillar of such a policy: justice for Palestinians." - id 21/4/2017
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Haaretz columnist compares Barghouti to Irgun and Lehi fightersIsaac Dabush - YnetNews - In an acrimonious interview with Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin, Haaretz columnist and Army Radio interviewer Ravit Hecht draws angry reactions by comparing convicted murderer and terrorist Marwan Barghouti to fighters from the Irgun and Lehi.-rh19/4/2017
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Abbas ready for visit to WashingtonDaoud Kuttab - Al-Monitor - While the Palestinian leader’s visit to Washington is to focus primarily on the peace process and the efforts of Trump’s peace envoy, Jason Greenblatt, to kick-start the talks again, it is expected that Abbas will also deal with several bilateral issues. These include security cooperation and intelligence exchange between the United States and Palestinian security on local, regional and international areas of mutual concern, and continued political and financial support by the Trump administration to the Palestinian people and government, sources in the Palestinian leadership told Al-Monitor.-rh 19/4/2017
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Israeli Chief Rabbis Endorse Ethnic Cleansing, Palestinian ServitudeRichard Silverstein — Tikun Olam "The chief Rabbi acknowledged that Israel was currently not in a position to execute this plan; primarily because of the resistance to it from the non-Jewish world. However, he said that in the time of the messiah Israel would be in a position to implement this plan. And he looked forward to the Messianic era with great joy and anticipation." ca19/4/2017
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Will the NYT start noting the violent pasts of Israeli contributors, too?Lisa Goldman - +972 "There was much uproar from the Israeli government and its supporters following the publication of a Marwan Barghouti op-ed in the New York Times. But where was the outcry when the paper published op-eds by Israelis with violent pasts?" ca19/4/2017
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Could Barghouti become Israel’s peace partner? Ronni Shaked - Ynet - "Through a hunger strike in Israel’s prisons, Marwan Barghouti wishes to fulfill his achievements in the last Fatah elections and position himself as Abbas’ successor. It may be time for Israel to change its tune and try to talk to the man who the Palestinians see as their leader." - id 21/4/2017
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Big Data, Big Brother and Little DavidRichard Silverstein - Tikun Olam - "Israel has made poetry a crime when practiced by Palestinians."..."In Jerusalem, I dressed my wounds and breathed my sorrows And carried the soul in my palm." - id For an Arab Palestine. 21/4/2017
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CUI BONO? Uri Avnery - Gush Shalom - In Syria, a terrible war crime has been committed. The civilian population in a rebel-held town called Idlib was hit with poison gas. Dozens of civilians, including children, died a miserable death. Who could do such a thing? The answer was obvious: that terrible dictator, Bashar al-Assad. Who else? And so, within a few minutes (literally) the New York Times and a host of excellent newspapers throughout the West proclaimed without hesitation: Assad did it! No need for proof. No investigation. It was just self-evident. Of course Assad. Within minutes, everybody knew it. A storm of indignation swept the Western world. He must be punished! Poor Donald Trump, who does not have a clue, submitted to pressure and ordered a senseless missile strike on a Syrian airfield, after preaching for years that the US must under no circumstances get involved in Syria. Suddenly he reversed himself. Just to teach that bastard a lesson. And to show the world what a he-he-he-man he, Trump, really is.-rh 20/4/2017
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An Israeli minister has threatened genocide in Lebanon, but where is the outcry? Asa Winstanley - Middle East Monitor - Liberal Zionist newspaper Haaretz published an interview with Naftali Bennett, Israel’s education minister and member of the security cabinet, in which he threatened to make Lebanon a free-fire zone: “Lebanese institutions, its infrastructure, airport, power stations, traffic junctions, Lebanese Army bases; they should all be legitimate targets if a war breaks out,” he claimed. If Lebanese missiles were then fired “at the Israeli home front, this will mean sending Lebanon back to the Middle Ages.”-rh19/4/2017
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NYT public editor: Failure to detail Barghouti’s crimes discredits usStuart Winer and Times of Israel staff - Times of Israel "Paper acknowledges that op-ed-writing prison hunger-strike leader was convicted of `five counts of murder and membership in a terrorist organization`." ca19/4/2017
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Barghouti got 5 life terms? Begin would have gotten 91! Adam Keller - Gush Shalom opposed the show trial of Marwan Barghouti, held in the Tel Aviv court, in which the verdict was clear from the outset. Gush activists, headed by Uri Avnery, at the time carried out protests at the courtroom and were removed by police. But perhaps there was one good result: Marwan Barghouti`s long imprisonment has brought him great sympathy among the Palestinian public, bringing him closer to a leadership position in which he could become a partner in making peace with the State of Israel. [bz]18/4/2017
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Why We Are on Hunger Strike in Israel’s PrisonsMARWAN BARGHOUTI - NYT - Israel has established a dual legal regime, a form of judicial apartheid, that provides virtual impunity for Israelis who commit crimes against Palestinians, while criminalizing Palestinian resistance. (...) Israel has tried to brand us all as terrorists to legitimize its violations, including mass arbitrary arrests, torture, punitive measures and severe restrictions. As part of Israel’s effort to undermine the Palestinian struggle for freedom, an Israeli court sentenced me to five life sentences and 40 years in prison in a political show trial that was denounced by international observers. (...) Rights are not bestowed by an oppressor. Freedom and dignity are universal rights that are inherent in humanity, to be enjoyed by every nation and all human beings. Palestinians will not be an exception. Only ending occupation will end this injustice and mark the birth of peace. [bz]18/4/2017
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Palestinian citizens of Israel are key to resisting the occupationRida Abu Rass - +972 - If Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, those who have grown up in Israeli society and lived alongside Jewish Israelis, were to truly organize and leverage their unique position, it would be impossible to break without ripping off the mask of apartheid [ry]17/4/2017
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Palestine Retold: Palestine’s Tragic Anniversaries are Not Only About RemembranceRamzy Baroud - CounterPunch - "True, 2017 is burdened with significant and tragic anniversaries, but these dates should not be used as opportunities to protest, registering only a fleeting movement of solidarity. They should offer the chance to re-articulate a unified Palestinian discourse that crosses ideological and political lines" [ry]17/4/2017
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Palestinians make peace process a group effortAhmad Melhem - Al Monitor "After the Arab League Summit on March 29 in Jordan, Abdullah and Sisi set in motion political action in the United States to mobilize the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis. The two leaders are making their move based on agreements reached during the summit: Arab leaders there mainly agreed to work toward setting "a specific timetable for ending the conflict based on the two-state solution,” observing the Arab Peace Initiative adopted during a 2002 summit...The Palestinian Authority is relying on help from Egypt and Jordan to involve the United States in the peace process with Israel, though some Palestinians question whether the United States can participate without bias." ca 14/4/2017
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Before Blood Is Spilled Carolina Landsmann - Haaretz "Bennett and Weiss aren’t denying the violent potential of their crowd`s response, only making it clear that this is not uncontrolled violence.Violence is part of the nationalist right wing’s response arsenal, and since its use involves recognizing the strength and the potential victim’s importance, it could be said that the nationalist right is in the midst of an internal debate. Is Haaretz important enough to spill blood over? Indeed, anyone following the responses to articles in the newspaper that raise the far right’s rage can see they range between two extremes." ca 14/4/2017
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Where the Rubber Meets the RoadMike Whitney - Information Clearing House "You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that the case against Syrian President Bashar al Assad is extremely weak. The chemical weapons attack in Khan Shaykhun, has produced no smoking gun, no damning evidence, in fact, no evidence at all. Similar to the Russia hacking fiasco, (not a shred of evidence so far) the western media and the entire political class has made the case for attacking a sovereign country on the thin gruel of a few videos of an incident that took place in a location that is currently under the control of militant groups connected to al Qaida. That’s pretty shaky grounds for a conviction, don’t you think?" ca14/4/2017
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Peace Now: Israel`s new settlement policy an attempt to `fool international community`MA’AN NEWS AGENCY - Following an Israeli security cabinet decision to approve the first new illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank in more than 20 years, when a new government policy of “restraint” on settlement expansion was also introduced, Israeli NGO and settlement watchdog Peace Now has accused Israel of attempting to “fool the international community,” saying the policy showed no restraint whatsoever.-rh13/4/2017
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Fewer and fewer want to visit Israel Asa Winstanley - Jews for Justice for Palestinians - War crimes and apartheid are ultimately quite a hard act to sell. The reason behind Israel’s unpopularity is no secret and has nothing to do with antisemitism. Israel is losing the battle for hearts and minds not because it has the wrong marketing strategy, but because it treats Palestinians appallingly. This much should be obvious to all but the most unreasonable of people. That is why the BDS movement goes from strength to strength. It is also why Israel will continue to face the “existential threat” of BDS for as long as it continues to deny basic human rights to Palestinians.-rh 12/4/2017
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The spoils of war: Trump lavished with media and bipartisan praise for bombing SyriaGlenn Greenwald - NationofChange — IN EVERY TYPE of government, nothing unites people behind the leader more quickly, reflexively or reliably than war. Donald Trump now sees how true that is, as the same establishment leaders in U.S. politics and media who have spent months denouncing him as a mentally unstable and inept authoritarian and unprecedented threat to democracy are standing and applauding him as he launches bombs at Syrian government targets.-rh 12/4/2017
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Why this Likud MK presents unique challenge to NetanyahuMazal Mualem - Al-Monitor - Glick is a complicated, different and confusing character in the Knesset, which is controlled mostly by populist and simplistic black-and-white politics. He is never tempestuous and never coarse, in contrast with the belligerence that characterizes quite a few members of Knesset in the ruling party. All this also paradoxically turns him into a favorite of the left, and he is sometimes described as the sanest figure in the Likud, from which he doesn’t spare criticism: “When an entity is aggressive, it doesn’t make it more powerful. Thus, in my view, a party that tries to forcefully prevent a conference of [anti-occupation nongovernmental organization] Breaking the Silence or that works to revoke the citizenship of the director of [human rights group] B’Tselem because he spoke against Israel at the United Nations — is a weak party. But a party that allows itself to be generous and let the other express himself is a stronger entity,” he said.-rh 12/4/2017
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Passover has become little more than an act of communal hypocrisy Robert Cohen - Mondoweiss - My proposed liturgical replacement also tells the story of slaves and of a Pharaoh. It also describes oppression and it shows a route to liberation. It represents all that makes Passover delegitimised and, simultaneously, exactly how it can be made legitimate once again. It was published last month on the 15th March. My recommended reading for your Passover celebration is the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) report on Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid. Its authors are Professor Richard Falk, a former United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied and professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University; and Virginia Tilley, professor of political science at Southern Illinois University. Their report is not a rant or a “hate fest” against Israel. It’s measured in tone and scholarly in the presentation and analysis of international law. It even anticipates and addresses the main objections to its findings.-rh 12/4/2017
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‘He has caused chaos’: How Netanyahu’s media war nearly split his governmentRuth Eglash - The Washington Post - A political cartoon of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stretched out on a psychologist’s couch and clutching TV sets, radios and newspapers to his chest might be the best depiction of a crisis that threatened to bring down the Israeli government. The cartoon was published in the Israeli daily Haaretz just over a week ago as the prime minister tried to stop the launch of a new public broadcasting corporation that he once endorsed and even set in motion. On one level, the cartoon represented what many Israelis see as Netanyahu’s fantastical obsession with the media. In a deeper sense, however, it denotes what critics say appears to be his determination to weaken and ultimately control Israel’s small, Hebrew-language news industry.-rh 12/4/2017
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Israel`s `slow` plan for peaceDaoud Kuttab - Al-Monitor - The arrogance of Israeli politicians arguing for an almost indefinite continuation of illegal occupation and colonial settlement stems from one simple fact: The cost of occupation is so cheap that it gives them little incentive to tackle it, as the Israeli population has moved farther right and become more hawkish on the issue. The situation will only change once Palestinians, Arabs and the international community make Israel pay a serious price for its continued occupation and violations of human rights.-rh 12/4/2017
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The political scenarios to defeat Netanyahu in early electionsAkiva Eldar - Al Monitor - " With the prospect for early elections in Israel, the Zionist Camp must decide whether to join forces with left-wing Meretz and its liberal- humanist ideology or tag along with Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid." - id 12/4/2017
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Trump, Jordan King focus on Palestinian StateRay Hanania - The Arab Daily News - "President Donald Trump and Jordan’s King Abdullah II met this week, their second meeting at the White House since Trump’s election, and discussed ways to achieve peace through the establishment of a State for Palestinians." - id12/4/2017
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Red Rag column - police violence in Israel - hunger strike by disabled - Minister of PropagandaGideon Spiro - I am in mourning over the untimely death of the journalist Gila Flint, a comrade in the struggle against racism and the Occupation. Her unique voice will be missed by those who valued her and loved her. gm12/4/2017
Hamas` new charter reveals a willingness to changeMenachem Klein - +972 - Despite what the usual media critics may say, Hamas’ new charter is evidence of a movement in flux, and one that — when the need arises — allows itself to be guided by pragmatism. [bz]11/4/2017
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Facebook vs Palestine: Implicit support for oppressionNadim Nashif - Al Jazeera - Facebook has been cooperating with the Israeli government to remove content the latter finds objectionable, including briefly shutting down the page of the political party Fatah in March, because of an old photo posted of former leader Yasser Arafat holding a rifle. On the other hand, Israelis, including government officials, routinely post inflammatory content about Palestinians without censure. [bz] 11/4/2017
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Normalization in the Name of Peace: How Israel Understands the Arab Peace InitiativeRamzy Baroud - CounterPunch - “While the US administration may rebrand its approach to the conflict, what truly interests Israel and its Americans backers is breaking Israel’s isolation through regional ‘peace’ pacts and separate deals – in other words, normalization under Occupation” [ry]10/4/2017
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The Tunic of NessusUri Avnery - Gush Shalom - Now God has punished the people of Israel again by giving them a miraculous victory, and turning that same victory into a curse that is leading to disaster. For this purpose, God borrowed an idea from his Greek colleagues. [bz]8/4/2017
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A show of weakness: The ‘Israeli Peace Movement’ marches in Jerusalem Ofer Neiman - Considering the breadth of the organizing coalition, and the rather soft, mainstream-friendly agenda, devoid of a broad anti-colonial or anti-Zionist discourse, Saturday’s 1000 strong action was far from impressive. In defense of Saturday night’s demo in Jerusalem, the very presence of bilingual Hebrew-Arabic banners, with the slogan “Jews and Arabs stand together”, counters the extreme right wing’s hegemony in the city, where one often encounters mobs chanting “Death to the Arabs” and assaulting Palestinians. Furthermore, Israeli activists should never give up on trying to mobilize their public. But progress will require more critical thinking on their part.[bz]8/4/2017
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After the Airstrikes on Syria, What’s Next?Editorial - NYT "it is also hard not to feel unsettled by the many questions raised by President Trump’s decision. Among them: Was it legal? Was it an impetuous, isolated response unrelated to a larger strategy for resolving the complex dilemma of Syria, a nation tormented not just by civil war but also by the fight against the Islamic State? So far, there is no evidence that Mr. Trump has thought through the implications of using military force or figured out what to do next." ca7/4/2017
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The Enemy Just Blinked: Why Hamas`s New Charter Is a Big Deal Björn Brenner - Haaretz "The revisions to Hamas’ infamously anti-Semitic and pro-violence founding document is unprecedented evidence that even an extremist organization is capable of change." ca 7/4/2017
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Can Netanyahu outmaneuver Trump?Ben Caspit -Al-Monitor - Trump is unpredictable and aggressive, and Netanyahu will go to great lengths to placate him. Netanyahu wants to make sure that Israel won’t be blamed for the inevitable dead end of any negotiations or explosion of the entire process. That is why the Cabinet hurried to close ranks with Netanyahu. First and foremost, a gesture of goodwill toward the president was in order.-rh 5/4/2017
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Professor who labelled Israel an ‘apartheid regime’ defends UN report stating Israelis have used same termHarriet Agerholm - Independent - Professor Falk also pointed out that "apartheid" had been used by a number senior Israeli politicians to describe the situation with the Palestinian people, including the country`s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion. He quoted a 1967 radio address from Mr Ben-Gurion, in which - according to Falk - he said "Israel would soon become an apartheid state" if it did not "rid itself of the territories and their Arab population as soon as possible."-rh 5/4/2017
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Despite pressure, the legitimacy of the state of Israel was questioned at a conference in Ireland Vyara Gylsen - Europalforum - "The conference has been central to the major current shift in terms of thinking about international law in relation to Israel - i.e. the shift from the limited focus on legal checks and balances on occupation, to the need to view (and respond to) the situation through the broader international legal prohibitions on settler colonialism and apartheid," the organisers said in a statement. "This is a crucial shift after fifty years of what clearly can no longer be excused as a `temporary` occupation, more than seventy years of partition and a century of colonisation sanctioned by imperial policy" they added.-rh 5/4/2017
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Does BDS ban hurt Israel?Akiva Eldar - Al-Monitor -Reacting to the March 6 legislation, the American Jewish Committee said in a statement, “As history has amply shown throughout the democratic world, barring entry to otherwise qualified visitors on the basis of their political views will not by itself defeat BDS.” The committee`s president, David Harris, warned that the new law would not “help Israel’s image as the beacon of democracy in the Middle East," but make it hard to defend its legitimacy. The Anti-Defamation League, another organization central to the American Jewish community, said the new bill hurts Israel and that its best defenses against the BDS movement are Israeli democracy, pluralism and the openness of its society.-rh 5/4/2017
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Why `it`s not apartheid` arguments fail: Response to NYT op-edDahlia Scheindlin - +972 - It doesn’t actually matter if Israel is a carbon copy of apartheid’s policies or not. It doesn’t matter whether the mentality is rooted in obsolete racial ideologies, or in the desire to decimate Palestinian statehood. The result is a systemic separation of Arabs from Jews, by education, by opportunity, by land, roads and water and, in the West Bank, by law. [bz]4/4/2017
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Why Israel Is Nothing Like Apartheid South AfricaBenjamin Pogrund - NYT - I am acutely aware of Israel’s problems and faults, but it is nothing like South Africa before 1994. Those who accuse Israel of apartheid — some even say, “worse than apartheid” — have forgotten what actual apartheid was, or are ignorant, or malevolent. [bz]4/4/2017
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Red Rag column - contamination of Israel PrizeGideon Spiro - The awarding of the Israel Prize to the settler David Be’eri, a promoter of the transfer of Palestinians from the neighbourhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem, contaminates the Israel Prize with racism and apartheid, and as such is a faithful expression of 50 years of Occupation. gm1/4/2017
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