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Saturday, October 17, 2015

Clowning Around

Samuel found my old clown nose in my office today.

I first wore it in Tel Aviv just a few months before he was born.


October 17, 2015 in Family Life, Viva Palestina | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Sunday, August 02, 2015

We Can't Settle This

Why does Loomis hate Israel and the Jews?

In all seriousness, there's one component missing: the violently racist system also enables extremist Palestinian elements, fueling the vicious circle.  But it starts and ends with settlements.


August 2, 2015 in Viva Palestina | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

BDS Scares Clinton, Et Al

The Hill: Is boycott a bad word?

Our Framers: hell no.


July 30, 2015 in Pax Americana, Viva Palestina | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Oh Yeah, Hillary, BDS Is The Problem


At a time when many Democrats are beginning to voice doubt about Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians, it is crucial to note that Hillary Clinton has aligned herself not with liberal Democrats or even conservative Democrats, but with right-wing Republicans and people like Sheldon Adelson on this issue.

Consider these quotes from the letter, dated July 2 and paid for by “Hillary for America”:

I am writing to express my alarm over the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction [sic] movement, or “BDS,” a global effort to isolate the State of Israel by ending commercial and academic exchanges.  I know you agree that we need to make countering BDS a priority.  I am seeking your advice on how we can work together—across party lines and with a diverse array of voices—to reverse this trend with information and advocacy, and fight back against further attempts to isolate and delegitimize Israel….

I am also very concerned by attempts to compare Israel to South African apartheid.  Israel is a vibrant democracy in a region dominated by autocracy, and it faces existential threats to its survival.  Particularly at a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise around the world—especially in Europe—we need to repudiate forceful efforts to malign and undermine Israel and the Jewish people.

This could easily have been generated by the Israeli state itself; this passage uses all the buzzwords we have come to associate with the attack on critics of Israel, not to mention BDS: the idea that critics of Israel are, by criticizing it, “isolating it,” the mischaracterization of BDS as “ending” “academic exchanges” (to refute this, one has only to see the actual stipulations of the academic boycott, which targets institutions but leaves individual scholars free to travel, do research, collaborate), and most important, the notion that criticism of Israeli state policies is an attempt to “delegitimize” Israel itself.

One of myriad reasons I will not support Clinton during the primaries (acknowledging some of Sanders' own weakness regarding the IP conflict that I've criticized him for).


July 8, 2015 in Viva Palestina | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Speaking Of Friendly Boycotts

American Friend Service Committee on something dear to my heart:

In the context of Israel and Palestine AFSC supports the the use of boycott and divestment campaigns targeting only companies that support the occupation, settlements, militarism, or any other violations of international humanitarian or human rights law. Our position does not call for a full boycott of Israel nor of companies because they are either Israeli or doing business in Israel.  Our actions also never focus on individuals.

Our support for the use of boycotts and divestments is contextualized by Quakers and AFSC's long support for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions as economic tactics that appeal to human conscience and change behavior. In the 1800s, Quakers helped lead the “Free Produce Movement,” a boycott of goods produced using slave labor. In recent times, AFSC has participated in boycott and divestment campaigns connected to the in the civil rights, anti-apartheid, farm worker, and prison rights struggles.

Since 1948 AFSC has worked with both Palestinians and Israelis to achieving a just and lasting peace and we remain committed to supporting nonviolent activism designed to achieve this end. Taking into account AFSC principles and history, AFSC supports all nonviolent efforts to realize peace and justice in Israel and Palestine including the strategic use of boycott, divestment, and sanctions tactics.

For some reason, lots of Soda Stream crap has been popping up in my feeds, so I felt compelled to remind people that they are very, very bad and should not be supported by all right thinking people.


March 27, 2015 in Conscience, Pax Americana, Viva Palestina | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Thursday, January 08, 2015


This little girl from Bil'in has grown up quite a bit since I met her in 2009.


January 8, 2015 in Viva Palestina | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Thursday, December 04, 2014


In the Old City of Jerusalem, IDF harass a Palestinian youth.  I saw this a few times in mere hours.


December 4, 2014 in Viva Palestina | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014


I am rather sad about the dastardly, deadly attack by some zealous Palestinians in a Jerusalem synagogue.  For some reason, the situation reminds me of the Sicarii in the middle of the first century CE.  Ruthless purists whose actions stab everybody, inclulding Peace, in the back.

At least this time nobody's going to destroy Jerusalem.  Probably just Gaza...


November 18, 2014 in Viva Palestina | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Thursday, October 30, 2014


Can't believe it's been over 5 years since I sipped Arabic coffee in Old Jerusalem.  At least a little progress in some areas of Palestine has been made in that time.


October 30, 2014 in Viva Palestina | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Monday, September 08, 2014

David And Goliath's Perspective

Art Spiegelman Breaks His Silence on Israel:

Art Spiegelman — celebrated comics book artist, illustrator and author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Maus” — has broken his silence on the subject of Israel. At least that’s how he put it to his Facebook followers last week when he shared a collage he designed for a recent issue of the magazine The Nation.

Prefacing the social media post by saying that he has spent a “lifetime trying to NOT think about Israel,” Spiegelman went on to say that “Israel is like some badly battered child with PTSD who has grown up to batter others.”

Captioned “Perspective in Gaza (The David and Goliath Illusion),” the Biblical-style art image consists of two panels. On the left is a traditional rendering of David facing Goliath. The right-hand panel presents a shrunken Goliath brought closer to the foreground. Using the tricks of size and perspective to make what is surely not an original political point, it’s a clever play on Spiegelman’s life’s work as an illustrator.
In other words, will the real Goliath please stand up?

Perhaps what is most profound in Spiegelman’s collage is not the binary view of flipping the David and Goliath metaphor on its head, but rather his use of the word “perspective.” Maybe where you stand is indeed derived from where you sit. But that’s not quite right either, since one Diaspora Jew would depict Israel as a monstrous Goliath while another would cling to the view that Israel remains small and moral David, and one Holocaust survivor sees genocide being committed by their own people while another sees the killing as self-defense against a Philistine-like enemy.

Ultimately, just as an artist must render line and shading according to observation, memory and imagination, so must political observers be ready to enter into the respective worlds of each actor in the unfolding story. It’s not an easy task for either.

Thank you.


PS--Speaking of which...

September 8, 2014 in Viva Palestina | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Water Challenges

Apropos of the ALS thing and Gaza:

We will have done well
If we’re able to say
As the sun settles down
On that final day
That we never gave in
That we did all we could
So the kids could go fishing
In crystal clear brooks.

Roger Waters.


August 28, 2014 in Viva Palestina | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Israelis For Peace

I've seen elsewhere estimates of 10k, which is not a bad turnout:

Thousands of demonstrators gathered Saturday evening for a pro-peace rally in Tel Aviv under the slogan, “Changing direction: toward peace, away from war.”

The rally at Rabin Square comes two days after another demonstration expressing solidarity with residents of communities along the Gaza border.

Right-wing activists planned a counter-demonstration, which will be held nearby at the same time. The Israel Police is planning to keep the two camps apart.

At the main rally, which began at 8 P.M., speeches were slated to be made by author David Grossman, journalist Zuheir Bahloul, Meretz chairwoman Zahava Gal-On, Hadash chairman Mohammed Barakeh, a resident of Sderot, a representative of bereaved families and other left-wing activists.

Rivals the bigs ones like in 2006, looks about the same as the one I marched in 5 years ago.  Alas, not much progress to show for all the demos and other peace work.


August 16, 2014 in Viva Palestina | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Thursday, August 14, 2014


Ferguson or the West Bank?


August 14, 2014 in Viva Palestina | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Thursday, August 07, 2014

Being Biased

Reading about developments in Gaza and the I/P conflict brings to mind Ralph Bunche, who was born on this date in 1903.  Said he:

I have a deep-seated bias against hate and intolerance. I have a bias against racial and religious bigotry. I have a bias against war; a bias for peace. I have a bias that leads me to believe in the essential goodness of my fellow man; which leads me to believe that no problem of human relations is ever insoluble. I have a bias in favor of both Arabs and Jews in the sense that l believe that both are good, honorable and essentially peace-loving peoples, and are therefore as capable of making peace as of waging war. 

Yes, even these several decades later, I share the same biases...


August 7, 2014 in Viva Palestina | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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This is Iyad Burnat, whom I met in 2009.  He lives in the village of Bil'in with his beautiful family.  His son was shot in the leg during solidarity demos in support of Gaza last week.


August 7, 2014 in Viva Palestina | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Sunday, August 03, 2014

There Are Plenty Of Gandhian Options In All Conflicts

I'm sorry, but I take issue with the thesis that there wasn't/isn't a Gandhian option for Gaza.  There are Palestinian (and Israeli) Gandhis.  And yes, many are in jail (as Gandhi was) or dead (as many Gandhians have been before them).  Real Gandhian principles, tactics and strategies are apparently still not wholly understood, which isn't surprising.  Alas.

Wish I had more energy to dive into this further...


August 3, 2014 in Viva Palestina | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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Saturday, August 02, 2014

Bus Tours Foster Peace

I wonder what it would look like if more young Jewish Americans were exposed to Palestinian life?


August 2, 2014 in Viva Palestina | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Star-crossed Haters

Well now:

Does love conquer all? That's the question being asked by a group of 20-somethings in the West Bank amid renewed fighting between Israel and Hamas. Using the popular dating apps Tinder and Grindr, they are examining how the conflict is playing out on these online dating services.

The results, which reflect the conflict's deep divisions, and also the mundane reality of dating applications, are documented on the blog Palestinder. Because Israelis use Tinder and Grinder a lot more than Palestinians, the blog provides an unvarnished look at unsavory Israeli opinions of Palestinians more than a view across the divide. Then again, one probably shouldn't expect more from an experiment of this kind.

Spoiler: they all die.


July 25, 2014 in Viva Palestina | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Propaganda Can Only Cover Up So Much

Go figure:

For the first time, perhaps, Americans are witnessing the suffering of Palestinian people in the establishment press. Even while the framework of “Blame Hamas” dominates mainstream media coverage, the humanity of Palestinian people is cracking through the decades-long, well established façade of pro-Israeli propaganda.

And how can it not? When the actual experience of journalists contradicts the propaganda narrative, if they have a heart or a brain, they cannot help but see Zionist propaganda for what it is. This is possibly why Israel kept out foreign journalists during the 2008 Cast Lead operation.
Despite the serious intimidation faced by journalists...such pressure seems to be working less and less. While Magnay was called away from Gaza by CNN, a vigilant social media sphere combined with mass protests around the world has created a climate where if media institutions are to retain their credibility they have to at least appear to be balanced.

This is the opening that Palestinian rights activists and supporters need to harness in order to reframe the debate. While they lack lobby groups, media watchdog outfits, paid trolls, disinformation experts and the vast financial resources of the Israeli side, they do have one thing going—the truth.

Let's hope that eventually puts pressure on Israel.  I'm not overly optimistic.


July 24, 2014 in Viva Palestina | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Terrorists Of Infinite Space

Israeli journo Noam Sheizaf writes:

I keep running into Israelis who don’t know, for example, that we still control Allenby Bridge (which connects the West Bank to Jordan), and with it each entrance and exit of every Palestinian into the West Bank; or they don’t know that the Israeli Defense Force still operates in Area A, supposedly under the full control of the Palestinian Authority; or that there is no 3G network in the West Bank because Israel doesn’t permit the Palestinian cellular providers to use the necessary frequencies; or that we imprison hundreds of Palestinians without trial for months and years; or any other factual, undeniable aspect of the occupation. If all this is unknown, then perhaps this is all just a big misunderstanding.

Most of the time I try to correct misconceptions and argue over such details, but if I had to explain the whole thing briefly, I would use the following metaphor: We’ve built two giant prisons. Let’s call them “West Bank Prison” and “Gaza Prison.” The West Bank Prison is similar to a minimum-security facility, where prisoners get torun their own affairs as long as they behave. They are entitled to vacations from time to time, and once a year they are even taken to the beach. Some lucky people get below-minimum-wage jobs in nearby factories, and when you consider the low prices in the prison canteen, it’s actually not a bad deal.

Gaza, on the other hand, is a maximum-security facility. It is difficult to visit and impossible to leave. We allow in essential food, water, and electricity so that the prisoners don’t die. Apart from that, we don’t really care about them—that is unless they approach the prison fence, or the “forbidden” perimeter, where anyone who wanders too close is shot, or if they try to throw something over the fence.

There it is in a nutshell. 


July 18, 2014 in Viva Palestina | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack