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Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Apartheiders Gonna Apartheid

Expect Trump and Nikki Haley to pitch a fit, amirite?

In a groundbreaking case, Israel has detained an American graduate student at its international airport for the past week, accusing her of supporting a Palestinian-led boycott campaign against the Jewish state.

The case highlights Israel’s concerns about the boycott movement and the great efforts it has made to stop it. The grassroots campaign has made significant inroads in recent years, particularly among university students and millennials.

Would that everybody exercised their free speech and market strength through the BDS movement...


October 9, 2018 in Conscience, Viva Palestina | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Thursday, December 29, 2016

To Exist Is To Be Pro-Israel


I’m not exactly sure why American politics is so stupid about Israel. But it is.

You can oppose the settlers precisely because you support Israel and don’t want to see it end in ruin, as neither secure, nor prosperous, nor democratic, nor Jewish. This possibility isn’t really considered in our discourse, though, even when the president and Secretary of State come right out and articulate it.

You can never win when people equate criticism of the Israeli state with anti-Semitism, even when the exact opposite is true.


December 29, 2016 in Viva Palestina | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Friday, November 18, 2016

And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars

See that ye be not troubled:

President-elect Donald Trump has reportedly appointed an ambassador to Israel: Mike Huckabee, a supporter of settlement expansion and the Israeli annexation of the West Bank, who claimed in the past that Palestinians don't exist.

For all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet...


November 18, 2016 in Viva Palestina | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Sunday, June 05, 2016

Fighting Fire With Setting Yourself On Fire

Talk about dangerous and ignorant:

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a pro-Israel executive order on Sunday that will punish people and groups who support a boycott of Israel on behalf of Palestinian human rights.

Legal experts have described this long pending anti-boycott policy as “21st-century McCarthyism,” warning it would effectively create a discriminatory “blacklist” of Palestinian human rights advocates who endorse boycotts like those organized in order to combat U.S.-backed apartheid in South Africa.

Prominent legal organizations including the Center for Constitutional Rights, National Lawyers Guild, the New York Civil Liberties Union and Palestine Legal say these politically motivated anti-boycott policies constitute an unconstitutional attack on the freedom of speech.

The New York legislature has unsuccessfully tried to push through anti-boycott legislation for months, amid intense pressure by pro-Israel lobby groups. Now it appears that Gov. Cuomo has decided to instead circumvent the legal process and implement the policy on his own.

“I am signing an Executive Order that says very clearly we are against the BDS movement,” Cuomo tweeted on Sunday.

I am pro-Israel, and clearly against Israeli policy and Gov Cuomo.


June 5, 2016 in Viva Palestina | Permalink | Comments (1)

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

BDS Superstar

Speaking of Judea or Palestine or Israel or whatever:

Tom Friedman Unit starts his column with this:

Israel has recently been under intense criticism on the world stage. Some of it, like the “boycott, divestment, sanctions” (B.D.S.) campaign, is a campus movement to destroy Israel masquerading as a political critique.

I don't think that Friedman's opinion is all that important, but his characterization of the BDS movement is relatively widely held, at least in some circles. So what is the actual evidence that BDS is a campaign to "destroy Israel" as opposed to a campaign to criticize the country and to ultimately force it to adopt different policies?

It is indeed a disgracefully typical frame, which sadly one major party candidate adopted (hint: not the one I voted for).  There is no evidence, merely rhetoric designed to undermine the movement to save Israel from itself whilst securing justice for Palestine.


May 25, 2016 in Viva Palestina | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Monday, April 18, 2016

Clinton's Chutzpah

I really, really don't like people who attack BDS as anti-Semitic and anti-Israel.  Yet another reason I'm glad to have passed over Clinton.


April 18, 2016 in Viva Palestina | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Friday, April 15, 2016

When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead

Joe Conanson:

The most significant moment of the Democratic primary debate in Brooklyn – and perhaps any presidential debate this season – came when Bernie Sanders challenged Hillary Clinton over her refusal to criticize Israel’s excessive use of force against the Palestinians in Gaza. For the first time in memory, a major American political figure insisted publicly that the Jewish state and its leaders are “not always right” – and that in attempting to suppress terrorism, they had killed and injured far too many blameless human beings.

I haven't been overly happy with The Bern's stances on Palestine over the years--and his canning the staffer who dared criticize Bibi rankles--but in general this is a refreshing distinction.  Gaza most assuredly did not deserve what it got...


April 15, 2016 in Viva Palestina | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Boycott New Shimmer!

An anti-BDS conference in Israel:

Speaker after speaker got up to the podium and said, in the same breath, that although BDS is succeeding, it is not a success; that it is not a threat but must be taken as a serious threat; that it has not negatively impacted Israel’s economy, but that Israel must allocate more of its budget to fighting it. Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz said that Israel should engage in “targeted civilian eliminations” of BDS activists with the help of Israeli intelligence. Tzipi Livni, meanwhile, said that it is really trendy these days to “be vegan and hate on Israel.” At one point, World Jewish Congress head Ron Lauder compared the efforts to implement economic boycotts of Israel to the Nuremberg Laws, while Roseanne Barr, the keynote speaker of the conference, called the BDS movement “fake-left” and “fascist.”

I'll note that Bernie isn't great on the IP conflict, but he at least gets advice from pro-BDS people.  Hillary, on the other hand...


March 28, 2016 in Viva Palestina | Permalink | Comments (3)

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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