Tutu’s courage on Israeli apartheid is played down in U.S. media

Archbishop Desmond Tutu used his moral stature to call out and oppose Israeli apartheid, but the New York Times, Washington Post, and NPR are leaving it out.


ARCHBISHOP TUTU AND JIMMY CARTER VISIT PALESTINE WITH “THE ELDERS,” A GROUP OF EMINENT GLOBAL LEADERS. THEY STAND IN FRONT OF THE ISRAELI BARRIER DURING A VISIT TO THE WEST BANK VILLAGE OF BILIN NEAR RAMALLAH, AUGUST 27, 2009. (ISSAM RIMAWI, (C) APA IMAGES)

JAMES NORTH AND PHILIP WEISS, MONDOWEISS, DECEMBER 30, 2021

The Guardian has published an important eulogy to the late Desmond Tutu by Chris McGreal, saying what so many in the Palestinian solidarity community are saying: After fighting apartheid in South Africa, Tutu used his stature to call out apartheid in Israel and Palestine, and he paid a large price for doing so.

Indeed, opposing apartheid in Palestine was one of Tutu’s salient achievements. And yet the American media are — no surprise — playing that angle down in memorializing Tutu as a great moral leader. They seem embarrassed by this aspect of Tutu’s legacy.

The PBS News Hour gave the Anglican archbishop’s work on Palestine one line in a lengthy obit, between his visiting Rwanda after the genocide and his opposition to the Iraq war. “He weighed in on the Israeli Palestinian conflict, at times likening Israeli actions to apartheid era South Africa,” the News Hour said simply.

National Public Radio repeatedly failed to mention Tutu’s stand on Palestine in coverage here, here and here — even as its correspondents discussed the ways that Tutu “used his reputation” since the fall of apartheid by speaking “truth to power.”

The New York Times also scanted Tutu’s courage on Palestine in its obit, titled, “Desmond Tutu, whose voice helped slay apartheid, dies at 90.” This paragraph came near the very end, and it slights Tutu’s direct accusation of apartheid against Israel.

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Liberal Zionism is joining the Palestinian solidarity movement

Everywhere but Washington


FADI QURAN, PETER BEINART, AND LARA FRIEDMAN ON FMEP WEBINAR ABOUT POLITICAL DISCOURSE OF ISRAEL PALESTINE AT YEAR’S END.

PHILIP WEISS, MONDOWEISS, DECEMBER 26, 2021

The Foundation for Middle East Peace had a webinar about the state of U.S. politics on Israel/Palestine as the year ends, and here are some of the takeaways.

Peter Beinart — the former liberal Zionist who came out a year ago for one democratic state — said that liberal Zionism is becoming discredited among progressives due to the failure of the two-state solution, so liberal Zionists are joining the broader movement for equal rights. Beinart said there used to be two parallel tracks on the American left, the BDS call from Palestinians of 2005 and the two-state agenda pushed by J Street and other liberal Zionists, but the second discourse is collapsing.

I think what’s happening is that the boundaries between these two movements are starting to collapse. Or another even more provocative way you can say it, is the Palestinian solidarity movement is in some ways becoming broader and taking in. It’s not necessarily an equal marriage. I would say because the movement on the ground has made the two state solution and the idea of liberal Zionism harder and harder and harder to maintain, then I think ultimately what’s happening and ultimately what we have to move towards and I think is happening is a broader Palestinian solidarity movement in which people who used to be liberal Zionist or support two states, and more people inside the Jewish community, and others, find their way into it.

Now it’s not an easy set of relationships always, and I think it involves lots and lots of different kinds of conversations and things that are difficult to figure out in a lot of ways… You don’t see it necessarily manifested in Washington, where a group like J Street is still much, much more influential than the Palestinian solidarity groups, but if you think of where the momentum is coming– I think especially because the Black Lives Matter movement forced a new kind of reckoning in the American public square with the lack of representation from Palestinians, which I don’t think is going to end. So Palestinians are going to become more prominent in these conversations…. We will see a broader Palestinian solidarity movement, in which Jews including Jews who once considered themselves liberal Zionists and maybe even some who still do consider themselves liberal Zionist will find a place. I think that will ultimately be a more powerful opposition to the status quo than what we’ve had before.

Fadi Quran, a leading Palestinian human rights worker formerly of Al-Haq, now with the activist network Avaaz, said he was hopeful about the ways the Palestinian narrative is gaining a global audience.

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Palestinian NGO “Terrorists” and Negev Protests


An Israeli soldier seen during an army raid on the Palestinian village of Burqa in the West Bank next to a spray-painted symbol of The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). (Oren Ziv)

Israel’s new secret document still fails to tie Palestinian NGOs to ‘terrorism’

+972 Mag

“For the better part of the last year, the Israeli government has been on a mission to convince European countries that six of the most prominent Palestinian civil society organizations are actually a front for terrorism. Yet despite its efforts, which included a confidential 74-page Shin Bet dossier sent to diplomats last May, Israel has failed to persuade European leaders of its allegations.”


Israeli police detain a man as Bedouins protest in the southern Negev Desert against a forestation project by the Jewish National Fund (JNF), on January 12, 2022. (AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)

Why tree planting in the Negev sparked protests, riots and a coalition crisis

Times of Israel

“The slender saplings, placed into soil churned up by tractors, seem far too innocuous to spark a coalition crisis. But where and how they’re planted turns out to matter on a national scale. The Jewish National Fund, a quasi-governmental body that oversees 13 percent of Israel’s land, began several days of planting trees on disputed land in the Negev on Sunday (January 9). The response was immediate: protests by Bedouin residents that escalated into clashes. Many Negev Bedouin live in unrecognized townships scattered across Israel’s southern desert. The government has sought to relocate them into planned, recognized cities, but most Bedouin have refused, insisting on the right to stay where they are.”

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Israeli settlers seize and fence off land in Sheikh Jarrah

The area is on high alert following the demolition of a Palestinian house north of the neighbourhood, which has been widely condemned


Israeli settlers install a fence while seizing land in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem (Supplied)

Middle East Eye Staff, 21 January 2022

Israeli settlers seized a land plot in occupied East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood on Friday, accompanied by police and the deputy mayor of Jerusalem municipality.

The settlers set up fences around the land that the Palestinian Salem family in Sheikh Jarrah said belonged to them.

Local media reported that Israeli police pushed locals and attacked protesters. A Palestinian woman from the Salem family claimed to have suffered a broken arm after Arieh King, the deputy mayor of Jerusalem municipality, attacked her.

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TELL THE JNF TO CEASE AND DESIST!

Since 1948, the Jewish National Fund (JNF) has been planting trees to displace Palestinians from their lands. They are currently carrying out an afforestation project in the Negev/Naqab (Southern Israel) on land used by Bedouin communities for agriculture. They aim to drive the Bedouins from their lands. 

The U.S. State Department must tell the JNF to CEASE AND DESIST their ethnic cleansing activities! Sign the petition now! 


Dear Secretary of State Antony Blinken, 

We, the undersigned, write to you to ask that you publicly call on the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and state of Israel to immediately halt their afforestation activities in Southern Israel (the Negev/Naqab) on land used by Bedouin Palestinian communities for agriculture. The project’s aims and consequences are the displacement of the communities from their lands. 

The destructive actions of the JNF are nothing new. Founded in 1901, the JNF was established to buy and develop land for Jewish settlement in Palestine. In the years leading up to the establishment of the state of Israel, the JNF played a central role in the plans to expel Palestinians from their lands. They meticulously charted topography, roads, land, and water sources and profiled the entire Palestinian population by age, political affiliations, and hostility to the Zionist project. Known as the Village Files, these documents became a crucial military tool for Jewish militias, who in 1948 burned villages, carried out massacres, and drove around 750,000 Palestinians out of their homes and villages, making them refugees. 

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Umm al-Khair and Hajj Suleiman’s Funeral

Text by David Shulman
Photographs by Margaret Olin

Touching Photographs, January 20, 2022

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.

The office of Dove, an Italian NGO, Al Twani, South Hebron Hills, Occupied Palestine.

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.

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Our Decision is Freedom — ‘No’ to Administrative Detention

Palestinian Administrative Detainees Declare Boycott of Israeli Military Courts

Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, January 20, 2022

Palestinian Administrative Detainees Letter [English].pdf

In 2021, the Israeli occupation and apartheid regime deployed extraordinary violence against the Palestinian people, a key feature of which has been the expansion of the mass arbitrary arrests and detention of Palestinian men, women, and children. Under this carceral framework, Israeli occupation authorities have particularly increased their reliance on administrative detention, a procedure in which detainees are held without charge or trial based on “secret information” for an indefinite time. By the end of 2021, the Israeli military commander in the West Bank region issued 1595 administrative detention orders, including the renewal of previous orders and issuing new ones.

The Israeli occupation has increasingly employed administrative detention as an arbitrary, coercive, and punitive measure of torture against hundreds of Palestinian detainees. Such expansion comes amid and in parallel with the Israeli occupation and apartheid regime’s systematic harassment campaign against Palestinian civil society, most recently with the criminalization of six leading Palestinian civil society organizations (CSOs) in October 2021. Throughout, the Israeli military judicial system plays an integral role in facilitating the expansion of administrative detention, and more broadly, in sustaining and feeding the establishment of a comprehensive Israeli apartheid apparatus over the occupied territories.

Israeli occupation authorities increasingly rely on administrative detention to muzzle Palestinian human rights defenders, student and political activists, and target children. Often, administrative detention is leveraged to punish Palestinians undertaking outstanding hunger strikes in protest of their administrative detention, including Hisham Abu Hawash, or to harass further and coerce released Palestinian political prisoners, as is the most recent case with lawyer Bashir Khairi. In 2021, six Palestinian children, three Palestinian women, and eight Palestinian Legislative Council members were held under administrative detention.

On 20 December 2021, Palestinian administrative detainees, 500 in total, announced their collective and comprehensive boycott of Israeli military courts, to begin 1 January 2022, under the campaign ‘Our Decision is Freedom… No to Administrative Detention.[1] This comes in light of the developments mentioned above, which represent a dangerous approach by the Israeli occupation to repress all facets of Palestinian life and struggle for liberty. The boycott includes Israeli military courts at all levels, including courts of first instance, appellate courts, and the Israeli civil High Court. Accordingly, Palestinian administrative detainees will refuse to participate in court procedures and hearings; their legal counsel will no longer attend or participate in the court procedures on their behalf.

In line with the Palestinian administrative detainees’ boycott of Israeli military courts, Addameer echoes the call for solidarity and to demand that local and international human rights institutions and State parties call on the Israeli occupation and apartheid regime to end its policy of administrative detention and release all administrative detainees currently held in Israeli occupation prisons.

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Between a Rising Tide and Apartheid: Palestinian Climate Vulnerability

Visualizing Palestine, 1/19/22

Systems of colonialism & militarism destroy both human rights + the environment. This series depicts the intersection between the Palestinian human rights movement and the environmental and climate justice movements. Learn from Palestinians’ experiences living under Israeli apartheid in a part of the world warming faster than the global average. Understand how environmental justice concepts such as climate vulnerability, green colonialism, environmental racism, and extractive colonialism impact Palestinians.

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