Unlearning apartheid apologism: A Jewish response to Israeli Apartheid Week

Stop conflating anti-Zionism and criticism of the State of Israel with anti-Semitism

Article ImageRya Inman / Spectator

Sophie Edelhart, Eliza Moss-Horwitz, Jack Snyder, Columbia Daily Spectator, March 5, 2017

Nearly two years ago, the three of us arrived on this campus as Jewish teens inoculated with an intense fear of the Israeli/Palestinian debate. We had been told for years in day school and summer camp that we would be provoked by anti-Semitic and anti-Israel rhetoric—presented to us as synonymous—and warned that we would be made to feel ashamed of our Jewish identities.

 What we actually found ourselves confronting when we arrived at Columbia, however, was the way our education and socialization in the mainstream Jewish world hadn’t prepared us for the conversations about Israel/Palestine happening on college campuses. We had been lied to and deceived by our teachers, parents, camp counselors, role models, and community leaders. We came to realize just how much the Jewish community has yet to reckon with the violence and dispossession that American Jews are complicit in perpetuating.

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Activists pull out of Chicago LGBTQ conference over Israel pinkwashing

Jimmy Johnson, THE ELECTRONIC INTIFADA, 22 January 2016

An image posted on A Wider Bridge’s Facebook page highlights the organization’s mission of promoting Israel.

Black Lives Matter Chicago has added its voice to protests over the National LGBTQ Task Force’s inclusion of an Israel lobby group in its Creating Change conference in Chicago this weekend.

Tarab-NYC, an LGBTQ and gender nonconforming group organizing in Middle Eastern and North African communities, launched the #cancelpinkwashing campaign in response to the inclusion of A Wider Bridge.

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Taking Orders for Olive Oil and T-Shirts!

The latest shipment of Holy Land Palestinian olive oil is here! Besides the usual 500 ml bottles, we also have new 750 ml bottles available. Prices are

  • 500 ml: $15 each, box of six $84
  • 750 ml: $20 each, box of six $112

If you would like to purchase some oil, contact Veena at veena.brekke@gmail.co or phone 608-332-8745. She may be able to arrange delivery for larger orders in the Madison area.

Note: We have just a few bottles of last year’s shipment left, at a discounted price of $12 per 500 ml bottle. If interested in those, let Veena know.

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New Israel Law Bars Foreign Critics From Entering the Country

“It’s going to be a giant sign up by the door of the Jewish state: ‘Don’t come unless you agree with everything we’re doing here.’ I don’t know what kind of democracy makes that statement.”

A banner calling for the boycott, divestment and sanctioning of Israel hanging from the Manhattan Bridge in New York during a protest against Israel’s military campaign in Gaza in 2014. (Michael Appleton for The New York Times)

Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times, March 8, 2017

Israel’s Parliament has struck back at the international boycott movement against the country and its settlements in the West Bank by passing a law barring entry to foreigners who have publicly supported the movement.

The measure, passed on Monday night, received little notice in Israel, but by Tuesday it set off alarms in the United States, where Israel’s critics and some of its most loyal Jewish supporters alike warned that it would further isolate the country.

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Banksy Customizes A West Bank Hotel, Offering Rooms With A View Of The Wall

Bill Chappell, NPR, March 3, 2017

A doorman stands at the entrance of The Walled Off Hotel in the West Bank city of Bethlehem Friday. Dusan Vranic/AP

There’s no pool, but there is a piano bar that exudes “an air of undeserved authority.” That’s part of the promise at The Walled Off Hotel, the artist Banksy’s vision of a hotel along the wall Israel built in the occupied West Bank.

The project blends Banksy’s trademark style — a trickster’s eye for trompe l’oeil and a political cartoonist’s ear for satire — into more traditional hotel amenities such as food, drinks and well-appointed rooms. The hotel will begin taking reservations on March 11.

Just don’t call it the Waldorf. For a hint of what awaits visitors to the small hotel in Bethlehem, consider this description of the piano bar inside:

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Banksy’s Murals Turn Up In The Gaza Strip

Krishnadev Calamur, NPR, February 26, 2015

Banksy’s work is now in the Gaza Strip.

The artist, who uses public spaces for his often-provocative murals, posted images that he said were of art he created in the Gaza Strip, along with a two-minute video of life in the Palestinian territory, titled “Make this the year YOU discover a new destination.”

Here are some of the murals, which you can also see on Banksy’s own website.

Banksy writes about this image:

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April 24, 2017
Juan Cole: “Paganism and Muslim Peace-Building in the Mecca Period”

206 Ingraham Hall
UW-Madison [Map]
12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

UW Middle East Studies Program presents Juan Cole (Professor of History at the University of Michigan) speaking on “Paganism and Muslim Peace-Building in the Mecca Period (610-622): What does the Qur’an Say?”

Later Muslim accounts posit an essential enmity between Muslims and pagans in the Hejaz, leading to the wars of the 620s. These Umayyad and Abbasid accounts have influenced the interpretations of contemporary scholars. A close examination of Qur’anic texts from the Meccan period, however, reveals a consistent and strongly held option for peace. It will be argued that the sanctuary status of Mecca as a holy city made this experiment in peace theology possible.

For more info please contact: Névine El Nossery, Director of the Middle East Studies Program, elnossery at wisc.edu


Juan Ricardo Cole is a public intellectual, prominent blogger and essayist, and the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. He writes Informed Comment, Thoughts on the Middle East, History, and Religion, which includes “The Map: The Story of Palestinian Nationhood Thwarted”. In 1973, Juan gifted his extensive comic book collection to Northwestern University; Stan Lee of Marvel Comics attended the opening.

March 13, 2017
The impact of UN recognition on Palestinian public opinion

206 Ingraham Hall
UW-Madison [Map]
12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

UW Middle East Studies Program presents Nadav Shelef (Professor, department of Political Science, UW-Madison) speaking on “The impact of UN recognition on Palestinian public opinion.”

In the fall of 2012, the United Nations General Assembly recognized Palestine as a “nonmember observer state.” His talk will present research showing that the UNGA recognition shaped Palestinian mass attitudes towards both territorial compromise and the use of violence to achieve national aims. Specifically, international recognition simultaneously increased support for partition as a strategy of conflict resolution and decreased support for compromise on the territorial terms of partition. With respect to attitudes towards the use of violence, we find that international recognition significantly reduced popular support for violence, but only among Palestinians who did not identify with any of the existing Palestinian political parties.

For more info please contact: Névine El Nossery, Director of the Middle East Studies Program, elnossery at wisc.edu
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