I No Longer Believe in a Jewish State

For decades I argued for separation between Israelis and Palestinians. Now, I can imagine a Jewish home in an equal state.


Israeli soldiers interacting in the West Bank last month with a Palestinian woman protesting the demolition of an unapproved animal shed. (Abed Al Hashlamoun/EPA, via Shutterstock)

Peter Beinart, The New York Times, July 8, 2020

I was 22 in 1993 when Yitzhak Rabin and Yasir Arafat shook hands on the White House lawn to officially begin the peace process that many hoped would create a Palestinian state alongside Israel. I’ve been arguing for a two-state solution — first in late-night bull sessions, then in articles and speeches — ever since.

I believed in Israel as a Jewish state because I grew up in a family that had hopscotched from continent to continent as diaspora Jewish communities crumbled. I saw Israel’s impact on my grandfather and father, who were never as happy or secure as when enveloped in a society of Jews. And I knew that Israel was a source of comfort and pride to millions of other Jews, some of whose families had experienced traumas greater than my own.

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Palestinian civil society calls for sanctions to stop Israel’s annexation and apartheid

The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council renews the call for targeted sanctions

Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council, BDS National Committee, July 1, 2020

Israel’s extremist government decided today to keep everyone in the dark about if and how it will make use of the “golden opportunity” offered by the Trump administration to embark on de jure annexation of large swathes of the occupied Palestinian West Bank. No one should be misled, however. Israel will continue to quietly de facto annex occupied Palestinian territory, as it has done for decades, while trying to appease its Western allies. But as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said, “Annexation is illegal. Period. Any annexation.”

Hundreds of international law scholars agree. They write that Israeli annexations of occupied territory are “null and void, entail consequences of international wrongfulness, and – under certain circumstances –  lead to individual international criminal liability,” regardless whether such annexations are effected “through ‘extension of sovereignty,’ ‘extension of law, jurisdiction, and administration,’ or explicit annexation.” They concluded, “de facto annexation entails the same legal consequences as de jure annexation.”

For over a thousand European parliamentarians, “Failure to adequately respond [to Israeli annexation] would encourage other states with territorial claims to disregard basic principles of international law,” undermining “the most basic norms guiding international relations, including the UN Charter.”

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Update: June 27 – 30, 2020
Upcoming Online Events


Saturday, June 27
Local Letter Campaign to End Violence Against Black People
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM CDT

Damita Brown, Restorative Justice Director for the Dane County Time Bank’s Restorative Justice Program, will lead this action opportunity via Zoom.

Sponsored by Building Unity, Dane County Time Bank, Freedom Inc. and Wisconsin Network for Peace, Justice, Sustainability (WNPJS). For more information see the Facebook page or register here.

NOTE: The sponsors are looking for people or groups to host similar sessions. You can get a Co-conspirator Toolkit that shows you step by step how to host your own letter writing party for friends, neighbors, colleagues, family, co-workers and others. For more information, write to Damita Brown: damita at danecountytimebank.org



Sunday, June 28
Counter CUFI with FOSNA
6 PM CDT

Christian Israeli lobbies like Christians United For Israel (CUFI) leverage their political power to ensure the US gives moral and political cover to Israeli colonization, war crimes, and ethnic cleansing.

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‘It’s a war crime’: Thousands rally in Tel Aviv against Netanyahu annexation bid

Meretz MK, Joint List leader says move would create ‘apartheid’; Sanders sends video message; police forcefully detain photojournalist covering event, arrest 4 demonstrators

JACOB MAGID, The Times of Israel, 6 June 2020

Thousands of Israelis attend a protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plans to annex parts of the West Bank, at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, June 6, 2020. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Thousands of Israelis attend a protest against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans to annex parts of the West Bank, at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, June 6, 2020. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Protesters gather in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square on June 6, 2020, to denounce Israel's plan to annex parts of the West Bank. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
Protesters gather in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square on June 6, 2020, to denounce Israel’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)

Protesters gather in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square on June 6, 2020, to denounce Israel's plan to annex parts of the West Bank. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
Protesters gather in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square on June 6, 2020, to denounce Israel’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)

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2019 Index of Racism and Incitement in Israeli Social Media

Israeli elections were the primary reason for increasing incitement against Arabs

Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media, 27th Feb 2020

– One violent post against Arabs and Palestinians every 64 seconds
– 495,000 violent posts against Arabs and Palestinians in 2019
– The Joint List and its leaders were the primary subjects of violent discourse in 2019

7amleh – The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media, published the results of its annual Index of Racism and Incitement in Israeli Social Media in 2019. The research revealed that the peak of incitement against Palestinians and Arabs in 2019 was correlated with the two rounds of Israeli election. It also shows that there was a 14% rise in violent discourse towards Arabs and Palestinians, with one violent post every 64 seconds, and at least one out of every 11 posts about Arabs using inciting language. 

In 2019, there was also a rise in the number and percentage of inciting posts in 2019. Nearly 495,000 out of 5.4 million posts about Arabs were violent posts, including racist and inciting slurs and biased language against the Arab and Palestinian community. These statistics indicate a 5% rise in inciting posts in comparison to 2018 statistics which showed that 464,000 out of 4.7 million posts about Arabs included violent statements. 

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Palestinians stand in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en nation

The TransCanada Coastal Gaslink pipeline aims to steal Wet’suwet’en land, use resource extraction to solidify control over Indigenous territories, destroy the environment and violate Indigenous laws.

Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), February 13, 2020

From the occupied Palestinian territory, we stand in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en nation and land defenders at the Unist’ot’en Camp and Gidimt’en who continue to resist Canada’s colonial incursions of their unceded territories.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society that leads the global BDS movement, sends a message of support to your struggle.

We call on the Palestine solidarity movement in Turtle Island and elsewhere to stand with the Wet’suwet’en nation.

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Strangers in Our Homeland


MK Aida Touma-Sliman, January 15th, 2019. Photo: Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk via Flickr

Aida Touma-Sliman, JewishCurrents, February 6, 2020

LAST WEEK, Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu announced a deal that is intended to determine the future of the Palestinian people, without a single Palestinian present in the room or involved in the consultation process. They unveiled the plan in the midst of Trump’s impeachment trial and on the same day that Netanyahu was indicted for corruption. Like a group of men deliberating women’s reproductive freedoms, the Americans and Israelis who drafted the plan intend to unilaterally decide the fate of Palestinians, our land, and our fundamental rights. The plan’s total erasure of Palestinian voices and blatant denial of these rights lays bare the real intentions of the Trump and Netanyahu administrations.

Just as importantly, the past week clarifies the positions of so-called moderates—from US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Israel’s Benny Gantz, leader of the Blue and White Party—who have either barely protested or outright endorsed the plan. While it is no secret that the US and Israel have always rendered Palestinian narratives, demands, and aspirations secondary, centrist acquiescence to Trump’s plan suggests that the “deal of the century” is the logical culmination of a long-held vision of an apartheid Palestinian pseudo-state, bereft of meaningful sovereignty or self-determination. 

Trump and Netanyahu have inherited this vision and added their typical vulgarity. Their plan would enshrine Jewish supremacy in all of Israel and historic Palestine, annexing Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank, the Jordan Valley, and East Jerusalem, while leaving Palestinians in the occupied territories with a patchwork of isolated ghettos surrounded by walls and military checkpoints. Israeli law would be applied in all settlements, which violate international law and numerous UN resolutions. Israel would retain sovereign control over the air and sea, as well as absolute “security” control in the entire territory west of the Jordan River. Jerusalem, including occupied Palestinian East Jerusalem and its holy sites, will remain entirely in Israeli hands. And Palestinian refugees will be categorically denied their right to return to the land from which they were expelled by Israel because they were not Jewish. 

The plan would also have dire consequences for Palestinian citizens of Israel, many of whom would probably be stripped of their citizenship and transferred to the new Palestinian “state” under the plan’s proposed land swaps. To those ends, Israel’s Tourism Minister, Yariv Levin, has already raised the specter of de-nationalizating Israel’s Palestinian citizens, who make up about 20% of the population, or about 1.8 million people. Many people in this category would likely lose the ability to travel within most of historic Palestine and be subject to the same restrictions, including on movement, imposed on citizens of the new Palestinian “state.” 

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Trump’s “Deal of the Century” Has Led to Violence Not Peace

February 08, 2020

(WASHINGTON, D.C. 2/8/20)—Since President Donald Trump released the details of his much-derided so-called “deal of the century,” a total of five Palestinians, including a teenager, have been killed by Israeli forces while protesting a “peace plan” that has delivered nothing but promises of further dispossession and apartheid. Rather than achieving peace, this plan has only emboldened the Israeli government to continue its policies of land theft and aggression against Palestinians. As AMP warned prior to the release of this “steal of the century,” this atrociously one-sided plan was always a recipe for more bloodshed and a prolonging of suffering. AMP condemns this plan and the inevitable violence it has provoked with Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing supporters, including settlers parading through the Jordan Valley, taunting Palestinians with the impending annexation of their lands. 
 
Within the 1948 borders, Trump and Netanyahu’s Apartheid plan has proposed that an Arab-populated region there be added to a future Palestinian state. Not only is this suggestion tantamount to the illegal forced transfer of people but, like in Apartheid South Africa, it will result in the denaturalization of Israel’s minority population. Netanyahu has already vowed that there will never be a Palestinian state as long as he is prime minister—nothing more than swiss cheese-like Bantustans in which Israel and the Trump administration wish to segregate Palestinians. This racist plan, which deprives Palestinians of every basic right, sets impossible conditions on Palestinians who must prove themselves worthy of existing before any rights may be bestowed on them. 
 
Of course, Palestinians would never accept such a humiliating proposal and have been protesting this initiative since its announcement last week. Israel has expectedly responded with violence, shelling and shooting Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, respectively, and killing young protesters with impunity. The first victim, 17-year-old Mohammad Al-Haddad from Hebron, was shot and killed by Israeli forces while protesting Trump’s plan. In the following days, as Israeli forces began a military incursion in Jenin, a protester who demonstrated against the demolition of a Palestinian home was killed. 

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