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Text and photos by Ryan Rodrick Beiler, Activestills, +972 Magazine 7/28/2015
Former Israeli ambassador Michael Oren says Jesus would be considered a settler if he lived in Bethlehem today. Such talk obscures the nature of the settlement enterprise and slanders Jesus.
Former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren has been saying a lot of obnoxious things lately. His recent book angered Jewish-American journalists by twisting the truth and burning bridges with the liberal Zionist establishment. And while it’s clear that diplomacy is no longer Oren’s priority, he may have crossed the line from belligerence to blasphemy with his latest remarks.While preaching to the choir of the Knesset’s Christian Allies Caucus, Oren took the name of Jesus in vain, using it to defend the settler enterprise.
“Jesus, Mary, and John the Baptist would today be considered Jewish settlers in Bethlehem,” said Oren, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Mike Huckabee has been saying some stupid stuff too — essentially calling Obama a Nazi — but such dangerous absurdities are nothing new when it comes to his Middle East policy. The last time Huckabee ran for president, he laid a cornerstone in the East Jerusalem settlement of Beit Orot and expressed willful ignorance of geography and international law:
"It is inconceivable in many ways that we would have to even argue and debate whether or not Israelis could live in Israel, not just in parts of Israel but anywhere in Israel they wished to live. … I cannot imagine as an American being told that I could not live in certain places in America because I was Christian, or because I was white, or because I spoke English."
Israelis can live in every part of Israel. It’s just that But Beit Orot is not Israel. East Jerusalem is not Israel. That’s why Israel does not grant the Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the West Bank the same civil rights as the Jewish Israelis who live in these same areas. more.. e-mail Israel and Gaza: the BDS Movement One Year After 'Protective Edge'
Peter Makhlouf, CounterPunch 7/28/2015
This July, Palestinians around the world and those standing in solidarity remembered two poignant anniversaries. The first was the one-year anniversary of the brutal Israeli incursion into Gaza termed, in proper Orwellian fashion, “Operation Protective Edge.” This slaughter, claiming the lives of 2,300 civilians was not the first of its kind and certainly will not be the last. At the same time, the BDS National Committee (BNC) celebrated the 10 year anniversary of the call from Palestinian civil society to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS).
One could argue that this past year has been the most successful year for the BDS campaign in its history, in a large part due to the tragedy of last summer which thrust the full-scale of Israeli state violence into the public eye. Unlike the daily horrors of occupation, both in the West Bank and even more prominently so in Gaza, that operate through a manic labyrinth of Kafka-esque bureaucracy—expropriated property deeds, denied travel permits, unwarranted arrests and detentions—it took the mangled bodies of four Gazan boys upon the beach to catapult the horrors of Israeli policy onto the world stage.
In turn, BDS, which holds visibility and awareness of the Palestinian struggle for justice as a central tenet of its strategy, came to the forefront both during the onslaught and more prominently after the smoke had cleared. The key tenet of the BDS campaign is to both elucidate and attack the politico-economic implications of such an occupation: who is profiting? how are they profiting? what can be done?
In a political environment in which the battle is fought particularly intensely on the ideological plane, BDS presents a critical, calculated attempt to betray and attack the material motivations at the heart of the occupation. It enfranchises Palestinians throughout the world with economic leverage against a settler-colony that is based—unlike South Africa, which required black labor—on the exclusion and denial of any economic enfranchisement for Palestinians. more.. e-mail Netanyahu: An Enemy of Peace
Mel Gurtov, CounterPunch 7/28/2015
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has established himself as the biggest enemy of peace in the Middle East. His thoroughly unwelcome and error-marred speech to Congress on Iran, his last-minute racist scare tactics on election eve in Israel, and his disingenuous post-election statement that he really does support a two-state solution all reveal a man who fears a just Middle East peace and will do everything he can to thwart it.
President Obama has taken the correct position in distancing himself from Netanyahu and, with the usual diplomatic language, making plain that so long as Netanyahu is in charge, the peace process is dead. Their widely reported strained personal relationship is one thing, but the main thing is that the United States and the Palestinian Authority do not have a negotiating partner. What Netanyahu said in the last moments of his electoral campaign simply cannot be walked back: that no two-state solution will ever occur while he is prime minister; and that the Arab vote is a threat to Israel’s political system. This is a man who will say and do whatever it takes to preserve his power and keep the Palestinian people in a subordinate place.
Netanyahu has a lot of help in achieving those objectives, both in Congress and from his embassy in Washington. The Israel Lobby remains powerful and well funded, with many resources for ensuring that military and economic aid to Israel continues, that the Palestinian cause is ignored, and that Israel’s nuclear weapon arsenal is never a fit topic of debate. Netanyahu’s faithful front man–the American-born Israeli ambassador, Ron Dermer–is a key figure in the lobby—a man who, like his boss, never takes a backward step when it comes to promoting an expansive notion of Israel’s security needs. He is reportedly working tirelessly to restore Bibi’s credibility and embolden Congress members to maintain sanctions on Iran. Unless and until the Israel Lobby is reined in, significant change in US policy is hard to imagine. more.. e-mail Israel’s small but genuine peace camp
Daoud Kuttab, Arabic Media Internet Network (AMIN) 7/23/2015
Their numbers might be small but their presence is, and should be, publicly acknowledged and encouraged. They are the small group of dedicated Israelis who make it their goal to be present physically to express solidarity with Palestinians in the occupied territories. They are regularly sharing with the people of Bilin, Nabi Saleh or Nilin their Friday protests against the separation wall and settlements. Now they are present in the south Hebron village of Suisia, supporting Palestinians whose presence is being threatened by oppressive Israeli measures. The culprit this time is the Israeli army itself which is eager to use the lightly populated area as military target practice. They probably prefer Suisia to locations in the Negev because it is close to their homes and more comfortable than the hot desert! Israelis who show solidarity with Palestinians often face dual discrimination. By taking a strong and public stand with Palestinians they are automatically in the minority in a country that was built on military power and is focused on the love and adoration of its army. While it is true that many Israelis don’t very much like the radical settlers that the army is protecting, nevertheless, these peace activists are on the fringe because they are courageous enough to confront their own soldiers and provide protection for Palestinians by their mere presence. At the same time, some of these solidarity groups face direct or indirect attacks by Palestinians who are wary of any action that might give the appearance that the occupation is normal and that such superficial Israel protests actually strengthen the Israeli occupiers.... more.. e-mail
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