Top News & Analysis from Israel & Palestine: August 20-26, 2022

What We’re Reading

New from FMEP

Israel, Palestine, & Take-Aways from the 2022 Democratic Party Primaries,

During the 2022 Democratic Party Primaries Israel-aligned funders invested tens of millions of dollars to defeat progressive candidates who, as part of a broader rights-based, democratic agenda, support Palestinian rights. To examine this phenomenon and its implications, FMEP non-resident Fellow Dr. Maha Nassar will host political strategist Rania Batrice, FMEP President Lara Friedman, and analyst Dr. Yousef Munayyer in conversation to address questions like: How does Israel/Palestine show up in Democratic Party politics today? How deep is the embrace of Palestinian rights among progressive candidates and in the grassroots? What has pushback from Israel-aligned funders (from both parties) looked like and how may it manifest in the future, and what does it mean for progressive organizing and candidates in the future? 

Israeli Raids on Palestinian Civil Society Organizations: The Costs of International Inaction,

Webinar 8/25, co-convened by FMEP, MEI, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, DAWN, the International Crisis Group, Century International and U.S./Middle East Project (USMEP), featuring: Ubai al-Aboudi (Bisan Center for Research and Development), Moayyad Bsharat (Union of Agricultural Work Committees), Sahar Francis (Addameer), Shawan Jabarin (Al Haq – Law in the Service of Man), Tahreer Jaber (Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees), and Khaled Quzmar (Defense for Children International); Expert moderators: Khaled Elgindy (MEI), Lara Friedman (FMEP), Zaha Hassan (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace), and Raed Jarrar (DAWN). See also Israel’s Unrelenting Campaign against Palestinian NGOs and the US Response (Arab Center DC conversation with Jonathan Kuttab (Arab Center Washington DC), Susan Power (Al Haq), and Lara Friedman (FMEP), in conversation with Khalil Jahshan (Arab Center Washington DC) and FMEP’s Resource page, On Israel’s Declaration of Palestinian Human Rights Groups as “Terrorist Organizations”, with links to podcasts, webinars, articles, and Lara Friedman’s Twitter threads.

Illiberals-in-Arms: The Deepening Alliance between the American & Israeli “New Right”,

In this episode of Occupied Thoughts, FMEP’s Lara Friedman speaks with Israeli journalist Noam Sheizaf about the deepening love affair between the American and Israeli “new right” – a topic that Noam examined in his recent article in +972 Magazine, An Israeli home for America’s New Right.

Israel's Escalating Assault on Palestinian Human Rights NGOs

CIA unable to corroborate Israel’s ‘terror’ label for Palestinian rights groups,

“A classified CIA report shows the agency was unable to find any evidence to support Israel’s decision to label six prominent Palestinian NGOs as “terrorist organizations”…The CIA report “doesn’t say that the groups are guilty of anything”, one source said. The assessment was highly classified, a second source said…In light of the CIA’s assessment, “the United States should very clearly call on the Israeli government to reverse these designations, and to allow these organizations to continue their vital work,” said Omar Shakir, Israel/Palestine director of Human Rights Watch.”

‘You will pay the price’: Shin Bet threatens Palestinian NGO directors,

“On Sunday, the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, made threatening calls and summoned for interrogation the heads of two Palestinian NGOs whose offices were raided by the Israeli army in the occupied West Bank last week. Khaled Quzmar, the director of Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P), was warned by Shin Bet agents during his interrogation that any work he does within the organization from now on will be considered unlawful and may result in legal actions against him. Shawan Jabarin, director of Al-Haq, was warned over the phone that he was “a member of a terror organization,” and that he would “pay the price” if he continued his activities in the organization; Jabarin has not yet appeared for interrogation.” See also Palestinian rights group chief arrested by Israeli intelligence (Middle East Eye)

Israel's assault on Palestinian NGOs is shutting off access to international community,

Israel’s assault on Palestinian civil society, most recently with overnight raids on Palestinian NGOs, has posed serious questions as to what extent these groups will be able to continue operating with the outside world. So far, European governments, the UN and the US have said they would maintain their relationships with the organisations despite Israel’s moves to outlaw them. However, experts say that as long as Israel is able to impede their operations domestically, they soon may have no ability to work with international institutions and could cease to exist altogether…”The raid and closure of the organisations’ offices and the targeting of the general directors already makes it harder for these organisations to normally continue with their work and cooperation with other states and institutions,” attorney Rabea Eghbariah of Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, told Middle East Eye.…Eghbariah added that while Israel’s designation does not have any international jurisdiction – and so far no other country has followed Israel’s lead – the terror labelling may still “expose third parties to liability under Israeli law and deter international actors from cooperating with, platforming or funding these institutions”. The attorney for Adalah, which is representing the six organisations, added that the issuance of travel bans, prison sentences, and the seizure of funding all are real and tangible obstacles that could impede the groups’ work at home and abroad. Travel bans have already been used against the directors of two organisations – Sahar Francis of Addameer and Ubai Aboudi of Bisan – when they were refused entry to the US…”Most people looked at these designations when they first came out 10 months ago and understood this to be an effort to cut off international funding to them. If you cut off international funding to them, they’re no longer able to function,” Lara Friedman, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, told Middle East Eye.”

As Israel Raids Palestinian Human Rights Groups, US Response Is Muted,

“Hours after the raids, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that Israel hadn’t given adequate grounds for the shutdowns and that the US was “concerned” about the raids. Price also said Israel would be sending over more information about the raids, and that the US would be assessing it…“If the administration agreed with the Israeli claims, they would have said so. The fact that they haven’t tells you all you need to know about the US assessment of these designations,” said Matt Duss, the foreign policy advisor to Sen. Bernie Sanders. “But the Israeli government doesn’t necessarily need the US’s agreement, just its silence. They just need the administration to do nothing. And unfortunately that’s what they’re getting.””

19 envoys demand answers from Israel's FM over raid on Palestinian NGOs,

“European Union Ambassador to Israel Dimiter Tzantchev and diplomats from 19 countries demanded answers from the Foreign Ministry about last week’s IDF raid of the offices of seven Palestinian non-governmental organizations Israel has classified as terror groups. The meeting was “to raise our deep concerns over the raids on the Palestinian civil society organizations last week,” Tzantchev tweeted after Monday’s meeting with Israeli officials. “These actions are not acceptable,” he said, adding that “the EU is a firm supporter of free and strong civil society.” The diplomats who represented 19 European nations said they did not accept Israel’s terror designation, explaining that they had not received any evidence to validate that claim.”

Israel/Palestine: Statement by High Representative Josep Borrell on the Israeli raids on six Palestinian civil society organisations,

“The EU is deeply concerned by the raids on six Palestinian civil society organisations…These actions are not acceptable…As already explained, no substantial information was received from Israel that would justify reviewing our policy towards the six Palestinian civil society organisations on the basis of the Israeli decision to designate these NGOs as ‘terrorist organisations.’ We have been consistently clear with Israeli authorities on this, together with many EU Member States and like-minded partners, including following the latest events. Should convincing evidence be made available to the contrary, we would act accordingly. In the meantime, it is crucial to ensure that anti-terrorism legislation does not lead to undermining civil society and its valuable work and contributions to building fairer and more peaceful societies.”

See also Joint Statement: Over 150 Organizations Demand International Community Stand Against Raids and Closures of 7 Palestinian Organizations (Human Rights Watch);  UN experts condemn Israeli suppression of Palestinian human rights organisations (OHCHR); ISRAEL: INCLO Members Stand in Solidarity with Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Declared Terrorist Groups by Israeli Government and Raided, Call for Israel to Desist from Persecution Campaign (including the ACLU); Over 190 Organizations Demand International Community Stand Against Raids and Closures of 7 Palestinian Organizations;  Israeli rights groups condemn ‘baseless’ terror listing of Palestinian advocacy orgs (including B’Tselem, Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Breaking the Silence, J Street, Peace Now, and 40+ others); also see their statement:  “Human Rights Are Not Terrorism.” ; Joint Letter by DAWN and Ten Advocacy Groups Urges US to Suspend Military Aid to Israel in Light of Widespread and Systematic Human Rights Abuses; US Jewish Organizations Letter Urging Secretary Blinken to Address Israel’s Persecution of Palestinian Civil Society (Americans for Peace Now) See also Liberal Zionists build pressure on U.S. gov’t to condemn Israel’s ‘persecution’ of Palestinian groups (Mondoweiss); Israel is criminalizing Palestinian human rights defenders. American Jews must push the US to intervene (Daniel Sokatch//Forward); Over 190 Organizations Demand International Community Stand Against Raids and Closures of 7 Palestinian Organizations;  Editorial | Like Putin and Erdogan (Haaretz) and Where’s the intelligence on the Palestinian NGO terrorism ties? – editorial (JPost)

Apartheid/Occupation/Human Rights

Number of Prisoners Held Without Trial in Israeli Jails Hits Highest Peak Since 2008,

“Israel is currently holding 723 detainees in prison without trial, the highest number since 2008 and a significant rise from the 671 held at the beginning of August. Eleven of the detainees are Israeli citizens – none of them Jewish – and the rest are Palestinians. The number of administrative detainees in Israel has soared since the wave of terror attacks in March, with 52 added since the start of August. Arrests have been made since the fighting in Gaza earlier this month against Islamic Jihad and a crackdown on the organization in the West Bank. Suspects held in administrative detention are incarcerated in Israel without charges filed against them under a system of “preventive detention.” They are not brought before a court, and their lawyers are not provided with the evidence against them apart from a brief summary of the key suspicions. A confidential intelligence report and administrative detention order signed by the chief of the Israel Defense Forces Central Command are presented to the judge who is required to approve the detention, without the detainee in attendance.”

Palestinian striker held by Israel in critical condition,

“A Palestinian hunger striker held by Israel is in critical condition and could die at any moment from a range of maladies, a doctor who has examined him said Monday, after the country’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal to release the man. Khalil Awadeh, 40, has been on a hunger strike since March to protest his so-called administrative detention, an Israeli policy of holding Palestinians for alleged involvement in militant activity. Detainees can be held without charge or trial for months or years at a time, without seeing the purported evidence against them. Israel describes the policy as a necessary security measure, while critics say it is a violation of due process. Awawdeh’s family says he has been on the hunger strike for 170 days, subsisting only on water. Photos of Awawdeh taken by his lawyer on Friday showed him emaciated and lying in a hospital bed.” See also Israel High Court Rejects Appeal to Release Palestinian Hunger Striker and ‘Terrible injustice’: Palestinian detainee in Israel nears 200 days of hunger strike (Middle East Eye) and ‘Slow execution’: Israel extends Ahmad Manasra’s prison isolation (Al Jazeera)

Why Benny Gantz is one of Israel’s most dangerous leaders,

“Benny Gantz is undoubtedly one of the most dangerous officials in Israel’s recent history. The latest testament to this was on display across Ramallah on Thursday, when the Israeli army — which falls under Gantz’s purview as defense minister — raided the offices of seven leading Palestinian human rights groups, welded their doors shut, and declared them “illegal.” Shortly after, the Shin Bet threatened two of the organizations’ Palestinian directors, promising they would “pay the price” if they continued their work. The soldiers who stormed the offices, and the intelligence agents who issued the threats, were following an executive order issued a year ago which designated the NGOs as “terrorist organizations” — an order signed by Gantz himself. As with any institutions, Israel’s political and military structures cannot be pinned on any single individual. And for Palestinians in particular, these institutions have acted with a great deal of consistency regardless of who is in power. Yet it is hard to dispute that for the past decade, Gantz has held a special place in this machinery of violence. Whether sporting an army uniform or donning a dark suit, he has been at the center of some of the most egregious acts of oppression against Palestinians in recent years, among which the outlawing of top civil society groups is only the tip of the iceberg.”

Palestinians handle trauma better when we struggle together to survive’,

“The repetition of different forms of violence, from the Nakba to the present day, have inflicted different kinds of trauma on Palestinians, while also forging a strong sense of collectiveness that emerges organically during traumatizing periods. That ongoing trauma peaked once more during May 2021, especially among Palestinians in the Gaza Strip who underwent yet another heavy bombardment by the Israeli army. But Palestinians living inside Israel, too, were exposed to lynching, police brutality, and a pervasive sense of danger as security forces abetted settler attacks. Taken together, these threats amounted to a combination of what psychologist Asrar Kayyal calls direct and “slow” violence, which, in its routine perpetration, inflicts “continuous trauma” on Palestinians…+972 Magazine spoke to Kayyal, who is also a children’s therapist, about her and her colleagues’ May 2021 efforts; the different kinds of trauma experienced by Palestinians over the decades and their cumulative impacts; and what meaning — and purpose — Palestinians draw from these histories… “In the settler-colonial substitutional context, the state is built on the land of the colonized nation and aims to erase them. Our struggle against this ethnic cleansing has meaning for us, and the weight of the traumas is handled better if people practice their own collective identity. We are trying to preserve our collectiveness in the face of attempts to erase it. But if Palestinians were to go through trauma without unity, dealing with its effects would become harder because it would lose meaning, as Viktor Frankl said.””

How Ibrahim al-Nabulsi became the ‘lion of Nablus’,

“Ibrahim Al-Nabulsi represented the possibility of reigniting the spirit of resistance in a new generation. That’s why Israel killed him.”

Two Palestinians Were Indicted for Attacking Israeli Policemen. This Video Made Israel Drop the Charges,

“Two Palestinians from East Jerusalem will not be charged with attacking police officers after video evidence proved that they were the victims of violence, and not the perpetrators. The prosecution had prepared a draft indictment without viewing the videos or considering testimony that was given to the Justice Ministry’s police misconduct unit. That testimony contradicted the original police report filed following the violent incident in 2019.” See also On His Way Home After Prayer, a Man Is Killed by a Bullet to the Head (Haaretz), Israel Closes Case Against Settler Suspected of Fatally Stabbing Palestinian (Haaretz), Palestinian prisoner’s family fear for his life threats by far-right Israeli politician ‘to kill him’ (The New Arab)

Palestinians working in Israel strike over demand for bank accounts,

“Tens of thousands of Palestinians employed in Israel staged a one-day strike on Sunday in protest at a decision to pay their salaries into bank accounts rather than in cash. The new payment method was agreed between Palestinian and Israeli authorities looking for a more efficient and secure way to pay salaries, but workers fear that hidden fees and new taxes will cut into their wages.”

Palestinian flight plan shelved on eve of first scheduled departure,

“Israel’s airport authority announced earlier this month that Ramon in the Negev desert, near the Red Sea city of Eilat, would begin allowing Palestinians from the occupied West Bank to travel on Turkish-operated flights to Antalya and Istanbul from 22 August…However, on Sunday the Israel Airports Authority said in a statement that the plan had been paused and that an announcement would be made when a new date was set, the Times of Israel reported. The statement did not set out a reason for the pause. Officials in the West Bank city of Ramallah had previously publicly rejected the plan, saying it had not been coordinated with the Palestinian Authority (PA) and bypasses the Palestinians’ right to a sovereign airport.”

Gaza Strip

Israel’s blockade has been destroying Gaza’s health system for 15 years,

“Constant stress and trauma, high food and water insecurity, and the long-term results of violence from Israeli bombs and snipers, including thousands of amputations, mean that health outcomes in Gaza are poor on every measure, even when compared to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. Israeli control over what enters Gaza, especially those items restricted under the “dual use” policy, has rendered the health system wholly incapable of responding to these challenges. Restrictions on concrete and pipes means that some health facilities that are bombed won’t be rebuilt. Shortages on basic goods like IV bags and gauze are common. Advanced treatments for chronic illnesses like cancer do not exist in the territory at all, requiring an Israeli-issued permit to leave Gaza and receive needed care in Israel or East Jerusalem—a permit that is often arbitrarily denied or delayed to the point where patients miss hard-to-get appointments. A physician cannot even expect electricity for an entire shift. The result of these policies is, then, not surprising. Life expectancy is among the lowest in the Middle East (and nearly ten years shorter than Israelis), infant and maternal mortality is high, and malnutrition is prevalent, with high levels of stunted growth and iron deficiency among children.” See also: Gaza: Israel’s One Million Child Prison is a Mental Health Crisis (Palestine Chronicle)

Feeling less than human: The hell of crossing into Gaza,

“My Palestinian ID means I’m one of few able to enter the besieged Gaza Strip. But the journey via Egypt requires submitting to days of arbitrary humiliation.”

Forced Population Transfer & Demolitions in Masafer Yatta

Demolishing our community center won’t destroy our resistance,

“We have held many activities in the community center, especially programs for women and youth. We have led and hosted legal training and first aid training, women’s empowerment courses, a photo voice project for women to tell their stories, sewing classes, and language courses in Hebrew and English. We also made sure the community center could function as a guest house, which has enabled us to host individuals and delegations who come and visit the area in order to stand in solidarity with us…I don’t know if the military issued the demolition order when it did as retaliation for having hosted activists after the protest; it is certainly possible. But I do know that our center has been targeted by the army and by the settlers. They are trying to demolish our community center, our struggle, and our co-resistance. We will fight against this demolition, but we also know that the settlers and army are wrong: even if they destroy our center, they can never destroy our activism and our resistance.” See also FMEP’s June podcast with Sameeha Hureini, “It’s our responsibility to turn on the light”: Masafer Yatta, Apartheid, and Youth Activism

Israeli Supreme Court decision on Masafer Yatta paves way for land grabs,

“The Israeli Supreme Court rejected an appeal on Sunday from the residents of Masafer Yatta in the southern occupied West Bank, petitioning against the demolition of two schools, clinics and structures in the area. The residents’ lawyers had filed the petition following a supreme court decision in May that ordered the expulsion of 1,200 Palestinians in Masafer Yatta so the area could be turned into an Israeli military “firing zone” – a training ground for Israeli forces…The residents’ lawyers filed another petition seeking an interim injunction on Sunday but said that if it fails, it would affect the nearby villages of Tuba and Isfai as well. “If the new petition is rejected, which we unfortunately feel will most likely happen, then it will threaten 50 percent of the structures in Fakheet, Janba, Tuba, and Isfai with imminent demolition,” Sami Huraini, a local activist with Youth of Sumud, told Middle East Eye.””

Global/Tech/US & Iran

Is the Iran deal worth salvaging?,

“After almost 17 months of diplomatic wrangling, there could be glimmers of hope for a nuclear deal with Iran. On Wednesday, U.S. officials said they had sent back a response to Iranian comments on a E.U.-led draft agreement that would salvage the 2015 agreement over Tehran’s nuclear program. The trading of response documents could precede another round of talks in Vienna aimed at restoring the terms of the original deal, which placed hard curbs on Iran’s ability to enrich fissile material to weapons-grade levels in return for sanctions relief…Now, the Iranian regime and the Biden administration are simply “trying to secure their very basic and immediate needs,” Ghazvinian told me. The Biden administration wants to rein in Iran’s march toward being able to produce a nuclear weapon, while Iran would welcome loosened sanctions on its economy and oil exports.” See also Israel pours energy into media blitz against looming Iran nuclear deal (Al Monitor) and Mossad chief says looming Iran deal ‘based on lies,’ is ‘very bad for Israel’ (Times of Israel)

Palestinians renew push for United Nations membership,

“The Palestinian Authority has renewed its push for full membership in the United Nations and has turned to the Security Council on the matter. UNSC approval is necessary for full UN membership. The United States has in the past opposed such a drive, making such a move impossible. The US is one of five permanent UNSC members, all of whom have veto power.”

UNRWA facing 'existential threat', agency chief Lazzarini warns UN Security Council,

“UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA has no financial reserve and is facing an “existential threat”, the organisation’s leader warned the United Nations Security Council on Thursday. Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini in his address said the agency has experienced a “chronic underfunding” of its programme budget for the past decade, making it difficult to satisfy its mandate from the UN General Assembly. He said the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been “deprioritised” by changes to “geopolitical priorities” and “regional dynamics”, according to UNRWA’s website, adding that the agency was under attack by “malicious” campaigns. “Coordinated campaigns to delegitimise UNRWA with a view to erode the rights of Palestine refugees are increasing in frequency and maliciousness,” Lazzarini said.”

Growing use of apartheid label for Israel 'a wake up call', Israeli ex-negotiator concedes,

“Daniel Levy, who was an official negotiator for the Israeli government at the Oslo talks, made the comments at a UN Security Council session on the situation in the Middle East region…”We know of certain developments that can at the same time be both politically uncomfortable and politically salient. The increasingly weighty body of scholarly, legal and public opinion that has designated Israel to be perpetrating apartheid in the territories under its control is just such a development,” Levy said.” See also Daniel Levy’s full statement here.

Israel-US sign cybersecurity agreement,

“Israel and the United States signed Aug. 23 the first agreement for cyber-financial cooperation. An announcement by Israel’s Finance Ministry said the memorandum of understanding, signed with the US Department of Treasury, will contribute to strengthening the long-standing relationship and cooperation between the two countries, establishing a bilateral partnership to protect critical financial infrastructure and emerging technologies…First and foremost, the memorandum envisages sharing of financial cyber information between agencies on both sides, including cybersecurity regulations and guidance, cybersecurity incidents and cybersecurity threat intelligence. A second domain covered by the agreement is mutual staff training and the sharing of methodologies, to strengthen the cyber resilience of financial institutions. The third domain covers competency-building activities, including joint cross-border cyber-financial exercises.”

Lawfare/Redefining Antisemitism to Quash Criticism of Israel

Has the Fight Against Antisemitism Lost Its Way?,

“Now that any challenge to Jewish statehood is met with charges of bigotry against Jews, prominent American Jewish organizations and their allies in the U.S. government have made the fight against antisemitism into a vehicle not for defending human rights but for denying them…But the campaign against antisemitism is being deployed to justify not merely the violation of Palestinian human rights. As relations have warmed between Israel and the monarchies of the Persian Gulf, American officials have begun using the struggle against antisemitism to shield those regimes from human rights pressure, too…When it comes to their own disenfranchised populations, Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. are as intolerant as ever. What has changed is their tolerance for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians. And because officials like Ms. Lipstadt define the fight against antisemitism largely as a fight to legitimize Israel, they legitimize its tyrannical Arab allies as well…In a terrible irony, the campaign against “antisemitism,” as waged by influential Jewish groups and the U.S. government, has become a threat to freedom. It is wielded as a weapon against the world’s most respected human rights organizations and a shield for some of the world’s most repressive regimes.”

Ben & Jerry’s lose bid to block sale of ice-cream in Israeli West Bank settlements,

“Ben & Jerry’s has lost its attempt to block its parent company Unilever from selling its ice-cream in West Bank settlements, which the US firm said would run counter to its values. The company, known for its political activism, took the unusual step seeking an injunction after London-based Unilever announced it had sold its interest in the ice-cream to an Israeli license-holder. But a US federal judge ruled on Monday the ice-cream company had “failed to demonstrate” that the move to sell the goods in the Israeli-occupied settlements caused it “irreparable harm”.”

CEO of Israeli NSO spyware company steps down amid shakeup,

“The CEO of Israeli spyware firm NSO Group, which has been accused of selling software allowing repressive governments to secretly eavesdrop on their critics, has stepped down as part of an internal reshuffle, the company said Sunday…NSO has been mired in a global backlash and legal action over its alleged sales of Pegasus software to governments and other clients, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Hungary and India. The software has been used to spy on political activists, embassy employees, human rights advocates, journalists and even at least one president.”

US Scene

George Soros Donates $1 Million to J Street's Super PAC,

“The sum from Soros’ Democracy PAC is 20 times larger than any previous donation J Street Action Fund received, and comes after AIPAC’s United Democracy Project super PAC received nearly $30 million in donations – including six gifts of $1 million or more – since forming at the end of 2021…Though this is his first contribution to J Street’s super PAC, which launched in January in response to AIPAC’s moves, Soros has a long-standing relationship with the organization. A grant from his Open Society Foundations covers approximately 6 percent of J Street’s annual budget.”

Barre Seid, donor to pro-Israel causes, is behind $1.6 billion donation to conservative nonprofit,

“Barre Seid, a low-profile donor to conservative and pro-Israel causes, made a historic $1.6 billion donation last year to a conservative group that seeks to influence policy in the United States. The New York Times reported on Monday that the massive infusion went to the Marble Freedom Trust. The group is run by veteran political operative Leonard Leo, who for years led the Federalist Society group of conservative activists and is credited with helping produce the current conservative majority on the Supreme Court…Barre Seid, a low-profile donor to conservative and pro-Israel causes, made a historic $1.6 billion donation last year to a conservative group that seeks to influence policy in the United States…The Times reports that the donation is “among the largest — if not the largest — single contributions ever made to a politically focused nonprofit.” See also An Unusual $1.6 Billion Donation Bolsters Conservatives (NYT)

​​Congress, Biden Duke It Out Over Egypt Aid,

“A battle is brewing between the Biden administration and Congress over military aid to a crucial but autocratic ally in the Middle East, a fight that drives at the heart of values in U.S. foreign policy and President Joe Biden’s vows to stand up to dictators and defend human rights abroad…The dispute centers on U.S. military aid to Egypt, an annual allotment that has amounted to tens of billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars over decades. Nearly every year, for around 35 years, the United States has sent $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt to shore up the geopolitically important U.S.-Egypt relationship and help stabilize uneasy ties between Egypt and Washington’s most important Middle Eastern ally, Israel. In recent years, Congress laid out a rule that a portion of that funding—around $300 million—should be conditioned on the Egyptian government upholding some basic human rights conditions. But a built-in waiver allows the president to waive that rule on national security grounds. And nearly every year, the president has used that waiver to keep that $1.3 billion tradition rolling. A growing chorus of human rights groups and lawmakers, particularly on the Democratic Party’s progressive flank, want Biden to send a message to Egypt that the United States won’t accept the status quo of sending the same amount of military assistance, in light of Egypt’s dismal record on human rights.”

She was fired for being publicly pro-Palestine. One year later, no one is hiring her.,

“Last November, Abulhawa was terminated from her position as an athletic trainer at the Agnes Irwin School after members of the school’s community raised concerns over her years-old, pro-Palestine social media posts that were characterized as antisemitic. The termination decimated Abulhawa’s career, leaving the now 25-year-old Palestinian American to wonder whether she would have to give up on her dream so soon after starting it. And scholars say it is emblematic of a larger trend of advocates for Palestinian rights being silenced and retaliated against for their views, particularly because support for Israel is dominant in American discourse and politics…“I was so scared they were going to google me and find the Canary Mission profile,” Abulhawa said. The intimidation and anxiety that Abulhawa felt in the aftermath of her termination is the goal of groups like Canary Mission, [Rutgers Law professor Sahar] Aziz said: using accusations of antisemitism as a weapon to stifle criticism of the Israeli state’s policies and practices…Ultimately, Abulhawa decided to take action: in March, she filed a federal discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. “We believe that her termination, at least as it was related to the social media posts, was pre-textual,” said Welbeck, who’s a civil rights attorney for the Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations. Welbeck went on to explain that Abulhawa’s advocacy for Palestine, particularly as a woman of color, was one of multiple underlying discriminatory factors he believes led to her termination: “That was really the issue.””

Why a pro-Israel Campus Organization Is Bringing Jewish Students to Ramallah,

“Earlier this month, Hillel brought 48 U.S. college students on a trip you might not expect from an organization frequently accused of being too “pro-Israel” to sponsor…Participants visited the West Bank city of Ramallah, where they met with Palestinian businessmen. They toured the town of Kafr Qara in northern Israel, where they heard from Arab citizens about what it’s like to be a minority in a Jewish state. And in Jerusalem, they combined a visit to the Temple Mount with a tour of the Muslim and Christian quarters of the Old City…This version is seemingly less about convincing Jewish college students about the legitimacy of the Palestinian narrative as it is about providing them with better tools to advocate on Israel’s behalf on campus.”

Media & Culture

Deliberate misrepresentation: Western media bias makes Israeli war on Palestinians possible,

“’Palestinian militants’ and ‘terrorists’ have always been the West’s bad guys.  Per the logic of their media coverage, Israel does not launch unprovoked wars on Palestinians, and is not an unrepentant military occupier, or a racist apartheid regime. This language can only be used by marginal ‘radical’ and ‘leftist’ media, never the mainstream.”

Netflix's Mo: 'Rebranding' Palestine,

“In Mo, Amer plays the part of an undocumented Palestinian refugee, “I’ve never been to Palestine, I don’t have citizenship there, don’t have it here,” he explains in the show. It’s through humour that Amer, now 41, shares his own lived experience of trying to get US citizenship, a process that took him 20 years…But what makes Mo unique are the strong stories of Palestinian identity – references to occupation, to belonging, to grief – layered throughout, adding an idiosyncratic depth.”

For Cherien Dabis, the Emmy-Nominated Palestinian American Director of ‘Only Murders in the Building,’ Storytelling Is a Matter of Survival,

“During the first Gulf War, my Palestinian Jordanian immigrant family was so egregiously discriminated against in small-town Ohio that not only did we receive death threats on a daily basis, but the Secret Service came to my high school to investigate a rumor that my 17-year-old sister had threatened to kill the president. At the tender age of 14, I was forced to ask myself why our friends and neighbors would so suddenly and swiftly turn on us. What on Earth made them think that we were somehow a threat? That’s when I discovered the power of film and television. I began to study the ways in which we Arabs were dangerously misrepresented, portrayed as villains, terrorists and jihadists — and that’s if we were represented at all. There was a complete dearth of any remotely authentic portrayal. I vowed to change that. My intimate, formative experience of the consequences of careless and harmful portrayals of communities like my own drove me to pursue a film and television career based upon the need for authentic representation.”

Gaza teen rapper MC Abdul responds to Palestine attacks with new song 'What is it Worth?',

“Gazan hip-hop teen sensation MC Abdul has released another powerful song detailing the plight of Palestinians living under the bombardment of the Israeli army…The song, which MC Abdul uploaded to his Instagram account on Monday, questions the futility of the ongoing conflict that has left generations of Palestinians growing up amid the devastation of their homeland.”

Inside the Green Line//Israeli Scene

What If Netanyahu Wins?,

“Legal analysts are clear that, if a parliamentary majority is secured, Netanyahu could take a sledgehammer to Israel’s democratic edifice. “The entire system, all the authority of the Supreme Court, the separation of powers between the government branches, the checks and balances — there’s no guarantee of anything here, because there’s no constitution. You just need 61 votes in Knesset,” Amir Fuchs, a senior researcher at the Israel Democracy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, told me. “This is the fundamental problem. In theory they can do anything” with an absolute majority, and in some cases even a simple majority.”

An Uneasy Alliance in Jerusalem,

“This November’s parliamentary elections will in large part be a referendum on the participation of Palestinian-Arabs as equals to Jews in Israel’s political process.”

Palestinians in Israel and the Illusionary Promise of Inclusive Citizenship,

“Israeli citizenship is a product of the Zionist colonial conquest of Palestine. While Jewish settlers were viewed as authentic subjects of citizenship who were therefore entitled to automatic semi-birthright citizenship, Palestinian citizenship was constructed as a benevolent act of gesture by the state. This holds true also today. The history of citizenship making in Israel shows that Israeli citizenship is part of the problem, not the solution.”


Tel Aviv and the Israeli Government Spar Over School Maps Showing 1967 Borders,

“With the new school year about to open, the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality sent its schools maps showing the Green Line, which was Israel’s pre-1967 border. But the Education Ministry told the municipality on Monday that it can’t use the map – “not even as a poster on the wall.”…In most schools, there is almost no discussion of Israel’s borders. Commercially produced maps are hung in classrooms only at the initiative of local governments or individual schools, and they generally don’t show the Green Line. Textbooks, which require ministry approval, also barely address this issue. And no official Israeli map shows the Green Line, under a cabinet decision made back in 1967. Consequently, Tel Aviv’s initiative is exceptional.” See also Opinion  Tel Aviv allowing kids to see Israel’s actual border shouldn’t be controversial (Gershom Gorenberg//WaPo)

Why is Israel digging up the graves of Mizrahi children?,

“Yosef Melamed is one of over 2,000 cases in which children disappeared after being taken by state-affiliated agencies from their parents without consent, mostly during the 1950s. In each case, the parents — who predominantly lived in transit camps for new immigrants — were told that their child had died but were not shown a body, a death certificate, or often even a grave. More than two-thirds of the children who disappeared in what is now known as the Yemenite, Mizrahi and Balkan Children Affair were born to Yemenite parents; during those years, it is estimated that one out of every eight Yemenite children in Israel disappeared. The remaining disappearances were mostly children of other Mizrahi [literally “eastern”] origin, such as North African and Iraqi children, while a small number were from families who immigrated from the Balkans. The affair has been investigated by state committees of varying degrees of authority in the 1960s, 1980s, and 1990s, over the course of which many of the families affected submitted testimonies. Some recalled how their child was not even sick when state authorities took them away; others reported being told that their child had died before going and finding them alive. But the state continues to deny any intentional wrongdoing, arguing that the disappearances were the result of the difficulties associated with mass immigration during those years, and that the vast majority of those children simply died of illnesses. All the while, former health and welfare workers continue to testify to their role in handing over babies for adoption straight out of hospitals…+972 Magazine spoke to Tom Mehager and Naama Katiee, Amram’s executive director and chair of the board, respectively, about the latest legal and political developments, and the families’ long road to justice.”