Top News & Analysis from Palestine & Israel: June 10-17, 2022

What We’re Reading

New from FMEP

Original Research,

FMEP publishes two resources on (most) Fridays: Lara Friedman’s Legislative Round-Up and Kristin McCarthy’s Settlement & Annexation Report. To subscribe to those reports, click here.

Expulsions & Forcible Transfer in Masafer Yatta

The Israeli government is trying to destroy my village – we need your help,

“Growing up in Masafer Yatta – in southern West Bank, in Palestinian territories – was in many ways a beautiful experience. As a child, I dearly loved living in the natural environment in which my family and community has thrived. Along with my father, grandfather and brothers, we would take care of the sheep, enjoying the village life of a farmer. I remember school, summer camps, weddings and playing with friends. But there was another side to life here…We have now lived through a 23-year-long legal battle to save our land. I became an activist, like my parents, watching – and filming – with pain how the Israeli occupation targets my community: demolishing homes, water pipes, and roads. Tearing apart places and people I love. Meanwhile, just a few hundred metres away from my home, illegal Israeli settlements have been expanding, stealing more of our land and resources. They enjoy all the benefits of the infrastructure that the army prevents us from building on our land. Things are now at a critical moment. The Israeli Supreme Court, aligned with the interests of the occupation, has decided that my community can be destroyed at any moment. Some 1,300 people will become homeless and 12 villages will be wiped out…How can this be happening? The answer is that Israel is not held to account. Palestinian homes are demolished and land is confiscated. Illegal Israeli settlements grow and new ones are established. The reason why our land is being taken is very clear to me: it is to make more room for Israeli settlers, part of much bigger efforts to have land for Jews only, without Palestinians…We will remain steadfast on our land – but we need your support. We started the #savemasaferyatta social media campaign to get the attention of the international community – share our stories amongst your family, friends, and elected representatives.” See also Largest Palestinian displacement in decades looms after Israeli court ruling (The New Arab)

IDF to Carry Out Live-fire War Games Around Several Palestinian Villages Under Threat of Eviction,

“The IDF is slated to conduct a live fire military exercise in the rural South Hebron Hills area of the West Bank next week, the first such exercise in over a year on the heels of a High Court of Justice decision that rejected Palestinian residents’ claims to the land in favor of the military’s declaration of the region as a closed military training area…The IDF last carried out a live drill in Masafer Yatta in February 2021, when hundreds of soldiers and about 60 vehicles, including armored personnel carriers, mobile artillery units, army vans and a Humvee, took part in the exercise. Contrary to explicit promises the army gave local residents, vehicles left roads, driving onto farmland cultivated by Palestinians and damaging crops.”


See also“Just now the Israeli civil administration accompanied with army raided Tuwani village delivered a final demolition order for Youth Of sumud center in the village in Masafer Yatta /South Hebron Hills.” (Youth of Sumud Twitter) and “BREAKING Imminent threat to the entire community of Khalet a-Thab’a in Masafer Yatta. From Sunday June 19, all but three of the village’s structures are at risk of being destroyed. Israel is advancing the gradual expulsion of Masafer Yatta.” (Yehuda Shaul’s full Twitter thread.)

Israeli Army Raids Palestinian Villages for 'Intel Mapping' After Cutting Practice,

“The Israeli army carried out intelligence-collecting raids in the homes of Palestinians living in the South Hebron Hills over the weekend, though it announced last year that it had nixed the practice. These raids took place in six of the eight villages in the Masafer Yatta region in the West Bank. Last month, the High Court of Justice approved the eviction of some 1,000 Palestinians from the eight villages, after a two-decade legal dispute over land that has been repurposed by the Israeli army as a firing zone, and where Palestinians have lived for generations. The process of “intelligence mapping,” as it is known in Israeli terminology, involves Israeli soldiers entering the homes of Palestinians overnight who are not suspected of any offenses, in order to register the home’s occupants and describe the building.”

Humans of Masafer Yatta: Ali's Story & Hamdan's Story,

Ali Awad: “My oldest memory is of fear. With the excitement of every house we succeeded to build in Tuba came the fear that it could be demolished at any moment. Everytime someone left the home — to go out shepherding with our flocks, to go to school, to go pick something up in the city — I felt afraid they wouldn’t come back…I keep remembering the questions I asked as a child: Why is this our life? Why is this my life? And now, I am watching another generation of Palestinian children be traumatized by stone-throwing, arsonist settlers. They are growing up under the same shadow, their childhoods being defined by settler violence just as mine was. Now, as an adult, I still demand answers. But I refuse to allow terror and injustice to confine me. Today, I am a writer, a human rights activist, and a university graduate with a degree in English Literature, And an English Master student . In spirit, I walk on the road to school with the children of my village every day. In the meantime, I am studying, protesting, and documenting, working towards a different, better, safer, and more fair path for us and for all Palestinians.”


Hamdan Hureni: “Yes, the village was demolished, the children’s dreams were destroyed. The Israeli Occupation Forces stole the safety we felt in our warm homes with our families. They stole from every person living in Susiya. After the demolition there were only the elderly, children and women in the village because the men were arrested and taken to an unknown destination. We did not know where they had gone until several days later when they returned from a detention center. After the demolition of the village, we had to face an even bigger problem, rebuilding the village from scratch. But we are strong here in Susiya. We insisted on finding a way to continue to live by putting up tents, cleaning wells from the rubble, reclaiming caves and bringing water in small tanks to the village on a daily basis. Because of our resilience and hard work, the community of Susiya succeeded in reconstructing the village after such a difficult time. The people of Suisya did not and will not surrender.”

Army stands by as settlers attack activists in Masafer Yatta,

“On Friday, I saw with my own eyes how settler violence works and how the army and police stand aside, do nothing to prevent it, and do not arrest the violent settlers. I saw a settler throw stones and smash the window of a car with left-wing activists inside while his friends blocked the activists from driving away; I saw soldiers watch the incident play out without doing anything; I saw the military’s brigade commander of the area arrive at the scene a few seconds after the attack and start chatting amicably with the driver who blocked the activists from leaving, while the attacker slowly retreated back toward the nearby outpost without anyone attempting to stop him; and I read how the Israeli army’s spokesperson described the violent event which took place before my eyes as “friction between settlers, activists, and Palestinians.””

On the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh

How Shireen Abu Akleh was killed,

“The Washington Post examined more than five dozen videos, social media posts and photos of the event, conducted two physical inspections of the area and commissioned two independent acoustic analyses of the gunshots. That review suggests an Israeli soldier in the convoy likely shot and killed Abu Akleh…The audio analyses of the gunfire that likely killed Abu Akleh point to one person shooting from an estimated distance that nearly matches the span between the journalists and the IDF convoy. Based on video The Post filmed in Jenin, Abu Akleh and other journalists identified as press would likely have been visible from the IDF convoy’s position, which was roughly 182 meters (597 feet) away. At least one soldier in the convoy was using a telescopic scope, the IDF said later in a news release. A live stream on TikTok filmed seven minutes before the shooting shows a relatively calm scene with people milling about. Distant single gunshots are heard on occasion but there are no signs of a firefight.”

Al Jazeera obtains image of bullet that killed its journalist,

“An investigation by Al Jazeera has obtained an image of the bullet used to kill the network’s journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. The photograph for the first time shows the type of ammunition used to kill the veteran Al Jazeera correspondent in the occupied West Bank last month. According to ballistic and forensic experts, the green-tipped bullet was designed to pierce armour and is used in an M4 rifle…The green-tipped bullet was analysed using 3D models and, according to experts, it was 5.56mm calibre – the same used by Israeli forces. The round was designed and manufactured in the United States, experts said.”

Slain Palestinian Journalist Funeral Probe: Israel Police Misconduct found, but Cops Off the Hook,

“An Israeli police investigation into the handling of slain journalist Shireen Abu Akleh’s mass funeral in Jerusalem, where police attacked mourners and nearly caused the pallbearers to drop Abu Akleh’s coffin, concluded that the event amounted to police misconduct, sources told Haaretz. However, none of the commanders overseeing the event will be disciplined, a decision that was made in advance of the investigation.”

Israel's Propaganda Can't Cover Up Its Responsibility for Shireen Abu Akleh's Killing,

“The gaslighting that immediately went into high gear was typical Israeli hasbara. This propaganda unfolds in three stages. Israel routinely blames Palestinians for their own deaths, or casts doubt about its own culpability. Shireen’s killing was no different…When Israel’s attempts to deflect fail, Israel moves to stage two of its hasbara campaign: conduct a whitewashed investigation…Israel has a long track record of claiming to investigate itself. In 2021, B’Tselem published a report concluding that such investigations are part of “Israel’s whitewashing mechanism, and their main purpose remains to silence external criticism, so that Israel can continue to implement its policy unchanged.” Stage three of Israeli hasbara is to proffer a meek apology, if pressed to the point where Israel sees a propaganda advantage in such a move…At most, stage three typically generates a slap on the wrist for the killers and never reaches into the chain of command. Only in a rare instance is serious jail time meted out to guilty soldiers…It is time to hold Israel accountable, not just for Shireen’s killing but for the decades of brutal denial of Palestinian freedom and rights. While many are focused on an investigation, it is the system of impunity that must be addressed.” See also Palestinian reporter’s death highlights weakness of Israeli army investigations (Guardian)

Apartheid/Occupation/Human Rights

Israeli court finds Gaza aid worker guilty on terror charges,

“An Israeli court on Wednesday found a Gaza aid worker guilty of several terrorism charges in a high-profile case in which his employer, independent auditors and the Australian government say they have found no evidence of wrongdoing. Mohammed el-Halabi, the Gaza director for the international Christian charity World Vision, was arrested in 2016 and accused of diverting tens of millions of dollars to the Islamic militant group Hamas that rules the territory. The trial, and his prolonged detention, have further strained relations between Israel and humanitarian organizations that provide aid to Palestinians. Both he and World Vision have denied the allegations and an independent audit in 2017 also found no evidence of support for Hamas. His lawyer, Maher Hanna, has said el-Halabi turned down several plea bargain offers on principle that would have allowed him to walk free.” See also Israel Convicts Palestinian Aid Worker on Charges of Funding Hamas (NYT), Israel convicts ex-World Vision Gaza chief amid ‘serious concerns’ over unfair trial (The New Arab), and this FMEP podcast, “Using “Terrorism” Charges to Target NGOs: Lessons from the Case of Mohamed Halabi” (Lara Friedman with Daoud Kuttab)

How an aid worker disrupted Israel’s apartheid routine,

“Halabi’s ordeal is a notorious example of Israel’s grotesque conception of “due process” for Palestinians. When it comes to prisoners and detainees, the Israeli courts (both military and civil) are almost always banking on the security agencies to pressure Palestinians into taking a plea deal, even if the deal involves a period of continued imprisonment. These bargains are often reached through direct or indirect coercion, including under the threat of indefinite incarceration, through procedural and legal manipulations (such as signing confessions in Hebrew despite not knowing the language), and physical and psychological torture. The Israeli authorities clearly expected this routine to play out with World Vision’s Gaza director. But for the past six years, Halabi has been calling their bluff by insisting on his innocence and refusing to accept a deal — at great personal cost. Baffled by his resolve, wary of clashing with the security establishment, and running out of excuses to delay the process further, the court seems to have finally stepped in to absolve the prosecution of its failures…When Halabi dared the Israeli justice system to back up its accusations with serious proof, the system had no legs to stand on other than unaccountable power.”

Three Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in Jenin raid,

“Three Palestinians have been killed and 10 wounded as Israeli forces raided Jenin in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry has said. About 30 Israeli military vehicles raided Jenin in the early hours of Friday and surrounded a car in al-Marah area in the east of the city, firing shots at four men sitting inside. Three of them were killed and a fourth seriously injured…The Israeli army has ramped up raids in and around the occupied Jenin camp, in an attempt to crack down on growing Palestinian armed resistance there. Fears are rampant of a possible large-scale Israeli invasion of the camp, where the armed wings of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Fatah movements are active.”

Military Court Watch May 2022 Newsletter,

“According to data issued quarterly by the Israeli Prison Service (IPS), as of 31 March 2022, there were 4,241 Palestinians (West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza) held as “security prisoners” in detention facilities including 134 children (12-17 years). In the case of children there was an 8% increase in the number compared with the previous month and an annual decrease of 13% compared with 2021. Two children were held in administrative detention. According to the IPS, 67% of child detainees were transferred to prisons inside Israel in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court…Based on recent evidence, 63 percent of children continue to report being strip searched following arrest.  The process is embarrassing and humiliating with some children reportedly being made to crouch up and down while naked.” See also 450 Palestinian children detained by Israeli forces in the West Bank this year: report (The New Arab)

‘His childhood disappeared’: A Palestinian teen’s nightmare in Israeli detention,

“According to Nakhleh, the Shin Bet agent told him that if he wanted to be released he must promise that he would pass on information from inside the camp — to become a collaborator. “He said it to me clearly,” Nakhleh told +972 last month, after having finally been released from administrative detention after 16 months in jail without trial. “If you refuse, I will keep you in administrative detention,” the man told him. “If you help me, I will help you and you can go home.” But Nakhleh did refuse, because “I do not want to be a collaborator,” and he was taken back to the minors’ branch at Ofer prison. The Shin Bet and the military would subsequently extend Nakhleh’s detention three more times…The campaign for Nakhleh’s release attracted attention from activists around the world, both because he is a minor and because he suffers from a rare autoimmune disease called Myasthenia Gravis, which affects the muscles and can also affect breathing.”

Cash-strapped UN agency for Palestinian refugees faces $100m funding gap,

“The UN agency for Palestinian refugees (Unrwa), which provides healthcare and education to millions of Palestinians, is facing a funding gap of $100m, a top official has said…The US had been Unrwa’s largest single donor, followed by the European Union, until 2018, when the administration of then-US President Donald Trump cut its yearly contribution from $360m to $60m, before cutting all funding in 2019 – leaving the organisation cash-strapped. In April, the administration of US President Joe Biden announced that it was planning to provide $235m of aid in a bid to engage with the Palestinian Authority (PA) and move forward with a two-state solution. Unrwa confirmed at the time that it would receive $150m of this aid from the US, barely enough to support its 700 schools and 150 health clinics that help Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.”

Hidden In Plain Sight: US Nonprofits As Drivers of Illegal Israeli Settlements,

“So far, U.S. nonprofits that are responsible for funneling hundreds of millions of dollars to sustain and expand illegal Israeli settlements have largely escaped scrutiny. Indeed, these organizations maintain 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, providing them access to substantial tax breaks…Advocates for Palestinian rights have often focused on U.S. military and diplomatic aid to Israel, identifying it as a major driver of Palestinian rights violations. But the central role U.S. nonprofits play in furthering war crimes and crimes against humanity has gone comparatively unnoticed. As the U.N. Special Rapporteur Lynk has explained, “charitable organisations have been allowed to maintain their status and have been able to use tax laws to be able to raise money to be able to further the Israeli settlement project.” The Israeli settlement enterprise depends on the financial support of U.S. nonprofits, which direct hundreds of millions of dollars to settler organizations. Hagit Ofran, former head of the Settlement Watch team at Peace Now, an Israeli human rights organization, has emphasized: “Without the [U.S. nonprofit] donations, [Israeli settler organizations] don’t exist.””

Israel Moves to Ban the Palestinian Flag,

“On June 1st, a member of the Likud party introduced a bill in the Israeli Knesset outlawing the display of the Palestinian flag at institutions that receive funds from the Israeli government. It passed an initial vote that day by a wide margin—63 members, most of them right-wingers, voted in favor, while just 16 voted against….According to the text of the bill, at most public institutions, displaying the flag of “any enemy state” would be illegal under the legislation, though only the Palestinian flag is specifically mentioned. “Flying such flags will be considered an illegal gathering that will be dealt with like a riot that can be dispersed,” the bill reads. “The state of Israel, as a democracy, allows its citizens to protest against issues where they disagree with the authorities. However, this bill draws a red line between legitimate protest and protests during which flags are flown of those who do not recognize the state of Israel or pose a threat to its existence at state-funded bodies.” Though the bill’s chances of becoming law are unclear, its introduction is part and parcel of Israel’s wider effort to more fully embed Jewish supremacy in its legal codes: In 2018, for example, the Knesset passed a quasi-constitutional law, known as the Nation-State Law, which formally classifies the right to “self-determination” as the sole province of Israeli Jews. The bill to ban the flag further codifies the repression of Palestinian national identity. “This is another manifestation of Israel not being a state for all its citizens, even by law,” Dana El Kurd, a political scientist at the University of Richmond, told Jewish Currents. “I wouldn’t say Israel is slipping further into fascism. But it’s revealing its fascism more clearly.” See also What’s behind Israel’s intensifying war on the Palestinian flag? (+972//Orly Noy)

On Israeli campuses, Palestinian student activists fear for their safety,

“Adi Mansour, a lawyer at Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and a former organizer of the Nakba commemoration event at Tel Aviv University, confirmed that the police would ordinarily remain outside of the square during all student events. However, this year the police came in massive numbers, including undercover officers. They had also put up metal barriers, which were supposed to protect the students but instead provoked more conflict by forcing the Palestinian students to pass through the Im Tirtzu crowd in order to access the commemoration.”

Yamina’s Kahana says he’d expel all Arabs, but admits they’re here to stay,

“A senior member of the coalition drew outrage Tuesday after a recording surfaced of him saying he would deport all Arabs from the Holy Land if there were a magical button that could do so. Responding to the criticism, Deputy Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana later said his remarks had been poorly worded. Kahana, of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s right-wing Yamina party, was speaking about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Monday at a high school in the settlement of Efrat, south of Jerusalem. In a clip aired by the Kan public broadcaster, Kahana was seen explaining that he doesn’t believe peace with the Palestinians is possible in the near future, and that the sides will remain deadlocked. “If there were a button you could press that would make all the Arabs disappear, that would send them on an express train to Switzerland — may they live amazing lives there, I wish them all the best in the world — I would press that button,” he said. “There is no such button,” he continued. “Apparently we were destined to exist here [together] on this land in some form.”” See also Opinion | Only Abbas Got Kahana Right (Noa Landau//Haaretz): “The bottom line of what Kahana told students on Monday was not at all that we need to send Arabs on trains to Switzerland, but that contrary to the right-wing fantasy, there are no such trains and there will never be…In fact, Kahana was trying to explain, to and from a right-wing point of view, why serving in the same government as the United Arab List is the right thing to do…he does recognize the existence of a narrative and national aspiration on the other side, which is not going to evaporate…The moment you realize that we are doomed to live together with those whose aspirations will not evaporate on some train, you can start talking about solutions – and compromise.”

The Gaza Strip

Gaza: Israel’s ‘Open-Air Prison’ at 15,

“Israel’s sweeping restrictions on leaving Gaza deprive its more than two million residents of opportunities to better their lives, Human Rights Watch said today on the fifteenth anniversary of the 2007 closure. The closure has devastated the economy in Gaza, contributed to fragmentation of the Palestinian people, and forms part of Israeli authorities’ crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution against millions of Palestinians…“Israel, with Egypt’s help, has turned Gaza into an open-air prison,” said Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine director at Human Rights Watch…Israel should end its generalized ban on travel for Gaza residents and permit free movement of people to and from Gaza, subject to, at most, individual screening and physical searches for security purposes.” See also this Twitter thread from Tania Hary, Executive Director of Gisha, ““Over the course of several days in June, 15 years ago, Israel and Egypt closed their crossings with Gaza, sealing the territory off from the world and determining the fate of its then 1.5 million residents. (A thread to mark 15 years of the closure of Gaza)”

Gaza: Over half of Palestinian children have contemplated suicide, report finds,

“Over half of Palestinian children in the besieged Gaza Strip have had suicidal thoughts in the past year, according to a report published by Save the Children on Wednesday.  The study, titled “Trapped“, found that the well-being of children and young people living under siege in the enclave had deteriorated significantly since similar research was carried out in 2018. Around 55 percent of children have contemplated suicide, while three out of five children have self-harmed, Save the Children revealed…According to the study, which consulted 488 children and 168 parents and caregivers in Gaza, 80 percent of children live with emotional distress – up from 55 percent in 2018…“The children we spoke to for this report described living in a perpetual state of fear, worry, sadness and grief, waiting for the next round of violence to erupt, and feeling unable to sleep or concentrate,” said Jason Lee, director for Save the Children in the occupied Palestinian territories.”

Global & Diplomatic News

Scoop: U.S. asks Israel to avoid actions that could create tensions ahead of Biden visit,

“The U.S. asked Israel to refrain from any actions in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem that could create tensions ahead of President Biden’s visit next month, four Israeli, U.S. and Palestinian officials told Axios…[U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Barbara] Leaf asked Israel to halt actions like home demolitions, evictions of Palestinians and decisions on settlement building, as well as decrease Israeli military operations in the West Bank until after Biden’s visit, the officials said.” See also US pushing Israel to avoid unilateral steps in lead-up to Biden visit (Times of Israel); Lapid: Biden’s visit could improve Israel’s ties with Saudi Arabia (Axios)

Norway mandates labelling of products from Israeli settlements,

“Norway has announced it will mandate place-of-origin labelling on products from the illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, a move that has provoked fury from Israel…The move follows advice from the European Commission in 2015, which recommended its member states follow this practice, a decision confirmed by the European Court of Justice in 2019. The measure mainly concerns imports of wine, olive oil, fruits and vegetables, and will apply to products from the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and occupied areas of the Syrian Golan Heights, Oslo said.”

Israel and Egypt sign gas export deal as Europe seeks Russia alternative,

“Israel, Egypt and the European Union on Wednesday signed a trilateral natural gas agreement in Cairo, as Europe scrambles to cobble together an energy strategy to replace the Russian supplies it has relied on for decades. The deal, which has been in the works since March, will enable Israel to streamline and increase the export of its natural gas through already existing pipelines to Egyptian ports, where it can be pressurized and liquefied, then transported to Europe.”

Catalonia recognises Israel 'committing crime of apartheid' against Palestinians,

“Catalonia’s regional parliament passed a resolution on Thursday recognising that Israel is committing the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people, becoming the first European parliament to do so.”

Israel calls on nationals to leave Turkey over Iranian terror threat,

“Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid issued an unusual warning today, urging Israeli tourists in Istanbul to come home without delay. He tweeted, “Following developments in Turkey in recent weeks and after a series of Iranian terror attack attempts against Israeli tourists in Istanbul, we call on Israelis: Do not fly to Istanbul. And unless travel in really essential, don’t travel to Turkey. If you are already in Istanbul, return to Israel as soon as possible.” … In parallel to Lapid’s message, Israel’s National Security Council updated its travel warning on Turkey, grading it now at the highest level, and recommending Israelis to avoid unnecessary traveling to all Turkish territories.”

Lawfare//Defining Antisemitism to Quash Criticism of Israel

Palestinian UN rep denounces IHRA antisemitism definition, as EU antisemitism envoy presents plan to world body,

“A United Nations briefing on antisemitism became politically charged on Wednesday when a Palestinian representative to the world body criticized the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism for conflating criticism of Israel with antisemitism…Abdelhady Nasser’s speech acknowledged the need to counter antisemitism, but focused on critiques of the IHRA’s definition of antisemitism, which has been adopted by 35 countries, including the U.S., and endorsed by the U.N.’s special rapporteur on freedom of religion, Ahmed Shaheed. “It is an undeniable fact that seven of its 11 examples appended to the definition wrongly conflate criticism of Israeli policies and practices in occupied Palestine with antisemitism,” she said…Abdelhady Nasser also argued that “anti-Zionism is not antisemitism” and promoted the adoption of the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism, an alternative to IHRA’s definition.”

The movement behind Harvard Crimson’s BDS endorsement,

“In a campus environment that has often been hostile toward any form of Palestine advocacy, the Crimson Editorial Board’s unequivocal endorsement of BDS in late April was not just unexpected; it exemplified the major shift taking place in student opinions on Palestine across the United States, following years of grassroots advocacy and mobilization…The entirety of this year’s IAW [Israel Apartheid Week] programming attracted severe backlash and smear campaigns…This pushback against Harvard’s PSC does not only come from other students or student groups. The disputes with PSC organizers are often fueled in part by people on Harvard’s payroll — employees of the university and professors who wield significant institutional power — as well as prominent alumni. On campus, this manifests in a major imbalance of power, resources, and institutional backing between student organizations calling for Palestinian freedom versus parties actively trying to quash our voices…The Crimson newspaper has historically platformed these powerful voices, covering PSC events and campaigns in a negative light, falsely accusing members of antisemitism, and implying or directly stating that efforts to organize and advocate for Palestine are radical, extremist, or controversial because the reality is “complicated.” This type of coverage on campus is itself a microcosm of wider media attitudes toward Palestine in the United States…It is not despite this very backlash, but because of it, that we are holding our ground. Our detractors may hold institutional power, but true power lies in numbers, and our collective student body is making our voice heard even louder.”

What Israel's 'Antisemitism Envoy' Did on a Conspiracy-laden Fox News Panel,

“​​Foreign Minister Yair Lapid made waves in April when he appointed Israeli-American actress and author Noa Tishby to be Israel’s first-ever point person for combating antisemitism and the delegitimization of Israel…The precise job description for Tishby’s role wasn’t immediately clear, but it’s safe to assume that no one expected her, two months later, to go on a Fox News panel discussing media bias against conservatives, the DUI arrest of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband or Joe Biden’s age and its impact on his run for reelection in 2024. But that’s exactly what happened on Tuesday.”

What Germans Owe Palestinians and Jews,

“In 2019, Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag, passed a resolution declaring that the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel (BDS) was, in its “argumentation, patterns and methods,” antisemitic. The resolution compared boycotts of Israel to Nazi boycotts of Jews—ignoring the fact that Palestinians created the BDS movement because they want “full equality” with Jews while the Nazis boycotted Jews because they wanted exactly the opposite. Germany’s parliament also called on the German government to deny funding to any group that supports BDS or opposes Israel being a Jewish state. On these grounds, some of Germany’s largest cities have barred supporters of Palestinian rights from speaking, performing or exhibiting in any institution which receives public funding – which rules out most cultural and intellectual institutions in the country.  The parliament’s resolution is not legally binding. And courts have ruled many of the local ordinances unconstitutional. But for supporters of Palestinian freedom, the consequences have been disastrous, nonetheless…In the words of Susan Neiman, “What has emerged in the past two years is atonement gone haywire.” It’s gone haywire because the Israeli government, in partnership with the German right, has been allowed to define how Germans should atone for their genocidally antisemitic past… Many Germans feel guilty about the Holocaust. I’m grateful they do—as Neiman has written, no nation has taken more responsibility for its historical crimes. But the Israeli government and its German allies have told Germans that because their ancestors murdered Jews they must defend the Jewish state. That’s analytically and morally wrong.”

Palestinians deserve a say on anti-semitism,

“Last weekend, Jewish activists, journalists and scholars from around the world – including me and Aron – came to Berlin for ‘Hijacking Memory: The Holocaust and the New Right’. The four-day conference was, as co-organiser Susan Neiman put it, “historic”. Its probing of the abuse of Jewish trauma – in a state that abuses it best – risked public backlash, if not total shutdown. In the end, the event proceeded mostly – though not entirely – without incident. Below I share my main takeaway from the conference, particularly its hairier moments: if we’re not including Palestinians in discussions of anti-semitism, we’re doing it wrong.”

Bonus Read

Israel’s Unlikely Breakthrough: During Its Year in Power, a Novel Coalition Changed the Political Landscape,

“The latest crisis may precipitate its downfall, but for the past 12 months, the current leadership succeeded in transcending Israel’s political deadlock and keeping Netanyahu on the sidelines. Along the way, it put forward a fundamentally different style of governance, moving from Netanyahu’s populist antagonism to a spirit of compromise and consensus. In an effort to contain widely disparate political forces, it often settled for grudging cooperation and mere survival. But it also had significant policy accomplishments, including passing a budget for the first time in several years, advancing needed reforms in domestic areas, and establishing a redirected and more pragmatic foreign policy. For these reasons alone, the experiment with coalition rule has opened up a new dynamic, suggesting that it is possible to break what looked like a permanent status quo of unfettered populist, nationalist, right-wing rule…But perhaps nowhere have the coalition’s achievements been more notable than in redirecting Israel’s position in the world. During the coalition’s year in power, foreign affairs has been one of its most visible and coherent areas of government policy. This is not necessarily a measure of success so much as of clear intent. The biggest difference is a broad move away from strongman populists and authoritarian allies toward Western democracies.” See also Netanyahu vs. Olmert: A Lurid Libel Case Grips Israel (NYT), Why the Abraham Accords Fall Short: Sidelining the Palestinians Is a Recipe for Violence, Not Peace (Zaha Hassan & Marwan Muasher//Foreign Affairs), and Israel wants human rights at the center of international relations – editorial (JPost).