Top News & Analysis on Israel/Palestine: June 1-7, 2024


  1. New from FMEP

  2. Gaza

  3. Region//Global

  4. River to the Sea

  5. U.S. Scene

  6. Activism//Lawfare//Redefining Antisemitism to Stifle Criticism of Israel

  7. Perspectives//Long Reads


FMEP Legislative Round-Up: June 7, 2024 (Lara Friedman)

  1. Bills, Resolutions; 2. Letters; 3. Hearings; 4. Israel/Palestine in 2024 Elex/Politics; 5. Selected Media & Press releases/Statements

Settlement & Annexation Report: June 7, 2024 (Kristin McCarthy)

1) Jerusalem Flag Parade Terrorizes Jerusalem, Ben Gvir Tests Temple Mount Status Quo; 2) IDF Demolishes Outpost, Ben Gvir Calls (Again) for Gallant to Be Dismissed; 3) Settlers & Knesset Call for Israel to Create “Special Regime” With Open Fire Directives to Fortify Settlement Safety; 4) Israeli Govt is Working with “Friends in the U.S.” To Cancel/Reduce Sanctions on Settlers; 5) Bonus Reads


Israeli forces batter central, south Gaza as tanks advance in Rafah (Reuters 6/7/24)

“With a renewed ceasefire push in the eight-month-old Gaza war stalled, Israel bombarded central and southern areas again on Friday, killing at least 28 Palestinians, and tank forces advanced to the western edges of Rafah. U.S.-backed Qatari and Egyptian mediators have tried again this week to reconcile clashing demands preventing a halt to the hostilities, a release of Israeli hostages and Palestinians jailed in Israel, and an untrammelled flow of aid into Gaza to alleviate a humanitarian disaster. But sources close to the talks said there were still no signs of a breakthrough.” See also Gallant vows war won’t end until Hamas is destroyed; IDF advances further in Rafah (Times of Israel); Biden: PM heeded warning against major Rafah offensive, scaling down IDF ops there (Times of Israel); Israel’s war on Gaza updates: ‘Over 1 million’ flee Rafah as Israel attacks (Al Jazeera)

Israeli strike on UN school kills dozens in Gaza (Reuters 6/6/24)

“Israel hit a Gaza school on Thursday with what it described as a targeted airstrike on up to 30 Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters inside, and a Hamas official said 40 people were killed including women and children sheltering at the U.N. site.” See also Dozens Killed in Israeli Strike on UNRWA School in Gaza; IDF: Hamas Used Building as Base (Haaretz); Dozens killed in Israeli strike on U.N. school in Gaza (Reuters); Israeli strikes kill at least 75 Palestinians in central Gaza (Middle East Eye 6/5/24); Israel used a U.S.-made bomb in a deadly U.N. school strike in Gaza (NPR); Survivors of Israeli strike on Gaza school describe finding children’s bodies (The Guardian); ‘Falling for Hamas tactics’: IDF names 9 terrorists killed in school strike, slams media (Times of Israel); Israel used U.S. munition in deadly strike on U.N. school, experts say (WaPo)

Starvation already causing many deaths and lasting harm in Gaza, agencies say (The Guardian)

“Months of extreme hunger have already killed many Palestinians in Gaza and caused permanent damage to children through malnutrition, two new food security reports have found, even before famine is officially declared. The US-based famine early warning system network (Fews Net) said it was “possible, if not likely” that famine began in northern Gaza in April. Two UN organisations said more than 1 million people were “expected to face death and starvation” by mid-July…“Regardless of whether or not the famine (IPC phase 5) thresholds have been definitively reached or exceeded, people are dying of hunger-related causes across Gaza,” the Fews Net report found. “Acute malnutrition among children is extremely high and this will result in irreversible physiological impacts…The term famine, when used by food and emergency aid professionals, has a strict technical definition, with three conditions that must be met in an area. The high threshold means that by the time famine has been declared, many people will already have died of hunger.” See also UNICEF finds 90 percent of children in Gaza not eating enough for proper growth (New Arab); Gaza’s sick and malnourished children die as hospitals collapse from Israel’s war (NPR); Children die of malnutrition as Rafah operation heightens threat of famine in Gaza (The Guardian); UN agencies say over 1 million in Gaza could experience highest level of starvation by mid-July (The Independent)

Cautious optimism in Gaza, Israel as US makes last-ditch cease-fire push (Al Monitor 6/6/24)

“So far, neither Hamas nor Israel has explicitly approved the cease-fire proposal…The Biden administration maintains the ball is in Hamas’ court and that the deal approved by Israel’s war cabinet is similar to a previous version accepted by the Palestinian militant group…Sullivan and other senior US officials have portrayed Hamas as the sole obstacle to the deal, even as Biden recently acknowledged to Time magazine that “there is every reason” to believe Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is prolonging the war to serve his own political agenda. Publicly, Netanyahu has offered only vague support for what Biden described as an “Israeli proposal.” Complicating his potential endorsement are threats from far-right members of his coalition who said they would sink Netanyahu’s fragile government if Israel accepts a cease-fire deal that doesn’t ensure Hamas’ total defeat.” See also UAE, Qatar join efforts to support Biden’s Gaza proposal (Al Monitor); IDF tells families of 4 Israeli hostages held in Gaza ‘they are no longer alive’ (CNN); A former Israeli hostage recalls the brutality of Hamas captivity (WaPo); Biden sees Hamas as ‘only obstacle’ to Gaza deal, White House says (Al Jazeera)

UN Adds Israel to ‘Blacklist’ of Countries That Harm Children in Conflict Zones Amid Gaza War (Haaretz)

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has notified Israel he will add it to the “blacklist” of nations that hurt children in conflict zones, Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan said on Friday…A diplomatic source told Reuters that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad would also be included on the UN blacklist…Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that “the UN has put itself today on the blacklist of history, when it joined those who support the Hamas murderers. The IDF is the world’s most moral army, and no absurd UN decision can change that.”’ See also Israeli official poised to resign as post-war plan fails to materialize (WaPo); Israel’s Gantz Expected to Announce Resignation From Netanyahu’s Government on Saturday (Haaretz)

Hamas still strong in areas ‘cleared’ by Israel in northern Gaza, say experts (The Guardian)

“There may be more Hamas militants in the north of Gaza, supposedly cleared by Israeli forces months ago, than in Rafah, the southern city in the territory described by Israeli officials as the extremist Islamist organisation’s “last stronghold”, analysts believe…though Israeli forces have now invaded Rafah, it was fighting in Jabaliya, the second-most populous town in northern Gaza, that was described last month by IDF officials as “perhaps the fiercest” yet seen in the seventh-month-long conflict…The battles in Jabaliya between lightly armed Hamas militants and a powerful IDF force underlined the ability of Hamas to return to parts of Gaza from which it was forced to retreat by earlier Israeli offensives, threatening a “forever war” for months or even years to come, as Israel tries to stamp out a tenacious insurgency, experts say.” See also Gallant says Israel working on ‘a different government’ to replace Hamas in Gaza (Times of Israel); War on Gaza: Jabalia left an ‘unrecognisable’ wasteland after Israeli assault (Middle East Eye)

Gaza’s Doctors Were Building a Health System. Then Came War. (Reuters)

“In the current war, 55 specialist doctors in Gaza have been killed, according to information from the ministry of health, as well as relatives, colleagues and friends…That works out at nearly 4% of Gazan specialists. In some specialties with small cadres of doctors, the losses are stark. The enclave had just three kidney specialists before the war – one has been killed and the other fled abroad, Reuters learned. With each specialist killed, Gaza has lost a network of knowledge and human connections, blows more enduring than those borne by most of the area’s 35 hospitals since Oct. 7, the doctors and experts said. The killing of even one doctor could cripple the services they led where specialists were few.”  See also Mass graves and body bags: al-Shifa hospital after Israel withdrew its forces (BBC)

Israel Declares ‘Humanitarian Zones’ in Gaza, Then Attacks Them (Forensic Architecture)

“Israel claims that the poorly worded 24 May ruling by the International Court of Justice gives it license to continue attacking Palestinians in Gaza, if it warns civilians to evacuate combat zones and move to safe ‘humanitarian zones’. But we have geolocated three recent strikes within areas Israel suggested were safe…The Israeli military’s communication of ‘safe’ or ‘humanitarian’ zones in this way—relying on low-resolution maps and confusing motion graphics—is demonstrably ineffective and leaves civilians in harm’s way. This lack of clarity is part of a pattern since October 2023 of unclear, inconsistent, and contradictory information published by the Israeli military regarding so-called ‘safe zones’ and ‘evacuation orders’…In a context in which as many as 1.5 million Palestinian civilians are seeking safe refuge from Israeli’s continued ground and air assault, such a limited, incomprehensible, and often inaccessible set of instructions (civilians in Gaza are faced with significantly limited internet connectivity, and regular blackouts), Israel’s efforts can only be understood as performative, aimed at rebutting criticism from international observers instead of protecting Palestinians civilians. The orders themselves evidence little regard for the safety of those civilians, rather inspiring uncertainty and fear, notwithstanding multiple well-evidenced examples wherein those orders have led directly to civilian deaths.” See also At event in southern Israel, Smotrich again calls to reestablish Jewish settlements in Gaza (Times of Israel)

Inside the Base Where Israel Has Detained Thousands of Gazans (NYT)

“Once an obscure barracks, Sde Teiman is now a makeshift interrogation site and a major focus of accusations that the Israeli military has mistreated detainees, including people later determined to have no ties to Hamas or other armed groups. In interviews, former detainees described beatings and other abuse in the facility…A three-month investigation by The New York Times — based on interviews with former detainees and with Israeli military officers, doctors and soldiers who served at the site; the visit to the base; and data about released detainees provided by the military — found those 1,200 Palestinian civilians have been held at Sde Teiman in demeaning conditions without the ability to plead their cases to a judge for up to 75 days. Detainees are also denied access to lawyers for up to 90 days and their location is withheld from rights groups as well as from the International Committee of the Red Cross, in what some legal experts say is a contravention of international law…Of the 4,000 detainees housed at Sde Teiman since October, 35 have died either at the site or after being brought to nearby civilian hospitals, according to officers at the base who spoke to The Times during the May visit. Mr. al-Hamlawi, the senior nurse, said a female officer had ordered two soldiers to lift him up and press his rectum against a metal stick that was fixed to the ground. Mr. al-Hamlawi said the stick penetrated his rectum for roughly five seconds, causing it to bleed and leaving him with “unbearable pain.” A leaked draft of the UNRWA report detailed an interview that gave a similar account. It cited a 41-year-old detainee who said that interrogators “made me sit on something like a hot metal stick and it felt like fire,” and also said that another detainee “died after they put the electric stick up” his anus. Mr. al-Hamlawi recalled being forced to sit in a chair wired with electricity. He said he was shocked so often that, after initially urinating uncontrollably, he then stopped urinating for several days.” See also Israeli detention center faces legal challenge after ‘unimaginable abuses (WaPo)



Israel mulls 3 options against Lebanon’s Hezbollah, including full-scale war (Al Monitor)

“As violence on Israel’s northern border escalates with several drone attacks launched from Lebanon, the Biden administration is trying to persuade Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to launch an all-out war against Hezbollah…Wednesday’s direct targeting of the army contingent suggests Hezbollah has high-quality intelligence on the troops deployed on Israel’s northern front…Despite Hezbollah’s exposing of the Israel Defense Forces’ underbelly in its attacks on Israel since the start of the Gaza war, Israeli airstrikes pose a greater threat to the group in Lebanon. Hezbollah, by its own account, has lost at least 350 of its fighters since Oct. 8, some of them senior commanders…Nonetheless, while Israel achieves tactical victories daily, Hezbollah can justifiably claim a major strategic one. Tens of thousands of residents living near the Lebanon border were evacuated from their homes at the start of the Gaza war, turning entire communities into ghost towns, and homes, fields and facilities have been heavily damaged by the daily barrages of Hezbollah anti-tank rockets. The border town of Kiryat Shmona suffered extensive damage this week from fires sparked by Hezbollah and Israel ordnance and spread by the hot dry weather…Despite the escalation of fighting in recent weeks, “this is not yet a full-scale war,” a senior Israeli military source told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. “But at this rate, the sides will reach a full-scale war that could also spark an all-out regional war.”’ See also Scoop: U.S. warns Israel “limited war” with Lebanon could draw Iran to intervene (Axios); Reserve soldier killed, 10 hurt, in Hezbollah drone attack on northern town (Times of Israel); Hezbollah ‘ready’ for an all-out war with Israel, deputy head says (Al Jazeera)

Gaza demands a new kind of humanitarian action (Yara Asi//The New Humanitarian)

“What we are seeing in Gaza is part of a decades-long pattern: Israel creates humanitarian crises by enacting unchecked violence, imposing movement restrictions, throttling the Palestinian economy, and preventing the import of needed goods and equipment. Israel then outsources its obligations as the Occupying Power under international law to provide Palestinians with food, healthcare, education, and other services to the aid sector while exercising control over the humanitarian agencies providing these services – including by blocking them from working entirely when it sees fit. Aid agencies – by and large – comply with Israeli restrictions and diktats in order to maintain access. And the international community picks up the tab without pushing back much on the overall arrangement. By working under these conditions, the aid sector – wittingly or not – helps to entrench the vast power asymmetry that has allowed Israel to continually seize Palestinian land while enacting ever-greater violence and restrictions on its people. In other words, undertaking humanitarian action without meaningfully working towards Palestinian liberation has helped to perpetuate the status quo that is causing the need for humanitarian intervention in the first place.” See also Isolating Gaza from the World: Humanitarian Implications of Israel’s Seizure of Rafah (Yara Asi//Arab Center DC)

Israel rejects Security Council resolution in support of its own hostage deal offer (Times of Israel)

“Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan informed his US counterpart Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Thursday that Jerusalem opposes the Security Council resolution being advanced by Washington that expresses support for the hostage-ceasefire proposal Israel made last week. The opposition is not expected to influence the vote, which could take place as early as Monday, given that Israel is not a member of the Security Council. However, the resistance from Jerusalem is likely to irk the United States, given that the latter has repeatedly blocked initiatives at the Security Council deemed hostile to the Jewish state. Explaining Erdan’s opposition, an official in the Israeli mission pointed out that an updated version of the resolution refers to the hostage deal as one that will bring about a “ceasefire,” as opposed to the original draft that described the end goal as a “cessation of hostilities,” which Israel reads as less permanent in nature.” See also Spain says to join South Africa’s Gaza genocide case against Israel at ICJ (Al Jazeera); UN experts urge all countries to recognise Palestinian statehood (Reuters); Which countries have joined South Africa’s case against Israel at the ICJ? (Al Jazeera)

Lebanon: Israel’s White Phosphorous Use Risks Civilian Harm (Human Rights Watch)

Israel’s widespread use of white phosphorus in south Lebanon is putting civilians at grave risk and contributing to civilian displacement, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch verified the use of white phosphorus munitions by Israeli forces in at least 17 municipalities across south Lebanon since October 2023, including 5 municipalities where airburst munitions were unlawfully used over populated residential areas.”

Saudi Arabia largely removes negative portrayal of Israel from its school curriculum (Times of Israel)

“Textbooks for the 2023-2024 school year no longer teach that Zionism is a “racist” European movement, and no longer deny the historical Jewish presence in the region, according to the study, published last week by the nonprofit IMPACT-se, which monitors educational curricula in Middle Eastern and North African countries…Designations of Israel as an “enemy state” have been expunged, but references to the “Israeli occupation” can still be found, and the curriculum still underscores Saudi Arabia’s commitment to the Palestinian cause. The name “Israel” still does not appear on maps, but the name “Palestine,” which previously covered the entirety of Israeli territory, has now been removed, the report highlights. “It indicates that if the Saudis are heading towards normalization, they are doing it all in line with the model of the UAE and Bahrain,” [Nimrod] Goren [of Mitvim & the Middle East Institute] added, referencing diplomatic ties established with the two Gulf monarchies in the framework of the Abraham Accords in 2020.”

Palestinian presidency criticizes Iran’s Khamenei publicly: What we know (Al Monitor)

“The Palestinian presidency on Monday hit back at remarks made by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, praising the Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel and the ensuing war in Gaza, which the Palestinian side saw as exploitation of their own struggle…In a statement carried by the official WAFA news agency, the Ramallah-based presidency said such comments are “clearly” aimed at sacrificing Palestinian blood and destroying Palestinian land. These comments “will not lead to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.” “The Palestinian people have been fighting and struggling for a hundred years, and they do not need wars that do not serve their ambitions for freedom and independence and for the preservation of Jerusalem and its Islamic and Christian sanctities,” the presidency stressed. “What we want is an end to the occupation,” the statement noted, “not policies that do not serve the national goals.”’ See also Fatah wants Hamas to join PLO: Official (Al Monitor)


Chanting ‘burn Shu’afat’ and ‘flatten Gaza,’ masses attend Jerusalem Flag March (Oren Ziv//+972)

“The annual “Jerusalem Day” Flag March has long been notorious for its open displays of Jewish supremacy. Every year, in celebration of Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967 and continued control over the city, tens of thousands of mostly young Israeli Jews rampage through the Old City, harass and attack Palestinian residents, and shout racist slogans — all under police protection.  However, if in the past it could be said that only some of the participating groups engaged in such behavior, this was the year that it became the norm. Emboldened by their government’s brutal war of revenge on the Gaza Strip, almost every group that amassed at Damascus Gate ahead of the march yesterday afternoon joined in the incitement. Popular chants included “May your village burn,” “Shuafat is on fire,” “Muhammad is dead,” and the genocidal “revenge” song which includes a biblical injunction turned on the Palestinians: “May their name be erased.” National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich both arrived at Damascus Gate with their bodyguards toward the end of the festivities, and jubilantly joined the revelers as they sang and danced…However, the primary focus for the participants was not Gaza, but rather the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif. The day started with over 1,000 Jews ascending to the compound, which is holy to both Jews and Muslims and administered jointly by the Israeli police and the Islamic waqf. Many of them carried Israeli flags, and some violated the site’s long-standing “status quo” by engaging in acts of prayer. They were led by activists who aspire not only to enable Jews to pray on the site but to rebuild a Jewish temple on the site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock…Except for arresting a handful of marchers who attacked journalists, the police — among them the police commissioner and several senior commanders — did nothing to prevent or punish the incitement.” See also Thousands of Israelis march through Jerusalem, some attacking Palestinians (Al Jazeera); Israeli nationalists march in Jerusalem as a far-right minister boasts of Jewish prayer at key site (AP)

UN human rights chief accuses Israel of ‘wanton’ killing in West Bank since Oct. 7 (Times of Israel)

“United Nations Human Rights Chief Volker Turk said on Tuesday that it was “unfathomable” that more than 500 Palestinians had been killed in the West Bank since October 7. Two dozen Israelis, including eight soldiers, have also been killed in West Bank clashes or alleged attacks by Palestinians from the West Bank during the same period, Turk noted. “As if the tragic events in Israel and then Gaza over the past eight months were not enough, the people of the occupied West Bank are also being subjected to day-after-day of unprecedented bloodshed,” he said in a statement.” See also Israeli forces kill three Palestinians in raid on West Bank’s Jenin (Al Jazeera);

Israeli settlers in the West Bank were hit with international sanctions. It only emboldened them (AP)

“When the banks froze his accounts, his community raised thousands of dollars for him, and Israel’s finance minister vowed to intervene on sanctioned settlers’ behalf. Two months after sanctions were issued, Levi was granted access to his money. “America thought it would weaken us, and in the end, they made us stronger,” Levi, 31, told The Associated Press from his farm in the South Hebron Hills — one of dozens of unauthorized settlement outposts dotting the West Bank. Levi is among 13 hard-line Israeli settlers — as well as two affiliated outposts and four groups — targeted by international sanctions over accusations of attacks and harassment against Palestinians in the West Bank. The measures are meant as a deterrent, and they expose people to asset freezes and travel and visa bans. But the measures have had minimal impact, instead emboldening settlers as attacks and land-grabs escalate, according to Palestinians in the West Bank, local rights groups and sanctioned Israelis who spoke to AP. See also In the West Bank, Guns and a Locked Gate Signal a Town’s New Residents (NYT); US sanctions Palestinian Lion’s Den armed group in West Bank (Al Monitor); US sanctions Palestinian group under decree used to target Israeli settlers (Al Jazeera); Israeli colonists torch agricultural land in Ramallah-district town (WAFA 6/7/24)


Biden’s Gaza Announcement: What to Make of the Bizarre Spectacle (Yousef Munayyer//Arab Center DC)

“Why would Biden be the one announcing, in detail, an Israeli proposal?…Biden was essentially telling the Israelis that this proposal will allow them to achieve all their war aims. But why did Biden feel compelled to try to sell an Israeli proposal to the Israelis? Why did he feel it necessary to try to convince the Israelis not to back away from a deal that they authored? The explanation is likely that, after months of working with the Israelis on an exchange deal, US negotiators have come to understand that the makeup of the Israeli government and the personal political ambitions of Netanyahu are the primary obstacles to an agreement. After all, Hamas has been offering an exchange deal for a ceasefire since the early days after October 7, 2023. It has been Netanyahu—reportedly often over the objections of his own negotiators—whom the families of Israeli hostages have accused of sabotaging the cease-fire deals that would lead to an exchange.” See also Biden: People have ‘every reason’ to think Netanyahu extending war to stay in power (Times of Israel)

Israel Secretly Targets U.S. Lawmakers With Influence Campaign on Gaza War (NYT)

“Israel organized and paid for an influence campaign last year targeting U.S. lawmakers and the American public with pro-Israel messaging, as it aimed to foster support for its actions in the war with Gaza, according to officials involved in the effort and documents related to the operation. The covert campaign was commissioned by Israel’s Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, a government body that connects Jews around the world with the State of Israel, four Israeli officials said. The ministry allocated about $2 million to the operation and hired Stoic, a political marketing firm in Tel Aviv, to carry it out, according to the officials and the documents. The campaign began in October and remains active on the platform X. At its peak, it used hundreds of fake accounts that posed as real Americans on X, Facebook and Instagram to post pro-Israel comments. The accounts focused on U.S. lawmakers, particularly ones who are Black and Democrats, such as Representative Hakeem Jeffries, the House minority leader from New York, and Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia, with posts urging them to continue funding Israel’s military…The secretive campaign signals the lengths Israel was willing to go to sway American opinion on the war in Gaza.” See also Israel targeted more than 120 US lawmakers in disinformation campaign (Politico)

Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu is set to address the US Congress on July 24 (AP)

“Congressional leaders confirmed the date of the address late Thursday after formally inviting Netanyahu to come speak before lawmakers last week…“The existential challenges we face, including the growing partnership between Iran, Russia, and China, threaten the security, peace, and prosperity of our countries and of free people around the world,” House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Republican, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, along with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries, said in the letter. “To build on our enduring relationship and to highlight America’s solidarity with Israel, we invite you to share the Israeli government’s vision for defending democracy, combatting terror, and establishing a just and lasting peace in the region.”’ See also Bernie Sanders says will boycott ‘war criminal’ Netanyahu’s Congress speech (New Arab); Trump says Schumer has ‘become like a Palestinian’ (The Hill); Van Hollen says effort to sanction the ICC is ‘mafia thug’ behavior (Jewish Insider); U.S. House votes to sanction international court over warrants for Netanyahu and other Israeli officials (NBC); 42 House Democrats join Republicans in support of ICC sanctions (Jewish Insider)

Exclusive: NAACP asks Biden to halt weapons to Israel as he seeks to shore up Black voter support (Reuters)

“The NAACP urged President Joe Biden on Thursday to “indefinitely” halt all weapons deliveries to Israel and pressure the U.S. ally to end its war in the Gaza Strip, sending a reminder that his support for Israel could hurt him among Black voters in November’s election. The NAACP’s call was a rare instance of the influential civil rights organization taking a position on U.S. foreign policy towards a country without a significant Black population. It appeared likely to deepen the Democratic president’s election-year challenges as he tries to back a key ally abroad and temper unrest among his supporters at home. The 115-year-old civil rights group said Israel had a right to defend itself after the Hamas militant attacks on Oct. 7 that Israel says killed some 1,200 people and took more than 250 hostages. The NAACP urged Hamas to return the hostages and “stop all terrorist activity.” It also urged Israel to “commit to an offensive strategy that is aligned with international and humanitarian laws.” Israel faces accusations at the International Court of Justice that it has violated the genocide convention, which it denies.” See also Biden’s popularity plummets to 18% among Arab American voters over Gaza (Al Monitor)

Bend The Arc: Jewish Action Sounds The Alarm: Continued U.S. Support for the Siege of Gaza is a Threat to Millions Abroad and Democracy at Home (Bend the Arc)

“So today, as the Israeli government continues to ignore your red lines, has publicly vowed to continue to cross them, and has now promised at least seven more months of attacks, we, as American Jews, are sounding an alarm: U.S. support for continued violence in Gaza is putting American safety and U.S. democracy in danger. For the sake of the lives of all people in the region, and the safety and futures of all of us in the United States, we urge you to make good on your own promise to cease sending offensive munitions to Israel. We urge you to end the ongoing violence, and reach a resolution that brings all captive loved ones home to their families, ends mass atrocities, prevents world war, and begins to achieve self-determination for all Israelis and Palestinians.”

Former Obama adviser: Kushner engaged in ‘level of corruption that we’ve just never seen’ with foreign relations (The Hill)

“Former Obama deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner engaged in a “level of corruption that we’ve just never seen” when talking about his firm’s recent investments overseas. Rhodes made the comment when asked about The New York Times’s recent reporting that detailed that 99 percent of Kushner’s investment fund’s money came from foreign sources…“This is a guy, Jared Kushner, who had no expertise, no qualification whatsoever to be in the White House while he was there. He made it his account to work in the Gulf Arab states. He basically helped lead the cover-up for [Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman]. Get him in from the cold after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.” Rhodes said Kushner securing a $2 billion investment from Saudi Arabia six months after leaving the White House is a way for Crown Prince Mohammed to exert influence on U.S. foreign policy if Trump returns to the Oval Office after the November election.”

Jewish officer resigns from US Army to protest Gaza war, citing lessons of the Holocaust (JTA)

“An American Jewish military intelligence officer has resigned to protest U.S. support for Israel in its war against Hamas in Gaza, saying that what is happening to the Palestinians there reminds him of the Holocaust. Major Harrison Mann submitted his resignation to the military and the Defense Intelligence Agency in November. He announced it publicly last month in a letter that gained renewed attention this week, when he officially exited the military.” See also “‘Not the Career in Pubic Service I Signed Up For’: Federal Workers Protest War” (The Intercept)


Columbia Law Review Refused to Take Down Article on Palestine, So Its Board of Directors Nuked the Whole Website (Natasha Lennard, Prem Thakker//The Intercept)

“Last November, the Harvard Law Review made the unprecedented decision to kill a fully edited essay prior to publication. The author, human rights lawyer Rabea Eghbariah, was to be the first Palestinian legal scholar published in the prestigious journal. As The Intercept reported at the time, Eghbariah’s essay — an argument for establishing “Nakba,” the expulsion, dispossession, and oppression of Palestinians, as a formal legal concept that widens its scope — faced extraordinary editorial scrutiny and eventual censorship. When the Harvard publication spiked his article, editors from another Ivy League law school reached out to Eghbariah. Students from the Columbia Law Review solicited a new article from the scholar and, upon receiving it, decided to edit it and prepare it for publication. Now, eight months into Israel’s onslaught against Gaza, Eghbariah’s work has once again been stifled — this time by the Columbia Law Review’s board of directors, a group of law school professors and prominent alumni that oversee the students running the review. Eghbariah’s paper for the Columbia Law Review, or CLR, was published on its website in the early hours of Monday morning. The journal’s board of directors responded by pulling the entire website offline. The homepage on Monday morning read “Website under maintenance.” According to Eghbariah, he worked with editors at the Columbia Law Review for over five months on the 100-plus-page text. “The attempts to silence legal scholarship on the Nakba by subjecting it to an unusual and discriminatory process are not only reflective of a pervasive and alarming Palestine exception to academic freedom,” Eghbariah told The Intercept, “but are also a testament to a deplorable culture of Nakba denialism.”’ See also “Toward Nakba as a Legal Concept”: Meet the Palestinian Lawyer Censored by Columbia and Harvard (Democracy Now!)

Columbia Law Review Back Online After Students Threaten Work Stoppage Over Palestine Censorship (The Intercept)

“On Thursday afternoon, the board of directors reinstated the website, including Eghbariah’s article. A link at the bottom of the CLR homepage went to a statement from the board about Eghbariah’s article. Eghbariah told The Intercept he viewed the board of directors’ actions as an example of a “Palestine exception” to free speech and academic freedom. “The CLR Board of Directors has yet to contact me or officially explain to me their decision to take down the website, let alone their proposal to add a disclaimer to the article,” Eghbariah said, in a statement received after publication. “The fact that the Board could not cite any substantive deficiencies with the piece but rather resorted to allegations about internal processes, which were rejected by CLR editors, tells me all I need to know. This is not only a Palestine exception in action but also a disingenuous attempt to manufacture controversy that undermines and deflects attention from the content of the article.”’

‘Israelism,’ the progressive Jewish documentary roiling college campuses, gets digital release with Watermelon Pictures (JTA)

“Over the last seven months, the documentary critiquing the American Jewish relationship to Israel has become something closer to a foundational text for the campus pro-Palestinian movement. It’s been screened at more than 100 colleges, including several encampments. It has toured overseas and won support from an array of Jewish groups on the left, from the liberal J Street to avowed anti-Zionists…This week, following some previous small windows of online availability, “Israelism” is getting a full digital release. A movie made to prompt a difficult Jewish conversation is now being distributed by Watermelon Pictures, a Palestinian-owned company (the watermelon has become a popular symbol for Palestinian rights) with the motto, “From the river to the screen, Palestine will be seen.”’

Former Meta engineer sues company saying he was fired over handling of Gaza content (Reuters)

“A former Meta engineer on Tuesday accused the company of bias in its handling of content related to the war in Gaza, claiming in a lawsuit that Meta fired him for trying to help fix bugs causing the suppression of Palestinian Instagram posts…In the complaint, Hamad accused Meta of a pattern of bias against Palestinians, saying the company deleted internal employee communications that mentioned the deaths of their relatives in Gaza and conducted investigations into their use of the Palestinian flag emoji. The company launched no such investigations for employees posting Israeli or Ukrainian flag emojis in similar contexts, according to the lawsuit.”

BDS founder hails campus protests for taking Israeli divestment mainstream (The Guardian)

“Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian human rights defender who helped launch the BDS movement almost 20 years ago, said the students’ solidarity had helped educate the world about the Israeli occupation and “apartheid” while exposing the hypocrisy – and repressive tendencies – of some of the world’s most prestigious universities with investments in corporations which put “profit before people and the planet.”’ See also Police arrest student protesters who occupied Stanford president’s office (The Guardian)



The Destruction, Starvation and Death in Gaza Are Israel’s Defeat (Amira Hass//Haaretz)

“Israel was defeated and is still being defeated, not because of the fact that at the start of the ninth month of this accursed war, Hamas has not been toppled. The emblem of defeat will forever appear alongside the menorah and flag, because the leaders, commanders and soldiers of Israel killed and wounded thousands of Palestinian civilians, sowing unprecedented ruin and desolation in the Gaza Strip. Because its air force knowingly bombed buildings full of children, women and the elderly. Because in Israel people believe there is no other way. Because entire families were wiped out. The Jewish state was defeated because its politicians and public officials are causing two million three hundred thousand human beings to go hungry and thirsty…The defeat, forever, lies in the fact that a state that views itself as the heir of the victims of genocide carried out by Nazi Germany has generated this hell in less than nine months, with an end not yet in sight. Call it genocide. Don’t call it genocide. The structural failure lies not in the fact that the G-word was affixed to the name “Israel” in the resounding petition filed by South Africa at the International Court of Justice. The failure lies in the refusal of most Israeli Jews to listen to the alarm bells in this petition.”

Postscript: Disrupting the Colonial Gaze—Gaza and Israel after October 7th (Sara Roy & Ivar Ekeland//The Markaz Review)

“The Gaza experiment is ongoing, and it is taking the world further than any of us would have thought possible. In our article, “The New Politics of Exclusion: Gaza as Prologue,” published more than two years ago, we claimed that Israel had turned Gaza into a human laboratory where entirely new conditions were artificially created. A society numbering over two million people found itself cut off from the world, confined by fences and walls to a small sliver of land and kept under constant surveillance, deprived of every right except the right to what Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben calls a “bare life”; that is, a life reduced to the mere biological dimension of eating and reproducing. They were even deprived of the means to exercise that right, since they were almost entirely dependent on the outside world for food, water, medicine, and fuel, like animals in a cage. We claimed that this experiment was a portent of things to come, that Western countries were creating mini-Gazas around the world to park unwanted people, mostly non-white migrants (Ukrainians are welcome in Europe, Africans are not), and we were wondering where this terrible state of affairs would lead us. Now we know. The end of the Gaza experiment is no longer to ensure separation or repudiation, but elimination through genocidal slaughter, or, more euphemistically, “forced” or “voluntary” emigration to other lands largely unwilling to accept these Palestinians.”

The Enduring and Racist Trope of Palestinian Rejectionism (Fathi Nimer//Al Shabaka)

“Since the beginning of the Zionist project in Palestine, large efforts have been exerted to paint all resistance to its colonial endeavors as irrational and at odds with progress and modernity…This deliberately manufactured dichotomy between the prosperous and civilized Settler and the regressive and rejectionist Arab standing in the way of progress set the tone for developments between Palestinians and Zionist settlers for decades to come. This commentary explores the nascence of this trope, unpacking its weaponization to deny Palestinians their fundamental rights and demonize their collective aspirations for sovereignty.”

The Complicity of Israeli Academia (Raphael Magarik//Jewish Currents)

“In Towers of Ivory and Steel: How Israeli Universities Deny Palestinian Freedom, scholar Maya Wind investigates precisely those material realities, showing how Israeli academia is deeply embedded in the state and implicated in decades of Palestinian dispossession. From their very inception, schools like the Hebrew University served as outposts in the Jewish settlement of historic Palestine, provided material support and ideological cover to the Israeli military, and excluded or mistreated their relatively few Palestinian students. By examining universities’ links to the long history of settler colonialism, Wind indicts the Israeli academy both for its own complicity and for its silence on the state’s attack on Palestinian higher education—which includes the repression of political mobilization inside Israeli institutions, raids and restrictions on universities in the occupied West Bank, and now the total destruction of Palestinian academia in the Gaza Strip.”

Superlatives (Rozina Ali//n+1)

“Over the following weeks, and then months, as Israel’s onslaught continued, I noticed a growing number of experts, humanitarian workers, and investigators turning to superlatives to describe what is taking place in Gaza. What they narrate is a conflict that has surpassed their records, expectations, and imagination, and a scale of destruction in the face of which comparisons break down. If there are limits to war, they have yet to be defined.”