Last week, the Guardian posted a three-part special report
by their Middle East correspondent (and former South African correspondent) Chris McGreal on the similarities between the current situation in Israel and the South African Apartheid regime. The report provoked many heated responses, a selection of which is reproduced here
. The Guardian responded by inviting Benjamin Pogrund, former deputy editor of the famously anti-Apartheid Rand Daily Mail in Johannesburg, author of a number of books
on South Africa and founder of Yakar, a Jerusalem center for Israeli-Palestinian dialogue to weigh in with a response
posted by ori
on Feb 13, 2006 -
Hamas wins majority in Palestinian elections.
In a surprise upset, Hamas has unseated Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah Party. This after initial results indicated that Fatah would win
, and both the Bush administration and Israel indicated that Abbas shouldn't form a coalition government with members of Hamas, but should keep them entirely in opposition.
Prominent Hamas leader Ismail Haneya said
, "America and Israel wanted to vote against Hamas, so the Palestinian people voted for the Hamas . . . and voted against the occupation." He reiterated that Hamas would resist Israel's occupation until all Palestinian rights were regained.
posted by insomnia_lj
on Jan 26, 2006 -
Hamas pays consultant for "image makeover."
Hamas has paid an image consultant £100,000 to help "project the right image" of the organization. Actual tips the consultant gave Hamas included "talk about Palestinian suffering" and "don't talk about destroying Israel."
posted by XQUZYPHYR
on Jan 20, 2006 -
Newsfilter: Remember how Pat Robertson said god struck down Ariel Sharon because he divided Israel? Remember how Pat Robertson was going to build a $50 million dollar theme park in Israel with a Christian theme? Yeah. Not so much anymore.
posted by delmoi
on Jan 11, 2006 -
Ariel Sharon suffers major stroke.
Executive power temporarily transferred to his deputy as doctors operate to drain blood from his brain. Say what you will about Sharon's tenure, his death now would send shockwaves through the Israeli political establishment and through the region.
posted by LondonYank
on Jan 4, 2006 -
"It doesn't even need a conductor, and there is not even any need for rehearsals together. Each instrumentalist receives sheet music and a disc with the sound track to which he will be linked during the concert, and that way he can practice at home, by himself; and then they come straight to the concert and play freely, whatever they want. A sound that is random as opposed to planned, a precise pitch for a note, as opposed to a false note, that's what leads the work. And here, toward the end, order gradually prevails".
talks about his new concerto for piano and orchestra
posted by matteo
on Nov 28, 2005 -
If Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for the destruction of Israel
, would anybody listen? Apparently this time they are. While vague threats from Iran are a dime a dozen, "Since 1945, the establishment of the United Nations, no head of state which is a member of the United Nations ever called for the destruction of another member of the United Nations, publicly and clearly, as the president of Iran did." according to Shimon Peres, in demanding that Iran be expelled from the UN
for the statement. Much of the world
seems pretty upset
(including the US, who's destruction was also called for on this merry "World without Zionism
" conference), but will it lead to anything, or is it just a ratcheting up of the hyperbole between Iran and the IAEA?
posted by loquax
on Oct 27, 2005 -
...This is one of the reasons why I am convinced that Zionism should not simply be dismissed. Hans Kohn turned away from Zionism, but Martin Buber and Ahad Ha'am definitely did not. If Zionism can produce voices such as these, this is evidence of a fermentation of rare value. Discovering thinkers like Martin Buber and Hannah Arendt and Ahad Ha'am was like encountering pieces of coral from a deep pool. I had read Arendt and indeed some of Buber's work before, but I did not anticipate the sheer prescience of their critique of Zionism. For example, Arendt predicted that the Jewish state would become utterly reliant on American force, and live 'surrounded by an entirely hostile Arab population' in which all 'development would be determined exclusively by the need of war'; this is so accurate, it sends a shudder down your back. Then there was the romantic, semi-mystical discourse of Buber and Ahad Ha'am, posing the question of who we are at its most profound. Their vocabulary revolves around spirituality, selfhood, self-knowledge, truth, understanding, denial. In order to put into words the perils of Zionism, these thinkers had to explore why people can desire identities that become ultimately destructive...
from an interview
with Jacqueline Rose
, who wrote The Question of Zion via Open Democracy
posted by y2karl
on Aug 25, 2005 -
, Israeli style? Amidst overwhelming public approval for the Gaza pullout, noted author
David Grossman writes about the need for all Israelis to mourn today, in this Ha-Aretz editorial
posted by ori
on Aug 15, 2005 -
Disengagement: The Game
The debate in Israel over the withdrawal from Gaza has found its way into, of all things, dueling cartoony Flash games. The first, the Wild West Bank
, by proponents of withdrawal, has you removing settlers from the West Bank before they can establish settlements. The second, the "Disengagement Game
" (click the square yellow button beside the picture)
, has you take the role of Ariel Sharon, whose political nickname is the "Bulldozer," as he uses his namesake (plus a club and a gaggle of pigs) to remove children protesting his policies. According to the creators of each, the first is supposed to be enlightening, the second purely entertaining. [Instructions inside]
posted by blahblahblah
on Aug 10, 2005 -
Israel's Cabinet has approved final details of a barrier to surround Jerusalem
"redrawing the disputed city's boundary and shifting its demographic balance in favor of Jews." The Jerusalem Post declares
this to be "most dramatic change [in Jerusalem's borders] since 1967." The decision means
Israel is taking lands claimed by the Palestinians for a future state, including traditionally Arab east Jerusalem, the intended Palestinian capital. In addition, the UNRWA
(pdf) reported that other negative impacts on the Palestinain population include "logistical problems of access, proximity of schools" for Palestinians and that "access of refugees to secondary and tertiary care in Jerusalem hospitals will be severely hampered." Dr. Gerson Baskin of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information wrote in 2003
"It is time for honesty – the security barrier may have started in its conceptual phase as a security barrier, but in its translation into reality it has been manipulated to be a political border." Is this another nail in the coffin of the peace process, a necessary and constructive step towards a solution, or an encouraging development in the ultimate conversion of Jews to Christianity and the second coming of Christ?
posted by three blind mice
on Jul 11, 2005 -
A Spreading Treason
The vagaries of U.S. involvement in the Middle East were surely brought home to First Lady Laura Bush on her recent trip to Israel, on a tour of Jerusalem's holiest sites. At the Wailing Wall, where she placed a note in the Western Wall – as is the custom – she faced surly throngs of protesters shouting "Free Pollard Now!" The Pollardites also showed up earlier that morning, as Mrs. Bush paid a visit to the home of Israeli President Moshe Katsav: "Pollard, the people are with you!" they chanted.
posted by mk1gti
on May 25, 2005 -
The Queen of Sheba
was a legendary beauty from the 10th century BC.
She travelled to see Israel's King Solomon,
bearing his son, Menelik (said to have transported the Ark of the Covenant
to Auxum, Ethiopia), is mentioned in the Bible and Koran, is a muse
to poets and artists
through the ages and is "viewed as the embodiment of Divine Wisdom and a foreteller
of the cult of the Holy Cross". Little is known about her origins although stories are common through Persian, Ethiopian, Arabian & Israeli traditions. Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia
claimed direct descent from her. She is said to have possibly lived in Yemen
, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Sudan or Somalia. But recent archaeological work
suggests she may be from further away than the legends describe. via [much, much more here]
posted by peacay
on May 19, 2005 -
"In politics, the impossible is the immoral."
A surprisingly thoughtful essay on the "uniqueness of Palestinian terror" from, of all places, Tech Central Station. I found much with which to both agree and disagree in this article - and on such contentious issues, that's no doubt the case for all readers - but, I found that, in reading this piece, my neurons never stopped firing, which is a rare and unusual sensation these days. 'Tis interesting.
Also attempting to deal across boundaries in the Mideast conflict: Bitter Lemons
, which features two themed columns apiece by Palestinian and Israeli writers each day.
posted by Sticherbeast
on Feb 28, 2005 -
Israeli Pro-Palestinian activist Tali Fahima to remain in custody. Tali Fahima
grew up in a conservative desert town in Israel and voted Likud
for years. As the second intifada erupted she read about the brutality of the occupation on the Internet and eventually travelled to Jenin refugee camp where she met Zakariyeh Zbeideh, a local leader of the terrorist organization and Fatah offshoot, Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade. She was arrested and jailed in Israel, accused of translating a document for Zbeideh into Arabic. that allowed him to warn fighters marked for Israeli assassination.
Fahima has been under arrest nearly six months. Her case
has gained prominence not just because she is an Israeli Jew supporting Palestinian resistance but because she is a Mizrahi
, a Sephardic or "Arab"
Jew. This group has historically formed a solid bloc of support for aggressive policies against the Palestinians. [MI]
posted by By The Grace of God
on Jan 30, 2005 -
Kurds are the Closest Relatives of Jews
Funny, They don't look Jewish:"Research has just begun into the ancient ties between Kurds and Jews. It would be interesting to see if the various Jewish groups have as strong a family tie to Kurds in the maternal lineages as they do in the paternal lineages. Preliminary studies indicate that Jewish populations in eastern Europe and Yemen have maternal origins that contain much more non-Israelite ancestry than their paternal origins. Despite this admixture with other groups, the Jewish Judean people ultimately began their existence in an area within or nearby Kurdistan, prior to migrating southwest to Israel. This exciting research showing that Kurds and Jews may have shared common fathers several millennia ago should, hopefully, encourage both Kurds and Jews to explore each others' cultures and to maintain the friendship that Kurds and Jews enjoyed in northern Iraq in recent times (as chronicled in Michael Rubin's recent article "The Other Iraq"). As Rubin indicates, the Kurdish leader Mullah Mustafa Barzani once visited Israel and met with Israeli government officials. Rubin refers to the Iraqi Kurds' "special affinity for Israel" and writes that "In the safe haven of Iraqi Kurdistan, the Jews and Israel are remembered fondly, if increasingly vaguely." Let us hope that this relationship can be renewed and strengthened."
posted by Postroad
on Dec 29, 2004 -
Palestinian opinions. A poll conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Center indicates a dramatic decline in Palestinian support for acts of violence targeting Israelis. For the first time since the outbreak of the intifada in September 2000, a majority of Palestinians, some 52%, oppose violence against Israel.
Palestinian opposition to attacks on Israelis is up 25% since last June. Original report is here in pdf.
Is the intifada finished?
If so should Arafat be awarded a second Nobel Peace Prize for dying?
posted by Ugandan Discussions
on Dec 8, 2004 -