israel and palestine articles
Nurit Peled-Elhanan is the daughter of Israeli General, Matti Peled. Elhanan’s daughter, Smadar, was killed in the 1997 Ben Yehuda Street suicide attack in Jerusalem. Despite all the above, she has become an outspoken critic of Zionism and Israeli apartheid.
Peled-Elhanan is currently professor of language and education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is a co-laureate of the 2001 Sakharov Prize for Human Rights and the Freedom of Speech, awarded by the European Parliament.
The following address was given to the Russell Tribunal on Palestine on March 4th, 2009
If you can’t view this video, click here.
It seems like the ultimate irony – a city that is known for food shortages producing it’s own cookbook – but here it is: “The Gaza Kitchen”! Moreover, as the title makes clear, the book does not try to hide its origins or shroud the fact that Gaza is a place we associate more with malnutrition than with culinary delight! Instead it blends recipe and narrative – tantalizing our taste buds while confronting us with the realities of the Israeli Occupation!
In truth, the combination of food and activism is an ancient one. There is a saying in Arabic that translates roughly “how can you be my enemy when we have broken bread together”. If it were possible to introduce more Israelis to the Gaza kitchen, it might do a great deal for the cause of reconciliation and peace!
Get a Taste Of Palestine in The Gaza Kitchen
Battered by Israel, ignored by Egypt and packed nearly as densely as Manhattan or Hong Kong, the Gaza Strip is among the most fragile flash-points in all of the Middle East. But this tiny sliver of land wedged between the stark Sinai Peninsula and the azure Mediterranean continues to prove that culture and tradition can exist even in the most challenging conditions. Case in point: The Gaza Kitchen, a new cookbook and that chronicles the role of cuisine in Gaza as tools for both sustenance and resistance.
Written by authors Laila El-Haddad and Maggie Schmitt—and partially funded by crowd-sourcing website Kickstarter—The Gaza Kitchen pairs photo-rich regional recipes with detailed accounts of Israel’s decades-long occupation and subsequent blockade. Filled with chef profiles and economic analysis, the book’s reportage is at once transportive and grim. But the recipes—pickled fruits, spice-laden salads, earthy vegetable stews, syrupy sweet desserts—are unquestionably mouthwatering despite their austerity.
With its focus on home-style cooking, rather than the region’s well-known street-food like hummus or falafel, The Gaza Kitchen humanizes a land and people often reduced to wartime cliche. “Gaza may be impoverished and under attack, but that doesn’t mean people have stopped giving importance to cooking and cuisine,” says El-Haddad, an author and activist who was born in Kuwait, raised between the Persian Gulf and Gaza and now lives in Maryland. “As Gazans struggle to transform rations and food aid into family meals, the dishes are testimony to the tenacity of a people still clinging to what’s good in life.”
read the rest of this review here
I am encouraged by this article, not only because it lucidly rebuffs the equating of Palestinian activism with Antisemitism but also because it appeared on a University website (in Connecticut, USA).
It is important that these discussions take place on University campuses, and it is important that free speech be given full reign in these contexts. Students must be encouraged to pursue the truth about Israel/Palestine without being pilloried as racists for doing so!
Pro-Palestine does not mean anti-Semitic
By Omar Allam
The screams of an Israeli Air Force fighter jet ricochet through the barren lands of Gaza, as the sounds of explosions reverberate off the bones of 11 Palestinian children and women, who were charred to death during the air strike.
Almost 50 miles away in Tel Aviv, the Israeli military stated the target was a terrorist militant group in Gaza.
This was reported by the Huffington Post.
These air strikes were another part of the Israeli deterrence policy to create extreme preventive punishment and make any attack or retaliation too costly. U.S. media coverage of the Israeli attack on Gaza portrayed the war as an “endless conflict between two foreign entities” and claimed that Israel is justifiably “defending itself,” according to The Guardian.
One can only condemn the violence, as it is never the answer to any issue.
Nonetheless, western media has focused so much attention on Israel, and has ignored the Palestinian perspective on the apartheid system in the contested territory, that Americans have associated Palestinians as a terrorists and Palestinian support with anti-Semitism.
But, is someone really anti-Jewish if you criticize Israel?
To answer such a question, one would need to discuss the issue with a follower of the Jewish religion.
Stanley Heller is a semi-retired schoolteacher, and he is also a Jew. Heller, like most people, has no tolerance for Anti-Semitism. It “is a hideous crime; it’s a stupid blind hatred,” Heller said.
As Executive Director of the 30-year-old Middle East Crisis Committee, Heller also is a firm supporter in equality and human rights for all.
He explained that, “Jews were once viewed as inferiors, sub-humans, disturbers of the peace and not only by Nazis, but by lots of people and, ironically, Palestinians are facing the same type of discrimination, today.”
In Israel, there is “an ever-deepening apartheid. … Palestinians are being driven away from their homes. In addition, there is aggressiveness against any type of resistance, violent and non-violent,” Heller said. Palestinians are now confined to walled ghettos.
In Gaza, they’re subjected to a blockade of essential basic necessities, and are facing economic sanctions placed by Israel.
Heller, however, is not the only Jew advocating for basic human rights for Palestinians. There are many Jewish groups pushing for Palestinian human rights such as Jewish Voice for Peace, Orthodox Jews United Against Zionism, Rabbis for Human Rights, etc.
A cable released by Wikileaks showed that the officials in U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv wrote, “as part of their overall embargo plan against Gaza, Israeli officials have confirmed (…) on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge.”
The vidence supporting human right violations against Israel is overwhelming; nonetheless there has been limited coverage over the worsening human rights conditions that Palestinians face.
Adam Antar, founder of the Students for Justice in Palestine, a newly founded organization on campus, stated, “the asymmetrical burden of casualties on the part of the Palestinians is one of the most widely acknowledged injustices across the globe. There is nothing racist about advocating for peace and justice for the Palestinians, who have been targeted simply for their existence and identity. In fact, criticizing Israeli policies supports equality and combats racism.”
The state of Israel has laws dictating the segregation of Palestinians from Israelis pertaining to where they can work, where they can live, to what bus they can get on. Similar laws were created in the post-Civil War era in the U.S. to ensure the denomination of African Americans. The Civil Rights movement is justifiably the story of our greatest American heroes, those who stood up for equality and justice. But when Palestinians try to stand up for the same goals, they are labeled as troublemakers, terrorists, and racists.
So to the question, “is someone really Anti-Jewish if he or she criticizes Israel?” The answer is clearly no.
The following article appeared on the Press TV website but is largely a commentary on one that appeared in the Jerusalem Post on Friday.
It appears that the Israeli government is getting increasingly frustrated with the shift towards Palestine that is being exhibited across Europe.
The Israeli government’s concerns are not without foundation. This week two more countries have made moves to upgrade Palestine’s official status:
- Tuesday, March 5, Ma’an News Agency broke the news on that Sakir Ozkan Torunlar, Turkey’s consul general in Jerusalem, will be accredited as Turkey’s ambassador to the Palestinian Authority (full story here).
- Thursday March 7, 2013; with an overwhelming vote of 299 to 20, the Swedish Parliament upgraded the status of the Palestinian representative office in the country to a full status, granting the mission the title of ‘embassy’ (full story here).
The international isolation of Israel is progressing steadily. How long will the USA be willing to stand against the tide?
Tel Aviv frustrated by EU’s pro-Palestine slant: Israeli official
According to a report published by the Jerusalem Post on Friday, an unnamed Israeli official criticized the EU over its “negative” policy toward Tel Aviv.
The Israeli official said there was “no positive agenda between Israel and Brussels, only negative.”
“There are only sticks, no carrots,” the official stated, criticizing the EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, for certain issues such as pushing the EU members on February 22 to enforce restrictions on products from the illegal Israeli settlements built in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Even the Netherlands, which is one of the strongest allies of Israel, followed Ashton’s advice and recommended that the business owners effectively label products from the Israeli settlements, the official said.
“When it comes to Israel they are very vocal. When it comes to the Palestinians, they are very timid.”
The Israeli official also pointed to the internal report by the EU heads of mission in al-Quds (Jerusalem) and Ramallah on February 27 which was leaked to the media.
The report said the EU programs should not be “used to support settlements and settlement-related activity, including funding for research, education or technological cooperation.”
“Every year they put out a report that is critical of Israel, even though their mandate is to strengthen ties with the PA (Palestinian Authority),” the official stated.
The Tel Aviv regime has increased its illegal settlement expansion following an upgrade of Palestine’s status at the UN to a non-member observer state on November 29, 2012.
Many countries, including some of Tel Aviv’s allies, have condemned the Israeli plans to construct illegal settler units in the occupied Palestinian territories.
On December 10, 2012, the 27-nation European nation said it was “deeply dismayed by and strongly opposes Israeli” plans to expand illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, including in East al-Quds (Jerusalem).