“. . . serene foreshadowing things to come . . .” (Mourid Barghouti)

Combatants for Peace
Combatants for Peace demonstration, January 15, 2016, Bethlehem. (Photo: Combatants for Peace)

❶ Israeli opposition leader warns of ‘uprising of hatred’ in Israel

  • background from Digest of Middle East Studies

❷ ‘No military solution’ say Israeli, Palestinian ex-fighters
❸ Opinion/Analysis: WHAT  IS  LEFT  OF  THE  ISRAELI  LEFT?
❹ POETRY by Mourid Barghouti
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency
July 18, 2016
Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog warned of what he called “growing hatred and racism” in Israel encouraged by right-wing politicians, adding that it could pave the way for further deadly violence, Hebrew-language news site NRG reported on Monday.
___”We are on the verge of an uprising of hatred, racism, darkness and upcoming killings and assassination based on the overwhelming internal hatred here,” NRG quoted Herzog as saying during a speech at a Zionist Camp parliamentary bloc session on Monday.
___”We hear hatred at every turn, whether it is directed towards women by military rabbis, by Ashkenazi Jews against Sephardi Jews and Mizrahi Jews against Ashkenazis, from military school rabbis towards homosexuals, or between Arabs and Jews,” the Labor Party leader added, notably in reference to the recent appointment of Eyal Karim, who has implicitly justified the rape of women in times of war, as the new chief rabbi of the Israeli army.      MORE . . .

From Digest of Middle East Studies
Carlo Strenger . . . writes that “Mizrahi [Jews descended from Arab Jews] resentment” has led to “hatred and resentment towards Israel’s liberal secular Jews,” while noting that “The core values of liberal democracy have become associated with the so-called ‘white tribe’ of the secular Ashkenazi [European Jews] ‘elite’.” He concludes that “Israel’s secular liberals must cease apologizing for fighting for a liberal democratic Israel. We are not oppressors, but a minority . . . our ethics are not meant to discriminate against anybody, whether on grounds of ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation. The opposite is true: our ideals are the only ones that can ensure freedom and dignity for all.”
[. . . .]  The fear of the Orthodox other manifests itself in a notion that their birth rate endangers the state. Donniel Hartman, president of the Shalom Hartman institute [a pluralistic center of research in Jerusalem] noted “In truth, we have no desire to share our country with them and prefer that their integration be limited, all the while hoping for their religious assimilation” . . .  Yuval Elizur and Lawrence Malkin in The War Within: Israel’s Ultra-Orthodox Threat to Israeli Democracy . . . described [the Haredim – Orthodox Jews who reject modern culture] as a “problem” that must be “solved.”
___The “battle” for Israel is viewed as one between its secular minority and the burgeoning Arab and Orthodox public. . .  Newspaper editor Amnon Dankner argued in 2011 that “what adds to my sense of depression is the awareness that demographic processes are turning our society more and more religion [sic], more and more racist and venomous, more and more withdrawn and violent.”

  • Frantzman, Seth J. “‘They Will Take The Country From Us’: Labor Zionism, The Origins And Legacy Of The ‘Other’ In Israeli Mass Media, And Hegemonic Narratives.” DOMES: Digest Of Middle East Studies 23.1 (2014): 156-189.   SOURCE.  

Al-Monitor (Palestine Pulse)
Daoud Kuttab
July 18, 2016
The request for a travel permit seemed terribly innocent. An international filmmaker was debuting a film about Israeli and Palestinian peace activists and wanted the Palestinian activist to be present at the premier in West Jerusalem. But the Israeli authorities denied Shifa al-Qudsi’s request.
___. . .  “I have received permits to visit my brother in jail in Israel, so why do they deny me a chance to attend a peace documentary?” she commented in a phone call with Al-Monitor from her home in Tulkarm.
___Stephen Apkon and Andrew Young’s “Disturbing the Peace,” about a brave group of Israelis and Palestinians, was screened July 14 at the Jerusalem Cinematheque. The film features four Israelis and four Palestinians, including Qudsi, who are part of Combatants for Peace, a nonviolent organization originally made up exclusively of members who had participated in the conflict as armed combatants on one side or the other.      MORE . . .

isaac herzog
Labor Party chief Isaac Herzog speaks in Jerusalem. (Photo: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

❸ Opinion/Analysis: WHAT  IS  LEFT  OF  THE  ISRAELI  LEFT?
Ilan Pappé
Brown Journal of World Affairs, 2015

. . . being a leftist in Israel means opposing the ultra-Orthodox Jewish way of life, almost as though it were an existential threat. It is this clash of ideas that highlights the difference between Left as it is understood in the world and Left as it is defined in Israel. The clash between Left and Right in Israel is not about socioeconomic issues such as government spending, social welfare, or minority rights. It is rather a clash between a secular way of life and a more traditional and religious way of life. This is important to understand because  after  the  1967  war,  the  division  between  the  Zionist  Left  and  Right revolved around the question of whether or not Israel should withdraw from the territories it occupied in the June 1967 War. Quite a few of the ultra-Orthodox Jews supported withdrawal, as did the Zionist Left. However, this was not enough to form an alliance, as secularism was just as important to the Zionist Left as the idea of withdrawing from the 1967 occupied territories.
[. . . .]
Ultimately, it is impossible to reconcile a Zionist perspective with universal values associated with the Left. The history of the Zionist Left reveals genuine attempts to reconcile Zionism with universalism, but all these attempts have failed dismally. Yet, an alternative approach was always there, waiting for its historical opportunity to come forward as a universal agenda of peace and reconciliation for the sake of Israelis and Palestinians alike. Were such an agenda to be integrated into the Palestinian liberation project, it would become possible for the international community to rally around it. This can only happen when the two-state solution, which accepts and reinforces that there is conflict between two national movements that divide the land, is declared dead and gone. This has already been defeated as a possible solution, but a strong international coalition still supports it, and it will be a long process to undo this. It can only be replaced by a framework that recognizes that the conflict is between a settler-colonial movement, Zionism, a settler state of Israel, and the native population. Such a solution means, in essence, a decolonization of the whole of Palestine, which means reframing the relationship between the Jewish settler community (by which I mean the Israeli Jewish society as a whole), now in its third generation, and the native population.

  • PAPPÉ, ILAN. “What Is Left Of The Israeli Left? (1948-2015).” Brown Journal Of World Affairs 22.1 (2015): 351-367.    SOURCE.

Interview with Ilan Pappé 

“THE THREE CYPRESS TREES,” by Mourid Barghouti

Transparent and frail,
Like the slumber of woodcutters,
serene foreshadowing things to come,
the morning drizzle does not conceal
these three cypresses on the slope.

These details belie their sameness,
their radiance confirms it.

I said:
I wouldn’t dare to keep looking at them,
there is a beauty that takes away our daring,
there are times when courage fades away.

The clouds rolling high above
change the form of the cypresses.

The birds flying towards other skies
change the resonance of the cypresses.

The tiled line between them
fixes the greenness of the cypresses
and there are trees whose only fruit is greenness.

Yesterday, in my sudden cheerfulness,
I saw their immortality.

Today, in my sudden sorrow,
I saw the axe.

Mourid Barghouti.
From Barghouti, Mourid. MIDNIGHT AND OTHER POEMS. Trans. Radwa Ashour. Todmorden, UK: Arc Publications, 2008. Available from Amazon. 

“. . . the beaker of our ablution has been sold to a tourist from California . . .” (Samih al-Qasim)

Ayman Odeh
Threats on his life are not “a culture off death.” Palestinian  political leader Ayman Odeh heads the Joint List. (Photo: Agence France‑Presse /Ahmad Gharabli)

❶ Netanyahu says Palestinians have ‘culture of death’
❷ Israeli extremist detained after death threats
Palestinians Call On Oscar Nominees To Reject Israel Propaganda Trip
❹ Italian municipalities demand Israel stop building fence in Bethlehem
❻ Poetry by Samih al-Qasim
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Feb. 11, 2016
Members of the Knesset on Wednesday argued the possibility of a two-state solution at a special plenum debate, where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Palestinian “terror” came from a “culture of death,” according to a Knesset press release.
___During the debate, the Israeli PM and Israel’s Labor party opposition leader Isaac Herzog exchanged criticisms over the “most realistic” way to obtain a two-state solution.  More . . .
Feb. 11, 2016
A far-right Israeli extremist was reportedly detained after threatening the life of Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset, Ayman Odeh.
___The MK, member of the Joint List party, said the extremist was detained by Israeli police who carried out investigations into comments left by the Israeli on social media.
___Odeh said he held Israeli authorities “fully responsible” for violations committed against Palestinians, slamming attempts by the Israeli right to prevent Palestinians from realizing their rights.     More . . .
Activism Palestinian BDS National Committee
Feb. 10, 2016
Palestinian human rights activists are calling on Oscar nominees not to accept travel vouchers supplied by the Israeli government as part of the gift bag . . . .
___A statement from the Israeli ministry of tourism boasted that its initiative is a chance to have “leading opinion-formers” share their visit “among millions of fans and followers”.
___Omar Barghouti from the Palestinian BDS National Committee, the largest coalition of Palestinian civil society organisations that leads the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, said:
___“There are no Hunger Games in Gaza . . . .”    More . . .

Israel’s Apartheid Wall at Bethlehem. (MEMO file photo)

Feb. 12, 2016
The National Association of Italian Municipalities has called for the Italian Foreign Minister Paulo Jantelaun to ask the Israeli authorities to stop excavation work and the building of new fence in Bethlehem . . . .
___Italian national TV reported the mayor of the Italian city of Prato Mathieu Pefoni saying in a letter sent to Jantelaun: “I would like to draw your attention towards what is going on in Palestinian Bethlehem. The Israeli authorities are building a new fence and carrying out an excavation campaign.”
___Pefoni said that the fence and new excavations “threaten the natural and cultural heritage of this area.”    More . . .
Neve Gordon
Feb. 11, 2016
Looking closely at Labor’s plan, the logic behind it becomes clear: since it is difficult to envision a Palestinian state in the foreseeable future, Israel should no longer be ashamed of putting Palestinians in Bantustans.
On Sunday night, Israel’s Labor Party unanimously approved their leader’s diplomatic plan.
Labor’s premier Isaac Herzog laid out his vision . . . that he “wish[es] to separate from as many Palestinians as possible, as quickly as possible.”  More . . .  


(“A Palestinian village whose feudal owner sold it for a kiss through a pane of glass…”)

Nothing remained of Sireen after the auction
apart from you, little prayer rug,
because a mother slyly stole you
and wrapped up her son who’d been sentenced to cold
and weaning – and later to sorrow and longing.

It’s said there was a village, a very small village,
on the border between sun’s gate and earth.
It’s said that the village was twice sold ―
once for a measure of oil
and once for a kiss through a pane of glass.

The buyers and sellers rejoiced at its sale,
the year the submarine was sunk,
in our twentieth century.

And in Sireen ― the buyers went over the contract ―
were white-washed houses, lovers, and trees,
folk poets, peasants, and children.
(But there was no school ―
and neither tanks
nor prisons.)
The threshing floors, the colour of golden wine,
and the graveyard
were a vault meant for life and death,
and the vault was sold!

People say that there was a village,
but Sireen became an earthquake,
imprisoned by an amulet
as it turned into a banquet―
in which the virgins’ infants
were cooked in their mothers’ milk
so soldiers and ministers
might eat along with civilization!

“And the axe is laid at the root of the tree…”
And once again at the root of the tree,
as one dear brother denies another
and existence. Officer of the orbits…
attend, O knight of death,
but don’t give in ―
death is behind us and also before us.
Knight of death, attend,
there is no time to retreat ―
darkness crowds us and now has turned
into a rancid butter,
and the forest too is full,
the serpents of blood have slithered away
and the beaker of our ablution has been
sold to a tourist from California!
There is no time now for ablution.

People say there was a village,
but Sireen became an earthquake,
imprisoned by an amulet
as it turned into a banquet―
in which the virgins’ infants
were cooked in their mothers’ milk
so soldiers and ministers
might eat, along with civilization!

From: Samih al-Qasim. SADDER  THAN  WATER:  NEW  &  SELECTED  POEMS. Trans. Nazih Kassis. Jerusalem: Ibis Editions, 2006. Available from Amazon.
About Samih al-Qasim.