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Art Threat: Mars at Sunrise is a Cinematic Tone Poem

In times of stress we turn to torn fragments of ourselves and worship them as if they were whole nations (From Mars at Sunrise).

Mars at Sunrise (2014) is director Jessica Habie’s first feature. Billed as “A story of a war waged on imagination,” the film tells the story of Khaled, a working artist arrested in his Ramallah home and interrogated by Eyal, himself a frustrated Israeli artist completing his military service.

Habie uses lush cinematography, precisely deployed editing and fantastic sound design as well as a non-linear narrative structure and a poetic voice over to manifest Khaled and (Read more…)

wmtc: ny times letters on the movement against israeli apartheid

The New York Times recently ran a heavy dose of letters in support of the movement against Israeli apartheid, many of them written by Jewish North Americans.

Philip Weiss of Mondoweiss suggests the Times is seeking to balance two recent articles it ran about the boycott, divest, sanction (BDS) movement. (Weiss incorrectly notes, based on a reader’s comment, that these letters appeared only in the international edition of the Times; they actually appeared in all editions.) First, I sense that the Times editors are seeking to balance two articles it ran describing BDS as anti-Semitic. Columnist Roger Cohen (Read more…)

drive-by planet: Palestinian legislator Ahmad Tibi slams Harper’s postion on Israel as "unbalanced" and "right of Likud": why Tibi gets it right

Ahmad Tibi, the Palestinian legislator who walked out of Stephen Harper’s Knesset speech said in an interview with CBC’s Evan Solomon that Harper’s views on Israel were “unbalanced” and “right of Likud.” Sounds pretty accurate. Harper’s views are indeed extreme even by some Israeli standards and certainly more extreme than most average Canadians on the subject of Israel.

Tibi and a fellow legislator raised objections from the floor when Harper dismissed the idea that  apartheid exists in Israel. Anyone who has even a rudimentary understanding of the Israeli system knows that segregation lies at very heart of daily life (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Why Arab-Israeli politician protested Harper’s speech to the Knesset

by: Obert Madondo “When you are controlling, discriminating, confiscating, occupying lands from one side and putting them in the corner without any basic rights, you are by this way ruling and committing apartheid in the occupied Palestinian Territories.” The words of Arab-Israeli legislator Ahmad Tibi as he explained to the CBC why he stormed out during… Read More

The post Why Arab-Israeli politician protested Harper’s speech to the Knesset appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

drive-by planet: Voice for the exiled: the powerful and moving poetry of Susan Abulhawa

If you’re considering a gift for anyone in the new year I strongly recommend a wonderful poetry collection entitled My Voice Sought the Wind by Susan Abulhawa.

Susan Abulhawa is a Palestinian-American writer and activist. Her highly acclaimed novel Mornings in Jenin has been translated into 32 languages since it was published in 2010.

The publisher’s description of My Voice Sought the Wind includes the following:

My Voice Sought the Wind represents five years of her [Abulhawa's] best poems on the timeless themes of love, loss, identity, and family, brought to life through her vivid observations and intimate personal reflections. (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: ACTION: Illegal Israeli Settlement Goods Sold at London Drugs

SodaStream boycott informational picket

Saturday, Dec. 21, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

London Drugs, Broadway @ Cambie, Vancouver

Below is a notice of an important event happening on Saturday in Vancouver. If something is labelled as “Made in Israel” but is really made in an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank of Palestine, where does it really come from? Nowhere that I would want to buy from. You?

I’m only as free as everyone is free. Don’t tolerate occupation. The boycott alternative information is here.

Nelson Mandela has died, but the memory of his commitment to universal freedom and (Read more…)

Song of the Watermelon: National Post Letter

Should any readers take a look inside today’s National Post, they might find a letter of mine defending Canada’s United Church and its boycott of goods from Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land. Click here to read my letter and scroll down to the heading “… or is it just?”

Filed under: Letters to the Editor, Middle East Tagged: boycott, Israel, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, National Post, Palestine, settlements, United Church

drive-by planet: Israeli ‘master of disinformation’ Danny Ayalon takes a hit: hasbara fantasies exposed in new video

Lara Sawalha and Dana Dajani take on the hasbara revisionism of Danny Ayalon in a video that sets the record straight.

Some bio information on Lara Sawalha – here – and Dana Dajani – here.

Song of the Watermelon: Vancouver Sun Letter

A letter of mine in the Vancouver Sun today, this one about the “Disappearing Palestine” ads on public transit here in the city. I try to defend the ads against the absurd charge that they target Jews. Click here to read it.

Filed under: Ethnicity, Letters to the Editor, Middle East Tagged: Israel, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Jewish, Palestine, TransLink, Vancouver, Vancouver Sun

drive-by planet: Calls by Jewish groups for removal of Translink ‘Disappearing Palestine’ ads is an attack on free speech

Beneath left: Martha Roth of the Palestine Awareness Coalition

An ad appearing on a dozen or more Vancouver buses and in the City Center SkyTrain station has been the target of criticism by some Jewish groups. The four-panel ad shows a map of Israel over the last six decades – from 1946 through to 2012. Each successive panel shows how Palestinian territory has shrunk with the passage of time. 

The chair of the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver called for Translink to remove the ad. Objections have been raised by The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), Friends (Read more…)

Song of the Watermelon: An Open Letter to TransLink Regarding the “Disappearing Palestine” Ads

Dear TransLink:

I am writing to express my wholehearted support for your decision to display the pro-Palestinian transit ads recently unveiled at the Vancouver City Centre Skytrain station and on several buses. The ads offer an important perspective that needs to be heard as part of any informed debate on the Middle East conflict.

My commendation may sound a bit strange, since, as you yourselves have noted, “within defined limits TransLink has no legal authority to decline advertising content.” A 2009 Supreme Court decision established that TransLink, as a public body, is bound by the free speech provisions (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Four Pictures Worth Many Thousand Words

A Vancouver group is targeting the public conscience with an ad campaign to show what has happened to the Palestinian homeland.

Unless you’re a Zionist, it’s a pretty disturbing but accurate depiction of how the Palestinians are being erased from their homeland.  The point is, it’s not over yet.  The aquifer beneath Gaza has been “inadvertently” drained and the U.N. believes that enclave could be unlivable by 2020.  Presumably those Palestinians would have to be relocated to the fractured ghettos inland to the north.

The ads are running on Vancouver’s transit system and they’re expected to (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: The U.S. war against democracy in the Middle East

The CIA’s recent public admission that it masterminded the 1953 military coup against Iran’s democratically elected government reminded me once again of the fickle U.S. support for democracy in the Middle East. American involvement was well-known—books have been written about it—but the publishing of previously classified documents by the U.S. National Security Archive amounts to a public

drive-by planet: Nigel Kennedy ‘apartheid’ reference to be censored by BBC: Palestine Strings at the Proms


On August 8 the BBC Proms featured the Palestine Strings in company with world renowned violinist, Nigel Kennedy, and members of his Orchestra of Life. Palestine Strings is made up of seventeen young Palestinians ranging in age from 12 to 23 who study at the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music in the occupied territories.

The highly innovative performance of Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons included Arabic and jazz-inspired improvisations. The capacity audience at the Royal Albert Hall was enthralled and at the end of the concert responded with enthusiastic applause. Nigel Kennedy’s address to the audience included a passing (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Alice Walker Disinvited By Top US University Over Israel Criticism

The University of Michigan has disinvited Pulitzer-prize winning African-American author Alice Walker as punishment for her progressive views on Israel.

The post Alice Walker Disinvited By Top US University Over Israel Criticism appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

wmtc: my journey to palestinian solidarity and the myth of the self-hating jew, part 3 and final

Part 1 here.

Part 2 here.

By now it should be clear that my abandonment of my ties to Israel, and my support for the liberation of Palestine, are not based on denial of my Jewish heritage or on anti-Semitism. This is a political issue, and a moral one. Jewish people cannot be – and should not be – expected to adhere to some kind of party line of political views. I am heartened that increasing numbers of Jewish people are making their own journeys away from unconditional support for Israel – away from nationalism and towards justice – and (Read more…)

wmtc: my journey to palestinian solidarity and the myth of the self-hating jew, part 2

Part 1 here.

For a while I had been reluctant to write this story, because it seemed so baggy and shapeless. The best essays are crisp, with a clearly defined turning point and an easily identifiable ah-ha moment. This story has none of those that I can see. A clear path would make a better essay, but all I have is this murky stew.

My path of change of mind and heart about Israel and Palestine was a long one, and when I try to trace it, many seemingly unconnected points stand out.

Early warnings

In university (1978-1982), I was (Read more…)

wmtc: my journey to palestinian solidarity and the myth of the self-hating jew, part 1

The Self-Hating Jew.

This is what I am, according to some.

There’s a line from an Andrew Lloyd-Webber musical: “I’ve been called many names, but they’re the strangest.”* I think of this every time I hear or read the expression “self-hating Jew”. What a bizarre turn of phrase. Is it like a self-cleaning oven, or a self-basting turkey? No need to hate me, thanks, I’ve got it covered!

A “self-hating Jew” is the term given by some Jewish people who support Israel’s policies and actions towards the Palestinian people to other Jewish people who do not support those (Read more…)

drive-by planet: Google upgrades to ‘Palestine’: on another note – Schmidty sings Israel’s praises oh and Jerusalem Israel’s ‘capital’ according to GoogleMaps

Google has changed the tagline on its homepage in the occupied territories from “Palestinian Territories” to “Palestine.” A Google spokesperson informed BBC that the company had consulted sources and authorities and was “…following the lead of the UN, Icann [Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers], ISO [International Organisation for Standardisation] and other international organisations.”

It’s hard to get overly enthused about a word above a Google search bar so long as actual Palestinians are under occupation, apartheid and treated like pariahs in their own land. Given the recent UN vote in favor of Palestine non-member observer (Read more…)

drive-by planet: Ilan Pappé exposes Zionist mythologies surrounding the creation of Israel: Australian Press Club address

Ilan Pappé is an Israeli historian – born in Haifa, son of German-Jewish parents who fled Nazi persecution. He is a professor with the College of Social Sciences and International Studies at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom – director of the university’s European Centre for Palestine Studies and co-director of the Exeter Centre for Ethno-Political Studies.

Professor Pappé is the author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006), The Modern Middle East (2005), A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples (2003), and Britain and the Arab-Israeli Conflict (1988).

In the above Press Club address Pappé (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Rachel Corrie’s parents speak on 10th anniversary of her death (VIDEO)

By: Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive: Rachel Corrie, a US peace activist, was killed by an Israeli bulldozer in the Gaza Strip as she tried to block the demolition of a Palestinian home. Her parents, Craig and Cindy, speak on the 10th anniversary of the killing of their daughter. WATCH: This [...]

Song of the Watermelon: Thoughts on the New Israeli Government

On the same day that the world erupted in joyous, teary-eyed celebration following the selection of a new pope, a slightly less climactic breakthrough was reached thousands of kilometres away as four Israeli political parties, nearly two months after elections, quietly decided to form a coalition government. Right away, the deal seemed like it might fall apart over a last-minute dispute regarding deputy prime ministerial appointments, but two days later, all differences have been ironed out and the coalition agreement signed.

The chances were never exactly high that Israel would bend far enough to conclude a successful peace agreement (Read more…)

wmtc: how can we condemn bigotry on the soccer field yet support racist israeli policies?

This week in The Nation, Dave Zirin reports on some disturbing – and disgusting – behaviour from Israeli soccer fans. Not even in the earliest days of Jackie Robinson’s 1947 historic debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers did Brooklyn’s white fans walk out after number 42 stole a base or hit a home run. The Brooklyn faithful’s love of “Dem Bums” trumped any racism that simmered in the stands. What does it say that sixty-six years later, Israeli fans of the soccer club Beitar Jerusalem have not evolved to postwar-Brooklyn standards of human decency?

Earlier this season, Beitar Jersulam broke

. . . → Read More: wmtc: how can we condemn bigotry on the soccer field yet support racist israeli policies?

drive-by planet: BDS event at Brooklyn College goes as planned despite backlash by Israel supporters

 Standing for Free Speech: Students for Justice in Palestine at Brooklyn College  in the run-up to the BDS event

The BDS panel discussion at Brooklyn College went ahead Thursday. It proceeded as planned despite efforts to discredit the event and intimidate the College in what really amounted to an attack on academic freedom. The detractors as mentioned in my previous post included NYC politicos and even a few Democratic members of Congress.

The backlash by Israel supporters to the event was over-the-top – driven in more than a few cases by a hardline pro-Israel mindset that brooks little or no

. . . → Read More: drive-by planet: BDS event at Brooklyn College goes as planned despite backlash by Israel supporters

Song of the Watermelon: Israel’s Election Results and the Prospects for Peace

Yair Lapid

Well, that wasn’t quite as bad as I thought.

Sadly, Benjamin Netanyahu will almost certainly remain prime minister of Israel after his Likud party and its electoral partner Yisrael Beiteinu won a plurality of seats in Knesset elections today. But their share has gone down sharply since the last election. Even Habayit Hayehudi, an extreme right ultra-nationalist party that was widely expected to come in third or perhaps even second, suffered an upset with a fifth-place finish.

The Knesset now appears to be split clean in half between the right wing on one side and the centre, left,

. . . → Read More: Song of the Watermelon: Israel’s Election Results and the Prospects for Peace