Book Review of Decolonizing Israel, Liberating Palestine: Zionism, Settler Colonialism, and the Case for One Democratic State

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Photo by José de Azpiazu on Unsplash

Imagine, God forbid, that you and a friend are being rushed into a hospital emergency room by a life-support ambulance team. One of you is still living; the other died at the scene.

The horrific event that brought you both to this point was perpetrated in broad daylight, creating a public and angry outcry. The public has gathered in the parking lot of the hospital, its anger growing by the second. Inside, the health professionals do their job in a cold, systematic manner, as trained. The first decision is to take the still-living victim to triage and prepare them for a life-saving operation. …


Stop loving Israel to death.

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Image by TC Perch from Pixabay

If you are Jewish and living outside of Israel, what are you waiting for? Israel awaits you. What’s taking you so long? Uncle Bibi wants YOU!

As a Palestinian living in Palestine, I anxiously await your arrival. I have spoken directly to thousands of you over decades about Israel and its actions. Most recently, I had a conversation with over 100 of you on Zoom. The conversation and audience questions were all too familiar, like the hundreds of past encounters — cordial, frank, and informative to us both. However, this last one ended on a note that stuck with me for days. The interviewer, a well-established and respected Jewish thought leader in the U.S. closed the session with a message of hope that Israeli scientists would clone me. Although flattered, I got off the call and thought: Why clone me? I’m just communicating what my community has been saying for decades. …


Forty-eight civilians, 1 fetus, and 10 pennies

By Sam Bahour

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Photographs of the victims are displayed at the Kafr Qassem Massacre Museum.

If your Palestinian neighbors and friends seem slightly on edge today, please excuse them. October 29 brings back horrific memories to Palestinians everywhere, young and old. It was 64 years ago today that a scene of cold-blooded murder fell upon the hill-top Palestinian village of Kafr Qassem (also written Kfar Kassim), located in Israel about 20 km east of Tel Aviv, near the Green Line (1949 Armistice Agreement’s demarcation line) separating Israel and the West Bank. It was in Kafr Qassem on this day in 1956 where the Israeli military mowed down in cold blood 48 innocent civilians, one being a pregnant woman whose fetus is counted as the 49th victim. …


Only a Palestinian institutional rebirth can end this conflict.

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Yasser Arafat with Willy Brandt, Socialist International President, and Vice President Bruno Kreisky in Vienna, 13th of July 1979. (Source: Yasser Arafat Museum)

Western countries, especially European ones, have a track record of failing Palestine and Israel. Since the outset of this Middle East conflict, these powers have used the tremendous leverage they have on only one party — the Palestinians. At times, they punished Palestinians with military might. When that did not work, they added efforts to financially strangulate the Palestinian national liberation movement. When they realized the Palestinians were not going to vanish, they became innovative in their political and diplomatic discourse to divert Palestinians away from restoring what was forcefully taken from them upon the creation of the state of Israel. At no time in history have Western powers seriously held Israel accountable to get it to change its ways. …


Book review of The American Jewish Philanthropic Complex by Lila Corwin Berman

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Throughout history, the American Jewish community has had a lot to be rightfully proud of. Their dedication to Jewish communal life, their commitment to education, their organizing and lobbying skills, and their sustained investment in Jewish-focused media outlets, are just a few. Much of the individual and institutional successes across a myriad of domains can be attributed to what seems to outsiders as an abundance of funds, at times thought to be retrieved from a bottomless pit.

If you are like me, you are always seeking funding support for one project or another. In my case, very rarely are the projects my own. Fundraising is hard work, regardless of its purpose. Fundraise long enough and you start to learn that it is an industry, like most other domains, but very few people have the wherewithal and persistence to dig deep into the black box of how the mechanics of fundraising developed and exists in today’s world. Professor and Author Lila Corwin Berman clearly does not fit that description. She just released a book titled, The American Jewish Philanthropic Complex: The History of a Multibillion-Dollar Institution, which is a fascinating read. …


Book Review of Wake Up and Reclaim Your Humanity: Essays on the Tragedy of Israel-Palestine

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Gaza children in Beit Lahiya (2015)

Bookshelves are overflowing with books on Palestine and Israel. One might imagine that there are no new angles to write about. However, this man-made historic tragedy is not only historic but continues to this day, thus, books are not going to stop being written anytime soon. This is a godsend, as this book’s author will confirm, for it was his reading of a few books from the other side that was the start of his wake-up call of a lifetime.


Can business as usual counter a scorched-democracy policy?

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I just dropped my request for an Ohio absentee ballot in the Palestine Post in Ramallah. Although thousands of miles away, I can see and feel the heavy, dark clouds descending above all 50 states. This presidential election is not about Trump’s top contender, it is about getting over this four-year bump in the hope that lessons were learned, and a historic correction can begin. A Biden win is not the correction, it is getting over the bump.

As I was contemplating this all-important upcoming election, my two daughters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, sent me a message, “Dad, you must watch this.” They were referring to the Broadway smash-hit Hamilton: An American Musical, a sung-and-rapped-through theatrical musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Watching this amazing performance of a snapshot of U.S. …


Why multinationals need to rely on neutral references.

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Multinational firms, especially if they are global leaders, have responsibilities that impact issues like those of countries, especially since many of these firms’ services have a user base and budget sizes larger than many countries around the world. Be they multinationals or otherwise, firms can easily be manipulated to play politics if they lack clear leadership and transparent processes.

One case in point is the all too familiar country drop-down box that almost every online service utilizes when they request a user’s address or physical location. Listing physical location options, like country, can become extremely political, as is the case when trying to identify which country Palestinians in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip reside, given the territory is officially and globally recognized as being under Israeli military occupation. …


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Trump, joined by Ambassador David Friedman and Jared Kushner and other senior staff, announces the agreement of full normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

Sam Bahour made the comments below in an interview with a journalist which did not air but that he later transcribed and shared with us. -Editor

The announcement of normalized relations between the UAE and Israel comes as no surprise for Palestinians. The normalization by several Gulf States, led by the Emirates, and Israel has been ongoing for a long period of time, under the table in a way, and this brings it to the surface. In analyzing, I would say it was brought to the surface at this specific time for a very concrete reason. …


Israeli and American Jews would be well-advised to rethink where Trump and Netanyahu are taking them — and remember that we Palestinians are going nowhere

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A Palestinian demonstrator uses a sling to hurl stones at Israeli troops during a protest near Ramallah, on August 8, 2020. Credit: Mohamad Torokman / Reuters

The only thing standing between Israel and the Palestinians reverting to using armed struggle to advance their goals is the current Palestinian leadership. This is the same Mahmoud Abbas-led leadership that U.S. President Donald Trump and successive Israeli governments have demonized, economically suffocated, and politically battered. If the U.S. and Israel do not make an about-face soon, Palestinians will care less who blames them when the bullets and missiles start flying in both directions.

While this perfect storm is brewing, the recent Israel-United Arab Emirates announcement of plans to normalize relations is a mere red herring. The announcement has been received by two extremes. On the one side, driven by Israel and the U.S., you have delusional people who have convinced themselves that another “breakthrough” has been made toward Israel gaining broader acceptance in the region. On the other side, where Palestinians lead the pack, this announcement is yet another blow to the struggle for freedom and independence from Israeli military occupation. Put in context, this entire diplomatic episode is merely a flicker on a crowded Middle East radar. …

About

Sam Bahour

Writer, businessperson, activist.

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