The book celebrates Palestinian culture by teaching children the alphabet while using concepts from Palestinian history and culture, attracted controversy after it was published in 2017 because its entry for the 9th letter was “I is for Intifada. Intifada is Arabic for rising up/For what is right, if you are a kid or grownup!”
According to Dr Bashi,”intifada” is the Arabic word for “resistance” and has a peaceful connotation. She compared it to the movements “Black Lives Matter” and the “Woman’s March”.
She said: “The people who object to it and come up with all kinds of false lies about it do not know Arabic.”
“In the American media context, intifada has been used in connection with violence imagery. Just like other Arabic words. Intifada is actually 71 years old. It is resistance to occupation of a people’s land.”
“It is like Native American resistance to white settlers. You have violent aspects in that, but you also have mostly peaceful resistance. You have to completely use the Native American example in the context of Palestinian resistance.”
A week before the event, Zachor Legal Institute, a legal think tank against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, sent a letter to the mayor of Highland Park, stating that if the event is not cancelled, the institute will be filing a formal complaint with the US Departments of Justice and Education to begin an investigation to determine if the library was in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for promoting anti-Semitism.
A response from the mayor, Gayle Mittler, was posted on the town’s Facebook page yesterday morning, in which she explained that she disagreed with the library’s decision to host the reading, but added she is “a fierce advocate of free speech”.
The borough council is set to vote on an anti-BDS resolution at its 29 October meeting, the Courier News reported.
‘The Israeli occupation forces continue to demolish Palestinians’ houses in the Occupied Territories without regard for international law’
Hemaya Centre For Human Rights has called on the Palestinian Authority (PA) to form a legal committee of Palestinian lawyers and experts in order to prepare a legal file on the policy of collective punishment practised by the Israeli occupation authorities, notably houses demolition, and to submit it to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
According to SAFA, the Centre condemned the demolition of a house belonging to the Khalifa family in Kalandia camp north of Jerusalem. According to the Centre’s follow-up, a large number of Israeli soldiers raided the Kalandia refugee camp, north of occupied Jerusalem, and evacuated the 3-storey house of the family of martyr Ali Hassan Khalifa; then, bulldozers demolished the house on Al-Quds Street near Kalandia checkpoint.
The Centre stated that the Israeli occupation forces continue to demolish Palestinians’ houses in the Occupied Territories without regard for international law, in a crime that amounts to collective punishment. It added that these Israeli practices are a flagrant violation of the principles of international law, in particular the Geneva Convention, which affirms that a protected person may not be punished for an act he has not personally done, in addition to violating civilians’ rights, especially their right to housing, resulting potentially in denying thousands of people shelter.
The Centre stressed that the international community’s failure to take a firm position on the occupation policy in the Occupied Territories encouraged it to commit further violations of international human rights, humanitarian and international law as well as international legitimacy resolutions.
The Centre called upon the international community, especially the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to assume its legal and moral responsibilities and to fulfil its obligations and work towards finding a mechanism forcing the occupation state to respect the rules of international law and UN resolutions related to the Palestinian cause.
The employees of the so-called Bedouin Development and Settlement Authority in the occupied Negev and the Israel Lands Administration (ILA), under the protection of dozens of Israeli police units, raided the sixth suburb in the city of Rahat and posted 140 demolition orders on populated houses. The houses belong to the families of Ataiqa and Beheiri. The occupation authorities also attached a demolition order to the Rabat Mosque, which has been built more than 40 years ago, according to the inhabitants of the suburb.
Residents of the sixth suburb issued a statement addressed to the residents of Rahat and the Negev warning them of an attempt by the Bedouin Development and Settlement Authority in the coming days to market building plots in the area. The residents of the sixth suburb also called on the Bedouins of the Negev to boycott the Israeli authority’s plan to displace them, and not to buy the building plots, as the whole land belongs to families of Ataiqa and Beheiri who lived on it for more than 70 years.
According to the statement, those who violate the consensus will be tried by the tribal judiciary according to custom in the land cases. The locals called on the Rahat Municipality and the Arab leadership in the Palestinian interior to join their struggle against forced displacement.
Posters on the London underground urges commuters to boycott sports brand Puma because of its sponsorship of the Israeli Football Association (IFA) which has teams in illegal settlements, 25 October 2019
Transport for London (TfL), the transport network for the UK’s capital, on Wednesday stated that it would immediately remove numerous posters which urged commuters to boycott international sports brand Puma because of its sponsorship of the Israeli Football Association (IFA) which has teams in illegal settlements.
The posters, apparently part of efforts by the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, display the logo of the sportswear company Puma alongside the words “Boycott – Give Puma the boot,” with a picture of Israeli occupation soldiers arresting Palestinian youths, a regular occurrence seen on the streets of the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem. The words at the bottom of the poster refer to Puma as “proud sponsors of Israeli apartheid.”
TfL described the incident as vandalism, and set to removing them from its trains on the Northern and Bakerloo Lines. A spokesman for the TfL told the UK-based pro-Israeli newspaper the Jewish Chronicle that “these adverts are absolutely not authorised by TfL or our advertising agent Global. It is fly posting and therefore an act of vandalism which we take extremely seriously. We have instructed our contractors to remove any of these posters found on our network immediately.”
On Twitter the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) described Puma as “the main sponsor of the Israeli Football Association (IFA) who have teams in illegal settlements, based on stolen Palestinian land.”
#BoycottPuma subvertising on the London Tube!@PUMA sponsors the Israel Football Association, which includes teams in illegal Israeli settlements on stolen Palestinian land.
The BDS movement has been and is targeted by a huge campaign of suppression by a variety of organisations, lobbying groups and countries. The US is among the most prominent of those aiming to quash the movement, with at least 27 of its states having passed some laws limiting or outright banning the boycott of Israel and blacklisting any company or business which participates in it. In Europe, Germany has been the most recent country to take measures against the movement, labelling it anti-Semitic in May.
Israeli soldiers invaded, on Thursday evening, the al-Ezariyya town, southeast of occupied East Jerusalem, and attacked protesters, before firing gas bombs at them, and many surrounding homes, causing a family to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.
Medical sources said the soldiers fired many gas bombs at random, some striking a house in the town, causing the entire family to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.
They added that medics rushed to the home and provided the needed treatment to the wounded family.
The soldiers also chased many youngsters in the town and withdrew later without abducting any Palestinians from the town.
In addition, Israeli troops installed a roadblock near a home of a deceased Palestinian and started searching cars and interrogating residents
al-Issawiya is one of the towns subjected to a continuous campaign of harassment and abductions of Palestinian residents, as it has been designated as an area for Jewish colonization.
This policy of harassment was recently revealed by a tape leaked from the Israeli police in Jerusalem in which the officers admitted that they harass residents of al-Issawiya for no reason, simply to cause problems for the residents.
Israeli soldiers abducted, earlier on Friday at dawn, a wheelchair-bound Palestinian woman, from her home in Beit Liqya town, west of the central West Bank city of Ramallah.
The Mayor of Beit Liqya, Arij Aassi, told the WAFA Palestinian News Agency that the soldiers invaded the home of Hiam Shokri Bader, 65, and took her to an unknown destination.
She added that Hiam is paralyzed, and that approximately 10 days ago, the soldiers stormed her home, and abducted her sons, Tha’er, Ashraf and Tamer.
In Nablus, in northern West Bank, a group of illegal Israeli colonists infiltrated into Yitma town, south of the city, and punctured the tires of several Palestinian cars, in addition to writing racist graffiti.
Ramallah (QNN)- For the second time, Israeli forces demolished the house of Latifah Abu Hmeid, mother of prisoner Islam Abu Hmeid, in Al Am’ari refugee camp on Thursday.
QNN reporter confirmed that a group of Israeli soldiers broke into the camp in southern Ramallah, Soldiers topped the roofs of surrounding houses, then in less than 15 minutes dozens of military jeeps and two bulldozers reached the site.
Confrontations between locals and Israeli forces were erupted following the Israeli raid. Israeli forces used stun and gas grenades during the confrontations.
Israeli forces imposed a perimeter around the area and prevented journalists from covering the event.
Israeli forces demolished Abu Hnmeid’s house last year as a punitive measure for the son Islam, who killed a Duvdevan Israeli soldier, who broke into his house. Then demolished it again based on an Israeli law, which prevent Palestinians, whose houses were demolished, to rebuilt them.
Islam Abu Hmeid killed an Israeli soldiers, who broke into his house in self-defense. One of Islam’s brothers was killed by another Duvdevan soldier, while his brothers were arrested.
#Photo of Umm Nasir Abu Hmeid, whose house in al-Am’ari Refugee Camp in Ramallah was demolished by “Israel” predawn today.
“Israel” killed one son of Umm Nasir’s, and now imprisons five others in its jails. This is not the first time it demolished her house as a punitive measure.
How Pro-Israeli discourse rooted itself in the popular culture of the West
By Qassam Muaddi
Let us do a quick check: If I asked you when did the “Ramadan war” happen, where is the “Ben Amer” valley located or who were Hassan Salameh, Abdel Qader Husseini and Youssef Abu Durra, how many questions can you answer correctly without checking Google? Now, how about if I asked you when did the “Yom Kippur” war happen, where is the Jezreel valley located and who were Ziev Jabotenski, David Ben Gurion and Chaim Wizeman, how many questions can you answer now? Well, The Ramadan war is the Yom Kippur war which happened between Syria, Egypt and Israel in October 1973. The Ben Amer valley is the Jezreel valley, that crosses Palestine from the Eastern slopes of the Carmel mountains in the West, to the Northern Jordan Valley in the East. As for Hassan Salameh, Youssef Abu Durra and Abdel Qader Husseini, they were Palestinian national leaders in the 1930s and 1940s, at the same time that Ziev Jabotenski, David Ben Gurion and Chaim Wizeman were leading the Zionist movement.
The vocabulary, the historical references and even the geographical lexicon, by which the public build their knowledge about a country constitute the narrative they will adopt, intentionally or not. That narrative is given out, primarily, by the media. In recent years, criticism has increased of mainstream media bias towards Israel. The role played by lobbies, private stakeholders and even governments in shaping the media discourse are regularly exposed. However, when it comes to Palestine, there is another kind of bias, more rooted, more cultural, more implicit and sometimes, even more unconscious. A type of bias that precedes Zionism itself. This type of cultural bias relies on a series of elements, influencing Western culture and promoted by mainstream media. One of these elements is the long-standing biblical reading of the history of Palestine and of the Middle East in General.
The shovel in one hand and the Bible in the other
In his book “The history of Jerusalem”, Syrian historian Firas Sawah explains that when the first archeologists came to the Middle East, shortly after the Napoleonic campaign on Egypt in 1799, they were looking for the traces of the biblical stories, as if the Bible was a historical reference itself. For nearly two centuries and in the Middle East exclusively, archeologists dug the earth “with a shovel in one hand and the Bible in the other”. Sawah gives one of the most recent examples and the most monumental ones as well; the British archeologist, Dame Kathleen Kenyon’s work in Jerusalem between 1961 and 1967. Kenyon excavated the immediate outside area of Al-Aqsa compound, or as she knew it “the Temple Mount”. She looked for the foundations of the Hebrew temple and reached the bed-rock of the hill on which the ancient Jerusalem stood, back in the 10th century BC. However, Kenyon did not find any bases from the time of Salomon. She rather found enormous base stones dating back from the time of Herodes, some 10 centuries after Salomon’s times. Despite this, instead of concluding that the temple of Salomon was not found, as you would expect, Kenyon concluded that she found the foundations of Herodes’ renovations to Salomon’s temple.
Keynon is just one of many examples of what Father Rafiq Khoury, the leading Palestinian catholic theologist calls “the limitation of lecture to the Jewish history of the land”. Father Rafiq Khoury argues that “because Christianity became a European and therefore Western heritage, the Jewish religious heritage that came with it became a fundamental part of the Western culture and of Western understanding of Palestine and the Middle East”. This “limitation” generates the first misconception in popular culture towards the modern state of Israel; to consider today’s state of Israel to be the historical extension of the Biblical people of Israel. That concept in itself, according to Father Rafiq Khoury, “provides the basis for a cultural bias towards Israel, on the expense of the Palestinian narrative, which gets eclipsed by the Zionist one”.
Zionism and classic European orientalism
But there is more to this cultural bias than mere religious heritage. According to writer and lecturer in postcolonial studies, Professor Khaled Odetallah, Zionism is “a product of European modern colonialism and shares its concept of Eastern peoples”. A concept which Edward Said analyses in his masterpiece “Orientalism” as depiction of Arabs and Muslims, based on subjective misconceptions, motivated by the search for an exotic, static Orient which never changes. An Orient always available there to satisfy the fantasies of European explorers. That distorted image of the Oriental nations, from Morocco to India, was passed on to modern Western popular culture through art, cinema and literature. For Khaled Odetallah, “Zionism itself is pure orientalism, loaded with false affirmations central to colonialism”. For instance, “that nations, in the political sense, are the European nations, whereas Eastern peoples remain outsiders to this definition, which gave origin to the Zionist idea of Palestine being a “land without a people”.
These basic concepts shared between classic European colonial culture and Zionism have made the fundamental affirmations of the Zionist narrative a cultural common place, very hard to overcome. However, neither Europe or the West froze in 19th century’s colonialism. The second half of the 20th century brought great changes. The Third World struggles, the decolonisation process, internationalism and anti-racism, all created the conditions in which the Palestinian cause emerged on the international scene. But the Zionist narrative and the bias towards Israel prevailed in the Western mainstream culture, due the adoption of the pro-Israelí discourse by mainstream media.
Israel and its “Media-lies”
During this period, mainstream media played the central role in promoting the basic elements of the Zionist narrative in Western culture. These elements were analysed by Belgian journalist and writer Michel Collon in his book “Israel, let’s talk about it”, published originally in French in 2011. Michel Collon explains that the mainstream corporate media has managed to establish ten false affirmations about Israel in the popular culture of the Western societies. These false affirmations include; That Israel was created as a reaction to the Nazi holocaust, that Palestine was an empty land with no people, that the Jews were returning to their ancestors’ land, that Palestinians left their land willingly in 1948, that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, that every criticism of Israel is a form of antisemitism and that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a nationalistic chauvinistic conflict, fueled by hatred and thus, has no possible solution or end.
With the large absence of the Palestinian narrative in Western popular culture, this discourse shaped the public opinion in the West for half a century. Alternative voices represented by Palestinian academics and the Israelí new historians movement challanged the Israelí narrative in the academia, but the popular culture remained influenced mainly by the media. That started to change after the emergence of the Internet. More precisely, after the emergence of social media. With a new generation of Palestinians growing up in the aftermath of the second Intifada, connecting with their peers all over the world, Palestinian content, with Palestinian vocabulary and historical references began to circulate the virtual spaces of Facebook and Twitter.
Blood, social media and Hasbara
Eyad Refaei, director of the Palestinian “Sada Social Center for the Defence of Digital Rigths”, explains that “the emergence of Palestinian content on social media started to make a difference after 2011. It was unorganized, relying mostly on individual initiatives, but it created a shock wave to which internet users from all over the world reacted”. Surprisingly, this “shock wave” did not come from theoretical discussions, but from something more direct and crude; direct images of Israeli daily brutality. “The images of Palestinian victims and blood, especially during the Israeli attack on Gaza in 2012 shattered all discussions. Many people were not used to seeing them and thus, the grounds of the debate were shifted”. This shifting towards the Palestinian voice, produced by the simple human tragedy, coming directly from the field to the audience, threatened the monopoly of pro-Israelí discourse on the circulation of information and thus, demanded an Israeli reaction.
Israel had already started to develop a special propaganda method since 2009, in order to encounter the increasing criticism of its policies and the growing international boycott movement. This method was given the name of “Hasbara”, Hebrew for “explanation” and is generally described as “Israeli public diplomacy”. But it is much more than that. In the words of former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Chas Freeman Jr., “Hasbara seeks actively to inculcate canons of political correctness in domestic and foreign media and audiences that will promote self-censorship by them”. It is a method of propaganda that targets the reception willingness of the public, rather than the information offered. It combines social and traditional media and uses official and non-state actors as well.
Text manuals of Hasbara have been elaborated with the participation of pro-Israeli think tanks in the United States. For instance, the “Hasbara 2009 manual” produced by the pro-Israelí lobby group “The Israel Project” in 2009, instructs pro-Israeli propagandists, to “change the subject” every time settlements are mentioned in the media, to bash any criticism of Israeli policy as anti-Semitic and to focus on portraying the conflict as being between Israel and Palestinian factions and leaders, like Hamas, and not the people, because “the American public has empathy for the Palestinian people”.
Facing the “electronic army”
Nevertheless, the Israeli efforts to build a systematic methodology of a modern, effective propaganda, shocked again in 2014, against the wall of crude reality of the Israeli brutality. The 51-day Israeli aggression on Gaza, that year, left countless images and testimonies of death, blood and destruction. Eyad Refai explains that “It was during the 2014 war that the Palestinian activity on social media began to organize. Palestinian pages and accounts multiplied and several Palestinian social media-based outlets were already covering the events”. At this point, Refai explains, “the discussion surrounding the Palestinian cause had already become more elaborate. Digital activists from Palestine, Europe and America engaged actively in presenting the Palestinian content with a Palestinian vocabulary and online material like videos, infographics and articles became more sophisticated”.
This type of content proved to be effective online and it influenced debate on mainstream media as well. However, on the Israelí side, efforts were further organized as well. As Eyad Refai highlights, “The Israelí government had organized entire teams of online propagandists who worked aroud the clock to promote Hasbara discourse and tackle the Palestinian narrative. They are trained, organized and oriented. A real “Electronic army”, unlike Palestinian online activism, which remains largely relying on personal initiatives”.
Nevertheless, Eyad Refai thinks that change is moving forward; “The Palestinian voice is more audible than it ever was. Public around the world begin to question the narrative they have received for so long”. But the long way to go that remains ahead, he believes, is to be walked on both sides of the equation; “We, Palestinians, still need to organize better, to have more public engagement in these efforts, to elaborate a unified approach. But public in the West and around the world also need to question even more what they know” Refai affirms, “to search, to learn and to criticize”.
By the way, let us do a quick check: If I asked you now, what are the Palestinian names for the Yom Kippur war, the Jezreel valley or who led the Palestinian national movement in the 1930s and 1940s, do you feel like you want to search for a different side of the story?
Occupied Palestine (QNN)- An Israeli jailer, who was responsible for guarding the tortured prisoner Samer Arbeed, sprayed pepper gas in his room in the ICU unit at hospital, reported Israeli Maariv.
The Israeli newspaper revealed Friday that doctors had to quickly intervene and provided the needed treatment for the critically wounded prisoner.
The jailer did not report the incident, which took place over two weeks ago. However, the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) claimed that the incident was by mistake.
Arbeed has been getting treatment at a hospital in occupied Jerusalem for nearly three weeks so far after he was evacuated from jail in critical condition due to torture, to which he was subjected during interrogation.
More than 75 of Gaza residents are unemployed or have daily income of less than two US dollars
Private sector in Gaza is operating at production capacity of less than 15 per cent due to continued Israeli siege, head of Palestinian Businessmen Association, Ali al-Hayek, has said.
The bad conditions in Gaza are still affecting the economy, in light of the continued depletion of the productive sectors, which in turn has affected thousands of economic activities, stressed Al-Hayek in a press statement on Thursday.
He further explained that the economy of the Gaza Strip is suffering from the largest deficit in terms of the number of economic establishments, new investments and employment.
Al-Hayek pointed out that in case the situation remains without any urgent intervention, more economic crises and complications will ensue, especially in terms of the number of poor and unemployed people.
The Palestinian businessman added that Gaza needs to be open to the outside world in order to end its major crises, especially in light of the accumulation of vulnerability factors and the absence of any real interventions to solve them.
He stated that the blockaded Gaza Strip suffers from unprecedented decline in international support, crises of liquidity, unemployment, poverty and food insecurity.
The situation in Gaza is no longer bearable, and it will have serious repercussions on all parties, indicated Al-Hayek, warning that what may come next would be serious and might lead an eruption.
He also stressed on the importance of “achieving and implementing Palestinian reconciliation as one of the strategic and fundamental ways to get out of the crisis, as it may raise excuses regarding the siege and restore the work of international institutions in one way or another.”