israel

Netanyahu's "Arab voters are voting!" Facebook video

Netanyahu’s “Arab voters are voting!” Facebook video.

Despite polling predictions that Israeli voters were abandoning him, Binyamin Netanyahu won by far the biggest share of seats in the Knesset last Wednesday. There has since been much despair in my social feeds and the international press that Israel is right-wing and only sliding further in that direction.

In my opinion, for all this talk of Netanyahu as a political magician, he has walked over a cliff this time. You can’t insult the President of the United States by coming to his country behind his back, and then explicitly repudiate US foreign policy in the Middle East, and just expect to get away with it. For all the jubilant talk of Netanyahu sticking it to that lame-ass lame-duck softy-on-security Barack Obama, he’s the President of the United States. One of the only things holding Mahmoud Abbas from filing cases against Israel in the International Criminal Court is a law the US Congress passed automatically cutting off $400m in aid in the event that they did.* One commitment from Barack Obama to fund that $400m from appropriations under the control of the Executive would clear that obstacle in the time it took to hold a press conference. He can withhold the US veto from the UN the next time an Israel-bashing resolution comes up. He could endorse settlement-produce labeling. He could do anything, and because he’s a lame-duck, there’s pretty much no personal consequences to him doing so. It would tear the Jewish diaspora apart, as Israel’s current trajectory is already facilitating.

But anyway. This post is not a caravan of despair. I was reading a piece by Jonathan Freedman, who commented that buried in the numbers of the election, there was left-wing hope. And I’m tired of people talking about number of seats, so I went and looked at actual numbers of votes: [click to continue…]

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1942 graffiti on a Jewish shop that reads, "Palestine calls, Jews not tolerated in Norway".

1942 graffiti on a Jewish shop that reads, “Palestine calls, Jews not tolerated in Norway”.

Imagine that your parents and the majority of everyone they knew had all been systematically been massacred by a particular sect when you were a kid. Imagine you grew up in a family that was utterly traumatised by this massacre and was determined to avoid anything similar ever happening again. Imagine that growing up with that collective memory and grief had messed you up and you became an abuser towards others in an attempt to secure what was left of your family. Imagine that loads of people rightly protested this but deliberately taunted you by comparing you to the people who had committed that massacre, traumatising you over and over, choosing words and images to make it hurt as much as possible, claiming it was justified to “trigger” (that’s the word, isn’t it?) you over and over again because you were a bad person who just deserves it.

And now imagine that you had cousins and friends who had also seen the generation before them massacred, but who didn’t agree with your actions. Imagine that they also had to deal with the fallout from your abusive acts by being constantly subjected to comments, photos, and images comparing you, their friend or relative, to the sect who had systematically massacred everyone they had known and loved as well. Who had nothing to do with any of it but just had to put up with this torrent of horrible imagery and hate, aimed at them, their friends, and their families. And any time they objected, were told that no, it was ok, they were just trying to deliberately traumatise your friend, because he was a bad person and it’s ok to try to emotionally torture people with their past if you don’t like them. [click to continue…]

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Singing Garden: Spirituality and Naming Your Blog

September 19, 2011

A friend of mine runs a blog call Singing Garden. Below, she explains why she chose that name. Something magical and seminal happened while I was living in Israel. Something I had to work for years to understand, myself, and which I have tried to describe to others many times with gnawing dissatisfaction. My words, […]

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