Of myths and manipulation amidst agile solidarity

Palestine Updates 33/2017

Opinion

Of myths and manipulation amidst agile solidarity

Ilan Pappé is not only a historian and activist. He is a rare and bold thinker with out-of-the box solutions and approaches to the vexed question of Palestine. Through death threats, and volumes of hate mail, he has remained steadfast in his support to a just settlement and justice for the Palestinians. He has not once held back from tough words for the Israeli regime. The interview we offer in this edition of Palestine Upadtes between journalist Max Blumenthal and Pappé talk about Pappe’s forthcoming book, “Ten Myths about Israel”.

On to the persistent debate over the Banksy’s “Walled off Hotel,” we see vast media and public attention. While many of the artist’s paintings on Israel’s apartheid wall have become iconic images of resistance to occupation, and deemed as an “anti-colonial triumph”, the “Walled off Hotel, “has raised doubts about its core intent. Bansky has somehow tended to equate Palestinians and Israelis as symmetric entities at a time when Israel’s occupation assumes vastly tragic proportions for the Palestinians. There are serious doubts that the Hotel project will end up confusing  Palestinian histories and narratives.

And worse! Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has come up with the bizarre argument that the Palestinian demand to dismantle illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) constitutes an act of “ethnic cleansing” against Israeli Jewish settlers. The term is a euphemism to describe extreme violent practices, mass killings, and forced displacement during conflict and war. It has also been used by many scholars as well as in public discourse to refer to Zionist practices against the Palestinian population in the lead-up to and during the Nakba of 1948. Netanyahu’s application of the term to Israeli settlers garnered more than a million views on his Facebook page, and drew millions more via the video’s recirculation across social media platforms. It shocked many analysts, created a tense debate in the international media. This new rhetoric is Netanyahu’s way of appropriating a narrative of victimhood in order to whip up public self-sympathy.

Away in the UK, there is news accompanied by defiance and hope. Renowned human rights lawyer Hugh Tomlinson QC has issued a legal opinion that finds major faults with the government’s new anti-Semitism definition’s guidance. In partnership with Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Independent Jewish Voices and Free Speech Tomlinson on Israel launched his legal opinion in the House of Lords last week. The opinion criticizes the guidance that accompanies the definition which equates criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.

In another legal intervention, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel is demanding that Israel offer new homes slated for construction in Jisr Az-Zarqa exclusively to local residents, not newcomers who favour Israel for one politic reason or the other.

Finally, Palestinians, in particular, but leaders the world over have Palestinian leaders strongly condemned an Israeli security cabinet vote that unanimously approved the establishment of a new illegal Israeli settlement on occupied Palestinian land, for the first time in 20 years. One thing is certain, while Israel’s actions get more and more untamed, there is a growing alert and agile society that is widening and growing in strength.In solidarity

Ranjan Solomon
Editor


Ilan Pappé: The Myth of Israel
Journalist Max Blumenthal now sits down with Pappé to talk about the first of his forthcoming book, Ten Myths about Israel
Ilan Pappé is an Israeli historian and socialist activist. 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. His work has been both supported and criticized by other historians. Before he left Israel in 2008, he had been condemned in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament; a minister of education had called for him to be sacked; his photograph had appeared in a newspaper at the center of a target; and he had received several death threats. (Wiki)

View interview through International Middle East Media Centre

Banksy’s Hotel undermines Palestinian efforts to narrate their own history
Since its opening, Banksy’s “Walled off Hotel,” has created huge media and public attention. Several of the artist’s paintings on Israel’s apartheid wall have become iconic images of resistance to occupation. It has prompted some Palestine advocates to deem it as an “anti-colonial triumph”.Designed to be not-for-profit, it is effectively a living art installation that transforms the occupation into a grotesque tourist attraction for foreign consumption, all under the guise of “raising awareness” about the situation in Palestine. Its critics say it fails to change perceptions in any real sense because it diminishes Palestinian suffering in its narrative approach. For example, it depicts an Israeli soldier and a Palestinian having a pillow fight. Placards placed around the hotel fail to mention the occupation even once. Barnsky also equates the two sides arguing that the wall restricts movement “for both sides.”

Many Palestinian artists and activists have struggled for years to survive and create work under occupation and in exile, often laboring tirelessly to write our histories in the face of erasure, push forward our a narratives despite censorship, and to fight normalization. Perhaps the hotel’s worst offense is that it fails to center Palestinian histories and narratives, yet uses Palestinian land and push forward Palestinian narratives despite censorship, and to fight normalization.
Read more

Israel’s appropriation of the Palestinian narrative -Whose ‘ethnic cleansing?’:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently claimed in a videothat the Palestinian demand to dismantle illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) constitutes an act of “ethnic cleansing” against Israeli Jewish settlers. The term is a euphemism to describe extreme violent practices, mass killings, and forced displacement during conflict and war. It has also been used by many scholars as well as in public discourse to refer to Zionist practices against the Palestinian population in the lead-up to and during the Nakba of 1948. Netanyahu’s application of the term to Israeli settlers garnered more than a million views on his Facebook page, and drew millions more via the video’s recirculation across social media platforms. It shocked many analysts, created a tense debate in the international media. This  rhetoric is an Israeli strategy of appropriating a narrative of victimhood in order to shore up public support.
Read Maaan News report

View video featuring NPM Netanyahu’s spurious claim:

UK: A victory for free speech on Palestine
PNN reports: “In a hugely significant development for free speech on Palestine, eminent human rights lawyer Hugh Tomlinson QC has issued a legal opinion that finds major faults with the government’s new anti-Semitism definition’s guidance. In partnership with Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Independent Jewish Voices and Free Speech on Israel Tomlinson launched his legal opinion in the House of Lords last week.The opinion criticizes the guidance that accompanies the definition which conflates criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism. The guidance cannot be used lawfully to ban events critical of Israel – including in universities. This includes events describing Israel as a state enacting policies of apartheid or practicing settler-colonialism”.
Read report from Palestine News Network

Human rights institutions to launch popular campaign against siege
Human rights institutions along with activists and media men in Gaza city intend to launch a popular campaign against occupation and Gaza siege under the hashtag #Save Gaza. The campaign aims at exposing the Israeli occupation’s crimes including the Gaza siege which is about to enter its tenth year. The campaign is held to protest, as well, Israeli violations of international laws with relation to the freedom of movement and mobility via the closure of border crossings.
Read more 

Israel plans to build dozens of new homes in Arab village facing severe housing shortage – and offer them to non-residents
The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel is demanding that Israel offer new homes slated for construction in Jisr Az-Zarqa exclusively to local residents, who have been suffering for decades from one of the country’s most severe housing shortages. There is a shortage of more than 730 housing units in the Arab seaside fishing village, located between Tel Aviv and Haifa.In a letter sent to the Israel Land Authority (ILA) and the Israeli Ministry of Construction and Housing on 23 February 2017, Adalah said that impending tenders on 72 new homes should be offered strictly to local residents in accordance with a lottery system.
Check out details in Al Adalah website

Palestinian leaders condemn Israel’s approval of new West Bank settlements
Palestinian leaders strongly condemned an Israeli security cabinet vote that unanimously approved the establishment of a new illegal Israeli settlement on occupied Palestinian land, for the first time in 20 years. The new settlement will be located near the already established illegal settlement of the now famous ‘Shilo’ in the occupied West Bank district of Ramallah. Citing a statement released by the Israeli Prime Minister’s office, Haaretz said that the decision to establish the settlement — in violation of international law — was part of a “promise” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave to Israeli settlers of the illegal Amona outpost as residents were facing court-sanctioned demolitions several months ago after building on private Palestinian land. Haaretz reported that Netanyahu had previously told US President Donald Trump’s administration that he “intended to keep his promise,” and added that “politically speaking, it was impossible for him to renege on it.”
Maaan News carries the full report