Israel Khazan and Zvi Dannenberg, Jewish truckers in Palestine, were attacked and killed by Arab assailants on this day in 1936 in the first fatal attack of the three-year Arab revolt, a nationalist uprising against British Mandatory rule and against increasing Jewish immigration, which had doubled the population of Jews in Palestine to 370,000, or 27 percent of the general population, over the course of four years. The Arab Revolt would begin with a general strike in April, a tax strike in May, and the bombing of trains, oil pipelines, and other infrastructure. By the summer of 1936, thousands of acres of farmland and orchards worked by Jews would be destroyed and several Jewish communities would be entirely uprooted. The British response was brutal, including summary execution, mass arrests, harsh interrogation and torture, and the destruction of entire Arab villages. According to official British figures, more than 2,000 Arabs were killed in combat over the course of the three years, 108 were hanged, and 961 more died because of revenge attacks, gang activities, sniping, and terrorism. Other analysts have suggested Arab casualties of 5,032 dead and nearly 15,000 wounded. The British also estimated Jewish deaths at 300 and British deaths at 262. Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, went into exile after the revolt was crushed, eventually finding sanctuary in Nazi Germany, where he actively collaborated with Hitler’s government.
“I will never forget arriving at al-Bassa and seeing the Rolls Royce armoured cars of the 11th Hussars peppering Bassa with machine gun fire and this went on for about 20 minutes and then we went in and I remembered we had lighted braziers and we set the houses on fire and we burnt the village to the ground.” –Desmond Woods, officer of the Royal Ulster Rifles
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PRESIDENT OBAMA: Marhaba. Thank you, President Abbas, for your generous words and for welcoming me to Ramallah. I was last here five years ago, and it’s a pleasure to be back — to see the progress that’s happened since my last visit, but also to bear witness to the enduring challenges to peace and security that so many Palestinians seek. I’ve returned to the West Bank because the United States is deeply committed to the creation of an independent and sovereign state of Palestine.
The Palestinian people deserve an end to occupation and the daily indignities that come with it.Palestinians deserve to move and travel freely, and to feel secure in their communities. Like people everywhere, Palestinians deserve a future of hope — that their rights will be respected, that tomorrow will be better than today and that they can give their children a life of dignity and opportunity. Put simply, Palestinians deserve a state of their own. [click to continue…]
There is something perverse and sickening about President Obama spending this 10th anniversary of the American invasion of Iraq in Israel threatening to make war on Iran.
Shouldn’t our Nobel Peace Prize-winning president be in Baghdad, instead, speaking about the folly of our last “preventive war” — and promising to pour billions of dollars into the repair of that country and the resetting of its millions of displaced people?
What is he doing in Israel, pledging America’s undying fealty and “unbreakable” support without making a single public demand upon Israel’s government? Why is he helping to shore up the credibility of Benjamin Netanyahu, who shamefully disrespected Obama when last in our country and who diligently sought to get Mitt Romney elected? Seventy percent of American Jews voted for Obama — who never needs to be reelected for anything — so why is he pandering to the Israeli rightwing establishment this way?
I can only imagine the entire Arab world thinking: It’s true what they say about the Jews — they control everything! Here is the president of the United States of America, flying across the sea to embrace that thug of a prime minister, who all but threw his shoe at Obama last year . . .
Some commentators, notably Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic, have expressed the hope — or, as he admitted, the fantasy — that Obama will insist on a quid pro quo from Netanyahu: The U.S. will have Israel’s back and declare that any attack on Israel is tantamount to an attack on the U.S. — IF AND ONLY IF Netanyahu will at last do what is necessary to draw the Palestinians into meaningful negotiations: freeze the settlements and/or agree to the 1967 borders as the general outline of a two-state solution. So far, however, there are no American demands being enunciated, only American kow-towing.
What in the world for?
One of the hardest things about leaving college is finding communities to join or having to build new ones all over again. When I settled down in Brooklyn last month after a summer of traveling, I had to face this challenge. At Bard, I loved being a part of (and leading) the Jewish Students Organization, and I wanted to still belong to some sort of non-synagogue Jewish organization or community. However, I was not going to join any organization that identifies as Zionist in any way, and I also didn’t want to hear anyone make dehumanizing comments about Palestinians or talk about how amazing their Birthright trip was. As well as being in the JSO, I was also the head of an SJP-type group called Students for Justice in the Middle East, and I wanted to continue my Palestine solidarity work too. If not for Jewish Voice for Peace, I don’t think there would be any opportunities for me to combine the two.
Embroidered illustration of a JVP demonstration by artist Lee Porter
I’d heard about JVP from their teach-ins on BDS and their disruptions of a Birthright event and Netanyahu’s speech. I went to my first meeting in late October, in a JVP member’s apartment on the upper east side. The meeting was small: only me, four older people, and another woman in her twenties named Carolyn who also works for JFREJ. The experience of being at very small Palestine solidarity meetings was familiar to me from my Bard days, though the knowledge that JVP was also a very large and well-funded national organization (by Palestine solidarity organizational standards, not Jewish community standards) made this ragtag meeting feel a little incongrous.
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