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A Surge of Violence in Israel/Palestine
Duration
0:00 / 36:27
Published
April 20, 2022

Life in Israel/Palestine is always characterized by a high level of violence; for instance, Israel’s control of millions of stateless Palestinians in the West Bank who live without due process under military law is inherently violent. But recent weeks have seen a surge in violence: Palestinians from both the West Bank and Israel proper have attacked and in some cases killed Israeli civilians and soldiers, and Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers have attacked and in some cases killed Palestinian civilians. With the unusual confluence of the holidays of Ramadan, Easter, and Passover, many worry that the violence will grow, and even spiral into the kind of massive bloodshed that unfolded last spring. (Since this episode was recorded on April 13th, tensions have escalated further as Israeli police attacked worshipers at the Al-Aqsa mosque, and Israel bombed Gaza in response to a Hamas rocket.) On this episode, Editor-at-Large Peter Beinart speaks with political scientist Dana El Kurd and attorney Daniel Seidemann about why violence is rising now, shifting Palestinian public opinion on violent and nonviolent resistance, and what the coming weeks may bring.

Books and Articles Mentioned:

Support for Violent vs. Non-violent Strategies in the Palestinian Territories” by Dana El Kurd (April 15th, 2022)

Key Messages from the Oppressed” by Dana El Kurd (April 6th, 2022)

IDF Intelligence Chief: Palestinian Despair, Frustration Are Among Reasons for Terror Wave” by Barak Ravid (November 3rd, 2015)

Hamas Breaks Out of its Gaza Cage” by Amjad Iraqi (May 21st, 202)1

Poll Finds Dramatic Rise in Palestinian Support for Hamas” by Joseph Krauss (June 15th, 2021)

The End of Nonviolent Resistance” by Isaac Scher (April 12th, 2022)

“​​Israel Imposes Sanctions on Jenin, the West Bank Hometown of Tel Aviv Terrorist” by Yaniv Kubovich and Jack Khoury (April 9th 2022)

It is Impossible to ‘Shrink the Conflict’” by Peter Beinart (November 11th, 2021)

Thanks to Jesse Brenneman for producing and to Nathan Salsburg for the use of his song “VIII (All That Were Calculated Have Passed).”


Transcript

Peter Beinart: Hello, and welcome to On the Nose a podcast with Jewish Currents. I’m Peter Beinart, editor-at-large at Jewish Currents and I’m your host today. Even in normal times, Israel/Palestine witnesses a high level of violence. Israel’s control over millions of stateless, West Bank Palestinians, who live without due process under military law, for instance, is inherently violent. But in recent weeks, violence has risen above even that base level, Palestinians from both the West Bank and Israel-proper have attacked, and in some cases killed, Israeli civilians, and the Israeli military and Jewish settlers have attacked, and in some cases killed, Palestinian civilians. With the unusual confluence of the holidays of Ramadan, Easter, and Passover, many worried that the violence may grow and even spiral into the kind of massive bloodshed we witnessed last spring during Israel’s war in Gaza.

To talk about why violence is rising and what the future may bring in the coming days and weeks, I have two terrific guests. Dr. Dana El Kurd is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Richmond and author of the book Polarized and Demobilized: Legacies of Authoritarianism in Palestine. And DS:is an Israeli attorney, specializing in the geopolitics of contemporary Jerusalem. Thanks so much for being with us.

Dana El Kurd: Thank you.

PB: Dana, I wanted to start with you. You have a working paper that you have written, which has really fascinating data in it about how Palestinians think about strategies of nonviolent-versus-violent resistance at this moment. So maybe you can talk a little bit about your research and what you found.

DEK: Let’s start with the fact that I think a lot of times, when these issues are discussed–when Palestinian attacks or armed resistance is discusse– it’s characterized, maybe, in certain ways. It’s characterized as either like an act of desperation, or it’s characterized as some sort of–as you mentioned in your recent piece–a cultural pathology. It’s given in these kinds of normative terms. But we don’t talk about the underlying, strategic underpinnings of why people might engage with this kind of form of resistance, versus that form of resistance. So what my paper does is, I used to work for the Arab Opinion Index, and we run surveys in the Palestinian territories regularly. So I added some key questions on the issue of armed resistance, versus what I call local nonviolence, versus internationally-directed nonviolence, meaning things related to the International Criminal Court or things like that. And I looked at how people were answering this question and corroborated my findings with the Palestinian Center for Survey and Policy Research.

So what I found is that people are more supportive of armed resistance than the other two types of nonviolence. And this is increasing over time, and we see that in other polls as well. But you know, the characteristics of the people who are in support of armed resistance is maybe not who the media, or just general discussions around this, would suggest. They’re actually people who are highly socially embedded. So they have strong social ties. They’re also more educated. But the crucial point is that why they’re choosing armed resistance. It is because they do recognize, more fully, perhaps, the conditions of Palestinian society. Of a society that has been very deliberately fragmented–social cohesion has declined–and nonviolent options are basically shut off. And there are a couple of key examples from the last couple of years that weigh on people’s minds ‚whether it’s the Great March of Return in Gaza, where, you know, we’ve had hundreds, thousands of casualties and deaths because of this nonviolent act, or any of the other types of nonviolent campaigns that have turned quite violent, one-sidedly, where people would lose their lives in Bat Ayin or Nen Ayin or Nabi Salih. And also, those kinds of movements have fizzled out. So there isn’t one cohesive movement that can capture people’s energies. And when there are nonviolent campaigns, they are meant with great violence and repression.

PB: If I hear you correctly, you’re suggesting that the people who are favoring armed resistance are doing so in part because they feel like nonviolent resistance has not succeeded.

DEK: Yeah, essentially. And again, the characteristics speak to this. Like the education level, for example, is negatively correlated with preferences for nonviolent strategies. So the more educated you are in the sample, the more you’re not likely to support international nonviolence or local nonviolence, because you see it as useless. You have the more full picture of what that has done for you. Again, obviously, what I’m discussing are polling results. So I haven’t done interviews with people who commit these attacks or anything like that. But you see that logic traveling.

When we, for example, look at the person who did the attack in Bnei Brak, he’s a member of a political party. He’s highly networked, he has a good deal of education, given kind the median. And he chose that, not because he is crazy, but it’s because those options aren’t working for him. None of the other kind of political or maybe nonviolent options are present for him. And he’s actually a member of Fatah. You know, it’s not like an opposition party. That’s another finding, is that those who are in political parties are more likely to support armed resistance, which is really interesting, because those political parties are part of the two-state apparatus, right? Like they mostly have accepted this status quo. But the rank and file, let’s say, can see the futility.

PB: I think the response that many people might have to that is, “Well, armed resistance doesn’t work either.” In fact, often in, certainly, the US discourse, the words that get thrown around when you see an attack, or stabbing people, or shooting on the street, is nihilism; it’s rage, despair, but the sense of no strategy whatsoever. It’s just a kind of terrible act that can’t possibly have positive consequences for Palestinian rights and dignity. So help me understand, the way you think about what folks, who support this kind of violent resistance, think might come from it that would be positive. Or is that not the right way to think about it? Is it just an act of rage and despair without any expectation that it will bring any positive results?

DEK: I’m not claiming that there is a long-term strategy, necessarily, but there is strategic thinking. And you can see that with, again, the people who do these things, but also the people who support them. It’s seen as, by a lot of people, as part and parcel of just resistance. It’s not seen as a binary. Again, there’s not one unified, coordinating body. Nobody has any very long-term impressions, but they do have strategic, maybe short-term, impressions. During the missiles from Gaza, the popularity of these kinds of armed attacks really skyrocketed, I would say, in contrast to the popularity of those who are seen as the symbols and leaders of the status quo. You see it immediately in the polling, like if Mahmoud Abbas’s polling plummets, support for the PA plummets, things like that.

They are concerned about creating an environment of instability for the Israeli population, because they feel like that is the only thing that has any kind of material impact. When we protest in front of the courthouse, when we do the sit ins in front of Sheikh Jarrah–like you do the Palestine marathon, you get attacked, you know? What’s really having this impact on iIsraelis is them feeling like there might be an attack on them. Or the Hamas rockets send people to the shelters, and that seems a much more direct impact. And they’ve lost any kind of concern over the international involvement or international mediation of any kind. And they’ve also lost concern about long-term relationships with with Israelis. Like that’s not a consideration. It’s either that or being completely sequestered, and Israelis continuing to live in a bubble and us suffering, with no impact on their living conditions.

PB: Danny, I want to turn to you. So Dana is painting a picture in which one of the important pieces of context for the violence that has emerged in recent weeks, with attacks by Palestinians on Israeli civilians, has to do with a feeling of a failure of nonviolence to bring progress for Palestinians, in terms of basic rights. What other factors do you see as contributing to the spate of recent attacks that we’ve had in recent days and weeks?

Daniel Seidemann: I completely defer to her. Look, I’m an Israeli occupier who doesn’t know Arabic, so I’m an observer. Okay. And you know, how humble we Israelis are. It’s important to look at what I consider to be the underlying causes of the disturbances, and not armed resistance, of a year ago. There is what I call a Nakba reenactment, when you have for the first time, in memory, the prospect of large-scale displacement. Not only in Sheikh Jarrah, but in Batn al Hawa in Silwan. And that touches one of the rawest nerves of this conflict, the fear of displacement. Palestinians and Jews are both refugee peoples, and the Palestinians currently are more vulnerable on that.

Secondly, you had the threat to sacred space and the integrity of sacred space. The status quo collapsed. It was a fiction. It unraveled with malice and forethought. Those are the two most prominent, but there are other things. The Bonton is shrinking the conflict. Well, what I’ve been witnessing in Jerusalem is shrinking the Palestinians. It is the shrinking of Palestinian space, spaces where, even under occupation, Palestinians could feel in some way safe. And part of that is on Haram al-Sharif, the Temple Mount. But that’s what happened in Damascus Gate, a place where guys and young women would hang out after prayers, a place of their own, and they were deprived of it, gratuitously, by an aggressive police.

And finally, there is the hopelessness. No North Star, no prospect where people can look forward to any of these things. To a certain extent, I have a sense that we’re under a bed of lava. And the lava extends underground, subterranean. Gaza, the West Bank, and Jerusalem are one volcanic mass. And if you cork the volcanic eruption one place, it’s going to erupt somewhere else. Things are better in Jerusalem than they were a year ago. That could change by the end of our conversation. It could change by one Israeli provocateur, one violent act from a Palestinian, or one misstep–or more than a misstep–by Israeli authorities. I think that the underlying causes are such that, if they are not addressed, this does not end well.

PB: One of the striking things to me, as an observer, is that over the years, I’ve noticed quite a number of Israeli security officials noting the connection between Palestinian despair, Palestinian hopelessness, the lack of prospect for any movement towards improvement in Palestinian rights, and outbreaks of Palestinian violence. And yet my sense is, even though the Israeli security officials make that link, it’s not an easy one to make in Israeli political discourse. How they understand why that is, that it’s difficult to talk in Israeli political circles about the fact that one can condemn Palestinian violence against civilians, and still recognize that there is a relationship between that violence and the violence that Palestinians experience and the hopelessness that they feel.

DS: It’s a great question. I think that Israelis oscillate between two poles, both of which serve what I call clinical occupation. Denial: when things are quiet, you say, “Why bother doing anything? The status quo is viable.” And when there’s an eruption of violence: “You can’t negotiate with these people.” And there is no window between those two. Partially because proceeding to end occupation is difficult. And part of it is because it has been made more difficult, by irresponsible leadership in Israel and a failure of the international community to engage us. We have no immediate prospect for a political process. And this does not end without some kind of political forward movement. But the prerequisite of that is to pierce two sets of armor, one on the Palestinian side, one on the Israeli side.

DS: On the Israeli side, it is thick layers of clinical denial. We are sipping cappuccino on the edge of a volcano. And when there is no terror, the armor thickens, and where there is terror, the armor thickens. And that has to be pierced. And it has to be pierced by unpleasant conversations with friends, allies, and within Israeli society. There is nobody in the current coalition–or I think in the Knesset–who are speaking like we’re speaking now. On the Palestinian side, it is: how do you pierce the despair, the armor of despair? Which I am not criticizing. Why in the world would a young Palestinian believe that the political process can deliver more dignity, more freedmen and advances to an end of occupation, when the record has been as dismal as it’s been? That is the conundrum that we’re caught in, and it is a cycle that we have to break out of if there’s going to be any kind of change.

DEK: Yeah. I just wanted to maybe complicate the discussion a little bit. We’ve been talking about despair. There certainly is a lot of despair, but these acts are the opposite of despair. These acts are individuals seizing agency. They’re out of despair. And it has an impact both like–I don’t want to like psychoanalyze people–it has an impact on their immediate communities, but also, these kinds of attacks mobilize Palestinians. The protests erupted all over, both within and outside the Green Line, after the attacks from Gaza. And so, even though maybe Jerusalem is not where these attackers are coming from–or like, we haven’t seen that kind of thing happen yet in Jerusalem, currently now, even though we’ve seen them in the past–that is maybe a more of a function of the material conditions in Jerusalem. More surveillance, more repression than in other places where the Israeli authorities’ grasp, a little bit, slips. But it doesn’t mean that what happens elsewhere might not impact what we see in Jerusalem. So like people getting really upset about what’s happening in Jenin right now, or the lawyer who was shot in Nablus this morning, like that might have an impact on Jerusalem.

PB: Let me stick with you. So as far as I understand, the attacks that we’ve seen, some of the people may have had connections to some political party, a movement, but they don’t seem to have been coordinated or organized by a political party or movement. And this contrasts, obviously, with earlier periods–The First Intifada, Second Intifada, the Great March of Return–when there was a larger-scale organization by political actors. How do you think that the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, as the two major Palestinian political forces, are viewing these actions, and how might they respond to them?

DEK: Yeah, so it’s important also to not talk about–the translation is not political parties, it’s political movements. But there are distinctions within these groups, right? So okay, Fatah’s leadership, says one thing, but groups within Fatah, like we see in Jenin, are operating in a different way. But as you said, not every attack has been connected to a political movement. I think there was one that ISIS claimed, but my point is there might be some level of coordination, maybe at a lower level within certain groups, because there is this tension. Particularly, I’m talking about Fatah, there is this tension between the political leadership and the younger members. And we saw that in their last meeting, we saw that repeatedly.

PB: Talk a little bit about the nature of that tension.

DEK: Well, people who are affiliated with Fatah, who are members of Fatah, particularly young people, see that the leadership is increasingly, maybe let’s say incompetent, refusing to think of a long-term strategy. The leadership is very old and constantly cycling between the same people. So that has caused tension with younger members. But in terms of what the PA thinks of these kinds of attacks; basically, the PA, with any kind of political movement, is made more irrelevant. Like this has nothing to do with them, they look really bad in front of Palestinians, they can’t muster any kind of defense for the people in Jenin. That’s what they look like. Hamas, they tried to symbolize armed resistance, generally, but they’re the ones who are now seen as the symbol of armed resistance, given the situation in Gaza, and the other side is seen as like ongoing status quo.

PB: Danny, I want to turn to you and talk about the Israeli government’s behavior in recent weeks. You mentioned this idea of shrinking the conflict, this idea that basically, this government and Naftali Bennett would not make any movement towards granting Palestinians basic rights in any way, but would try to ease the burden of Palestinian lack of rights in various material ways, of somewhat-greater work permits, this kind of thing. And it seems like, from the outside, that they seem to be calibrating, that if they try to maintain those policies, maybe it’ll be less likely that there will be another kind of massive eruption, like we last saw last year. Is that their strategy, and how are they thinking about it? And to what degree do you think that strategy has any hope of even short-term success?

DS: I don’t think there’s a strategy. I think it’s a mistake to treat the Israeli government as a government, and to try and decipher a coherent policy where there is none. It is a loose alliance of feudal fiefdoms, which, on occasion, coordinates among each other. But for the most part, each minister is on his or her own. This government, as a collective, has less malice than the Netanyahu government as a rule, but also less control over events and the actions of each individual minister. And there are some very toxic ministers with very toxic policies who are not reined in by a Prime Minister, or an Acting Prime Minister or replacement Prime Minister in their stead.

On paper, this is supposed to be no political process in exchange for no significant shifts in the status quo. That’s not happening. There are significant shifts in the situation on the ground, particularly in Jerusalem. Steps that Israel has never dared do in the past, in terms of the encirclement of the Old City, with settlements and settler related activities. Most of the government is unaware of these policies, but they come from the government. And some of the government is unaware because it’s convenient for them to be unaware, because if they were to acknowledge it they would have to leave the government. The prospect of shrinking the conflict, as commonly understood–there are various interpretations. I don’t want to make this into a caricature. But the customary interpretation is material benefits for the Palestinians in exchange for minor Palestinian concessions, such as freedom, dignity, and the aspiration to maintain your identity and to fulfill your rights of self determination. That’s worked in the past, as a stopgap.

I think that period is over. The Palestinians will not be broken, ad they won’t be bought by trinkets. They will be engaged in the court issues, and we will need to address the freedom deficit, the dignity deficit, the fact that Palestinian equities in this land are equal and parallel to those of Israelis, including security. And there is zero indication of that happening. Yes, we have ministers in the government who are favorably disposed and making Palestinian lives better. Making Palestinian lives better by having increasing work permits is nice. It is not anywhere near adequate to begin to address the underlying grievances. And those of us who think, “Well, this is a period where nothing good will happen, but nothing bad will happen,” that appraisal of nothing good will happen and nothing bad will happen is 50% correct.

PB: Dana, one of the things that you had mentioned, that got attention in the US media, was the claim of relationship of a couple of these attackers to ISIS. And I heard some people saying, “Well, you know, ISIS has historically not been allowed into the Palestinian struggle, but maybe this could be changing as a result of political changes, or weakening of other forces.” Do you think there is anything to that?

DEK: I’m always very uncomfortable making definitive statements predicting. As an academic, I’m just like, I need to corroborate this as much as possible. But it doesn’t seem like there is even significant minority level of support for a group like ISIS. I think this was specific to those people, that they wanted to be seen as affiliated with ISIS, or the kind of copycat ideology. Now, in terms of Islamist politics generally, I think there’s more support for political parties and movements that are Islamist. But I suppose, specifically, I don’t really see it. I don’t think that that is at all indicative or representative of what people think.

PB: Obviously, again, in the American media discourse, there tends to be this dichotomy between Hamas–Islamist and violent–and Fatah–nationalist, secular, nonviolent–but it sounds like, in your research, you don’t necessarily see that relationship in terms of a correspondence between people’s attitudes towards armed resistance, versus people’s attitudes on the question of Islamist-versus-nonIslamist politics. Is that right?

DEK: So again, in the US, there is this narrative that you often hear, that the Second Intifada included a lot of violence, that it was a disaster, that it produced terrible suffering for Palestinians in addition to the suffering it produced for Israelis, it destroyed the Israeli left, et cetera. That that was a case study in the efficacy and the counter-efficacy of violence. And that that may have been, partly, the reason for the fact that there was less violence in the period after that. I’m interested in what the narrative might be among Palestinians about the Second Intifada, and the lessons from it, and whether that discussion of it may have changed as we’ve now moved almost 20 years away from from the Second Intifada.

I mean, historically, all of these political movements have had armed resistance as well. But al-Jabha, the Popular Front, like all of them also have been engaged in armed resistance. Now, in terms of who people support, it is simply enough to be politically active as a member. So it’s not that you had to be a member of Hamas, in my survey, to be more likely to support armed resistance, it’s just being politicized. I know that this is maybe anecdotal, but you see it also in the discourse online. People who are supporting the attacks from Gaza, or talk about the resistance and are very vocal about that, they’re not necessarily Islamist, or that vein of ideology. Many of them are leftists. So it’s just an understanding that armed resistance should be supported, doesn’t matter what the source. And the contradictions we have with a group, or maybe we don’t like all of their policies or all of their ideology, like that’s irrelevant to the conflict at hand.

I mean, I think it’s just a fact, Palestinian security and living conditions were very poor. The level of Israeli repression, for the Second Intifada, surpassed the first. And people in the years following that were quite fatigued. Like that was where Salam Fayyad and his entire political project found space. But you kind of hit on this in your question, is like, there’s generational differences here. I consider myself a little old. Some of these people that are engaging in activism or things like that, they’re my age are slightly younger. Maybe they don’t have the same memories of the Second Intifada, you know, they see it as a time of justified defiance. And what happened after the Second Intifada corroborates their view very clearly. Like, we attempted to do something different. Many people attempted to do something different. Even in my book, I have this anecdote about a person who was involved in resistance. And then he is released, and then he joins the PA, and he tries to do things with his village council or whatever. And all of that has failed.

So this is the impression I’m getting from some of the discourse that I hear, is like, it can’t get any worse, the situation is already bad. The status quo, it might be livable day-to-day, but year by year, we’re getting worse. And year by year, we’re getting more repressed and further away from national liberation. So anything to change the status quo is fine. And even though the First Intifada was not entirely nonviolent, the conditions for the kind of movement that we saw in the First Intifada, with the unified national leadership of the uprising, just doesn’t exist anymore. So like, this is the option.

PB: Danny, I want to go to you for the last question. There’s been a lot of talk about the combustible confluence, as a result of the quirks of religious, lunar, and solar calendars, of Ramadan, Easter, and Passover. And I don’t entirely understand what people exactly mean by that, why the confluence of these holidays might create a greater potential. But I wonder if you think that’s true. And if so, why?

DS: Routinely, the confluence of a celebration of holidays by Jews, Muslims, and Christians, is not a problem. In Jerusalem, for the last 1,300 years–with exceptions, I’m not over romanticizing things–knows how to allow for the cohabitation of conflicting and sometimes contradictory faiths in the same limited geographical space. It’s the only thing that Jerusalem does well. We don’t produce anything. Jerusalem is not the most beautiful city in the world. It’s a tough city. It’s the most charismatic city in the world. And the charisma is based in our ability to do that.

The problem is that, in recent years, we have been witnessing the ascendancy of faith communities that weaponize faith. This is not a harangue about keep religion, God, out of Jerusalem. Saying “Keep God out of Jerusalem” is about as clever as saying “Keep culture out of Florence and finance out of Manhattan.” Jerusalem is Jerusalem because of God, whether she exists or not. The problem is that there are those whose claims to Jerusalem are exclusionary, absolute, and often incendiary. For years, the settlers in East Jerusalem and the Temple Mount movement are becoming more powerful.

Under Trump and Netanyahu, they weren’t more powerful–they were the power. Can you think of any two people on the planet who are less pious than Trump and Netanyahu? But in Washington, policy was driven by the Pompeos and the Pences, and the rapture-mongers, and these evangelicals who aspire to armageddon. And in Jerusalem, they were driven by messianic Temple Mountism, Biblically-motivated settlers. And in their presence, the potential for interruption is there. And, you know, a lot of attention has been paid, for example, to how to rein in the Jewish pyromaniacs, who are out in legion, and how to maintain calm among Palestinians and the Muslims. Nobody pays attention to the Christians, it’s Easter. Until yesterday, when the heads of churches released the letter: You’re screwing us, the Christians have been completely marginalized, and the Christian presence has been diluted. Why? Because they are violent.

It is a very fragile ecosystem, and the high ground has been ceded by the traditional faith communities to the religious pyromaniacs. And the challenge is, can we contain them? Not only over the next couple of weeks, where it comes to a head, but into the future, where the high ground is restored to the religious communities who understand Jerusalem is going to be a living hell for everybody, unless it is allowed to speak in all of its voices. And that no community needs to struggle to maintain its identity, or the integrity of its sacred sites. The threats are real. But attention is being paid to this in ways that I have not witnessed in the past. I hope it’s good enough.

PB: Dana, did you want to jump in for a last word?

DEK: Yeah. It’s interesting to hear you answer that question, because I’ve also been quite confused by the framing that I’ve been hearing regularly now about this. Like that there’s a confluence of religious commemorations and holidays, and this is going to cause tension. And if I–maybe I misunderstood you–but like, the way that you’re saying it is, it’s because people weaponize faith. Like there’s different groups that will try to abuse the situation, and some of them are backed by governments, particularly the Israeli government. Because I’m trying to think, as you refer to them as pyromaniacs, which ones exists on the Palestinian side? Like I can’t think of any group in Jerusalem, that is weaponizing Ramadan, or weaponizing Easter, or anything like that. What it is, is there are elements within the Israeli government, or groups that are supported by the Israeli government and have the weight of the state behind them, that use situations where Palestinians gather to harass them and to try to create tension.

DS: I don’t believe it is possible to conduct any conversation on the state of things in contemporary Jerusalem without relating to the overarching situation of occupation. If you don’t understand occupation and that it informs everything, you will not have a grasp on what this city is at the moment, and the trajectory of the conflict in the city. In that context, I am troubled by observing trends of religious radicalization. It’s not only among Israelis. Do you think that the end-of-days dispensationalists, the Mike Pences and the Huckabees who aspire to an end of days–Mike Huckabee said, “What’s the problem? Throw the Palestinians out.” They’re a domestic problem here in Jerusalem. They’re not an American problem alone.

And for the sake of intellectual honesty, yes, there are trends of extreme, religious radicalization among Muslims can’t be denied. I don’t think that that is pivotal to what’s happening in Jerusalem, but it does display itself on occasion. And I think that occupation feeds this. But I think that the only way that this can be addressed is by ending occupation. All of the these things that I’m talking about will not be significantly changed without the end of occupation. But in the interim, we need to restore the high ground to the religious forces whose claims to the city are not exclusionary and incendiary. And yes, there are Jews who believe that, and we have the power. There are Christians who believe that who have some power, and there are Muslims who believe that who are often powerless. That’s the reality that I see.

PB: Thank you both Dr. Dana El Kurd and Daniel Seidemann. We really appreciate it, and hopefully there will be, in the coming days and weeks and beyond, not just a kind of superficial peace, but ultimately moves towards the kind of justice that I think is required for a more fundamental peace. Thank you so much for joining us and for listening. Please rate and subscribe to the podcast and leave us a review. And as always, subscribe to Jewish Currents to get our print magazine, and check out our website, JewishCurrents.org to see our latest. See you next time.

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Jul 28 2022
The Trouble with Germany, Part 1 (01:06:59)
Arielle Angel speaks with Emily Dische-Becker and Michael Sappir about the bizarre and worrisome ways that “memory culture” plays out in Germany among Jews, Palestinians, and Germans, as well as the recent attacks on Dische-Becker in the German press.
Jul 14 2022
¡Inquilinos Unidos, Jamás Serán Vencidos! (51:29)
Recording from a convention of the Autonomous Tenants Union Network, Ari Brostoff speaks with organizers Kenia Alcocer, Danya Martinez-Spider, and Claire Spiehler about the tenant movement across the country.
Jun 30 2022
The Mapping Project (53:25)
Jewish Currents staff discuss the controversy that arose after Boston activists published a map of Massachusetts institutions they deemed complicit in Zionism and US imperialism.
Jun 16 2022
The Age of No Revolutions (49:08)
David Klion speaks with history podcaster Mike Duncan about why the left’s discontent with the status quo hasn’t led to a sustained uprising.
May 26 2022
The Killing of Shireen Abu Akleh (51:36)
Dylan Saba, Dana El Kurd, and Fadi Quran discuss Israeli obfuscation and strategies of resistance in the wake of a journalist’s murder
May 5 2022
Campus Wars (54:10)
Jewish Currents staff discuss the latest flashpoints in campus conflict over Israel/Palestine
Apr 20 2022
A Surge of Violence in Israel/Palestine (this page)
Peter Beinart, Dana El Kurd, and Daniel Seidemann discuss the recent increase in fatal attacks in Israel/Palestine.
Apr 1 2022
Volodymyr Zelensky and Post-Soviet Jewishness (56:15)
David Klion, Julia Alekseyeva, Linda Kinstler, and Helen Betya Rubinstein discuss the meaning of the Ukrainian president’s background.
Mar 17 2022
The Assault on Trans and Reproductive Rights (58:16)
Senior Editor Ari M. Brostoff, scholar Jules Gill-Peterson, journalist Meaghan Winter, and reproductive justice advocate Laurie Bertram Roberts discuss the recent wave of executive and legislative attacks on trans people and abortion rights.
Mar 3 2022
I Want to Believe (54:54)
Upon the release of Senior Editor Ari M. Brostoff’s debut essay collection, Missing Time, they discuss the political potential of The X-Files with Editor-in-Chief Arielle Angel and Managing Editor Nathan Goldman.
Feb 17 2022
The Black–Jewish Relations Industrial Complex (59:54)
In light of recent flashpoints in so-called Black–Jewish relations, Contributing Writer Rebecca Pierce joins artists and activists Anthony Russell, Reuben Telushkin, and Shoshana Brown in discussing the continued prevalence of anti-Black racism in the American Jewish community and the ongoing exclusion of Black Jews.
Feb 3 2022
Whose West Side Story? (01:02:32)
Editor-in-chief Arielle Angel spoke with scholars Frances Negrón-Muntaner, Brian E. Herrera, and Daniel Pollack-Pelzner about the parallel resonances of West Side Story in Jewish and Latinx communities, and the tensions that emerge over questions of power and control.