Yaba Yaba

what? another blog? you must be joking.

Posts Tagged ‘gaza

Closed Zone: new short from Yoni Goodman, Waltz with Bashir’s director of animation

with 3 comments

http://www.closedzone.com/

Advertisements

Written by yishaym

March 10, 2009 at 12:06 am

“You will die with us or we will survive together”

with 5 comments

Fausto Biloslavo reports from Gaza for the Italian Panorama. There’s a cover story in English on his site.

A far from theoretical danger: since the end of December, 181 Palestinians have been summarily executed, kneecapped or tortured because they opposed Hamas.

The Andalous building in the Al-Karama neighborhood of Gaza City is reduced to a skeleton of concrete. The Israelis have hit hard, and this middle-age Palestinian couple has nothing left but to pick up the rubble of an apartment not yet paid for. They escort us on what remains of the indoor stairs, on the condition that Panorama uses only their family nicknames. “We knew that it was going to end up like this. Since the early days of the attack the muqawemeen (the guerrilla fighters of the Palestinian “resistance”, AN)
had positioned themselves in the twelfth and thirteenth floors, with the snipers. Every now and then they tried, to no avail, to shoot down one of those UAVs that the Israelis use”, says Abu Mohammed, shaking his head. In the building, not yet finished, lived 22 families: more than 120 civilians, including women
and children. The Israelis had begun calling the tenants’ cell phones ordering them to vacate the premises. Then, the militiamen got a more explicit message: a fighter dropped a bomb on the empty courtyard on the other side of road without causing victims, but opening a huge crater. “A delegation of householders beseeched the militiamen to leave” resumed the tenant. The answer was: “You will die with us or we will survive together”.
On January 13 the Israeli F16’s hit the building at 9:30 P.M. “At night we would go to sleep at our relatives’ homes: we were saved, but no longer had a home and we still have to repay 9 years of the loan” says Om Mohammed in despair, a veil on her head. The Islamic Bank does not grant exceptions.

Please, let’s all stop calling Hamas a resistance movement. The people of Gaza have two oppressors:  the Israeli goverment, and the Hamas.

Written by yishaym

February 19, 2009 at 4:19 pm

my short talk yesterday

with 4 comments

I was planning to post my notes for the Jewish Socialist After Gaza event beforehand. Of course, I was still writing them at 7pm. So here they are:

The title of this evening is “After the war on Gaza: What next for the Palestinians? And how can Jews here and in Israel help bring about a just peace?” I would like to start by disqualifying my self from answering both questions. First of all, I don’t think I have a right to tell anyone – Palestinian, British, Israeli, Muslim, Christian, Jewish or other – what they should do. Even if I did, my belief is that the less you tell people what to do, the better a job they do at figuring it out. Second, and perhaps more critical, I have a serious difficulty with the juxtaposition of Palestinians and Jews implied by the title. I see that distinction as the root cause of the current tragic situation, and any statement that emphasises it is dangerous. I will get back to that in a moment.
So what can I offer you tonight? Only this: my fears and hopes for the land I love, and my thoughts about what I should do. If you can help me by commenting on these, I am grateful. If you will find some of the questions I ask myself resonating with your own, then perhaps your time has not been wasted. If not, my apologies. I’ll try to keep it short.
Sitting here, looking there, I feel sad, confused and disempowered. I watch with horror as governments who claim to represent me and defend my loved ones launch attacks on Lebanon and Gaza, killing thousands of civilians. I hear, unbelieving, how my friends and family justify these attacks as inevitable acts of self-defence. I see, and cannot explain, the rise of Lieberman and resurrection of Netanyahu. I know what I would be doing if I was there – but I’m not. The events seem to be rushing at me at torrential pace, I feel the urgent need to respond, react, do something – but just can’t see a path ahead, my instinct is to “just do anything, anything but silence”. In fact, as paradoxical as it may seem, this is probably the right time to stand still for a moment and reflect. Standing still is better than rushing headlong over a cliff.
We hear a lot about the two peoples, the two narratives. In fact, we have many peoples and many narratives: there are Druze, Muslims, Christians, Samaritans, Bedouin, 1st, 3rd, 10th generation Israeli Jews, Israeli Palestinians, Jews of Arab heritage, and so on. Yet we all have one land, one history, and if any – one future. Denying these facts is what I see as the first source of our predicament. The second, related issue is that this one land speaks two languages. No, not Hebrew and Arabic. I’m talking of the language of life and the language of death, the language of hope, and the language of despair.
For me, as I learned from my friend Mohammad Darawshe, despair is not an option. So what can I do? What I have been doing – only more. Side myself with those who deny the boundaries between people, who seek the common humanity in all, who continue to build our common future.
A small example: earlier this week, Yuli Tamir, the Israeli minister of education, adopted the revolutionary recommendations of the committee for “education for shared life”. This committee, chaired by Professor Gavriel Solomon and Dr. Mohamad Isaweer, and initiated by the Abraham Fund argued that Jewish and Palestinian children of Israel should all learn and appreciate the culture, history and aspirations of each other, and should acknowledge common values of democracy, respect for minorities and civic and social justice.
You may ask: what has this to do with Gaza? And I say: everything. If such a programme would have been in place 20 years ago, we wouldn’t have been looking back at Gaza.

Unfortunately, Karma Nablusi had to cancel on the last moment. The convoy she had planned to join, going into Gaza, had been rescheduled a day earlier.

David Rosenberg opened the evening with a review of the growing dissent among UK Jews towards the actions of the Israeli government. He then moved on to criticise the established mainstream (and arguably self-appointed) leadership for silencing any discording voices. A theme that was picked up by many of the commentators later on.

Gerald Kaufman MP made several references to his YouTubed speech at the commons, and in fact echoed several of the themes in that speech. Without question an eloquent and well-rehersed speaker, he portrayed the position of the disallosioned British zionist. A picture somewhat wasted on the audience in the room, who had no part of Zionism to start with.

Then the floodgates where opened. In true Jewish socialist tradition, everyone was entitiled to an equal voice, and indeed several people in the audience pulled note sheets from their pockets and read speeches longer than mine. Most of them seemed to focus on the marginilisation of Jewish radicals. I found that confusing, first as Leila told me later, I thought we were here to talk about Gaza. Second, in my dictionary radical means way-off-centre. If you don’t want to be in the margins, why define yourself as radical?

Anyway, on and on it went. I felt that most of the comments where essentially historical reviews and ethical manifestos, but the chair, Julia Bard, thought there were many fresh ideas for action. Maybe. Sometimes sitting on the stage focuses your hearing on certain things. On the other hand, I might have a different idea on what constitutes action, a more Newtonian view.

I did mention the UK Friends of the Abraham Fund, and some people asked me for details. Here’s the website:

http://www.abrahamfund.org.uk/

Which is really a couple of pages with basic details, as part of the general Abraham Fund site. Probably the best way to keep up with our activities it to join the mailing list. email tafi-uk-subscribe@googlegroups.com or, for general enquiries, call info@abrahamfund.org.uk

Written by yishaym

February 12, 2009 at 6:22 pm

Free Philip Rizk!

leave a comment »

I heard about Philip Rizk from 3arabawy‘s twitter feed. According to various sources, Rizk was arrested by the Egyptian secret police after organising a rally in support of Gazans. You can follow updates on

Hossam’s del.icio.us and Ben White‘s blog and join the facebook group. (Maybe he should have organised the rally in Tel-Aviv instead)

Written by yishaym

February 9, 2009 at 1:38 am

Karma Nabulsi, Gerald Kaufman MP, David Rosenberg and me (feb. 11th)

with 2 comments

The Jewish Socialist Group has invited me to take part in a conversation on “After the war on Gaza: What next for the Palestinians? And how can Jews here and in Israel help bring about a just peace?”

I wouldn’t consider myself eligible to make any suggestions regarding the first question. The fate and strategic choices of the Palestinians are a matter for the Palestinians to decide. I may have my private opinions, but I have no business making them public. As for the second bit, well, again, I’m in a bit of an uneasy situation. I don’t feel comfortable sitting here, in London, and telling my friends in Israel what they should do. On the other hand, I never quite felt part of the British Jewish community.

So what exactly am I doing there?

I’ll try to post some notes closer to the event, but here’s a spoiler. I’d like to start by challenging the title. First, I argue that we need to reject the Israeli-Palestinian dichotomy. Yes, we are two peoples. But we have one land, one past, and only one future. Any discussion that positions Israelis and Palestinians as two sides is part of the problem, not the solution. Second, I urge anyone sincerely concerned with the human tragedy of the land to suspend the call for justice. I know that sounds cruel. But it is a necessary sacrifice, for one man’s justice is another man’s death. I have life, happiness and dignity on the top of my list of priorities. Justice is a bit further down the line.

Still, if I can’t speak for the Palestinians, the Israelis or the British Jews, who am I speaking for? Myself, for what its worth. I can tell you what I believe I would be doing if I was there, and what I think I should be doing here. I am a true believer in democracy, empowerment and hope. By this I mean that I truly believe that change will only come from the people affected taking actions of hope. If I was there, I would be working with such people. From here, the most I can do is support them in any way I can. I hope you will do the same.


Wednesday 11th February, 7.30pm

Tudor Room, Imperial Hotel, Russell Square, London WC1B 5BB

Public meeting – all welcome

After the war on Gaza

What next for the Palestinians?

And how can Jews here and in Israel help

bring about a just peace?

Speakers:  Karma Nabulsi,  Gerald Kaufman MP,

Yishay Mor, David Rosenberg

Karma Nabulsi is an Oxford-based academic who formerly worked as a PLO diplomat at the UN and in Beirut, Tunis and Britain.

Gerald Kaufman has been a Labour MP since 1970 and has been an outspoken supporter of a just peace in Israel/Palestine.

Yishay Mor is an Israeli peace and social empowerment activist

David Rosenberg is on the editorial committee of Jewish Socialist magazine

Organised by the Jewish Socialists’ Group www.jewishsocialist.org.uk

open letter to Obama

leave a comment »

(digg)

An anonymous open letter to President Obama, from a member of Machsom Watch.

MachsomWatch, in existence since 2001, is an organisation of peace activist Israeli women against the Israeli Occupation of the territories and the systematic repression of the Palestinian nation. We call for Palestinian freedom of movement within their own territory and for an end to the Occupation that destroys Palestinian society and inflicts grievous harm on Israeli society.

Contributions to MachsomWatch can be made by

Direct Bank Deposit

Women’s Fund for Human Rights
Acct. 423429
Branch 568
Bank Hapoalim
33 Achimeir Street
Tel Aviv 69492
Swift: POALILIT

Tax deductible donations may be made through

Cheque to the “New Israel Fund”, earmarked for “MachsomWatch”

New Israel Fund
P.O.Box 91588
Washington , DC
20005-1588 USA

New Israel Fund
26 Enford St
London WIH 2DD
U.K.

Written by yishaym

January 20, 2009 at 7:06 pm

Posted in Israel, Palestine

Tagged with , , , ,

who’s side are you on?

with 4 comments

I had a long chat with Mark today, and with a few other friends. Cooled me down a bit, and helped me understand why I’m so angry. It has also raises a few questions.

When something horrible happens, we feel empathy with the victims. Since we usually do very little to help, we also feel guilt. When I observe the anti-Israeli reactions in Europe, I wonder: are you dealing with the issue, or are you dealing with your guilt? Its really quite simple to answer, all it requires is a bit of honesty. Just write down what you’ve done about the situation, and what are the probable consequences of your actions. Not what you would wish the consequences would be: what you believe is their real most likely effect. Don’t tell me, this is between you and yourself.

Remember one thing: however dire the state of affairs, there is always a course of action which offers a chance for positive change. This, for me, is the axiom of human existence. The circle of hope. Without it, we might as well all blow ourselves up. If the tally for your chosen action does not fall within the circle of hope, abandon it and look for a new path.

Mark was disturbed by people’s obsession with categorising fellow humans, for him (and for me) this is hard to understand, and the root of great evil. He said: I observe people all the time, always looking for the common. I recalled how history and science have shown that it is normal people who commit the greatest atrocities, and that the first step that enables this is xenomorphism (my term, don’t know what would be the proper one): defining a group as “others” who pose a threat. Once you divide the scene into “us” and “them”, and identify “them” as a threat, you can do anything to them. Resolution and reconciliation will start from breaking down this dichotomy. A Palestinian from Ramallah will not bomb Gaza, even if he opposes Hamas with all his heart. Likewise, an Israeli soldier will not shoot a setteler even if he sees him as the cause of all his troubles. You do not kill your own. Peace can only come from the acknowledgement that we have one land, one fate. It could be manifested in two states, that’s detail. But it has to rest on an appreciation of the common, and the unique.On an acceptance that all tears are equal, all blood weighs the same. If its all one bug Us,then violence is not an option.

That’s when I realised how wrong the protests, and the media coverage, are.

It doesn’t matter if you’re marching “for Israel” or “for Palestine”. Either way, you’re marching for the dichotomy. Reinforcing the image of two tribes. One good, one bad. I don’t care who’s the good and who’s the bad in your story. Its just a bad story.

Then there’s the issue of Hamas. The resistance movement. Even the BBC, which has been amazingly restrained and thoughtful in its coverage, often talks of Hamas’ “resistance”. This puzzles me. I thought “resistance” implies some acts of resisting the occupying forces. So where where the Hamas resisters when the Israeli army combed the streets of Gaza? Surely, if they would have offered any resistance, they Israeli army would have suffered more casualties. As I undestand it, most of the 10 Israeli soldiers killed where victems of accidents and friendly fire.

Yes, Israel has the right to protect itself, the Palestinians have a right to resist the occupation. Over the last three weeks neither right was exersiced.

Update, 21 Jan:

Bob from Brockley has a good roundup on the comedy of British anti-Israeli protest. My favorite is the chair of Sheffield Palestinian Solidarity tearing down a placard that reads “no to IDF no to Hamas”.

Written by yishaym

January 19, 2009 at 2:55 am