Spartan Israel and its Palestinian Helots

Amid the 1948 war that would establish the State of Israel and dispossess the Palestinians (celebrated by Israel as its War of Independence and mourned by Palestinians as al Nakba, or “the catastrophe”), the great German-Jewish political philosopher Hannah Arendt warned that a Jewish state established in this way would “degenerate” into a “Sparta.” She … Continue reading “Spartan Israel and its Palestinian Helots”

Free Ticket to ‘Apartheid’: Israel’s Palestinian-Only Buses

“At least we are not treated like dogs and made to feel so uncomfortable,” Amjad Samara, 30, a labourer from Nablus in the northern West Bank told IPS as he and a group of Palestinians waited at the checkpoint near Qalqilia to cross into Israel for their day job. Samara was referring to the new … Continue reading “Free Ticket to ‘Apartheid’: Israel’s Palestinian-Only Buses”

Obama in Palestine: In Their Shoes

It started from the first moment. The President of the United States came to Ramallah. He visited the Mukata’a, the “compound” which serves as the office of the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas. One cannot enter the Mukata’a without noticing the grave of Yasser Arafat, just a few paces from the entrance. It … Continue reading “Obama in Palestine: In Their Shoes”

Obama’s Risky Middle East Fantasy

Had you searched for “Israel, nuclear weapons” at Google News in the wake of President Obama’s recent trip to the Middle East, you would have gotten a series of headlines like this: “Obama: Iran more than a year away from developing nuclear weapon” (CNN), “Obama vows to thwart Tehran’s nuclear drive” (the Times of Israel), … Continue reading “Obama’s Risky Middle East Fantasy”

Obama at the Edge of a Cliff in Middle East

With Syria and Iran, President Barack Obama faces getting mired in two wars that could set the entire Middle East aflame, and perhaps the rest of the Islamic world, too. Such an outcome would be in part due to Mr. Obama’s Middle Eastern policy, and the willingness of the current United States Congress to support … Continue reading “Obama at the Edge of a Cliff in Middle East”

Mahmoud Abbas: Obama and Bibi’s Man in Palestine

Palestinian Authority boss Mahmoud Abbas has no self-respect and no respect for his constituents. Although the US has rarely shown much sympathy for the Palestinians under Israeli occupation, Obama’s visit to Israel reached a new low. After saying the US-Israeli alliance is "eternal, it is forever," visiting the grave of Theodor Herzl and pontificating about … Continue reading “Mahmoud Abbas: Obama and Bibi’s Man in Palestine”

The Riddle of the Israel Lobby

One of the most interesting and prolonged private debates I have had in my life was with the brilliant Dr. Nahum Goldmann. The subject: American peace initiatives. It was an unequal debate, of course. Goldmann was my elder by 28 years. While I was a mere editor of an Israeli news magazine, he was an … Continue reading “The Riddle of the Israel Lobby”

When a Courtyard Becomes a Border

RAS EL-AMOUD, Occupied East Jerusalem — Filistin Hamdallah looks disoriented, walking without purpose amidst the furniture strewn in the courtyard, as if she was moving home. Only the fresh laundry hanging on wires indicates that the Palestinian family is here to stay, to stay in conditions with Jewish neighbors that show just how difficult the … Continue reading “When a Courtyard Becomes a Border”

Talking Zionism

“He talks Zionism” used to be a very derogatory comment when I was young. It meant that some elderly functionary had come to waste our time with a boring speech consisting largely of empty phrases. That was before the foundation of the State of Israel. Since then, the term “Zionism” has been elevated to the … Continue reading “Talking Zionism”