Israel: An Apartheid State Created & Propped Up By the West

As Israeli military pounds Gaza and kills large numbers of Palestinian men, women and children yet again, the western media and politicians are busy white-washing the Israeli crimes by repeating the same old mantra: "Israel has a right to defend itself". There's little mention of the decades-long occupation and continuing brutalization of the Palestinian people by the Israelis. Nor is there any discussion of how the West is culpable in this long-running injustice.

To put the current events in perspective, let us examine how we got to where we are today.  The foundation of the state of Israel as we know it now was laid when the British government issued a public statement in 1917 called the "Balfour Declaration" in support of the creation of a "national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine. This came at a time when the First World War was still ranging and Palestine was a province of the Ottoman Empire. The Balfour Declaration was contained in a letter of November 2, 1917 from British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Lord Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland. The text of the declaration was published in the media on 9 November 1917.   

Palestinian & Israeli Flags

Later in 1937, famous British politician Winston Churchill disparaged Palestinians who had been living in the region for centuries as "dogs". Churchill said, "I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place." Churchill's racist comments made it clear that the Israeli settler colonialism in the Middle East was no different than the European settler colonization of America and Australia. In an Israeli cabinet meeting in 1949,  Israel's founding father David Ben-Gurion referred to Palestinians as "donkeys", according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz

A large number of European Jews, including victims of Nazi persecution, poured into Palestine before the end of the Second World War. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were driven out of their land and their homes by these European Jews who had the full support of the West.  There were over 700,000 Palestinians in the land given to Israel by the United Nations controlled by the United States and major European colonial powers. Only 156,000 of the native Arab population remained after the Israelis dove out or killed the rest of them. Here's an excerpt of a story about the Israeli cabinet meeting as published in Haaretz:  

"The minutes of the meetings held by Mapai, which are stored in the Labor Party Archive in Beit Berl, outside Kfar Sava, attest to the deep dispute in the party over two conflicting approaches concerning the Arabs in Israel. Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and his associates – Moshe Dayan (Israel Defense Forces chief of staff 1953-1958) and Shimon Peres, at the time a senior official in the Defense Ministry – urged a policy of segregation and a hard hand against what he argued was a communal threat to national security; while Sharett and other Mapai leaders – Pinhas Lavon, Zalman Aran, David Hacohen and others – promoted a policy of integration". 

Miko Peled, Israeli author of "The General's Son", has detailed and documented the history of forced mass expulsions of Palestinians by armed Jewish gangs during the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. The following quote from an interview with The Middle East Monitor captures the essence of what Peled has been saying: "In hindsight, that was catastrophic for the Palestinians, because a lot of it has to do with why we are here today – the fact that they dropped the struggle."   

Danish Cartoon on Israel-Palestine History

The essence of what has happened in Palestine over the last century has been caricatured by a Danish cartoonist. In the first frame, labelled as “1946” – the cartoon shows a man sleeping comfortably in his bed, with a dog on the floor near the bed. The man is marked with the Palestinian flag, while the dog is labeled as Israel, bearing the Israeli flag. In the second frame, labelled as “1947”, the dog is shown sleeping in the bed, while the man is now pushed over to one side. By the third frame, marked “1967”, the dog is seen sprawling out across the bed, kicking the man in the face. In the final frame, labelled “2000”, the man is sleeping on the floor and the dog has the entire bed to itself.   

There can be no hope for peace in Israel and Palestine as long as Apartheid survives. The only way to achieve durable peace in the region is to establish equal rights of all of its inhabitants regardless of their race or religion. 

A video presentation by Miko Peled, author of The General's Son:

https://youtu.be/Z6PR7XrOQcM


https://www.youtube.com/embed/Z6PR7XrOQcM"; title="YouTube video player" width="560"></iframe>" height="315" src="https://img1.blogblog.com/img/video_object.png" width="560" style="cursor: move; background-color: #b2b2b2;" />

Here's a video on Israeli Apartheid targeting Palestinian citizens of Israel:
https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZYhsKRngW88"; title="YouTube video player" width="560"></iframe>" height="315" src="https://img1.blogblog.com/img/video_object.png" width="560" style="cursor: move; background-color: #b2b2b2;" /> 

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Nakbah, The Catastrophe Day

Jewish Power in US Congress

Pictorial Review of Young Gaza Victims 

Israel's Gaza Attack is Criminal, Not Defensive 

Warsaw's Nazi Concentration Camp 

Pakistani Media Revolution 

Gaza Flotilla Massacre and US Media Coverage

Riaz Haq's YouTube Channel

PakAlumni Social Network

Views: 111

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 17, 2021 at 6:33pm

In this latest crisis, Palestinian use of smartphones and social media is enabling them to cut the middle man and tell their story directly to the world, humanizing their plight & transcending the mainstream western media framing, filters, and tropes.

Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem is flooded with young people, day and night, documenting every moment on their cellphone cameras. Its story is at the heart of the turmoil sweeping Israel and the Palestinian territories https://reut.rs/3bzSpUn

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 17, 2021 at 7:40pm

Don't Take the Narrow View of What's Happening in Gaza - The Atlantic

By Shadi Hamid

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/05/israel-palestine-...

"Despite inching toward the Democratic Party’s left flank on various domestic- and foreign-policy issues, the Biden administration has fallen back on the usual formulas, offering robotic recitations about “Israel’s right to defend itself.” On Thursday, President Joe Biden said that he hadn’t seen a “significant overreaction” from Israel, while failing to mention a word about Palestinian deaths. In so doing, he gave Israel what amounts to a green light to intensify its bombing campaign. The White House has been eager to highlight Biden’s “unwavering support” for Israel, which raises the question of what, if anything, might cause America’s support for the Israeli government to waver even slightly. This question is worth asking sooner rather than later, now that more than 120 Palestinians have died, a quarter of them children—all in a few days—according to Palestinian officials."


Supporters of the status quo tend to focus on the fact that Hamas started lobbing rockets into Israel, and they argue that Israel has no choice but to retaliate, as any other country would. Some even suggest that the Israeli army is historically unparalleled in its efforts to spare civilian casualties. This line of argument, however, does not tend to offer many details on how this latest conflagration came to be. Why is all of this happening now? Wars and skirmishes don’t occur in a vacuum; they are the result of an accumulation of actions and reactions over years, if not decades.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 17, 2021 at 7:48pm

Israeli police in riot gear pushed a Palestinian protester to the ground in East Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, a moment captured on the smartphones of people looking on.

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2021-05-17/how-east-jeru...

"See what they're doing! They're beating up women!" Aya Khalaf, a Palestinian social media influencer, screamed in the background as she caught the May 9 incident on a live stream to her 187,000 Instagram followers.

The scene is one of several shared on social media from the near-nightly confrontations between Israeli police and protesters against the expulsion of eight Palestinian families from the neighbourhood, which is claimed by Jewish settlers.

The hashtag "#SaveSheikhJarrah" has gained momentum overseas, with British singer Dua Lipa and Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis among those expressing solidarity.

In October last year, an Israeli court ruled in favour of settlers who say the Palestinian families are living on land that used to belong to Jews.

Palestinians are appealing the decision at Israel's Supreme Court.


But a court hearing was delayed earlier this month amid rising tensions at Sheikh Jarrah - which lies just a few minutes' walk from the Old City's Damascus Gate, another recent flashpoint.

Anger over the proposed evictions was a key factor behind tensions in Jerusalem over the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which last week escalated far beyond the holy city into the worst hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians for years.

Portraying itself as the defender of Palestinians in Jerusalem, the militant Islamist group Hamas launched a rocket assault on Israel, which hit back with multiple air and artillery strikes on Gaza.

A week later, nearly 200 people have been killed in Gaza, including 58 children, Gaza's health ministry said, and 10 people have been killed in Israel, two of them children, according to authorities.

On Sunday in Sheikh Jarrah, Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian driver who had crashed his car into a police roadblock, injuring six officers.

AREA COVETED BY BOTH SIDES

A tree-lined area of sandstone homes, Sheikh Jarrah is named after a personal physician to Saladin, the Muslim conqueror who seized Jerusalem from the Crusaders in 1187.

It also houses a site revered by religious Jews as the tomb of an ancient high priest.

The settlers who filed the lawsuit say they bought the land from two Jewish associations that purchased it at the end of the 19th century. Palestinians, who question the legitimacy of the settlers' documents, have lived there since the 1950s.

Standing outside a settler house that sits beside Palestinian neighbours, Yaakov, a religious Jew who gave only his first name, said: "This is traditionally a Jewish neighbourhood ... the Jordanians and the UN settled Arab refugees in these houses, so if there are any settlers here it's the Arabs who are living here."

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 18, 2021 at 11:39am

New #Arab Street: Online protesters have linked arms with popular movements for minority rights such as #BlackLivesMatter, reclaiming the narrative from mainstream #media & picking up support in Western countries that have reflexively supported #Israel. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/18/world/middleeast/palestinian-ara...


The video traveled at 4G speed, leapfrogging across international borders, social media platforms and social justice movements: a young Palestinian woman in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, shouting in furious English at a Jewish man, “You are stealing my house!”

“If I don’t steal it, someone else will steal it,” he retorts.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/18/world/middleeast/palestinian-ara...

https://twitter.com/RamAbdu/status/1388520211574317057?s=20


Within days — as Israel bombed the coastal territory of Gaza, Palestinian militants there launched rockets at Israel, and Arab and Jewish mobs faced off in Israeli cities — the video had rocketed from young Palestinians’ social media feeds into the Arab diaspora, then lit up the internet, kindling outrage around the world.

The cellphone video joined a profusion of pro-Palestinian voices, memes and videos on social media that helped accomplish what decades of Arab protest, boycotts of Israel and regular spurts of violence had not: yanking the Palestinian cause, all but left for dead a few months ago, toward the political mainstream.

It used to be that when Palestinians were under fire, protests would follow in the streets of Arab cities. That potential for combustion forced Middle Eastern and Western leaders to keep a wary eye on the temperature of what was called the “Arab street.”

This time, a week into an Israeli bombing campaign that has killed 212 Palestinians in Gaza, the reaction from Arab capitals has been muted and protests small and scattered, generating little pressure on Arab governments to move to resolve the crisis.

Instead, solidarity with the Palestinians has shifted online and gone global, a virtual Arab street that has the potential to have a wider impact than the ones in Middle Eastern cities. The online protesters have linked arms with popular movements for minority rights such as Black Lives Matter, seeking to reclaim the narrative from the mainstream media and picking up support in Western countries that have reflexively supported Israel.

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“There’s an instinctive sense of solidarity,” said Michael R. Fischbach, a professor at Randolph-Macon College in Virginia who wrote the 2018 book “Black Power and Palestine.” “People from marginalized communities are going, ‘Wow, I could be the one on the other side of the fence. I could be the one looking down the barrel of the gun.’”

The main difference between then and now, Mr. Fischbach said, is velocity. While newsletter screeds against Israel took months to spread in the 1960s, today’s reposts and retweets are piling up by the second.

“This time — call me naïvely hopeful, but — for some reason the world seems to have an appetite for change these days,” @sufra_kitchen, an Instagram account that explores Middle Eastern food, wrote. “Whatever it is, please pay attention this time, because we all have been looking the other way for far too long"

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 18, 2021 at 5:34pm

Minister Fawad Chaudhry: #Pakistan to send aid to #Palestine to help with #COVID19, #medical emergency situation. #GazaUnderAttack #StopIsrael https://www.dawn.com/news/1624340

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry disclosed on Tuesday that Pakistan would send aid to Palestine to help the country deal with the Covid-19 pandemic and the medical emergency situation created by Israeli air strikes that have been ongoing for more than a week.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad after a meeting of the federal cabinet, he said Pakistan was the first Islamic country that adopted a "very clear and strong stance on Palestine" which it was standing by even today. The foundation of Pakistan's policy on Palestine was laid down by the Quaid-i-Azam and Prime Minister Imran Khan was its "trustee", he added.

Chaudhry said that Pakistan's leadership and efforts for Palestine were being "accepted by the entire Muslim ummah", including Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas and the country's ambassador to Pakistan who had thanked Pakistan for its support.

"[Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan said what was in his heart for Palestine was on Imran Khan's tongue. There is a very big role of Prime Minister Imran Khan."


Read: Qureshi calls on Muslim nations to unite over Israeli action against Palestinians

A day earlier, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi left for Turkey on a diplomatic mission to bring the international community's attention to the worsening situation in Palestine.

After Turkey, Qureshi will leave for New York with the foreign ministers of Palestine, Turkey and Sudan where he will hold "important meetings" with dignitaries and "raise a voice [for] oppressed Palestinians in the United Nations General Assembly".

Report on electoral reforms
Chaudhry said that the government would present a report on electoral reforms in parliament on Monday. "Our stance is that ECP (Election Commission of Pakistan) reforms are very necessary and we want to bring EVMs (electronic voting machines)."

To this end, the National Assembly speaker and the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs would invite parliamentary reporters and leaders for a meeting this week so a detailed discussion could be started from Monday, he added.

During the meeting, the reporters and parliamentary leaders would analyse the EVMs themselves and see how they could prove to be effective in combatting rigging in elections, the information minister said.

Criticising the opposition for its inconsistent "narratives" on electoral reforms, Chaudhry said the PPP and PML-N had first claimed the Result Transmission System (RTS) malfunctioned in the 2018 general elections.

"We asked which constituency [it malfunctioned in], they didn't say anything. Then they claimed that Forms-46 were missing. We asked in which constituency, they didn't say anything. Then they claimed that there were videos showing [people affixing] fake stamps. We asked in which constituency, they didn't say anything.

"The opposition's narrative on election reforms is not only non-serious but proves that they do not believe in transparent and fair elections," Chaudhry said.

He also said the PPP and PML-N had not clarified their stance on giving overseas Pakistanis the right to vote. "Our position is very clear, we want to give [them the right]. Overseas Pakistanis are the backbone of our economy and we want to give them every facility that is their right," he emphasised.

The information minister said the government was also going to bring legislation that would make it mandatory for an elected parliamentarian to take oath within six months, failing which their seat would be considered to be vacant.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 18, 2021 at 9:16pm

#Trump-Kushner’s Absurd #Peace Plan of Bribing Arab Regimes Has Failed. Justice for the #Palestinians is a precondition for peace. The reason there has been so little justice for the Palestinians is because of #US policy of unconditional support of #Israel.https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/17/opinion/us-israel-palestine-jare...

By Michelle Goldberg

“We are witnessing the last vestiges of what has been known as the Arab-Israeli conflict,” Jared Kushner crowed in The Wall Street Journal two months ago.

He was surveying the results of the Abraham Accords, the ersatz Middle East peace plan he helped negotiate under Donald Trump. At the heart of his supreme self-assurance, and of the accords themselves, was the deadly fiction that the Palestinians were so abject and defeated that Israel could simply ignore their demands.

“One of the reasons the Arab-Israeli conflict persisted for so long was the myth that it could be solved only after Israel and the Palestinians resolved their differences,” wrote Kushner. “That was never true. The Abraham Accords exposed the conflict as nothing more than a real-estate dispute between Israelis and Palestinians that need not hold up Israel’s relations with the broader Arab world.”

To circumvent that dispute, the United States set about bribing other Arab and Muslim countries to normalize relations with Israel. The United Arab Emirates got an enormous arms deal. Morocco got Trump to support its annexation of the Western Sahara. Sudan got taken off America’s list of state sponsors of terrorism.

But the explosion of fighting in Israel and Palestine in recent days makes clear something that never should have been in doubt: justice for the Palestinians is a precondition for peace. And one reason there has been so little justice for the Palestinians is because of the foreign policy of the United States.

“I don’t think that there’s any way that this occupation and creeping annexation process could have gotten where it is today if the United States had said no,” said Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of the liberal Zionist group J-Street.

One can condemn Hamas and its rockets and still recognize that this current conflagration began with Israeli overreach born of a sense of impunity. A major flash point was the campaign led by Israeli settlers to evict Palestinian families from their homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. There was also an Israeli police raid on the Al Aqsa Mosque on the first night of Ramadan, not to prevent violence, but to cut off its loudspeakers lest prayers drown out a speech by Israel’s president.

Palestinians fear, not without reason, that Israel is trying to push them out of Jerusalem altogether. That, in turn, has let Hamas position itself as Jerusalem’s protector. And Israel seems to consider its right to defend itself from Hamas justification for causing obscene numbers of civilian casualties. So much horror has been born of the delusion, on both the Israeli and American right, that when it comes to the Palestinians, the status quo is sustainable.

To be fair, this is not something that began with Trump: America has been enabling Israel’s occupation and settlement project for decades. Tareq Baconi, a Ramallah-based senior analyst for the International Crisis Group, argued that in some ways the Trump administration was simply more honest than its predecessors about its disregard for the Palestinians. All the same, he said, Trump’s foreign policy allowed “the Israeli right-wing to understand that they can get away with their most extreme policies.”

Before Trump, it was common to say that the occupation would eventually force Israel to choose between being a Jewish state and a democratic one. During the Trump years, Israel’s choice became undeniable.

Israel’s 2018 “nation-state law” enshrined “Jewish settlement as a national value” and undermined the legal equality of Israel’s Arab citizens. As settlements expanded, a two-state solution turned from a distant dream into a fantasy.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 19, 2021 at 9:44am

#Biden faces sharp criticism from some #Democrats over #Israel. #Palestinian-#American Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib confronted Biden in #Detroit over #Gaza. “The president needs to tell Netanyahu to stop,” said #SiliconValley Congressman Ro Khanna. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-democrats-israel-pale...


The president’s top spokeswoman has repeatedly declined to say whether Israel’s military response in the Gaza Strip was appropriate to the provocation, while many Democrats have not been shy about calling it disproportionate. And Biden and his advisers have stuck to an assertion that liberal Democrats reject as insufficient, the notion that Israel has a right to defend itself.

That has led to sharp criticism of the Biden administration from some Democrats, which otherwise has been rare.


President Biden tours a Ford electric vehicle plant in Dearborn, Mich., on Tuesday. The factory is in an area that is 90 percent Arab American.
President Biden tours a Ford electric vehicle plant in Dearborn, Mich., on Tuesday. The factory is in an area that is 90 percent Arab American. (Leah Millis/Reuters)
“The president needs to tell Netanyahu to stop,” said Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), who is part of a new generation of liberal Democrats. While Biden’s cease-fire comments were a marginally positive step, Khanna said, “I think it has to be much stronger.”

Khanna called on Biden to meet with Arab Americans in Michigan on Tuesday and set a deadline for Netanyahu to end his military assault in the Gaza Strip.

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), who represents Dearborn, said that Arab Americans were incensed by Israeli military action near one of the holiest Muslim sites in Jerusalem last week, and that many of her constituents wanted to convey their concern to Biden.

“I’ve lived in this community for 30 years. These are very intense, passionate and caring people, and they did not believe that in the midst of a war in the Middle East that their voices should not be heard because many of them have family there, and they are deeply concerned,” Dingell said in an interview.


Biden was greeted Tuesday by local Democrats, including Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D), the first Palestinian American woman to serve in Congress and a vocal critic of his Middle East policy. The two shook hands shortly after Biden arrived at the airport and spoke for several minutes.

In his comments at a Ford auto plant, Biden addressed Tlaib and mentioned family members she has in the Middle East. “I pray that your grandmom and family are well. I promise you, I’m going to do everything to see that they are on the West Bank. You’re a fighter. And God, thank you for being a fighter.”

Changing Democratic attitudes have been evident across the country in recent days. Rep. Cori Bush, a freshman Missouri Democrat and Black Lives Matter activist, delivered an impassioned speech on the House floor, promising to “fight for our rights in Palestine and in Ferguson,” tying the conflict in the Middle East to battles for racial justice at home.


Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who in recent years has become one of the most prominent elected officials among liberal Democrats, penned a widely circulated op-ed lambasting the Democratic leadership for being too accommodating toward Israel. “Palestinian lives matter,” he wrote in the New York Times.

Even longtime Israel hawks such as Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) have shown a sensitivity to the shifting winds in their party with carefully worded comments suggesting they would not always march in lockstep with the Israeli government. All three have a strong Jewish presence in their constituencies.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 19, 2021 at 6:26pm

When Ancient DNA Gets Politicized
What responsibility do archaeologists have when their research about prehistoric finds is appropriated to make 21st-century arguments about ethnicity?

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/when-ancient-dna-gets-politi...

The study analyzed DNA from ten individuals who had been buried at Ashkelon, a coastal city in Israel, between the Bronze Age and Iron Age. The results suggested that the appearance of new genetic signatures in four of the individuals coincided with changes in the archaeological record that have been associated with the arrival of the Philistines more than 3,000 years ago. These genetic traits resembled those of ancient people who lived in what is now Greece, Italy and Spain. The authors asserted that these findings supported the idea that the Philistines, a group of people made infamous in the Hebrew Bible as the enemies of the Israelites, originally migrated to the Levant from somewhere in southern Europe, but quickly mixed with local populations.

Commenting on the study, Netanyahu wrote: “There’s no connection between the ancient Philistines & the modern Palestinians, whose ancestors came from the Arabian Peninsula to the Land of Israel thousands of years later. The Palestinians’ connection to the Land of Israel is nothing compared to the 4,000 year connection that the Jewish people have with the land.”

The logic here for those who had read the study was confusing. The new research had nothing to say about the genetic history of Jews or Palestinians or the connection those modern populations have to the land. (Though the word "Palestinian" comes from "Philistine," Palestinians are not thought of as the descendants of Philistines; it appears that Netanyahu was using this unrelated point to launch into his argument.)



“To me it seemed like it just provided another opportunity—even if it's just tangential—to take a swipe at Palestinians,” says Michael Press, an independent scholar who studies the presentation of archaeology in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. “It's hard to blame the authors much here since Netanyahu's use of the study really was a non-sequitur.” (The authors of the study did not wish to comment but are preparing a formal response.)

Despite evidence that Jews and Palestinians are genetically closely related, Press and others were also torn about even addressing such inaccuracies in Netanyahu’s comments. Tom Booth, a researcher in the ancient genomics laboratory at the Francis Crick Institute in London, worried that picking apart what the prime minister got wrong about the study would suggest that, in an alternate reality, where his interpretation was scientifically sound, Netanyahu would be justified in using such a study to support his claims about Palestinian rights. “You just need to condemn any attempt to use a study on the past in this way,” Booth says. “The way our ancestors were 4,000 years ago does not really bear on ideas of nation or identity, or it shouldn't in modern nation states.”

This incident has dredged up tensions that have been lurking in archaeology ever since ancient DNA studies started gaining wide attention a decade ago. Advances in technology have made it possible to extract and analyze DNA from ancient bones, teeth, and other sources, and the resulting studies have made discoveries that might otherwise be invisible in the archaeological record: that anatomically modern humans mated with Neanderthals; that ancient populations in Africa moved and mixed more than previously thought; that the ancestors of the first people to set foot in North America may have taken a 10,000-year pause in their migration route in the now-submerged landmass between Siberia and Alaska. “Without knowing whether populations are staying the same or changing, we ended up potentially misunderstanding what's happening in the archaeological record,” Booth says.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 20, 2021 at 11:32am

#GazaUnderAttackk Stokes ‘Identity Crisis’ for Young #American #Jews. The violence comes after a year when mass protests across the #US highlighted issues of #racialjustice & #socialjustice. #ApartheidIsrael #PalestiniansLivesMatter #Palestine #Gaza https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/19/us/jews-israel-palestine.html?sm...

Dan Kleinman does not know quite how to feel.

As a child in Brooklyn he was taught to revere Israel as the protector of Jews everywhere, the “Jewish superman who would come out of the sky to save us” when things got bad, he said.

It was a refuge in his mind when white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., chanted “Jews will not replace us,” or kids in college grabbed his shirt, mimicking a “South Park” episode to steal his “Jew gold.”

But his feelings have grown muddier as he has gotten older, especially now as he watches violence unfold in Israel and Gaza. His moral compass tells him to help the Palestinians, but he cannot shake an ingrained paranoia every time he hears someone make anti-Israel statements.

“It is an identity crisis,” Mr. Kleinman, 33, said. “Very small in comparison to what is happening in Gaza and the West Bank, but it is still something very strange and weird.”

As the violence escalates in the Middle East, turmoil of a different kind is growing across the Atlantic. Many young American Jews are confronting the region’s longstanding strife in a very different context, with very different pressures, from their parents’ and grandparents’ generations.

The Israel of their lifetime has been powerful, no longer appearing to some to be under constant existential threat. The violence comes after a year when mass protests across the United States have changed how many Americans see issues of racial and social justice. The pro-Palestinian position has become more common, with prominent progressive members of Congress offering impassioned speeches in defense of the Palestinians on the House floor. At the same time, reports of anti-Semitism are rising across the country.

Divides between some American Jews and Israel’s right-wing government have been growing for more than a decade, but under the Trump administration those fractures that many hoped would heal became a crevasse. Politics in Israel have also remained fraught, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s long-tenured government forged allegiances with Washington. For young people who came of age during the Trump years, political polarization over the issue only deepened.

Many Jews in America remain unreservedly supportive of Israel and its government. Still, the events of recent weeks have left some families struggling to navigate both the crisis abroad and the wide-ranging response from American Jews at home. What is at stake is not just geopolitical, but deeply personal. Fractures are intensifying along lines of age, observance and partisan affiliation.

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Esther Katz, the performing arts director at the Jewish Community Center in Omaha, has spent significant time in Israel. She also attended Black Lives Matter protests in Omaha last summer and has signs supporting the movement in the windows of her home.

She has watched with a sense of betrayal as some of her allies in that movement have posted online about their apparently unequivocal support for the Palestinians, and compared Israel to Nazi Germany. “I’ve had some really tough conversations,” said Ms. Katz, a Conservative Jew. “They’re not seeing the facts, they’re just reading the propaganda.”

Her three children, who range in age from 7 to 13, are now wary of a country that is for Ms. Katz one of the most important places in the world. “They’re like, ‘I don’t understand why anyone would want to live in Israel, or even visit,’” she said. “That breaks my heart.”

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 22, 2021 at 8:17pm

Riaz Haq has left a new comment on your post "US Media Losing Control of the Middle East Narrative?":

#Americans largely support #Israel -- but sympathy for #Palestinians is rising. “It’s not a huge surprise that a lot of non-white Americans can empathize and identify with Palestinians because of their own history of oppression and settler colonialism” https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2021/05/22/more-americans-back-...

That support for both Palestinians and the Black Lives Matter movement have gained support concurrently is not a coincidence, said Elgindy, director of the Washington institute's Palestine and Palestinian-Israeli Affairs program. Both are rooted in similar anger over a lack of accountability, police brutality and systemic racism, he said, especially among young people.

As buildings fall in Gaza and whole families are wiped out, and as the United States stays largely silent about the plight of Palestinians, he said, “that contrast has not been lost on large numbers of Americans who are starting to awaken to this. For a lot of young people who were in middle school the last time this happened and not necessarily politically aware, they’re coming of age politically, and they’re horrified.”


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Last weekend in Atlanta, as hundreds of pro-Palestinian demonstrators rallied downtown, one sign stood out in particular: “We can’t breathe since 1948,” it read – a nod to the social unrest of the last year that has followed the murder of George Floyd.

Experts say it’s a reflection of the way that American support for the Palestinian cause is growing, a trend that a recent Gallup poll showed was on the rise even before the most recent Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

“It’s not a huge surprise that a lot of non-white Americans can empathize and identify with Palestinians because of their own history of oppression and settler colonialism,” said Khaled Elgindy, senior fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C. “The old image of Israel as David fighting the Arab Goliath, if it was ever true, is now completely obsolete. Israel is not the underdog anymore, and people realize that.”


Results of Gallup’s annual World Affairs poll, released in March, show that while most Americans still sympathize with Israel, favorable views of Palestine are on the rise. Roughly 30% of overall respondents said they had favorable views of the Palestinian Authority, up from 21% in 2018 and higher than the annual average of 19% since 2001.

Such views are increasingly partisan, with Republican support for Israel at 85%, compared to 77% of Independents and 64% of Democrats. However, the percentage of Republicans who view the Palestinian Authority favorably has risen to 19%, up from 9% in 2018.

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The area encompassing Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory is home to about 6.8 million Israelis and 6.8 million Palestinians, according to Human Rights Watch. Israel exercises primary authority over the territory, which consists of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, with limited Palestinian self-rule. According to the human rights organization, the discrimination and subjugation experienced by Palestinians in parts of the territory are tantamount to apartheid and persecution.

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