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Noura Erakat


Jadaliyya Co-Editor Noura Erakat Debates Whether Diplomacy Can End the Conflct in Gaza on Al Jazeera English’s “Inside Story”

[Screenshot from video below.]

[This video and post were originally published by Al Jazeera English.] US President Barack Obama told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu he was worried fierce fighting with Hamas in Gaza could escalate, and offered help to broker a ceasefire.   Obama spoke to Netanyahu after Israeli jets pounded Gaza for a fourth consecutive day but did not stop its fighters from launching more rockets. The situation is causing global concern over the ...

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No, Israel Does Not Have the Right to Self-Defense In International Law Against Occupied Palestinian Territory

[Smoke over Gaza following an Israeli airstrike. Image by Scott Bobb. From Wikimedia Commons.]

[In view of Israel's assertions that its current attacks on the Gaza Strip are an exercise in legitimate self-defense, Jadaliyya re-posts an analysis of this claim by Co-Editor Noura Erakat initially published in 2012.]   On the fourth day of Israel's most recent onslaught against Gaza's Palestinian population, President Barack Obama declared, “No country on Earth would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders.” In an echo of Israeli ...

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Jadaliya Co-editor Noura Erakat and Ali Abunimah Weigh In on Fatah-Hamas Unity Agreement in The New York Times

A First Step, but Israel and the U.S. Stand in the Way, Noura Erakat By giving Palestinians greater strength when dealing with Israel, a Fatah-Hamas unity government is a necessary first step toward a viable solution. But continuing obstacles make it insufficient toward achieving that goal. Since Hamas’s electoral victory in 2006, Fatah has spent tremendous financial and diplomatic resources to defeat Hamas at the expense of combating Israel’s apartheid regime and military ...

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Structural Violence on Trial: BDS and the Movement to Resist Erasure

[An Israeli soldier near an unfinished section of the Barrier in the West Bank. Image by Justin McIntosh via Wikimedia Commons.]

Walking to Rifqa (Umm) Al Kurd's home is a journey into violence. To visit the ninety-two-year-old matriarch, one must enter through a narrow walkway past a dwelling she owned until 2009. She built a concrete two-bedroom home for her eldest son and his family adjacent to her own. She envisioned a residential space for her family adorned by green grass, a garden of plants and flowers, and an outdoor patio. Today that grass is mostly dirt with yellowed shrubs, the walls are ...

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What Role for Law in the Palestinian Struggle for Liberation?

[Protestor puts flag on top of separation wall in Bethlehem on Land Day, 2012. Image by Palestine Solidarity Project via Flickr.]

Is international law part of the solution in the Palestinian quest for self-determination and human rights – or part of the problem as a number of voices now argue? Al-Shabaka Policy Advisor Noura Erakat provides insights into the positions of those who argue the law is the problem and then discusses the ways in which law can be made to work for the Palestinian people. She shows why the “triumph of human rights does not necessarily lead to justice” and argues for a political ...

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Demanding Equality: Interview with Steven Salaita on the ASA Academic Boycott

[Steven Salaita]

The American Studies Association (ASA) recently became the second US-based scholarly association to endorse the boycott of Israeli academic institutions. The 800-member Association of Asian American Studies (AAAS) was the first. A group of ASA scholars proposed the boycott resolution to the ASA’s Community and Activism caucus in November 2012 after visiting Palestine and Israel on a delegation organized by the US Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI). After ...

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Toward an Ethic of Legitimate Dissent: Academic Boycott at the American Studies Association


At its 2013 annual conference, the American Studies Association (ASA) considered a resolution to endorse the academic boycott of Israel. Several professors proposed the resolution to the ASA’s Academic and Community Activism Caucus after participating in a 2012 US Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) delegation to Palestine and Israel. If passed, the ASA will join a steadily growing movement among members of American academic associations to support Palestinian ...

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The Khsara Club, Arab Women Who Don't Get Married in Time: An Interview with Suha Araj

[Image of Suha Araj. Photo provided by Interviewee]

It is not easy to talk about sex in any community and that could not be more true for the Arab and Arab-American one. So when the characters in the short film, “The Cup Reader,” openly grappled with the regulation of sex and virginity to the cascading laughter of a diverse audience at the DC Palestinian Film Festival, I was intrigued about the filmmaker. Suha Araj is a young Palestinian American woman who grew up in Ohio and now lives in New York via San Francisco. Her work ...

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Travel Diary to Palestine: Journeys Into Violence

[Communities in Silwan forced to build vertically because of restrictive zoning laws. Image by Ilise Cohen.]

In late May 2013, I co-led an Interfaith Peace-Builders (IFPB) delegation to Israel and the Occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, along with Josh Ruebner, author and National Advocacy Director of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. Though we reached the edge of Gaza, we could not enter due to Israel’s hermetic seal of the 360-square mile Strip. Over the span of two weeks available we sought to explore the impact of US foreign policy upon the ...

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Palestinian Agency And New Campaigns In The Arab World: An Interview With Zaid Shuaibi On The Fourth Annual BDS Conference

[Image from the Fourth Annual BDS Conference. Zaid Shuaibi pictured far left.]

  On 7 June 2013, the Boycott National Committee (BNC) convened the Fourth National Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Conference at Bethlehem University. Comprised of three panels and one set of concurrent workshops, the daylong event targeted local Palestinian communities. While the organizers anticipated four to five hundred participants, seven hundred people showed up. In addition to evidencing its popular character, the Conference’s overflow capacity ...

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إعادة التفكير بإسرائيل – فلسطين

[انعكاس لمنزل فلسطيني على زجاج بناء إسرائيلي في حيفا. المصدر: شيرين صيقلي]

إعادة التفكير بإسرائيل – فلسطين فيما وراء موطن البانتو وفيما وراء المستوطنات   بينما باشر الرئيس باراك أوباما رحلة الاستماع في الشرق الأوسط، فمن المرجح أنه شهد  أثر عقدين من عملية أوسلو للسلام؛ عشرون عاماً وعشرات القمم وملايين الدولارات جميعها لم تقرّب الفلسطينيين والإسرائيليين من تأسيس سلام قابل للنجاح. لقد ارتبطت الاتفاقية التي رعتها الولايات المتحدة برُقْية تأسيس دولتين لشعبين تعيشان جنباً إلى جنب. في الواقع، فإن إسرائيل موجودة كدولة منذ 1948 وقد بقي ...

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Obama's Drone Leaks: New Imminence, Old Tactics

[A Predator drone akin to those in service over Yemen, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Image by Ryo Chijiiwa.]

The Senate Armed Services Committee did not mention drones a single time during Senator Chuck Hagel's confirmation hearings last week. That oversight, however, says a lot more about the politics surrounding the hearings than it does about the enduring salience of drone technology to US national security policy. The Department of Justice's "white paper" obtained by NBC on Monday affirms that. The paper, drafted for some members of ...

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Setting New Precedents: Israel Boycotts Human Rights Session

[Damaged and destroyed buildings in Gaza, January 2009. Image by Al-Jazeera Creative Commons Repository. From Wikimedia Commons.]

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique mechanism that intends to review the behavior of states without distinction. The UN General Assembly established it in 2006 as part of the functions of the Human Rights Council. It is a state-driven process to comprehensively assess a state's compliance with human rights law. The Human Rights Council is to hold three two-week sessions each year during which time they review the files of sixteen member states. Accordingly each ...

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Quick Thoughts on the Significance of the November 2012 Palestine UN Bid

[Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian National Authority, addresses the general debate of the sixty-fourth session of the General Assembly on 25 September 2009. Image by Marco Castro via Flickr.]

The Palestinian UN bid for non-member observer status will certainly pass today as the majority of UN member states have expressed their support for the initiative. The positive vote will do little to alter the course of Israel's ongoing settler-colonial expansion in the West Bank, or its racially motivated policies aimed at the forced population transfer of non-Jewish Palestinians throughout Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Still, the significance of ...

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The UN at ASIL: R2P and the Arab Uprisings

[Image of a UN Peacekeeping Forces Helmet. Image by Daniel Košinár. From Wikimedia Commons.]

The Under-Secretary for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel, Patricia O Brien, recently addressed the American Society of International Law Midyear Meeting at the University of Georgia School of Law. In her representative capacity, O’Brien dedicated her luncheon remarks to a discussion about the still-developing concept of responsibility to protect. (She contributed the full remarks as an IntLawGrrls post.) Also known by its shorthand abbreviation, R2P, the ...

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The US on Trial in NY: The Russell Tribunal on Palestine

[President Barack Obama talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the South Lawn of the White House. Image by Peter Souza. From Wikimedia Commons.]

Last week at the UN General Assembly, Barack Obama, President of the world's most powerful country, exalted the United Nations and the ideals upon which it was built. Namely, that  "people can resolve their differences peacefully, that diplomacy can take the place of war; and that in an interdependent world, all of us have a stake in working towards greater opportunity and security for our citizens."  Yet, as global superpower and a veto-holding ...

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Personal Posts

The Right to Development & The Arab Uprisings

[Cairo, Graffiti, Tahrir Square, November 2011.]

  In mid-December 2010, a young street vendor set himself on fire after his ill-treatment by Tunisian police. Mohamed Bouazizi set himself ablaze in Sidi Bouzid and inspired an entire region to revolt against decades of authoritarianism. Mass protests in Tunisia led to the ouster of its autocratic head of state Zine Abidine Ben Ali. This revolutionary fervor then spread to neighboring Egypt, where eighteen days of protest removed Hosni Mubarak from the helm ...

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US Strike on Syria & the Futility of Military Intervention

[U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Kerry delivers a joint press statement with Syrian Opposition Council Chairman Mouaz al-Khatib and Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi , not pictured, in Rome, Italy, on February 28, 2013. Image from US Department of State.]

The death toll in Syria has exceeded 100,000. The refugee population approaches two million, including one million Syrian children and excluding the Palestinian refugee population which is enduring secondary forced displacement as a result of the Syrian conflict. The horrors of the conflict which began two and a half years ago, reached new heights amid reports of a chemical weapons attack that killed 1,000 civilians in Douma on 21 August 2013. The attack ...

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The Battle of Authoritarianisms & Recommended Readings on Egypt

[Egyptian workers march to Shura Council on May Day, 2013. Image by Gigi Ibrahim.]

Since the military removal of Mohammad Morsi from office on July 3, the situation in Egypt has rapidly become intensely polarized. The entrenchment of two broad camps - for the military-led take-over or against the coup - obscures the complexity underlying Egypt's dramatic transformation. Millions of Egyptians converged on Tahrir Square in January 2011 to remove the US-backed authoritarian regime of Hosni Mubarak. They demanded a new relationship to the state including a ...

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For the Revolution or Against the Coup? My Two Cents On Egypt & Recommended Readings

[Women march in Tahrir, January 2013. Image by Gigi Ibrahim.]

As we bear witness to one of the most dramatic junctures in Egypt's history, it is easy to take a stark position, with the revolution or against the coup. As we think about these events, we need to be much more militant (no pun intended) about sparing nuance from our analytical chopping block. Although there is something undeniably troubling about the coup, there seems to a reactionary defense of "electoral democracy" in Egypt that does away with a context ...

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My 2MAS [Two-Minute Audio Sense] on Eltahawy's "Why Do They Hate Us?"

[Image from]

Foreign Policy Magazine's latest edition is a special issue on Sex. Unfortunately, the Magazine considers sex in the Middle East mostly with a single article on China and a mention of it every where else across the Globe. Jadaliyya co-editors Sherene Seikaly and Maya Mikdashi wrote a stellar piece evaluating the issue and Mona Eltahawy's controversial piece, "Why Do They Hate Us?"    Below, I respond to Eltahawy's piece in a two-minute audio ...

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Noura Erakat


Noura Erakat is a human rights attorney and writer. She is currently a Freedman Teaching Fellow at Temple University, Beasley School of Law and is a member of the Legal Support Network for the Badil Center for Palestinian Refugee and Residency Rights. She has taught International Human Rights Law and the Middle East at Georgetown University since Spring 2009. Most recently she served as Legal Counsel for a Congressional Subcommittee in the House of Representatives, chaired by Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich. She has helped to initiate and organize several national formations including Arab Women Arising for Justice (AMWAJ) and the U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN). She is a board member of the Trans-Arab Research Institute (TARI); a Policy Advisor of Al-Shabaka; a founding member of the DC Palestinian Film and Arts Festival; the development consultant for Legal Agenda; and a contributor to IntLawGrrls. Noura has appeared on MSNBC's "Up With Chris Hayes," Fox’s “The O’ Reilly Factor,” NBC’s “Politically Incorrect,” Democracy Now, and Al-Jazeera Arabic and English. Her scholarly publications include: "Litigating the Arab-Israeli Conflict: The Politicization of U.S. Federal Courts" in the Berkeley Law Journal of Middle Eastern and Islamic Law,  "BDS in the USA: 2001-2010," in the Middle East Report, and "U.S. vs. ICRC-Customary International Humanitarian Law and Universal Jurisdiction" forthcoming in the Denver Journal of International Law & Policy. She is a Co-Editor of You can follow her on Twitter at @4noura. 

(Noura's personal Jadaliyya page can be accessed here, and her website here)

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