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Israel

Operation Protective Edge: Legal and Political Implications of ICC Prosecution (Audio Recording)

George Mason University’s Middle East Studies Program, Global Programs, New Century College (NCC) and the Trans-Arab Research Institute welcomed four international law experts to discuss the political and legal implications of an International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation of recent conflict in the Gaza Strip. This discussion was held on Monday, October 20, 2014. In July and August, hostilities in the Gaza Strip left 2,131 Palestinians and 71 Israelis dead, including 501 Palestinian children and one Israeli child. Of Gaza’s 1.8 million residents, 475,000 are living in temporary shelters or with other families because their homes have been severely damaged. The ...

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On the BDS Blacklist

[This is a slightly revised version of comments presented as part of the event “Palestine Solidarity: A Faculty Roundtable and Student Q & A,” held at the CUNY Graduate Center on 17 October. The discussion was organized by a group of students involved with a resolution currently before the Doctoral Student Council at the Graduate Center, endorsing the academic and cultural boycott of Israel. I want to dedicate my remarks to these courageous students, who are engaged in organizing work that is at best thankless and at worst dangerous, given the current climate of hostility in the US academy—and, beyond that, to all those who struggle for justice in Palestine.] I ...

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Letter to Hosts of the International Conference for the Reconstruction of Gaza

[The following letter was issued by the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association] Hosts of the International Conference for the Reconstruction of Gaza Børge Brende Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway via utenriksminister@mfa.no via fax +47 23 95 00 99 Sameh Shoukry Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt via fax + 20 2576 7967 Your Excellencies,  I write on behalf of the Committee on Academic Freedom (CAF) of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) to express grave concern over Israel’s indiscriminate bombardment and destruction of Palestinian educational institutions, including the destruction of 22 ...

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الظاهرة المتنامية لدعم إسرائيل في الجامعات الصينية

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أثناء العقد الأخير، نجحت شبكةٌ من المنظمات المؤيدة لإسرائيل، والتي لا تجمع بينها علاقات متينة، (تشمل عدداً من منظمات الأبحاث والسياسة والجامعات وجماعات الضغط والمؤسسات والباحثين والناشطين والواهبين أيضاً) بالعثور على موطئ قدم في البيئة الأكاديمية الصينية. كان هدف هذه الجماعات في الصين هو تأمين منصة لتبني مشروع (هازبرا)، وهي كلمة عبرية تعني الشرح، أي استخدام الوسائط الدبلوماسية والإعلامية والسياسية لتوضيح مواقف إسرائيل وأفعالها والدفاع عنها، من أجل إعادة صياغة التصورات الأكاديمية الصينية حول الدولة اليهودية. إن المنطق الذي ينطوي عليه الأمر هو أن هذا سيؤثر في النهاية (واضعين في حسباننا الفرضيات السائدة عن اعتماد حكومة الصين على رأي الباحثين والخبراء) في حسابات صانعي ...

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نقطة تحول

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يدلّ خطاب الرئيس على أن لحظة الحقيقة، لحظة اتخاذ القرار الذي طال انتظاره، تقترب، وإذا لم يتم التقاطها بسرعة ستطارد لعنة التاريخ القيادة الفلسطينية إلى الأبد. لقد رفض الرئيس في خطابه العودة إلى المفاوضات كما كانت تجري في السابق، وطالب بوضع جدول زمني لإنهاء الاحتلال من خلال الأمم المتحدة، وتحدث أيضًا عن حرب الإبادة التي شنتها إسرائيل ضد الشعب الفلسطيني، محذرًا أنها لن تفلت من العقاب، وهذه أمور كلها في منتهى الأهمية والإيجابية. وقف المفاوضات الثنائية برعاية أميركية انفرادية أمر كان يجب أن يحدث منذ فترة طويلة، فمنذ مرور شهر أيار من العام 1999، وهو الموعد الذي انتهت فيه الفترة الانتقالية التي حددها "اتفاق أوسلو" للانتهاء من المفاوضات التي لم تنته حتى الآن بالرغم من ...

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Statement by Jewish Studies Professors Regarding 'Deplorable' Amcha Initiative

[The following statement was originally published in The Jewish Daily Forward on 1 October 2014] We the undersigned are professors of Jewish studies at North American universities. Several of us have also headed programs and centers in Jewish studies. Many of us have worked hard to nurture serious, sustained study of Israeli politics and culture on our home campuses and elsewhere. It is in this latter regard that we call attention to the activities of an organization calledthe AMCHA Initiative whose mission is “investigating, educating about, and combatting antisemitism at institutions of higher learning in America.” Most recently, AMCHA has undertaken to monitor ...

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A Voyage to Toledo: Twenty-Five Years After the 'Jews of the Orient and Palestinians' Meeting

[Members of “The Iraqi Delegation” to Toledo—from left to right: Sami Michael, David Semah, Ella Shohat, Shimon Ballas, and Yosef Shiloach. Image from Ella Shohat’s personal archive]

On 3-5 July 1989, an unusual gathering, which went largely unreported in the media, took place in Toledo, Spain—“Judíos orientales y palestinos. Un diálogo para la paz árabe-israelí” (“Jews of the Orient and Palestinians: A Dialogue for Arab-Israeli Peace.”) Four years before the commencement of the Oslo Accords, the Toledo conference took place at a time when Israeli law forbade such meetings, legally defined as proscribed political contacts with Palestinian terrorist organizations. In defiance of this law, a number of meetings took place in such cities as Bucharest, Budapest, and Geneva. At that time, Israeli officials were still vocally engaged in the ...

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Statement by Scholar Ann Laura Stoler Endorsing BDS against Israel

[The following statement was issued by Ann Laura Stoler on 10 September 2010 and originally  published by pulsemedia.org on 17 September 2010] By Colonial Design As someone who has worked for some thirty years as a teacher and student of colonial studies– on comparative colonial situations, colonial histories, and the violent and subtle forms of governance on which colonial regimes rely, it would be difficult not to describe the Israeli state as a colonial one. It would be difficult not to recognize Israel’s past and ongoing illegal seizure of Palestinian land, the racialization of every aspect of daily life, and the large-scale and piecemeal demolition ...

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The Growing Phenomenon of Pro-Israeli Advocacy in Chinese Academia

[Image of a graphic that demonstrates the SIGNAL backed ISP zones in China. Image from Sino-Israel.org]

Over the last decade, a network of loosely affiliated pro-Israeli organizations—embracing a number of think tanks, universities, lobbyist groups, foundations, activist-scholars as well as donors—have successfully established a foothold in Chinese academia. The aim of these groups in China has been to provide a platform for espousing hasbara—a Hebrew term for “explanation” denoting the utilization of diplomatic, media, and political mediums to clarify and defend Israel’s positions and actions—that would serve to re-shape Chinese academic perceptions of the Jewish state. The logic underlying this advocacy is that it would eventually influence—given prevailing assumptions ...

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NYC Event -- The War on Gaza: Military Strategy and Historical Horizons (19 September, Columbia University)

The Center for Palestine Studies and the Middle East Institute present The War on Gaza Military Strategy and Historical Horizons Presenters Noura Erakat (Assistant Professor, George Mason University) Rashid Khalidi (Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies, Columbia University) Moderator Nadia Abu El-Haj (Professor, Bard College) Date, Time, and Location: Friday, 19 September 2014 12:00pm-1:30pm Room 501, Schermerhonr Hall Columbia University

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Algeria’s Jewish Past-Present

[Interior of Ghardaïa Synagogue, Image from Sarah Abrevaya Stein]

Given other dramatic events this summer, readers might be forgiven for failing to notice a curious announcement the Algerian Minister of Religious Affairs, Mohamed Aïssa, issued on 3 July. The statement advertised that the ministry was to reopen twenty-five of the synagogues that still remain in the country. This announcement is of far more than local concern, teaching us a great deal about the complex way in which the Middle Eastern Jewish past is put to use in the interest of contemporary politics. Aïssa’s proposal was meant to highlight Algeria’s inclusivity, and, thereby, to distinguish its path from that of nearby Tunisia and Egypt. Part of what made this ...

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Archives and Collections in Israel/Palestine: An Interview with Zachary J. Foster

[Image via Ottoman History Podcast]

[NOTE: This Ottoman History Podcast episode was first aired in June 2011. We are featuring it here with a new introduction by Zachary J. Foster.] The sources and collections for the study of the Ottoman period located in Israel/Palestine are extremely rich. This introduction (and podcast) is less a survey of available libraries and archives (which has been itemized categorically here, here, and here). Instead, I would like to highlight some interesting sources I myself have found, and encourage other scholars to talk about their sources. The first noteworthy collection is actually quite famous but nevertheless remarkably under utilized, known by its label “AP” at the ...

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الحراك الجمعيّ على مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي: تشكيل البدائل وبناء الرأي العام

  تمنح وسائل التواصل الاجتماعي، والتي اصطلح على تسميتها الإعلام الاجتماعي أو الجديد، مساحة من التعبير بوسائط متعددة ولغات مختلفة. فقد أتاحت مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي فرصاً شتّى لمستخدمي الانترنت لصنع حراك جمعيّ حول قضية ما.  لكن القضية المتعلقة بهذا الطرح هي القدرة على استبدال التواصل والاتصال المباشرين بالتواصل عبر الانترنت من جهة، أو الاستغناء عن وسائل الإعلام التقليدية (التلفاز والإذاعة والصحيفة)، التي أثبتت تحيزّها في العديد من القضايا الدوليّة، من جهة أخرى. العديد من الآراء تشكك بقدرة ...

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Panel Event -- Operation Protective Edge: Legal and Political Implications of ICC Prosecution (GMU, 20 October 2014)

Co-sponsored by Middle East Studies Program, the Trans-Arab Research Institute, Arab Studies Institute, New Century College, and Global Programs Operation Protective Edge:  Legal and Political Implications  of ICC Prosecution October 20, 2014 4:00-6:30PM  George Mason University Johnson Center, Room C Featuring David J. Luban, Georgetown University Margaret deGuzman, Temple University George Bisharat, UC Berkeley Noura Erakat, George Mason University ...

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On the Proposal for the CUNY Graduate Center's Doctoral Students' Council to Boycott Israeli Academic Institutions

In April 2013, the Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS) became the first United States academic body to pass a resolution boycotting formal relations with Israeli universities. In December, the American Studies Association (ASA) and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) also passed boycott resolutions, followed by the Critical Ethnic Studies Association (CESA) in July 2014. These resolutions were adopted in response to the 2004 call from Palestinian civil society to ...

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Letter by Israeli Anthropologists in Support of BDS Discussion at American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting

[The following letter was issued by a group of Israeli anthropologists on 10 September 2014 in response to the Israeli Anthropological Association's objections to a scheduled discussion about boycott, divestment, and sanctions at the upcoming meeting of the American Anthropological Association.]   Letter to the AAA in Response to IAA's Letter of 28 August 2014    Dear colleagues, As anthropologists and citizens of Israel, we are writing to express our thorough opposition to the ...

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Seize The Moment

Should the Palestinian leadership fail to seize the moment, it would condemn itself to eternal damnation. In the speech, Abbas rejected the notion of resuming peace negotiations in the usual manner. He called for a timetable for ending the occupation supervised by the UN. He also spoke of the genocidal war Israel waged against the Palestinian people, and warned that it would not escape punishment. All important and positive remarks. Bilateral negotiations under sole American supervision should have ...

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Statement: Over 250 Anthropologists Join Call for a Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions

[The following press release and statement announcing the endorsement by over 250 anthropoligists of the movement to boycott Israeli academic institutions were issued on 1 October 2014 by the below-identifed group of anthropologists. Since it was first published on Jadaliiya, the number of signatories of the statement has exceed 700 anthropologists.] For Immediate Release October 1, 2014 Over 250 Anthropologists Join the Call for a Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions More than 250 ...

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Displaced Intentions

Write Down, I Am an Arab, directed by Ibtisam Mara’ana-Menuhin. Israel/Palestine, 2014. Borrowing the opening line of one of Mahmoud Darwish’s most famous poems, “Identity Card,” filmmaker Ibtisam Mara’ana-Menuhin titled her latest documentary Write Down, I Am an Arab. The film, which had its world premiere at Toronto’s Hot Docs festival in April of this year, is described as a biographical portrait of the poet who became the voice of Palestinian people. However, in her director’s statement, the ...

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Beirut Conference: Israel’s War on Gaza: Political, Moral, and Legal Accountability (28 September 2014)

A one-day sympoisum hosted by the Issam Faris Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs Sunday 28 September 2014 IFI Building Auditorium AUB Campus Beirut, Lebanon    

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Open Letter to the Brooklyn Book Festival re Israeli Sponsorship

[The following open letter is being ciruclated in protest of the Brooklyn Book Festival's partnership with the Israeli Office of Cultural Affairs in New York to sponsor Assaf Gavrons participation in the festival.] Tell the Brooklyn Book Festival to no longer accept partnerships with the Israeli government or complicit institutions. To the Brooklyn Book Festival Inc. and the Brooklyn Book Festival Literary Council: We, the undersigned, including participants and exhibitors at the Brooklyn Book ...

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Sympathy for the Devil: Palestine’s Tragic Collaborators

Omar, directed by Hany Abu-Assad. Palestine, 2013. Omar, the most recent film by Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad (of Paradise Now fame), opens with a traversing of obstacles—a prefatory homage to the resilient Palestinian spirit. Exuding youthful vigor, the titular character scales the portion of the separation wall isolating his West Bank neighborhood from that of his childhood friends, his resistance brigade, and his love interest. Omar fearlessly scurries along the edges of buildings and leaps ...

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مملكة السيمولاكروم: الإسرائيلي الافتراضي والفلسطيني المختفي

كانت المكاشفة الأخيرة بين الإسرائيلي والفلسطيني والتي بدأت في شعفاط وانتهت في مذبحة غزة، مختلفة هذه المرة، وقد جاء اختلافها بالأساس من كونها قشرت طبقات كانت مختبئة حول الوجودين الحضاري والأخلاقي لكل طرف في فلسطين التاريخية ومبرراتهما والسؤال التفاضلي بينهما. فوسط جنون جماعي إسرائيلي وذهول فلسطيني أشبه بالتطبيع مع القدر تغير تداخل دور الجلاد والمحتل النقي والطاهر بدور الضحية الخالصة والنبيلة، تداخلت الأمور للغاية وقد يكون السبب الرئيس لهذا التداخل هو السؤال الكبير الذي طرح؟ هل استنفذت شروط وجود الإسرائيلي ...

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Samih al-Qasim: I Will Engrave Our Names on the Wind

[While well-known as a poet, the late Samih al-Qasim was also a talented essayist, writing regularly in the Arabic-language press of Palestine/Israel. He was also a remarkable public speaker and letter writer. Over a period of two years—from May 1986 to May 1988—al-Qasim exchanged a series of extraordinary letters with Mahmoud Darwish. The letters are monuments to poetry and language and also friendship and love and, not surprisingly considering the authors, contain some of the most moving ...

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