Middle East Report
On December 6, President Trump declared that it is "time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel," and directed the US State Department to begin preparations to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. As Palestinians took to the streets in protest, condemnation also came swiftly from all members of the UN Security Council and key US allies, including Great Britain. Hundreds of thousands protested throughout the world, despite often brutal conditions in their own countries and cities—including those facing US bombardment, intensified regime surveillance and subjugation, and austerity—in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, South Africa, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Qatar, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Bangladesh, South Korea, Greece, South Africa, Great Britain, Indonesia, Australia, El Salvador and the list goes on. The new issue of Middle East Report reflects on what solidarity with Palestine means now, and how common struggles for liberation and justice transform each other as they stand together. It also assesses transnational anti-Palestine forces in their various forms, and how they are fought.
Andy Clarno traces the recent history of black-Palestine solidarity, its historical precedents and its future prospects, as activism comes under increasing peril. He argues that the liberation of Palestine, for a century now, has been part of the political imaginary animating social justice movements.
Zakia Salime and Paul Silverstein bring us to the heart of the Rif protests against the Moroccan regime and show how Riffians have subverted attempts by the state to use the Palestinian struggle against them. "Solidarity with Palestine has effectively shifted from a hegemonic national discourse that, if anything, divided the Moroccan opposition (leftist vs. Islamist vs. Amazigh), to one which increasingly seems to unite them." In his essay on the celebrated Spanish writer, Juan Goytisolo, who died in June of this year, Hisham Aidi ruminates on the work and times of a transnational revolutionary artist, and the sometimes compromised positions taken by such exiles in their adopted homes.
Meanwhile, Erling Lorentzen Sogge reports from Lebanon’s Ain al-Hilweh, one of the largest Palestinian refugee camps, as it contends with the vicissitudes of regional war and armed group infiltration of the camp. Suheir Abu Oksa Daoud reviews Ghada Talhami's prescient book on the histories of the relationship of American presidents to Jerusalem.
In transnationalism of another sort, Jamil Khader analyzes the antiterrorism aesthetics of Ramadan cultural productions that target ISIS, through a careful reading of the Kuwait based company Zain’s video “Worship your God with love, not terror” and satellite broadcaster MBC’s television series Black Crows. Mezna Qato reports on the British government’s Prevent Duty program and warns of the intensified threats to freedom of speech, scholarship on the Middle East and Palestine, and other negative consequences in the name of antiterrorism and security.
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Middle East Report is published by the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP), a progressive, independent organization based in Washington, DC. Since 1971 MERIP has provided critical analysis of the Middle East, focusing on political economy, popular struggles, and the implications of US and international policy for the region.