[This is a monthly roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Resistance, Subversion and Social Mobilization in the Arab world and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the DARS Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each monthly roundup to DARS@jadaliyya.com.]
News & Commentaries
B.D.S.: How a Controversial Non-Violent Movement Has Transformed the Israeli-Palestinian Debate, by Nathan Thrall
Nathan Thrall provides a good exploration of how the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement emerged, and how it has influenced the Israeli-Palestinian debate. Through a thorough analysis and interviews with leading Palestinian and Israeli activists, such as Sami Awad, Haidar Eid, and Kobi Snitz, Thrall provides a comprehensive overview of the effects of the BDS.
The Language of Palestinian Freedom, by Steven Salaita
A social media debate over the most effective way to discuss Palestinian resistance leads Steven Salaita to reflect on examine the uses of language in political activism: “Communicating to people in the West is important—even better if they decide to listen. I submit instead that it’s not the responsibility of dispossessed people to assure their oppressors’ comfort. In the end, if arbiters of respectable opinion won’t accept Palestine’s national liberation movement as it actually exists, then it’s not because of language, but a fundamental difference of politics.”
Israeli Music Scene Jolted by International Boycott Movement, by Josef Federman
Approximately twenty artists, including Lana Del Rey, withdrew from Israel’s Meteor Festival amid pressure from the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
Ahed Tamimi: Illegally Blond, by Yosefa Loshitzky
“Ahed Tamimi, the new blond icon of Palestinian resistance, who was released on 29 July 2018, after spending eight months in Israeli prison, raises for Israelis the tormenting question: can a Palestinian be (genuinely and legally) blond?” According to Yosefa Loshitzky the racialization of blond operates on many levels in Israeli society and is related to a complex and multi-layered structure of oppression.
“Trump Wants to Starve Us:” Palestinian in Gaza Protest UNRWA Cuts, by Middle East Eye
Hundreds of Palestinian demonstrators gathered near the northeastern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun on 4 September, after setting up a protest camp there, only to be targeted by Israeli forces. “The demonstration—the latest to be organised by the Great March of Return—comes days after US President Donald Trump, a staunch Israel supporter, cut all American funding to UNRWA, the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees.” Israeli forces shot live bullets and tear gas at the protesters and at least twenty-five Palestinians were injured.
Israel’s “Loyal” Druze Move Into Open Revolt, by Jonathan Cook
“Israel’s small Druze community, long seen as “loyal” to the state, is on a collision course with the right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu over a new law guaranteeing superior citizenship rights for Jews, according to analysts. Israel has traditionally cited the Druze, a secretive religious sect whose men serve in the Israeli army, as proof that non-Jews can prosper inside a self-declared Jewish state. However, recent days have seen an unprecedented outpouring of anger from large segments of the Druze community over a nation-state law passed last month by the Israeli parliament.”
Palestinian Citizens of Israel Protest in Tel-Aviv Against Nation-State Law, by Lubna Masarwa
Tens of thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel led a march through the centre of Tel Aviv on 11 August protesting against a law passed last month that downgrades the rights of non-Jewish citizens and decrees that Jews—domestic and foreign—have exclusive national rights.
Iraqi Jews Organizing to Regain Citizenship, by Saad Salloum
“A number of Iraqi Jews are organizing to officially demand the restoration of their Iraqi citizenship and the annulment of Article 17/II of Iraqi Nationality Law no. 26 (2006), which expressly excludes Jews from pursuing the option. The law provides that Iraqi nationality be restored to those who lost it as a result of political, racial or sectarian decisions.”
Iraq: Three Dead as Anti-Corruption Protests Rage on in Basra, by the Associated Press
“Iraqi protesters have stormed and set fire to a provincial government building in the southern city of Basra, despite a curfew imposed by authorities on September 6 to try and quell demonstrations against poor public services and unemployment that have turned violent. Three protesters were shot dead by security forces, according to a medical and a security official.”
Azaz Conference Explores Boosting Role of Syrian Women, by Khaled al-Khateb
“The General Women’s Conference for the Support and Empowerment of Women in the Aleppo Euphrates Shield area, which is under the control of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), convened on 25 July in Azaz—a city in Aleppo's northern countryside. The conference, which gathered more than one hundred and fifty Syrian women working in various service and humanitarian sectors in the area, was organized under the auspices of the Stabilization Committee, affiliated with the Free Aleppo Governorate Council. […] The conference resulted in the creation of a new organization for women's political, social and economic empowerment in Syria's opposition-held areas.”
Egypt: Death Sentences and Heavy Prison Terms Handed Down in Disgraceful Mass Trial, by Amnesty International
On 8 September, Cairo Criminal Court today handed down seventy-five death sentences, forty-seven life sentences, and heavy prison sentences ranging from fifteen to five years to six hundred and twelve people, in a mass trial related to participation in the al-Rabaa sit-in on 14 August 2013. Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International, said, “These sentences were handed down in a disgraceful mass trial of more than seven hundred people, and we condemn today’s verdict in the strongest terms.”
Independent Lebanese Website Raseef22 Joins Hundreds of Blocked Websites in Egypt, by Mada Masr
“Independent Lebanese website Raseef22 has joined the long list of websites to which access is blocked on Egyptian internet service providers after a number of readers cited difficulties accessing the site in Egypt.”
In a Place Where Surfboards Are Illegal, a Surf Club in Gaza Has Had to Improvise, by Andy Martin
Director Philip Gnadt's film Gaza Surf Club follows a group of Palestinians determined to take to the waves. He was drawn to the subject because it was refreshing to hear something other than “ occupation” and “terrorism.” For Andy Martin, the film is both a grim reminder of life in Gaza and a message of hope.
“Art Is a Form of Resistance:” Israeli Air Strikes Destroy Gaza Cultural Centre, by Maha Hussaini
The al-Meshal Foundation, which was one of the few cultural outlets available to Gazans, was bombed in August by Israeli air strikes. According to Hanin al-Holy, “Al-Meshal centre was a symbol of culture, something that reinforced our Palestinian identity. They targeted it because art is, too, a form of resistance."
Events & Conferences
Political Violence in Syria: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, 14-15 September 2018, Ultrecht University, Netherlands. (Call for Papers Deadline: 15 April 2018)
Cinema-Going in The Arab World: Exhibition, Distribution, and Audiences, 14-15 September 2018, Netherlands-Flemish Institute, Cairo, Egypt. (Call for Papers Deadline: 30 April 2018).
Workshop: Digital Media, Islam, and Politics in the Middle East, 28-29 September 2018, University of Basel, Switzerland. (Deadline for Applications: 5 July 2018)
Panel | Ground Truth: Testimonies of Destruction and Return in Al-Araqib, 11 October 2018, Columbia University, New York, USA.
Black-Palestinian Solidarity 1968/2018, 18 October 2018, Columbia University, New York, USA.
The Biannual Conference of the Middle East Studies Forum: Trump and the Middle East, 29-31 October 2018, Deakin University Burwood, Victoria, Australia.
Contemporary Amman and the Right to the City, 3-4 November 2018, Institut français du Proche-Orient, Columbia Global Centers | Amman, and Studio X-Amman, Amman, Jordan.