Concerns about state-level legislation outlawing anti-Semitism in U.S. public schools relate to a wide definition of anti-Semitism that goes beyond protecting Jewish people from hate speech. (Image: Shutterstock)
Human rights and free speech advocates responded with alarm Thursday to a Guardian report revealing that pro-Israel and right-wing lobbyists are encouraging Republican state lawmakers to pass legislation that could outlaw discussions about the Israeli government’s human rights abuses and occupation of Palestinian territory at all levels of the U.S. public education system under the guise of fighting anti-Semitism.
Concerns about the legislation relate to its wide definition of anti-Semitism that goes beyond protecting Jewish people from hate speech. According to The Guardian: Continue reading →
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos spoke at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr/cc)
Sunday marked a deadline for the University of North Carolina and Duke University to submit information to the Trump administration about the two schools’ Consortium for Middle East Studies, after the Department of Education accused the joint program of biases against Christianity and Judaism.
The DOE called on the schools to provide a list of events it is supporting in during the school year and a full list of courses it’s offering, claiming in a letter sent late last month that in the program, “there is a considerable emphasis placed on the understanding the positive aspects of Islam, while there is an absolute absence of any similar focus on the positive aspects of Christianity, Judaism, or any other religion or belief system in the Middle East.” Continue reading →
Israel over the weekend launched drone attacks against three of its neighbors, adding to tensions in the region. (Photo: U.S. Army/cc)
Iraqi parliamentary Shiite leaders in the Fatah Movement political party on Monday issued a statement calling weekend airstrikes allegedly carried out by the Israeli military in western Iraq tantamount to a “declaration of war.”
The statement placed blame for the strikes not only with the Israeli military but also with American forces. Continue reading →
Rep. Rashida Tlaib greeting Detroit community members who gathered to honor her leadership at an event organized by JVP Action. Photo: Jewish Voice for Peace/Twitter
Dozens of Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s Jewish constituents rallied in Detroit Friday evening during Shabbat to show solidarity with their congresswoman as she faces attacks from President Donald Trump over her refusal to visit Israel under the Netanyahu government’s restrictive conditions.
Beth Miller, government affairs manager for Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) Action, which organized the event, applauded Tlaib’s courage and said it is “heartbreaking that Rashida had to spend this evening with us instead of her beloved family.” Continue reading →
On Wednesday, death threats were found spray-painted outside the offices of Amnesty International in Tel Aviv and ASSAF, an organization which advocates for refugees and asylum seekers in Israel. (Photo: @AmnestyIsrael/Twitter)
Human rights defenders in Israel on Wednesday linked recent threats at three civil society organizations to the rhetoric and policies of the country’s government, which has worked to intimidate and suppress groups critical of its treatment of Palestinians and other marginalized people.
Staff members at Amnesty Israel in Tel Aviv and the Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel (ASSAF) on Wednesday found death threats written in spray paint on walls outside the organizations’ offices. A box containing death threats and a dead mouse was found around the same time at the Elifelet Children’s Activity Center, which cares for refugee children. Continue reading →
Unfortunately, this has been going on for years. This 2006 photo is of IDF forces demolishing a house in Nablus. Photo: Michael Loadenthal/flickr
Global outcry erupted on Monday—with one critic condemning the move as “ethnic cleansing with impunity”—after Israeli forces demolished dozens of homes in Sur Baher, a Palestinian village that straddles East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.
“These demolitions are a flagrant violation of international law and part of a systematic pattern by the Israeli authorities to forcibly displace Palestinians in the occupied territories; such actions amount to war crimes,” Saleh Higazi, deputy Middle East and North Africa director for Amnesty International, said in a statement Monday. Continue reading →
President Donald J. Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel at the United Nations General Assembly. Photo: White House
The Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom, owned by top Trump donor Sheldon Adelson, has published in Hebrew a leaked draft of the Trump administration’s “Deal of the Century” for the Israel-Palestine conflict. The draft was given to the newspaper by an official from Israel’s Foreign Ministry, which is currently headed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The plan, which has been drafted by President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, is expected to be released this June after the conclusion of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, according to Mondoweiss.
The draft plan published by Israel Hayom, while in keeping with many of the details that have been leaked to the press in past weeks and months, contains several new and troubling claims, including the Trump administration’s plan to force Palestinian leadership to accept the plan through threats of economic strangulation and military force. Continue reading →
Already seven of the 10 countries in the world with the highest military budgets are in the Middle East. The development of nuclear weapons in Saudi Arabia has many speculating that it could mark the beginning of an even more dangerous era for the war-torn region.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s energy secretary, Rick Perry, has secretly approved the sale of nuclear power technology and assistance to Saudi Arabia, Reutersrevealed this week. Saudi Arabia is reportedly attempting to construct at least two nuclear power plants as part of its effort to diversify its energy sector and its economy as a whole. As part of this plan it has accepted bids from Russia, South Korea and the U.S. for the lucrative contract. Perry’s approval is known as a Part 810 authorization, which allows energy companies to begin the process of planning and starting preliminary work in anticipation of the closing of a formal deal in the future.
While the Saudi proposals are presented as civilian and do not mention nuclear weaponry, U.S. approval and sale of nuclear technology has been seen by many as a prelude to the development of a Saudi nuclear weapon, which could potentially spark a nuclear arms race in the region. Riyadh has long coveted atomic weaponry and has considered developing its own in its quest to maintain military dominance in the region. “If Iran develops a nuclear weapon, that will be unacceptable to us and we will have to follow suit” Prince Turki al-Faisal, former Saudi ambassador to the United States, told the Guardian in 2011, noting that the kingdom may feel “compelled” to pursue the option in the future, if tensions with Iran remain high. Continue reading →
“Thirty-three Palestinians have been evacuated to hospitals in the Strip, including ten that were wounded by live Israeli fire at the border,” Haaretz reported. (Photo: Times of Gaza/Twitter)
Tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered near the Israel-Gaza border fence on Saturday to mark the one-year anniversary of the weekly “Great March of Return” demonstrations and demand an end to Israel’s brutal occupation.