Anger sweeps West Bank, Jewish dissident censored

Dozens of Palestinians were injured as protests were held across the West Bank in support of Gaza under its third day of Israeli bombardment Nov. 16. At Kafr Kaddum village, a youth was hospitalized after a tear gas canister hit him in the back of the head. Hundreds of Palestinians, Israelis and foreign activists joined a march in the village, holding banners saying "Relief of Gaza." In Bethlehem, Israeli forces fired tear gas and a foul-smelling chemical liquid as protesters gathered outside Aida refugee camp to support Gaza—and another youth was hit in the head with a tear gas canister. In Jenin, a youth was wounded by rubber bullets in clashes with Israeli forces near the Jalama crossing into Israel. Protesters who gathered at the Enav checkpoint east of Tulkarem after Friday prayers were also met with rubber bullets and tear gas. Near Ramallah, four were arrested at a demonstration in Nabi Saleh and two Palestinians were injured in a protest in Bilin village condemning the assault on Gaza. Near Hebron, Israeli forces clashed with Palestinians at a weekly demonstration in Beit Ummar, dedicated in solidarity with the Gaza Strip. In Hebron city, political and religious figures led a march to the main square, demanding the Arab world do more to stop the bombardment of Gaza. Marches were also held in Ramallah and Nablus. (Ma'an News Agency, Nov. 16)

Meanwhile in the US, author Peter Beinart—whose book The Crisis of Zionism portrays Jewish youth breaking with automatuc support for Israel—was banned from a Jewish book festival in Atlanta. He spoke the night of Nov. 14 at a sold-out event at an alternate location. "This experience has taught me I should be boycotted more often," Beinart quipped to a packed room.

Beinart was one of 52 writers invited to speak at the Book Festival of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta, which attracts some 10,000 each year. Festival organizers canceled his scheduled appearance under pressure from local Jewish leaders—sparking what the Associated Press called "a backlash to the backlash."

Beinart was then scheduled to speak at a smaller venue in downtown Atlanta, some 20 miles from the festival site at the suburban community center. The 200 seats at the new location quickly sold out. Beinart, a professor at the City University of New York, told AP: "The problem is not that Jews live in the West Bank. It is today the West Bank is a place where, contrary to the vision of Israel’s founders, citizenship is ethnically based, where Jews and Palestinians live under a different law." (AP, Nov. 14)

From New Jewish Resistance, Nov. 17


  1. More censorship by Jewish establishment
    We missed this one from last year. So maddening. From The Forward, Sept. 26, 2011, links added:

    Bay Area Jewish Groups Celebrate Shutting Palestinian Art Exhibit
    Oakland Museum Pressured to Close Exhibit of Gaza Kids’ Art

    LOS ANGELES — The Tweet from the Jewish Federation of the East Bay was unabashed: The Jewish establishment had succeeded in shutting down an art exhibit aimed at children that portrayed Israel scathingly.

    “Great news!” the federation proclaimed. “The ‘Child’s View From Gaza’ exhibit at MOCHA has been canceled thanks to some great East Bay Jewish community organizing.”

    Sent on September 2, the message celebrated the cancellation of an exhibit of 45 drawings by Palestinian children that had been scheduled to open on September 24 at Oakland’s Museum of Children’s Art. The museum’s decision was announced immediately following a meeting between Jewish groups and the museum‘s directors. And that has set off a debate still roiling the cultural quarters of the San Francisco Bay area, where the Jewish establishment has already drawn lines on artistic criticism of Israel from within the community.

    Advocates for the Palestinian cause charge that the Jewish community is now attempting to control debate about Middle Eastern issues outside Jewish communal institutions. The fact that the argument centers on pencil-and-crayon drawings by children puts an unusual spin on the matter, and solemn charges of censorship are coming from many quarters, including a passionate essay by Northern California resident Alice Walker, author of “The Color Purple.”

    “I was absolutely floored,” said Barbara Lubin, founder and executive director of the Middle East Children’s Alliance, a not-for-profit organization that focuses on Arab children’s issues and calls for ending American support for Israel. Her Bay Area-based group, which is sponsoring the traveling exhibition, first contacted MOCHA back in March about providing a local venue for the show. Lubin estimates that MECA’s costs for the exhibit, including staff, shipping, framing and marketing, came close to $10,000. “They have pressured other art exhibits around the country and in the Bay Area that had anything to do with Palestine,” Lubin told the Forward. “This is not our first time feeling that pressure.”


    Rabbi James Brandt, CEO of the Jewish Community Federation of the Greater East Bay, denied that censorship was his organization’s goal. In an interview with the Forward, he expressed regret at the tone of the Tweet that celebrated MOCHA’s closure of the exhibit. The issue was serious and more complex, he said. A statement issued under his organization’s banner together with East Bay’s Jewish Community Relations Council and the Anti-Defamation League better represented the Jewish establishment’s position, Brandt said.

    “A biased, one-sided perspective filled with depictions of violence has no place in a community-based museum dedicated to serving young children, including 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds,” the statement read.

    The violence depicted in many of drawings is indeed bloody, and in many instances it portrays smiling soldiers wearing the Magen David shooting and killing women and children (despite the fact that Israel Defense Forces uniforms do not display the Jewish star). Much of the artwork was produced in children’s therapy sessions supported by funds from MECA after the 2009 incursion by the Israel Defense Forces into Gaza that lasted more than two weeks and resulted in hundreds of civilian Palestinian deaths, including those of children.

    Censoring the art instead of protesting the criminal actions that led to it being produced. Leave it to organized religion to be this morally screwed up…