Home and Garden: Iceland, Avishai and Palestinian Right of Return

In my latest piece for Souciant, I explore the meaning of Iceland’s resolution recognizing both Palestinian statehood and the Palestinian Right of Return and Bernard Avishai’s recent piece on RoR, which I posted here.

For readers’ reference, since RoR is such a controversial subject, my own view of the issue can be seen in this piece from last year.

Avishai: ABRAHAM’S CHILDREN Toward a right of return for Palestinians

Harpers’ Magazine only put this in their print edition. I offer here a pdf file of Bernard Avishai’s piece exploring the question of the Palestinian Right of Return. I’m not sure about his proposed solution, but the very fact that the subject is being taken seriously in a mainstream US publication and by the pen of a noted Zionist dove is important. For too long, the subject of Palestinian refugees has been shunted aside to be dealt with “later” or addressed in vague, unsatisfying terms that has let the ideological battle simmer. I applaud Avishai for taking this issue on.

My own view on RoR can be found here. But what is important is not where one stands on this issue, at least not right now. What is important is that the question be brought into the light of day and grappled with openly and consistently, as has been done on other issues regarding this vexing conflict.

A Thanksgiving Thought

Thanksgiving is a holiday I love, largely because I make it my own. It is a time set aside for reminding myself of the things I have in my life that are truly wonderful, a time I need because I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking of what I don’t have or once had and lost.

But I don’t forget the origin of this holiday, or any other I may share in, from a variety of sources. And we do well to remember it collectively. It’s not as if the United States is the only country in the world that would not have what it does without a horrifying history of brutality, cruelty and murder. Most nation-states can say the same. Still, too often we do seem to forget it, perhaps because the people we wiped out are so completely invisible to almost all of us almost all of the time.

Rev. Will McGarvey, a friend and colleague and man of deep conscience posted this picture on his Facebook page. I think it’s worth spreading around on Thanksgiving.

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The Jeffrey Goldberg Problem

In my latest piece for Babylon Times, hosted by Souciant, I use a recent piece by Jeffrey Goldberg to examine how it is that some ostensible two-state, anti-settlement, so-called “pro-Israel” types seriously distort the daily realities life under Israeli occupation for Palestinians, particularly on the West Bank.

Obama-Sarkozy Gaffe Proving Troublesome In Washington

Originally published at LobeLog  

In an embarrassing moment, Presidents Barack Obama of the United States and Nicolas Sarkozy of France didn’t realize their microphones were turned on as they commiserated about having to deal with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The political backlash, which should be a concern for an Israeli leader, is already starting to hit Obama.

Reuters reports:

“I cannot bear Netanyahu, he’s a liar,” Sarkozy told Obama, unaware that the microphones in their meeting room had been switched on, enabling reporters in a separate location to listen in to a simultaneous translation.

“You’re fed up with him, but I have to deal with him even more often than you,” Obama replied, according to the French interpreter.

But rather than Israel being concerned that world powers, the US and France, find their leader an obnoxious presence, it is portrayed even here as a problem for the President. Continue reading

Two Presidents, One Problem

It’s been a few weeks since I posted an article at Babylon Times, at Souciant. But I’m back today, with a look at the absurd reactions to Palestine’s admittance to UNESCO and a funny incident between Barack Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy that speaks volumes about the obnoxiousness that is Benjamin Netanyahu.

Twenty Years After Madrid, Israel-Palestinian Peace Prospects Bleak

In my latest piece for Inter Press Service, I report on yesterday’s conference in DC marking 20 years since the Madrid peace conference, that launched the now dearly departed peace process.