Friday Night Lights: American and Israeli human rights activists disrupt ballet performance in Vermont

BURLINGTON, VT- Greetings from the Green Mountain State! I want to give a shout out to those who participated in a successful night of activism. Several activists leafleted 249 people attending last night’s Israeli Ballet performance at the Flynn Theater.

The leaflet asked “Would you like some information about Don Quixote and the Israel Ballet?” — which was an accurate presentation of last night’s performance. “Israel’s ‘Golden Helmet of Mambrino’ — which makes one invisible, thus capable of all actions — is slowly turning into Don Quixote’s version of it — a upside-down shaving bowl plopped on the head — incapable of nothing but making its wearer more obvious and actionable to the world. Brand Israel will continue to call forth increasing protests as audiences realize they are being used,” said author and activist Marc Estrin.

The headline said “A Modern Don Quixote.” Estrin said almost all ballet-goers accepted it, even those glancing at the opening before continuing into the theater. There are no trash cans inside the actual theater, so he assumes most flyers made it to people’s seats for reading before the show began. Estrin said one elderly man “came all the way out again to present us with a crumpled up ball with instructions to ‘shove this up your ass,’ but the other 249 copies all made it in.”

The other highlight was one Israeli and three Vermonters unfurled a banner during the performance. Check out the YouTube Vimeo below the fold!

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Inviting David Brooks to My Class

The Zionists are prisoners of a bad dream: they must first free themselves, break free from the prison in which they can only play the part of tormentors, if they and especially their Palestinian victims are to live normal lives.

M. Shahid Alam

On January 12, the New York Times carried an article by David Brooks on Jews and Israel. It so caught my eye, I decided to bring its conservative author to my class on the economic history of the Middle East. I sent my students the link to this article, asked them to read it carefully, and come to the next class prepared to discuss and dissect its contents.

My students recalled various parts of the NYT article but no one could explain its substance. They recalled David Brooks’ focus on the singular intellectual achievements of American Jews, the enviable record of Israeli Jews as innovators and entrepreneurs, the mobility of Israel’s innovators, etc. One student even spoke of what was not in the article or in the history of Jews – centuries of Jewish struggle to create a Jewish state in Palestine.

But they offered no comments about Brooks’ motivation. Why had he decided to brag about Jewish achievements, a temptation normally eschewed by urbane Jews. In my previous class, while discussing Edward Said’s critique of Orientalism, I had discussed how knowledge is suborned by power, how it is perverted by tribalism, and how Western writers had crafted their writings about the Middle East to serve the interests of colonial powers. Not surprisingly, this critique had not yet sunk in.

I coaxed my students, asking them directly to explore if David Brooks had an axe (or more than one) to grind. Was there an elephant in the room they had missed? What was the subtext of the op-ed?

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Holocaust in Palestine

H/t to Mohammed Omer for posting this on Facebook.

The following YouTube from France is a powerful depiction contrasting life in Palestine and for Jews during the European Holocaust. When will ordinary Americans and American politicians understand these similarities? Who knows. But we will do whatever it takes to change American views toward Palestine and the Mideast… one step at a time.  

58 Massacres before 1999

You can hear people saying “Israel’s gone too far this time.” But it isn’t only this time. Large scale massacres have been a central part of Zionist strategy from the start. Here is some information on the preceding massacres. Unfortunately the list stops in 1999, so many recent massacres, including Qana 2 and Jenin, are not included:

Although the Image that Israel distributes about herself is that of an oppressed nation, it is with heavy hearts that we present these crimes that stand for themselves for the brutality of the Israeli Army and the heartlessness of its soldiers who seem to have a thirst for blood. It is for the hope that the world may see a clearer picture that we present these painful facts. It is interesting to notice that today’s media does not dwell on these crimes as they do on the Holocaust. They are reported in the news for a week or two and then swept into the sea of oblivion. Those who attempt to revive the true history of Israel are charged of being anti-Semitic. So with the hope to keep those memories in mind we present this shameful history of  Israel that seems to have found that the role of Goliath is more interesting than that of David.

Continue reading “58 Massacres before 1999”

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