eumelia: (nice jewish girl)
It's Erev Pesach (Passover Eve, for you my most beloved gentile readers) and with it come all my feelings of self doubt, waning self worth and over all loneliness.

I thought I'd be used to it by now. But alas, it is the same with every major Holiday that includes a long meal and adherence to a thousand year old tradition. Tradition that has changed many times over, but for this queer lady feels as suffocating as the dust storms that come with the season.

In America there's a cute tradition that is kind of mocked here. Adding an orange to the Seder plate to be inclusive of the LGBT people of the Jewish tribe. As you can read from the column it's been misinterpreted regarding the inclusion of women.

Which in Israel should be a thing when you consider the fact that Jewish women cannot practice freedom of religion.

But I digress, as it had not been my intention to talk about the broader politics of the holiday also known as the holiday of freedom and liberation.

I have to practice the age old tradition foisted on Jewish women known as Shalom Bayit, meaning "Peace in the Home". It is usually talked about married life and the onus of the wife to make sure the marriage is sustained and kept stable, no matter what.

Don't rock of the boat.

I've come to despise the word peace. It is of no value and meaning to me. There's a phenomenon that happens when you read or hear a word repeated over and over again in different contexts and it reaches a degree of saturation that makes you sick of it.

It's called semantic satiation. I am sick of peace.

I recently read Sarah Schulman's book Israel/Palestine and the Queer International, which I whole heartedly recommend, as I would anything by Sarah. None of the material is new to me, but the framing is fascinating and poignant and shows the degrees of separation between the facts on the ground when it comes to the Occupation and the way the average Israeli (and those who hear only Israeli facts) perceives the "situation".

Israelis for years have been calling the systemic oppression and annexation of land the "Situation". As though it is temporary. As though it is something outside our control.

As I read the chronicle of Sarah's journey from ignorant American Jew to Palestine solidarity activist my heart felt heavier and heavier.

One of the feminist and lesbian activists that Sarah quotes in the book is asked by an Israeli man, "But how will there be peace?"

She replied rather poignantly, "I don't want peace, I want freedom and justice."

I can safely that I don't want peace either and feel as light as a feather.

Tumblr crossover
eumelia: (jewish revenge)
We're not.

Organizers of the pro-Palestinian campaign said that more than 1,500 foreigners from at least 15 countries had planned to travel to Bethlehem in the West Bank for what they described as a week of peaceful activities in solidarity with the Palestinians.
[...]
Israel had provided the airlines with the names of hundreds of people whom the government said would face immediate deportation. Once notified, the airlines would bear the responsibility and cost of flying the passengers back to their point of departure.

By early Sunday afternoon, 17 suspected activists had been refused entry, the Interior Ministry said, among them 15 French nationals, a Portuguese and a Canadian.

[...]
Emphasis mine.

The article mentioned an official letter that came out of the Israeli Prime Minister's office that was given to activists who did manage to land and enter Israel.

The gist of it, that there are more worthy causes like in Syria, Gaza and Iran and they suggest they go help with the "real problem of the region".

Here is a copy of the letter* handed out to the activists.



Footnote:
*This letter is a work of satire, not written by me. Whoever wrote it, is a genius.

Old News

Mar. 30th, 2012 07:08 pm
eumelia: (nice jewish girl)
Despite focusing lately on things not relating to the occupation in a direct manner, I still access the media and am as big a News junkie as ever.

As some of you may or may not know, today is Land Day, which is a commemorative day marking the strikes and protests Palestinians held in 1967 after the state (Israel) appropriated privately held Palestinian land. Thousands of dunams were basically stolen from under the owners feet.

This appropriation is still happening today, obviously.

But Land Day is a big event and such there are more demonstrators and many more wounded.

It's been a while since I've been involved in anti-occupation politics as I am focusing on more organised LGBT activism and, well, my life, but I don't think one can really separate the issues, as they colour every fraction of my life one way or another.

For instance, what does it mean that Israel cut ties with the UN Human Rights Commission, because they dared open up a probe regarding the building of settlements in the West Bank.

Apropos land appropriation. If I cared one whit about Israel's image I'd say we shoot ourselves in the foot, but seriously, we commit flagrant human rights violations every day, all the time. I can't say I'm surprised the foreign ministry started talking about Al-Qaeda (your guess is as good as mine as to why) and about how it's the Palestinian Authority committing - wait for it - diplomatic terrorism on Israel.

Because the state terrorism Israel commits on a regular basis is really not a part of the discourse.

Speaking of state sanctioned terror, and another reason why the IDF is a hierarchical, masculine-supremacist, racist and patriarchal institution of the worst kind?

(Trigger Warning: Rape Culture, Encouragement Of Rape, Overt Racism): IDF Colonel-Rabbi implies Rape is Permitted in War.

If you read the body of the text (heed the trigger warnings, my god!) you will see that when they write "imply", they actually mean "clearly states" that raping female prisoners is not only permitted, but actually encouraged!

...even though fraternizing with a gentile woman is a very serious matter, it was permitted during wartime (under the specific terms) out of understanding for the hardship endured by the warriors. And since the success of the whole at war is our goal, the Torah permitted the individual to satisfy the evil urge...


As the author of the article writes, this is the face of the IDF of 2012.

The fact that this kind of religious doctrine is actually published by the IDF is telling. Mainly, they they really can't see anything beyond their weeping national erection.

Despite the above, or possibly because of the above, I must mention Adrienne Rich's passing.

Her writing has been an inspiration to me for many years, both her poetry and essays - all of which have been a great aid to me when it came to my own feminism, even if I didn't agree with everything she had to say (her gender essentialism was and is notorious, despite the way she leveraged it so beautifully in the political and theoretical spheres).

She was also a Jewish woman who spoke out against the Israeli occupation of Palestine and a supporter of BDS, which, you know, is special.

She also spoke of the role and the responsibility of the poet, the writer, the artist to be political and proactive and not shy away from social justice in their work.

Someone is Writing a Poem
...But most often someone writing a poem believes in, depends on, a delicate, vibrating range of difference, that an “I” can become a “we” without extinguishing others, that a partly common language exists to which strangers can bring their own heartbeat, memories, images. A language that itself has learned from the heartbeat, memories, images of strangers...


May her memory be blessed.
eumelia: (queer rage)
I'm part of an organisation that was boycotted in Seattle last week.

The Seattle LGBT Commision cancelled a planned evening with Israeli representative of the Association of Israeli LGBT Educational Organisations. Organisations which include IGY (Israeli Gay Youth), Tehila (Parents and Family of LGBT people) and Hoshen (Education and Change - the org I associate myself with).

It happened because a local Seattle activist made the case that by having an Israeli event, the Commission would be participating in pinkwashing - in which the use of LGBT rights are culture are appropriated and used to diminish the human right abuses and violations committed by Israel in upon Palestine and the Palestinian people.

The Seattle activist, Dean Spade (Facebook link) was not wrong. Due to the recent history of pinkwashing the Occupation, it would be safe to assume that any and all events regarding Israeli LGBT groups would perpetuate this stance.

The Queerty article rightly states:
Debate has raged both on Queerty and elsewhere about whether the Israeli government’s efforts to publicize the country’s gay-friendliness are a smokescreen to distract from its mistreatment of Palestinians.

And that’s a valid debate.

But the AILO participants are from nongovernmental groups who might very well have a problem with their leaders’ actions. Are anti-pinkwashers like Spade now saying that all gays from Israel should be silenced in the public arena, lest they accidentally encourage someone to visit their homeland?

Are we calling for the end of civil discourse and kicking Israel’s LGBT off the bus?
Emphasis by me

Yes, a great many of the people I know who volunteer for any number of these orgs oppose pinkwashing. Not everyone sees the cynical use of the Israeli government of the LGBT community as pinkwashing, because hey, things better in Israel than, say, Russia or Croatia.

But that isn't the point. Gay rights are human rights. To "brag" about one groups progression from marginalised and debased (which some of us still are, sad to say, because only a certain type of gay is actually "okay") while trampling on the rights of another group simply due to their ethnic, national and religious affiliation is beyond hypocritical and disgusting.

And no, LGBT Palestinians from the Occupied Territories do not actually "seek asylum" in Israel - seeing as Palestianian refugees are a class of their own according to the UN, practically all LGBT Palestinians who have fled the territories are illegal residents in Israel, subject to deportation back the Territories at any time - and seeing as heterosexual straight couples get no slack when it comes to "family reunification", you can bet same sex couples get zero tolerance.

It is telling that I know of no Arab LGBT volunteer in any of the AILO orgs, but I know of several Palestinian specific LGBT orgs that operate within Israel or have no specific base of operations.

Pinkwashing is heavily debated and is a hugely divisive subject within the Israeli LGBT community (whatever that may mean), it has been so since 2009 as far as I'm aware even though the discourse has existed for longer.

My own opinions are of the radical and liberationist kind. I do not think queer people need or should pander to straight society in order to be "accepted" or heaven forbid "tolerated". I've long come to the understanding that as a gay Jewish woman person there is no "true" place for me on this planet - not as long as religion, nationalism, patriarchy, racism, heteronormativity and homophobia prevail - but I know that doing nothing and just complaining about shit is a useless state of being.

So I joined a liberal org that panders to straight society. Being a role model for younger people is a privilege that I have the ability to leverage into a type of activism that may piss a lot of other radicals off, but has been proved to be effective in the long run.

And being a part of that org means that I participate in pinkwashing, just like being part of the local economy means that I participate in corruption and land appropriation. It is a double edged sword that I grip.

I don't know how much longer we can bleed into this blood sodden earth.
eumelia: (bisexual fury)
Just because Israel doesn't automatically persecute gay men, lesbian women, bisexual people and trans people, mean that Israel is so bloody progressive when it comes to LGBT rights.

As regular readers know, I've been pretty vigilant about the way the LGBT community is being used as a way to cover up the disastrous human rights violations Israel commits on a daily basis, not only to the various ethnic minorities, but to LGBT people - a minority that crosses ethnic and religious "divides".

"Pinkwashing" isn't new, but it's getting a lot of news due to the fact that Israel's "re-branding" is, hah, failing.

Back in November, Sarah Schulman wrote an op-ed in the New York Times about this strategy that Israel uses, through its foreign ministry, its tourist industry - don't you know that Americans voted Tel Aviv as the best Gay city in the world! - and just plain flinging all those wonderful "rights" us queers have in the Holy land. Excuse me, I must go vomit.

Taking all that into account - the fact that there is this constant push and pull regarding Israel's image as a liberal oasis in a desert of religious conservatism - people seem to forget that all those "rights" lovingly bestowed onto the gay community (and yes, there is a big difference between the gay men and every other group put together in the alphabet soup of LGBT) are not presented accurately to the world, or more to the point to the United States.

A recent pinkwashing op-ed by a fellow by the name of Scott Piro wrote that:
Israel is the only Middle Eastern country where people are not persecuted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

He then lays out the "facts" about Israeli LGBT life:
Israel has passed anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBTs.

Formal laws, do not rights make. Not to mention that women still receive 75% of the average salary as opposed to men. Consider a two women house-hold, when both women work in what is considered a "second-salary slot".
I can't even begin to tell you how fucked transgender people are when it comes to labour, because no one will fucking hire them - trans people are not protected under anti-discrimination laws with regards to the work place - putting that T in LGBT, launders the reality of trans people in Israel, who I can safely say are the most fucked over group under the queer umbrella.
Unless they also happen to be Palestinian. More on that, in a bit.
And sure, businesses are not allowed to discriminate against same-sex couples or people who have a gender non-conforming appearance, but hey, if you're a religious institution you most certainly can!
That's just the tip, of course.

Israel Recognizes same-sex marriages performed abroad.
No, Israel does not. It writes on the ID card "married" for couples who got married in a country where same-sex marriage is legal, because international law requires that there be equal status in all documents. The fact is, if you are same-sex couple and you got married in, say, Canada (like many of the wealthier gays and lesbians do), your status will be written, but not recognised and you have the same rights as a registered co-habitated or common-law married couple.

So, uh, you can scratch that off the list.

Israel has legalized LGBT adoption rights.
The supreme court allowed one lesbian couple to cross-adopt each other's biological children. It is a legal precedent, like most LGBT "rights" in Israel, as opposed to actual pro-active legislation.

Can this horse get any higher?

LGBT soldiers serve openly in all military branches, including special units; discrimination is prohibited.
Only Americans find this special. Seriously. Just because you had DADT for too fucking long (read, at all) doesn't mean that the fact that LGB (if you are a T and are out you will most likely be exempt from military service for reasons relating to mental health. Snack on that.) serve "openly" make the IDF in any way progressive. Considering the fact that the IDF is growing more religiously conservative as we speak and has rabbis telling soldiers to not hear a woman sing on pain of death, I can't see the fact that some boys and girls in certain units are out (you are not likely to be out in a cambat unit, as opposed to an intel unit, for instance) make the army liberal.

And in any event, why would we want to emulate a militaristic, hierarchical, masculine-supremacist, racist and patriarchal institution?

Same-sex couples have the same inheritance rights as heterosexual, married couples.
Wrong again. Inheritance rights for unmarried, common-law married or co-habitating couples relies on drawing up official papers and making your spouse your beneficiary, unlike heterosexual married couples, where it is automatic.

So you see folks. We may not be the worst, but really, when you compare us to actual Western countries (because we pretend to be one), we are not in the best shape. In other words, it's really easy to compare us to countries where things are really bad and come out looking quite good.

Also, of course, all this is related to Jewish LGB(T) people in Israel. The fact is, Israel uses the hard won fights the LGBT community has wrought throughout the years in order to cover up the fact that it violates international law and human rights in the West Bank, Gaza and in Israel proper - where is the help for Palestinian LGBT's in the West Bank and Gaza? There is a reason Israel based Palestinian queer groups like Aswat and Al-Qaws are critical of the mainstream and Jewish LGBT community for lapping up the fact that we are being used as a fig leaf for Israel's human rights violations.

Don't tell me Israel is a "queer oasis".
eumelia: (flags)
Huh, it seems I've missed a few days of the challenge. Time flies! And stretches! And wibble-wobbles as they say.

I do plan on doing them all - the challenges that are meant to be filled out in my own space as opposed to going to comment somewhere else, those are less interesting to me.

So here we have something for Day 5:

In your own space, share something non-fannish you are passionate about with your fannish friends. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.


Regular readers of this DW/LJ know that this not only a fannish blog, and even now when I am being intensely fannish it is still not just about fandom.

You could say I am passionate about a lot of things, I tend to get enthusiastic about a great many things, but politics tend to engage me in a way they never did back when I was an apathetic teenager.

I don't think there can be any doubt that I'm a leftist. In my locale it's a complicated position to hold. Most likely because politics, as they are narrowly defined, are Parliamentary and Judicial and about the occupation and the "situation" as the whole shebang is euphemistically called.

All in all, I find the Parliamentary system in Israel utterly useless when it comes to serving me as a citizen, as it is an oppressive and suppressive government and the fact that it is an elected government doesn't make it any less totalitarian. It is totalitarian because none of the elected officials see fit to end an illegal Occupation over millions of people we keep under thumb, beyond that, instead of dealing with the housing and financial issues within the country proper, it throws money at settlements and illegal housing in the occupied territories.

In addition to the actual crimes this sovereign state commits upon the occupied population of Palestine, the state of Israel sees fit to use it's comparatively liberal attitude towards the LGBT community to make itself appear better than it actually is in the eyes of the Western world we so try to mimic - the fact that LGBT people have it "better" than our siblings in the neighbourhood isn't something to proud about - it's called goold ole' human decency!

The fact that my culture is being used as a fig leaf for war crimes is sickening to me and pretty offensive when you consider that the misogyny that is imbued into the culture here.

So, yeah, politics... I'm passionate about that.
eumelia: (bisexual fury)
It occurred to me that my previous post was a whole lot of whine and cheese about a life, in which, I really don't have all that much to complain about.

(BIG WARNING:Graphic Pictures of Wounds and Violence)

I mean, why complain about a leaky toilet when the IDF shoots a protester at point blank with a grenade launcher, subsequently kills him and proceed to attack the funeral procession.

Don't talk to me about the most moral army in the world, 'kay?

Speaking of fallacious images. Did you know that Israel is the best place to be gay in the Middle East? No, really, it is.

We have rights, and parties, and freedom of expression and places in which we can gather safely!

Oh, wait.

Considering what happened in 2009 at the LGBT youth club and the fact that the people who come to the Tel-Aviv LGBT centre and the park in which it is situated are routinely assaulted, the whole, "it's goo to be gay in Israel" stance is more dissonant than ever before.

My age is showing, because what I consider a "gay park" is not what they mean in the article.

Especially when you consider the fact that pinkwashing as a propaganda tactic is at an all time low. At least, I hope my fellow siblings aren't as gullible as the Foreign Office would like to believe.

I've spoken about Pinkwashing before and last month the whole shebang was blown out of the water by Sarah Schulman who posted a brilliant op-ed in the New York Times titled Israel and 'Pinkwashing', in which she writes:
[...]
In 2005, with help from American marketing executives, the Israeli government began a marketing campaign, “Brand Israel,” aimed at men ages 18 to 34. The campaign, as reported by The Jewish Daily Forward, sought to depict Israel as “relevant and modern.” The government later expanded the marketing plan by harnessing the gay community to reposition its global image.
[...]
The growing global gay movement against the Israeli occupation has named these tactics “pinkwashing”: a deliberate strategy to conceal the continuing violations of Palestinians’ human rights behind an image of modernity signified by Israeli gay life. Aeyal Gross, a professor of law at Tel Aviv University, argues that “gay rights have essentially become a public-relations tool,” even though “conservative and especially religious politicians remain fiercely homophobic.”


'nuff said, really.
eumelia: (master politician)
It's worse, because it is far more insidious than ever. You know the old saying about the frog in the boiling pot?

That's us.

It's been forever since I've had a good "bad news" round up. This platform has become something of an escape for me, you see, since the Summer in which thousands of people took to the streets protesting the current political, financial and social disparity in Israel - we forgot to take into account the underlying reason the current government has managed to shut us up and shut us out.

We are occupying another people and the Summer of so-called social change decided that that was too "political", not to do with "us" and not to do with the fact that the cost of living is practically unbearable within Israel. Because that's one thing and Israeli society is another.

Apartheid never seemed so clear.

Over the past few months, while we were resting on the laurels of actually being in the street and protesting the Men, the superficiality of (Jewish) women's equality has been steadily eroding.

Who is to blame? I mean, other than patriarchy. Of course.

Deepening religious extremism is one reason, I mean, when you have a Settler Rabbi telling soldiers should chose death rather than suffer a woman singing. You may go O_o at this little piece of News, but when you have more conservative interpretations to the Jewish adage "A woman's voice is Ervah" i.e. the sound of a woman's voice is pubic or sexual by it's very nature.

A woman is nothing but her sex, of course.

Speaking of voices, our freedom of speech has been basically been taken away, I can't tell you who you should boycott for fear of being sued for damages and now I can't call the Prime Minister, for example, a smug lying asshole, due to this abso-fucking-loutly spiffing amendment bill.

In which, and I quote the article linked above:
The bill represents an amendment to Israel's existing libel law, which would make it possible to sue a newspaper for libel, not only for commensurate compensation for any tangible damage caused by the publication, but for an additional sum of NIS 300,000 − without having to prove damages.

Emphasis mine.

Was there an emergency meeting of journalists? You bet there was.

Unsurprisingly, this bill coincides with the firing of one of Israel's few true watch dogs from public broadcasting Keren Neubach. As you can read in the link, the "reason" given? She "looks" bad on screen.
They're not even bothering any more.

Ditto on shutting down the Ramallah based radio station Palestinian-Israeli cooperative "Kol Ha'Shalom" (a play on words, as "Kol" is a Hebrew homophone for "voice" and "all").

Last night 2000 people rallied in protest of this bill.

2000. Yep, that many.

That really is the equivalent of crickets chirping.

The other bills that have been passing through the Knesset floor have been eroding civil society for years.

But wait. There's more.

The totalitarian nature of the Occupation is finally catching up with Israel proper. The non-violent demonstrations in the West Bank, exemplified by the recent Freedom Rider arrests (amazing pictures) shows the stark contrast of what is actually happening on the ground and the mindset of the average Israeli.

I mean, when the Prime Minister "shelves" the bill set out to persecute NGO's by limiting their funds, but his Foreign Minister goes ahead and does it anyway is, well, telling.

Add to that the fact that there is an all out political attack on the political science department of Negev's Ben-Gurion University, the alarm bells should be ringing off the walls.

Because when the Germans are telling the Israeli government: Um, excuse me, this is not very good and we're really sorry that we have to criticise you like this.

History repeats and really, the Germans would know.

In the meantime, my parents are watching commentary about a documentary about Steve Jobs and Apple.

I fucking hate the world.
eumelia: (nice jewish girl)
Stop what you're doing and just watch.

Just, listen.

A response to the question and accusation often hurled at Palestinians by Rafeef Ziadah.

eumelia: (resist!)
A month ago when the civil unrest in Israel began and I put aside my cynicism in order to participate in the protests and demonstrations, I was irked to hear people (friends and not friends) say they hoped these demonstrations don't turn "political".

I was baffled.

Social justice is probably the most political standpoint in society at large. The demand that resources, the economy and legislation treat everyone fairly is without a doubt a hard political line.

But in Israel, "politics" doesn't mean the power dynamics between groups of people, or how one's identity creates intersections of privilege and disparity, oh no, politics is that dirty laundry best left to elected officials, you know, which dirty laundry I'm talking about.

Racism. Occupation. "Security".

One of my friends the other day accused me of not liking her as much, because she's Right Wing. I'm like, you're not Right Wing, you support economic justice and she's said, in more words but that's the gist, that I was being deliberately obtuse and that Right and Left in Israel don't mean what they mean in other places in the world.

It's true, Left in Israel means opposing the Occupation to the point of hating Israel and Right means that the only way for Israel to survive is for the Occupation to stand because then Israel will be on the brink of destruction.

Safe to say those are two extreme positions even without breaking down the facets of race, nationalism and trauma that are intertwined into both arguments.

The demonstrations against the high cost of living, the class disparity and the over-all economic injustice that swept through the nation did not touch on the subject of the Occupation. I felt that it should have, because so much of what creates the economic disparity in Israel has to do with building settlements in the West Bank, has to do with building the Separation Wall, has to do with troops out there culling non-violent protests and with pushing an Apartheid economy in the West Bank.

An unregulated cartel like economy thrives in conditions like an Occupation.

I don't know much about the economy, but I do know that.

So the Occupation and the Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank were excluded from the discourse and activity to do with the social justice campaign the Tent Demonstrations started.

For good reason, Left and Right, such as they are conceived in Israel have to do with security, how Israeli Jewish bodies can be kept safe in the face of the big bad terrorists.

The government solution, bomb the shit out of civilians living under siege (because of Israel) and under social and religious oppression (because of Hamas), even though the People's Resistance Committee (PRC), who committed the co-ordinated attack, are not affiliated with Hamas, have nothing to do with the Hamas government and were all ID'd and killed by the IDF on the day of the attack.

And not to mention that the skirmishes that followed on the Egyptian border killed 5 Egyptian soldiers, after they had to deal with a suicide bomber of their own.

This, as they say, is a clusterfuck.

Beyond the diplomatic nightmare (Egypt has withdrawn its ambassador to Israel) and the "cease fire" between Israel and Hamas being thrown out the window.

Yes, beyond that, the Israeli paradigm that Security trumps society will be tested, and I fear that it will hold true, because we are nothing if not predictable. Our fear and trauma prevents us from seeing that war benefits very few (Israelis and Palestinians) and hurts the innocent more than anyone who actually perpetrates violence.

The Hebrew Leftists blogosphere is already talking about the end of the social justice demonstrations in light of the government's hawkish endeavours. I'm hoping the people have wised up a little, and notice that the government who sweated due to the fact that we know they used the economy against us, will have wised up and see that the government will exploit this renewed violent conflict in order to get back the control it had briefly lost on the citizens.

My response?

Resist and go back to the streets where we've been for the past month.
Resist and don't accept the idea that "security" demands social justice to be forfeited.

*V For Vendetta. What else?
eumelia: (verbiage)
Yesterday Israelis took to the street again, for the third week in a row.

Mass demonstrations and protests, which are planned during the weeks in the tent cities that have mushroomed all over the show.

The main reason this is happening now?

Because the neo-liberal economic system is hurting everyone and finally we middle class peeps don't have pockets as deep as we thought.

Yes, this is an economic justice protest, it is a socially political protest, it is a demonstration of my favourite thing - Vox Populi.

I was one of the 300,000 that walked the streets, I didn't sleep last night and I'm still wiped, who knows when I'll have a proper night's sleep this week.

On Twitter, someone asked, why are we having such huge protests if we are a democracy and chose our leaders through elections?

I didn't answer at the time, but I'll answer here, because it's true we are not like Tunisia and Egypt, though economic justice and welfare were the bottom line in many cases for those demonstrations as well (there are still people in Tahrir), but the fact that our fear, Israeli Jewish fear to be precise, for our survival in a hostile territory created a voting system based on national security rather then job security, affordable housing, a proper welfare system and public health care - every single one of those aspects of Israeli life has been eroded through privatisation (school children aren't getting their vaccines because of privatised school nursing system) and de-regulation (people can't buy milk and cheese and fruit and vegetables!).

And so we reached a brink, there's an idiom in Hebrew is to say enough is enough, literally it means "The water has reached our breath/spirit" and never before have I seen so many people demanding to what should have always been there.

And finally, little by little, I'm seeing more and more people demanding political justice as well, calling an end to the Occupation - because though it is the moral and ethical thing to do, it is also the practical thing to do. The Occupation take money out of our pockets and is used to opress another people in economic and political dire straights.

Come September, and the UN bid for Statehood, if things don't get moving, this whole summer may be a waste.

I have hope, actually, for real, seeing all those people, being among them with my friends, it's enough to start a revolution of some kind.
eumelia: (ctrl+alt+delete)
My speech (which, no matter what people say, has never been absolutely free) has been curtailed in a frightening way.

I cannot tell you which companies not to buy from, because I could get sued and fined (but not confined) for it.

The "anti-Boycott" law which passed last week in the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament stipulates that it is a civil wrong (not a criminal offence) to call for a boycott on Israeli made, well, anything.

It is meant to protect Settlement made goods from the West Bank from financial loss.

In effect, it punishes people from doing the most non-violent action possible, asking people to be conciousness consumers.

I am not telling you to boycott, because that would open me up for law suits that could sue me for more money that I've got, due to hypothetical financial loss.

If ever there was a time for you to learn about the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction campaign and movement, it is now.

But, well, I can't tell you what you should do regarding that.
eumelia: (media lies)
In case you didn't know.

Israel showed great restraint against the Syrian-Palestinian demonstrators who tried to go though the Northern border in a commemoration march of the Occupation of the West Bank since 1967. They showed this restrain by shooting live ammunition at them.
Lucky me, I got to see it on the News and begged the people in control of the remote to change the channel, they declined saying this was the first they'd heard about it. I'd read about it previously during the day and really didn't need to see live gunfire murdering people.

But I'm funny like that, I guess.

My association mechanism went to May 35th. But that's just me.

It doesn't help that various News channels claimed Israel was at war with Syria, which really was News to me, seeing as not having signed a peace treat doesn't mean we're attacking each other and playing the War games.

The IDF simply shot at people that neither Syria, nor Israel, consider to be worthwhile human beings. Palestinians on any side of any border really can't catch a break.

Also, Egtpy has not opened Rafah crossing.

It really must be June, if this shit is going on. Or, you know, any other day of the week. News thrives of conflict and disaster and this is probably not the worst thing to happen today.
eumelia: (flags)
I don't know what to write about this day.

I will say one thing though. The Police and IDF knew there would be marches. The IDF knew the Palestinians from the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, would be coming.

They expected violence, though the only act of violence that happened in Israel was a deliberate traffic collision, though honestly, to me it just seems as though people are out for blood and any excuse will do.

And yet, for some unknown reason, they were "unprepared". Let's blame the regional bogeyman, Iran.

Over the weekend, on the 14th, when the commemorations of the Nakba began, border police used rubber bullets and they ended up killing a teenager who took part in demonstrations in East Jerusalem.

Non deadly force is a myth.

I speak only as an Israeli Jewish grrl who has had enough of the injustice that is perpetuated by trying to keep the Nakba outside of our own discourse and public arena, and that at least ten people died because of our fear that they may become an "Us".

In the link above about discourse, it is mentioned that the word Nakba only entered the vocabulary in the 90's. This may be so, but the first time I remember hearing about it was when I was doing my time in the IDF and it was mentioned that there are days to look our for when it comes to terrorist activity, one of them was May 15th (along with Independence Day). That was the mid-2000's and really, I think it is only the past five years or so, that Israel has become so extreme so as to shut down Jewish activity regarding the Nakba.

It is because we know that we will have to compromise. For real. And not pretend we're giving into concessions, when we own the playing the field.
eumelia: (nice jewish girl)
The Nakba (Arabic for "Disaster" or "Calamity") began in 1948, when the Jewish people created a homeland (our Independence) on a land we could have shared, maybe, with the Arabs (Muslim, Christian and Jewish) who lived here for generations before European Jewry got into the nationalistic fervour that swept the continent in the mid-19th century.

A law from our Parliament tells us it is illegal to use public funds to commemorate the Nakba, as it undermines the legitimacy of the existence of Israel.
Seeing as Israel has no problem denying nationalistic aspirations to the Palestinians, the hypocrisy, not to mention the perversity of the democratic idea that is supposed to enable minority voices and narratives to speak and be heard.

But we've always been good at silencing those who punch holes in the cohesive story of our nation building. As though a story needs to be factual in order to be real.

On the 14th of May (my birthday) David Ben-Gurion declared the Jewish state in the Land of Israel. The 15th is the Nakba day and in Israel, the IDF is preparing to deal with marches that will take place in the West Bank to commemorate, there is fear the actions will spill over into Israel and that Palestinians with Israel citizenship will make a statement of their own.
The IDF is preparing for violence, though god help us if no violence comes.
The IDF doesn't know how to deal with nonviolence.

All this, was an exposition to the fact that it is commonly said that the Occupation of the West and Gaza began in 1967 and "ended" with the Oslo Accords in 1994.

Well, let it not be said the Nakba and the Occupation aren't intertwined.

Being the Trouble Maker that I am, let me tell you, with some facts brought to light this morning on the national News, just how intertwined they are.

It would appear, that between 1967 and 1994 140,000 Palestinians lost their residency due to a covert procedure used on Palestinians who traveled abroad.
I have to admit, I feel queasy.
According to the article:
From the occupation of the West Bank until the signing of the Oslo Accords, Palestinians who wished to travel abroad via Jordan were ordered to leave their ID cards at the Allenby Bridge border crossing.

They exchanged their ID cards for a card allowing them to cross. The card was valid for three years and could be renewed three times, each time adding another year.

If a Palestinian did not return within six months of the card's expiration, thier documents would be sent to the regional census supervisor. Residents who failed to return on time were registered as NLRs - no longer residents. The document makes no mention of any warning or information that the Palestinians received about the process.


You know, I'm not always keen on using Apartheid to describe the Occupation, as I consider the situations different, the reasons behind the segregation (which are not the same either), but I think in this instance it is justified, especially considering that this practice is apparantly still going on in East Jerusalem, which gives a really tragic and ironic spin on the whole "United City" propaganda:
Today, a similar procedure is still in place for residents of East Jerusalem who hold Israeli ID cards; they lose their right to return if they have been abroad for seven years.

Palestinians who found themselves "no longer residents" include students who graduated from foreign universities, businessmen and laborers who left for work in the Gulf. Over the years, many of them have started families, so the number of these Palestinians and their descendants is probably in the hundreds of thousands, even if some have died.


I cannot think of anything that can justify this procedure on a human level, never mind an ethical one (are they even the same?). This kind of demographic control and expulsion is reminiscent of regimes so dark, I can hardly swallow the notion that I am a benefactor of this racial and national crime.

Fucking hell.
eumelia: (queer rage)
Israel is a problematic country.

Anyone who reads this journal knows how I feel about my little hell-hole.

Anyone who reads this journal knows how I feel about Israel being used as a paragon of liberalism because we have deigned to allow queers to have certain rights that enable some of us to live lives without as much fear as we once did.

So, you know, when I read that the Berlin Pride Parade will be honouring the Tel-Aviv municipality sans any signs of Israel i.e. flags, national symbols, etc. I call foul hypocrisy!

Especially when the excuse is branding things Israel excels at.
Yeah, pinkwashing.
Thus, there will be no Israeli flags and the emphasis will be on Tel Aviv as a global city – pluralistic and liberal, which accepts members of the gay community no matter where they're from. Moreover, visitors to the festival will receive information about Tel Aviv which will include a map that highlights LGBT entertainment centers.

Yeah, there's no racial hierarchy in Israeli queer culture. There's no misogyny towards lesbians or homophobia towards gay men, no equating being a gay man with being "feminine" thus inferior, no equating gay women with needing a "good fuck" in order to be corrected. There's no bi invisibility and of course there's no Transphobia, no siree bob, there is not.

And of course, it's not like there was an unsolved double homicide and terror attack less than two years ago.

A source within the tourism industry told Ynet that "in the past it has been proven that the correct and smart way to 'export' Israel, especially these days, is through emphasizing brands it excels in, without using anything that symbolizes the state of Israel. Unfortunately, the Israeli flag or Star of David can cause antagonism among many."


This is me gagging.

Only this year, 2011, does a local bar (as in, it is ten minutes away from where I live and most anyone in my town) have an LGBT focused night. Why is my culture being "exported" in order to make the racist, bigoted, religiously coercive and over all oppressive country look better because it allows the queers to party!

This kind of fetishising of gay culture has gone on long enough, damn it!

ETA: Edited to fix some implications of Oppression Olympics.
eumelia: (nice jewish girl)
I'm uninspired.

Hence my sporadic updates, I really should get back to writing more often, I always find myself in a better state well being wise once I've unloaded something.

But I don't want to write about the politics in my locale, it's far too depressing and rage-inducing and I don't want to linkspam because I don't think I do it very well and so I read a lot of News but don't share a lot lately.

Not to mention things are crazy in MENA, due to the crumbling of status quo, nothing can be predicted and I find that heartening. Always expect the unexpected.

On a different note, for the first time in my life I read an article on Playboy (I know the horror) because it was the interview with Helen Thomas (Yeah, it's a link to Playboy... sue me) and oh my god, she's way more antisemitic than I gave her credit.

While at times during the interview she manages to make a case for the Palestinians, she does so by creating a Jewish/Zionist conspiracy, asks is an article was written by "a Jew" and erases the existence of Jewish people who came from East Africa, North Africa, the various Arab nations and the Persian gulf.

The pertinent quote I read first on The Atlantic because Thomas refers in the interview to a piece written by Jefferey Goldberg who wrote a post in retaliation to her remarks about the Jews getting "the hell out of Palestine".

The whole interview is filled with Antisemitic myths and conspiracies.

It's important to note that I do agree that Israel being a taboo topic for criticism in American politics is a problem, a big one, especially concerning our alleged nuclear capability, the way the American war machine enables the Occupation and how the Occupation is kept economically viable through US and EU financial and cultural support.

However, to be called on her Antisemitism wasn't a bad thing, because man, is that cat out of the bag (a quote from the interview):
PLAYBOY: Do you have a personal antipathy toward Jews themselves?

THOMAS: No. I think they're wonderful people. They had to have the most depth. They were leaders in civil rights. They've always had the heart for others but not for Arabs, for some reason. I'm not anti-Jewish; I'm anti-Zionist. I am anti Israel taking what doesn't belong to it. If you have a home and you're kicked out of that home, you don't come and kick someone else out. Anti-Semite? The Israelis are not even Semites! They're Europeans, and they've come from somewhere else. But even if they were Semites, they would still have no right to usurp other people's land. There are some Israelis with a conscience and a big heart, but unfortunately they are too few.

Let me rest on that a moment.
The sentence I emphasised is one I see quite a lot in discussing Jewish identity by those who aren't Jewish and are trying to emphasise the privilege of whiteness awarded to Jews, either in Israel or elsewhere.

Yes, many Jews have the privilege of being white, that doesn't make us not Ethnic in any way, shape, or form. That doesn't preclude us from being targets of Antisemitism.
Also, not all of us are white.
Some of us are East African, North African, Arab, Persian, East Asian, South East Asian, South American.
Some of us are a mix of these.

Some of us are like me, not only am I white, I have the privilege of having been twice removed from Europe, what with my family coming from South Africa and I myself having been born in Israel.

In the interview she says: Everybody knows my feelings that the Palestinians have been shortchanged in every way. Sure, the Israelis have a right to exist—but where they were born, not to come and take someone else’s home.

Not sure where us first generation born, second, third, fourth and tenth are supposed to go.

This may sound like a big whine fest, but you know, the Arab and Muslim world, prior to the dictatorships following the fall of the colonial empires had sizeable Jewish communities. Those are basically gone, most of those communities came to Israel, in which those Arab Jews chucked their Arab identity and became Mizrahi Jews - basically non-Ashkenazi (i.e. European) Jews and here they also felt (and still feel) the force of racism.

We can't escape it, this fantasy of superiority we impose on our bodies.

My point. It's not a clear cur situation. The injustice of the Occupation is, as is the racial injustice towards Palestinians who have Israeli citizenship, Bedouins and Druze and other racial, ethnic and religious minorities in Israel is also clear.

That still doesn't mean that Israeli Jews should "go back where we come from" because really, Europe is hardly a haven and from Tunisia Jews are fleeing.
So, yeah.

Dent

Feb. 17th, 2011 03:29 pm
eumelia: (exterminate!)
I scraped and dented my parents' new car yesterday.

I'm not used to driving it yet, so I thought taking it out for a short drive would be helpful as I'd actually like to use this car more often than I used our previous one.

The big difference is that this car is an automatic and I'm used to driving a stick and dude, those cars drive themselves! I'm not used to not having total control over how fast a car is going, so when I pulled out of the drive way I took the turn to quickly and well... a scrape and a dent.

I'm feeling really guilty.

But well, as a friend said, better to have a few bangs and scrapes now and then than die in one big accident.

Ain't that the truth.


I'm not managing to keep up with reports coming in from Bahrain, Iran, Libya, Yemen, etc. I'm mainly following on Twitter, which is very quick on the updates.

In the mean time, in my locale, the Army has fired rubber bullets at Israeli citizens for the first time since October 2000. But who counts the Bedouin as Israeli citizens any way...
eumelia: (nice jewish girl)
In Alphabetical order and a tiny bit of commentary:

Algeria: Defying a ban, protesters demonstrate in heavily policed Algiers. The demonstrations in Algeria in early January due to food shortages, but really, the poverty level in a country that is very rich in natural resources (and a long term dictator) showed it was a matter of time.

Bahrain: Bahrain mourner killed in clashes during another protester's funeral. The violence coming from the government in response to the protests has been overwhelming.

Iran: Police confirm protest death. The Reformists demonstrations never stopped, it just wasn't reported with the same fervor as when it started, but now that fire is sweeping through the region, it makes sense that the demo's are gathering greater numbers and are being suppressed with more violence.

Israel: While the region begins it's slow slog towards something resembling democratic process, we continue to dig our heels is and write out racist legislation like a Bill proposes discount in tuition fees for soldiers - meaning that higher education will become even more inaccessible than it already is to the working class - it is racist and ethnically based because the only ones drafted are Jews and the Druze (only men in this case) meaning that those who do not serve (i.e. Arabs, who also happen to be the most economically disenfranchised) will find it very hard to study at university, creating an even greater disparity between classes that (miraculously) coincide with ethnic and religious groups.

Palestine: Palestinian government resigns in hope of fresh start. Allow me to be more scathing than usual. The PA is so scared of what's happening in the region, the fact that just a few days about Saeb Ereakat resigned because of the Palestine Papers that they'll do anything to make appearnces of appeasement, while they suppress anti-PA demonstrations. Hamas, by the way, will not be running in these elections as it rejects Fatah authority. Like this schism is anything new.

Syria: Schoolgirl blogger jailed. A week after Syria opens their internet up for Twitter and Facebook. The Asad regime is in survival mode, it has been for years now.

Yemen: Yemen protests enter fifth day. The numbers are small, and there isn't a huge presence of women in Sanaa, but following reports on Twitter informs me that there was sizable female presence in Taizz.

That's what I got.
eumelia: (verbiage)
That's the hope at the very least.

That's the potential of Mubarak being ousted, sure he said he wasn't going to "run" for office again, but that's such a disingenuous claim and one meant to curb the momentum of the movement and action happening in Egypt at the moment, that I feel only Western nations and persons of, shall we say, interest are willing to play that game.

At least, I hope.

Per usual, and I know it's not the most okay thing when commentating about a different country, but meh, I'm as parochial as the next gal, so yeah I am thinking about how Egypt changing is going to affect Israel.

Mainly, I'm hoping the change kicks our collective ass into gear.

One of the biggest concerns, so much so that it borders on paranoia, is what the next government in Egypt will do about the peace agreement and to a lesser extent, the peace process.

Well, I'm not political expert, I just live here, but here's what I think will happen:

Not much.

For one thing. Egypt will hopefully be busy rebuilding itself in an image that suits its 80 million people and won't be too concerned at this time with Israel, unless Israel decides to invade Sinai - in which case all bets are off, but that's another matter entirely.

You see, in a lovely blog post titled A Guide: How not to say stupid stuff about Egypt one of the sections writes:
“Mubarak kept the peace treaty”:

That's one of the stupid things people have said, yes really. And the retaliation is that:
So, what do you think, if the Egyptian people choose another government, they will go to war with Israel? Maybe they will demand a few more things from Israel in how they negotiate with the Palestinians. Maybe Gazans will get better treatment? Maybe the balance of power will not be tipped over to Israel? Egypt protests: Israel fears unrest may threaten peace treaty. Hmm, so we should support the oppression of 80 million Egyptians for a false stabilization?
Emphasis mine.
972 Magazine is a wonderful example of English language independent leftist journalism in Israel, if you want a different perspective on the goings on in Israel and Palestine from the Israeli-Jewish pov you should check it out.
Yesterday a very savvy article was posted regarding this whole instability thing and how bad it is for peace:
No, Egyptian uprising won’t hurt the peace process
(Simply because there is no such thing)
[...]
The truth is there is no peace process, and it’s not because of the Palestinians, the Syrians, the Iranians, the reform movement or the coaching staff of the Minnesota Vikings. There is simply no point in talks with Israel right now. The Israeli government refuses to commit to evacuating settlements, refuses to discuss borders or even open maps and refuses to talk to Syria.
[...]

Honestly, this whole "stability" thing isn't working very well - especially because it requires the subjugation of a hell of a lot of people.

And there is no telling or way to predict what can happen when liberty is actually an option - because if there's one thing the average Israeli doesn't understand, in my experience, is that liberty and freedom also means compromise and letting go of privilege.

What does all this have to do with Egypt? Well, you see, Both Israel the Palestinian Authority, Israel's great ally in keeping the West Bank under control is worried that all these shenanigans will enable an actual uprising from the Palestinian people, because ever since the Palestine Papers, Israel and the PA are claiming Al-Jazeerah is out to get them, despite being lauded then for brave journalism, not the Qatari network is just causing problems in the Middle East. They just couldn't have left well enough alone.
Or something.

When I read the article linked above and the News that Hamas curbed a solidarity demonstration in Gaza because they're were worried the uprising will spill into their little cocoon of terror, because the people of Gaza are sick and tired of Hamas and the Israeli blockade.

So, yeah, why shouldn't Egypt be a democracy? There's no reason it can't, there's nothing but our fear of change and the fear that if we think rather than obey, then we will be stranded in a sea on uncertainty.
However, when the choice is between tyranny and uncertainty, I know what I'd chose and that's what the people of Egypt are demanding.

Mubarak Dégage!

As I write this: And Holy Shit Yemen!!!

And while the Arab world decides it kind has an idea what this liberty thing means, Israeli tyranny continued to creep as The Knesset Commitee to investigate the funds of Left Winf NGO's is approved, let the witch hunt begin.

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Eumelia

June 2015

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V and Justice

V: Ah, I was forgetting that we are not properly introduced. I do not have a name. You can call me V. Madam Justice...this is V. V... this is Madam Justice. hello, Madam Justice.

Justice: Good evening, V.

V: There. Now we know each other. Actually, I've been a fan of yours for quite some time. Oh, I know what you're thinking...

Justice: The poor boy has a crush on me...an adolescent fatuation.

V: I beg your pardon, Madam. It isn't like that at all. I've long admired you...albeit only from a distance. I used to stare at you from the streets below when I was a child. I'd say to my father, "Who is that lady?" And he'd say "That's Madam Justice." And I'd say "Isn't she pretty."

V: Please don't think it was merely physical. I know you're not that sort of girl. No, I loved you as a person. As an ideal.

Justice: What? V! For shame! You have betrayed me for some harlot, some vain and pouting hussy with painted lips and a knowing smile!

V: I, Madam? I beg to differ! It was your infidelity that drove me to her arms!

V: Ah-ha! That surprised you, didn't it? You thought I didn't know about your little fling. But I do. I know everything! Frankly, I wasn't surprised when I found out. You always did have an eye for a man in uniform.

Justice: Uniform? Why I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about. It was always you, V. You were the only one...

V: Liar! Slut! Whore! Deny that you let him have his way with you, him with his armbands and jackboots!

V: Well? Cat got your tongue? I though as much.

V: Very well. So you stand revealed at last. you are no longer my justice. You are his justice now. You have bedded another.

Justice: Sob! Choke! Wh-who is she, V? What is her name?

V: Her name is Anarchy. And she has taught me more as a mistress than you ever did! She has taught me that justice is meaningless without freedom. She is honest. She makes no promises and breaks none. Unlike you, Jezebel. I used to wonder why you could never look me in the eye. Now I know. So good bye, dear lady. I would be saddened by our parting even now, save that you are no longer the woman I once loved.

*KABOOM!*

-"V for Vendetta"

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