I arrived in Ramallah well prepared . . . or so I thought. I’d read Saree Makdisi’s chilling portrait of Palestinian life under occupation, historical accounts by Rashid Khalidi, Walid Khalidi, Ilan Pappe, Nur Mashala, and Gabriel Piterberg, powerful critiques of Israeli apartheid leveled by Ali Abunimah, Omar Baghouti, and Uri Davis, exposés penned by Israeli journalists Amira Hass and Gideon Levy, as well as pro-Zionist voices such as Amos Oz and A.B. Yehoshua. I had Edward Said by my side, and the Electronic Intifada and the Palestine Monitor in my web browser. Our small delegation, formed at the behest of the U.S. Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, consisted of some of the smartest people I know, their collective knowledge of the situation surpassed only by our hosts at Birzeit University in Ramallah. We were there on a fact-finding mission.
When reflecting on the week-long visit to Occupied Palestine and Israel – the delegation organized by the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) – in some ways, the meeting that was the most provocative was with the Palestinian academics who hosted us at a public policy research center in Haifa called Mada al-Carmel: Arab Center for Applied Social Research. There we encountered critical and incisive perspectives on the academic boycott by Palestinian citizens of Israel that showed how the politics look different from their social location. Their penetrating critiques and our productive dialogue ultimately strengthened my understanding of the situation of fragmentation on the ground in Palestine, and of the need to grapple with this complexity to address what is, after all, one occupation.
The eight meter high Apartheid Wall bordering the Aida Refugee Camp near Bethlehem features a tattered and faded replica of Pablo Picasso’s 1937 painting “Guernica.” The painting famously commemorates the bombing and massacre of nearly 1,600 civilians by Nazi German and Italian warplanes during the fight against fascism in the Spanish Civil War. Hand-painted barbed wire and a Palestinian flag frame the Wall’s reproduction. The caption above reads:
On July 1, 2011, the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI), sent a letter to several scholars at US universities, inviting them to join a historic delegation to Palestine. The letter began: We … Continue reading “529-2”
Five faculty from U.S. universities who recently completed a week-long visit to Occupied Palestine and Israel are calling on academic colleagues everywhere to support the United States Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI).
Five faculty from U.S. universities who recently completed a week-long visit to Occupied Palestine and Israel are calling on academic colleagues everywhere to support the United States Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI). The professors, … Continue reading “ST Members Return from Delegation to Palestine”
I was recently part of a fact-finding delegation to Palestine organized by the US Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. The delegation was composed of concerned academics and scholars based in the U.S., including myself. During our weeklong investigative trip, we were witness to multiple and varied testimonies to and clear evidence of the daily acts of violence, harassment and humiliation that Palestinians are subjected to, both massive and intimate. Individuals from several families living in Eastern Jerusalem told us their personal stories of being physically thrown out of their homes in the middle of the night, their houses pillaged and taken over by settlers (many of whom were only recently residents of the U.S.), their belongings strewn onto the streets only to be looted by morning, their children targeted to bear recurring nightmares of the punishing character of their eviction (being made to see, for example, the displayed burning of their dolls alongside that of their beds).
Arab Talk Host Jess Ghannam interviews Professor Nikhil Singh about his recent trip to Palestine sponsored by the USACBI.
I saw Miral, the new film by Julian Schnabel last week. It was opening in New York and Los Angeles, to great controversy, as it was advertised as giving us a Palestinian point of view. My ears perked up when I … Continue reading “Painfully Beautiful”