Interventions

Interventions is a feature in Middle East Report Online offering critical reviews of important Middle East-related books, films and other cultural production. Click here for past Interventions articles.

Do We Know Enough?

by Stephen R. Shalom | published February 2013

In January 2007, amid the furor over Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, former President Jimmy Carter made his first major public appearance about the book at Brandeis University, which defines itself as “the only non-sectarian Jewish-sponsored college or university” in the United States. He received a standing ovation, going on to say that he had chosen the word “apartheid” for his book’s title “knowing that it would be provocative” and to deliver a speech describing the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands as “cruel oppression.” Carter then departed, and Alan Dershowitz, author of The Case for Israel, rose to offer a response. Half the audience walked out. A year later, the Brandeis student senate voted not to congratulate Israel on its sixtieth anniversary.

Bahbah, Israel and Latin America

by Milton Jamail
published in MER150

Bishara Bahbah, Israel and Latin America: The Military Connection (New York: St. Martin’s Press with the Institute for Palestine Studies, 1986).

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Halsell, Prophecy and Politics

by Mary Neznek
published in MER150

Grace Halsell, Prophecy and Politics: Militant Evangelists on the Road to Nuclear War (Westport, CT: Lawrence Hill, 1986).

While there is nothing particularly new about Christian fascination with the Biblical “holy land,” Grace Halsell provides an important contemporary portrayal of the means by which this has been molded to enhance the political legitimacy of modern Israel. She documents the growth of a “cult of Israel” among the ranks of “born-again” Christians in the United States.

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Sinai for the Coffee Table

Birds, Bedouins and Desert Wanderlust

by Smadar Lavie
published in MER150

Dani Rabinowitz, Ru’ah Sinai (The Sinai Spirit) (Tel Aviv: Adam Publishers, 1987). [Hebrew]

Ever since Israel occupied the Sinai desert in 1967, that piece of earth has consistently made Israeli headlines. Its media presence was only enhanced after Camp David and Israel’s withdrawal in 1979 and 1982. The public’s insatiable interest in the Sinai is today reflected in copious newspaper articles, books both popular and scholarly, expensive coffee-table books, top 40 pop tunes and diverse television programs. Central to this preoccupation is the Israeli fascination with the Bedouins.

From Tel Aviv to LA

Israelis as New American Ethnics

by Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi
published in MER150

The Manhattan telephone directory, like that of any major American city, reflects the United States’ melting pot in action. Flipping through its pages and browsing through the names of a million individuals, one realizes quickly that some of them do not melt very readily. Comparing the directory of 20 years ago and that of today reveals certain changes in the origins of immigrant groups and their meltability. The 1987 Manhattan telephone directory is filled with traditional Jewish names, and there is nothing new about that. But Israeli names are not Jewish, and that is why they stick out in Manhattan and elsewhere in the United States.

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Hadassah Separates Hearts

by
published in MER150

The following article appeared in Kol Ha’ir on May 1, 1987:

As Hadassah Hospital prepares to begin performing heart transplants, it has decided to refrain from transplanting Jewish hearts into Arab bodies, and vice versa. This policy was revealed during a tour which Professor Shmuel Pinhas, the hospital’s director, arranged for members of the Jerusalem city council. Pinhas announced that “the hospital plans to begin carrying out heart transplants in the near future, but in order to avoid problems it will not carry out interethnic transplants.” It was explained that by “interethnic” he meant “between Jews and Arabs.”

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"The State Cannot Make Criminals Of Those Who Want Peace"

by Joel Beinin
published in MER150

Reuven Kaminer immigrated to Israel from the United States in the early 1950s and became a prominent figure in Shasi (Israeli Socialist Left). He was a member of the Israeli delegation that met with the PLO in Romania in November 1986. Israeli authorities brought Kaminer and three others to trial for violating a recent law that makes such meetings illegal. Joel Beinin interviewed him in Jerusalem in August 1987.

Where does the legal process of the trial of the four who went to Romania stand now?

The trial will continue at least until December. Nobody is in a hurry. We are not interested in permitting the prosecution to have a quick and easy trial. We want a detailed hearing of our position.

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From Land Day to Equality Day

by Joel Beinin
published in MER150

On June 24, 1987, the Palestinian Arab community of Israel conducted a successful countrywide general strike. The “Equality Day” strike was called by the National Committee of Arab Local Council Heads (NCALCH) to demand an end to all forms of racial discrimination against the nearly 700,000 Palestinian Arab citizens who constitute 17 percent of the population within Israel’s pre-1967 borders. As a result of its leadership of the strike, the NCALCH has emerged with enhanced authority as the representative of the entire Palestinian Arab community of Israel.

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Primer: Israel's Military Regime

by Lisa Hajjar
published in MER150

Since 1967 Israel has operated a military regime in the occupied territories of Gaza and the West Bank. In 1981 Israel set up a civilian administration as a separate branch of the military government. This further integrated these territories into Israel’s administrative and legal infrastructure.

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Arafat Goes to Strasbourg

by Diana Johnstone
published in MER155

Europe’s attitude could influence the decisions of the next Palestine National Council, Yasir Arafat told members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on September 14, 1988. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) chairperson urged Europeans to assume their share of “international responsibility” for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The prospect of European recognition of a Palestinian state and provisional government, he said, would powerfully support Palestinian moves to abandon armed struggle for diplomacy.

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