"The Pressure Should Be on the US and Israel to Recognize the PLO"

An Interview with Hilton Obenzinger

by Joel Beinin
published in MER146

Hilton Obenzinger is a member of the executive committee of the November 29 Committee for Palestine, and on the staff of their bimonthly, Palestine Focus. His book of poems, This Passover or the Next I Will Never Be in Jerusalem, was reviewed in our February 1982 issue. Joel Beinin interviewed him in San Francisco in February 1987.

Tell us about the kind of organizing work that you’ve been involved in with the November 29 Committee.

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"The US Must Start Negotiations with the PLO"

An Interview with Gail Pressberg

by Joe Stork
published in MER146

Gail Pressberg is the Middle East coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). Joe Stork spoke with her in Washington in late March 1987.

Where is the peace movement at now with regard to Middle East issues?

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"They Control the Hill, But We've Got a Lot of Positions Around the Hill"

An Interview with Jim Zogby

by Joe Stork
published in MER146

Jim Zogby is the director of the Arab American Institute in Washington. He was a founder of the Palestine Human Rights Campaign (PHRC) and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC). Joe Stork spoke with him on March 18, 1987.

How did you get engaged in Middle East organizing?

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From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER146

The fate of Palestine seems strangely linked to years ending in seven. Theodore Herzl’s new Zionist movement held its first congress in Basel in 1897. In November 1917, the Balfour Declaration tried to define the Palestinians into oblivion as the country’s “non-Jewish inhabitants.” In July 1937, the Peel Commission recommended, for the first time officially, partition of Palestine. In November 1947, the United Nations proclaimed partition as an international consensus. 1957 seemed to mark a reversal of Arab defeat, as this consensus compelled Israel, France and Britain to withdraw from Egypt and Sinai following the Suez aggression of late 1956.

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.

"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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International Human Rights Organizations and the Palestine Question

by Nabeel Abraham , Lisa Hajjar
published in MER150

Unlike the news media, human rights organizations have only limited contact with mass public opinion, but they constitute a primary source of information on human rights conditions around the world. They play a subtle, crucial role in shaping the opinions of political leaders, news commentators and other strata of articulate opinion. Their ability to influence political debate and issues can sometimes lead to startling results, as recently happened when 40 US senators voiced their concern over Indonesian atrocities in East Timor. [1] This achievement was all the more remarkable in that it occurred in the absence of popular outcry and media coverage.

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Organizing Around the Uprising

by Lisa Hajjar
published in MER155

The Palestinian uprising has put the Palestinian-Israeli conflict onto the agendas of progressive organizations nationwide. It has ignited a broad range of activities, including coalition-building, referendums, conferences and teach-ins, demonstrations, petitions, letter-writing campaigns, lobbying and sister-city projects.

This intensified activity has promoted a newfound unity and direction of purpose in some circles, but it has also highlighted the obstacles to changing official US policies and public opinion vis-a-vis the Palestine conflict. No coordinated national strategy has emerged, and the broad range of responses reflects both the increased need to take action and the persistent differences among individuals and groups organizing around the issue.

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Editor's Bookshelf

by Joel Beinin
published in MER152

The human dimensions of the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank and the social contradictions of Palestinian society under occupation are nowhere better portrayed than in Sahar Khalifeh’s novel Wild Thorns, translated from the Arabic by Trevor LeGassick and Elizabeth Fernea (London: Saqi, 1985). The plot revolves around the mission of Usama, a young Palestinian who returns to the West Bank after working in the Gulf to blow up the buses that carry tens of thousands of West Bankers to work in Israel every day.

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Young, Missed Opportunities for Peace

by Joe Stork
published in MER152

Ronald J. Young, Missed Opportunities for Peace (Philadelphia: American Friends Service Committee, 1987).

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