Open Hillel

A New Campus Politics on Israel

by Mimi Kirk
published in MER280

Lodge 5 at Swarthmore College is a dignified building in gray stone, the aesthetic match of much of the rest of the bucolic campus located 20 miles outside Philadelphia. The structure houses three floors supporting Jewish student life: a kosher kitchen, a lounge and a library whose walls are heavy with such texts as the Talmud and Midrash. It is the natural place for Kehilah, Swarthmore’s Jewish student group, to meet in order to plan events and attend to other business.

From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER280

The surprise election of Donald Trump as president of the United States has already had a dramatic and troubling impact on the domestic politics and foreign policy of the US, and it is sure to affect international relations around the world. Trump is the very caricature of the most negative aspects of the US at its worst—celebrity culture, xenophobia, bigotry, sexism, greed, arrogance and ignorance. Certainly, his corruption, his erratic personal behavior and his seemingly cozy relations with the alt-right and Russian President Vladimir Putin have combined to create an unprecedented situation in the White House. It would be a mistake, however, to focus solely on Trump himself. Doing so risks reducing real and alarming agendas to a personality-driven phenomenon.

Repression and Remembering in Kent and Cairo

by Joshua Stacher | published May 5, 2015 - 3:59pm

Yesterday was the forty-fifth anniversary of the day when Ohio National Guardsmen fired 67 rounds of live ammunition into a crowd of peaceful protesters at Kent State University. The crime took 13 seconds. The tragedy endures.

As usual, the campus I call home closed for half of Remembrance Day. Many separate remembrances take place each May 4, as well as in the days leading up to it. Student organizations, such as the May 4 Task Force, remain vigilant and active even if the student body’s politics have quieted and atomized since 1970.

From the Editors

published in MER117

”We oppose the militarization of internal conflicts, often abetted and even encouraged by massive US arms exports, in areas of the world such as the Middle East and Central America, while their basic human problems are neglected.” Most people, we believe, would readily support such a straightforward declaration—one sentence from the official “call” for the August 27 march in Washington for “Jobs, Peace and Freedom.” It identifies, with commendable simplicity, a US policy responsible for unspeakable suffering for people unfortunate enough to dwell in these lands so prized by the captains of industry and stewards of state.

Not Running on Empty: Democratic Activism Against Israeli Gas in Jordan

by Curtis Ryan | published April 16, 2015 - 8:24am

A grassroots movement has been growing in Jordan, aimed at putting a stop to a major gas deal between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom. In the wake of the Israeli elections, which returned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to power, this movement can be expected to get larger still.

Israel's Invasion and the Disarmament Movement

by Noam Chomsky
published in MER108

On June 12, 1982, over half a million people demonstrated in New York, calling for a halt to the nuclear arms race. The demonstration was unusual in its size, and even more so in the favorable media coverage it received. About the same time, a few thousand people in scattered cities throughout the country actively protested the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the barely disguised US government support for it. A strong case can be made that the latter actions constituted the more direct and appropriate response to the very real danger of nuclear war.

The Israeli Opposition

by Zachary Lockman
published in MER108

As the Israeli invasion of Lebanon enters its third month, the polarization of the Israeli public continues. People there have become increasingly aware of the terrible destruction being wrought on the Lebanese and Palestinian peoples by their military machine. More important for most citizens, concern has spread over the heavy casualties that are certain if the Israeli army seeks to conquer West Beirut.

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The Battle of Egyptian Football Fans Against Dullness

by Dalia Abd El-Hameed | published December 3, 2014 - 2:56pm

Ultras, or organized groups of football fans, represented an influential faction of the Egyptian revolutionary multitude in 2011. The ultras’ long experience of street fights with police at stadiums aided the revolutionaries in achieving many victories over riot cops in the early days of the January 25 uprising and subsequently. And the ultras’ combat prowess was not their only contribution to the uprising. More important was the carnivalesque character of their resistance, which transformed the protest scene into something more colorful, vital, choreographed and performative.

Ferguson to Palestine

by Steve Tamari | published December 1, 2014 - 9:34am

The world’s attention again shines on Ferguson, MO, where Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American 18-year old was shot by white police officer Darren Wilson on August 9, 2014. This time, the occasion is the grand jury’s failure to indict the officer. There will be no trial. There will be no opportunity for Brown’s family to defend their son’s reputation and see justice served.

Women's Rights Activists Between State Violence and Intervention

by Parastou Hassouri | published November 25, 2014 - 4:34pm

The November 15 attack on an armored car transporting Shukria Barakzai, a women’s rights activist and parliamentarian in Afghanistan, shook me to the core. The attack, which Barakzai survived but three passersby did not, took place shortly after my return from a women’s rights meeting in Turkey. Several Afghan activists were in attendance, and they face similar risks each day. As I read the news, I thought, “It could have been any one of them.”