From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER163

Events elsewhere in the world -- elections in Nicaragua, death squads in South Africa and recent decisions by the European Commission -- hold much instruction for people concerned with the Middle East. Elections, after all, are not the same as democracy. After ten years of US armed intervention and economic aggression, a majority of Nicaraguans voting on February 25 chose an alternative to 10,000 percent inflation, to pervasive shortages, to the killings and sabotage of the Contras. “Sandinistas Lose the Hunger Vote” was the accurate headline in the Financial Times. The winning opposition front was cobbled together and financed by the State Department.

Forbidden Territory, Promised Land

by Ammiel Alcalay
published in MER164

Ilan Halevi, A History of the Jews (trans. A. M. Berrett) (London: Zed Books, 1987).

Shlomo Swirski, Israel: The Oriental Majority (trans. Barbara Swirski) (London: Zed Books, 1989).

Ella Shohat, Israeli Cinema: East/West and the Politics of Representation (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1989).

A "Miracle" Made in Moscow and Washington

by Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi
published in MER164

If the intifada has been an Israeli nightmare, upsetting a reality with which most Israelis had grown comfortable, the immigration wave of Soviet Jews to Israel which began in December may turn into a “miracle” that will lift the morale of many Israelis for years to come. The Soviet immigration wave of the 1990s may have an impact like that of the 1930s, when 250,000 non-ideological, well-educated German Jews settled in Palestine and made the victory of Zionism in 1948 possible.

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Aspersion and Intrigue

by Joost Hiltermann
published in MER164

Question: What is more popular reading in the West Bank than the UNLU’s leaflets? Answer: Ze’ev Schiff and Ehud Ya’ari’s Intifada: The Palestinian Uprising -- Israel’s Third Front, now translated into Arabic and serialized in the daily al-Quds this spring.

Like the fake manifestos written by Israel’s intelligence service, the book, published in Hebrew in Israel and just out in English, has sown confusion and discord in the Occupied Territories. The authors, both Israeli journalists, rely heavily on interrogation files (referred to as “exclusive inside documents” on the inside cover flap) and tapped telephone conversations for their analysis of the popular uprising.

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Eyeless in Judea

Israel's Strategy of Collaborators and Forgeries

by Salim Tamari
published in MER164

One of the major problems confronting the Israeli security forces during the Palestinian uprising was the disintegration, by June 1988, of Israel’s system of penetration and control over the clandestine national movement. First, the apparatus of the military government received a considerable blow with the wholesale resignation of the local police force and tax collectors during the first months of the intifada; second, in March and April 1988, the popular upheaval compelled many collaborators to recant publicly and surrender their weapons. These developments contributed to the paralysis of two major Israeli instruments of control over the Palestinians: the institutional and the coercive.

The Intifada in Israel

Portents and Precarious Balance

by Stanley Cohen
published in MER164

Our visitors -- activists coming to express solidarity with the Palestinians, human rights workers documenting the latest atrocities, itinerant journalists doing the definitive intifada story -- sometimes see things clearer than we do. Here, in the eye of the storm, it is easy to be misled. The signs are confused, the omens change from week to week. For a moment, a mood of optimism sweeps through. Peace Now appears radicalized. More than half the population agrees with talking to the PLO. Masha Lubelsky (the secretary of Na‘amat, the establishment Histadrut women’s organization) pays a public visit to Faisal Husseini. A thousand new peace activists (not old lefties) sign up for a “peace bus” to Cairo to meet Arafat.

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The Money Tree

US Aid to Israel

by Martha Wenger
published in MER164

How much money flows from US taxpayers’ pockets into the Israeli treasury each year? Is it the $3 billion figure so often quoted in the press? And what is it used for?

When Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-IN) asked the State Department these questions, he learned that the total for fiscal year 1989 was actually $3,742,100,000 -- almost 25 percent more! [1]

US Aid to Israel

From Handshake to Embrace

by Martha Wenger
published in MER164

The US has provided over $50 billion in economic and military aid to Israel since 1949, more than to any other country. Israel has the highest GNP per capita of all US aid recipients ($6,810). In 1991 Israel will receive more US aid per capita ($686) than the total GNP per capita of many countries, including Egypt ($670), Morocco ($620), the Yemen Arab Republic ($590), Mauritania ($440), Sudan ($330) and Somalia ($280).

Total US Aid to Israel By Decades

Fiscal Year              $ Millions, Current       Percent Military

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.

The Left, the Jews and Defenders of Israel

by Joel Beinin | published August 2012

When Menachem Begin first visited the United States in December 1948, a host of Jewish notables including Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt, Irma Lindheim (former president of Hadassah), Seymour Melman (former president of the Student Zionist Federation) and the biblical scholar Harry Orlinsky wrote to the New York Times to issue a warning about the Herut (Freedom) Party that Begin led. Herut, they wrote, was “closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties. It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine.”

An All-Consuming Occupation

by Rebecca L. Stein | published June 26, 2012

On June 6, 2012, the Jerusalem Development Authority launched its fourth annual Jerusalem Festival of Light in the Old City. The previous year’s show had been a resounding success, according to sponsors quoted in the Jerusalem Post, with over 250,000 visitors enjoying “art installations bursting with light and 3-D movies splayed across the city’s ancient walls and buildings.” In 2011, the Muslim Quarter of the Old City was included within the festival’s purview for the first time, with Damascus Gate retooled as the backdrop for a massive video projection.