Weekly News Round-Up 7/21/14-7/25/14: Don’t Get On An Airplane

It’s been a long, hard week. This blog has no official stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (apart from the disclaimer that this blog is Jewish in origin and recognizes Israel as a country while also recognizing Palestine as occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip), but the ongoing operation in Gaza is a human rights violation and a clear breach of international law. Regardless of Israel’s right to exist, war crimes are illegal on a global scale. That remains this blog’s stance. It is also of note that there is a place in between blind support and universal criticism. No government or organization is without flaws, and both Israel’s government and Hamas (a terrorist organization) have shown little to no compassion for either Israelis attempting to live their lives free of fear or terrified and traumatized Gazans who are trying to do the same while being brutally murdered by the hundreds. Neither leadership set deserves commendation. 

 

Undocumented immigrant families walk before being taken into custody by Border Patrol agents on July 21, near McAllen, Texas. Thousands of immigrants, many of them minors from Central America, have crossed illegally into the United States this year, causing an unprecentented humanitarian crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Undocumented immigrant families walk before being taken into custody by Border Patrol agents on July 21, near McAllen, Texas. Thousands of immigrants, many of them minors from Central America, have crossed illegally into the United States this year, causing an unprecentented humanitarian crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The girlfriend of Israeli soldier Tal Yifrah lies atop his grave during his funeral in Rishon Lezion near Tel Aviv on July 22. Israel has lost at least 32 soldiers in clashes with Gaza as the conflict enters its third week.
The girlfriend of Israeli soldier Tal Yifrah lies atop his grave during his funeral in Rishon Lezion near Tel Aviv on July 22. Israel has lost at least 32 soldiers in clashes with Gaza as the conflict enters its third week.
Palestinian medics treat a wounded girl at the emergency room of the Shifa hospital in Gaza City, early July 18. The heavy thud of tank shells, often just seconds apart, echoed across the Gaza Strip early Friday as thousands of Israeli soldiers launched a ground invasion.
Palestinian medics treat a wounded girl at the emergency room of the Shifa hospital in Gaza City, early July 18. The heavy thud of tank shells, often just seconds apart, echoed across the Gaza Strip early Friday as thousands of Israeli soldiers launched a ground invasion.
Palestinians mourn the death of their relatives, whom medics said were killed in Israeli shelling, at a hospital morgue in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on July 21. The Palestinian death toll in the conflict that began on July 8 reached over 750 on its 17th day.
Palestinians mourn the death of their relatives, whom medics said were killed in Israeli shelling, at a hospital morgue in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on July 21. The Palestinian death toll in the conflict that began on July 8 reached over 750 on its 17th day.

Assorted Stand-Outs:

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A conference call for papers: Anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim racisms and the question of Palestine/Israel

Interesting.

Refugee Archives @ UEL

A conference call for papers: Anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim racisms and the question of Palestine/Israel

*Please circulate widely*

A conference call for papers: Anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim racisms and the question of Palestine/Israel

This conference seeks to explore the multiple, complex and inter-related ways that anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim racisms are being constructed in relation to the question of Palestine/Israel. In particular it seeks to examine how the histories of Zionist settlement, anti-colonial and nation-building struggles and 20th century warfare in the Middle East region are being transformed in the current historical conjuncture. Of particular importance in this context will be ideological and political alliances that have emerged locally, regionally and globally around notions such as the ‘New Antisemitism’, ‘Islamophobia’ and how these relate to racialised discourses against Jews and Muslims. Drawing on the expertise of scholars and activists from a variety of backgrounds, the aim of the conference will be to serve…

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Weekly News Round-Up 7/14/14-7/20/14: A Sad Week

Tragic week on  global scale. Nearly 300 people died needlessly following violence in Ukrainian airspace and both Israel and Palestine will pay heavy price for the thoughtless and selfish actions of their leaders and extremists. Meanwhile thousands of children at the Texas border are being denied their human rights, millennials continue to take the flack for the irresponsibility of generations past, neither Congress nor the Obama Administration can be bothered to even attempt to perform the duties for which they are paid, and both AIDS and Ebola are killing far too many. But, a silver lining — pop culture may finally be opening its doors to better reflect the global population, and human rights activists across the world are commendable, as always. Have a safe and happy Friday, everyone. And a belated Happy Bastille Day to all my Frenchmen/women/people!

Fireworks explode around the Eiffel Tower during Bastille Day celebrations on July 14, 2014 in Paris. The French National Day commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution with the storming of the Bastille fortress and prison on July 14, 1789
Fireworks explode around the Eiffel Tower during Bastille Day celebrations on July 14, 2014 in Paris. The French National Day commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution with the storming of the Bastille fortress and prison on July 14, 1789
Pablo Zabaleta of Argentina walks past celebrating German players after the FIFA World Cup 2014 final between Germany and Argentina at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 13. Germany beat Argentina 1-0 on Sunday to win its fourth World Cup and first in 24 years.
Pablo Zabaleta of Argentina walks past celebrating German players after the FIFA World Cup 2014 final between Germany and Argentina at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 13. Germany beat Argentina 1-0 on Sunday to win its fourth World Cup and first in 24 years.
Wreckage from a Malaysia Airlines jet lies in a field near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine, on July 17. Flight 17 had 295 people on board when it crashed en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
Wreckage from a Malaysia Airlines jet lies in a field near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine, on July 17. Flight 17 had 295 people on board when it crashed en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
Six rockets are launched from Gaza City into Israel by militants with Hamas on July 13. Since July 8, Hamas has fired more than 1,300 rockets reaching Israel's economic and cultural heartland, while Israel has carried out nearly 2,000 airstrikes.  Israeli strikes have killed more than 230 Palestinians, Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Kidra said. According to officials, one Israeli has been killed and several wounded in rocket attacks.
Six rockets are launched from Gaza City into Israel by militants with Hamas on July 13. Since July 8, Hamas has fired more than 1,300 rockets reaching Israel’s economic and cultural heartland, while Israel has carried out nearly 2,000 airstrikes.
Israeli strikes have killed more than 230 Palestinians, Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Kidra said. According to officials, one Israeli has been killed and several wounded in rocket attacks.
A Palestinian man cries as he holds the dead body of his younger brother in the morgue of the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on July 16. His brother was one of four boys from the Bakr family killed in what appeared to be Israeli naval shelling near Gaza City as they played football on a beach.
A Palestinian man cries as he holds the dead body of his younger brother in the morgue of the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on July 16. His brother was one of four boys from the Bakr family killed in what appeared to be Israeli naval shelling near Gaza City as they played football on a beach.

Photography – NBC News

Assorted Stand-Outs:

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Israel has invaded Gaza

Tragic day. Israel has invaded Gaza, prevailing against the best efforts of the Knesset’s cooler heads. NYT has more information:

Israel began a ground invasion into the Gaza Strip on Thursday night, saying it would target tunnels that infiltrate its territory after cease-fire talks failed to de-escalate the air war that has raged for 10 days.

The military released a statement at 10:39 p.m. saying the goal of the operation was to “establish a reality in which Israeli residents can live in safety and security without continuous indiscriminate terror.”

Palestinians and journalists in Gaza reported heavy artillery fire from ground troops in the north and Israeli gunboats stationed near Gaza’s port as well as a continuing air assault. The strikes were aimed at a rehabilitation hospital and, earlier killed four young children as they played on a roof. At the same time, scores of rockets from Gaza continued to stream into cities all over central and southern Israel.

The war between the country and its occupied territory has escalated significantly this week. In another tragic moment, four boys were killed by an Israeli rocket while playing at a beach. Also from NYT:

The four dead boys came quickly to symbolize how the Israeli aerial assaults in Gaza are inevitably killing innocents in this crowded, impoverished sliver of land along the Mediterranean Sea. They stood out because they were inarguably blameless, children who simply wanted to play on their favorite beach, near the fishing port where their large extended family keeps its boats.

The killings also crystallized the conundrum for the 1.7 million Gazans trapped between Israel’s powerful military machine and the militants of Hamas and its affiliates, who fire rockets into Israel with little regard for how the response affects Gazans. Virtually imprisoned by the border controls of Israel and, increasingly, Egypt, most Gazans have nothing to do with the perennial conflict but cannot escape it

The Fragility of a Deteriorating Arabic?

Arabic Literature (in English)

Let’s set aside whether Arabic(s) is/are really deteriorating — or whether they’re in a process of change — and focus on novelist Iman Humaydan’s other arguments, about schooling, censorship, and how many students don’t believe that “their mother tongue is capable of reflecting their inner selves”:

_548896_i0Humaydan, an award-winning novelist whose beautiful novel Other Lives was recently published in translation by Michelle Hartman, recently taught a seminar in Arabic at the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program for teens, Between the Lines.

The Lebanese novelist told the Daily Star that, “The Arabic tongue is deteriorating, not only because of globalization and the mainstream English language, but because the educational system in the Arab World is connecting the language to social values that are no longer convenient for the youth.”

If we walk around the first argument — since it would take a great deal yet to really show…

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Beleaguered gay Indian women start new support group

GAY ASIA NEWS

A crowd of women in IndiaIndia: Gay women in have started a new network to support the LGBT community in marginalized northeastern India.

A group of young women July 12 announced the formation of ‘Sukia’ in northeastern Indian state of Assam, according to timesofindia.indiatimes.com adding that this is the state’s first collective organization working to support the region’s LGBT community.

The group is organizing a three-day national event in the state capital of Guwahati August 8-10 next to create awareness about the rights of same-sex relations in India.

“We want to reach out to the people at the grass root level. There is too much social stigma attached to homosexuality, and gay people fear to disclose them due to this,” Meenakshi Bujorbaruah, one of the founders of Sukia told timesofindia.indiatimes.com.

In February, the young women, along with some volunteers, had organized the first gay pride parade in northeastern India.

The northeastern region, bordering Bangladesh, Bhutan…

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Top ten posts on Progressive Geographies last week

Weekly News Round-Up 7/7/14-7/11/14: No Human Being Is Illegal & Spies Will Spy

Happy return from a long weekend, Americans! (Non-Americans, this blog hopes your weekend was lovely as well.) Highlights of the week: Everyone’s picking on Hillary who mostly just wants to talk Piketty, ISIS has moved in to stay, this blog’s home state of Texas is struggling under the weight of thousands of undocumented and unrepresented children, Americans are giving up on America, Germany is so over America, and China’s been hacking America. Meanwhile Israel and Palestine are about to kill each other. By which this blog means, Hamas did a bad and Israel’s about to obliterate a stateless nation over it. (This blog has no stance on the issue but is pro-peace and anti-bullsh**.) Cheers.(Endorsed: Ha’aretz’s cautionary editorial.)

 

nbcnews / Muslim youths pray atop motorcycle taxis during the fasting month of Ramadan in front of Al-Satie Mosque in Baseco, Tondo city, Philippines, on July 4.
nbcnews / Muslim youths pray atop motorcycle taxis during the fasting month of Ramadan in front of Al-Satie Mosque in Baseco, Tondo city, Philippines, on July 4.
nbcnews / Fernandinho of Brazil reacts after a goal was scored by Toni Kroos of Germany during the FIFA World Cup 2014 semi final match between Brazil and Germany at the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on July 8.  Host country Brazil’s dreams were cut short by a shocking 7-1 defeat at the hands of Germany on Tuesday.
nbcnews / Fernandinho of Brazil reacts after a goal was scored by Toni Kroos of Germany during the FIFA World Cup 2014 semi final match between Brazil and Germany at the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on July 8.
Host country Brazil’s dreams were cut short by a shocking 7-1 defeat at the hands of Germany on Tuesday.
nbcnews / Israeli missiles hit smuggling tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, on July 9. The Israeli army on Wednesday intensified its offensive on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, striking Hamas sites and killing more than a dozen of people on the second day of a military operation it says is aimed at quenching rocket fire against Israel.
nbcnews / Israeli missiles hit smuggling tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, on July 9. The Israeli army on Wednesday intensified its offensive on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, striking Hamas sites and killing more than a dozen of people on the second day of a military operation it says is aimed at quenching rocket fire against Israel.

Assorted Stand-Outs:

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Can there be an ethical Middle East political science?

In an interesting article on a topic this blog grapples with day in and day out, WaPo examines the conundrum facing researchers and thinkers who deal with the Middle East conceptually on a regular basis. The result is interesting food for thought. An excerpt is below, and those interested should read the full article:

What are the ethical obligations of an academic studying today’s Middle East? Have the Arab uprisings changed how scholars must weigh ethical and moral concerns in their research? How should academics incorporate their ethical commitments into their social scientific research agendas or policy advice? How should they respond when faced with severe moral atrocities such as the human costs of the war in Syria? Is there an obligation to take sides?

These are not the usual questions that are supposed to occupy the professional life of political scientists, who spend more time contemplating research design, replicability and statistical significance. But of course, they do. Ethical decisions underlie virtually everything we do. The challenge ofincorporating ethics into academic political science was a major theme of this May’s annual conference of the Project on Middle East Political Science. The thoughts of 10 first-rate scholars on the subject have now been published as a symposium in the POMEPS Studies series (available for free download here).

It’s easy to see why many academics would prefer to avoid engaging with ethics. It isn’t just the ethos of dispassionate science which pervades today’s political science, although that certainly does create professional disincentives. A lot of what passes as “ethical” discourse in the foreign policy debate, and especially about the Middle East, is more like political grandstanding or glorified identity politics. The first 73,000 op-eds and political speeches thundering on about moral clarity are enough to turn anyone off of the language of morality. So is the all-too-frequent tendency to use ethical language as thinly veiled identity politics, in which one side is right and the other side is evil, and all who disagree must be shamed and condemned. Many political scientists are simply turned off by the misuse and abuse of the language of morality in public discourse.

The popular misuse of ethical language doesn’t allow us to turn away from the ethical questions, though. Virtually everything which political scientists study, from Islamist politics to democracy promotion to interventions in Iraq or Syria to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is deeply saturated with ethical dilemmas and moral commitments. As Jillian Schwedler notes, “It is hard to find an issue related to the Middle East or Islamic world that isn’t saturated in tense debates about what’s ‘wrong’ with the region, how to ‘fix’ it, and indeed what the world ‘should’ look like. We cannot avoid engaging these normative claims even while we reproduce the (false) veneer of scientific objectivity.” Faced with those ethical underpinnings, Wendy Pearlman poses the question bluntly: “Is our overriding goal is to make a contribution to an academic discipline rather than to do good in the world?” When, she wonders, “is it ethically appropriate or inappropriate to take an open political stand, or cross the line from scholarship to advocacy?”

Weekly News Round-Up 6/30/14-7/3/13: SCOTUS Drama & The Caliphate In Iraq And Syria

Short week, everyone, since this blog is out of town for the 4th of July weekend. A happy holiday to all my Americans (and a happy Canada Day to all my Canadians on July 1st)! And a wonderful Ramadan to all observing! (Related to tomorrow: The 4th of July – Made in China? | Fun July 4th facts.) This has also been a hard week for many people near and dear – a sincere and heartfelt prayer to all affected on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This blog remains pro-peace and strongly opposed to the killing of innocent people, especially children, regardless of who they are or where they come from. L’chaim. 

 

People gathered in Tel Aviv's main square to mourn the death of the Israeli boys. Photograph: Pacific Press/Barcroft India
People gathered in Tel Aviv’s main square to mourn the death of the Israeli boys. Photograph: Pacific Press/Barcroft India
A young boy stands amid the rubble of the burned out home of Marwan Qawasmeh in Hebron, after the house was blown up by the Israeli army. Qawasmeh, a Palestinian member of the Islamist group Hamas, was named by Israel as one of the two prime suspects in the murder of three kidnapped Israeli teenagers. Photograph: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images
A young boy stands amid the rubble of the burned out home of Marwan Qawasmeh in Hebron, after the house was blown up by the Israeli army. Qawasmeh, a Palestinian member of the Islamist group Hamas, was named by Israel as one of the two prime suspects in the murder of three kidnapped Israeli teenagers. Photograph: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images
Palestinians carry the body of Yosuf Abu Zaghah, 20, who was killed by Israeli troops in the West Bank refugee camp of Jenin. Abu Zaghah, a Palestinian from the militant group Hamas, was apparently shot dead when he threw a grenade at forces carrying out a raid in the West Bank. Photograph: Mohammed Ballas/AP
Palestinians carry the body of Yosuf Abu Zaghah, 20, who was killed by Israeli troops in the West Bank refugee camp of Jenin. Abu Zaghah, a Palestinian from the militant group Hamas, was apparently shot dead when he threw a grenade at forces carrying out a raid in the West Bank. Photograph: Mohammed Ballas/AP
An Israeli helicopter carries the bodies of the three Israeli teenagers over Halhul, Hebron. Photograph: APAimages/Rex Features
An Israeli helicopter carries the bodies of the three Israeli teenagers over Halhul, Hebron. Photograph: APAimages/Rex Features

Assorted Stand-Outs:

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