Film Screening: The Occupation of the American Mind

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The widespread controversy surrounding US congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s criticism of the influence of the lobby-group American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on policy-makers in the United States has sparked a big debate in the U.S.

In light of these events, FFIPP Netherlands is hosting a screening of the film “The Occupation of the American Mind” in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Narrated by Roger Waters and featuring leading observers of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, the film explores how the Israeli government, the US government, and the pro-Israel lobby have joined forces, often with very different motives and interests, to shape American media coverage of the conflict in Israel’s favor.

After the film, we invite attendees to engage in discussions about the film and the controversy surrounding it.

Date: Wednesday, April 17th

Time: 19.00 (Film duration: 1h 25 min)

Location: Cinema of the Dam’d (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Tickets : €5

Free for students !

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Panel Discussion: “Democracy under threat in Israel”

Last Wednesday, FFIPP NL teamed up with gate48 to organize a panel discussion about Israel’s recently adopted ”nation-state” law, the theeat it poses to democracy in Israel and the prospects for a just solution in Israel/Palestine.

Thank you to speakers Dr. Afif Safieh, Dr. Yeela Livnat Raanan and Dr. Afo Agbaria and to all the attendees for an interesting evening!

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Panel Discussion: “Democracy under threat in Israel”

November 7th, 2018 / 20.00 – 22.30 / CREA

 

Dutch description of the event can be found below.
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Israel’s recent ‘Jewish nation-state law’: the threat it poses to democracy in Israel and the prospects of a just solution in Israel Palestine.

Speakers:
Dr. Afeef Safye, former Ambassador of Palestine in The Hague, Washington DC, London and Moscow
Dr. Yeela Livnat Raanan, University Lecturer in Sapir college. and activist.
Dr. Afo Agbaria, former member of the Knesset (Israeli parliament) and chairman of Hadash (Arab-Jewish political party)

In July 2018 the Israeli parliament passed the ‘Jewish nation-state law’ (with a tight majority of 62 for and 55 against). This Basic Law enshrines Israel, for the first time, as “the national home of the Jewish people”. It also declares that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and sets Hebrew as its official language. In other words, the law confirms that only Jews have the right of self-determination in Israel, and ignores the rights of non-Jews, especially the 20% Palestinian native population.

The law was and is heavily criticized both in Israel and abroad. Its criticizers include Israeli President and former Likud member, Reuven Rivlin; head of the Israeli Arab Joint List, Ayman Odeh; office of EU foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini, and the president of the Union for Reform Judaism, which represents the largest Jewish denomination in the US.

During this event, the speakers will discuss the influence of this law on Israeli democracy at large and more specifically on the effects on minority groups in Israeli society. We will also discuss whether and how this new anti-democratic legislation threats the prospect of just solution in Israel Palestine.

The discussion will be in English. Tickets: €5. Free entrance for students.

The discussion is organized by gate48 – critical Israelis in the Netherlands and FFIPP NL- Educational network for human rights in Palestine/Israel.

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Israëls recente ‘Joodse natie-staatwet’: de dreiging die het vormt voor de democratie in Israël en de vooruitzichten op een rechtvaardige oplossing in Israël Palestina.

Sprekers:
Dr. Afeef Safye, voormalig ambassadeur van Palestina in Den Haag, Washington DC, Londen en Moskou
Dr. Yeela Livnat Raanan, Universitair Docent aan het Sapir-college en activist.
Dr. Afo Agbaria, voormalig lid van de Knesset (Israëlische parlement) en huidig voorzitter van Hadash (Arabisch-Joodse politieke partij)

In juli 2018 keurde het Israëlische parlement de ‘Joodse natie-staatwet’ goed (met een krappe meerderheid van 62 tegen 55). Deze basiswet verankert Israël, voor de eerste keer, als “het nationale huis van het Joodse volk”. Het stelt ook dat Jeruzalem de hoofdstad van Israël is en maakt het Hebreeuws tot haar officiële taal. Met andere woorden, de wet bevestigt dat alleen Joden in Israël recht op zelfbeschikking hebben en negeert de rechten van niet-Joden, vooral de 20% Palestijnse inheemse bevolking.

De wet werd en wordt zwaar bekritiseerd, zowel in Israël als in het buitenland. De critici zijn onder meer de Israëlische president en voormalig lid van Likud, Reuven Rivlin; hoofd van de Israëlische Arabische gemeenschappelijke lijst, Ayman Odeh; het kantoor van de hoge vertegenwoordiger voor Buitenlandse Zaken en Veiligheidsbeleid van de EU, Federica Mogherini, en de voorzitter van de Union for Reform Judaism, die de grootste joodse denominatie in de VS vertegenwoordigt.

Tijdens deze avond zullen de sprekers de invloed van deze wet op de Israëlische democratie in het algemeen bespreken en meer specifiek de effecten ervan op minderheidsgroepen in de Israëlische samenleving. Ook zal besproken worden of en hoe deze nieuwe antidemocratische wetgeving het vooruitzicht op een rechtvaardige oplossing in Israël Palestina bedreigt.

De discussie zal in het Engels zijn. Entree: €5. Studenten gratis toegang.

De discussie wordt georganiseerd door gate48 – kritische Israëliërs in Nederland en FFIPP NL – Educatief netwerk voor mensenrechten in Palestina/Israël.

Speaking Event with Ali Abunimah and Eitan Bronstein

On October 3rd, we were joined by Ali Abunimah and Eitan Bronstein at The Global Lounge in Nijmegen.

It was an evening filled with interesting and engaging discussions about various issues regarding Israel/Palestine such as the newly adopted “Nation-State” law.

For those of you interested in learning about Ali and Eitan and their work, please visit The Electronic Intifada (https://electronicintifada.net) and De-Colonizer (https://www.de-colonizer.org).

Thank you to the speakers and to all of the attendees for a great evening!

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First Day Back: Palestinian Student Life Under Occupation.

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The first weeks in September welcomes the beginning of semester for students around the world. After your summer vacation, you may be wondering whether the sacrifices you make to go to university- waking up early, attending boring lectures, missing out on chilling with your friends- is all really that worth it (especially with ever-rising tuition fees, and a more competitive labor market).

Last year I travelled to the West Bank. After just over a month of living and doing an internship at Alternative Tourism Group, I attended the first ever University Level International Model United Nations Conference in Palestine. Students from Al-Quds University (University of Jerusalem) got together students from around the world to discuss the big questions facing the international community. On the morning of the second day of some of the most engaging MUN sessions I have ever experienced, much of our committee was late. After about 15 minutes, the international and local delegates, all dressed in their finest formal attire, bundles into committee session. Their eyes were bloodshot and streaming, they were gasping for breath, and all, evidently traumatized by the experience, were fraught with shock.

What I late5726575_origr learnt was that some IDF soldiers had blocked our committee from entering Al-Quds university campus, before firing tear gas on them. It was only then that I began to notice many things across the campus which I had ignored since then. The most visually and intellectually oppressive is the partition wall. A a 5-meter cement python, obstinately constricting all students and professors at Al-Quds campus in Abu Dies. If the horizon oppresses, then look to the sky for the freedom. Not for at this university, where students are under 24-hour supervision by an Israeli surveillance blimp that resembles an aerial panopticon. All this just within the university campus.

Another time, travelling to from Bethlehem to Hebron University, got talking to a group of 4 female students all heading to their morning lectures. As we cruised along in our shared taxi, we passed illegal Israeli settlements, and local Palestinian communities successively.  The former were almost always guarded by a dozen or so IDF soldiers, and the latter signaled by huge red signs propagating the misinformation that the local Palestinians are dangerous. I asked thee young lady I was sitting next to (who was just beginning her final year in chemistry) how long it takes to travel to university every day- a journey of no more than 25 km. At best, it takes around 45 minutes, but can last hours, depending on whether the IDF decide to put up a temporary checkpoint. As Foucault famously argued, it is not the continued physical presence of brute force that is oppresses, but the ever present possibility of one’s day-to-day life being disrupted by unexpected acts of force.

Another way the occupation affects students is the difficulty maintaining upholding attendance rate. Checkpoints are the least of worries. You could lose sleep on nights where IDF soldiers are combing the town making arrests. You could be arrested, and tossed between Israeli and Palestinian prisons for merely affiliating with a political party or expressing your political opinions. Psychologically, the trauma school are children exposed through recurrent acts of oppression, fear, and violence, is often permanent. Last year we visited a summer school in Jenin refugee camp. Despite us being welcomed with such joyous acts as 30 students singing and clapping in unison, teachers informed us that many students have behavioral issues, and are debilitatingly fearful of loud noises. Their grades may deteriorate and their behavior, relationships, and world view are forever changed. Soldiers may also publicly beat rude students on the way to school or university in order to dominate, humiliate, and scare them out of the country. The secret services often try to recruit school and university students, using them as spies for any perceived political activities in the area. They are lured with things like money, sex, or threats not to let their parents get a permit to pray in Jerusalem. They use the spies for a while, but resort to extortion and expose them if they do not bring enough information.

Educational traveling opportunities are more expensive and tiresome. If they want to travel abroad, Palestinians living in the West Bank must enter Jordan across the Allenby Bridge. Many young men are held up for hours being interrogated by the secret services about their political views and activities. This deters students from physically participating in international events.

Not many people know that there are even universities in the West Bank. Why would people worry about educating themselves in a war zone? Surely there are more important things to worry about that studying some academic subject in such a situation. In fact, Palestinians place great value on education, not only for their intellectual and spiritual development, but also to resist the occupation. Palestine in fact has some of the highest rates of education in the entire region. With a diaspora estimated at around 6 million, many Palestinians regard education as an internationally-recognized asset. During my time in Beit Sahour, a small town on the outskirts of Bethlehem, many people I met had lived abroad, and had highly-educated family relations across the world. Although going into diaspora had been forced upon them 60 years ago, Palestinians still value education as a means to make the most out of this situation.

Why should we care about the lives of students in the West Bank? First, appreciation. In Europe, especially with the increasing financial burden placed on students, going to university may seem burdensome. Reflecting on Palestinian student life shows how strongly the empowering potential of higher education can overcome the obstacles the occupation has on West Bank students.  Second, solidarity. Students have an incredible power to unite across disciplines, social groups, and international borders. An increased understanding of the struggles experienced by Palestinian students, and their achievements despite these struggles is one of the strongest ways to seek justice for over 60 years of occupation. Student solidarity means reaching out to Palestinian student bodies and universities when organizing conferences.  Having Palestinian student delegations at events such as the Jessup international Moot Court Competition, or international MUN conferences means recognizing the equality of Palestinian students with all other students around the world.

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