Back Blogs

Back on the agenda: Chemical gas attacks in Syria

Samira ShackleOn Friday 11th April, there was an attack on Kafr Zeita, a rebel-held village 125 miles north of the Syrian capital, Damascus. Agreement between the Syrian regime and the rebels is rare, but in this case, both sides say that it was a chemical gas attack, involving the use of chlorine. That's where the agreement ends. Each side has blamed the other; opposition leaders said the gas was dropped by a regime helicopter, while state-run television accused the Islamist group Al-Nusra front - the gas is widely available in the region and has been used by insurgents across the border in Iraq.

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Rhetoric of blame and recognition

Avigdor LiebermanWithin Zionist perspectives, essential components of "peace" are the urge to assign blame upon Palestinians and the tendency to wallow in the mild "condemnation" of the settler-colonial state by the international community. Having accomplished this sequence, peace is then constructed as "an Israeli need".

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Emerging Art: Libya's artistic re-birth

Adela Suliman

"People don't associate Libya with creativity," says Nessrin Gebreel, co-founder of Noon Arts. Many could be forgiven for agreeing with her, but following the 2011 revolution which ended Mu'ammar Gaddafi's 42-year dictatorship, Libya is continuing to undergo a huge surge of artistic expression.

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Israel and a Sports Boycott: Lessons from South Africa

Sports events celebrating physical culture and competition have long had underpinnings in political and social motives. From the ancient Greek Olympics and Gladiator tournaments in Rome  to the elitist polo fields and underground bare knuckle boxing rings of Victorian Britain. All realms have served to uphold a certain image of that society and its core values. With the dawn of international sports events within the last 150 years, there has been a new set of principles attached to the underlying political motives; one of ethnic, religious and political parity in an emerging global civil society. In order to engage in this civil society, the nation state must adhere to its rules of fair play and tolerance. This year Israel will be hosting the Under 21 Euro Championship. The decision of UEFA to award this to Israel comes 4 years after the state attempted to bomb the Gaza strip back to the Stone Age.  Despite the evaluation of this attack as tantamount for war crimes, Israel has side stepped international condemnation and has since attempted to flatten Gaza again, amidst the rapturous applause of mainstream Israeli political activists. Meanwhile illegal settlement activity in the West Bank develops in earnest and Arabs living in Israel experience growing trends of racism and discrimination. But what happens if a state like Israel attempts to use these international spectacles like the Euro Championship to portray a sanitised version of themselves, in turn whitewashing their policies of racism and warlike belligerence? The international sports boycott of South Africa provides the reader with an interesting insight into the tactics and methods which can be used.

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An Appeal to Parliamentarians Worldwide

ACTION ALERT:Haneen Zoubi

MK Haneen Zoubi (BALAD) faces death threats as the Israeli Knesset House Committee votes to revoke her Parliamentary privileges for participating in the Gaza-bound humanitarian aid Flotilla and protesting against the blockade.

An Appeal to Parliamentarians Worldwide

June 9, 2010

On June 7, 2010, the Knesset House Committee of the Israeli parliament voted by a majority of seven-to-one to recommend that the parliamentary privileges of MK Haneen Zoubi (NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC ASSEMBLY-BALAD) be revoked. In accordance with the committee's decision, MK Zoubi will be stripped of three rights usually enjoyed by members of the Israeli parliament. First, her diplomatic passport will be rescinded. Second, her privileges regarding travel abroad will be curtailed. Third, her legal costs incurred while in service will no longer be covered by the Knesset. Before taking effect, the revocation of these privileges must be approved by the Knesset plenum. A vote on these matters may take place as early as next week.

The House Committee decision followed several stormy days in the Knesset, during which MK Zoubi was accused by fellow parliamentarians of being a "terrorist" and a "traitor," and subjected to racist and sexist remarks so offensive and abusive, that some were ordered stricken from the public record. In light of this hateful atmosphere, it is likely that the Knesset plenum will approve the House Committee's recommendations.

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