Josh Ruebner is the National Advocacy Director of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. He founded and directed Jews for Peace in Palestine and Israel, which merged with Jewish Voice for Peace. Ruebner was also a former Analyst in Middle East Affairs for the Congressional Research Service, a governmental agency providing members of Congress with policy analysis. He lives in Washington, DC.
On Friday 23rd December the UN passed a resolution demanding a stop to Israeli settlement in the occupied territories as, in a shock move, the US refused to veto the resolution. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exploded, calling it a 'declaration of war' (having recently been granted a $38 billion military aid package by the US), and Secretary of State John Kerry criticised Israel's approach to the peace process. But with Trump tweeting that Israel should 'stay strong' until his inauguration, progress still seems unlikely.
Verso presents a list of books from Israeli, Palestinian, and anti-imperialist authors, to explain the conflict and provide some perspectives on the future.
In eulogizing former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's recent death, Vice President Joe Biden declared the US's "'unflagging' committment to Israel", demonstrating once again how the Obama administration refuses to take serious steps toward Isreali-Palestinian justice.
When you decide to provide arms to a party with weapons, you've broken the laws of neutrality, and you've declared yourself to be on the side of the party you're arming. It's simply untrue and illogical to say that [the US is] an honest broker to this conflict when we're weaponizing Israel.
In recent months, Brooklyn College has been a site of heated debate surrounding freedom of speech and Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) organizing. The most recent controversy centers on Shattered Hopes author Josh Ruebner, whose recent talk at Brooklyn College on the US' failure to act as an honest broker in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks has been met with accusations of anti-Semitism and condoning terrorism. UC Santa Cruz professor Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, writing for the New York Daily News, described Ruebner—who is also the national advocacy director of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation—and author/activist Ben White, who also spoke at Brooklyn College last week, as "leaders in the BDS movement who both publicly advocate the elimination of the Jewish state and condone terrorism against Israel."
In response to Rossman-Benjamin's piece, Ruebner published a sharp takedown on Mondoweiss, in which he addressed the false equivalency of Palestine advocacy with condoning anti-Semitism and terrorism. Ruebner stated:
Israel is now demanding that Palestinians accept it as a “Jewish state” that continues to treat its own Palestinian citizens as second-class citizens at best, while privileging its Jewish citizens, and to deny Palestinian refugees their internationally-guaranteed right of return to the homes and lands they were ethnically cleansed from by Israel in 1948. These Israeli efforts to demographically engineer a Jewish majority and deny Palestinians full citizenship fly in the face of universal human rights standards and cannot form the basis for a truly just and lasting peace.