Our Vigil Ends


This week, Noura Erakat and I have held a virtual vigil at the Verso Books blog to commemorate the 2014 Israeli bombing of Gaza and the ongoing occupation of Palestinian lands. We tried to highlight various aspects of the occupation and war – themes that have occupied us for many years, and that form the central axis of Letters to Palestine, which I edited and to which Noura contributed. Our vigil now ends.

You can read all of our posts here

Several people have written in to ask how best to keep informed about Palestine. I’d like to highlight four important institutions that continue to bring information about Palestine to the world:


(1) The Institute of Middle East Understanding (IMEU), at imeu.org. IMEU is ten years old. It was founded, as it puts it, “to foster an increased understanding among Americans about Palestine and the Palestinians.”

(2) Ma’an News Agency, at maannews.com, founded in 2005 as well provides up to date information from Palestine. I’m there at least once a day. This is the story I saw today, “Right-wing Jews attack Palestinian vehicles in Jerusalem, injure woman,” 

(3)  Electronic Intifada, at electronicintifada.net, was founded in 2001 to bring pro-Palestinian voices into the mainstream media. The energy displayed by its writers and their honesty has made it a popular window into the lives and struggles of Palestinians. In Letters to Palestine, we have a wonderful essay from EI editor Nora Barrows-Friedman; it is an edited extract from her book In Our Power: US Students Organize for Justice in Palestine. On the front page of EI today is Max Blumenthal’s remarkable “A Window to Hell in Gaza,” an excerpt from his fantastic book, The 51 Days: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza. 

(4)   Mondoweiss, at mondoweiss.net, is a crucial stop to understand the range of political debates around Israel and Palestine. On their homepage today, they have an excellent interview on BDS with Omar Barghouti.

(5) Jadaliyya, provides a unique source of insight and critical analysis that combines local knowledge, scholarship, and advocacy with an eye to audiences in the United States, the Middle East and beyond. The site currently publishes posts both in Arabic, French, English, and Turkish. This is all the more relevant with the recent launch of their first dedicated Palestine page.  

There are also the fabulous books published by Verso – all of which, particularly the writings of Palestinian intellectuals, can be found on their website. One of them, Return by Ghada Karmi is to be especially recommended. It is a jewel, a singularly precise book that finds the “spectrum of despair” across the “encaged, tormented place.” Karmi’s tone is defiant. There is no surrender here. It is itself a vigil.