Institute for Middle East Understanding

Double standard on divestment

Today, two movements for the promotion of human rights in Sudan and Palestine seek to emulate the successful role played by boycotts, divestment and sanctions in achieving democracy and equality in South Africa. The two movements, however, have received radically different receptions on Capitol Hill. This double standard testifies to official Washington’s selectivity when it comes to promoting human rights around the globe and its tendency to overlook the faults of its allies while using human rights as a pretext to punish its adversaries. Josh Reubner comments. 

Film review: "USA vs Al-Arian"

In February 2003, the FBI raided the home of University of South Florida professor Sami Al-Arian. Arrested in front of his wife and children, Al-Arian was charged with 17 counts related to terrorism. Through an artfully edited array of talking heads, archival and news footage, court transcripts and family interviews director Line Halvorsen, in the documentary film USA vs Al-Arian, tells not just the story of Sami Al-Arian, but of plight of the Palestinians and of the erosion of civil liberties in the post-9/11 United States. 

Book review: "The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy"

The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy by professors John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt weighs in with 106 pages of endnotes. The controversial tome challenging the might of the pro-Israel lobby is nonetheless accused of “shoddy scholarship” — much as when the authors’ shorter paper on the subject in 2006 unexpectedly burst the bubble of a lobby unaccustomed to challenge and reprimand. However, EI contributor Michael F. Brown finds that the heavy-hitting academics did not suddenly lose their intellectual acumen in penning this well-reasoned criticism of the Israel lobby. 

Apartheid: Israelis adopt what South Africa dropped

Former President Jimmy Carter’s new book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” is igniting controversy for its allegation that Israel practices a form of apartheid. As a South African and former anti-apartheid advocate who visits the Palestinian territories regularly to assess the human rights situation for the U.N. Human Rights Council, the comparison to South African apartheid is of special interest to me. Apartheid was a system of institutionalized racial discrimination that the white minority in South Africa employed to maintain power over the black majority.