Saree Makdisi

Don't deny our rights: open letter to Mahmoud Abbas

No Palestinian institution or leader has ever accepted an exclusive Jewish claim to Palestine, which is irreconcilable with the internationally recognized rights of the Palestinian people. Our rights inhere in us as a people; they are not yours to do with as you please. 

Time to re-engage with people power

Bereft of any credible or legitimate leadership, the Palestinian people will have to look to themselves to continue their struggle for freedom, justice and equality. Indeed, their struggle has been at its best, for example, during the first intifada of the 1980s, when the official leadership — at the time in exile in Tunis — was actually least involved in it. Saree Makdisi comments for The Electronic Intifada. 

"By choice they made themselves immune"

Israel’s disregard for Palestinian life in Gaza today is, in short, a direct extension of its disregard for Palestinian life since 1948, and what is happening in Gaza today is the continuation of what happened six decades ago. Eighty percent of the people crammed into Gaza’s hovels and shanties are refugees or the descendants of refugees that armed Zionist gangs, which eventually coalesced into the infant Israeli army, terrorized from their homes elsewhere in southwestern Palestine in 1948. Saree Makdisi comments for EI

Occupation by bureaucracy

A ceasefire went into effect in Gaza last week, offering some respite from the violence that has killed hundreds of Palestinians and five Israelis in recent months. It will do nothing, however, to address the underlying cause of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Intermittent spectacular violence may draw the world’s attention to the occupied Palestinian territories, but our obsession with violence actually distracts us from the real nature of Israel’s occupation, which is its smothering bureaucratic control of everyday Palestinian life. Saree Makdisi comments. 

Forget the two-state solution

There is no longer a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Forget the endless arguments about who offered what and who spurned whom and whether the Oslo peace process died when Yasser Arafat walked away from the bargaining table or whether it was Ariel Sharon’s stroll through the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem that did it in. Saree Makdisi comments. 

Starving Gaza

Working together, Hamas and the people of Gaza have forced Egypt’s hand and made much more visible than ever before the role it had been playing all along in the Israeli occupation and strangulation of Gaza; now that its role in assisting Israel has been revealed, it will be difficult for Egypt to go back to the status quo. Gazans have thrown Israel’s plans into disarray, because Israel’s leaders could do little more than watch with pursed lips as the people of Gaza burst out of their prison. Saree Makdisi comments. 

Academic freedom at risk on campus

“Academic colleagues, get used to it,” warned the pro-Israel activist Martin Kramer in March 2004. “Yes, you are being watched. Those obscure articles in campus newspapers are now available on the Internet, and they will be harvested. Your syllabi, which you’ve also posted, will be scrutinized. Your Web sites will be visited late at night.” Kramer’s warning inaugurated an attack on intellectual freedom in the US that has grown more aggressive in recent months. Saree Makdisi comments. 

For a Secular Democratic State

For, having unified all of what used to be Palestine (albeit into one profoundly divided space) without having overcome the Palestinian people’s will to resist, Zionism has run its course. And in so doing, it has terminated any possibility of a two-state solution. There remains but one possibility for peace with justice: truth, reconciliation — and a single democratic and secular state, a state in which there will be no “natives” and “settlers” and all will be equal; a state for all its citizens irrespective of their religious affiliation. Saree Makdisi comments. 

Lieberman: Vocalizing Israel's Apartheid Reality

Former President Jimmy Carter’s new book, which slaps the “apartheid” label on Israel, comes out this week. Before the book hit the stands though, members of his own party rushed to distance themselves from his allegations. While the label makes supporters of Israel uncomfortable, there is ample evidence that Israel practices institutionalized discrimination against its non-Jewish citizens. Israel, in fact, goes further than South Africa. While whites in South Africa sought to control non-whites, Israel has since its establishment pursued various means of getting rid of its non-Jewish population altogether. 

Building an edifice on blackmail

Richard Rogers, the noted British architect, was recently summoned to the offices of the Empire State Development Corp. to explain his connection to a group called Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine which has called for a boycott of Israel’s construction industry to protest the apartheid wall. Empire State is overseeing the redesign of New York’s $1.7-billion Javits Convention Center, and Rogers is the architect on the job. EI contributor Saree Makdisi explains how pro-Israel groups, enraged at Rogers’ association with the architects’ group used their political clout to force Rogers into obsequious professions of loyalty to Israel.