Tag Archives: Gaza

The Israeli Shift to the Right That Never Happened (By Shmuel Aiello)

21 Mar

The Israeli Shift to the Right That Never Happened

When the dust cleared on Tuesdays elections in Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud had seemingly pulled off a great upset- cornering 30 seats in the incoming Knesset, and first crack at forming the next Israeli government. Bibi will almost definitely be the Prime Minister for his fourth (and third consecutive) time. Israelis, analysts and journalists included, are consistently referring to this as a failure of the left, a victory by the right, and a near-coup by the Likud Party, which merely 24 hours earlier were expected to garner Knesset seats in the low 20s and fall behind the center-left Zionist Union. Internationally, the victory is being portrayed as a barometer of Israeli public opinion, with some considering this a sign that Israel doesn’t want peace with Palestinians[1], or that the electorate has shifted to the far right.[2]


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Why the Middle East Needs More ‘Arab Idol’ (By Hannah Loewentheil)

27 Jun

Why the Middle East Needs More ‘Arab Idol’

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Mohammed Assaf, winner of the American Idol spin-off, Arab Idol, returned home to a an ambivalent welcoming at the Refah terminal on June 25.

According to the Guardian, roads throughout Gaza and Ramallah were jam-packed through the night after the winner was announced on June 22. Assaf stole the Beirut-based competition over finalists Ahmed Jamal from Egypt and Farah Yousef from Syria.

Streets were flooded with fans celebrating “Palestine’s first superstar” and its “new place in the popular culture order.” In the midst of the celebration, the crowd could not ignore a looming sense of angst and unrest.

The original excitement and solidarity expressed by the Palestinians fizzled into controversy over the weekend. According to the New York Times, Islamic resistance movement, Hamas, was openly opposed to the reality TV series which it “deemed inappropriate because of its romantic songs and unveiled female singers and presenters in ornate, Western-style dresses.”

Religious leaders, such as Mohammed Salim, disapproved. According to the Guardian, Salim warned in a sermon that “voting for songs and immorality, evil and sin is not only forbidden, it is a crime against the cause of our people.”

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