Here’s what else we’re tracking:
-On September 6th, six Palestinians escaped Israel’s Gilboa Prison—setting off an Israeli manhunt, retaliation against the prisoners’ families, and a crackdown on Palestinians in jail, which in turn led to some Palestinians setting fire to their cells. Five days later, Israeli forces recaptured four of the prisoners, but two remain free. As Israeli troops continue their search, over 1,000 prisoners have declared they will start a hunger strike to protest Israeli prison authorities’ attempts to tamp down unrest from imprisoned Palestinians. For more on this story, I recommend reading Israeli reporter Amira Hass’ West Bank dispatches in Haaretz, these tweets from Palestinian writer Mohammed El-Kurd, this Twitter thread from Palestinian activist Fadi Quran, and this analysis from Palestinian writer Steven Salaita. +972 Magazine’s dispatch from Jenin—the hometown of Zakaria Zubeidi, the most high-profile escapee—is also worth reading.
-Last month, Israel advocates launched a campaign targeting Kylie Broderick, a PhD student at the University of North Carolina who is teaching a class on Israel/Palestine. Broderick is under attack for tweets critical of Zionists and for supporting a boycott of Israel. The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) sent a letter to UNC reminding the school of its obligation to combat antisemitism under a 2020 agreement with the Department of Education—a settlement made necessary by a civil rights complaint that a conference on Gaza at the school, which featured a joke by famed Palestinian rapper Tamer Nafer that he was about to sing an “antisemitic song,” constituted discrimination against Jewish students. For now, UNC appears to be taking a hands-off approach to the controversy, demurring from the ZOA’s request to remove Broderick from teaching the class. For more on the battle over how scholars teach Israel-Palestine at UNC, check out Jewish Currents Assistant Editor Mari Cohen’s report from September 2019. And for a deeper look at how civil rights complaints have become a weapon in the hands of Israel advocates, revisit Natasha Roth-Rowland’s piece from our Spring 2020 issue.
-Activists in New York are continuing their “Strike MoMa” campaign, which draws attention to Museum of Modern Art board members allegedly responsible for environmental destruction and displacement, including in Israel/Palestine. In particular, the “Strike MoMa” activists are targeting board members such as Ronald Lauder, the president of the World Zionist Congress, and Daniel Och, a Birthright Israel board member. For more, see Hyperallergic reports by Hakim Bishara here and here.
-Arizona became the first state to take action against Unilever following the decision by its subsidiary Ben & Jerry’s to stop selling ice cream in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Arizona will now sell off its $143 million investment in Unilever to comply with a law prohibiting state investments in companies that boycott Israel. (Unilever has pointed out that the Ben & Jerry’s decision only concerns settlements not internationally recognized as being part of Israeli territory, but the Arizona officials didn’t buy that, effectively putting Arizona’s stamp on de facto Israeli annexation of Palestinian territory.) The decision appears to be the most significant action a state has ever taken against a company that has boycotted Israeli settlements. But it may not be the last: At least seven other states are weighing similar actions against Unilever.