What if women ruled the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

This month, the UN marked the 15th anniversary of landmark Security Council resolution 1325, which calls “to increase representation of women at all decision-making levels in [countries and institutions] … and in mechanisms for prevention, management, and resolution of conflict.”

I took a moment to think about this as the wave of violence among Israelis and Palestinians continues day in, day out, with seemingly no end in sight. I wrote about it in The Forward’s Sisterhood blog.  Here is the text, which originally appeared there:

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Instagram turns five, releases stats that tell us something about ourselves

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In honour of its fifth birthday, photo-sharing app Instagram has revealed its top five most-followed account holdersAriana Grande is in at number five with 44.6 million followers, Selena Gomez has 45.9 million, Beyonce has 47.2, Kim Kardashian has 48.1 million followers and Instagram queen Taylor Swift has 49.6.

These five have a few things in common. They are all American. They are all relatively young and attractive. And they are all women. This says something, perhaps, about the space American cultural products take up globally (75 percent of the top five’s fans come from outside the U.S.). It certainly says something about the space that women, or more specifically, images of women, take up in our cultural landscape. These passages from John Berger’s art history classic “Ways of Seeing” are food for thought:

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These days in Jewish history

Every once in a while, I get to do the fun job of writing my newspaper’s This Day in Jewish History column because the regular writer goes on holiday. So far this month, I have written two: One about Ephraim Kishon (it was his birthday on 23rd August, if you didn’t know), and the other about Herzl’s “Uganda Plan” (proposed by the Zionist leader at the Sixth Zionist Congress on 26th August, and actually related to territory in today’s Kenya, not Uganda). It’s amazing how, when you keep digging around, you can always find stories worth being retold.

Update: A few more weeks passed and I wrote my last few of these. These were favourite of the bunch. 2nd September was the date Ayn Rand started writing “Atlas Shrugged.” 6th September was the day that the guy who wrote Bambi (and didn’t make a penny from the film)   was born. And last, but certainly not least, 9th September was the day that Jack Warner, one of the Warner Bros., died. For him, here is the trailer for one of the most enduring classics he made, “Casablanca.”

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Revenge of the women-hating old men (part infinity)

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Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water, they rear their ugly heads. No one is protected. No one can hide.

That’s right – formerly misogynistic young men have morphed into misogynistic old men, and as long as they are out there, none of us are safe.

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When terrorism lets Netanyahu off the hook

These are particularly dark days in Israel and the Occupied Territories. First there was Thursday night’s deadly stabbing at Jerusalem’s annual Pride parade, perpetrated by a man just released from prison for committing the same crime a decade earlier. Then, on Friday we woke to the unspeakable news that an 18-month-old child had burned to death in his bed. That his parents and brother were now in hospital with severe burns, fighting for their lives. On Monday, the cycle of violence continued with a firebomb thrown at an Israeli car in Beit Hanina.

In the first two incidents, the attackers were Jews with a hateful ideology, and Israelis had no one to blame but themselves. Politicians from across the spectrum rushed to make public condemnations. Something that united statements on the arson in the West Bank village of Douma was that the word terrorism was used to describe it. In his first statement on Ali Saad Dawabshe’s death, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it as “a reprehensible and horrific act of terrorism in every respect.” The Israel Defense Forces also quickly described it as terrorism.

“Terror,””terrorism” and “terrorist” are loaded terms. Their nuance and definitions change depending on user and context (see this great The Guardian piece on how vague the definitions are). They are so loaded that they are judgment calls of sorts. In Israel certainly, “terror” and its derivatives are part of an “us and them” rhetoric. We, the good, rational guys, who only use violence when we really have to, who always try to minimize harm to civilians, and them, they are the bad guys, the terrorists. The guys you can’t negotiate or reason with.

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