Explaining Max Fisher’s Missing Maps

By Yousef Munayyer

Over at Vox, blogger Max Fisher has a post up entitled “40 Maps That Explain the Middle East.” If such a title makes you cringe, you are not alone. Often these types of posts which attempt to provide context do more to obscure reality and explain the creator’s biases more than anything else. I am not going to dwell on each map. I won’t claim to know enough about the nuanced political and historical geography in every one of these maps to offer a detailed critique here. However, one thing I do know very well is the nuanced political and historical geography of Palestine and particularly the events around the Nakba. These events are supposedly represented by map number 16 on Max’s “explanatory” list entitled “Israel’s 1947 founding and the 1948 Israeli-Arab War.”

Are Israeli Apartheid Laws Affecting US Media?

By Yousef Munayyer

Given the recent statement made by Secretary Kerry about apartheid and Israel and the subsequent walk back, there was a great deal of discussion around the issue in the mainstream media in the last 48 hours.

You’d think the media might want to speak to some Palestinians, you know, those people suffering from the very system in question here, whatever you want to call it. It would be odd, for example, for network news shows to talk about racism without talking to people of color or talking about misogyny without talking to any women. Well, let me revise this, this would be odd in most places but Fox News, where we’ve come to expect such things.

The Painstakingly Slow Evolution of Roger Cohen

By Yousef Munayyer

Roger Cohen is catching on. Slowly, ever so painfully slowly, but still it seems to be happening. Today Cohen blasts through one of the oft told myths in the Liberal Zionist narrative. But, staying true to Liberal Zionist form, he fails to prescribe the obvious and necessary solutions to the problem he identifies.Cohen addresses the “myth” that the Israeli occupation is unsustainable. This myth is central in Liberal Zionist lore. Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street Founder and President writes in his book “Our voice must speak the truth as loudly and clearly as possible: The present path that the state of Israel is on is unsustainable.”


Middle East Blame Game Misreporting

By Yousef Munayyer

Two things are certain with U.S.-mediated Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. The first is that they will inevitably fail (I say inevitably because of long-standing foundational flaws precluding success) and the second is that when they do, the blame game will inevitably ensue. Well, we have arrived at blame game stage once again.

Both parties don’t trust each other, both parties don’t believe the talks will amount to anything and both parties do not want to be blamed for failure. But with nothing to show after months of talks and more trips by Secretary of State John Kerry than I can count, the question will be asked: who is to blame?

Spike Lee and the Bogarting of Palestine

by Yousef Munayyer

Yesterday I became aware of Spike Lee’s emphatic response to a question posed to him at an event in Brooklyn about gentrification. The questioner asked about the “good side of gentrification”. Well, Spike Lee, a Brooklyn native, wasn’t buying into the argument at all. The notion that anyone would put a positive spin on gentrification was so insulting to Lee that he gave an emotional, expletive-laden reply.

A Tale of Two Articles: Wonderwater vs Watergate

by Yousef Munayyer

In the daily universe of what is opinion writing and reporting on Israel/Palestine in the English language press, today offered an interesting juxtaposition. Both the New York Times and an Israeli daily ran stories about water and its availability in the region. One piece lauded Israel for its ingenuity, mentioned nothing about occupation and the theft of Palestinian water resources and depicted Israel as the generous benefactor of Palestinian water.