Global Palestine: Contemporary Collisions

John Collins (@djleftover), author of Global Palestine (Hurst/Oxford UP, 2011), explores the global politics of violence and the representation of violence, paying particular attention to the microcosmic and prophetic location of Palestine in relation to these processes.

Interweaving: Somdeep Sen on Race, Fieldwork, and Colonization in Israel/Palestine

1095 As part of our occasional series of “Interweaving” conversations, I recently had the opportunity to interview Dr. Somdeep Sen, a Weave News blogger and postdoctoral researcher at the University of Copenhagen, regarding a number of issues related to his field research in Palestine/Israel.

Our conversation touched on his experience of the politics of race and violence while in the field as well as his first-hand observations from Jerusalem and the West Bank regarding the current state of Israel's settler-colonial project. (All images courtesy of Somdeep Sen.)

NYT Palestine Spoof: Defending the Right to Satire

Acting in the tradition of culture jamming groups such as the Yes Men, who pulled off a famous 2008 fake edition of the New York Times, two American Jewish groups (Jewish Voice for Peace and Jews Say No!) recently launched a website that brilliantly reveals the problem with the NYT's notoriously slanted coverage of Palestine/Israel. Not surprisingly, their efforts have been met with a swift response from the powerful gatekeepers who would prefer to silence those who engage in this sort of satirical creative work.

Interweaving: Khaldoun Samman on Islamophobia and the Struggle for New Alternatives

936 I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Khaldoun Samman (left), Professor of Sociology at Macalester College, for a follow-up to our 2010 conversation on rising Islamophobia. In our latest discussion, Samman offers his analysis of how the complex interactions of racist, patriarchal, and Islamophobic discourses continue to evolve in relation to ongoing stories such as the migration/refugee crisis in Europe and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States.

Direct from Lesvos: Keeping the Refugee Crisis Visible (UPDATING)

880 2015 may well be remembered as the year of Europe's Great Refugee Crisis, but it's worth noting that while people desperately continue to flee conflict and try to reach European shores, the story has been rapidly disappearing from mainstream media coverage. It's a good reminder of how the media machine produces amnesia just as relentlessly as the machines of global capitalism, imperialism and militarism produce human suffering and displacement.

Interweaving: Ilana Feldman on the AAA's Israel Boycott Resolution

877 At its recent meeting in Denver, members of the American Anthropological Association voted overwhelmingly in support of a resolution calling on the AAA to boycott Israeli academic institutions. Following the historic vote I reached out to Ilana Feldman, a member of the group that spearheaded the effort to bring the resolution forward. Feldman is Associate Professor of Anthropology, History, and International Affairs at George Washington University and author of the recently-released monograph Police Encounters: Security and Surveillance in Gaza Under Egyptian Rule (Stanford University Press) and numerous other publications. Below is a transcript of our conversation, presented here as part of my occasional “Interweaving” series of conversations on contemporary global issues.

Interweaving: Greg Afinogenov on Paris and the Geopolitics of Violence

876 As public debate regarding the recent attacks in Paris continues to reverberate, I reached out to historian Greg Afinogenov, who wrote a widely-shared Facebook post on November 17 calling for a more critical awareness of how global structures of violence operate. Afinogenov is a recently-defended PhD candidate in history at Harvard University, working on Russo-Chinese relations in the long 18th century. He is also an occasional contributor to n+1 and the London Review of Books. Below is a transcript of our conversation, presented here as part of my occasional “Interweaving” series of conversations on contemporary global issues.

CNN: Docility in Action

More than a decade ago, independent journalist Amy Goodman (the host of Democracy Now!) made a crucial observation about the corporate news media's coverage of the lead-up to the Iraq war and the war's early stage. Noting the tendency of CNN and other networks to turn their coverage over to an endless parade of retired generals, admirals, and other "military experts" (along with the almost total absence of any alternative or critical perspective), and noting how the major networks also borrowed the title of their coverage ("Operation Iraqi Feedom") directly from the Pentagon, Goodman asked, "If this were state media, how would it be any different?"

I found myself wondering the same thing yesterday as I watched CNN's breathless coverage of the capture of prison escapee David Sweat.

The Wesleyan Occupation and the Limited 'Moral Solidarity' of the 21st Century Administrator

855 As someone who cares about justice in Palestine and who has written a lot about the global significance of Palestine, I pay close attention to the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that is seeking to put economic pressure on Israel. So when a group of nearly 40 student activists at Wesleyan University decided to occupy the office of President Michael Roth last month, with divestment from the Israeli occupation as one of their core demands, they had my attention. After digging further into the case, I’ve concluded that it does more than provide an inspiring example of student activism. It also reveals something about the failures of courage that leave many university administrators blunting organized efforts to seek justice in Palestine instead of standing on the right side of history. (Image:

Dangerous Solidarities at Northeastern and Beyond

Upon hearing the news that student activists at Northeastern University (“a leader in global experiential learning”) were being targeted for punishment by the university administration in response to their work in solidarity with Palestinians, I was immediately reminded of an episode from my own career as an activist.  I was also reminded of how dangerous the impulse of human solidarity can be, at least in the eyes of those who desperately seek to police it and blunt its impact. 

Intifada, Trauma, and Social Transformation: An Interview with Dr. Eyad El-Sarraj (2)

607 Dr. Eyad El-SarrajThe following interview with Dr. Eyad El-Sarraj, internationally renowned founder of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP), was conducted in May 1997 as part of field research for my Ph.D. dissertation focusing on popular memories of the first Palestinian intifada.  The research was subsequently published in the book Occupied By Memory: The Intifada Generation and the Palestinian State of Emergency (NYU Press, 2004). I have chosen to publish the interview now in memory of Dr. El-Sarraj, who died on December 17, 2013. (Image source: