The Institute of Middle East Understanding
'This Is Palestine' is a podcast that highlights people, issues and events around Palestine. We bring you stories from the ground in Palestine, and we speak with experts and activists to bring you unique perspectives and analysis about Palestine from across the world. This podcast is a project of the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU).
Host Omar Baddar sits down with Maya Berry, Executive Director of the Arab American Institute to discuss Biden's administration to include Israel in the US visa waiver program.
19 min 43 sec
In this episode, host Diana Buttu speaks with human rights attorney Rabea Eghbariah, on how foraging wild herbs, like za’atar, within Israel became a punishable offense targeted at Palestinians. After the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948, Palestinians have been forcibly removed and separated from their land, a primary food source for most. Foraging native herbs like, za’atar, akkoub (gundelia) and marimiyeh (sage), is criminalized by Israeli political authorities. Rabea and Diana discuss, from a legal perspective, the rationale behind this criminalization is an attempt to further alienate Palestinians from their land.
In this episode, host Diana Buttu will focus on Silwan, where Israel wants to build an Israeli religious theme park and cable car on Palestinian land, in the al-Bustan neighborhood of Silwan. She speaks with two individuals who have been impacted by Israel's ethnic cleansing of Silwan. We hear from the Governor of Jerusalem, Adnan Ghaith and Amal “Um Mahmoud '' Sumarin, who have stories that are sadly not unique to the Silwan neighborhood.
16 min 31 sec
In today’s episode, Omar Baddar speaks with emerging Palestinian UFC star Belal Muhammad, a Palestinian-American mixed martial artist born and raised in Chicago. Belal talks about growing up Palestinian, the challenges inside and outside of the octagon, and the passion he has for spreading awareness on Palestine wherever he’s at.
24 min 39 sec
You can watch the film The Mayor for free here till August 27th. You can follow the director, David Osit on Twitter here.
36 min 53 sec
In today’s episode, we will hear from journalist and activist Joharah Baker. She discusses the hardships of being with her husband and kids under Israel’s Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law. Enacted in 2003, the Citizenship and Entry into Israel law is aimed at making the process for non-Jews to acquire citizenship even more difficult than it already was. Under the 2003 law, any Israeli citizen or permanent resident who marries someone who holds a Palestinian ID - whether that person is from the West Bank or the Gaza Strip - cannot have their spouse reside in Jerusalem or in ’48 without first obtaining a permit and cannot obtain citizenship or permanent residency through their spouses.
17 min 8 sec
As Palestinians continue to protests against the killing of Nizar Banat, they have highlighted the discontent with the Palestinian Authority (PA), the body ruling small parts of the occupied West Bank that is under the overall control of the Israeli army. Hosts Omar Baddar and Diana Buttu discuss the PA and how they function in coordination with the Israeli occupation.
19 min 46 sec
Palestinians are increasingly turning to social media to highlight what life is like under Israeli military rule. For example, weeks before Israel’s bombing campaign on Gaza, Palestinian activists in Jerusalem used social media to shine a spotlight on Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Sheikh Jarrah community using the hashtag #SaveSheikhJarrah. What happened next, was a global movement for Palestine never seen before across social media platforms. During Israel’s bombing campaign, social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok were removing, censoring, or deleting accounts that posted Palestinian content. 7amleh, a Palestinian non-profit focused on social media, has documented more than 500 reports of Palestinian digital rights violations in May alone, marking a significant increase in the censorship of Palestinian political speech and narrative online. To help us better understand what is happening, we are joined today by Marwa Fatafta, a policy analyst with Al-Shabaka. Host Diana Buttu spoke with MENA policy manager at Access Now and Policy Analyst at Al-Shabaka, Marwa Fatafta, about the digital oppression and censorship, Palestinians are facing in Israel and across social media platforms.
36 min 15 sec
Diana Buttu explains to Omar Baddar what the political dynamics within Israel are with Naftali Bennet on the verge of replacing Netanyahu, and what it all means for the Palestinian struggle for liberation.
24 min 49 sec
One week ago, Israel was ruthlessly bombing Gaza. President Biden made a stop in Michigan to give a speech at a Ford electric truck plant, near Palestinian-American Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s own district. When Biden was making his way to leave on the tarmac, Tlaib stopped him and told him how problematic the U.S. response to Israel’s devastation of Gaza was. Host Omar Baddar speaks with Congresswoman Tlaib about that moment and the growing tide of Democrats speaking up for Palestinian human rights. In the second part of our episode hosts Omar Baddar and Diana Buttu discuss the latest developments in Palestine, including the mass arrests taking place in Israel targeting Palestinians and the myth of coexistence in Israel.
33 min 30 sec
In today’s episode, we will hear from Fadi Abushammala, a community organizer based in the Gaza Strip. Fadi is also a son, a husband, and a father to three young children, ranging in age from 3 to 11. In order to protect his family, Fadi took them to Khan Younis, in the center of the Gaza Strip, where he feels they will be safer, even though they do not have steady electricity. As they arrived to Khan Younis, the bombing started there too. In the middle of our conversation, Fadi receives two calls from his kids, who are calling to check up on him. He says to me “Fathers are supposed to ask about and worry about their kids; not the other way around.”
Amidst all the headlines and breaking news, it can be confusing to make sense of what’s happening in Palestine/Israel right now. Israel has been escalating tensions in Jerusalem for weeks, including placing new restrictions on Palestinians marking Ramadan, violently suppressing Palestinians protesting evictions of families in Sheikh Jarrah by settlers, and soldiers assaulting worshippers in Al Aqsa Mosque. On May 10, Israel fired missiles into Gaza killing 20 Palestinians, including 9 children. Hosts Omar Baddar and Diana Buttu make sense of all this and break it down.
19 min 27 sec
We have a two-part episode today! In the first part hosts Diana Buttu and Omar Baddar, discuss the recent violence by Israeli mobs in occupied Jerusalem as well as settlers' attempts at erasing Palestinians from occupied Jerusalem. In the second part of the episode, we focus on the major new report, in which Human Rights Watch declared that Israel is committing the crime of apartheid, and calls on the world to impose sanctions on the Israeli officials responsible for upholding such a grotesque system of oppression. Diana Buttu and Omar Baddar speak with Palestine and Israel Human Rights Watch director, Omar Shakir, about the report and what it all means.
23 min 17 sec
On Thursday, April 15, Rep. Betty McCollum introduced H.R. 2590 a groundbreaking Palestinian rights bill. Which aims to prohibit Israeli authorities from using U.S. funds to imprison Palestinian children, destroy Palestinian homes or steal Palestinian land. The bill is sponsored by 70+ organizations, including Justice Democrats, Movement for Black Lives, Working Families Party, Presbyterian Church USA and Jews for Racial & Economic Justice. The 13 co-sponsors of the bill include Rep. Bobby Rush, Rep. Danny Davis, Rep. Andre Carson, Rep. Marie Newman, Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Mark Pocan, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Raul Grijalva, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Rep. Cori Bush, Rep. Jamaal Bowman, and Rep. Chuy Garcia. Host Omar Baddar speaks with Beth Miller, government relations manager at Jewish Voice for Peace - Action, and Brad Parker, senior adviser for policy and advocacy at Defense for Children International - Palestine. They discuss the significance of this bill and the growing power of Palestinian Grassroot movements in Congress.
32 min 36 sec
After years of being banned from Israeli politics for their embrace of terrorism and racist violence, followers of Rabbi Meir Kahane are making a comeback and joining the Israeli Knesset (parliament), thanks in part to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's embrace of the Kahanists for political gain. Host Diana Buttu speaks with investigative journalist David Sheen about who the Kahanists are and what the implications of their resurgence will be.
27 min 19 sec
The Palestinian short film 'The Present' has been nominated for an academy award! Directed by Farah Nabulsi, the film powerfully shows the emotional and physical toll Palestinians endure at Israeli checkpoints. Host Diana Buttu speaks with film co-writer Hind Shoufani and young star Maryam Kanj. The film is currently available on Netflix.
27 min 49 sec
In today's episode hosts Diana Buttu and Omar Baddar speak on the ongoing ethnic cleansing in East Jerusalem by Israel, particularly in the village of Sheikh Jarrah. These families will be displaced and left homeless. Diana speaks with Fayrouz Sharqawi of Grassroots Jerusalem, who provides background on why all this is happening. Omar speaks with Palestinian poet and writer Mohammed El-Kurd, whose family lives in Sheikh Jarrah and has been living with the possibility of being forcefully displaced by Israeli settler organizations.
23 min 10 sec
The International Criminal Court announced it would investigate Israel for war crimes. Israel and the United States reacted strongly against the ICC’s decision. Hosts Diana Buttu and Omar Baddar discuss what this means for Palestinians, if Israel will be held accountable, and the U.S.’s reaction to the coming investigation.
14 min 48 sec
Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.Follow our host Diana Buttu on Twitter.Get a copy of Marc Lamont Hill and Mitchell Plitnick's new book: Except for Palestine: The Limits of Progressive Politics here!Visit our website at www.imeu.org
42 min 41 sec
Israel is heading into its fourth election in the last two years. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now courting Palestinian citizens of Israel voters. When just as recently in the last Israeli election, he used his platform to attack Palestinian voters to prevent them from forming a coalition. Why is this happening, what does it all mean, and how do these elections impact Palestinians? Host Diana Buttu joins in conversation with her colleague Khader Jabbar who is filling in for Omar Baddar.
30 min 20 sec
Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.Follow Dr. Yara Asi on Twitter here.Read here her most recent op-ed on Palestinians and the coronavirus vaccine that appeared in the Washington Post.
19 min 32 sec
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30 min 28 sec
To learn more about Nader Muaddi and the Muaddi Craft Distillery, please visit: www.muaddi.comFollow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
26 min 18 sec
Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.To learn more about Susan Abulhawa here. To check out the Palestine Writes Literature Festival click here.
20 min 56 sec
From Pompeo's attack on BDS to the battle for free speech on college campuses, anti-Semitism is being weaponized to silence criticism of Israel and stifle advocacy for Palestinian rights. Omar Baddar speaks with Diana Buttu, Lara Friedman, and Roua Daas about this crisis of free expression and political speech.
1 hr 14 min
Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for more information on Palestine! Or visit our website at www.imeu.org. Keep up with our hosts Omar Biddar on Twitter @OmarBaddar and Diana Buttu at @dianabuttu
33 min 22 sec
Palestinian-American organizer Linda Sarsour and USCPR Executive Director Ahmad Abuznaid discuss the upcoming U.S. presidential election, including its impact on progressive organizing, the Palestinian-American community and policy towards Palestine, with host Omar Baddar. Sarsour has been active on a wide range of progressive issues and is the author of a new book: We Are Not Here To Be Bystanders. Prior to heading the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, Abuznaid was the co-founder of Dream Defenders, which organizes black and brown youth to build power in communities of color.
32 min 13 sec
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the start of the Second Palestinian intifada or uprising, an uprising sparked when Likud Party leader Ariel Sharon visited the Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem under heavy guard to assert Jewish claims to the site. Party members and 1,000 Israeli riot police accompanied him. To crush protests, Israeli forces used live fire, killing 50 Palestinians in the first week alone, including 13 Palestinian citizens of Israel. Some were shot in the back. Under the guise of the intifada, Israel ramped up its policy of home destruction, it tightened its closure regime, cutting off the Gaza Strip from the West Bank, and Israel resumed its assassination policy. Israeli forces invaded Palestinian cities and towns, carrying out mass arrests and using Palestinian as human shields. To discuss the intifada, host Diana Buttu speaks with colleague Amanda Saadeh and veteran Palestinian journalist Nidal Rafa. Nidal was a freelance journalist who worked for a number of US news media outlets during the second intifada. We will hear from Nidal about her experiences during the intifada, her memories and her feelings about it. Amanda also turns the mic on me, asking me about my experiences during the intifada.
33 min 33 sec
Host Diana Buttu speaks with Bahraini human rights activist Maryam Al-Khawaja about her pro-democracy work in Bahrain, her country’s normalization deal with Israel, and Bahraini solidarity with the Palestinian struggle.
22 min 30 sec
COVID-19 is spreading quickly in the West Bank as Gaza goes on a tight lockdown. With Israel having one of the highest infection rates in the world, the impact on Palestine is devastating and the disparity in resources between occupier and occupied is impacting policy. Hosts Omar Baddar and Diana Buttu, along with Ramallah-based Amanda Arraf-Saadeh from the IMEU team, discuss the reality on the ground in Palestine and what life is like.
24 min 57 sec
Hosts Diana Buttu and Omar Baddar break down what the recent normalization of relations between the United Arab Emirates and Israel means and specifically how it impacts Palestinians.
26 min 10 sec
For more information and to purchase these hand-made masks, please visit www.ramikashou.com. You can also follow him on Instagram at @ramikashou.
35 min 17 sec
Diana Buttu speaks with Sawsan Zaher, an attorney at Adalah, a Haifa-based organization that promotes the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel, about the July 22 Israeli Supreme Court hearing in which she sought the release of Ahmad Erakat's body. Ahmad Erekat was killed by Israeli soldiers over a month ago at a checkpoint. Israel continues to hold onto the body of Ahmad, denying his family their right to bury him and say their final goodbyes. Israel has a long history of post mortem punishment of Palestinians. Whether by holding onto Palestinian bodies, burying them in unmarked graves, or degrading handling of their remains. Over the decades, we’ve seen that Israel has enacted various policies of withholding Palestinian bodies and imposing restrictions on funerals, as a means of punishment and control, even in death.
14 min 52 sec
On June 23, Israeli soldiers shot Ahmad Erekat after he got into a car accident at a checkpoint. It was his sister’s wedding day. The soldiers denied Ahmad medical assistance for over an hour, leaving him to bleed to death on the street. Host Omar Baddar is joined by Ahmad Erekat’s cousin and Palestinian American human rights attorney and scholar Noura Erakat, and by Ahmad's older brother, Faisal Erekat. Noura discusses the context of Ahmad's killing and Israel's 'shoot to kill policy' and Israel's practice of holding onto the bodies of Palestinians they have slain and keeping them from their families. Faisal talks about who Ahmad was, and about the impact of his loss on the family.
38 min 5 sec
Eyad Hallaq, 32, was on his way to a school for special needs students in the historic Old City of Jerusalem on May 30 when Israeli soldiers shot and killed him. Hallaq's killing has sparked protests across the West Bank because the victim had autism. The eyewitness, his school counselor Warda Abu Hadid, told local media she shouted to the Israeli officers, "he's disabled," as the wounded Hallaq shouted, "I'm with her." Host Diana Buttu sits down with the family of Eyad Hallaq and learns about who he was, how he lived, and ultimately how he was killed.
13 min 10 sec
Host Omar Baddar speaks with Dr. James Zogby, co-founder and President of the Arab American Institute. Zogby has served on the Democratic National Committee since 1992 and was a member of the DNC's Executive Committee for 16 years. Omar also speaks with Matt Duss, foreign policy advisor to Senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. They discuss the emerging change in the Democratic Party towards Israel and Palestine, including what policy might look like in light of impending annexation.
42 min 54 sec
View transcript here.
20 min 39 sec
In this episode of 'This Is Palestine,' we shift our focus to the protests that have swept the nation, sparked by the tragic murder of George Floyd by police officers on May 25. We hear from three distinct Black American voices as they discuss systemic racism and what it means to be Black in America. First, we hear from Mychal Denzel Smith, author of the forthcoming Stakes is High: Life After the American Dream and New York Times bestseller Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, New Republic, The Nation, and more. In 2014 and 2016, TheRoot.com named him one of the 100 Most Influential African-Americans in their annual The Root 100 list. Mychal navigates us through this moment and what it means, what's different about it now, and why defunding the police is vital to gaining justice. Next, we hear from Kinjo Kiema and Khury Petersen-Smith, who speak in conversation with one another about this moment and connections to global solidarity. Kinjo Kiema is an organizer with BYP100, a Black queer feminist organization working to create justice and freedom for all Black people. She is also a leader in the reproductive justice movement, and has organized within the labor and student movements, including with Students for Justice in Palestine. Khury Petersen-Smith is the Michael Ratner Middle East Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. Petersen-Smith has been a leading activist for internationalist solidarity, economic justice, and racial and gender equality since he was a high school student. He traveled to Iraq in 2004 on a United for Peace and Justice delegation where he represented the Campus Anti-War Network.
57 min 47 sec
With Israel's plan to formally annex parts of the West Bank expected only a few weeks from now, we speak with Palestinian American political analyst Yousef Munayyer about the significance of this moment, and the road forward for the Palestinian struggle for justice.
28 min 57 sec
Host Diana Buttu speaks with Salman Abu Sitta. A Palestinian researcher most known for his ground-breaking project mapping historic Palestine and developing a practical plan for implementing the right of return of Palestinian refugees. Salman Abu Sitta shares his family's Nakba story and what moving forward looks like.
12 min 52 sec
Host Omar Baddar speaks with Khaled Elgindy, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute, adjunct professor at Georgetown University and author of "Blind Spot: America and the Palestinians, from Balfour to Trump". Omar and Khaled discuss Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's recent announcement that Palestinians would no longer be bound by all agreements signed between the Palestine Liberation Organization and both Israel and the US, including an end to information sharing with the CIA. Khaled tells us what all this means and if it really means anything at all.
25 min 56 sec
This week marks the 72 anniversary of what is known to Palestinians as the 1948 'Nakba' or the 'catastrophe'. Where 750,00 Palestinians were forcibly displaced from their homeland for the creation of Israel. In this special episode, host Diana Buttu speaks with her father, Mohamad Buttu, a survivor of the Nakba. Mohamad speaks on what happened to his family during the Nakba, from having to flee his home, being separated from his mother and siblings, and being smuggled back into Palestine.
27 min 38 sec
Hosts Omar Baddar and Diana Buttu discuss the formation of a new Israeli coalition government after the chaotic roller coaster of 3 Israeli elections over the last year. What does this mean for Palestinians? Where does Israel's illegal annexation plan go from here? And what's the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the ground? For answers, check out this bonus episode.
28 min 4 sec
Diana Buttu speaks with Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, a physician, human rights advocate, and member of the Palestinian parliament based in the occupied West Bank. Dr. Barghouti heads the Palestine Medical Relief Committee. Along with a team of hundreds of volunteers, Dr. Barghouti has been on the front lines providing assistance to Palestinians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
18 min 56 sec