LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Israelis Must Give Palestinians the Right to Thrive

Re “Palestinians and Israelis Both Deserve to Thrive” (opinion, Feb. 17)

Prof. Joseph Margulies, government and law, was part of Cornell’s Collective for Justice in Palestine, a group dedicated to the freedom of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all people (Israeli and Palestinian) from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. In his Guest Room submission, “Palestinians and Israelis Both Deserve to Thrive,” Margulies hits on many liberal Zionist talking points without explaining the reality of the current situation for both of our groups. In his submission, Margulies reveals himself as a typical liberal, with one notable exception: his stance on Palestine. I completely agree with Margulies’s assertion that both Israelis and Palestinians deserve to thrive, but we must examine why this is currently not the case.

GUEST ROOM | Where’s ‘Free Expression’ for Pro-Palestinian Cornellians?

The Cornell Alumni for Palestine firmly oppose Cornell University’s Interim Expressive Activity Policy, which inhibits free expression and goes against the University’s self-ascribed values of free speech, debate and protest. 

Cornell follows in the footsteps of other U.S. institutions that are on the warpath to silence and suppress pro-Palestine speech on campus. In response to students rising up to defend Palestinian lives, University administrations have introduced “interim policies,” or defined new ones, aimed at policing political speech on campus. These policies are being used disproportionately against SJP chapters and other Palestinian solidarity organizations. According to the interim policy, outdoor events and demonstrations with over 50 participants must be registered in advance. Even candles — often used in vigils and other peaceful gatherings — are no longer permitted without prior approval.

‘The Zone of Interest’ and Creeping Desensitization

Content Warning: Genocide

Adapted from a Martin Amis novel, Jonathon Glazer’s The Zone of Interest follows the inner lives of Auschwitz Commandant Rudolph Höss and his wife Hedwig, focusing its attention on family strife and workplace politics rather than the unspeakable horrors happening on the opposite side of the camp’s walls. Constantly breaking the 180-degree rule, diverting into avant-garde infrared sequences and displaying long, would-be boring depictions of domestic life, the film sets out to put off its own audience, confronting both the ability of cinema to narrativize evil and the startling comfort of an audience in engaging with it. Nearly every scene is set against a vomit-inducing soundscape that combines the machinery of death with the human reactions that it inspires (and the subsequent gunfire and dog barks part and parcel to the repression). It’s one of last years’ most difficult films but also one of its most essential, a treatise on the ease with which horror is tuned out just as its modern analogue is more visible than ever. 

The obvious comparator text for The Zone of Interest is Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah, possibly the definitive visual document of the Holocaust and a film most notable for its refusal to show a second of archival footage. Glazer, who isn’t painting with a documentary canvas, must represent Auschwitz as an operating camp, but he too restrains his camera from ever actually depicting images either of genocide or those doomed to it.

SCHECHTER | Empathy Among Rockets: A Lesson from a Palestinian Best Friend

Over the last fifteen years, Sal, an olive-skinned Arab man alongside whom I’ve grown up, has taught me to see into his world. His world is one where TSA doesn’t let him leave the country without pulling him out of the security line for extra security screening. It’s a world where, when his parents try to pass through Israel to see family in Palestine, airport security drills holes in the soles of their shoes to check for explosives.

FATTAL | On Israel, Direction of Anger and Liberation

TW: Genocide, Anti-semitism, Islamaphobia, Sexual Violence

Getting on the bus for a weekend out-of-town on Thursday, I was already thinking about Israel. I’d stumbled upon a Jacobin article about Ken Loach (the socialist filmmaker who comes up a lot in English-speaking Europe) defending the director against longstanding claims of antisemitism as he releases his final film. I’d only seen one Loach film, and can’t speak too deeply about him, though his subjects and labor focus are to me unambiguously commendable. As for the anti-semitism, I remained unconvinced by the specific allegations refuted either in the Jacobin article or in my due diligence “both sides” readings of his accusers. I watched The Old Oak yesterday.