Episode #4: Palestine and Soviet Jews

  
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Eating knafeh in Nablus.

In this episode Evgenia and I talk about a short trip we took to Palestine last year and get into all sorts of related topics — Zionism, the occupation, nationalism, Israel’s weaponization of Soviet and Russian Jewish immigrants, Jews vs. Jew hatred. We also talk about our unexpected and surprising stay at Banksy’s hotel in occupied Bethelham — surprising because we accidentally stumbled onto what might be the only example of effective political art that I’ve seen in my life…in the shape of a cheesy boutique hotel. Come for the Banksy art, stay for the anti-Zionist indoctrination and agitprop! It works. And I don’t even like Banksy’s art very much.

—Yasha Levine

PS: One thing I wanted to talk about was my own personal experience with a flash of anti-Soviet/Russian racism in Israel when I was 16. I didn’t get a chance to, so I’ll write it up in a newsletter soon. [UPDATE: here it is.]

And since we talk quite a bit about Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel in Bethelham — which overlooks a chunk of the occupation wall that runs right through the city — I figured you might want to see what it and the area around it looks like.

The view from our hotel room.

Same view at night.

The Wall

A massive door in the occupation wall that runs through Bethelham, which the Israeli army uses to come in for their ops. Notice the remote controlled “skunk” cannon on the left-hand side. It’s used to disperse people by dousing them with a noxious liquid.

A close up of the skunk cannon.

A security tower overlooking the Aida refugee camp in Bethelham.

A portion of the wall that runs right through a Palestinian cemetery.

Evgenia and Banksy art in the lobby.

Heading north on a road just outside of Jerusalem.

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