Our PalCast podcast wraps up Season 1, plans for Season 2

Mustapha MuhammedBlog, Gaza, JWE news, Podcasts

Earlier this month, Just World Ed and our partners from Dublin’s Tortoise Shack Media wrapped up the first season of our globe-circling podcast “PalCast: One World, One Struggle”, hosted by Gaza-Palestinian political scientist and justice activist Dr. Yousef Aljamal. We’d launched this project on November 17 in response to the ongoing genocide in Gaza. (The tagline “One World, One Struggle” was coined by Irish justice activists. We used it with permission from the famed Irish organizer Tony Doherty.)

Yousef’s co-conspirators on the PalCast are Just World Ed’s own Helena Cobban, co-host, and Tortoise Shack’s Tony Groves, our amazing more-than-a-producer. The PalCast can be accessed via Spotify, Apple, or wherever you find your audio resources.

Dr. Refaat Alareer

Season 1 ran for 23 episodes– a significant number since that was the number of days for which Israel waged its terrible “Cast Lead” assault of 2008-09 on Gaza. And it was also the number of short stories that our teacher and muse Dr. Refaat Alareer included in the landmark anthology he published in 2014, Gaza Writes Back.

In early December, the Israeli military brutally assassinated Dr. Refaat. But his inspiration and our memories of his work continued to inform our conversations for the rest of Season 1– and will continue to do so in Season 2.

Here’s your quick guide to the episodes in Season 1:

Ep. 1, “The Streets Are With Palestine” (Apple, Spotify)

Yousef and Helena discussed the ongoing Israeli aggression in Gaza and its impact on the region. They highlighted the widespread global support for Palestine, particularly in the Global South and grassroots movements in Western nations. They also emphasized the necessity for a substantial overhaul of Palestinian political leadership.

Ep. 2, “A Shared Struggle– Palestine and Ireland” (Apple, Spotify)

Yousef, Helena, and Tony explored the parallel struggles of the Palestinian and Irish peoples, spanning from historical figures like Captain Boycott to contemporary issues like hunger strikes. They delved into shared challenges, analyzed past mistakes made by Irish activists and discussed lessons the Palestinian self-determination movement can draw from them.

Ep. 3, “The History of Hamas” (Apple, Spotify)

In this conversation the three pals explored the history and evolution of Hamas, its self-perception, international designations, changes in discourse from 1988 charter through 2017, and its organizational structure.They also highlighted developments since October 7th are highlighted, and the suffering of individuals under Israel’s bombardment in Gaza.

Ep. 4, “I went to Israel, but I came back from Palestine” (Apple, Spotify)

Irish TD Richard Boyd Barrett from People Before Profit was the special guest on this episode. He talked with Yousef, Helena and Tony about his extensive activism for Palestine and the role of global mass movements advocating for a ceasefire in Gaza and Palestinian self-determination. They emphasized the significance of the Irish Diaspora in the U.S. Richard was optimistic, noting that support for Palestinians is growing rapidly worldwide.

Ep. 5, “A Ceasefire vs A Humanitarian Pause” (Apple, Spotify)

In this episode, the hosts delved into the meanings of these two terms and their implications in Gaza, particularly on the International Day of Solidarity with Palestine. They argued that while a humanitarian pause may suggest a temporary cessation of hostilities, the underlying issues in Palestine and Gaza are inherently political, not humanitarian. They emphasized the need for a political solution to prevent further destruction in Gaza and advocate for a full ceasefire to facilitate the rebuilding of homes, communities, and lives.

Ep. 6, “‘Even Our Dead Bodies Are Punished’ – Israel is Redefining Savagery” (Apple, Spotify)

In this episode, Yousef, along with Tony and Helena, were joined by Saul Takahashi, former deputy head of the UN human-rights agency in Palestine, and Baha Hilo, a Palestinian justice activist from Bethlehem. They discussed Israel’s resumption of intense bombardment in Gaza and continued campaigns of terror in the West Bank. Baha outlined various dimensions of these campaigns, while both he and Takahashi argued that Israel’s actions constitute a continuation of its policy of genocide since 1948. Moreover, Takahashi provided insight into the international-law aspects of Israel’s actions.

Ep. 7, “Gaza – Nothing Kills Like Hunger” (Apple, Spotify)

The seventh addressesed the use of starvation as a weapon of war by Israel in Gaza. It highlighted the dire situation where Palestinian families receive minimal food supplies, leading to widespread famine and starvation, especially in the north of Gaza. Drawing parallels with historical instances of famine being used as a weapon of war in Ireland and the US, the episode questioned whether the world will allow such atrocities to occur in Palestine. Yousef, Helena, and Tony discussed the severity of starvation in Gaza and emphasized the urgent need for action to prevent further suffering and loss of life.

Ep. 8, “Dr. Refaat Alareer, Gaza’s Storyteller” (Apple, Spotify)

In this poignant episode, Yousef, Tony Groves and Helena paid tribute to Dr. Refaat Alareer, a cherished teacher and mentor from Gaza who was tragically killed by Israel on December 7, along with six family members. They reminisced about Dr. Alareer’s profound wisdom, compassion, love for literature, and humor, highlighting how his legacy lives on through the lives he touched. The episode featured heartfelt anecdotes, readings, and a profound appreciation for Dr. Alareer’s enduring impact on Gaza and beyond.

Ep. 9, “Palestine and Latin America” (Apple, Spotify)

In this episode, George Issac Siman, a Palestinian-Colombian activist, joined the discussion to shed light on the strong solidarity with Palestine witnessed across Latin America following the Gaza genocide. He highlighted the historical context of each country, emphasizing the significant Palestinian support in Chile, where a large population of Palestinian origin resides. However, this level of solidarity varies in countries like Colombia, Honduras, Argentina, and El Salvador. Furthermore, Yousef, Helena, and Tony explored the dynamics of the Palestine solidarity movement in Latin America, discussing factors such as imperialism, history, financial colonialism, and the challenges faced by the left in governance.

Ep. 10, “Humiliation as a Tactic of War” (Apple, Spotify)

In this episode, the hosts explored the Israeli military’s utilization of Palestinians as human shields, involving coercive measures such as compelling them into tunnels and fabricating footage to manipulate public perception. This strategy has been observed throughout the ongoing conflict in Gaza, alongside instances of mass arrests and instances of starvation. Yousef, Helena, and Tony engaged in a comprehensive discussion regarding these matters within the broader context of the campaign unfolding on U.S. campuses.

Ep. 11, “The War on Education in Gaza” (Apple, Spotify)

The Gaza conflict has profoundly disrupted the education system, specifically targeting educational infrastructure and causing extensive damage to universities and schools. This has resulted in the tragic loss of numerous educators and has significantly hampered the learning environment. Yousef, Helena and Tony addressed these formidable challenges in this episode and they were joined by Ayman Qwaider, a Palestinian educator residing in Australia, who offers firsthand insights into the devastating impact of the conflict on his family and underscores the remarkable resilience demonstrated by teachers in the face of adversity.

Ep. 12, “Christmas in Palestine” (Apple, Spotify)

In this episode, Yousef, Helena and Tony engaged in an enlightening conversation with Philip Farah, a member of the Christian Palestinian community. Farah shared his personal experiences of celebrating Christmas in Palestine, including memories of walking from Jerusalem to Bethlehem and visiting family in Gaza. Despite the challenges, Farah’s love for his homeland is evident as he reminisced about the warmth of the holiday season and sang traditional songs learned from his mother. He also reflected on the tragic reality of Christmas amidst the ongoing conflict, lamenting the devastation in Gaza where ancient churches now lie in ruins.

Ep. 13, “Israel’s Oops We Used the ‘Inappropriate’ Weapons of Mass Destruction” (Apple, Spotify)

Israel does not officially recognize the term “Weapons of Mass Destruction” (WMD) in the context of its military operations. However, there have been instances where significant civilian casualties occurred during Israeli military operations in Gaza, prompting criticism and calls for accountability. The incident referred to involves the killing of Palestinians in the Al-Maghazi refugee camp, with Israel acknowledging the use of munitions that resulted in unintended casualties. This episode, highlighted the ongoing debate surrounding Israel’s military tactics and their impact on civilian populations in the Gaza Strip.

Ep. 14, “Displacement in Gaza and Israel at ICJ” (Apple, Spotify)

The ongoing conflict in Gaza has extended beyond initial expectations, with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu allegedly seeking to prolong the war for political gain. Despite Israel withdrawing battalions and experiencing heavier losses than predicted, the Palestinian death toll continues to rise, with an estimated 30,000 casualties. However, amidst the devastation, there are signs of shifting global dynamics, including South Africa’s initiative to bring Israel to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the emergence of new middle powers like the BRICS bloc. In this episode, Yousef, Helena and Tony explored the implications of these developments on Gaza and the evolving narrative surrounding the conflict.

Ep. 15, “US Politics and Palestine with Ambassador Chas W. Freeman” (Apple, Spotify)

In the midst of heightened tensions fueled by Israel’s actions in Gaza, PalCast welcomed retired U.S. diplomat Ambassador Chas W. Freeman Jr. for a comprehensive discussion on the impact of the conflict on U.S. domestic politics and its international standing. Ambassador Freeman highlighted how Israel’s actions in Gaza are tarnishing the United States’ global reputation and potentially affecting President Biden’s prospects in the upcoming election. The conversation delved into various nuances of this timely topic, providing valuable insights.

Ep. 16, “Israel at ICJ and Mapping Out a Return to Gaza” (Apple, Spotify)

In this episode, Dr. Nour Joudeh joined the PalCast hosts to discuss the profound impact of Israel’s actions in Gaza on Palestinian refugees. They explored the concept of displacement and homelessness in Gaza amidst ongoing genocide and violence, highlighting how Palestinians are being uprooted from their homes and forced into displacement once again. Dr. Joudeh shared her personal experiences as a descendant of a Gaza refugee and connects the situation in Gaza to broader global struggles. This insightful discussion shed light on the urgent need for solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Ep. 17, “Israel at ICJ – Thank You, South Africa” (Apple, Spotify)

In this episode, the PalCast hosts discussed South Africa’s landmark case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), focusing on Israel’s actions in Gaza. South Africa’s initiative has garnered global attention, highlighting the plight of Palestinians and challenging the Israeli government’s justifications for its actions. Despite criticism from American Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, South Africa’s stance underscores the severity of the situation. The hosts also addressed escalating tensions in the region, including attacks in Yemen and ongoing conflicts involving Israel and Lebanon, providing insights into the complex geopolitical dynamics at play.

Ep. 18, “Malaysia and Solidarity with Palestine” (Apple, Spotify)

In this episode, Yousef, Helena and Tony were joined by special guest Norma Hashim, founder of the Hashim Sani Center for Palestine Studies, to discuss Malaysia’s steadfast solidarity with Palestine. Malaysia’s historical support for Palestine, stemming from its own colonial past, was highlighted, with the country being the first to endorse South Africa’s ICJ case against Israel. Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s recent decision to ban Israeli ZIM shipping company from Malaysian ports underscores this support. The conversation also included personal anecdotes about individuals like Refaat Alareer and Raed Qadoura, shared by Norma Hashim, adding depth to the discussion of Malaysia’s stance on Palestine.

Ep. 19, “Gaza – There Are No Homes Left To Go Back To” (Apple, Spotify)

In this episode, Yousef, Helena and Tony were joined by Balakrishnan Rajagopal, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, to address the grave issue of domocide in Gaza. With over 69,700 housing units completely destroyed and hundreds of thousands more damaged, the deliberate destruction of homes constitutes one of the largest instances of domocide in modern history. Rajagopal shed light on Israel’s systemic policy of denying the Right to Housing as part of the ongoing genocide in Gaza, emphasizing the urgency of addressing this humanitarian crisis. The conversation delved into the latest developments from Gaza and explored potential avenues for intervention.

Ep. 20, “When a Safe Zone Becomes a Kill Box” (Apple, Spotify)

In this episode, Yousef, Helena and Tony discussed the escalating violence in Gaza as the Israeli military advances towards Khan Younis. While the Israeli forces suffer losses, with 24 army personnel killed in one day, over 150 Palestinians, including displaced individuals in the south, are killed. Israeli politicians’ proposals, such as building an artificial island for Palestinians, further strain relations with the EU. Despite Joe Biden’s remarks, Netanyahu remains resolute in rejecting the idea of a Palestinian state. The humanitarian crisis worsens as starvation spreads in the north of Gaza, exacerbated by a blackout affecting the entire coastal enclave. The hosts delved into these developments and more in their conversation.

Ep. 21, “International Pro-Israel Politics” (Apple, Spotify)

In this episode, Yousef hosted the discussion from Zurich, Switzerland, where he recently engaged with Café Palestine. The guest, Blake Alcott from Café Palestine and One Democratic State, joined PalCast’s Helena and Tony. They examined Israel’s ongoing violent actions in Gaza and the northern West Bank, highlighting its far-reaching consequences. The conversation touched on its impact on global peace and stability, dynamics at the United Nations, and its repercussions on internal politics in the USA, Switzerland, and other Western European nations.

Ep. 22, “My Brother is Getting Out of Gaza” (Apple, Spotify)

In this episode, the focus was on Israel’s efforts to defund UNRWA amid the ongoing genocide in Gaza. The hosts highlighted the international response, with some countries like China, Belgium, Ireland, and Spain calling for support for the UN agency in the face of attempts to dismantle it. The discussion also touched on regional developments, including the blockade by Houthis in the Red Sea and the UK and US targeting them. Additionally, the Biden administration’s efforts to gain support from Arab Americans were examined, with skepticism about their success. Yousef, Helena and Tony analyzed these global political dynamics in the context of the situation in Gaza.

Ep. 23, “Gaza – Hope, Hunger and Heartbreak” (Apple, Spotify)

In this episode, Yousef, along with co-hosts Helena and Tony, shared personal stories from Gaza, including his own family’s experiences. They discussed the challenges faced by his mother and brother in leaving Gaza and the hardships they endured during the past 120 days. The impact of PTSD was evident as they struggled with weight loss and difficulty eating regular meals due to food shortages and high prices. The episode highlighted the dire situation in Gaza, with families facing financial strain and health crises exacerbated by the ongoing conflict. Despite the heartbreak, the hosts emphasized the importance of taking action to end the genocide in Gaza and call for an immediate ceasefire.