What to Read This Weekend (11/10/2023)

From the crackdown on free speech in Israel to microplastic-eating plankton, the bombardment of Gaza, and abortion rights in the US, here are some important stories you might have missed this week.

What to Read This Weekend (11/10/2023)

From the crackdown on free speech in Israel to microplastic-eating plankton, the bombardment of Gaza, abortion rights, and the plight of migrant children in the US, here are some important stories you might have missed this week.

Netanyahu rejected ceasefire-for-hostages deal in Gaza, sources say by Ruth Michaelson in Istanbul, Julian Borger in London and Emine Sinmaz. “Benjamin Netanyahu rejected a deal for a five-day ceasefire with Palestinian militant groups in Gaza in return for the release of some of the hostages held in the territory early in the war, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.”

Inside the Israeli Crackdown on Speech by Masha Gessen. “The current crackdown on speech [in Israel], which involves arrests, police interrogations, and so-called warning talks conducted by the Shabak, the security services, is largely carried out by a task force established earlier this year by the national-security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, to identify cases of incitement to terrorism on social media. Before he was a minister, Ben-Gvir was a far-right activist. In 2007, a Jerusalem court convicted him of incitement to racism for carrying signs and posters with statements such as ‘Expel the Arab enemy.’ Hassan Jabareen, who heads Adalah, a Palestinian-run legal center, told me, ‘Ben-Gvir’s job is to protect my safety, and he is known as the most racist official in the history of Israel’ … [Attorney Sawsan Zaher said,] ‘The general public alleges that it is hurt, and they don’t want anyone to express other feelings.’”

No Children Here by Tanvi Misra.“During his 2020 presidential campaign, Joe Biden promised to unravel Trump’s policies and usher in a more humane era of border policy. But while the rhetoric has been tamped down, the deterrence-based approach to immigration remains … Biden officials also defaulted to the same strategy as their predecessors when faced with an uptick in youth migrant apprehensions: they opened up emergency intake sites and unlicensed influx facilities on military bases. Almost immediately, whistleblowers raised the alarm about the conditions that children at these sites were facing. The Biden administration blamed the lack of preparedness on Trump’s willful dysfunction, but this isn’t a justification many advocates buy wholeheartedly … [Lorie Davidson, the director of children and family services at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) said,] ‘We can say in 2014 we were caught off guard, but you can’t also be caught off guard in 2016, 2019, 2021.’”

Victory in Ohio Represents Seventh Straight Electoral Win for Abortion Rights by Lauren Rankin. “Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, voters have continued to express their fervent support for legal abortion at the ballot box. Ohio is the seventh straight election in which abortion rights have won on the ballot. It hasn’t even been close, even in conservative states like Kentucky, Kansas and Montana.”

Letters From Gaza, Part 5 (In Partnership with the Institute for Palestine Studies). “Nightfall during wartime is fear personified. It’s hard to conjure up an image of wartime nights or imagine what it is like. After a long struggle for water and bread during the day, we received instructions to evacuate the house we were in due to the impending danger, though we couldn’t figure out the location of the danger or even its general area. An entire residential block received the evacuation notice, and people began leaving with their belongings in hand. We watched from the window.”

Microplastic-eating plankton may be worsening crisis in oceans, say scientists by Karen McVeigh. “A type of zooplankton found in marine and fresh water can ingest and break down microplastics, scientists have discovered. But rather than providing a solution to the threat plastics pose to aquatic life, the tiny creatures known as rotifers could be accelerating the risk by splitting the particles into thousands of smaller and potentially more dangerous nanoplastics.”

My Stuff

I published four articles and a podcast episode this week, in addition to my organizing commitments — and yes, I am exhausted. Here are a few pieces I wrote that I hope you’ll check out if you haven’t read them yet.

This Weekend’s DC Protest Was Largest Pro-Palestine Mobilization in US History by Kelly Hayes. “While addressing the crowd, Mohammed Nabulsi, an organizer with the Palestinian Youth Movement, noted the connections between Israel’s apartheid policies and genocidal attacks on Gaza and the United States’ history of segregation and genocidal violence … He noted that the U.S., which is sending ‘military advisors and soldiers, its aircraft carriers and rockets, [and] its weapons of mass destruction to support the genocide of our people’ is ‘the same government … whose legacy includes slavery and Jim Crow, genocidal campaigns against the Indigenous people of this land, genocidal campaigns against the people of the Global South, from Korea to Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan, just to name a few.’”

Palestine Solidarity Activists Block Boeing’s Doors to Stop Delivery of Bombs by Ngakiya Camara and Kelly Hayes. “The coalition occupying Boeing 598 is prepared to continue putting pressure where it hurts on the companies that have threatened Black lives at home and Palestinian lives abroad. They demand that Congress and Biden issue an immediate ceasefire and end arms sales to Israel. ‘Until Congress blocks the bombs, we will,’ Rose Tang, an organizer with Boeing Arms Genocide who took part in the Boeing blockade, told Truthout.”

Protesters Block Traffic in Front of Congress Member’s Home, Demanding Ceasefire by Kelly Hayes. “‘As a Jewish person and constituent, I know that ‘never again’ must mean ‘never again for anyone.’’ Rubin roundly rejected talk of a ‘humanitarian pause,’ saying, ‘Half measures and euphemisms at this point are complicity in Israel’s ongoing war crimes. If she won’t stand up, we will. Unlike Schakowsky, we will not be silent as Gaza’s children scream.’”


If you are looking for something to listen to, I recommend checking out this episode of Death Panel, where guests Mariame Kaba and Melissa Gira Grant talk about the importance of understanding the library as a site of political contestation and a rare expression of the commons in contemporary US life, and how left organizers are fighting back against right-wing attacks on public space.

I also hope you’ll check out Vigil for Palestine: We Mourn and Consider What Solidarity Demands of Us — a unique episode of Movement Memos featuring Palestinian and Jewish organizers, and others who are deeply connected to the struggle for Palestinian liberation. The episode is educational, poetic, and most importantly, a call to action.


If you are looking for a book to read this weekend, today is the last day of Haymarket Books’ 80% off ebooks sale. Don’t miss this opportunity to grab up any Haymarket titles that are on your wishlist. You can get an ebook of Let This Radicalize You (my book with Mariame Kaba), for example, for only $2. You can also build up a library of ebooks on Palestine very affordably if you shop today. (And for those who may be wondering, I get no referral commission from these sales. I just want you all to get books on the cheap.)

Final Thoughts

I overdid it this week. Really and truly, it’s been a while since I felt so overextended. I traveled to Washington DC last weekend for the big march for Palestine and got stuck at the airport, trying to get home, all day on Sunday. On Thursday, I realized that I hadn’t felt restful in a long time, so I stayed home from a protest I had planned to attend yesterday, and let my body heal a bit. It was the right choice. I fell asleep earlier on Thursday than I have in years, and when I woke up between bouts of sleep, I felt like I was becoming reacquainted with a sensation that I had all but forgotten. My body was at ease.

I will still be very busy in the coming weeks. We have to stop a genocide and I am quite cognizant of what that demands of us, in terms of labor, risk, and solidarity. I will continue to follow my heart and pursue work I feel called to do, but I will also make space, now and then, to melt into my couch, as I did last night, because if I don’t, my body and spirit will become brittle.

Burnout is the culmination of exhaustion and moral injury. I experienced a slight this week that hit me much deeper than it would have if I hadn’t been so tired. When we are overextended, for the sake of what we believe in, being wronged in any way cuts deeper. When I felt myself spiraling emotionally over what someone had said, I began to take inventory — why did this slight hurt so much? It was the next day when I realized that I hadn’t felt restful in… well, I’m not sure how long.

It’s so easy to put our own well-being on the back burner when we know the work is urgent and must be sustained. In fact, it may be unhealthy for me to think of caring for myself as being a necessary element of maintaining the work, as opposed to simply prioritizing my own well-being. But justice work is part of me. It is at the center of my life and factors into everything I do. Whether I am organizing, playing a supportive role at a protest, or writing for the sake of justice, this work is central to who I am. So, I have to consider the role of rest and care, and ask myself what my body needs, so I can stay in the game.

If this seems like it’s a recurring theme in my final thoughts section, it’s because I have to stop and think about these things a lot. It’s easy to lose track of ourselves when the problems we are trying to solve feel unfathomably large. But even amid such nightmares, we must do what it takes to sustain ourselves.

Toward that end, as I have mentioned, I will be taking three weeks of medical leave at the end of the year. This will be difficult for me, as I am a person who wants to work during difficult times. I hope you all won’t mind the interruption in content. The truth is that, while I am two months away from turning 43, I am still learning how to take care of myself. I do know that I don’t want to model self-destruction for the sake of productivity, as I do not want others to live or die that way.

May we all find enough rest and renewal to stay in the fight. We are needed.

In solidarity,


Photos: Kelly Hayes