This week, 17th-23rd October, 2016, there happened to be two interesting articles about Britain’s imagined role in the Middle East, both suggesting that more power is projected onto this former imperial power than it has actually exercised since 1945. The 1917 Balfour Declaration is a particular paper tiger. Chris Doyle of CAABU is taken aback […]
Israel’s border police have always exercised extreme vigilance about who they allow into the country. Since the setting up of the anti-BDS unit more unwanted British visitors have been identified and sent home after interrogation and strip-searching.
Noam Rotem of +972 goes through the many meanings of Zionism – a nebulous idea. But today, for Israelis, Zionism is what protects their supremacy and national identity. The Left must break with that idea.
Perhaps the best thing about the Home Affairs Select Committee report on antisemitism is the debate it has provoked. Here Asa Winstanley puts forward his view of what Zionism is and argues it is the correct word for Israel’s raison d’etre.
One thing is known by Palestinians: their ills are caused by the Balfour Declaration. Good politics perhaps but terrible history. The declaration was highly conditional, made to get the US on side during WW1. Many UN committees later, the British hurriedly left Palestine, allowing the US to step in as the primary outside force backing very unequal partition and the mass immigration of European Jews.
Gaza was once rich farming country, with 100,000 farmers growing crops to feed extensive family networks. Now there are only 18,000 left, unable to obtain fertilizer. Salt has infiltrated the land and defoliant, sprayed by the IDF, destroys much of the vegetation. Without farming, life is impossible in Gaza.
Thanks to Wikileaks, Barak Ravid can read an exchange between an American political adviser and an analyst. It wasn’t the fear of Iran. It was the fear of Arabs that swung it for the master tactician.
A steady supply of fresh water demands engineering work. In Israel and the oPt engineering work demands permits. Permits require a non-discriminatory, efficient bureaucracy. Which is just what West Bank camps and villages do not have.
Twitter has enabled a new public forum of antisemitism – as it has for all forms of racist and religious abuse. American Jews are less used to being the targets of racism but Trump’s large following of white nationalists has shocked them.
Two recent reports state that the number of Palestinian children being imprisoned under administrative detention orders is rising as are the children’s complaints of torture and humiliation. Posting something hostile about Israeli forces on Facebook (‘incitement’) is the new cause of arrest. How many laws and conventions are being broke here?
The two-year-old group, Women Wage Peace, succeeded in gathering thousands of Palestinian and Jewish women for a march of over 180 kilometres from the Lebanese border through the West Bank to Jerusalem. Their themes were solidarity and the rejection of guns and violence.
In the week of Nov 25th – Dec 3rd activists have been asked to focus on the American company Hewlett-Packard. It provides the Israeli state with the technology for preventing free movement and the biometric identification of every Palestinian person.
Notionally Temple Mount / Haram al-Sharif is sacred to the three Abrahamic religions. Christians don’t much care. For Israelis and Palestinians the site is a symbol of the power of possession. The UNESCO report does not comment on any of this – it merely deals with the Israeli responsibility for the upkeep of the site. It is this demotion to a caretaker role which is so angering Israelis.
What plot is resolved by the sudden arrival of the deus ex machina of Labour antisemitism and why have so many been enthused by it? Jonathan Rosenhead, who was at the same training session as Jackie Walker, gives us a history of Jewish organisation in the Labour Party, and today’s coalition of forces which have created this moral panic.
Anshel Pfeffer applauds the Select Committee for its report on antisemitism (‘brave’ ‘unique’). He rolls those, Chakrabarti, Corbyn, Livingstone – who were criticised for not getting the measure of ‘modern antisemitism’ – into one appeaser of hatemongers. Perhaps he thinks this restraint was the report’s only fault.
Ben White has recently published The 2014 Gaza War: 21 Questions & Answers, an ebook available for Kindle download here. Accessibly written and comprehensively referenced, it is exemplary in tackling head-on the difficult questions that are raised around Israel and Gaza: didn’t Israel disengage?; is Gaza under occupation?; isn’t the siege legitimate? who started the war of 2014?; did Hamas use “human shields”? – and more. We reproduce here White’s chapter on the argument most used to justify the bombing: “Israel’s right to self-defence”.
This week, October 10-16, 2016 has been a disturbing one at the JfJfP offices. First, an unknown hand inserted an encomium to Shimon Peres (our own coverage had been less than flattering), then deleted without trace our 3-part posting on Hannah Arendt of which two parts were highly critical of Israel. Then our posting of […]
The report on antisemitism from the Home Affairs Select Committee is neither as anti-Corbyn nor as hysterical about antisemitism in the UK as press reports suggest. Its biggest faults are that it fails to put antisemitism in the context of religious and race hate crimes – where overt hostility to Muslims and Black people is far more common and deadly – inviting Jonathan Arkush, BoD, to start them off on the right track, i.e. there is a big problem of rising antisemitism. Why did they not ask Antony Lerman, the UK’s most renowned authority on antisemitism in the UK. And the febrile world of student politics seems to have sidetracked them But read it for yourselves, here.
What sort of regime does Israel exercise? Eva Ilouz thinks it’s not apartheid or Nazi but its ‘current colonialist regime bears a family resemblance with other evil regimes’. She dismisses Arendt’s theory of ‘the banality of evil’ – missing the point, for which she is berated by Ada Ushpiz. Evil, especially ‘extreme evil’ (Arendt) is never banal. But the administration of it may be.
On the invitation of the PNA, B’Tselem’s executive director Hagai El-Ad spoke to the UN Security Council about why it must act to end the occupation and see the reality of Palestinian life behind Israel’s manoeuvres and pretences. What’s it afraid of?