Fascist is an adjective often loosely and wrongly used. but from the mouth of the founder of American Conservative, a traditional right-wing publication, it is significant. Israel’s actions in Gaza, and the popular , racist support for it, clearly crossed the line of human decency, which the US and EU should have condemned.
Without due process of law Hamas gunmen executed 21 people they suspected of being informants the day after the IDF had killed three out of four Hamas leaders targetted for assassination, based on information received. This is the biggest mass public execution ordered by Hamas since it gained control in Gaza in 2007.
One-time Zionist Antony Lerman argues that Liberal Zionism is now an anachronism. Israel is now driven by forces and ideas – religious messianism, colonialism, ethnic cleansing, purification of the tribe – which no-one with liberal or humanitarian views can subscribe to. Better to admit it’s a lost cause and argue for an Israel of equal rights.
Having failed to crush Hamas or its popular support in Gaza Netanhayu/Shin Bet have turned to a tactic which is less costly in terms of money, manpower and reputation: kill the heads of Hamas with the maximum of publicity. Hamas of course says however many heads you cut off, more will grow. Reuters report.
From suggestions that the IDF itself sent the rockets that landed in Beersheba – the reason why Netanyahu recalled the negotiators from Cairo – to assassination attempts against Hamas leaders Netanyahu is desperately trying to pull a victory out of the failure to destroy Hamas and avoid ceasefire talks. Uri Avnery’s withering judgment.
Anyone who has been on any of the recent demonstrations for Gaza will have noticed that ‘Zionist’ is the usual term of abuse for Israel’s policies. It is used to reject accusations of antisemitism especially as many Christians describe themselves as Zionist. In S. Africa, Benjamin Pogrund says it is the right term for a liberation struggle while Ran Greenstein argues this ignores the reality of the oppression carried out in Zionism’s name.
If there are human ‘monsters’ in the world, there’s little they can do without the masses acquiescing and co-operating. This does not save them as the Jews found after 1942 any more than it will save Palestinians. It does mean there must be resistance and resistance must be supported. An angry article by Miko Peled.
As a means of denying Palestinian statehood and the Oslo Accords , the strategy of keeping Gaza as a locked-in enclave, separate from the West Bank has had partial success. Longer-term it is unsustainable as the proportion of unemployed, angry young men increases. The economic warnings are being ignored by Israel’s security chiefs; their interests would be best served by the very thing they are trying to destroy – a unity government whose writ runs throughout Palestine.
Radical Islamism has been boosted by the turn against Hamas by Arab states. Linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas is now cast as the disruptive force in most Arab countries, thus accepting the Israeli version of its attack on Gaza. Where Palestine once united Arab states it now adds to the divisions writes Maged Mandour.
An invitation from the Board of Deputies to attend an open meeting in N. London was unambiguous: ‘The meeting will focus on what we can do to promote Israel’s case, addressing the best way to tackle the crisis and its implications for British Jewry.’ You would not know the crisis was about the lethal onslaught on Palestinians had it not been for a few JfJfP signatories who managed to get in. The rest of the audience were so consumed with fear and anger it was hard to know what they did want.
Hundreds of millions of civilians have been killed by governments in the 20th and 21st centuries by one means or other. IHL has ruled such slaughters illegal but Israeli philosophers and lawyers have come up with a handy justification of disproportionate force: its attacks are either on ‘military bases’ (all of Gaza being a military base in Israeli eyes) and self-defence. Other governments have been grateful for this rewriting of the law writes Jeff Halper.
War against the other has given Israel and Hamas their identities, protected the leaders from having to think about how to better the state of their people and from popular demands and criticism. They may be morally and politically bankrupt – and Israel’s extremism bears more responsibility – but who can break the status quo asks Amy Wilentz?
The utter muddle of Netanyahu’s government – sort of agreeing to ceasefire talks, refusing to make any concessions, suddenly recalling the negotiation team – reveals it has nothing to offer except bluster. It can’t continue shelling Gaza. It won’t lift the siege. Adam Keller resorts to the fairy tales of Hollywood and Hans Christian Andersen to reveal the truth.
Still in 1999 there was a vigorous peace camp in Israel. Since the 2nd intifada it has diminished to a dedicated, and unpopular, core abandoned by the centre ground for various reasons including the belief that Hamas does not want peace. Despite David Grossman’s pleas, says Mazal Mualem, the middle ground is set against Hamas, and peace.
News from the ceasefire talks in Cairo is unclear. A report from JPost, quoting Palestinians, says agreement on 7 points had been reached; Ma’an news says Israelis are refusing to make any concessions. Analysis from Haaretz suggests progress is possible. Predictably a group in Gaza fired rockets (no-one hurt), predictably Netanyahu chose to recall his delegation. He has been on the back-foot since the IDF had to withdraw from Gaza with no gains.
There is historic antisemitism based on punitive Christian fantasies; there is modern antisemitism which is more often a response to actuality – punitive measures against Arab muslims carried out in the name of the state of all Jews, viz Israel. One Israeli think-tank has been warning of the effects of Israeli policies on Jews outside Israel since 2002 but it has yet to be grasped by the Israeli government.
Left-wing revival: left-wing parties, including Meretz, Hadash, Peace Now and others, joined a demonstration on August 16th calling for a range of demands from continuing negotiations between Israel and Hamas to an end to the occupation and blockade of Gaza. Many who have demonstrated during the past weeks expressed disappointment at Meretz and Peace Now for their refusal to support anti-war protests before. +972
Once upon a time, like the 1930s, there was such a thing as the ‘self-hating Jew’. Since the last world war and the creation of Israel the phenomenon has largely disappeared -but the insult remains as American Jew Carey Wedburn discovered when she spoke out against Israel’s attack on Gaza. Watch the video.
This is the first of three postings on antisemitism in France where there are: a higher incidence of apparent antisemitic attacks than elsewhere in W. Europe; a silence about the level of antisemitism before the war; a large body of alienated N. African Muslims – and a Left which has been unable or unwilling to engage either with its past or the presence of its Arab and Muslim citizens.
The distinguished French Moroccan writer Tahar ben Jelloun deplores a rise in antisemitism in France, deplores the failure amongst the young to distinguish between Jews and Israel, Jewish and Zionist. Israeli colonialism, arrogance and impunity makes it worse. Only a Palestinian state will bring security he says.