In the sanctification of Nelson Mandela, it is impolite to recall that before he was imprisoned he believed that only an armed uprising could topple white minority rule. For much of his time in prison, he was condemned by many as a terrorist. Easy to forget too what close relations there were between the Israeli and South African governments, sharing the problem of how to keep down the indigenous population and what equipment might best help them. Here, a variety of articles on Mandela’s relationship with Palestinians, with Jews and with Israel including a letter from Marwan Barghouti.
For many decades a few – AIPAC, the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League – have stood for the relationship between American Jews and Israel. The failure of these establishment groups to block the interim deal with Iran is a sign that their influence has waned as Jewish and other pro-Israelis have found more discriminating, ways to express support for – or dissent with – Israel. NGOisation?
The fate of the people of Gaza has been abandoned to NGOs, with Amnesty International in the lead. JfJfP adds its voice.Two neighbouring states, Israel and Egypt, and to some extent the PA, could act to transform the situation, by providing fuel for generators and desalination plants for water. Obdurately, they do not act. Hamas, with little income now the tunnels are closed, and scant authority over the sources of fuel and water can do little.It is left to civil society. JfJfP calls on Israel to recognise Gaza’s right to water and notes the role of the PA and Egyptian military in exacerbating the situation.
Building new homes for Israeli Jews, knocking down existing homes of Palestinians (including Israeli Bedouin) constitutes Israel’s violent drive to control all land in Palestine/Israel, preferably confining Palestinians to refugee camps. Here, 36 charities and aid groups sign a statement calling for an immediate end to the demolitions. ICAHD and the ECCP issue a more political statement on demolitions, the EU and international law.
Can posh boy Buji – Labour’s new leader Isaac Herzog – rescue his party from decline by creating a new centre-left coalition? He is handsome and articulate, but not popular which may make strategies of finding common ground with smaller parties from left to centre the most important thing he can do. He is for talks with Palestinians. Polls give Likud a large lead on the overwhelming issue of security.
As is the way with men who once occupied the highest positions in the security services Yuval Diskin, former head of Shin Bet, has publicly rebuked PM Netanyahu for putting all his energy into a mock war with Iran while ignoring the plight of and danger posed by angry Palestinians on his doorstep.
These are articles from 2009 included because the posting below – which highlights the issue of pro-Israel lobbying in the UK – does not give names and details. It is unlikely that much has changed, although an analysis of the dwindling support from the once very pro-Israel Labour party would be useful and interesting. It appears that Conservatives will support the Israeli state whatever human rights it breaches.
In Britain, lobbying for Israel has increasingly become the preserve of a wealthy Jewish elite who between them run a number of Jewish organisations. This article by four researchers at Bath University doesn’t look so much at what lobbying work goes on or to what effect, as to when and why the left stopped admiring Israel as an ‘emancipatory’ project leaving its support to people who are older, more right-wing and richer than the average Briton.
Canadian activist Suzanne Weiss, whose mother died in Auschwitz, links her childhood experience of being protected against the German occupiers by French villagers with the imperative to cross the borders (of ethnicity and nation) to show solidarity today with Palestinians and other indigenous people. Their home environment is always wrecked by colonising settlers.
President Obama is the new Chamberlain and President Rouhani the new Hitler: America’s political commentators are serving their readers badly when they can only interpret today’s relationship with Iran by using analogies from Europe’s attempt to delay war against fascist Germany in 1938. The sacrifice of Czechoslovakia to Hitler has no analogy to the interim deal in Geneva – except for those who believe Israel has been sacrificed.
This is about the efforts to create a city-wide alliance of Arabs and Jews on a left-wing programme with an especial emphasis on housing and racism. Although the small details of different groups may make it a difficult read, those details also show how immensely difficult it is in Israel, with its hugely fragmented body politic, to create a broad leftwing alliance.
What will happen when the Jewish privilege of disenfranchised Israeli Jews disappears entirely? Will they turn to the anti-colonial cause, or to fascist reaction?
The Arabs of the Galilee, all Israeli citizens, have lived there a long time. But, like the Bedouin Israeli citizens, this is unacceptable to the World Zionist Organization – an arm of the Israeli state. They don’t want to build more homes for Jews in the existing towns – which would mean desegregation – so new towns must be built to install a Jewish majority. Equality for all citizens is not one of WZO’s principles.
The headline is a quotation from Primo Levi, a comment he made about the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. It is used by Joseph Massad in a discussion of the fraught question of competing sufferings – Jewish and Palestinian. The two sufferings are not comparable because the only purpose of such comparison is to demean or justify sufferings which exist sui generis. One should always stand with victims of racist oppression.
The destruction of Iraq as a dominant regional power, the chaos in Egypt left Israel as the undisputed hegemon. But as Iran is invited to come in from the cold everything changes again. Will Israel accept this – or seek underhand methods to put Iran back in its place as a pariah? Le Monde Diplomatique, Ha’aretz and Al Arabiya examine the options.
If the Gulf states did not control such a high proportion of the world’s oil Israelis would not have been able to present Iran as an ‘existential threat’. But as the Gulf states control such a high proportion of the world’s oil only a maniac would drop bombs on Iran – which could close the Gulf of Hormuz without difficulty. Uri Avnery suggests ways in which Israel could break out of its isolation. Reuven Kaminer says the hawks screech to drown out the counsel of security chiefs.
This is one of several postings on Gaza this week. The reason is obvious. Despite many many warnings from responsible bodies that the conditions of life for the people are becoming dire – beyond anything anyone in Israel or Europe or the USA would find tolerable – no-one with the power to alleviate conditions has acted. Easier to let the people of Gaza suffer than ship in fuel or a desalination plant or even a gift of a few tankers of fresh water.Critical articles from Ramzy Baroud and the Economist, pleas for action from NGOs and Amnesty.
If AIPAC can be said to have a technique it is to finesse a deal so that serving the Israeli government appears as serving the interests of the American people. This was a sleight of hand it could not pull off when American government and people both saw the Iran deal as a Good Thing while Netanyahu loudly fulminated against it as a very bad thing. What to do? Richard Silverstein examines their tactics.
If the Israeli government thought they could just dispose of the Bedouin as they wished they had their heads up their bottoms. On the designated day of rage, November 30, there were public manifestations of opposition to the Prawer plan (no-one believes the Israeli government’s claim this plan has been introduced in the best interest of the Bedouin) throughout Palestine and in several European cities including London, with JfJfP.
The historic deal in Geneva over Iran’s nuclear capability is shaking up the Middle East as much as the Arab revolutions of 2010-11. Saudi Arabia is said to be Israel’s new (only) best friend, but the Saudis can make only secret deals with ‘the Zionist entity’ or lose face with other Arab countries. The same problem afflicts the apparently cordial welcome from Israel for General al-Sisi’s coup. Advisers say ‘Look East’ – but the Chinese will not side with Israel against Palestinians. Everywhere Bibi looks, it’s the Palestinian issue which blocks his foreign relations.
EU countries have taken the high ground about Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territories. But their remit seems to stop short of European companies which continue to accept Israeli contracts for demolishing Palestinian homes (Volvo, JCB), imprisoning Palestinians (G4S), importing goods from the settlements (Tesco, Waitrose) and servicing the settlements (Veolia). Such companies ease the functioning of settlements despite the formal position of their home countries.