There is a strong current of opinion among those working on Israel-Palestine that the two-state solution is dead. Long time peace activist Gershon Baskin believes otherwise.The Palestinians are seeking recognition from EU countries and are drafting a Security Council resolution which, Baskin argues, has every chance of being adopted. This, together with a growing boycott movement and increasing pressure for sanctions could, believes Baskin, be a game changer.
This conference seeks to explore the multiple, complex and inter-related ways that anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim racisms are being constructed in relation to the question of Palestine/Israel. In particular it seeks to examine how the histories of Zionist settlement, anti-colonial and nation-building struggles and 20th century warfare in the Middle East region are being transformed in the current historical conjuncture. Of particular importance in this context will be ideological and political alliances that have emerged locally, regionally and globally around notions such as the ‘New Antisemitism’, and ‘Islamophobia’ and how these relate to racialised discourses against Jews and Muslims. Drawing on the expertise of scholars and activists from a variety of backgrounds, the aim of the conference will be to serve as a first step for building a transversal anti-racist political vision that will aim to destabilize some of the oppositional dichotomies which are currently hegemonic in discourses around Jews, Muslims and Middle East politics.
US government frustration and anger with Netanyahu is reaching boiling point as Israel’s government ignores Washington, particularly on the issue of settlement building. As the head of the Anti-Defamation League told American journalist Jeffrey Goldberg, in quiet understatement: “The Israelis do not show sufficient appreciation for America’s role in backing Israel.” Goldberg and Israeli journalist Barak Ravid speculate on possible outcomes.
The Readers’ Editor of the Guardian comments on accusations of bias almost bordering on antisemitism made against the Guardian, largely by the Israeli embassy, because of its “obsessive” interest in Israel. Jonathan Cook argues, rather “that the Guardian, like most western media, is really only interested in the Israel-Palestine conflict because of the Jews, not the Palestinians”. And Moshe Machover, cited by Cook, takes the Guardian to task for its use of language that obscures the fact that East Jerusalem is part of the occupied West Bank.
“The restrictions are so pervasive and systematic that it almost seems as if the Israeli state has mapped the entire Palestinian economy in terms of input-output relations, right down to the capillary level of the individual, the household, the small firm, the large firm, the school, the university, so as to find all possible choke points, which Israeli officials can tighten or loosen at will. Under these circumstances – which I’m happy to say I have never encountered elsewhere – political and economic development is barely possible…”
Who Profits? is a brave and committed Israeli organisation – a research center dedicated to exposing the commercial involvement of Israeli and international companies in the continued Israeli control over Palestinian and Syrian land. It focuses on three main areas of corporate involvement in the occupation: the settlement industry, economic exploitation and control over population.
Here, just to remind readers of its wonderful work, are two reports from its October 2014 Newsletter
What is the most popular name given to boys in Israel today? And how many Israelis are aware of this?
Uri Avnery shows how Israel’s pretensions to be the only democracy in the Middle East are called into question in the little things as well as in the larger frame.
“Since the formation of the State of Israel, tree planters have been busy creating forests in the holy land, which was a barren wasteland for centuries.”
Pappé & Jaber give an uncompromising account of Israel’s policies of exclusion of the Palestinians. Under the guise of “preserving Jewish identity” the reality is a systematic – and ongoing – policy of ethnic cleansing. Your pennies and ours went to plant trees to cover up the reality of expulsion and village destruction…
“On current form, it would be easier to openly slip a prayer for Gaza’s dead children into a crevice of the Wailing Wall than to find an Israel policy gap between the UK Zionist lobby and our religious and communal leadership.”
Our very own prophet Micah shows how this was reflected in relation to the recent House of Commons vote on recognising the state of Palestine.
A new group calling itself The Third Narrative has been created for American academics who class themselves as pro-Israel and pro-Palestine. Jerry Haber questions whether it can strike out a new path given its absolute opposition to academic boycotts of Israel and its exclusive membership of ‘Liberal Zionists’.
It was Israel’s turn to have its record of human rights reviewed by the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva. Committee members had many questions – access of Palestinians to water and their farmland, settlements on their land, house demolition to make way for settlements or ‘firing zones’. But, to the disapproval of the committee, Israel claimed it was not answerable for its actions in the oPt.
Palestine has now become a security state, argues this analysis from al-shabaka. The proportion of people employed in security is extremely high – and producing a security apparatus has been an Israeli demand in all negotiations. ‘Self-determination for the Palestinians went from being a right to a privilege that the PA had to demonstrate it deserved’ – by enforcing law and order.
Israel is not short of critics about its policies – but little attention has been paid to a conference exploring the causes and nature of domestic xenophobia and to a speech by President Rivlin describing Israel as ‘sick’. It was organised and attended by Israelis themselves – which is perhaps why, as Philip Weiss says, it didn’t go viral in the US.
At a recent State department gathering, John Kerry remarked that Arab leaders had told him that the Israel-Palestine conflict was ‘a cause of recruitment [to ISIL] and of street anger and agitation’. Israeli politicians are lining up to shoot this messenger. It was classic Jew-blaming said Jewish Home’s leader – though whether he meant it was John Kerry or Arab leaders doing the blaming is not clear.
Palestinians are using all means, from naming and shaming in social media to hurling molotov cocktails and stones, to prevent settlers buying up whatever Arab properties they can in Silwan. The unrest has been going on so long that Israel’s police chief has announced the creation of a new unit to suppress it.
EU member states have drawn up a document defining their ‘red lines’ before upcoming discussions with Israeli diplomats. Haaretz has obtained a copy of the document which identifies the population transfers and new settlements which present a “focused and increasing threat to the possibility of the two-state solution.” Barak Ravid reports.
The Cairo donors’ conference on rebuilding Gaza showed the international goodwill towards the establishment of a Palestinian state – but that will only come into being if the rigidity of the US approach is rejected by the EU. At the moment, all the EU is doing is maintaining the fiction of a ‘peace process’ argues Yezid Sayigh
As US-Israel relations have worsened, the superpower’s relations with the PA have become stronger. These two shifts may not be connected, but it is clear to analysts that a strong PA is essential if violence or anarchy are not to subsume the moderate authority. Interview with Mustafa Barghouti on US/Palestinian relations.
Such deep-seated hostility to all things Palestinian, Arab, Islamic as afflicts education minister Avi Wortzman can turn a person’s head. His remarks on his facebook page, following the Commons vote, about how ‘at home’ Islamic State feels in Britain conveys only how profoundly out of touch with reality such people are.
The division of the land between a Jewish state and a Palestinian state, requiring the Jewish state to reduce its size, withdraw and make room for a durable Palestinian state, matches the Zionist message from time immemorial writes Sever Plocker. Israelis should welcome the vote of British MPs to recognise Palestine.