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.
This is the last post of the widespread discussion engendered by British criticisms of Israel’s policies – which also make clear abhorrence of antisemitism and acceptance of Israel’s secure existence as a state. The criticisms came from MPs in a debate last Monday and a speech made the next day by Sir Alan Duncan. They set a benchmark from which there can be no turning back to the past silences about Israel’s legal transgressions.
Horribly, the reputations of Adolf Eichmann and Hannah Arendt will remain forever linked. Her book on his trial – she saw a nondescript bureaucrat who was, indeed, obeying orders – has been deeply infuential. But further work has shown Eichmann to be a more strategic architect of Jewish extermination than she had imagined. Does this destroy her view of the mass murderer?
It’s been coming for a long time. Now it’s being organized. Young Jews, who want to be free to discuss Palestine or BDS have broken away from Hillel, the traditional organisation for Jewish students, and held their first ‘open Hillel’ conference. As this event received extensive coverage for its significance, several of the comments/reports are posted here.
In this essay Mitchell Plitnick surveys the post-war history of US policy towards Israel and concludes the Administration’s unflinching support for Israel is more to do with its assessment of national geo-strategic interests – Israel is a reliable military partner and anti-communist bulwark – than the over-rated power of the Israel lobby.
Attempts by Arab League members to persuade the International Atomic Energy Authority to call on Israel to join it, to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty and to open its nuclear facilities to inspection were rejected by a majority of IEAE members last month, for the second time. This article by Barak Ravid is posted now to accompany Mitchell Plitnick’s, above.
This is not our first posting on strained relations between American Jews and Israel and no doubt won’t be the last. The main point made here by Shlomi Eldar here is that young Jews now have a strong American identity and feel affronted by Netanyahu’s misreading of American values – human rights, equality, democracy and acceptance of the other.
The speech on the ‘peace process’ given at the acme of the establishment by Sir Alan Duncan, senior Conservative and former minister for International Development, has had a big impact. He assails Israel relentlessly for its treatment of Palestinians and its ‘churlish’ rejection of all attempts to make peace. He is firm on Israel’s right to exist, without question. He comments on Britain’s non-homogenous Jews – and those groups which receive money from a foreign country. It outraged the Board of Deputies.
Amira Hass is the Israeli journalist who has done most, via the English-language edition of Haaretz, to educate westerners in the reality of Israeli occupation. But staff and students at Bir Zeit expelled her from a public conference as a zionist. This marks both the separatism of some Palestinian radicals and, as Jonathan Cook reports, the death of the Israeli peace camp and any experience of Israeli/Palestinian anti-occupation action.
Press coverage of the Commons vote that the UK should recognise the state of Palestine disproves one argument made against the motion: that no-one cares what backbench British MPs think. Every Israeli online newspaper covered the vote and many said their government should take it seriously as a sign of European anger and impatience with Israeli policies.
This is the first part of the historic House of Commons vote on recognising the state of Palestine, and of Palestine / Israel and the UK’s responsibility (or impotence) more generally. It is striking how long the debate lasted (hence several parts), how many MPs spoke – and how little support Israel’s stance enjoys amongst them.
This is the second part of the exceptionally engaged and well-informed debate on the UK recognising Palestinian statehood. Again, MPs who have been traditionally pro-Israel remark on their disillusion and again the anger with Israel’s intransigence is cross-party. Questions are over the value of the UK expressing an opinion.
The resolution was passed with only 12 voting against. It is clear from the speeches how much MPs were influenced, or strengthened, by messages from their constituents to support the motion. It is thus also true how feeble the pro-Israel lobby was on this occasion. No-one used the antisemitic card – British Jewish anger with Israel was cited – and only one used the Syria gambit. The result is a success for all of us who campaign for Palestinians and against antisemitism.
Shlomo Sand, Israeli, intellectual, historian, controversialist, Jewish. Previously, he has disputed the idea of that one can be Jewish if one does not practise Judaism. Here he says he no longer considers himself Jewish because that means being identified with Israel’s racist policies. Psychologically, it seems unlikely that he can excise this aspect of his identity. Politically, it shows an odd ignorance of the life of non-Israeli Jews. Plus Bertell Ollman on the same theme.
The purpose of the Cairo donors’ conference – attended by over 50 nations plus international organisations – was to organise pledges of money for the reconstruction of Gaza. An inevitable other effect was to produce statements that this cycle of destruction must be stopped. UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon was unequivocal: ‘We must not lose sight of the root causes of the recent hostilities: A restrictive occupation that has lasted almost half a century, the continued denial of Palestinian rights and the lack of tangible progress in peace negotiations.’
The vote on a backbench motion that the UK should recognize the state of Palestine is more controversial than it might seem at first sight. This is testament to Britain’s pro-Israel lobby which has been insisting that such a vote will damage peace negotiations. Although the Labour leadership has decided to whip its MPs into the Yes lobby, the divisions are within parties rather than between parties.
In an order that does not bode well for the future, PM Netanyahu has instructed police to stop Palestinian protests – which have been going on for 3 months – in E. Jerusalem ‘in a fundamental manner’. And in a knowingly provocative move, police have joined forces with right-wing religious groups to assert their right of access to the Al Aqsa compound, E. Jerusalem.
Donors met last weekend in Cairo to plan reconstructing Gaza. Not only is Israel leaving the cost of the damage it caused to outside agencies, it is also insisting that those agencies put Israel’s ‘security’ demands first. It has subcontracted the role of checking the end-use of all building materials to the UN. With winter approaching and thousands of people homeless, the agencies feel they have no choice but to accept Israel’s dictates.