From the southern tip of the Negev to the northern tip of Galilee, the Israeli government could create the perfect Jewish state if it weren’t for the people in between. Sadly for the zionist dream, only the Bedouin have devised a way of desert living compatible with the area’s resources and the Galilee – well its history is just too multicultural to be truly Israeli. Ben White looks at how the government is going about getting the right people in the right places.
Both anti-terrorist agencies and European Muslims have turned a blind eye to the mass killing of Shi’ite Muslims by Al Qaeda ‘franchises’ and other Sunni jihadists in Pakistan and Iraq. In the case of security agencies this is because, argues Patrick Cockburn, such groups are funded by wealthy men in Saudi Arabia, the west’s great ally, Israel’s new friend and Iran’s old enemy. Plus protest at exclusion of Gulf states from Iran talks.
The Jewish establishment in the US (as in the UK) is largely zionist, seeing support for Israel as an expansionary Jewish state as being a criterion for admission to any proper Jewish group. This grip on academic life in particular is being rejected, here by the Hillel (Jewish student) group at Swarthmore college who have voted to include non-zionist members and speakers and, in the posting below, by the national council of the American Studies Association.
This posting centres on academic freedom and its limits – limits that are chosen (by some supporters of BDS) or enforced (for Palestinians). The national council of the American Studies Association has voted for boycott of Israel – which has to go out to the membership for endorsement. Judith Butler still believes that academic freedom is the prior good but welcomes the sudden opening of a public debate.
The language of the Israeli government about the relocation of the Negev Bedouin has recently become entirely about furnishing the Bedouin with the amenities of modernity. If modernity is characterised by the free movement of people and capital, cosmopolitan cities, separation of church and state… Israel is no more a symbol of modernity than are the Bedouin.
Since the EC passed its guidelines last July on any funds going to entities in the illegal settlements the Israeli government has been frantically trying to dig loopholes in the guidelines large enough for settlement trade to pass through. They have made a little progress. But EU opposition to settlements remain strong and the UK’s Trade and Investment department has issued a warning that such trade involves risk to the reputation and income of companies.
Lest we forget – in the first part of a two-story column Veteran reporter Robert Fisk remembers the appalling treatment Israeli forces meted out to their prisoners in Ansar prison camp- a sort of ‘hot Guantanamo’ – the heroic efforts made to bring this maltreatment to the notice of the UN, and the US vetoing of UN resolutions about it. 2nd, Fisk takes issue with Mustafa Barghouti’s Ireland-Palestine analogy.
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.