He boasts of Israel being the hi-tech hub of the universe. He says his country is too poor to pay for a return flight to Johannesburg to attend Nelson Mandela’s funeral. PM Netanyahu could get a return flight for about £1,000 or NIS 5721.77 ($1632.55 ), a mere shekel in the shedloads of money Americans donate to Israel. Given his delight in mixing with world leaders, his fear must have been overpowering- to the shame of Israelis.
Mass opposition to the Begin-Prawer plan for the forceable resettling of Bedouin has led to its being, at the least, postponed and rethought. As the government’s spin on the plan became increasingly frantic – Bedouin leaders supported it…in the Bedouins’ best interest… opposition just foreign rabble-rousers … Begin himself delivered the coup de grace: he had never consulted the Bedouin on the plan and they had never agreed to it.
The MDA (‘Israeli Red Cross’) had set up stall in the Knesset to collect blood from MKs. Loyal citizen and Yesh Atid MK Pnina Tamano-Shata went along to donate. Her blood was refused because she has “the special kind of Jewish-Ethiopian blood”, a blood-type unrecognised anywhere else. Most politicians and media outlets deplored the insult. A pernicious article from the Jewish Press, heaving with misinformation, justifies the decision – to protect Israeli blood from ‘contamination’.
It used to be a FAQ: how could the country which had produced so many fine intellectuals and artists also have produced mass irrational race hatred? The question is reiterated by a new semantic analysis of antisemitic letters which show that educated Germans are as likely as the uneducated to write hate letters about ‘you Jews’. This, says Schwarz-Friesel, can be distinguished from criticism of Israeli policies by phrases like “For the last two thousand years, you have been robbing land and killing people!”
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.