Like JfJfP, America’s Jewish Voice for Peace feels part of the Jewish community even though it is exiled by the establishment. And, as their recent conference reports, the increase in the number of their supporters has outstripped AIPAC and JStreet. That is, the overwhelming issue for conscientious Jews is how Jews treat the downtrodden, viz, Palestinians. Real change.
Israel’s 2014 assault on Gaza produced the most devastating effects – Palestinian lives lost, lives injured, homes destroyed – since 1967 according to figures compiled by the UN’s Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The facts speak for themselves.
One old hand at JfJfP postings said last week that she gave up because all the news and opinions were the same old same old. This can seem true to readers and posters alike. But there is something new this week. The contemporary breakdown of trust and conversation between the political leaders of the USA […]
What a tragic irony that the songs many Americans used to sing at seder – Go Down Moses – as a recall of the time Jews were hold as slaves by Egypt’s Pharoah has now been reclaimed by young American Jews as a demand that the Palestinian people must be let go free. Passover this year is April 4-11.
Independent Jewish Voices held a highly productive and thought-provoking conference last week. No one came with set positions to press or defend, allowing a range of possible strategies to be considered though at the heart of these was the question of Palestinian rights and how these could best be realised. Dr. Anthony Isaacs. a retired doctor and member of IJV as well as JfJfP signatory, reports on the event – thoughts on pragmatic steps (and a few jokes).
US-Israel relations are at an all time low, kicked into a pit by Bibi’s declaration that there would be no Palestinian state. Up till now, he had kept up the pretence to the US that he was serious about a peace deal. And because US strategy for the MidEast depended on believing this, they were kidding themselves – as John Kerry must have finally realised.
Free speech is what distinguishes the modern world from the Islamic. A conference at Southampton university on ‘International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism’ has been condemned by the usual suspects who have called on the university admin to cancel it. This new university follows one of the oldest, Oxford, in thinking Israel is beyond the pale. Too many dead bodies in Gaza,
In a quick overview of Jews in Britain Tablet magazine harangues the left for pushing policies against the existence of Israel. In fact, Labour is true to the Balfour declaration (see post) which specified that ‘nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious’ rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country’. Those who appeal to the Balfour declaration appear not to have read it. To criticise the idealised Israel is not to wish for its extermination. Obviously.
Most European parliaments have voted to recognise Palestine statehood. Most European governments have not only ignored the elected representatives who put them in power; they also ignore EU guidelines on trade. It is about time all these leaders who trumpet principles like ‘British values’ acted on them.
Despite Netanyahu’s hysteria-inducing message (Arabs are coming out in droves) it is estimated that 3-5% of Arab Israelis voted for Likud as usual because they have some personal link to the party though the large majority voted for Joint List. But all Arab-Israelis agree that there is deep inequality between their and Jews’ living conditions. They expect the PM to show his remorse or good will by actions to reduce the disparity.
Here there is a long jeremiad by Jeffrey Goldberg convincing himself that European Jews are all doomed and had better move to Israel (where more Jews were killed in 2014 than in all Europe). He squeezes a few facts to get the juicy points he wants and ignores the rest. He never mentions the history of French colonialism in N. Africa which left a strong legacy of Arab hostility to the French state. Antony Lerman delivers a sharp, and informed, rebuke.
The EU is donating €3.5 million for infrastructure projects in Area C of the West Bank. Water supply, roads, education and medical amenities are all lacking and often destroyed by the IDF. In a sharp rebuke, Michael Köhler, who signed the agreement with PM Hamdallah, said Israel was not meeting its obligations as the controlling power to Palestinian people.
The student body in J Street (pro-peace pro-Israel) has rebelled against the role of rich right-wing donors in the Jewish campus organisation, Hillel. This is the second rebellion against Hillel following the creation of Open Hillel as a body where students could discuss BDS and Palestinians.
In this new era of undiplomatic hostility between the US and Israeli governments, the President’s Chief of Staff tells the J Street conference that the occupation – yes, he used the word – must end and that negotiating with Iran was the best and proper way to contain Iran’s supposed ambitions.
Netanyahu’s whole premiership and successful election campaign were based on tales of an imminent threat from Iran. He is now furious, not so much at the P5 talks with Iran but that Israel’s security is not the defining issue in those talks. WSJ reveals the extent of the snooping.
The US-Israel relationship was poor before the election, made worse by Netanyahu’s visit to Congress and plunged after he promised there would never be a Palestinian state. Barak Ravid explores the growing chasm.
For the first time ever, the US may not back Israel. The Obama/ Netanyahu conflict makes the prospect of UN recognition of a Palestinian most unclear. It was assumed the US would block it at the UN. But such is the hostility between Obama and Netanyahu, this may not happen. What will the rest of the world do without US leadership?
Jonathan Freedland may or may not be accurately described as a Liberal Zionist. but here his distress at Netanyahu’s victory is visceral. Jonathan Freedland says Bibi won, in part, by invoking popular fear of The Arab and rejection of a Palestinian state. Thus he pulled in the right-wing vote for Likud. That put him beyond reach of western powers who want to find a way to reconciliation – but will popular opinion respond?
Arguments among Jews in Britain about Israel can be hostile, unforgiving, discarding factual evidence for emotive assertions, Hannah Weisfeld, the unreligious founder-director of Yachad wanted to change that. Here she is interviewed by a sharp-witted Mehdi Hasan on what can and can’t be said if one is ‘pro-Israel, pro-peace’.
In 2010 the Cambridge Union debated “Israel is a rogue state” . It was defeated by 74% of those voting. The same motion was debated this March with the result Ayes 51%, Noes 19%, Abstentions 30%. There are rational arguments against this definition of Israel but those used sounded more like an ancient chant of faith than any engagement with facts and reason.