Between Thursday 17th and Saturday 19th July, hundreds of thousands of people round the world went out on to the streets to protests against Israel’s killing of people and destruction of homes in Gaza. BBC reports from London and Glasgow, photos of the demonstrations round the world.
In a new statement, JfJfP’s executive committee condemns the horrific bombardment of Gaza and says it must be ended “immediately and unconditionally” in line with Jewish values and international law. The British government should use all possible means to hold Israel to account.
JfJfP Exec has issued a statement deploring “all use of children and young people as political pawns and bargaining chips in international disputes. We condemn the kidnapping of the Israeli Jewish teenagers Gilad Shaarh, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrah. But we also condemn the Israeli government’s exploitation of their disappearance in order to impose an illegal collective punishment on the Palestinian people and to attack Hamas and attempt to wreck the new Palestinian unity government.” Israel’s use of ‘administrative detention’ also amounts to the routine kidnapping of hundreds of Palestinians, adults and children.
This is a posting about, and reflecting, the serious concern in JfJfP for arguments in books about human relationships with the idea and reality of Israel. Details of the London launch of Norman Finkelstein’s new book and/or reviews of this and of Ari Shavit, the book he is attacking, by signatories Deborah Maccoby and Avi Shlaim.
On April 9th, Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Select Committee announced it was holding an enquiry into the human rights work of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). It invited submissions and, on behalf of JfJfP Arthur Goodman submitted a report, It emphasises the human rights which Israel abrogates, argues that the ‘even-handed’ approach of the FCO covers up the reality of Israel’s occupation and power (including its use of violence) and proposes stronger measures to be taken.
As we know, so shocked was the Israeli government at the EC guidelines forbidding EU funds and financial instruments being given to Israeli entities in the oPt that it demanded an inquiry. These Guidelines are the single most important step the EU has taken against the economic and political viability of the Occupation. We post four letters sent by JfJFP’s campaigning diplomat Arthur Goodman and by the EJJP to EC and American diplomats urging them to understand, take seriously and enforce those Guidelines.
The programme ‘Jerusalem: An Archaeological Mystery Story’ made by Israeli director Ilan Ziv, was pulled from the schedule at the last minute last April. The BBC said it did not fit editorially with its archaeology season. Although it is true that archaeology is a politically loaded subject in Israel/Palestine, the BBC knew this before it commissioned the film. Presumably someone higher-up had a fit of panic on actually seeing it. PSC leads the charge against the BBC. JfJfP signs the letter asking the BBC to explain its decision.
The subject of prisoners’ rights has a whole different meaning in the oPt beginning with how a Palestinian becomes a prisoner in the first place. The use of administrative detention to arrest and hold them, the illegal transfer of prisoners to Israeli jails, the slur of ‘terrorism’ to cover any form of (elsewhere) legal protest, the denial of medical care until the health of a protesting hunger striker is wrecked. Addameer (Arabic for conscience) is the main prisoners’ rights NGO and its head, Sahar Francis, is touring the UK. Sponsored by JfJfP, PSC, LPHR.
Jewish Voice for Peace has initiated a public letter to President Obama asking him to act on an obvious principle: Israel should not receive state money from the US (or any country) if it does not comply with national and international laws. This follows a letter from 15 Christian leaders saying ‘unconditional U.S. military assistance to Israel has contributed to this deterioration (of peace prospects)’. JfJfP endorses the public letter to Obama. To sign, click on link in posting. The letter will be delivered on Inauguration Day, January 21.
As we said last week, it is expected that Israel’s Supreme Court will overturn the election committee’s ban on Ms Zoabi standing in the January Knesset election. The CEC’s decision, and the support it has received inside Israel, reveals racist, misogynist and deeply parochial attitudes towards political democracy. JfJfP condemns this latest act of discrimination.
JfJfP wishes all our signatories, supporters and readers a happy Chanukah, which lasts from sunset December 8 to sunset December 16 this year.. It is a festival of light formally commemorating resistance against Greek domination. We note the reverse from being a weak, dominated people to one part of Jews – Israel – using a powerful army at Chanukah 2008 to launch Operation Cast Lead. So it’s a celebration with sadness and regret.
On behalf of JfJfP Diana Neslen and Arthur Goodman write to Foreign Secretary William Hague objecting to his assertion that Hamas bears the main responsibility for the current crisis and citing the many Israeli assaults on Palestinian life and the truce potential preceding the barrage on Gaza.
In a terse statement in the trade media, Veolia announces that it has ended its 4-year sponsorship of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition. The petition against this wildly inappropriate sponsorship by a law-breaking, waste-dumping company was started by Richard Kuper and JfJfP. 1,175 had signed by 18 Nov – the petition is still running!
Demonstration this Saturday, 24 November, demanding an end to the siege of Gaza. Assemble 12 noon at Downing Street. Organised by Palestine Solidarity Campaign with support fom JfJfP and many others.
Ronnie Fraser, Barnet college lecturer and founder-director of Academic Friends of Israel, is suing his union, the UCU, for ‘victimising’ him through voting that the draft EUMC definition of antisemitism conflates antisemitism with criticism of Israel. 1,JfJfP supports the UCU against this ‘dictatorial’ action of Mr. Fraser 2, JC report from tribunal, 3, about AFI.
The ship Estelle was carrying a cargo of people and humanitarian aid to the people of the besieged Gaza strip when it was seized by the IDF and taken to Ashdod where people and cargo were impounded. Contrary to claims by IDF spokesmen violence was used. There is no legal reason why unarmed people should not be free to visit independent Gaza.
The proposed trade agreement between the EU and Israel, known as ACCA, which centres on pharmaceuticals, is coming before the European parliament on September 18. MEPs have the power to give their assent to the new protocol, which would allow Israel free access to the EU single market, or to withhold it. JfJfP endorses the campaign to press MEPs to suspend their vote on the ACAA protocol. Get writing!
The Board of Deputies, the ‘establishment’ body of British Jews, has launched an attack on the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel, a World Council of Churches initiative which supports Palestinians under attack. The sudden move seems to be a response to growing public antagonism to the Occupation, as is a petition against the Co-op’s boycott decision from ‘We Believe in Israel’. JfJfP issues a statement supporting EAPPI and criticising the Board of Deputies for its misleading attack.
Israel’s Supreme Court has rejected the appeal of two hunger strikers (see post below, Denial and solidarity meet hunger strike prisoners). They are now near death. Only outside pressure will move the judicial, military and political authorities. JfJfP urges everyone to put that pressure on. A petition from JVP folows. Lastly, an account in Ha’aretz of what happens to the body during starvation.
JfJfP with the London Middle East Institute and the Centre for Palestine Studies invite you to the book launch of “In your Eyes a Sandstorm: Ways of Being a Palestinian” by Arthur Neslen, introduced by Professor Gilbert Achcar. Monday 23rd April 2012, 7.00-9.00pm at Soas.