Or rather, the particular form of Zionism that faithfully followed US foreign policy from the 1960s was an aberration for progressive Jews in the US argue two writers from JVP; now the young generation can’t accept that their politics makes an exception of Israel.
For Jews in Europe and the USA, Israel no longer stands as either the sacred and redemptive destination or the only safe homeland. Outside Israel, argues Alan Wolfe, Jews can better continue their tradition as bearers of universal values and enlightened religion.
Uri Avnery asks us not to despair at the thought that the next election will bring a further shift to the right in Israel. The government is now pushing such right-wing legislation through the Knesset that it’s increasing the chances of creating a centre-left coalition. If not, it’s ‘A racist Israel of inequality, engaged in an endless war and increasingly subject to the rule of fundamentalist rabbis.’
The great rememberer, Uri Avnery, looks back on the history of Jerusalem, supposedly the holiest of cities and treated with universal reverence; in practice, rarely at peace or a sanctuary.
Yasser Arafat, PLO president and Fatah leader, died 10 years ago, on November 11 2004. In this essay, Hussein Agha and Ahmad Samih Khalidi examine why such an unprepossessing man exercised an authority that has not been replicated.
Once upon a time, says Allison Kaplan Sommer, Israel was the adored new baby of the entire Jewish family (apart from a few wicked aunts and uncles whom she doesn’t mention). Jews were brought together in their desire to see the baby grow and flourish. And what has the spoiled child become? An adult country which is as likely to divide Jews and set them against each other as to bring them together.
Daniel Barenboim’s argument for Germany to come out of hiding and take an open role in pressing Israel is not based on a position that the Nazi holocaust gives Germany a special responsibility, but rather that the disunity within the EU makes it ineffectual, Germany’s commitment to Israel’s security demands that Israel reaches a genuine peace agreement with the Palestinians.
‘The story of the Jews’ was a five part TV series made by British historian Simon Schama and first broadcast on BBC2 from September 2013. It was generally well received – except for its last part which suggested the settling of Palestine by Jews and the creation of Israel was the culmination of ‘the’ Jewish story. Interview with him by Poppy Sebag-Montefiore on the series and his new book .
Prof. Zeev Sternhell, an authority of the rise of fascism in France, defines fascism as a rejection of, an assault on, enlightenment values. In the regime’s treatment of the Palestinians and of Jewish dissidents, in the submission of intellectuals to government orders and the blind following of the masses, Prof. Sternhell sees signs of fascism, and certainly the end of Zionism as he understood it.
As a means of denying Palestinian statehood and the Oslo Accords , the strategy of keeping Gaza as a locked-in enclave, separate from the West Bank has had partial success. Longer-term it is unsustainable as the proportion of unemployed, angry young men increases. The economic warnings are being ignored by Israel’s security chiefs; their interests would be best served by the very thing they are trying to destroy – a unity government whose writ runs throughout Palestine.
Jonathan Freedland is well-known and admired in the UK left for his sharp commentary on all matters except Israel says Ben White in a sharp critique . Freedland likens the Jews settling in Israel as ‘the right of the drowning man’. The drowning have no ‘rights’, only needs which others may – or may not – be obligated to respond to. Plus some powerful photos from UNWRA archive.
I want the majority of the land with the minimum of Palestinians on it says Danny Danon. Government policies are moving in the right direction – but not fast or completely enough. With the failure of the peace-talks, the brakes are off. It’s straight out of the South African playbook
Zochrot – “Remembering” – is an Israeli organisation, whose activists include Jews and Palestinians. It is dedicated to educating Israeli Jews about their history i.e. the Palestinian dispossession on which the state is founded. Next week it launches an I-Nakba phone app which will allow users to locate any Arab village that was abandoned during the 1948 war on an interactive map, learn about its history (including, in many cases, the Jewish presence that replaced it), and add photos, comments and data.
Ian Black reports for the Guardian
The one who bestows names on people, property, land, processes is the one with the power. So Israel renames the western part of Palestine as ‘Judea and Samaria’, bureaucrats rename the quest for peace as the work of finding a ‘political settlement’ and Putin renames the Ukraine as ‘Russia’. Uri Avnery on the seized power of naming.
There was a leftist Jewish story of the creation of Israel – that American/UN support for the new state would liberate Palestine by driving out British imperialism. The debate on John Judis’s book about Truman’s role in making Israel is vitriolic – but some take up his question of why Jews, known for their liberalism, should so utterly have dismissed the Palestinians. Zionism or tribalism?
Israel is an anachronism. By the time the newly-entitled Jewish immigrants had worked out how to run their new state- a Law of Return and a Citizenship law – to ensure Jewish privilege, settler colonialism was being abandoned elsewhere as unworkable and unjust. In her highly-praised new history Shira Robinson argues that these laws perpetuate Jews’ settler status – it’s what gives them their privileges. Philip Weiss interviews her.
Tony Benn was the most English of men. His involvement in foreign politics was an extension of his domestic politics – a fervour for true democracy and against the silencing of injustice. In 2009 as Operation Cast Lead came to its gruesome end the Disasters Emergency Committee ran an appeal, as it does, for those whose lives had been shattered. The BBC management uniquely decided not to run it. In an interview on the BBC, Benn twice reads out the address for the appeal, making clear his outrage at the BBC decision. We salute him.
The crisis between Russia and Ukraine has provoked much talk of antisemitism. But whether or not antisemitism is thought to be a factor splits along left/right lines. Thus Jewish agencies who are usually quick to cry ‘antisemitism’ dismiss the charge, while leftists, who remember the eager collaboration of Ukraine with the Nazis see antisemitism as a key to the conflict. Is this just a Jew-centric view of history or is antisemitism a live force in Ukraine?
This section of a longer article by Nu’man Abd al-Wahid on British imperialism, examines the UK’s role in preventing the formation of powerful Arab states (it failed in Egypt). That hasn’t stopped the Arab dictators from accruing huge wealth much of which has been funnelled into Britain. Preventing the development of Arab democracy is a costly business.
The support of the United States, under the leadership of President Truman, for the creation of Israel is often cited as the decisive factor in what was a very contentious issue. What is less well-known is that Truman was adamantly opposed to the creation of ‘a Jewish state’ as being fundamentally unAmerican. He also complained about the intensive lobbying by Jewish organisations he was subject to – but, as author John Judis says – the lobbying was successful and set a precedent that has continued ever since.