Anshel Pfeffer: ‘Voting to close off Britain, to turn our backs on our brothers in Europe and our fellow refugees who not that long ago could have been us or our parents, is the most un-Jewish act imaginable.’
When did Jews begin to describe themselves as a ‘nation’? Probably at the time of the first Zionist Congress in 1897, given impetus by Woodrow Wilson’s 1918 ’14 principles’ which included ‘self-determination’. Zionism by then was the movement which defined Jews as a ‘nation’ with a right to self-determination. Robert Cohen returns to problems created for him by the so-called Chief Rabbi who elided Judaism, Jewish people and Israel as the same thing – and a liberal Rabbi who also refers to Jews’ unique right to ‘national self-determination’. What space does that leave for a Jew whose intellect tells him Judaism, Jewish people, Zionism and Israel are separate phenomena?
It has been an unwritten rule, observed on this website, that lightly-made comparisons with the Holocaust are wrong. Uri Avnery, who was there while it was in the making, observed the same rule until now, when Maj. Gen Golan, broke it by making comparison to the making of a catastrophe. Cheers from Avnery.
The Palestinian Museum has just opened near Birzeit university. It is still largely devoid of exhibits – so much has been lost, destroyed or looted by Israeli soldiers and officials. Yet in itself it declares that Palestine has a history and culture worth conserving, an inspiration to the fragmented communities of Palestine. Former director Jack Persekian hopes it will confront ‘taboos and sanctioned narratives’.
The Palestine-Israel conflict has inflamed passions and made many want to support the underdog Palestinians writes MidEast expert Tony Klug. We should all reflect on the critical role Britain and Europe played in instigating the conflict in the first place and all refrain from feeding the poisonous atmosphere engulfing us. Palestinians and Israeli have to live together.
At our table a small selection of items: warm greetings from JfJfP to signatories, friends and supporters; messages from Breaking the Silence, Rabbis for Human RIghts and Freedom Seder and links to other sites; a truncated article dissing the myth that matzah is eaten at passover to remind us that in the flight from Egypt there was no time to let the dough rise. Wrong.
The best hope of Zionism was that it would cause antisemitism to wither in face of the strong Jewish state. The greatest vicitims of this Zionism are the Palestinians. With the fatal conflation of opposition to Jews, to Zionism and to Israel, the demon becomes the Palestinian – and anti-Palestinianism is rife says Jerry Haber, unremarked, condoned.
There is a short report by Ma’an on the US 2015 country report on human rights in Israel and the oPt. Then the report – over 22,000 words which do not include checkpoints, barrier, wall, occupation and settlements except for their illegal boycott. And not a word on the current state of deprivation and destruction in Gaza. It is strong on Israel’s lack of accountability for security actions.
Yes, anti-Zionism can be a euphemism for antisemitism or the fantasy that Israel can be destroyed. But it can also, argues Peter Beinart, be a logical response by Palestinians to their subjugation. He is responding to Lord Sacks who pursues the metaphors of a virus and a scapegoat which exempt him from having to face many facts.
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