The Journal of Palestine Studies has made a special issue out of Zionist terrorism. Its main point is that terrorism has been engrained in the Jewish settling of Palestine/Israel from the start.
In an article that reads like a short story Liz Rose describes how an adolescent is delighted to discover meaning in the Israel and Zionism she learns about at summer camp along with its erotic companion, discovering one’s own and another’s body in teenage utopia.
The purpose of this article by Jonathan Schanzer for the right-wing Foundation for Defense of Democracies is to show that the failure to reach an agreement on a Palestinian state is entirely due to Hamas. The reason for posting it here is to ensure we know the range of views on why the conflict seems to have no end.
Echoing and responding to other opinions this week [see postings below] Akiva Eldar bemoans the passivity of Israelis, especially its youth, in the face of political injustice. Many have tried, and failed, to right the wrongs of the occupation. Now they have accepted their powerlessness as normal.
As the French historian Ernst Renan famously pointed out a nation is made as much by what it forgets as what it chooses to remember. By razing Palestinian villages, the Israeli state has hoped Palestinian memory will be erased. Noga Kadman, in a book reviewed here, proves how wrong they were.
In his Christmas message, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, denounced ISIL as brandishing a “false apocalypse” in which MidEast Christianity could be eliminated. Cardinal Vincent Nichols, RC, said violence in the name of religion was a “corruption of true faith”. The Pope and the head of the Church of England (Queen Elizabeth ll) also spoke of the darkness being wreaked by destructive forces. This piece by Al Jazeera doesn’t mention ISIL.
Our Signatories’ Blog this week is written by Michael Baron, early signatory of JfJfP and one of the founding parents of the National Autistic Society. He takes a critical but compassionate look at the BBC’s ‘Censored Voices’ in which old soldiers speak of their guilt and complicity in war crimes.
A ghetto can be a prison or a safe space writes Daniel Monterescu in this +972 article. Arab Israelis live in ghettoes – for safety or from town-planning necessity? While the free market has allowed a few well-off Arabs to move into ‘Jewish spaces’, the ‘lumpen-proletariat’ Mizrahim and most Arabs remain confined . That’s also the free market – mixed with state decisions on where to house the poor and unwanted.
James Marc Leas introduces some facts into Israel’s claim that it is always the victim of Hamas attacks and so has no case to answer for war crimes. This analysis refutes the claims of Netanyahu and the HLMG (posting below). And what of the mighty rocket-downing iron dome system?
This is an essay by Perry Anderson, a founder of New Left Review, on the Zionist journey to Israel Triumphant . He examines Israel’s gung-ho application of neo-liberalism, its survival of recent financial crises (thanks to Russian immigrants and US largesse) and deplores the muddle and corruptibility of Palestinian opposition whose chances are small, he says, given the autocratic nature of the rentier Arab states and, of course, the overweening presence of the IDF.
An Israeli TV commercial – marketing property in a ‘white’ neighbourhood when a vulgar Mizrahi family moves next door to proper, Ashkenazi Jews – has been quickly withdrawn. Viewers did not want the attitudes which the ad makers had clearly divined broadcast. Edo Konrad charts the contempt for backward orientals from the foundation of Israel.
In an essay for the LRB Adam Shatz analyses why he thinks ISIL has made its gains – and how President Hollande has helped them and jeopardised the safety of French Muslims. The ISIL campaign has little attraction for Palestinians who want their own nation-state. ISIL wants to abolish nation-states.
Most French and Belgian Jews are still in their home countries. But according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) they should all be hot-footing it to Israel before they are engulfed by a rising tide of antisemitism. Yes, there are serious antisemitic attacks in both countries and pro-Palestinian politics can veer into antisemitism. But, unmentioned by the JTA, France in particular fought a bitter war against the independence movements in N. Africa during which ‘Islam’ gained its political identity. The French Dieudonné is exploiting this in his antisemitic entertainments.
The settler youth who assaulted Rabbi Ascherman of Rabbis for Human Rights told Channel 10 it would not be legal to kill human rights activists but “We need to deter them. They need to be made fearful. They need to receive a blow.” Surprisingly he has been remanded to house arrest. But then he has far-right, Honenu member Itamar Ben Gvir to plead his case.
Tony Blair, on his one-man MEPP mission, has plucked the Arab Peace Initiative (API), 2002, from what Israelis hoped was the dustbin of history. Saudi Arabia, which initiated it, has now dumped it in the same dustbin due to their joint opposition with Israel to Iran. But the API still has traction with many others..
In a long phone interview with Barak Ravid, Ben Rhodes, Pres. Obama’s chief aide and adviser on the MidEast, recounts the points at which an agreement to talk might have been reached. Despite intense US efforts, and insistence that Israel’s security would be enhanced by an agreement, neither leader could shift off his sticking point. A valuable insight.
It’s an ancient debate; does change come when those in power act or when the powerless take things into their own hands (the two are related)? Ben Caspit reports this debate at a cabinet security briefing and pursues it in an interview about the baby boomers with right-wing immigration minister Ze’ev Elkin.
A UN official visits Hebron, the current centre of the violent hostility between young Palestinians and Israeli armed forces and settlers. He reports ‘a complete generation has lost hope in peace’. More than 25 of about 75 Palestinians shot dead have come from Hebron. Palestine’s biggest city has been flooded by Israel’s soldiers, weaponry and checkpoints. The residents live in a state of fear.
The Al Aqsa/Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif compound has long been the centre of violent conflict, overtly between Israeli forces and Palestinians, more covertly between different Palestinian factions and Jordan. Akiva Eldar says that Raed Salah, leader of the Islamic Movement’s northern branch, is now manoeuvring for it to become the dominant Palestinian faction in charge of the holy site. There are few rational voices in this dispute.
The photo of PM Netanyahu staring at Gaza through binoculars with the lids still on is the epitome for David Grossman of Israel’s leadership. Sealed inside its own world, unable to see anything beyond it, feeding instead on the mind’s images of the Holocaust and immanent threats to Israel.