The postings this week are topped and tailed by commentaries on the revelation that so very Jewish is the Jewish state that the most popular name in Israel (Mohammed) has been written out of the statistics lest anyone register the fact of the large non-Jewish / Arab population living in the country. This one by Dr. Hatim Kanaaneh.
Robert Cohen in light-hearted mode brings us a grumpy, censorious Jonah who is imprisoned, not in the stomach of a whale, but an inability to imagine Palestinians as fellow human-beings. Instead, he holds to the frivolous belief that Hamas and ISIL are two sides of the same coin.
Many attributed Israel’s war on Gaza not to the kidnapping of the Israeli boys but to the formation of a Palestinian Unity Gov’t which Netanyahu wanted to scupper. Now the attack has produced the very result it was meant to destroy – the reinforcement of the unity government’s control over Gaza as well as the West Bank in order to facilitate the reconstruction of Gaza.
Amir Hetsroni accepted a post as professor communications at the settlers’ university, Ariel, in the est Bank (which has no Palestinian students). He has been summarily sacked for saying publicly Ariel does not allow academic freedom, giving examples. His own views appear right-wing on some issues but his crime seems to be being an atheist, anti-Zionist critic of the occupation.
We return to the subject of the Hannibal directive because, after days on insisting Lieut. Golding had been captured and/or killed by Hamas, several officers have talked openly to Ynet about their ‘Hannibal operation’. Golding’s death was better than the fear Hamas exercised over the Israeli public by holding Gilad Shalit a prisoner for many years. Richard Silverstein continues the revelation.
It is not surprising that the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, in a special emergency session, found Israel guilty of a variety of war crimes in its on Gaza. What is impressive is the amount and detail of evidence they scrutinised. What is disappointing, if also not surprising, is that most of the Palestinian witnesses could not get permits to leave Gaza to give evidence.
President Abbas is to address the UN on September 26 with a plan to end the occupation of his country by Israel. The first step, one of his advisers says, is for Israel to draw its definite borders – something all Israeli regimes have refused to do, and for international law to be enforced. It is expected the Security Council will veto the proposals.
What life is there for people in Gaza now that much of what little they had has been destroyed by Israei shelling? Many try to escape to Europe in journeys organised by ruthless people traiffickers. On Sept. 6th, in the “worst shipwreck in years”, hundreds drowned when their ship was rammed by a rival smuggling group. Having done so little to stop the siege and bombardment of Gaza, it is time the EU took responsibility for allowing legitimate movement by such desperate people.
In a poignant piece, Noam Sheizaf describes how being the one leftist, the one who opposes Occupation, brings together an otherwise disparate family in the common enterprise of finding him wrong. Answer: leave as soon as possible.
According to the Prime Minister of Israel, the aim of the attack on Gaza was to ‘restore calm’. This aspect of Operation Protective Edge may have succeeded – at tremendous cost to Palestinians. Less remarked has been the impact of the operation in the West Bank – where many Palestinians believe the kidnapping of the Israeli boys was just an excuse to extend Israeli military control – which is causing anything but calm.
The UK’s former Consul-General in Jerusalem, Sir Vincent Fean, argues here that, though there is little to be done to improve Palestinian-Israeli relations, the little Britain could do is recognise Palestine as a state. Amongst other gains, this would confirm the Palestinian non-violent path and have an impact in the EU.
Hamas has claimed a victory of resistance in the recent Israeli attack; now it insists its priority is to maintain the ceasefire so that rebuilding can begin before winter. Donors’ conferences are scheduled but despite reports of money already having been given for recopnstruction there is confusion over where these funds are.
On the eve of Rosh Hashanah, JfJfP’s executive has written a letter to the Board of Deputies of British Jews proposing that it engages more openly and constructively with the issue of dispossessed Palestinians, the Israeli occupation and the widespread opposition to it in Britain.
Popular racism is one thing. Official racism another. Haaretz reveals that, although Mohammed was the most popular name for boys in Israel in 2013 the official list of the 10 most popular boys’ names does not include it. What does such censorship serve? Note: Mohammed was also the most popular name for boys in England and Wales – which is omitted from some lists.
Hackney Council has removed posters pasted up round Stamford Hill, centre of a large Haredi community in North London, which instructed women to walk down one side of the street. It did not specify this order was only for Haredi women, and only for the duration of a Torah parade. Even if it had, publicity for this group’s belief that women exercise an evil sexual power over hapless men might not have added to their reputation.
To which the answer is ‘Not for us’ according to various articles all published, interestingly, from the right-wing Jewish press. There is a long history of Jewish fear of nationalist movements (see posting above) which are associated with ethnic purity (see modern Israel) , xenophobia and parochialism. Perhaps it is this history of antisemitism, or of Scottish support for Palestinians, which sparked the interest of the right.
This is a long, serious exchange between Steven Beller and Doron Rabinovici, hosted and posted by Antony Lerman, on whether or not Muslim antisemitism is contingent on Israel’s treatment of Palestinians or whether in radical Islam antisemitism gives the movement its character, definition and trajectory.
In 2011, the Knesset passed an Admissions Committees Law allowing such local groups to be set up with the authority to decide on who should not be allowed to live in their community. This week, the Supreme Court ruled this lawful, thus making apartheid neighbourhoods and towns official. Excluding Palestinians is the main aim, but the religious could exclude the secular, ashkenazi the sephardi etc thus making concrete the many rifts in Israeli society.
The latest estimate for the weight of the rubble into which Gaza’s buildings have been rendered is four million (American) tons. Before anything can be rebuilt these massive heaps have to be cleared and mov ed – by whom, to where? The UN has brokered an agreement in which it will monitor the use of building materials.
At first, Mahmoud Abbas’ priority of reaching a peace deal with Israel was impressive. Everything was sacrificed to that aim including a referral to the ICC and even elections that would have brought in more belligerent politicians. Israel shunned this opportunity- and now support for the PA president is too low for him to effect anything.