In the sanctification of Nelson Mandela, it is impolite to recall that before he was imprisoned he believed that only an armed uprising could topple white minority rule. For much of his time in prison, he was condemned by many as a terrorist. Easy to forget too what close relations there were between the Israeli and South African governments, sharing the problem of how to keep down the indigenous population and what equipment might best help them. Here, a variety of articles on Mandela’s relationship with Palestinians, with Jews and with Israel including letter from Marwan Barghouti.
For many decades a few – AIPAC, the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League – have stood for the relationship between American Jews and Israel. The failure of these establishment groups to block the interim deal with Iran is a sign that their influence has waned as Jewish and other pro-Israelis have found more discriminating, ways to express support for – or dissent with – Israel. NGOisation?
The fate of the people of Gaza has been abandoned to NGOs, with Amnesty International in the lead. Two neighbouring states, Israel and Egypt, and to some extent the PA, could act to transform the situation, by providing fuel for generators and desalination plants for water. Obdurately, they do not act. Hamas, with little income now the tunnels are closed, and scant authority over the sources of fuel and water can do little.It is left to civil society.
Building new homes for Israeli Jews, knocking down existing homes of Palestinians (including Israeli Bedouin) constitutes Israel’s violent drive to control all land in Palestine/Israel, preferably confining Palestinians to refugee camps. Here, 36 charities and aid groups sign a statement calling for an immediate end to the demolitions. ICAHD and the ECCP issue a more political statement on demolitions, the EU and international law.
Can posh boy Buji – Labour’s new leader Isaac Herzog – rescue his party from decline by creating a new centre-left coalition? He is handsome and articulate, but not popular which may make strategies of finding common ground with smaller parties from left to centre the most important thing he can do. He is for talks with Palestinians. Polls give Likud a large lead on the overwhelming issue of security.
As is the way with men who once occupied the highest positions in the security services Yuval Diskin, former head of Shin Bet, has publicly rebuked PM Netanyahu for putting all his energy into a mock war with Iran while ignoring the plight of and danger posed by angry Palestinians on his doorstep.
These are articles from 2009 included because the posting below – which highlights the issue of pro-Israel lobbying in the UK – does not give names and details. It is unlikely that much has changed, although an analysis of the dwindling support from the once very pro-Israel Labour party would be useful and interesting. It appears that Conservatives will support the Israeli state whatever human rights it breaches.
The Arabs of the Galilee, all Israeli citizens, have lived there a long time. But, like the Bedouin Israeli citizens, this is unacceptable to the World Zionist Organization – an arm of the Israeli state. They don’t want to build more homes for Jews in the existing towns – which would mean desegregation – so new towns must be built to install a Jewish majority. Equality for all citizens is not one of WZO’s principles.
The headline is a quotation from Primo Levi, a comment he made about the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. It is used by Joseph Massad in a discussion of the fraught question of competing sufferings – Jewish and Palestinian. The two sufferings are not comparable because the only purpose of such comparison is to demean or justify sufferings which exist sui generis. One should always stand with victims of racist oppression.
The destruction of Iraq as a dominant regional power, the chaos in Egypt left Israel as the undisputed hegemon. But as Iran is invited to come in from the cold everything changes again. Will Israel accept this – or seek underhand methods to put Iran back in its place as a pariah? Le Monde Diplomatique, Ha’aretz and Al Arabiya examine the options.
If the Gulf states did not control such a high proportion of the world’s oil Israelis would not have been able to present Iran as an ‘existential threat’. But as the Gulf states control such a high proportion of the world’s oil only a maniac would drop bombs on Iran – which could close the Gulf of Hormuz without difficulty. Uri Avnery suggests ways in which Israel could break out of its isolation. Reuven Kaminer says the hawks screech to drown out the counsel of security chiefs.
This is one of several postings on Gaza this week. The reason is obvious. Despite many many warnings from responsible bodies that the conditions of life for the people are becoming dire – beyond anything anyone in Israel or Europe or the USA would find tolerable – no-one with the power to alleviate conditions has acted. Easier to let the people of Gaza suffer than ship in fuel or a desalination plant or even a gift of a few tankers of fresh water.Critical articles from Ramzy Baroud and the Economist, pleas for action from NGOs and Amnesty.
If AIPAC can be said to have a technique it is to finesse a deal so that serving the Israeli government appears as serving the interests of the American people. This was a sleight of hand it could not pull off when American government and people both saw the Iran deal as a Good Thing while Netanyahu loudly fulminated against it as a very bad thing. What to do? Richard Silverstein examines their tactics.
If the Israeli government thought they could just dispose of the Bedouin as they wished they had their heads up their bottoms. On the designated day of rage, November 30, there were public manifestations of opposition to the Prawer plan (no-one believes the Israeli government’s claim this plan has been introduced in the best interest of the Bedouin) throughout Palestine and in several European cities including London, with JfJfP.
The historic deal in Geneva over Iran’s nuclear capability is shaking up the Middle East as much as the Arab revolutions of 2010-11. Saudi Arabia is said to be Israel’s new (only) best friend, but the Saudis can make only secret deals with ‘the Zionist entity’ or lose face with other Arab countries. The same problem afflicts the apparently cordial welcome from Israel for General al-Sisi’s coup. Advisers say ‘Look East’ – but the Chinese will not side with Israel against Palestinians. Everywhere Bibi looks, it’s the Palestinian issue which blocks his foreign relations.
EU countries have taken the high ground about Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territories. But their remit seems to stop short of European companies which continue to accept Israeli contracts for demolishing Palestinian homes (Volvo, JCB), imprisoning Palestinians (G4S), importing goods from the settlements (Tesco, Waitrose) and servicing the settlements (Veolia). Such companies ease the functioning of settlements despite the formal position of their home countries.
The only outsiders who seem to be keeping an eye on Gaza are the Israelis, whose UAVs drone constantly over the rooftops of Gaza. The horrible sound does people’s heads in. Is that the point? Jonathan Cook reports. Otherwise there is only UNRWA to raise its voice about what is obvious to anyone who looks – a growing catastrophe caused by lack of fuel and clean water.
According to Edward Said, serious discussion about Israel in the US was ‘the last taboo.’ Now that has been well and truly broken. This week the association of university professors held an open meeting (packed) to discuss BDS action against Israeli institutions complicit with the occupation. The large majority favoured such actions though this has not materialised in a decision – unlike the Association for Asian American Studies which did pass a resolution for boycotting Israeli academic institutions. Many attribute this great shift to student activism on campuses.
‘We did it through diplomacy’ said John Kerry to Congress in an appeal for their support for the Iran deal. There is significant opposition to the deal in Israel and the US – but how can they oppose it? Why, by calling Lady Ashton ‘ugly ‘ – nuff said. In the US, war-weariness has muted opposition to the negotiations. In Israel, the EU is the convenient bad entity forcing Netanyahu to acknowledge settlements in order to be eligible for Horizon 2020 grants – a programme for which Lady Ashton is also a lead negotiator.
The Palestinian right of return is an absolute slogan for most Palestinians and Israelis – an idealised dream for one and an image of terrifying loss and revenge for the other. Behind the absolutes, Zochrot and academics have been exploring what it might mean in practice.To begin with, suggests Danny Rabinowitz, it should be the freedom to return – implying choice – rather than right.