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.
This conference seeks to explore the multiple, complex and inter-related ways that anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim racisms are being constructed in relation to the question of Palestine/Israel. In particular it seeks to examine how the histories of Zionist settlement, anti-colonial and nation-building struggles and 20th century warfare in the Middle East region are being transformed in the current historical conjuncture. Of particular importance in this context will be ideological and political alliances that have emerged locally, regionally and globally around notions such as the ‘New Antisemitism’, and ‘Islamophobia’ and how these relate to racialised discourses against Jews and Muslims. Drawing on the expertise of scholars and activists from a variety of backgrounds, the aim of the conference will be to serve as a first step for building a transversal anti-racist political vision that will aim to destabilize some of the oppositional dichotomies which are currently hegemonic in discourses around Jews, Muslims and Middle East politics.
Adam Keller writes: “Meanwhile, war in Jerusalem. The spark which had set off East Jerusalem was the kidnapping, murder and burning of the boy Mohammed Abu Khdeir, blood feud for the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli yeshiva students. Since then the conflagration had been going on, also in the weeks when all attention was focused on the bombing of Gaza. Every week, almost every day, still more fuel is added to the combustion…”
As the spat between the Obama and Netanyahu administrations plays itself out, Uri Avnery and Gideon Levy look at the ramifications of the “chickenshit” appellation thrown at Netanyahu. This conflict with Obama is one that Netanhayu has provoked and wants, argues Uri Avnery. And, adds Levy, “Netanyahu, at least, is acting according to his ideology and belief. Obama is acting against his – and that’s pure cowardice.” So who’s the chickenshit then?
Larry Derfner writes about the movement to rebuild the Jewish Temple on the site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque: “The Temple Mount movement is and always has been a movement not for religious equality, but for Jewish religious domination and contempt for Muslims and Islam.”
And reflecting on fundamentalist conflicts in Jerusalem in the last few days, Avram Burg, former head of the Jewish Agency and no stranger to controversy in recent years, reflects on what he calls the Jerusalem syndrome, the way in which “Its victims are suddenly possessed by a deep spiritual conviction that they have divine or messianic powers”. It has, he fears, become a mainstream Israeli party…
Beset by declining demand for its products especially in the US, labour disputes in its occupied territory factory at Ma’aleh Adumim, and a developing worldwide boycott movement which claims to have persuaded George Soros to divest among its many achievements, Sodastream is set for a revamp which will almost certainly include closing its factory on the West Bank. Who says targeted boycotts don’t work?
There is a strong current of opinion among those working on Israel-Palestine that the two-state solution is dead. Long time peace activist Gershon Baskin believes otherwise.The Palestinians are seeking recognition from EU countries and are drafting a Security Council resolution which, Baskin argues, has every chance of being adopted. This, together with a growing boycott movement and increasing pressure for sanctions could, believes Baskin, be a game changer.
US government frustration and anger with Netanyahu is reaching boiling point as Israel’s government ignores Washington, particularly on the issue of settlement building. As the head of the Anti-Defamation League told American journalist Jeffrey Goldberg, in quiet understatement: “The Israelis do not show sufficient appreciation for America’s role in backing Israel.” Goldberg and Israeli journalist Barak Ravid speculate on possible outcomes.
The Readers’ Editor of the Guardian comments on accusations of bias almost bordering on antisemitism made against the Guardian, largely by the Israeli embassy, because of its “obsessive” interest in Israel. Jonathan Cook argues, rather “that the Guardian, like most western media, is really only interested in the Israel-Palestine conflict because of the Jews, not the Palestinians”. And Moshe Machover, cited by Cook, takes the Guardian to task for its use of language that obscures the fact that East Jerusalem is part of the occupied West Bank.
“The restrictions are so pervasive and systematic that it almost seems as if the Israeli state has mapped the entire Palestinian economy in terms of input-output relations, right down to the capillary level of the individual, the household, the small firm, the large firm, the school, the university, so as to find all possible choke points, which Israeli officials can tighten or loosen at will. Under these circumstances – which I’m happy to say I have never encountered elsewhere – political and economic development is barely possible…”
Who Profits? is a brave and committed Israeli organisation – a research center dedicated to exposing the commercial involvement of Israeli and international companies in the continued Israeli control over Palestinian and Syrian land. It focuses on three main areas of corporate involvement in the occupation: the settlement industry, economic exploitation and control over population.
Here, just to remind readers of its wonderful work, are two reports from its October 2014 Newsletter
The Cairo donors’ conference on rebuilding Gaza showed the international goodwill towards the establishment of a Palestinian state – but that will only come into being if the rigidity of the US approach is rejected by the EU. At the moment, all the EU is doing is maintaining the fiction of a ‘peace process’ argues Yezid Sayigh
‘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 .
Netanyahu made his success by defining Israel’s primary need as ‘security’ and its primary threat as ‘Palestinian terrorists’ says Ramzy Baroud. Hence a war which no Israelis believe Israel ‘won’, but was not ‘won’, in a conventional sense, by Palestinians in Gaza either. They celebrated not victory but their ability to survive and resist.
Under no possible interpretation of ‘careful targetting Hamas rockets’ , or maintaining quiet in the West Bank, is the careful targetting of water and sanitation facilities excusable. No community can live without potable water. No community can survive without effective sewage disposal. The destruction of these is deliberate and illegal IDF policy. Al Shabaka policy brief.
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