oD. Stefano Bellin’s essay in the oD series begins with philosopher and musician Edward Said and ends with philosopher and musician Theodor Adorno. The musical structure of counterpoint is key to Bellin’s analysis of the Israel / Palestine conflict with its mutual responses, repetitions and definitions. There is a discord between being a pariah and an exile and in the contrast between Jews as cosmopolitan intellectuals and today’s turn rightward and inward.
oD. Annabelle Sreberny examines these elements of identity: a reinvigorated Israeli anti-Arabism and its contradictions; Jewish antisemitism and the need to historicise socio-cultural categories; and a possible political recuperation of the ‘Semites’.
The military leaders of Egypt and Israel have long enjoyed good relations, having in common the priority of keeping Palestinians down. This is quite out of step with Arab citizens – Egypt is the most populous Arab country – who, a new poll reveals, have support for Palestinians and hostility to oppressor Israel in common.
The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research is the premier opinion polling organisation in the Palestinian territories. It has just published the results of a new poll showing a shift in Palestinian opionion: a (bare) majority no longer supports a two-state solution.
We carry Ali Sawafta’s report in Haaretz, and full details of the extensive survey itself.
Dror Etkes has been monitoring the settlements for nearly 20 years through a series of roles – initially in Peace Now, then in other organisations. His new detailed report, “Walled Garden – Declaration of Closed Areas in the West Bank” concludes: “The State of Israel is making sweeping use of closure orders in the West Bank for varied purposes, first of all closing off areas for military training maneuvers. Research shows that the continued closure of the vast majority of the training zones does not answer to any military need…”
Robert Cohen gives us an opportunity to replay PM Netanyahu’s recent visit to London where a petition for his arrest to be tried for war crimes was – unfortunately but not unsurprisingly – turned down by HM Government. Cohen reflects wryly on aspects of the visit.
Amjad Iraqi argues that “the only permanent cure to Jerusalem’s sickness lies not just in ending the occupation (the foremost and most urgent step), but in ending the nationalist-religious mantras of ownership of the city in both Israeli and Palestinian social and political thought.”
This week, 14-20th September 2015
The refugee crisis has been making headlines everywhere. Journalist Ramzy Baroud from Gaza looks especially at the refugees from Syria, particularly those from the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp reduced now from 200,000 to fewer than 20,000. (They came of course, originally, from homes in Northern Israel.) But, while countries like Lebanon had accepted 1.72 million refugees […]
In his usual iconoclastic fashion, Uri Avnery argues that from the 1950s Zionism “became a cynical slogan, to be used by anyone to push his or her agenda. Mainly it became an instrument of the Israeli leadership to subjugate world Jewry and mobilize it for their national, partisan or personal aims.” Instead, we must return to A. B. Yehoshua’s distinction between nationalism and Zionism, two different entities in constant conflict with each other. It is time, not for separation, but for recognition that, whatever their “natural bonds”, Israel’s future lies in peace with its citizens and neighbours and the future of Jews throughout the world within their own nations.
The demonstration against PM Netanyahu on September 9th when he visited his friend David Cameron produced many complaints that the demonstrators were antisemitic. Some were, using, as Brian Klug said, ‘the figure of the Jew’ (Netanyahu) to stand for many forms of depravity. There is a particular sensitivity here; President Assad has been portrayed as a child-killer as have other despots. But they have not been persecuted by Christians for centuries for child-killing as the mythical impulse for genocide. PSC makes a strong stand against the antisemitism.
On the books, settlements come under the authority of the World Zionist Organisation, Settlements Division. In practice, they are far too costly and WZO is too decrepit to get the money. So the Israeli state has quietly taken them over and finds that it is owed millions of shekels which it has little chance of ever getting back.
This is a response to Michael Walzer’s essay in Dissent by the Lebanese-American scholar As’ad AbuKhalil. In all the contributions to this debate there seems more heat than light, more fear and anger than curiosity about the other. But if they encourage thought about the replacement of secular politics by religion or by how religion or religious conflicts have shaped our civilisations, all to the good.
Why is this not an international disaster? People in Gaza have no reliable supply of potable water. Houses, hospitals lie in ruins. It is the conflict with Israel which frightens international donors – and development agencies.
More evidence that younger Palestinians in the West Bank, expressing themselves via social media, are entirely alienated from the corrupt croneyism of Pres. Abbas and his Fatah faction. His attempts to revive Fatah’s relevance may be too late.
A history of Zionism in Britain has much useful information but this particular history, published by CounterPunch, seems to have come from the school of Zionist conspiracies. Evan Jones does not distinguish between how ‘Zionist’ is used today – one who believes Jews alone are destined to rule a greater Israel – and how it was used pre-Israel: one with an aspiration for a Jewish homeland. He also sees Zionists at work in the UK without any evidence, defined purpose or names (or footnotes). Read with discrimination.
A snobbish discrimination against Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews by the Ashkenazi elite has, from the beginning, been a driving force in Israeli politics. While the Mizrahim in particular might have made common cause with Palestinians most chose instead to prove a pure Jewishness. Fascinating two-part article by Ran Greenstein.
Netanyahu’s belief that he is leading a world-wide crusade to make Iran an impotent pariah state has crumbled. Not only have the USA and EU turned in the opposite direction, his belief that he could recruit the Gulf states – no friends of Iran – is baseless. They will do no public deal with Israel unless and until there is a negotiated settlement with Palestine.
Where tribal or clan systems are hegemonic, democracy does not thrive. Clans are strong in northern Palestine in particular and President Abbas has had to accomodate them and their loyalties in order to function. The result is rampant corruption which if the PA does not exploit will destroy it. Tariq Dana accounts for this sorry situation.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by UNGA in December 1948. The aim was to establish a universal standard of human rights. International Human Rights Law (IHR) has developed from this. Azeezah Kanji analyses how Israel, by casting Palestinians out from the realm of civilisation, has managed to manipulate the law.
An anguished Bradley Burston, who immigrated from LA to Israel in 1976, has finally had to recognise that the mesh of laws which the Israeli state has amassed to restrict every possible form of independent Palestinian life can only be called apartheid. Every self-respecting Jew should oppose this injustice.