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.
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.
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
In this interview with Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN’s veteran diplomat utters some frank and hard-hitting judgments on the US’s role in the Middle East: it has been naive, without strategic thinking and unable to distinguish between different Arab nations.
‘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.
This account of how news reporting about Israelis/Palestinians ignores the latter but attributes all agency, and fault, to the former is by former AP correspondent Matti Friedman, a Canadian domiciled in Jerusalem. Its mix of perceptive points and increasingly contentious argument provides an insight into the beleaguered feeling of Israeli Jews.
This is one of the more brazen bits of hasbara yet produced by the Israeli state. There is no blockade. Goods move freely in and out of the Gaza strip. What’s the problem? In the post below, Gisha responds, and here an uncommitted journalist from Vox-com looks at limits on freedom of movement and trade in Gaza.
Prof. Zeev Sternhell, an authority of the rise of fascism in France, defines fascism as a rejection of, an assault on, enlightenment values. In the regime’s treatment of the Palestinians and of Jewish dissidents, in the submission of intellectuals to government orders and the blind following of the masses, Prof. Sternhell sees signs of fascism, and certainly the end of Zionism as he understood it.
As a means of denying Palestinian statehood and the Oslo Accords , the strategy of keeping Gaza as a locked-in enclave, separate from the West Bank has had partial success. Longer-term it is unsustainable as the proportion of unemployed, angry young men increases. The economic warnings are being ignored by Israel’s security chiefs; their interests would be best served by the very thing they are trying to destroy – a unity government whose writ runs throughout Palestine.
Michael Sfard shows how the IDF has redefined the laws of war, challenging any differentiation between military targets (which are legitimate) and civilian targets (which aren’t) and undermining the principle of proportionality, which forbids attacking even a legitimate target if the anticipated harm to civilians is excessive in comparison to the military benefit from the target’s destruction has gone. The IDF interprets the laws of war in a way that is “shockingly different” from the general consensus worldwide.
Serious proposals from Jimmy Carter, former US President, and Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and UN Commissioner for Human Rights. As they say, ending this war in Gaza begins with recognizing Hamas as a legitimate political actor; the international community’s initial goal should be the full restoration of the free movement of people and goods to and from Gaza through Israel, Egypt, and the sea – and more…
There has been some hysteria in recent weeks about “a tide of antisemitism” engulfing Europe in the wake of the war on Gaza.
Here Tony Lerman republishes a piece by Stephen Belier which reflects on what is happening: “Let us call these protests ‘anti-Israeli’, ‘anti-Zionist’, or even, at a stretch, ‘anti-Jewish’, but I do not think they have the same causation as historic antisemitism, and it is misleading to continue dragging this term in here.”