Operation brother’s keeper: In pursuit of its attempt to destroy Hamas – for which the lost boys are an excuse – the IDF makes military preparations for further strikes into Gaza, the Israeli press whips up hatred with false use of photos, Hamas and Fatah are pulling apart and Israeli youth spew calls for murder on Facebook. It is all extremely ugly.
This is a rupture in the normalcy of Israeli society. It can be used, says an angry Avraham Burg, to see the true nature of things from the specious and hollow words of its leaders to the reality of seizing control of an entire nation – and acting as though they they cannot be seen or heard, talked about or talked with, by us.
The disappearance of three Israeli boys has produced almost universal shock – presumably the aim if it was an act of kidnap. On Netanyahu’s side there are calls for revenge, punishment and the once-and-for-all destruction of Hamas (and thus the Palestinian Unity Gov’t) – Richard SIlverstein predicts an attack on Gaza; on his critics’ side there are sad and angry comments about what does Bibi expect when he will not dignify Palestinians with serious talks, let alone the right to live freely.
The tradition of Jewish involvement in progressive movements may seem to have withered as more Jewish groups settle into the establishment; Jewish campaigns against Israel’s occupation and siege of Gaza can paralyse other Jews with uncertainty. But here we have a rabbis’ letter urging us all to stay true to the Make Poverty History ambitions while Michele Hanson and chums can’t abandon a life of protest – even if online like this website – is the only feasible option.
The headline refers to Israel’s religious right, the subject of Ofer Zalzberg’s article though it could be applied to all religious dogmatics including Muslim ones, also excluded from any peace talks. Those involved in the peace-making business for the last decades have excluded the religious as too irrational or extreme to join in. Given their domestic sway, this may be a grave strategic error (if excluding of all women).
In a thoughtful and admiring review of Diana Allan’s account of Palestinian life in Shatila refugee camp, Max Ijl recounts how the struggle for power lines has replaced the struggle for political power under the shelter of the rhetoric of return.
We know who was shot dead in the Jewish museum in Brussels on Saturday, May 24th. We know the killer was one man wearing a baseball cap. In the blurry video he appears to be of white, European origin. Although antisemitism seems the obvious motive, nothing is actually known. Which hasn’t deterred confident condemnations of Muslims and European antisemitism. The news has hardly featured in the US where there was another college shooting at the same time, six dead. Or it could be an offshoot of right-wing xenophobia in the Euroelections.
A word has been coined to step forward from the arguments about whether the governance of the Palestinians is apartheid, S. Africa-style, colonialism, European-style or occupation, war-time style. An editorial in the Abu Dhabi-owned The National calls it Occupartheid to name the unique means of dispossessing Palestinians.
This might be self-hating- or self-loving-Jew corner. Like Groucho Marx, Bibi does not want to talk with anyone who wants to talk with him, eg anyone from the PNA or John Kerry’s team. He definitely does not want to be in the club which takes negotiating with Palestinians seriously. He wants to have the last laugh. B.Michael makes the link.
This is a posting about, and reflecting, the serious concern in JfJfP for arguments in books about human relationships with the idea and reality of Israel. Details of the London launch of Norman Finkelstein’s new book and/or reviews of this and of Ari Shavit, the book he is attacking, by signatories Deborah Maccoby and Avi Shlaim.
Jonathan Freedland is well-known and admired in the UK left for his sharp commentary on all matters except Israel says Ben White in a sharp critique . Freedland likens the Jews settling in Israel as ‘the right of the drowning man’. The drowning have no ‘rights’, only needs which others may – or may not – be obligated to respond to. Plus some powerful photos from UNWRA archive.
The odd thing is that the very organisations that claim to speak for all Jews and eschew politics are the ones which practice a politics of pro-zionist uniformity and exclusion of all critics. As can be seen here in the pompously-named and structured Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Their decision to exclude JStreet has earned them near-uniform criticism and is seen as a sign of the times.
There has been more reaction in the US to John Kerry’s use of the word ‘apartheid’, and his apology for that use, than there has been to the failure of the peace talks. Josh Rogin says he was ‘damn right’ to have taped the speech. John Cassidy (Kerry was wrong), and Ben White (he was right to defy the thought police), comment.
Two writers from +972, one from Haaretz take up the debate on whether ‘apartheid’ is the correct name for Israel’s form of rule over non-Jews. In Israel, the separation is less absolute than it was in S.Africa; in the oPt the Palestinians are wholly alien, never to have their national political identity put into effect. Even colonialism – in which the ruled were thought to be in training for nationhood – is too kind a word. And occupation, as has been ruled, is assumed to be temporary. Lost for words?
There are many small reasons why the peace talks initiated by the Obama administration and conducted by John Kerry failed. But there is one big reason: the Israeli government did not engage. If it can continue to deny all political rights to Palestinians, it will. As the blame game/accountancy continues, the PA turns to the international arena.
The latest development in the story of Israel’s scandalous treatment of African Asylum seekers was revealed last week. After denying to even examine most of the refugees’ asylum claims, deporting, and imprisoning those who stayed, Israeli authorities are now coercing them to sign on to so-called “voluntary” return as part of Israel’s arms and trade deals with several sub-Saharan African nations.
Transcript of a Real News programme with Lia Tarachansky
Further comments and reflection on the end of the peace talks: PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Saeb Erekat’s statement on the end of the nine months negotiations period; Faysal Mikdadi’s moving reflections “Betrayal Tinged with Greed and Stupidity”; a Ha’aretz piece “Kerry: Israel risks turning into an ‘apartheid state’”; and Richard Silverstein’s “Kerry Says the ‘A-word’ and Abbas says the ‘H-Word’”
The Magnes Zionist blog is written by Jeremiah (Jerry) Haber, an orthodox Jewish studies and philosophy professor, who divides his time between Israel and the US. Coinciding with the collapse the peace talks he asks the unaskable question: “What if the Global BDS Movement Were to Achieve Its Goals?” He is not fazed by his answer – even from a Zionist point of view – finding its aims to be both much more moderate and more moral than the status quo within 1967 Israel…
One of Palestin’e most incisive political thinkers, Rashid Khalidi, talks to Philip Weiss of what options the Palestinians now have. He is less hopeful of NVDA (see posting above), has no hopes of the USA but does believe that institutions like the EU and ICC will have an open door for Palestinians to walk through – if they get on their feet.
The one who bestows names on people, property, land, processes is the one with the power. So Israel renames the western part of Palestine as ‘Judea and Samaria’, bureaucrats rename the quest for peace as the work of finding a ‘political settlement’ and Putin renames the Ukraine as ‘Russia’. Uri Avnery on the seized power of naming.