Being black and liberal was not quite enough to unite all the US’s illiberal factions to block the election of President Obama. There is only one force powerful enough to bring them together says Philip Weiss and that is Israel at a Zionist Organization gala.
PM Netanyahu’s hardline stance on protesters in Jerusalem has so alarmed those who want peace in the region – Kerry, the king of Jordan, President Abbas and, by phone, President al-Sisi – that he got Netanyahu to confer with them and agree to allowing men under 50 to visit Al Aqsa mosque. Daoud Kuttab doubts if this outside intervention isn’t too little too late for a PM who cannot see the dangers.
In this alarming article, Tomer Persico examines the remaking of Zionism as an aggressively nationalist and religious movement. Those involved appear to be gripped by an hysterical desire to ignore state rulings and pragmatism and pursue redemption through, amongst other things, building a Third Temple on Haram al-Sharif.
Israel’s reputation has never been lower. This is entirely to do with its occupation of Palestinian territories, its harsh control of Palestinians and, especially, its lethal onslaughts on Gaza. JfJfP’s Arthur Goodman responds to an article on how this has come about with some simple questions.
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.
‘Israelis live in a largely mythic world, a vastly simplified version of the Iliad. In this starkly polarized vision of reality, in which Israelis are by definition innocent victims of dark, irrational forces operating against them, heroic death in war always makes sense, and violent coercion is the option both of necessity and of choice.’ Review by David Shulman of Israel’s attack and Hamas sectarianism.
Access to buses for Palestinians travelling to Israel for work has long been segregated because of separate checkpoints. Now defence minister Ya’alon has ordered that Palestinians travelling home have to go on separate lines. He cites security of course. But his highly symbolic decision appeases settlers – and enrages Americans.
As US-Israel relations have worsened, the superpower’s relations with the PA have become stronger. These two shifts may not be connected, but it is clear to analysts that a strong PA is essential if violence or anarchy are not to subsume the moderate authority. Interview with Mustafa Barghouti on US/Palestinian relations.
The division of the land between a Jewish state and a Palestinian state, requiring the Jewish state to reduce its size, withdraw and make room for a durable Palestinian state, matches the Zionist message from time immemorial writes Sever Plocker. Israelis should welcome the vote of British MPs to recognise Palestine.
Horribly, the reputations of Adolf Eichmann and Hannah Arendt will remain forever linked. Her book on his trial – she saw a nondescript bureaucrat who was, indeed, obeying orders – has been deeply infuential. But further work has shown Eichmann to be a more strategic architect of Jewish extermination than she had imagined. Does this destroy her view of the mass murderer?
This is not our first posting on strained relations between American Jews and Israel and no doubt won’t be the last. The main point made here by Shlomi Eldar here is that young Jews now have a strong American identity and feel affronted by Netanyahu’s misreading of American values – human rights, equality, democracy and acceptance of the other.
The speech on the ‘peace process’ given at the acme of the establishment by Sir Alan Duncan, senior Conservative and former minister for International Development, has had a big impact. He assails Israel relentlessly for its treatment of Palestinians and its ‘churlish’ rejection of all attempts to make peace. He is firm on Israel’s right to exist, without question. He comments on Britain’s non-homogenous Jews – and those groups which receive money from a foreign country. It outraged the Board of Deputies.
Or rather, as the Telegraph’s Peter Oborne argues in this cogent piece, the alternative is Israel leaving the community of civilised nations as it struggles to maintain control over a mass of angry Palestinians through a military-controlled system of apartheid. Surely even the Conservative Friends of Israel, the largest organisation in Europe dedicated to the cause of Israel, cannot wish for this.
The leaders of Palestine and Israel addressed the UN General Assembly in September. Uri Avnery, like other Israeli commentators, has no time for Abbas’ solemn accusation of genocide; he is more dismissive of the Netanyahu’s salesman’s pitch at an international (American) audience, homing in on his ISIS=Hamas claim and other such false equations.
President Abbas addressed the UN General Assembly on September 26th. He needn’t have bothered because no-one listened. While Netanyahu’s speech received widespread coverage, only one word of Abbas’s speech was heard – genocide. Which meant the commentators have not been listening to the wider discussion about whether Israel’s policy towards Palestinians is genocidal.
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 .
This is a more sceptical view on whether or not the Palestinian Unity Government, led by President Abbas, will actually be able to exercise control over Gaza and the Rafah crossing. But the writers in this WSJ article point to the pressure Palestinians are putting on Hamas for evidence, including reconstruction, of achievement in the resistance to Israel.