Netanyahu’s hectic attempt to make the international headlines are souring his relations with many national leaders. He has broken the bi-partisan support for Israel in the US by accepting a Republican invitation to speak to Congress – but upset many by his rudeness to Americans’ President. He is insulting leaders of European nations by suggesting they cannot protect their Jewish citizens and indeed suggesting Europe should be ethnically cleansed of all Jews – in their own interest of course. He is banking on all this pleasing Israeli voters.
In 2015, seven Jews (2 at Charlie Hebdo, 4 at the Hyper-Cacher supermarket, 1 in Copenhagen) were killed by Islamists. The number of non-Jews killed in the same attacks was far higher. In Israel, the number of Jews killed in 2014 by Palestinians was 46. Uri Avnery, doubting the claimed rise in antisemitism, asks why Bibi is making hay out of Jew-killing in Europe and insisting that Israel is their only safe haven.
Palestinians are the forgotten issue of politics – unmentioned in the Israeli election campaigns, let drop by the US and, though European parliaments have been enthusiastic about a Palestinian state, the EU appears to lack the clout to do anything about it. So can Palestinians themselves use diplomacy to press their cause?
Robert Cohen shares the sentiment of our earlier posting on Rev. Stephen Sizer – that he acted foolishly and it was right that we was brought to account. But that’s only half the story. If high ethical standards are applied to the Board of Deputies, who made the complaint, they have many questions to answer on their condoning or turning a blind eye to the wrongs that are carried out by the Israeli state.
If you are an Israeli citizen who cares about Israel and the Palestinians and is progressive opinions there is , says Jerry Haber, one serious option for the March election, and that is to vote for the Arab-led Joint List. It’s running on an anti-racism platform unlike any other party.
The Hamas/Fatah rift which is devastating the possibility of Palestinian political leadership cannot be said to be a political split. From this interview with Hanan Ashrawi, we learn it’s more to do with each group defending its own interests. She tells it like it is.
More headlines for poor Mo. Having ostentatiously dumped Labour last autumn, she has now theatrically declared on LBC radio that such is the curse of UK antisemitism she may have to up sticks and live in Israel (or possibly New York.) She seems to have missed the point that not only is the government absolutely on the side of protecting Jews, but she has new English soldiers for Israel in the BNP and EDL. Sensible Esther Rantzen tries to bring her down to earth (good British soil).
Amidst the American and Israeli outrage about Bibi’s plan to make a direct speech to the American Congress two weeks before the election, Al Jazeera’s Marwan Bishara kept his head and transcribed the conversation he imagines the two leaders had.
Anshel Pfeffer welcomes the place the holocaust has gained in common knowledge. But the corollary of its being publicised as a human tragedy is that it has become a phenomenon that Jews can no longer hug to themselves as their own peculiar history.
President Hollande has offered a contract to French Jews: they stay at home in France, the state will crack-down on Islamist freedom of speech. This is not done in the name of curtailing hate-speech but in terms of security. But he snubbed Netanyahu’s opportunistic invitation to all French Jews to move to safe Israel by saying this would be a victory for terrorism. Plus the 2012 Palestinian statement against antisemitism and all forms of bigotry and racism.
PM Netanyahu has been doing all he can to make Israelis feel they are in danger – Hamas is like ruthless Islamic State, if Israel is a ‘beacon’, that can only be because it’s in a dark and barbarous region, no Israeli is safe from the ‘lone wolf’ attack etc. It is on these assumptions, spoken and implicit, that Bibi is basing his electoral campaign.
Setting his argument in the context of rampaging capitalism and imperialism Sid Shniad says western interests created , and still sustain, the gulf between ‘civilisation’ (USA, Europe, Japan, Israel) and ‘barbarism’ – all those who resist, with or without violence, that ‘civilisation’.
Newly arrived from the US, Sara Hirschhorn find British Jews (by which she means Orthodox Jewry) too submissive and too sectarian. She thinks that their anxiety to conform and to ostracise the ‘wrong’ Jews contributes to antisemitism.
Jonathan Cook examines a legal property dispute – settlers build a synagogue on Palestinian land. The court rules in favour of the Palestinians – at which point the Israelis charge them an unpayable amount of property tax. Bureaucracy is again the winner.
PM Netanyahu has decided that the best response to the decision by the ICC to open a ‘preliminary inquiry’ into Israel is to use all means to delegitimise the court to boost his standing before the election (also post below). Any next step by the ICC will make either the USA and allies, or Arab states angry.
The outrage being organised by Netanyahu and expressed by Republicans, especially, in Congress at the effrontery of the PNA’s application to the ICC seems quite disproportionate. An unsympathetic comment from Douglas Bloomfield.
In modern times, Jews are the favourite minority of the British government (getting extra money for security from successive Conservative Education Minister and Home Secretary. In earlier times, Jews’ questionable loyalty to states other than Israel and their insistence on separate education and living space primed the antisemitic charge.
We are sorry to be posting the obituary of Mike Marqusee, long-time signatory of JfJfP, even longer a socialist and a cricket lover since he settled in England. His political memoir, If I am not for myself: Journey of an Anti-Zionist Jew, has been widely praised, especially for his insight into those who are Progressive Except for Palestine.
Incidents of antisemitism in the UK are low. The spike in incidents last summer recorded by the CST meant they were still low. In whose interest is it to exaggerate the threat to the safety of Jews living here? 1) the pro-Israel establishment who insist Israel is the only safe haven; 2) those whose Jewish identity is as the persecuted. Of course there is antisemitism in Britain – but stereotypes (and every social / ethnic group has a stereotype attached) should not be conflated with hostility. And as Anshel Pfeffer points out, to claim that UK antisemitism today is like the 1930s is simply hysterical.
Nothing excuses mass – or individual – killings in the name of Islam, and this post is not intended to. But as regular readers know, the most provocative acts carried out in Israel are the acts of Jewish youth – ‘price-tag graffiti’ and desecration of mosques. In the USA, the usual killers of young white people are other young white people. What ideology is to blame? And, says Gideon Levy, it was not a Muslim who sent him a chilling (and pompous) death threat.