It is reasonable to think the BBC might address different questions to Israeli and Palestinian spokespersons; after all, the Israelis have the power, and the death toll to prove it. In BBC in Wonderland the reverse is true. Amena Saleem records the unbalanced questions and the nonsensical reasons the BBC offers for the difference.
There were fireworks and festivities for Israel’s Independence Day celebrations. But mostly there were military displays, military honours, and the announcement from Joe Biden that Israel, alone in the MidEast, would get the US’s new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. Asher Schechter finds nothing to celebrate.
It’s controversial but W.European countries, including the UK, accept asylum seekers from the militaristic regimes of Eritrea and Sudan. Not so in Israel; as Richard Silverstein reports, the Jewish state returns them to likely death at the hands of psychotic ISIL.
The most fertile land in Palestine is in the Jordan Valley, Area C. It is effectively under martial law which means checkpoints controlling Palestinian access to the land and protection for Jewish settlers who want the land. Long used by Palestinian farmers for growing a variety of crops its appropriation by Israelis does severe harm to the Palestinian economy and is a major obstacle to their aim of a territorial state.
Some Palestinian officials are bitter at an internationally negotiated deal which strengthens Iran’s regional dominance and sidelines their own need for international engagement. Hope is resting in Obama wanting to add Palestinian statehood to his diplomatic legacy along with Iran, Cuba and Arab states.
Gush Shalom took the lead in responding to the Palestinian request for BDS against the Occupation. It led to a nasty new law forbidding anyone in Israel from calling for a boycott. Which led to “Avnery v. the State of Israel”. But, dangerous goods apart, a state cannot tell consumers what or what not to buy. Except in Israel with a newly supine Supreme Court.
Organisers of the Southampton conference on the legal status of Israel lost their court case against the cancellation of the conference. Neither side – those who attacked the holding of the conference, those who chose a deliberately provocative subject, comes up smelling of roses.
We’re not holding a torch for Ed Miliband or the Labour Party but the repetition of the canard that Ed Miliband is anti-Israel is simply untrue as only a few minutes reading what he has actually said would show. If all the right-wing press pretends to think that every Jew, atheists included, MUST be pro-Israel, they are spinning a lie as they know quite well it’s not true. It’s part of the propaganda drive to ‘prove’ Ed is treacherous. Spin from Evening Standard, letter from Glyn Secker.
If you fire a bullet at a child’s face, as Israeli security forces often do, you are likely to damage the child’s sight, even when you thoughtfully cover the tip of the bullet with a piece of sponge. Despite being a leading practitioner of crowd control – with accompanying profit from sales of gear and advice – Israeli police and army have still not found a way of shooting Palestinians without hurting them.
The Board of Deputies is supposedly the most – the only – representative body of British Jews. It has issued a condemnation of the BDS campaign. Robert Cohen writes directly to them reminding them of the Jewish heritage of standing with the oppressed – and asking why they do not once acknowledge that Israel perpetrates an illegal occupation of the West Bank (now in its 48th year) and an illegal blockade of Gaza. Again, subservience to Israel trumps a tradition of universal values.
Perhaps alone among nations, France enjoys good diplomatic relations with the US, Israel and with the PA. It has also been the most hardline on Iran and on Islamist terrorists – who, fear diplomats, will increase their destruction in the MidEast if Palestinian aspirations are not supported.
It’s not obvious what sort of state the Palestinians could have got by now had they really wanted it, as Sever Plocker argues. But the sort of state Israelis want is manifest in the structures, laws and practices of their state – and it is clear that continuing the Occupation is what they want.
In this week’s Signatories’ Blog, Ben Samuel, one of our youngest signatories, writes about how his interest in politics grew and what attracted him to JfJfP. He is standing as the Green candidate for Hendon in the coming election. Obviously, JfJfP does not endorse any political party.
Yaron Kaplan joins a long line of young Israelis who have refused to do military service for reasons of conscience. Most end up in prison which Yaron is expecting. He is unusual because his refusal came mid-way through his service, after his experience of the extreme violence embedded in the IDF’s training and the impossibility of asking Palestinians to co-operate when he was imposing a military regime on them.
Regardless of how much land it seizes, how many Palestinians it imprisons, settlements it builds, international laws it breaks – there are no costs for Israel, hence its drift towards extremism. Whatever Palestinians do to assert and protect themselves, Israel will punish them and tensions will rise. This, says Ghassan Khatib, is inevitable. Only outside pressure might have an effect.
Mohammed Mustafa is one of the competent technocrats appointed by Pres. Abbas to his government in 2013. He was deputy Prime Minister, head of the Palestinian Investment Fund and responsible for the economics of Gaza reconstruction. His sudden resignation has not been explained – though contrary to the Foreign Policy claim, it has received some coverage in MidEast media. It is likely that he felt very frustrated at the blocks to Gaza reconstruction and Fatah/Hamas reconciliation.
Declarations of deadly intent towards, and from, each other constitutes the public relationship of Iran and Israel. In this latest round, Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naqdi is reported by Israeli TV (so far no other news publication has bothered to translate it) to have said yet again that Israel will disappear from the map though whether through its own inherent instability or military force is unclear. Nonetheless PM Netanyahu has lapped it up eagerly as proof that the nuclear talks with Iran should not be happening. Self-publicising Shmuley Boteach uses the speech to liken those in talks with Iran to Chamberlain appeasing Hitler, momentarily forgetting that the mouthy Brig. Gen runs a volunteer militia, not a country. And is pro-Palestinian Saudi Arabia, bombing Iranian allies in Yemen, now Israel’s friend?
When these three experts on the MidEast say ‘few on the global stage believe Netanyahu is committed to trying to find a way to end Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians’ that is an overstatement. Does anyone? They warn the PA about expecting too much from the ICC but their admonition is directed first at Netanyahu for his intransigence and thus opening Israel to a revived delegitimisation campaign.
Like JfJfP, America’s Jewish Voice for Peace feels part of the Jewish community even though it is exiled by the establishment. And, as their recent conference reports, the increase in the number of their supporters has outstripped AIPAC and JStreet. That is, the overwhelming issue for conscientious Jews is how Jews treat the downtrodden, viz, Palestinians. Real change.
In a quick overview of Jews in Britain Tablet magazine harangues the left for pushing policies against the existence of Israel. In fact, Labour is true to the Balfour declaration (see post) which specified that ‘nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious’ rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country’. Those who appeal to the Balfour declaration appear not to have read it. To criticise the idealised Israel is not to wish for its extermination. Obviously.