An angry Uri Misgav writes in Haaretz about ‘why I no longer want to live in the most racist state in the free world.’ The state has developed a racist hierarchy of groups. The rankings and exclusions are ‘like the Nuremberg Laws, only in reverse’. For Jews who do not wish to be claimed as members by The Jewish State, One Democracy has launched a petition to make this public.
There are places – Afghanistan, Palestine – where NGOs appear to have taken over the functions of the state and the people – NGOisation as Islah Jad memorably named the phenomenon. It can also seem to usurp national popular movements for change. Here, Fateh Azzam argues that NGOs and popular movements in Palestine should not be seen as two alternative models or realities. A really important discussion.
President Obama has given this interview to Jeffrey Goldberg knowing it will show Americans and Israelis that he takes Middle East peace very seriously, that he and the Israeli PM have sharply different assessments of the players and factors, especially in Iran and Palestine, and that such are the changing times Netanyahu must act to break the stalemate – and only he can do that.
The crisis between Russia and Ukraine has provoked much talk of antisemitism. But whether or not antisemitism is thought to be a factor splits along left/right lines. Thus Jewish agencies who are usually quick to cry ‘antisemitism’ dismiss the charge, while leftists, who remember the eager collaboration of Ukraine with the Nazis see antisemitism as a key to the conflict. Is this just a Jew-centric view of history or is antisemitism a live force in Ukraine?
The number of housing starts in West Bank settlements was at a ten-year high in 2013. As far as the Israeli government was concerned it, and the PA, had agreed to peace talks so it had nothing to lose. An Al Jazeera article points out that the buildings that are flung up in the West Bank – cheap because of subsidy and mass construction – are largely occupied by Mizrahi Jews who cannot find a place, socially or economically, in Israel itself.
An Israeli woman returning from the holiday resort of Eilat with her party of students does not have a high profile as a potential terrorist. Yet at both Ben Gurion and Eilat airports she was picked out for extra checks. This tourist is an Arab. At Eilat her body was felt all over and she was forced to take off all clothes except her pants. The aim? Humiliation. News report and angry editorial from Haaretz on ‘the religion of security’.
The reason for posting several different reports of IDF airstrikes against targets in Lebanon/Syria is that there is no consensus on what the targets were, and why. One suggestion – also made last May – is that Israel wants to find out if any force in those countries has the ability to strike back (no, it seems). Another is that Hezbollah has to be prevented from receiving modern weapons, yet it is also said that because Hezbollah is committed to keeping President Assad in power it has no capacity for opening a new front with Israel. It’s the fog of war – or stormy weather. Perhaps it’s just IDF target practice.
It’s not that difficult to cobble together several discrete groups into an an anti-Islamic horde. By focussing on the most repressive Muslim groups, the Israel lobby can present itself as the defender of gays (outside ultra-Orthodox centres) and Christians (unless they are Palestinian). Richard Silverstein on the lobby’s unlikely recruits, its effort to repress freedom of speech for Judith Butler and abuse of free speech against Israel’s critics.
After Scarlett Johannson’s straw-sucking plug for Sodastream created mass free publicity for the opposition to illegal settlements, Sodastream’s share price plunged. Share-buyers may invest in all sorts of tacky enterprises as long as no-one makes a fuss. Its reputation may be a company’s most precious asset which is tarnished by a fuss. Targetting the shareholders may be the BDS’s movement most effective tactic.
This section of a longer article by Nu’man Abd al-Wahid on British imperialism, examines the UK’s role in preventing the formation of powerful Arab states (it failed in Egypt). That hasn’t stopped the Arab dictators from accruing huge wealth much of which has been funnelled into Britain. Preventing the development of Arab democracy is a costly business.
Haaretz’s Bradley Burston uses Holocaust Memorial Day (January 27) to attack Catherine Ashton for failing to specify any of the groups who were the primary victims. The same seems true of Britain’s Holocaust Memorial Day organisation, although its Life Stories contradicts that. Either way, it is clear that in western Europe and the US Jews are no longer evocative victims and gays are gaining rights and acceptance. Only gypsies/Roma remain persecuted.
Uri Avnery declares his love for three Israeli women: Achinoam Nini, Anat Kamm and Daphni Leef. Who are they? What do they have in common? They are young people who obey their conscience, ready to stand up for democracy, peace and justice, take risks and make personal sacrifices
A discussion of water discrimination in Israel-Palestine. Both the New York Times and Ha’aretz carried reports on the Palestinian water problem. Guess which one was impartial? And in case of doubt, we also reproduce B’tselem’s latest factsheet which asks: Is there discrimination in terms of the quantity of water available to Israelis and Palestinians? The answer is yes. Are there gaps in water consumption between Israelis and Palestinians? Absolutely.
The support of the United States, under the leadership of President Truman, for the creation of Israel is often cited as the decisive factor in what was a very contentious issue. What is less well-known is that Truman was adamantly opposed to the creation of ‘a Jewish state’ as being fundamentally unAmerican. He also complained about the intensive lobbying by Jewish organisations he was subject to – but, as author John Judis says – the lobbying was successful and set a precedent that has continued ever since.
Various forms of nonviolent resistance, which respect international law, universal values and principles and the requirements of a just peace, are gaining momentum in the international arena writes Hanan Ashrawi. In contrast, Israel claims exemption from international law and perpetuates its exceptional colonisation through destruction, imprisonment and contempt.
Historian Avi Shlaim rebukes Michel Gove for attacking unpatriotic accounts of World War 1. Gove is presumably happy with the patriotic myth we still live inside of Britain alone standing against, and defeating, the Nazi terror. Israel’s patriotic myth of standing alone against an organised mass of Arabs trying to destroy it is the foundation of the delusion that Israeli leaders always want to make peace but Arab leaders have always refused.
Talk of AIPAC’s weakening clout in Washington is based on its failure to block Obama’s diplomatic approach to Iran and the expected ‘framework agreement’ from John Kerry. AIPAC’s demise has been predicted before (its power defies rational analysis) and there are other ‘Israel right or wrong’ lobby groups, notably NORPAC as well as the ADL. But tactically Kerry is in the winning position, not Jewish spoilers, hence their retreat.
The publlicity about Scarlett Johansson and the bubble-maker has been a gift to the BDS movement, confirming it is a progressive and popular movement, even though its aims remain unclear to many. Richard Silverstein applies the model of the stages of grief to how the Israeli state is and its supporters are trying to fend off and falsify its aim (which is, uncontroversially, to make Israel comply with international law).
Now enclosed wholly behind ‘separation barriers’ and the (heavily patrolled) coastline Israel is still having trouble finding ways to stop any Africans settling in Israel (Thai and Filipino workers are imported to do the work that Eritreans or Palestinians might do.) Despite the human misery on their doorstep, the country founded by refugees for refugees only accepted responsibility for deciding refugee requests in 2009 – and accepted less than 0.2%.
Khaled Diab questions the value of BDS as a tool for dismantling the machinery of Israeli colonialism, or of any state oppression. It can have the result in making the target more innovative he argues. He does not, however, make a clear distinction between sanctions imposed by states (eg US against Cuba and Iran) and popular movements which encourage the oppressed people and their supporters – see the subversive wall graffiti.