Tony Blair, on his one-man MEPP mission, has plucked the Arab Peace Initiative (API), 2002, from what Israelis hoped was the dustbin of history. Saudi Arabia, which initiated it, has now dumped it in the same dustbin due to their joint opposition with Israel to Iran. But the API still has traction with many others..
Were it not for the blind hatred of the Israel’s PM claim that a Palestinian nationalist had incited the Nazis to genocide, we might think the Israelis protesting about settlement labelling were being disingenuous. Surely they have got the point that the long-presaged EC guidelines on labelling are in line with the long-held EU ruling that the settlements are illegal. Yet with the honourable exception of Barak Ravid, most Israeli journalists don’t have a clue how the EU works or what its decision-making bodies are. They don’t grasp that the EC is not picking on Israel alone as a country ‘in conflict’. It is responding to the fact that Israel is its one trading partner to keep another country under occupation. So Israelis carry on convincing themselves that all things European are inherently antisemitic.
We reprint this article not because there is anything particularly new in it, nor because we agree with all its protagonist says. But for a mass circulation Israeli newspaper/website, Yedioth Ahronoth/Ynetnews, to devote over 4 thousand words to a broadly sympathetic portrait of a BDS activist is an extraordinary event.
Perhaps something is stirring in the Israeli conscience?
Come and hear four rabbis, from the Reform, Liberal and Mazorti traditions of Judaiasm, speaking out on social justice in Israel/Palestine.
Chaired by Rev Giles Fraser.
Don’t miss it!
A week ago, the Guardian published a piece that unquestioningly reproduced demands from so-called leaders of the Jewish community that Jeremy Corbyn clarify claims that originated with a self-confessed Holocaust denier. Corbyn has answered these allegations numerous times but that didn’t stop them being simply regurgitated yet again. Jews for Jeremy sent an immediate response but, sad to say, the Guardian has chosen not to publish it. We reproduce it here.
1,500 people – far more than expected – flocked through Cardiff to Jubilee Park in a protest for the right of Palestinians to play football free from the political restrictions which make meeting impossible and against the position of the Israel Football Association in UEFA despite rules outlawing racism. A Zionist Federation official provides a most disingenuous response.
We understand the desire for some areas to be outside politics. But, like soft porn, football is used in Israel to display, to its own citizens, that it is one of a family of civilised nations. It is the faux form of normality. This con is swallowed by all those who want to carry on as usual – e.g. the Welsh football team. Colonial rule is colonial rule, even if extreme violence is not used.
A Jews for Justice for Palestinians call to the Chief Rabbi to stand up for decency, humanity and Jewish values by acknowledging that the attack on the Dawabsha family is a direct result of the privileged position granted by successive Israeli governments to the settler communities.
Khader Adnan, now in hospital after a long hunger strike, tells Al Jazeera he refused all supplements, including salt. Politically ‘the prisoners’ movement and hunger strikes in particular are a symbol of the principle and demand for justice in Palestine.’
Hats off (they had to keep theirs on) to those who joined the protest called by JfJfP in Sunday’s pouring rain protesting against the planned demolition of Susya village outside the Israeli embassy in London on July 26th, 2015. Photos by Naomi Wayne.
As Amira Hass and Nasser Nawaja point out, Susya is unique only in the international support it has attracted, becoming the symbol for the precarious status of Palestinian villages. But documents obtained by Haaretz may stay the hand of the demolishers; they prove the Palestinians’ claim to the land.
You wouldn’t know it from the coverage in the UK business press, but the National Contact Point for the OECD (a government agency) has judged that G4S has severely restricted freedom of movement through checkpoints and prison services run by its Israeli companies and thus violated humans rights law. The NCP was responding to a complaint from Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights.
The Executive Committee of Britain’s students’ union, the NUS, has backed up earlier conference decisions with its decision to back the BDS movement. Some will interpret this as a boycott of all things Israeli, others as a shunning of all settlement products and investments. Angry responses make the point that the NUS refused to condemn ISIL – which seems like a small-minded and over-defensive gesture by the NUS.
Despite the dramatic events on the eve of FIFA’s Zurich Congress, the agenda will be followed at the Congress and the Palestine Football Association will put their resolution. But this may not have the impact they hoped for given the media’s focus on the arrests of nine FIFA offficials. They are angry, Israel is relieved. Await the conspiracy stories.
As Ben White points out, Israeli government and media do not understand the importance of football in Europe, Africa and South Africa and so missed the growing support for the plight of Palestinian footballers, whose playing is so restricted by Israel bringing its politics into the game, and for their campaign to get FIFA to suspend the Israel Football Association.
The Palestinian Football Association is preparing its request to the FIFA Congress in May that Israel’s team be suspended from the association. Restrictions on Palestinian freedom of movement and association make it impossible for them to practice in the way players in other countries can and must. JfJfP Executive has written a letter in support of the PFA to FIFA.
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.
Over 700 artists of every variety have signed a pledge ‘to accept neither professional invitations to Israel, nor funding, from any institutions linked to its government until it complies with international law and universal principles of human rights.’
This conference seeks to explore the multiple, complex and inter-related ways that anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim racisms are being constructed in relation to the question of Palestine/Israel. In particular it seeks to examine how the histories of Zionist settlement, anti-colonial and nation-building struggles and 20th century warfare in the Middle East region are being transformed in the current historical conjuncture. Of particular importance in this context will be ideological and political alliances that have emerged locally, regionally and globally around notions such as the ‘New Antisemitism’, and ‘Islamophobia’ and how these relate to racialised discourses against Jews and Muslims. Drawing on the expertise of scholars and activists from a variety of backgrounds, the aim of the conference will be to serve as a first step for building a transversal anti-racist political vision that will aim to destabilize some of the oppositional dichotomies which are currently hegemonic in discourses around Jews, Muslims and Middle East politics.
Israel seems to fear non-violent resistance even more than rockets – it gives the lie to its accusation that all Palestinians are terrorists, shaming it in front of the world. So the village of Bil’in, still demonstrating every week after more than five years against the illegal theft of its land, and joined by a handful of Isralies and internationals, is subject to increasing harassment and physical violence.
Regular demonstrator Roy Wagner reports for +972 magazine