This is about the efforts to create a city-wide alliance of Arabs and Jews on a left-wing programme with an especial emphasis on housing and racism. Although the small details of different groups may make it a difficult read, those details also show how immensely difficult it is in Israel, with its hugely fragmented body politic, to create a broad leftwing alliance.
What will happen when the Jewish privilege of disenfranchised Israeli Jews disappears entirely? Will they turn to the anti-colonial cause, or to fascist reaction?
We don’t need to argue about Balfour or show title deeds to prove we exist. We simply need to show the historical maps of Palestine says historian Salman Abu Sitta, who has made this his life’s work. He has had no help or interest from the Palestinian leadership, about which he is scathing. “In the absence of true representation of Palestinians, the Israeli regime has gone wild. It removed every mask from its face. It became openly racist”.
Having passed his 90th birthday Uri Avnery has become one of the best-known advocates of ‘the two-state solution’ as necessary, feasible and desirable. Here he is interviewed about his long life as a peace advocate – after fighting for Israel in 1948/49 – and why he remains optimistic. Plus his own column about whether the Israel that will exist is one his generation’s grandchildren will want to live in.
Like many investigative journalists, Boston-born Max Blumenthal thought that if he put the facts out there, the public would respond. Not in America, not about Israel. So he tried again with his book Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel aimed specifically at an American audience that doesn’t want to know. Even though Christian Zionism is ‘Israel’s safety belt’. Here, he is interviewed on the book for Democracy Now.
In a interview with Ceasefire magazine, Noam Chomsky talks of the few choices the Palestinians have been left with and the pleasure in Israel that Syrians are destroying their own country.
This is Al Jazeera’s summary of a 45-minute interview Daniel Barenboim gave to Sir David Frost. The interview covers his early life in Argentina, the family’s move to Israel and his marriage to Jacqueline du Pre. His recognition of the issue of the political status of Palestinians came with Black Setember, 1970, and PM Golda Meir’s comment ‘there are no Palestinians. We are the Palestinians.’ He tells us what he and Edward Said hoped to achieve with the creation of WEDO – the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.
The daughter of Edward and Mariam Said grew up in New York doing American things while her family talked Palestinian politics. Now an adult writer and performer she talks about why theatre, therapy and telling her story have given her a way of connecting to her Palestinian-Lebanese heritage.. She hopes her memoir and her one-woman show ‘Palestine’ bring out the importance of personal stories for those who fear politics.
An interview with Norman Finkelstein provides an informed, thoughtful, hard-headed and provocative perspective on what he agrees is “a potentially historic moment”. International public hostility to Israel’s occupation, backed by an international legal consensus, coincides with the Palestinians now being “the weakest they have ever been…” And yet, Finkelstein finds room for optimism and wonders if a popular Palestinian movement can yet arise to force a positive outcome.
Michael Sfard co-founded the human rights organisation Yesh Din in 2005. What drives him, he says, is anger that the tradition of Jewish values is being abused and that a dual legal system has been created in Israel with the express purpose of exercising dominion over Palestinians. He fears that there will be an increase in Israeli offences against human rights during the attention-taking peace talks.
To outsiders, ACRI is one of Israel’s most impressive NGOs, producing meticulously researched reports and advocating for people who do not have the power or money to assert themselves. But unless ACRI can extend its support,executive director Hagai El-Ad fears that the majority will get the undemocratic and unjust laws that they want. +972′ s Matt Surrusco interviews El-Ad in the first of a series on difference-makers.
Judith Butler is revered for her original political thinking and scorned for her activist criticism of Israel. On the publication of her new book, ‘Parting Ways, Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism’ Ray Filar questions her about her commitment to Jewish/Palestinian cohabitation; it may seem impossible but it’s the only ethical and necessary path to take. In a review, Joseph Finlay asks why purism has superseded her usual playfulness.
Establishment Jewish bodies say the movement for BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) is puny and ineffectual. So why is one of the most right-wing and powerful of all putting all its might into a campaign to convince young American Jews to desist as BDS ‘delegitimises’ Israel? Do they believe something they’re not telling us? UPDATE Netanyahu and ‘Jewish millionaires’ join in.
The success of the young wedding-singer, Mohammed Assaf from the Khan Yunis refugee camp in the Gaza, in the pan-Arab singing contest brought exultant crowds on to the streets in West Bank cities, East Jerusalem and Gaza city. Assaf is a new symbol for Palestinian identity and Palestinians flocked to microphones to say he is a rocket for peace, a nightingale, a uniting figure, peaceful. Islamist leaders harrumphed in disapproval.
In order to enforce their control over Palestinian lives and land the Israeli state has to send thousands of its young people to do the dirty work. Though the aim may be to humiliate and diminish Palestinians the effect is also to degrade and corrupt the Israeli soldiers who, interestingly, all seem surprised by what they see and what they are expected to do to maintain their ‘superiority’. Three women testify to what they saw and felt.
One of the oddest groups to have come to life in recent years is the ICCA – the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism. Little-known outside the world of Commonwealth parliaments (mainly Canada and Australia) and the Israeli foreign ministry, it seems to do little, and that little is to slap down criticisms of Israeli policy as the ‘new antisemitism’. Its Declaration has been signed by the Labour, LibDem and Conservative party leaders.
Shlomo Sand, again kicking up controversy, says no. He sees nothing identifiably Jewish in such icons of Jewish culture as Einstein, Marx and Freud – and nor can the governors of Israel define what being a ‘Jewish state’ means outside religious terms. Except that it means not being an Arab. And does Jewish (i.e. Slavic Yiddish) humour raise a laugh among Iraqi Jews? All the customs which may connect Jews are based on Judaic religious practices, the only distinct definition of Jewishness which he thinks is legitimate.
Amira Hass, described in one of these TV interviews as “one of the greatest truth-seekers of them all” defends in the interviews her view that Palestinians have a right to throw stones to resist the occupation. “The main thing” she says “is to concentrate on the violence of the ruler”. Introduction and links to these interviews, plus an article from the settlers’ paper Israel Haayom about the Yesha Council’s (settlers) decision to sue Ha’aretz and Amira Hass.
Last February Khaled Meshaal, political leader of Hamas left Syria to live – via his first, brief, visit to Gaza – in Doha. There, in the Qatari capital, he is interviewed by Foreign Policy magazine. He gives brief explanations on why Hamas left Syria, and his opposition to making any concessions until Israel shows itself ready to end the occupation. It is less revealing than other interviews he has given but is, perhaps, a message to an American audience that he is a human being who believes in democracy and human rights – but is unflinching about the priority of ending the occupation.
This is a harsh judgment on the Palestinian leadership, while acknowledging the power of the occupation. Roger Cohen describes the PA’s paralysis and Fatah as ‘a revolutionary party that has exhausted itself; ossified and murky’ with an appetite only for ‘sweet deals’; Salam Fayyad, whom Cohen is interviewing, describes Fatah’s leaders as casual, lacking seriousness or strategy, hostage to their own rhetoric. That rhetoric is all that engages the Palestinian people.
The long-known history of Jewish emigration to, and rule of, the Khazari kingdom, and the mass conversion to Judaism of its Turkic people, is just one item restored to prominence by Shlomo Sands (below). The Zionist message of Jews’ unshaken biological line to Israel is not true. Other evidence of 8thC Jewish converts is given.