Israel is an anachronism. By the time the newly-entitled Jewish immigrants had worked out how to run their new state- a Law of Return and a Citizenship law – to ensure Jewish privilege, settler colonialism was being abandoned elsewhere as unworkable and unjust. In her highly-praised new history Shira Robinson argues that these laws perpetuate Jews’ settler status – it’s what gives them their privileges. Philip Weiss interviews her.
Tony Benn was the most English of men. His involvement in foreign politics was an extension of his domestic politics – a fervour for true democracy and against the silencing of injustice. In 2009 as Operation Cast Lead came to its gruesome end the Disasters Emergency Committee ran an appeal, as it does, for those whose lives had been shattered. The BBC management uniquely decided not to run it. In an interview on the BBC, Benn twice reads out the address for the appeal, making clear his outrage at the BBC decision. We salute him.
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 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.
Eritrea is a military dictatorship; all young men are conscripted into a very harshly-run army. Those who can escape do, mostly to Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya. A few put themselves in the hands of people smugglers in order to travel north to wealthier countries such as Israel. One such asylum-seeker recounts his journey – which involved imprisonment in Israel. He now lives in fear of being incarcerated in Saharonim.
The Latin motto “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” – who guards the guards themselves – applies to these articles from Jonathan Cook and Guy Rolnick. They are about the huge power wielded in Israel by the network of security chiefs who appropriate a huge amount of the public budget for their ‘security’ wants, few questions asked, and have a stake in continued conflict with Palestine. With the merchants of security equipment they have effectively become a security junta, justifying their power by continuously inflating the risks to Israel’s existence.
Norman Finkelstein, in an interview with New Left Project, gives a very bleak assessment of the current Kerry-created negotiations. He echoes the judgment made frequently in the last few months – that neither Hamas nor Fatah/the PA can provide national leadership for an independent state, that Palestine has lost salience in the Arab world as their own national states take pre-eminence.
Ilan Pappe’s next book is on the history of production of knowledge in Israel, and in this interview/conversation the question of why people know what they think they know often comes up. The beliefs that mask lack of knowledge, or curiosity, become the myths that keep things as they are in Israel – as elsewhere. Interview conducted by Frank and Florent Barat.
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.