Another week with some good analysis – and some disturbing developments on the ground. The Ran Greenstein-Robert Fine debate has continued and ranges widely over the nature of Zionism as a national movement, the question of the nakba and the issue of ‘ethnic cleansing’, the ‘singling-out’ of Israel, the nature of a ‘Jewish’ state, and much else besides. Jeremiah Haber casts light on Israel’s ‘Arab problem’. Meanwhile Jewish fascists march through the streets of the Arab-Israeli town of Umm al Fahm with police protection; the schools’ budget is reshaped with monies used for civics classes cut and redirected to Jewish studies; and Palestinian Israelis are to be ‘legally’’ denied the right to reside in a large part of the country of which they are citizens. On the positive side, sanctions against the occupation seem to be biting with Caterpillar refusing, at least for the moment, to supply the IDF with new bulldozers. Read about all this and much else besides by clicking the heading above.
Police weighed in with tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets against Palestinian Israelis protesting at a right-wing march though the Arab town of Umm al Fahm. It was organised by groups allied to Kach, a movement (banned in 1994) that demands the expulsion of Palestinians from Israel and the occupied territories.
Some 1,500 police were reported to have been stationed in the town yesterday to protect the march and special paramilitary forces were used against the Arab counter-demonstration, as well as an undercover unit usually deployed at Palestinian protests in the West Bank…
Amber Fare writes: “I’m one of the producers of a new campaign for UNRWA called Peace Starts Here (www.peacestartshere.org). The campaign features 15 short, personal stories about Palestine refugees from all over the Middle East – which collectively, is not a group that people often see. The project goes a long way to humanize the Palestinian issue…”
Jewish Voice for Peace writes: “The Israeli press is reporting that Caterpillar is withholding the delivery of tens of D9 bulldozers—valued at $50 million—to the Israeli military.(1) These are weaponized bulldozers that are used to illegally destroy homes and orchards of Palestinian families. And they are the very same bulldozers as the one that killed a 23-year-old American peace activist named Rachel Corrie seven years ago when she tried to protect the home of the Nasrallah family in Gaza…”
In a posting ‘The academic boycott of Israel revisited’ a fortnight ago, we carried part of a renewed debate on the topic, with a contribution by Ran Greenstein and a response by Robert Fine. Since then there have been many rejoinders and responses. A lot of the discussion and disagreement does not concern the academic boycott issue narrowly conceived but ranges widely, over the nature of Zionism as a national movement, the question of the nakba and the issue of ‘ethnic cleansing’, the extent to which Israel is being singled out, the nature of a ‘Jewish’ state, and much else besides. None of these issues in new but the Fine-Greenstein exchange casts fresh light on them and approaches them in challenging and respectful ways. We reproduce that debate in its entirety and provide links to the other contributions…
Gideon Levy writes: “The voice of joy, the voice of rejoicing is heard in Israel: The Americans and British have also committed for war crimes, not only us. WikiLeaks’ revelations have inflamed all our noisy propagandists: Where is Goldstone, they rejoiced, and what would he have said? They were relieved. If the Americans are allowed to do it, so are we… Our rejoicing propagandists have changed their tactics now: no longer “the most moral army in the world,” a contention any reasonable person can see is ridiculous. Now they say: “We are terrible, like all the rest.” “
JfJfP has sent a letter to the UK Jewish Film Festival protesting about its acceptance of sponsorship from Ahava, a company based in the occupied Palestinian territory. It is signed by a number of JfJfP signatories in film and theatre.
In the 1990s the Q’aadan’s wanted to build a house in Katzir on government land leased to the Jewish Agency. But they were not Jews. It took 5 years and a case to the Supreme Court to get a ruling in their favour. But Katzir refused to implement the ruling and it took another seven-and-a-half years to get their land. End of story? No: a new bill has just been approved by the Law and Justice Committee of the Knesset. It is nicknamed the “Q’aadan bypass bill”…
Zeek Media in the US “is a catalyst for conversations about the Jewish tomorrow in print, online, and in person”. It has just published a debate between Jewish Voice for Peace and the New Israel Fund on the merits of BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions).
A senior UN official condemned attacks by Jewish “settler extremists” on Palestinians’ olive trees in the occupied West Bank and called on Israel to “combat violence and terror by Israelis.” And Harriet Sherwood reports on the olive harvest.
Jeremiah Haber writes: “Israel’s ‘Arab Problem’ was not the inevitable creation of Zionism, or even of the Jewish state idea. It was created by the specific kind of Jewish state that was founded in 1948, a state that embodied the exclusivist ethnic nationalist ethos of the founders, who passed and implemented ethnically discriminatory laws and policies in the early years of the state – and in recent days.” In subsequent postings he will investigate the various solutions on offer from transfer to replacing the Jewish ethnic state with a liberal democratic state…
Jared Malsin, former chief English editor of Ma’an News Agency, reports on human-rights groups’ reactions to the PA’s decision to keep the Goldstone UN Fact Finding Mission report in Geneva, away from the relatively more powerful UN bodies in New York. “[W]ith peace talks going, they don’t want Goldstone anywhere near the agenda,” said Fred Abahams of Human Rights Watch. So the PA backed a resolution giving Israel and Hamas officials in Gaza six more months to investigate crimes documented in the Goldstone report…
Noam Sheifaz: “Who leans to the left and who moves to the right? which paper supports Netanyahu and who goes after him?”
A short guide to the subtleties of the Hebrew press
Or Kashti reported early in September that the schools’ budget was being reshaped with monies used for civics classes in the 10th, 11th and 12th grades cut and redirected to Jewish studies…
The Russell Tribunal’s hearings on “Corporate Complicity in Israel’s Violations in International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law” will take place in London on 20-22 November. They are open to the public.
Amira Hass writes about Raja Shehadeh and Afif Safieh and two wonderful new books of theirs: Shehadeh’s “A Rift in Time: Travels with my Ottoman Uncle” and Safieh’s “The Peace Process – from Breakthrough to Breakdown”
More on developments within Israel: an Acri review of the Knesset’s forthcoming legislative programme, a Silverstein discussion of a recent opinion poll and two comments by Avnery and Strenger all highlight the drift to the right and the danger of fascism within Israeli society; and Rachel Shabi in Umm al-Fahm reports on the increased pressure falling on Palestinian citizens of Israel. Karma Nabulsi provides a poignant assessment of the parlous state and fragmentation of the Palestinian movement and Tony Karom explores Israel’s demand that Palestinians recognise it not only as a “Jewish state”, but as “the national home of the Jewish people”. For links to these articles much else besides, click on the heading above.
Denis Herbstein writes: “Professor John Dugard, the South African international lawyer who was United Nations special rapporteur for human rights in Palestine for seven years, has been awarded the Peter and Patricia Gruber prize for Justice for 2010. At a ceremony at George Washington University, Washington on October 11 Dugard’s record during the apartheid era was lauded. His human rights involvement with Israel and the occupied territories also featured in the tribute…”
As a result of a Freedom of Information Act petition submitted by Gisha, Israel, having first denied their existence for one and a half years and then claiming that revealing them would harm “state security”, has now revealed its rules for permitting transfer of goods into the Gaza Strip prior to the May 31 flotilla incident. They beggar belief and, as Richard Silverstein comments, “It’s truly worthwhile reading extended passages of the document to understand the true nature of the ghoulishness of Israel’s siege and the way it is imposed and enforced…”
Uri Avnery writes, penetratingly as ever, on the dangers of fascism in Israel. Revisiting the collapse of the Weimar republic we asks: “Why did the German republic collapse? This is an all-important question, because now people in Israel are asking, with growing concern: Is the Israeli republic collapsing?
FOR THE first time, this question is being asked in all seriousness. Throughout the years, we were careful not to mention the word Fascism in public discourse. It raises memories which are too monstrous. Now this taboo has been broken…Not a day – quite literally – passes without a group of Knesset members tabling a new racist bill…”