In an original argument, Lenore Skenazy suggests that fundamentalists – Judaic and Islamic here – are driven by the need to be different from today’s society and compete with each other to be the most censorious over women’s dress. Followed by news item from Ynet on failure of Israeli police to take seriously a violent attack on Natalie Mashiah by haredim
Holocaust memorial day – 27th January – received little attention in Britain – the Holocaust Memorial Trust ran a Speak Up Speak Out campaign against injustice. In Israel it prompted serious comment on how the state uses or abuses the holocaust as the uniting factor in the country, its only raison d’etre and justification for a state of existential anxiety. It does not prompt concern for others. Articles from Ha’aretz and 972.
Vijay Prashad looks at the Boycott, Divestment Sanctions movement from its emergence in Palestine in 2002 to its current possition as the most dynamic and divisive movemet in current Israel/Palestine politics. As the furor at the forthcoming BDS conference at Penn University suggests, the subject requires serious and open discussion.
28 January is the first annivaersary of the murder of 17 year old Yousef Ikhlayl who was farming family land when a group of ‘touring’ settlers shot him for no reason other than that he was in their sights Despite witness and photographic evidence no-one has been arrested. Bekah Wolf, founder of the PSP, which accompaies Palestinians to their farms, says this type of assault and judicial indifference is the norm.
Despite UN and EU condemnation, only resistance on the ground is putting up a fight against the rapid and repeated destruction of Palestinian homes, community buildings and amenities. ICAHD on what you can do to help the resistance, plus reports from Jeff Halper, the Alternative Information Center and Ma’an news
This time last year, delegates at the Davos World Economic Forum were watching TV coverage of the Egyptian uprising. This year, the new Arab leaders were on stage to reassure them that the new voters want jobs and an open economic system from their Islamic governments, not strict Islamic rule. PM Fayyad said the effect on Palestinians had been an international loss of focus on negotiations for their own state.
The American news channel NBC has uncovered a talk billionaire Sheldon Adelson gave to an Israeli group in July, 2010 when he said he wished he had served in the Israeli Army rather than the U.S. military—and that he hoped his young son will come back to Israel and “be a sniper for the IDF.” This surely gladdened the hearts of his audience if not loyal Americans.
Laws that were originally (1954) intended as an emergency measure to prevent Palestinians returning have been made permanent to keep out North Africans – and anyone else who might spoil Israeli ‘purity’. The other side of locking Palestinians and Africans out, or up in the world’s largest detention centre, is that Israelis are immuring themselves in the cleansed space inside massive walls and barricades.
Peter Jenkins, Britain’s former representative at the International Atomic Energy Agency, says that the West should grant what Iran wants – to be treated as an equal partner in the nuclear non-proliferation treaty – in exchange for accepting IAEA safeguards over its nuclear enrichment programme. Last November, Palestinians at Gaza’s CPDS discussed the implications for them of the Israel/Iran conflict, 2nd
The race to win the Republican nomination for the presidential election has been transformed by the intervention of one man – casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, fanatical supporter of all right-wing causes in Israel and now super-generous donor to Newt ‘Palestinians are an invented people’ Gingrich. It is Newt’s contempt for, and ignorance about, Palestinians that have attracted Adelson’s mega-bucks
Gerald Steinberg, head of NGO Monitor which attacks the funders of any liberal or critical NGOs which work in Israel, has attacked Germany’s Heinrich Böll Stiftung foundation for funding 972 ezine. Their funding, he says, ‘helps provide a platform used to demonize Israel’ and ‘the one-sided perspectives on the Arab-Israeli conflict.’ UPDATE Responses from +972 and the Heinrich Böll Foundation have now been published, and are posted here
Despite a history of (selective) immigration, Israeli state and people are baulking at having to deal with an influx of refugees, mostly from Eritrea. They are not considered asylum seekers, nor given work permits, but end up sleeping rough or huddled into the poorest parts of cities, whose residents respond with racist hostility. Two reports from 972 plus a 2009 Guardian article explaining why so many flee Eritrea
Israel again tops the BCCI index of how ‘militarised’ the countries of the world are. The index measures the ratio of spending on the military and number of military personnel in relation to other forms of spending. It again points to how dependent Israel is, economically and politically on itsmilitary and on the USA. Other measures of military spending are given below the post from Tikun Olam to enrich the context.
This is a long, thoughtful interview with Balad MK Haneen Zoabi by Jonathan Cook and IOA. Amongst much else she explains why she is more hostile to leftwing than rightwing Zionists, why Palestinians must look to the new tools demonstrated by the Arab revolutions and the effect of Israel redefining itself as a Jewish rather than democratic state
Threats, insults, shackled to a chair, hung upside down, deprived of sleep, solitary confinement – the punishments for throwing stones in Israel. But only if you are a Palestinian minor, who can be arrested and detained under military law. Stone-throwing adult settlers walk away free.
Ben White, a familiar name on this website for his blogs on Israel/Palestine, is openly defamed as an antisemite in Ynet news. He regards it as cover for the attack on Arab MK Hanin (Haneen) Zoabi. The use by an Israeli paper of the term that described the persecution and genocide of the Jews in the past to describe a journalist’s critique of Israel today is shocking. The ‘Jewish leaders’ said to accuse White of antisemitism are unnamed, but the Zionist Federation has complained to Amnesty saying Ben White justifies antisemitism.
The Habima theatre company has been booked by Shakespeare’s Globe theatre to perform The Merchant of Venice during the World Shakespeare festival and Cultural Olympiad. Israel’s Boycott from Within says the company has performed to Israeli-only audiences in the West Bank. The Globe says Habima are committed to ‘sensible dialogue’ between Israelis and Palestinians, it’s about words not nations.
The Church of England vicar, Rev Stephen Sizer, has been the regular target of criticism by the Jewish Chronicle, especially by blogger Jonathan Hoffman. Sizer is critical of many policies in Israel, a supporter of boycott campaigns and of inter-faith dialogue. He also made the mistake, common to web novices, of quoting from, thus linking to, sites which lead to other sites with antisemitic links.
In the week of the UK’s Holocaust memorial day (Friday January 27th) Robert Cohen writes a letter to Anne Frank’s spirit, wondering what she would make of a cruel legacy in which ‘The Holocaust has been used to explain and justify every aggression’, Palestinians have been dispossessed and every criticism of these acts has been called antisemitic.
Britains’s FCO pressed the country’s ‘Jewish community leaders’ to meet and talk with Palestine’s President Mahmoud Abbas on his visit to London last week The unnamed community leaders first asked Daniel Taub, the Israeli ambassador to London, for the Israeli government’s opinion – and chose the advice of the Israeli government (don’t talk) to that of the British government.