An attempt to ban a food co-op’s boycott of an Israeli-made product was rejected by a court in Washington state this week. The case was formally brought by some members of the Olympia co-op, but investigations found that the pro-Israel pressure group Stand With Us has been a driving force in the case. The plaintiffs lost the case because it was judged to be a SLAPP — a deliberate effort to prevent free speech.
Released last October in the prisoner exchange, Hana Shalabi was rearrested in February and is again held in administrative detention. She began a hunger strike in protest on February 16th (1). Palestinians supported her in a sit-in protest in Ramallah on 28th February (2). Khader Adnan, whose hunger strike inspired this form of non-violent protest against administrative detention is recovering after surgery (3).
It’s a moot point whether Iran or Israel is more friendless within the Islamic middle east; now Israel has made a huge arms sale to Azerbaijan which, like Iran, has a Shi’ite majority but is a secular state with poor relations with Iran. The bilateral relationship has been pursued by Israel since relations with Turkey soured after the IDF killed 9 people on the Mavi Marmara. Now, 2nd, Turkey has closed its airspace to Israeli cargo
The continued imprisonment of teenagers held in solitary confinement by the Israeli government has sparked a concerted protest by professional people in the USA and Israel concerned with the welfare of young people. The psychological wounds inflicted constitute, in their view, cruel and inhuman treatment. This is not justified by Israel’s acknowledged security concerns.
Where civility and academic rigour rule, there can be creative discussion on the difficult relations between Muslims and Jews. At a 2 day workshop in London organised by the Pears Institute for the study of antisemitism, Antony Lerman is impressed by many of the contributions – though not by those which ignore the facts and put subjective feelings about what is, eg antisemitism or Zionist lies, on the throne.
New group ‘Brits for Peace Now’ says it believes settlements are ‘fundamental’ as a block to peace and a 2-state solution. Unlike JfJfP which is confined to Jewish signatories in order to make the point that Jews are opposed to the occupation and the Israeli government does not speak for all Jews, Brits for Peace Now will be open to all. Whether (2nd item) they really want to realise Herzl’s vision of Israel as a European nation and outpost of German Kultur is another matter.
Six projects for producing solar and wind-powered energy for 600 Palestinians, funded by the EU, have been served with ‘stop work’ orders, preparatory to demolition There is no reason for this, other than a desire by the Israeli government to inflict punishment for an EU report calling for the end of financing of settlements. The loss of energy will be devastating for those who depend on it for refrigeration and communications
In this essay, Jonathan Cook first contrasts the liberal high point of Israel’s Supreme Court rulings with its recent deplorable rulings (such as giving Israel the right to quarry Palestinian land on the invented legal principle of ‘prolonged occupation’); then he examines the racist implication of those earlier ‘liberal’ judgments. There is also a link to a 2006 post, aghast at the eulogies for Aaaron Barak. Israel’s ‘security’ always trumps Palestinians’ human rights.
Bassem Tamimi, a non-violent activist against land theft by settlers, has been in prison for 11 months, under military jurisdiction. He has also spent many months in administrative detention. Unusually, he has now been put on trial and was able to give public testimony about his protest and his treatment in detention.
The former head of Yesha Council – body for all settlement councils – has proposed that Israel take full control of all of Area C – where it currently exercises security powers – and makes Palestinians in the area Israeli citizens. There would be no right of return This is the fourth proposal this week for Israel to break the status quo, with, apparently, the support of some IDF personnel..
In a preview of the budget request for 2013 that Barack Obama will submit,the President spoke of the pain, difficulty and necessity of the great cuts that he must make in, for instance, environmental protection, water supply and medical care The accompanying document shows a large increaase in the defence aid to be given to Israel, despite the American laws that are broken in the IDF’s use of the weapons.
Price-tag thugs have until now attacked buildings – usually mosques but also an IDF base – in the West Bank . Now a Baptist Church in W. Jeruslaem has been vandalised by, say police, Jewish nationalists. It seems a poor reward for the American Christians whose money and support has made so much ‘Jewish nationalist’ activity possible.
Alexander Billett, music journalist and founding member of Punks Against Apartheid, describes how support for boycotting gigs in Israel has grown amongt punk fans and performers.
After a bus accident in which nine Palestinian children were killed, ‘the internet roiled’ as Israelis, using their own names and Facebook photos, rejoiced, ‘spewing forth nauseating, hate-permeated racism that seemed to exceed anything seen here previously’. Gideon Levy cries out against this shameless descent into barbarism.
Another proposal on the website this week for the future of Israel/Palestine in sharp disagreement with Wolman and Halper but sharing the view that the political status quo is intolerable. Here Sari Nusseibeh, President of Al-Quds unversity and former representative of the Palestinian National Authority, argues the best plan is a confederation of ethnic communities under Israeli rule in which Palestinians have full civic rights and freedoms.
Facing massive Palestinian protests, and growing international pressure, Israel’s state prosecution service agreed today, 21st February, not to detain Khader Adnan after April 17th. In return he has agreed to end his hunger strike. How well he can be renourished after the damage done by starvation is not known. He has highlighted the issue of the use of administrative detention in Israel and there is a link to a petition launched by Amnesty International against administrative detention in the post. Also a Global Spin blog reporting the response of the PA to the issue.
The once-innovative University of Paris 8, founded in 1969, has baulked at having BDS campaigner Omar Barghouti on its premises – or rather at facing down the complaints of the pro-Israeli Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France (CRIF). CRIF says Barghouti and his arguments for BDS would be too ‘shocking’ for the university, founded as an experimental centre for the humanities.
The window for a 2-state solution is definitively closed and we should all stop talking about it. No international body helps. Israel will force the growing number of Arabs into PA-controlled areas. While arguing that only Palestinians can create thier own agency, Jeff Halper insists that nothing good for Palestiians can emerge as long as effort is put into maintaining the current unjust rules and delusory ambitions.
In a special essay for the Jewish Chronicle, Clive Wolman argues that the rising Arab population in Israel trumps ideological arguments; only a separate Paletinian state, including Arab towns currently within Israel, will defuse both political anger and the ‘demographic time bomb’
Why is a retired British colonel, former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan with military and government intelligence responsibilities, now busy defending the IDF’s conduct in Operation Cast Lead on the Jewish lecture circuit? Robert Cohen asks the questions about ethical military action which Colonel Kemp omits from his speeches.