Israel is never short of self-questioning, an aspect of its peculiar self-absorption which manages to be self-congratulatory despite its inexplicable number of enemies (1). In an interview (2) on Independence Day (April 26) Shimon Peres says the state’s economic success is under threat while it refuses to make peace with the Palestinians. Note his reference to a London boycott of Habima as one of those threats.
Cultural boycott causes unease, boycotting ”Jewish” products causes dismay. But as Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi argues here, the conflation of Jews and Israel as though these two entities are one and the same thing is an evident factual error while acting as though either Jews or Israel are subject to different ethical criteria from everyone else risks a “twisted, reverse antisemitism”.
After a persistent campaign the Co-op Group has agreed not to buy from firms which source products from Israeli settlements, in line with its own ethical code. The news has been greeted with delight by opponents of the illegal settlements. 1) news report, 2) response from BIG, 3) Haaretz, 4) Co-op statement. And a sour response from the ultra-Orthodox blog, Israel Matzav, tagged ‘British antisemitism’. No surprise there. Contact co-op info at end.
Shapira in south Tel Aviv, has long been a dumping ground for the poor and immigrants from Africa and Asia (items 4 and 5). Last Thursday molotov cocktails were thrown at flats housing asylum seekers. They started fires but did not injure anyone (1,3). The following day, an anti-racist protest was held (2,3). All residents complain that their area has long been neglected by state bodies. Ynet and 972mag
It seems that even being known to remember the Nakba in Israel is now so threatening that it is a crime, a breach of the peace and cause for arrest. Last Wednesday night there was a small meeting inside the Tel Aviv office of Zochrot (Remembrance) and some fliers with the names of former Palestinian villages. That was enough for the riot police. Reports from +972 and JPost.
UPDATE: report of maltreatment of detained children, 4th./ The mass prisoners’ hunger strike against administrative detention has now been joined by an estimated 2000 prisoners despite a range of punishments from denial of visits to solitary confinement. It began with 1200 on Prisoners’ Day, 17th April, Maureen Clare Murphy and Addameer report. Plus a letter from Ameer Makhoul to Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, Bahraini human rights activist, on hunger strike for 78 days (26 April).
If you live in a rough neighburhood, as we do says Bradley Burston, you should trade with your neighbours. And if they’re Palestinian you’ll be getting good local produce Successful Israeli firms are being bought up by foreign conglomerates. So buy Palestinian, the best way to defy the bureaucracy and celebrate Israel’s independence day, sunset 25th April – sunset 26th April.
The advice from leading American commentator Thomas Friedman – that Palestinians should always have hold of map while gesturing ‘peace’ – is intended to make Israelis morally insecure and physically secure — ‘the Iron Law’ of the peace process. Eh? At what point in the last 64 years was this Iron Law in evidence or operation? Titus North tries to take his argument seriously.
Within a fortnight of each other – and a poster campaign in the West Bank – the co-creators of the Palestinian Authority made public statements that the Oslo process and the PA had both failed to bring a just agreement in Israel/Palestine any closer. 1st, news report of the call for a one-state solution by former PM Ahmed Qurei, 2nd Harriet Sherwood sums up where the Oslo peace partners are now, politically.
Christians are perhaps the most beleagured group in Israel, squeezed geographically, politically, economically. A US TV show on Christians in Israel (Arab residents, not the tourists) so alarmed the Israeli goverment that it instigated a concerted effort to block the programme. After all, their popular (as opposed to elite) support in the US largely depends on evangelical Christians who might not like what they heard. Huffington Post and Ben White report, M.J Rosenberg comments plus Rowan Williams’ 2011 appeal for Christians in Israel/Palestine.
A vivid and moving account by a Ta’ayush volunteer on how how Um al-‘Amad villagers, with Ta’ayush support, regained legal access to their land – and then were driven off by the lords of un-rule, the Border police, on the grounds that, with the Otniel settlers nearby, the villagers were a threat to law and order
Joint Palestinian and Israeli peace groups are rare; one made up of former fighters from each side is unique. It’s called Combatants for Peace, formed in 2005 and holds a ceremony each year, on the eve of Israel’s Memorial Day, to commemorate all casualties of the conflict. Their effort was condemned by the chair of a state-owned company for insulting the IDF dead on an Israeli ‘holy’ day. +972 news and cfpeace About Us
In an advert in the NY Times, David Horowitz, former leftist turned witch-hunter of leftists, accuses supporters of the BDS movement of creating a mood which spawns massacres of Jews. With the obligatory reference to the Holocaust Horowitz seems unaware that the boycott – named after the 1880 ostracising of the Irish land agent Captain Boycott – has a history that does not belong to Jewish victims of the Nazis. Plus Tikun Olam on Holocaust abuse.
This is the week when two EU committees have to decide whether or not to allow a protocol (ACAA) which allows freer trade for Israel with the EU. The ACAA has hitherto been denied to Israel because of its breaches of international human rights law. At issue is whether the EU is a body that stands, above all else, for the rule of a free market or whether it is a body that firstly upholds a regime of human rights
A letter of support for the Habima theatre company’s performance in Britain, signed by four Conservative members of the Culture, Media and Sport parliamentary select committee heads another batch of letters about the Globe’s controversial invitation to Habima, plus a blog and a news report about the very unresolved argument on the inextricability of culture and politics.
In the hullabaloo about the four musicians from the LPO who added their names to a musicians’ letter protesting at the invitation to the Israeli Philharmonic, little has been heard from the suspended LPO4. The reason – a gagging order on the four, and a rigid control of information by the LPO’s management. What is the management afraid of?
The details of land transactions are complex but the reality is simple: claiming land for Israeli settlement or archaeological excavation proceeds without hindrance. What would be illegal in most countries has become ‘normative’ behaviour in Israel writes Akiva Elder
Antony Lerman, serious and long-term student of antisemitism, says that in our times, as soon as an accusation of antisemitism is made, ‘a juggernaut of demonization and accusation rolls into action’ as happened with Gunter Grass’s poem. The separate issues of defending the state of Israel, antisemitism and Islamism are conflated to create a dangerous and intolerant mindset.
One of the greatest and most unimaginable tragedies in human history – the slaughter of millions by the Nazis – is commemorated in Israel as Yom HaShoah on April 18th. The day has become an occasion for patriotic flag-waving and belligerent speeches about the enemy Iran reports Adam Keller. His reference to ‘Eisner’ is explained by the shocking photos of an assault on a Dutch peace activist in the 2nd item.
UPDATED Why would a white supremacist, of strong nationalist (of two nations) feeling, choose to blog on the JC’s website? Probably because Carlos Cortiglia, the BNP’s candidate for London mayor, recognises a fellow Islamophobe – for this is the new Big Tent for the right – in the paper. Editor Stephen Pollard made matters worse with an inept cover-up and threats. After Muslim Public Affairs Committee published the news on 9th April, Hugh Muir, Stephen Sizer’s camera and Richard Silverstein followed up the grim story.