Author David Grossman sends a message of support for the work of B’Tselem whose most recent campaign has been to provide cameras so injustices against Palestinians can pass from rumour to evidence. The IDF hates it – hence B’Tselem’s letter to the CO of Central Command – which controls the West Bank and Jerusalem – to point out that the use of cameras must be allowed.
UPDATE: At a meeting of 160 Israeli ambassadors Ron Prosor asks a critical question about plans for E1, to applause from the other ambassadors. Security chief Amidror tells them to leave the service if they are critical. 2) Shimon Peres tells a gathering of diplomats that Israeli leaders should follow the diplomatic approach of ‘moderate dialogue’ – with President Abbas (Abu Mazen).
The strange case of the divided self: while polls show the majority of Israelis will vote for the right-righter wing Likud-Beiteinu at the next election, two new polls also show the majority are in favour of a two state solution. Even though the leader of that right-wing coalition has made it clear that he has no intention of making a Palestinian state possible.
This posting consists of an article lambasting MPs for their words on Israel rather than Syria, a response by Elizabeth Morley, and further letters to the Jewish Chronicle presenting the arguments and information to which the publication gives no space – despite publishing the occasional protest about its one-sided material. It says it provides all the news about the UK’s Jewish community.
Adam Keller sketches the history of refusing military service, from the 1982 Lebanon war to today. During that 30 years many young conscripts have refused to use military power to enforce the Occupation. Now Naftali Bennett, leader of a revamped far-right party, has said he will refuse – to evict settlers. He may galvanise a pro-settler cohort inside the army and among settlers.
As expected, the Supreme Court in Israel has overturned the election committee’s ban on Haneen Zoabi running in the January election. It was seen by Zoabi, Adalah, Ha’aretz and others as a test of Israel’s democracy. Likud-Beiteinu has said it will change the law to keep this ‘terrorist’ (she was on the Mavi Marmara which tried to breach the siege of Gaza) out of the Knesset.
UPDATE JfJfP hands out free Palestine at Christmas newspaper round UK. /Those of us in multi-cultural societies have become accustomed to respecting each others’ holidays – Diwali, Eid, Passover, Easter, Christmas, Hogmanay… In Arab cities in Israel and the oPt, Christmas celebrations are public events. In Israel some political and religious officers insist there may be no Christmas symbols in sight.
A 90-strong delegation of French and Egyptian people has arrived in Gaza via the Rafah crossing. They have brought drugs, surgical supplies and French textbooks. It is claimed as the first Welcome to Palestine group to have successfully got through the blockade although restrictions have been eased by Israel (as well as Egypt).
In most western countries, the postwar axiom of women being more conservative than men has been overthrown by more women than men rejecting right-wing parties. In Israel the reverse tendency has shown up in pre-election polls. Research suggests that women are more oriented towards economic issues but, says Naomi Chazan, Israel’s political gender gap is little understood.
Regular readers will be aware of the efforts of Gerald Steinberg, NGO Monitor, to prevent any EU funding going to NGOs which support any Palestinian rights and to (mis)represent his organisation as a neutral auditor of NGO funding. He has pursued his campaign all the way to the European Court of Justice. And lost. We expect transparency in his payment of the costs.
Seasoned observer Uri Avnery notes that polls show a majority of Israelis choose ‘Nobody’ as the preferred candidate for most roles; still, an election will take place on January 22, so what coalition of what parties will produce what results? Play the game.
For much of the last two centuries the causes of socialism and the emancipation of Jews were yoked. Now socialism as a progressive, mobilising force is defunct. Have parts of the Left hitched themselves to Islamists, mistaking their anti-Western rhetoric for progressive politics? And are anti-Judaic forces ‘sweeping’ across the continent? Nick Cohen, Anthony Julius and Daniel Johnson discuss.
Since 1988 Israeli women have defied the rules at the Western Wall by reading from the Torah or wearing prayer shawls and have often been arrested with no demur from government. Two weeks ago British teenagers were arrested there, with great publicity. So Netanyahu has sprung into action asking the go-to agency, the Jewish Agency, to sort out this embarrassment for the ‘modern’ state.
No-one disputes the fact of Palestinian women being killed in the name of ‘family honour’ and few dispute that there is nothing honourable about such violence. But there are disagreements about how much women need protection and, where they do, who best provides it. The Israeli justice system, say the feminist writers, treats Palestinians as backward and merely empowers male elders.
Local affairs in Israel are run by regional councils, required by law to hold elections every 4 years. One of just 3 non-Jewish councils is Abu Basma, representing the Bedouin of the area. Except it doesn’t represent them. A 2009 amendment allows the Interior Ministry to postpone elections – which it has done. The Supreme Court has ordered elections. They still haven’t taken place.
In his comments on Netanyahu’s Christmas message Ali Abunimah adds his voice to the reports on the hostility of ‘the Jewish state’ to any manifestations of Christianity (except Zionist evangelicals). Bizarrely, the (pagan, capitalist) Christmas tree has earned the particular ire of Jewish isolationists (perhaps because Arab Christians are the best educated group in Israel – see item 2); maybe why Netanyahu’s son is snuggling into one (see pic). The Palestinian embrace of Christmas celebrations and the tree gives the lie to propaganda about universal Islamic anti-western, anti-Christian fundamentalism.
The worst expectations of Noam Sheizaf are being proved correct by recent polls for the election for the 120 Knesset seats on January 22 2013. The drift of Israeli voters to the right has become a tide for the right and far-right. Steadfast voices for the ending of the Occupation and for Palestinian rights have been all but drowned out.
120 seats jan 22
The brutal attacks on women for going against the wishes of male relatives – known euphemistically as ‘honour punishments’ – are known amongst most societies in W. Asia, from Palestine to India (and in the UK – see footnote). The peculiarly cruel murder of Aya Baradiya in 2010 sparked outrage among Palestinians and a promise by President Abbas to change the law. This has yet to happen.
Here is new form of hate crime against Muslims in Israel which shouldn’t be too difficult to solve. Israeli police confess ignorance. As in most cities, drivers wanting to sell their cars leave a note in the car window on with their phone number. The number on several such cars connects the would-be buyer to a profane, anti-Islam message recorded by a man speaking Arabic with a Hebrew accent.
A national protest rally calling for an end to the siege of Gaza and remembering the launch of the lethal Operation Cast Lead four years ago. The rally is supported by Palestine Solidarity Campaign, British Muslim Initiative, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Friends of Al Aqsa, Stop the War Coalition, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Palestinian Forum in Britain.