Einat Wilf is in London on a mission – to prove Europe is the live centre of antisemitism. This is the most important reason for the existence of Israel. Of course, anti-Israelism can be the cover for antisemitism but it is hardly true that ‘hostility to Zionism is the same anti-Semitism that drove the Holocaust’. (2) It is true that the European left has largely switched its support from Israel to Palestinians. Saying this is due to European antisemitism is merely a way of avoiding the imbalance of power – always the left’s cause – between Israelis and Palestinians.
The possibility and benefits of linking the Red Sea to the Dead Sea has been examined for many decades. The project, supported by the PA, Jordan and Israel, is now going ahead – despite severe criticism from environmentalists. They argue that the alternative to shrinking water supplies is to replenish the Jordan river. Now many Palestinian NGOs have sided with the environmentalists – on the grounds of Palestinian water rights.
Here are three articles, linked by chance – date of publication – and some common themes – Jews, Israel, Muslims, Islamophobia, science. On Jewish-Muslim differences Richard Dawkins says ‘Race does not come into it. It is pure religion and culture.’ Noah Efron attributes Jewish success in science to an immigrant desire ‘to transcend the old world orders’. The Economist reports on the EDL which hates Muslims and loves Israel as the old world order’s bastion against Islam – and suggests Islamophobia is now respectable.
The so-called ‘working definition of antisemitism’ attributed to the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency has been disputed from the start because in its longer version it cited criticism of Israel as an example of antisemitism and its provenance was dubious. It has often been wielded to strike down critics of Israeli policies. Now it seems as though no reputable body will accept it has having any authority.
Despite the weight of Conservative Friends of Israel in the UK parliament, government ministers have at least consistently opposed settlement building and, here, the detention of children in military custody. A session of questions to the FCO on the issue brought the issue into focus – though not for some MPs who could see only Israel’s need for ‘security’ against indoctrinated Palestinians.
“The term Holocaust refers to all victims of Nazi persecution… only Jews were targeted for complete extermination” is the lesson from Holocaust Education Trust to schools in England and Wales. In fact, Jews were the largest ethnic group so targeted. All gypsies/Sinti were also slated for extermination. Nazi hatred of Slavs/communists made Russians the largest single group of people destroyed by Nazis. Remembering the murderous ambition of Hitler’s regime, and the suffering caused, is a lesson we are in danger of not having understood or learned.
In 1947, two new states were carved out of existing countries with great violence and loss of life; both the larger entities had been governed by Britain; both the new countries were created in the name of religious exclusion, Pakistan as a Muslim state, Israel as a Jewish state. In both, the armed forces which brought them into being continued to play a dominant role. Neither has been willing to accord and enforce the civil rights of their religious minorities. Both live in a state of existential anxiety.
Lydda was a thriving Arab city in Palestine. In the summer of 1948 it was captured with maximum violence – against significant resistance – by the IDF. The population of c70,000 was either killed or driven out. Some of their houses were smashed, the rest emptied in a rampage of looting by Israelis. The city of Lydda became Lod and the surviving people of Lydda became permanent refugees. Report of article by Avi Shavit.
This debate between Max Blumenthal, author of Goliath, Life and Loathing in Greater Israel and Eric Alterman might seem a nit-picker’s dream, but it’s more revealing than that. It shows how transgressive it is in American public life to to produce a well-researched critique of Israel. It shows how any critique of Israel quickly degenerates into abuse about Hamas (the devil incarnate). It shows how deeply important Israel as a self-governing nation is to those who live there. It shows how reluctant many are to face the racism of today’s Israel.
This is, as Philp Weiss of Mondoweiss says, ‘astonishing’ Why would two hyper-rich American Jews want to fund a survey into where the loyalty of American Jews lay – with the US or Israel? We’ll never know as Netanyahu promptly put the kibosh on it. In fact, had the survey gone ahead, whether the answer was ‘US, Israel, both, don’t know’, it would have provided propaganda material. Though not without harm to American Jews.
The arrest of human rights lawyer Anas Barghouti gives the lie to Israel’s claim that its draconian policing of Palestinians is essential for their security. Rather it speaks of their terror that non-violent Palestinian intellectuals might become leaders in Palestinian society and thus undercut the shrill defence of the IOF’s military control. Amnesty International takes up the case of Israel’s ‘harassment’ of human rights activists.
Former Mossad director Danny Yatom has chosen to speak out about why the NSA spies on its ‘closest ally in the Middle East’ – as well as on most EU leaders. It is, he says, because the administration needs to know the Israeli government’s real intentions towards Iran and Palestine. There is also a long history of mutual distrust between the two countries which the leaders try to conceal under speeches of eternal closeness. GCHQ supplies the US with much of its overseas information.
The Saudi royal family has little experience of the world outside its plutocratic inner circle with its command over the biggest armoury in the Middle East. It is accustomed to having its own, Wahabi, way. So perhaps it is not surprising that it refused to take up its seat on the UN security council. Its own way means funding Muslim groups which will accept Saudi dominance. Despite its pro-Palestinian rhetoric, it has most in common with Israel in controlling developments in the region.
Leopold Lambert is a French architect, editor and writer. His concern with depicting how architects, planners, builders can make power concrete has led to a series of maps in which he portrays the land of Israel/Palestine as a sea entirely controlled by Israel (with the settlers as protected pirates) and the Palestinians locked into small, disconnected islands.
In this article for Al Ahram, Dr. Mustafa Barghouti analyses how and why ‘Oslo’ delivered gains to Israel and crushing losses to the Palestinians – in part because of the lack of strategic thinking by the Palestinians involved. “The peace process became an activity aimed to lead the Palestinians into a void where they would roam endlessly in the wilderness of Israeli procrastination” Plus his lecture to an Independent Jewish Voices meeting,
Here Ilan Pappe adds to the growing body of Jewish thinkers who are wrenching their Jewishness away from the dominant voices of Jewish and Christian Zionists. That Zionism has merged with religious nationalism and a militarily powerful state – offensive to religious Jews who believe Judaism is about God and not state-building and to Jews who believe their tradition centres on justice and kindness to strangers and neighbours.
If expectation had power, the third intifada would have erupted months ago. It has been predicted many times. But as historians know, worsening deprivation and helplessness do not on their own lead to rebellion. Here are some of the predictions of and musings on a third intifada. They lack any analysis of what creates the confidence to rebel amongst an oppressed people. Predictions in chronological order.
American lawyer Alan M. Dershowitz’s view of himself is sharply at odds with his reputation. He sees himself as one who would be on the left in Israel, who has devoted his life to the defence of civil liberties, and is as much pro-Palestine as pro-Israel. He is on the advisory board of NGO Monitor which regards all NGOs working with or for Palestinians as illegitimately funded and sponsors of terrorism. Belen Fernandez on his legacy.
A Safeguarding Jerusalem Bill, which stipulated that 66% of Knesset members must agree to negotiations before the status of Jerusalem may even be mentioned, has gone before the Knesset. It has been proposed by the tiny United Torah Judaism faction but has picked up support from Cabinet members. It seems improbable that it will progress, but this Knesset has passed more improbable bills.
The Israeli state has declared the Bedouin living in ‘unrecognised’ villages have to move into special townships. These are likely to be worse than the ‘recognised’ villages which, despite their status, lack the amenities which non-Palestinian Israelis enjoy. The Bedouin elders believe the way to fight for their rights is through the law. The younger ones now feel resistance must take more direct form – although they have so far got little support from other Palestinians.