Khaled Diab questions the value of BDS as a tool for dismantling the machinery of Israeli colonialism, or of any state oppression. It can have the result in making the target more innovative he argues. He does not, however, make a clear distinction between sanctions imposed by states (eg US against Cuba and Iran) and popular movements which encourage the oppressed people and their supporters – see the subversive wall graffiti.
It seems unlikely that celebrity Scarlett Johansson has done herself any favours by choosing the lucrative Sodastream contract over her role as global ambassador for Oxfam, whose business is human rights and emergency relief (see the many mocking cartoons). Whatever Ms. Johansson actually thinks, she will be known as a person who exchanged the promotion of human needs and rights for the large income from an illegal firm for promoting a bubble.
Responding to Kerry’s pressure, Netanyahu says settlers could stay under Palestinian rule in the West Bank. Bennett says unthinkable – all settlers would be exterminated. Meanwhile, Netanyahu finally takes the threat of BDS seriously and plans a government discussion on it – but the row with Bennett has forced that meeting to be postponed. There’s trouble at the top – and more leeway for the security junta.
Divestment from companies operating in Israeli settlements is being seriously considered by a number of large pension companies following the decision by Dutch firms to withdraw their funds from Israeli companies with installations in the settlements. A new Labour government has ended the Netherlands ‘special friend’ status in Israel leading to a flurry of recrimination about superior NGO propaganda.
Naftali Bennett is a very ambitious politician. Gambling on outpacing Likud in picking up fearful Israeli votes he announces that Jews will be killed in any area governed by Palestinians and blood-hungry Palestinians would flood any territory conceded to them. He is speaking to unnamed ‘international actors’ who are using Palestine/Israel as an ‘experiment’. Those are his triggers. What effect is he hoping for?
Palestinian collaboration with Israeli forces is central to the IOF capacity to maintain its control over Palestinians- and is the most heinous crime for Palestinians, witness the recent executions in Gaza of those accused of collaboration. A new film, nominated for an Oscar for its truth and clarity, shows how Israeli security secures Palestinian informants, and the price Palestinians pay for this forced relationship- a taboo subject.
Ari Shavit sees himself as the conscience of Israel – as he would like it to have been, the Israel of its early years. Jerry Haber and Avram Burg take him to task for this refusal to see that the ‘Palestine problem’ began not in ’67 but in 1948 (at the very latest). Those who love Shavit for his writing love him for the illusions he peddles and in which he immures himself. His ‘Promised Land’ was never a promise that zionism could fulfil.
The settlers in new-build Carmel in South Hebron are notable for their aggression. Perhaps aware of their untenable legal position they use whatever violence they can get away with to prevent Palestinians using their traditional grazing land. Like the sheep-owner, the writer cannot bear “the injustice, the hatred, the blindness… I run out of words…”
Israel rolled out the red carpet for Canadian PM Stephen Harper’s first visit – warm talks with Netanyahu, an address to the Knesset, a perfunctory visit to Abbas and the usual offer of money rather than political support to the PA. This dramatic shift in Canada’s foreign policy is attributed to Stephen Harper’s evangelical Christianity and his goal of making Canada a leader in natural resource extraction and related hi-tech industries .
Starvation as a weapon of war is familiar: the British in Ireland, the USSR in Ukraine, Mao Tse Tung in the 1950s, Nigeria against the Biafrans 1967…Its peculiar cruelty is that it destroys the infants, the elderly, the frail first – the very ones with the first claim for protection. This is the war being conducted against Palestinian refugees in Syria by both the Assad regime and warring Palestinian factions.
Eritrea is a military dictatorship; all young men are conscripted into a very harshly-run army. Those who can escape do, mostly to Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya. A few put themselves in the hands of people smugglers in order to travel north to wealthier countries such as Israel. One such asylum-seeker recounts his journey – which involved imprisonment in Israel. He now lives in fear of being incarcerated in Saharonim.
For several years Harriet Sherwood has been visiting Gaza as part of her job at the Guardian’s Jerusalem bureau. She has found much to admire in the courage and resourcefulness of the people there but now, as she leaves her post, she wonders how much longer they can go on taking the punishment inflicted on them by Israel – now abetted by Egypt.
During decades of talks about talks between Palestinian and Israeli representatives, the Israelis had not demanded recognition as a ‘Jewish state’. Palestinian negotiators stated their recognition of the state of Israel at Oslo – so what’s new? The demand diverts attention from the key issues of borders, refugees and a Palestinian state; it invites international acceptance of racial discrimination inside Israel – who cares as long as Jewishness is hegemonic? It might scupper the Kerry talks. At the same time, evidence inexorably emerged that the Israeli state was created by extreme, illegal violence.
As one man from Gaza bitterly observes pets have a better life than the humans: kind people bestow on animals the essentials of food, water, shelter and human attention – and the people of Gaza are deprived of all of these. This unkindness is attributed to the Gazan people’s choice of Israel-hating Hamas as a government. The consultancy Al Shafie Miles sees the isolation of Hamas becoming more acute as Egypt puts out feelers towards a rapprochement with Fatah.
The mayor of New York City is a powerful political figure, elected to promote the well-being of the city and its residents. No. The job of the mayor is to promote the interests of a foreign country – Israel. The first words of the US Oath of Allegiance are “I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty”. Is Bill de Blasio guilty of treason? It is a trick of the mind that some Americans cannot see the difference between American and Israeli interests.
Shulamit Aloni, a founder of Meretz, has died aged 85. Not widely known outside Israel, she stood out in Israel as the exemplar of a different Jewish tradition – the diaspora tradition of campaigns for anti-racism, social justice and the mercy of the Bible. ‘She cried out repeatedly against the trend of the amoral Jew’, the proud Jewish nationalist who saw morality as a luxury that the Jews could little afford. We all look for her heirs.
This Human Rights Watch report measures the actions of the Israeli and Palestinian governments against the accepted norms of due process for human rights and find all three seriously wanting. Perhaps this dismal catalogue of wrongful arrest, detainment and killing reveals that state security bodies know they can do what they like to Palestinians (though not Israelis). It is only Israel which captures another people in a blockade and installs walls and checkpoints throughout Palestinian land ensuring their economies cannot function.
Reports of water shortage in the Palestinian territories are commonplace. Although one premise of these reports is that Israel has been purloining the bulk of the water available, another is that there is a permanent lack of potable water in the region. This article from Yuval Elizur, Haaretz, asserts that Israel’s desalination plants have solved the problem – but asks why they don’t want the world to know.
The Latin motto “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” – who guards the guards themselves – applies to these articles from Jonathan Cook and Guy Rolnick. They are about the huge power wielded in Israel by the network of security chiefs who appropriate a huge amount of the public budget for their ‘security’ wants, few questions asked, and have a stake in continued conflict with Palestine. With the merchants of security equipment they have effectively become a security junta, justifying their power by continuously inflating the risks to Israel’s existence.
From small Palestinian beginnings, the movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions against any Israeli entity engaged in the illegal occupation has weathered the charges of antisemitism, picking on Israel unfairly and ‘delegitimisation’, as well as of supporting terrorists, aka Palestinians. It is becoming a common sense of our age that no country can hold another people in colonial subjugation. Larry Derfner on BDS in the mainstream.