There seems to be an expectation that when Israel is on the warpath, hostility to all Jews will burst out. Of course it doesn’t help that the Jewish establishments in Europe and the USA identify with Israel – but in the Anglophone world at least there are scores of Jewish groups which shout loudly Not in My Name. This is heard by fellow demonstrators and the two writers here who insist opposing Israeli policy is not antisemitic.
It is horrible that there are more manifestations of antisemitism in the UK, mostly by a small number of young men. The recent joint statement of the Muslim Council of Britain and the Board of Deputies was presumably directed against them and we applaud it. However the Campaign Against Antisemitism, origin and personnel undeclared, which is organising a rally on Sunday backed by the BoD, seems as intent on spreading fear and hostility to Islam as it does on soberly dealing with antisemitism. Who does this help?
Asmaa al-Ghoul reports that some Palestinian analysts think the highly symbolic destruction by the IDF of two tower blocks in Gaza had such an impact on public opinion that Palestinians believed Israel had the will and the ability to utterly destroy Gaza, hence the willingness to accept a ceasefire.
Leading bodies in the Muslim and Jewish communities in Britain have taken the unprecedented step of issuing a joint statement calling on their communities to work together for peace at home and abroad. The Board of Deputies of British Jews and Muslim Council of Britain state their communities, claiming common descent from Abraham, should not import middle east conflict but export hope. Much hostile comment from pro-Israelis led by Melanie Phillips.
History is the most disputed subject in the Israel/Palestine conflict, and the role of the US in supporting Israel the most contentious. So it is fitting that US historians took the intellectual lead in demanding of Obama “We urge you to suspend US military aid to Israel, until there is assurance that this aid will no longer be used for the commission of war crimes”. The list of signatories is still in formation – so British historians , sign up!
Ntanyahu’s security cabinet put on a bravura performance on Wednesday night, insisting that all Israel’s aims had been achieved. Most Israelis think that neither side won and the more right-wing members of his cabinet think the IDF gave up too soon and Netanyahu should not have secretly accepted the ceasefire. His coalition may be a casualty of war.
Settlers are notoriously the most aggressive group in Israel and in the wake of the ceasefire they are turning on the kibbutzniks on the border with Gaza and assailing them for their 2006 support for the withdrawal from Gaza and now, like the settlers in the Negev, for their failure to be the militaristic pioneers of settler myth.
Palestinians are not at this moment counting their dead, wounded and disabled or their demolished buildings. They have come out into the streets of Gaza’s towns to declare the failure of Israel to destroy the resistance and their support for Hamas and the firing of rockets into Israel finds an opinion poll.
The number of dead tells you nothing about the case of Israelis and Palestinians. It tells you everything about who has the power – which in fact does tell you everything about the case. Israel exercises almost complete power over Palestinians in Gaza and its cry of ‘self-defence’ is utterly specious. BBC infographic.
This is one of the more brazen bits of hasbara yet produced by the Israeli state. There is no blockade. Goods move freely in and out of the Gaza strip. What’s the problem? In the post below, Gisha responds, and here an uncommitted journalist from Vox-com looks at limits on freedom of movement and trade in Gaza.
The claim by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs that there is no ‘siege of Gaza’ [above] is taken on by the NGO Gisha. It agrees there’s not a siege – because Israel has exercised total control over Gaza since 2007 and continues to exercise absolute state control over the economic and household life of people in Gaza.
From the excitable (Al Arabiya) through the sober (FT) to denial (Globes, Israel) all report that the Israeli economy, especially its currency (the NIS) has taken a hard knock from the war against Gaza. Tourism, accounting for 7per cent of GDP has collapsed (an own goal for Israel’s insistence on the Hamas threat) and the general insecurity about Israel’s priorities have taken their toll.
The Holocaust, or Shoah, did not give Jews a badge of exemption from humanitarian laws. If anything, the reverse is true. Having experienced the worst that human beings can do to each other where law does not rule, many survivors and descendants feel the greatest obligation to ensure Jews, in particular, do not commit inhumane acts with impunity – such as Israel’s attack on the people of Gaza, and the oPt. Hajo Meyer, who has just died, was one such honourable man. Sign petition to support the letter he was the first to sign.
After a life-time of working with those severely damaged by the cruelty of others it is astonishing that Helen Bamber remained a compassionate and uncensorious person. She helped traumatised children by getting them to connect with the good things in their past and all victims of cruelty to feel safe and learn to trust again . Though not religious, her Judaism was important to her and we are honoured, and not surprised, that she chose to become a signatory of JfJfP.
With sadness and anger we resume publication of the names, where known, of the people of Gaza killed by the IDF in Operation Protective Edge. After a pause, the shelling resumed on August 24. The total of those killed is now 2,137 (noon, August 26). Over a third of them are 18 or under. Many of the corpses cannot be identified because they are unrecognisable. 10,860 people, including 3,307 children, have been injured.
The IDF renewed its aerial bombardment of Gaza over the weekend killing at least 17 Palestinians. The reason this time was the killing of a four-year old boy by a rocket fired from Gaza. Reasons for the lethal onslaught have included the prevention of rocket fire, the destruction of tunnels, the separation of Hamas from the people of Gaza and the assassination of Hamas leaders. Israel says the attacks will continue all its aims – which change by the week – are achieved.
This is the first of three very disturbing, if not surprising, depictions of the now-dominant Israeli youth culture of hatred of the left and hatred of Arabs. The view that neither the left nor Palestinians have any place in Israeli society has all the signs of a young fascist movement and one which the education system has no power to combat.
Prof. Zeev Sternhell, an authority of the rise of fascism in France, defines fascism as a rejection of, an assault on, enlightenment values. In the regime’s treatment of the Palestinians and of Jewish dissidents, in the submission of intellectuals to government orders and the blind following of the masses, Prof. Sternhell sees signs of fascism, and certainly the end of Zionism as he understood it.
Fascist is an adjective often loosely and wrongly used. but from the mouth of the founder of American Conservative, a traditional right-wing publication, it is significant. Israel’s actions in Gaza, and the popular, racist support for it, clearly crossed the line of human decency, which the US and EU should have condemned.
Without due process of law Hamas gunmen executed 21 people they suspected of being informants the day after the IDF had killed three out of four Hamas leaders targetted for assassination, based on information received. This is the biggest mass public execution ordered by Hamas since it gained control in Gaza in 2007.