A note on the main issues in this week’s postings.
The torching of an infants’ class-room at Jerusalem’s mixed Hebrew-Arabic Hand-in-Hand school has shocked editors (coverage has been widespread) and Israelis. The symbolism of who and what were being symbolically burned in the class has escaped no-one. If it wasn’t obvious before, a horde of Jerusalem Jews is causing havoc in the city in order to terrorise Arabs – and Israeli authorities too.
In the second of his two articles, Tomas Persico’s examines the adoption by secular Zionists of ancient messianic myths . Drawing on the insights of Scholem and Jung he warns of the dangers to the political project of a Zionist state in harnessing and trying to realise those myths.
Being black and liberal was not quite enough to unite all the US’s illiberal factions to block the election of President Obama. There is only one force powerful enough to bring them together says Philip Weiss and that is Israel at a Zionist Organization gala.
Leicester’s Labour council has voted overwhelmingly to ban products from Israeli settlements for sale in Leicester. Their reasons are the illegality of Israel’s occupation. (Luke Akehurst of We Believe in Israel says the council’s action may be illegal). The JPost claim that it was a vote to ‘ban all Israeli goods’ is an obvious lie.
Despite the recent Commons debate on recognition of Palestine as a state, the popularity of an e-petition on ending the Israel/Palestine conflict means MPs will debate this subject on Monday December 1st. Martin Linton provides them with some good points for earning good points.
If smooth-talking government ministers are careful to translate their thoughts into a diplomatic discourse about ‘security’ and ‘delegitimisation’, Israeli youth have no such inhibitions. RIchard SIlverstein picks up some of the crude racism on social media. Some Palestinians are fighting back.
Israel’s coalition government is splitting on the issue of a reformed Basic Law defining Israel as ‘the national state of the Jewish people’ (ie all Jews in the world, but not non-Jews). President Rivlin has now opposed it. BICOM provides a highly contentious briefing, attributing all arguments to party squabbling. Gerald Kaufman asks a pertinent question.
The proposed amendment to Israel’s Basic Law, defining the country as ‘the national homeland of the Jewish people’, instead of ‘a Jewish and democratic state’ rips through the claim of ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’. The new law doesn’t define Palestinians as 2nd class citizens; it defines them as not belonging at all – while all Jews, wherever they now live, are imaginary citizens of the country. The law is based on a delusion.
In its latest briefing, the Web Arab News Digest examines Russian policy under Putin to the Middle East. In Russian hostility to the US ‘which treats Israel as part of its domestic, not foreign, policy’, it seems little different from the USSR’s cold war position. This is deceptive. Russia can’t control the politics of its old allies, Syria and Egypt. It can claim an interest in Israel on behalf of the many Russian immigrants now living there. Palestine is claiming statehood, which Russia supports.
Political pressure in Europe to recognise Palestine as a state is coming from elected representatives, not governments. MPs in the UK and Spain have voted to urge their governments to turn their symbolic votes into government reality. Israel has welcomed the postponement of a vote by the EU parliament as it will give it more time to try to get more support in a vote it expects to lose. Get lobbying!
Again, a former head of a state security service – Mossad – feels compelled to speak out against the direction in which Israel is being driven – towards isolation, contempt and the horrors of religious war. This subverts the zionism he grew up with.
The imprisoned, unofficial leader of Palestinian resistance, Marwan Barghouti, has crossed a line in his rhetoric of struggle. In an apparent response to the spontaneous violence in Jerusalem, he has put his name to the use of the gun.
There are a few cases when a state may lawfully kill. The shooting dead of Israeli citizen Kheir Hamdan by Israeli police is not one of them says Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights in a forensic examination of this notorious execution of a young Palestinian.
The executive committee of JfJfP has issued this statement in which it condemns the killings of five men in a Jerusalem synagogue. It also points to its cause in the brutality and violence of of the occupation. It calls for the due process of law to be honoured.
The Israeli foreign ministry has insisted that it has banned the renowned Norwegian doctor, Mads Gilbert, from entering Gaza, for ‘security reasons’. They have not specified what threat to security Gilbert, known for his volunteer work in Al Shifa hospital, poses. Why block him? He’s a fearless critic and because they can. Plus petition to sign for Dr. Gilbert to be allowed into Gaza.
The great rememberer, Uri Avnery, looks back on the history of Jerusalem, supposedly the holiest of cities and treated with universal reverence; in practice, rarely at peace or a sanctuary.
PLEASE NOTE: Adah’s funeral will take place at The Golders Green Crematorium West Wing at 1pm on Monday 24th November followed directly by a celebration at The Irish Centre on Camden Square, London NW1. Adah requested no flowers. Any donations to Cancer Research.
It is with great sadness that we report the death of Adah Kay on 12th November. A lifelong activist, Adah took the commitment to social justice that she learnt in the socialist Zionist youth movement Habonim seriously enough to abandon her residual Zionism and spend many years working with her husband Tom in Ramallah from 2002. She was an early signatory of JfJfP. Richard Kuper pays tribute to a warm and generous person.
Teenage girls with pepper-sprays, boys shouting that all Arabs must go, men with knives: all actions of Israeli citizens, not just in response to the synagogue killings but going back to last summer when the Jewish push to control all Jerusalem, and Palestinian resistance, began in earnest.
Spanish MPs, who voted on November 18th to recognise a Palestinian state made the same point as British MPs: recognising Palestine is no threat to Israel, and making any change in the current deadlock can only be of benefit to all. El Pais and Jerusalem Post.