The week in brief, 8-14 February 2010
Note the meeting we are organising on 24 February in the Grand Committee Room in parliament on the subject of Perspectives on Israel & Palestine: What can we expect in 2010? with Afif Safieh and others. Booking in advance is essential.
Two new websites have come to our attention: “Goldstonefacts.org” contains videos dramatising various sections of the Goldstone Report as well as links to a number of important articles and analyses relating to it; and “Israel: the Only Democracy in the Middle East?” is a Jewish Voice for Peace initiative, reporting on the struggle for civil and human rights in Israel and Palestine. The Christian Science Monitor carries an article highlighting non-violent strategies among the Palestinian resistance. And a joint report submitted by Addameer (Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association), The Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (Stop the Wall) and the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) to Special Rapporteurs of the UN Human Rights Council examines the ongoing, systematic campaign of repression levied by Israel against Palestinian human rights defenders active against the Annexation
CodePink has updated its materials on Ahava cosmetics – a firm that labels its goods as ‘product of Israel’ but not only profits from the occupation by locating its main plant in an illegal Israeli settlement, but also uses mud from the Dead Sea, excavated in an occupied area …
Tony Judt revisits his Zionist youth with a touching essay on his period working on kibbutz and as an unpaid youth leader: “I idealized Jewish distinction, and intuitively grasped and reproduced the Zionist emphasis upon separation and ethnic difference. I was even invited—at the absurdly immature age of sixteen—to make a keynote speech to a Zionist youth conference in Paris denouncing smoking as a “bourgeois deviation” and threat to the healthy outdoor commitment of Jewish adolescents…”
The immediate threat of a Knesset inquiry into the activities of the New Israel fund abated as the Kadima party decided not to support a proposed Committee of Parliamentary Inquiry into it and the human rights organizations it supports. But the McCarthyite atmosphere in Israel remains as pervasive as ever…
Finally, the pro-Israel lobby is taking organising at the European level very seriously. A new publication calls on the EU to “rebalance its priorities” in the Middle East. It is written by Emaneule Ottlenghi of the Transatlantic Institute, a think tank set up by the American Jewish Committee (which was instrumental in getting the EU Monitoring Committee on Racism and Xenophobia to recast its approach to antisemitism in 2004 without proper consultation, making criticism of Israel much more likely to be construed as antisemitic…).