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06 May: Tair Kaminer starts her fifth spell in gaol. Send messages of support via Reuven Kaminer

04 May: Against the resort to denigration of Israel’s critics


23 Dec: JfJfP policy statement on BDS

14 Nov: Letter to the Guardian about the Board of Deputies

11 Nov: UK ban on visiting Palestinian mental health workers

20 Oct: letter in the Guardian

13 Sep: Rosh Hashanah greetings

21 Aug: JfJfP on Jeremy Corbyn

29 July: Letter to Evening Standard about its shoddy reporting

24 April: Letter to FIFA about Israeli football

15 April: Letter re Ed Miliband and Israel

11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo


15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

25 Nov: Submission to All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism

7 Sept: JfJfP Executive statement on Antisemitism

3 Aug: Urgent disclaimer

19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

25 April: Exec statement on Yarmouk

28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

24 Jan: Support for Riba resolution

16 Jan: EJJP lobbies EU in support of the EU Commission Guidelines, Aug 2013–Jan 2014


29 November: JfJfP, with many others, signs a "UK must protest at Bedouin expulsion" letter

November: Press release, letter to the Times and advert in the Independent on the Prawer Plan

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September: JfJfP/EJJP on the EU guidelines with regard to Israel

14th June: JfJfP joins other organisations in protest to BBC

2nd June: A light unto nations? - a leaflet for distribution at the "Closer to Israel" rally in London

24 Jan: Letter re the 1923 San Remo convention

18 Jan: In Support of Bab al-Shams

17 Jan: Letter to Camden New Journal about Veolia

11 Jan: JfJfP supports public letter to President Obama

Comments in 2012 and 2011




What does Israel want?

haaretzPalestinian aspirations are clear, but what does Israel want?

Gideon Levy, Haaretz Correspondent, 5 April 2010

[and see David Cronin’s recent interview with Gideon Levy]

Does anybody know what Benjamin Netanyahu wants? Has anybody ever understood what his predecessors wanted? Where are they headed? And where are they leading us? One after another, Israeli politicians have been asked these questions, only to reply with the standard rejoinders: “You don’t expect me to answer this question” or “Let’s leave this for the negotiations.” Vague answers, obfuscations, evasive and noncommittal cliches – promises, promises. There was one clear, unequivocal answer – none. There is no other country whose citizens, friends and enemies have not the slightest clue about which direction it is facing. For our enemies not to know is understandable, but don’t we deserve to know more? Don’t we at least deserve to know the ultimate goal?

While the Arabs have always declared their aspirations – and did so with clarity, precision, sharpness and at times extremism, the Israelis have donned masks. While the goals of warring parties in international conflicts are known to all, and while everyone knows what the Palestinians are after in the Middle East – the ’67 lines, a state, a solution to the refugee problem, the right of return – nobody knows what the Israelis want. Do they wish to annex the territories? Come on. Do they want to evacuate them? Not now. If not now, when? It remains unclear. How much of the territories? Nobody knows.

A few days ago, journalists broached the question of a construction freeze in Jerusalem to a few ministers. Almost all of them refused to give a response. Why should they? This is nothing less than a scandal. A minister who is not ready to state his position on an issue is derelict in his duties. When a prime minister refrains from doing so, it is 10 times as grave. While Swedish law obligates the publication of every letter sent from the office of a minister, we cannot even extract a response from our top officials over critical issues.

The blame, as usual in these instances, is shared by us all. Through the years we have implicitly agreed that our leaders would guide us on the basis of fraud, or at the very least distortion. The mantra of there’s-no-need-to-say-it-aloud has become a matter of consensus, almost an axiom.

The conventional thinking whereby striving for peace is likened to market bartering and late-night horse-trading, as if it were verboten to clearly specify a final price, has become official policy. What might work for the illusory world of advertising and marketing, or the avarice of the consumer culture, has become a philosophical cornerstone in this country. Vagueness is the message. Perhaps this country has no goal, or a way to get to a goal, and the vagueness is meant to obfuscate this disgrace.

Is the prime minister of Israel ready to withdraw from the Golan Heights in exchange for peace with Syria? Yes or no? Don’t we deserve to know? Which parts of the West Bank, if any, is he ready to evacuate? And what, for heaven’s sake, does our defense minister want? What are his policy goals? Does anybody know? And why is it that if we were to know the answer, this would weaken our position and not strengthen it? Is vagueness tantamount to strength? Is trickery a modus operandi?

Our amateur merchants, as is their wont, will never reveal their opinions. No wonder their wholesale marketing strategy has proved to be a resounding failure. Israel’s global standing is at an all-time low due to, among other things, ambiguity and a loss of direction. Even the all-knowing president of the United States has no idea what his ally wants. Now at least he is trying to get an answer by saying, “Tell me what it is you people want.” It is doubtful whether he will get the answer he is looking for.

Forty-three years after the start of the occupation, no one, either here in Israel or anywhere in the world, knows what we really want and in which direction we are heading. Thus, we have not only become the only country in the world without clearly defined borders, we are also the only country without clearly defined national goals.

In William Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice,” Shylock forces Antonio to agree to a loan on highly unfavorable terms. Yet the Jew provides us with one of the most memorable monologues ever written: “If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?” The monologue given by the merchants of Jerusalem, on the other hand, is far more wretched. “If they give, then they’ll receive,” or something like that.

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