Two-and-a-half weeks in brief – a round up of posts 5th-23rd April
Yes, that ought to have read 5th-12th, or maybe 16th-23rd. Normally, we do a round up of published posts each week, but due to a combination of school holidays and closed airspace stranding one of our site editors in southern Spain with very slow internet access, it’s almost three weeks since a round up has appeared. It’s also meant that posts have been lighter than usual, for which we apologise. But there have been some interesting posts and developments: an in-depth interview with veteran Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy and an article from him demanding to know what Netanyahu expects to achieve. Another veteran campaigner, Michel Warshawski wrote for us on the similarities – and some differences – between Matzpen activists 50 years ago and the new generation, especially Anarchists Against the Wall and those engaged in the defence of Palestinian tenants facing eviction in Sheikh Jarrah today.
The abominable vilification of Judge Richard Goldstone continued, but plunged to Mariana Trench-like depths with an attempt to ban him from attending the Bar Mitzvah of his grandson. This week’s follow up proved that if you are in the kind of a hole that the SAZF has dug for itself, you really should stop digging.
Im Tirtzu continued to attack the mainstream, with the second stage of their assault on Israel’s human rights groups. NIF UK have announced details of two talks in London from the target of much of Im Tirtzu’s vitriol, Professor Naomi Chazan (They are unlikely to have been pleased by the recent ASA ruling in the UK against another misleading ThinkIsrael tourism ad. That’s three times the Israeli Government Tourist Office (IGTO) has fallen foul of the ASA and Israeli reaction has been very hostile.)
More substantially, student moves to support divestment at UC Berkeley are as yet unresolved, with JStreet, along with more usual suspects, expressing concern over the students’ motion while the Magnes Zionist gave 13 reasons for Liberal Zionists to offer their support.
US-Israel relations continue to puzzle and perplex, prompting much speculation, including from the NYT’s Thomas Friedman, who sees a “tectonic shift” though the Jewish Daily Forward’s Gal Beckerman is more circumspect and sees only “strains” – itself perhaps significant enough. Senator George Mitchell has just arrived in Israel and the West Bank after a 6 week hiatus. Netanyahu publicly rejected US demands for a settlement freeze, but reports are coming from Jerusalem that US pressure (“the status quo is not sustainable”) may just be working. Attacks on Obama from the WJC and others seem to have backfired while Ehud Barak’s Memorial Day i/v with Israeli Army Radio is another small step in internal Israeli political moves that may – eventually – end up producing a different coalition.