The week in brief, 17th-23rd May – a summary of recent postings
In briefest: a week with lots more bad news…
Two respected Israeli commentators have raised the spectre of fascism within Israel: retired Judge Boaz Okon writing in Israel’s most popular newspaper, Yediot Ahranot says “[I]t would not be an exaggeration to say that the decision to shut up Prof. Chomsky is an attempt to put an end to freedom in the State of Israel. I am not talking about the stupidity of supplying ammunition to those who say that Israel is fascist, but rather about our concern that we may be becoming fascists.” And in a characteristically hard-hitting article Bradley Burston, Senior Editor of Haaretz.com, warns that “it has taken the most dysfunctional, the most rudderless government Israel has ever known, to make moderates uncomfortably aware of the countless but largely cosmetized ways in which the right in Israel and its supporters abroad have come to plant and nurture the seeds of fascism…”
Neve Gordon writes about how a major part of the strategy to rebrand Israel positively is to undermine the reputation of anyone who dares to question Israel’s human rights record; Rachel Shabi that: “The ban on Palestinians using highway 443 has been lifted but sidestepped by the Israeli army. It’s bare-faced segregation…”. Jeremiah Haber, writing as an orthodox Jew, laments that “Jewish hatred and bigotry against Arabs today comes from the orthodox, and especially the modern orthodox…”; and Jonathan Cook writes about on a Knesset committee report just published that “presents an image of massive under-representation of Arab citizens across most of the public sector, including in government companies and ministries, where the percentage of Arab staff typically falls below two per cent of employees…
Nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu was sentenced to a further three months in prison, due to start today.
There is, of course, resistance: a Ta’ayush demonstration in Hebron; another round of ships carrying supplies to Gaza on the high seas, in the teeth of threats from Israel – with the Irish Ambassador to Israel calling for “the safe delivery of these humanitarian supplies.”; two Italian supermarkets suspending the sales of settlement products; and the Sheikh Jarrar protests continuing (see the interview with two women of Sheikh Jarrar).
Veteran anti-apartheid campaigner Benjamin Pogrund reviews Polakow-Suransky’s new book, “The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship With Apartheid South Africa”.
And Peter Beinart provides an interesting analysis of trends amongst American Jewry, writing that “Particularly in the younger generations, fewer and fewer American Jewish liberals are Zionists; fewer and fewer American Jewish Zionists are liberal.”
A final note: without any hint of irony, Hamas demolished 40 Palestinians homes in Gaza demolish up to 40 dwellings in Rafah on the grounds that they were built “without the correct permits”.