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JfJfP comments


2016:

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

2015:

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

2014:

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

2013:

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

September: Briefing note and leaflet on the Prawer Plan

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

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Posts

Illegal American funding for Jewish Settlers exposed

tikun-olamNY Times ‘Discovers’ $200-Million American Jewish Settler Funding Network

It only took them three years since bloggers like Phil Weiss and I first covered this issue and wrote about it intensively, but you’ve got to give credit to the NY Times.  They’ve finally discovered that the funding network among pro-settler American Jews who abuse U.S. tax law in order to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars to Israeli settlements, poses a very serious obstacle to Israeli Palestinian peace.  Even more importantly, the Times published this piece a day before the White House meeting of Bibi Netanyahu and Barack Obama.  It gives them a little mood music, though certainly not the mood that either one of them was likely to have preferred for this meeting.

Honestly, I don’t know whether to feel proud or annoyed. On the one hand, the Times reporters have exploited ideas and research many of us have developed painstakingly over that period of time. And they did so without acknowledging any of the work.  It’s as if the Times has to pretend that the issue was first discovered by them. God forbid, that they should acknowledge even peripherally that some bloggers pioneered the issue before they came along.

Because of this artificial division they created, they did not use some of the best material that’s already been published–for example, Phil Weiss’ post offering an audiotape of Women in Green’s Nadia Matar telling a Manhattan synagogue audience that she advocated assassinating Mahmoud Abbas.

I don’t mean to imply either that Phil and I were the only ones: Akiva Eldar, David Ignatius and Josh Nathan-Kazis published terrific research and reporting on the subject as well, in Haaretz, the Washington Post and Jewish Forward.  But none of this is credited.

I suppose I should feel vindicated that the arbiter of American journalism has finally weighed in on a subject I begged the American media to write about for the past two years at least.  Further, the fact that the Times has done so, and in a convincing and commanding way, will add infinitely more to the impact this issue will have than anything I could ever have written.  Them’s the facts.

In fact, I would expect that the IRS is holding meetings about this as I write and trying to come up with a response to the decades of laissez-faire oversight that allowed, according to the Times estimates, far-right American Jews to pump $200-million (at a minimum) into the settler enterprise in the past ten years.

My readers will note Ethan Bronner’s byline on this story.  Undoubtedly, he and his Israel-based reporters did a good deal of the legwork checking out the settlements and interviewing settler leaders like David Ha-Ivri.  But there are a few objectionable elements in this story that he clearly had a hand in introducing.  The main one is this:

Of course, groups in the pro-settler camp are not the only ones benefiting from tax breaks. For example, the Free Gaza Movement, which organized the flotilla seeking to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza, says on its Web site that supporters can make tax-deductible donations to it through the American Educational Trust, publisher of an Arab-oriented journal. Israeli civil and human rights groups like Peace Now, which are often accused of having a blatant political agenda, also benefit from tax-deductible donations.

What the hell does “having a blatant political agenda” mean??  Does Bronner, who clearly wrote this passage, equate settlement funding which supports purchase of security gear, weapons, K-9 attack dogs, etc. with supporting Israeli-Palestinian co-existence, human rights and Israeli democracy?

On the bright side, I was pleased to see in this story interviews with sources Bronner usually ignores in his Israeli reporting: Palestinians.  I’d be willing to bet that his co-writers insisted on incorporating their point of view into the story and it benefits from this.

Returning to the masterful timing of this article, the Jerusalem Post churlishly complains about B’Tselem’s report issued today which attacks the Israeli rationale for settlements by claiming that 21% of the built-up areas in settlements are on privately owned Palestinian land.  According to the Post, the human rights group deliberately (!) released the report in order to embarrass the country’s prime minister on the eve of his White House coming out ceremony.  How absolutely nasty and anti-Israel of B’Tselem!

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