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JfJfP comments


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

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



Newsletter 02 Mar 2009


0 2 / M a r c h / 2 0 0 9

Israelis and Palestinians: two peoples, one future


A: Eve
B: Reading

Please note that this is the last mailout to be sent from this email address and all correspondence should now be sent to, unless otherwise requested.

A: Events

1. “What Now After Gaza”

Akiva Eldar, Ha’aretz’s chief political columnist will be in the UK and talking at two meetings for JfJfP:

(a) Leeds, Sunday 29 March at 6.30pm, together with Professor Manual Hassassian, Palestinian General Delegate to the UK
Venue: The Carriageworks, Room 1, 3 Millennium Square, Leeds LS2 3AD

(b) London, Monday 30 March at 7.00pm, together with Yezid Sayigh, Professor of Middle East Studies, King’s College London and former advisor and negotiator in the Palestinian delegation to the peace talks with Israel
Venue: Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG.

RSVP for either talk to so we know how many to expect.

2. Independent Jewish Voices Alternative Book Week with veteran activist Uri Avnery, Sunday 8 March, 2-7pm, central London

Cost: £15 (£10 for students and unemployed)

2.00 Opening remarks: Stephen Frosh

2.10-3.30 A Time To Speak Out: Independent Jewish Voices on Israel, Zionism and Jewish Identity: Howard Cooper, Gabriel Josipovici, Antony Lerman, Eyal Weizman, Jacqueline Rose,
Chair: Lynne Segal

3.30-4.30 Miri Weingarten, Director of Palestinian Occupied Territories, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel
Chair: Tony Klug

4.30-5.00 break

5.00-6.30 Uri Avnery: Israel’s leading dissident and veteran peace campaigner on ‘The Anger, the Longing, the Hope: Searching for Peace in Israel/Palestine.’
Chair and discussant: Ian Black

Venue: Jeffrey Hall, Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL

Booking essential – at or via IJV at

3. Emergency Lobby of parliament, Wednesday 11th March, 2-6pm, House of Commons

JfJfP is one of the groups calling for and organising this lobby

Call on your MP to:
* End the blockade on Gaza
* Suspend the EU-Israel Trade Agreement
* Bring Israeli war criminals to justice
* End the arms trade with Israel
* Urge the government to act to implement international law, including an immediate end to Israeli occupation.

If you want to take part, please email Dan Judelson at – and we can send out a briefing pack, and answer any questions you might have – feel free to ask.

Full details at

4. Go to Gaza, Drink the Sea – until 14 March

written & directed by Justin Butcher & Ahmed Masoud
designed & co-devised by Jane Frere
film design by Zia Trench
sound design by Sebastian Frost

A vibrant and haunting theatre piece, Go to Gaza, Drink the Sea promises to transport the audience directly to Gaza to experience what happened during the recent Israeli military assault. It seeks to create a highly atmospheric fusion of moving personal testimonies with searing film images and soundscape bearing witness to the dignity, courage and suffering of the people of Gaza.

Supported by Amos Trust, Interpal, Jews for Justice for Palestinians and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

20% minimum of box-office revenue will go to the Al Ahli hospital, Gaza.

Venue: Theatro Technis, 26 Crowndale Road, London NW1 1TT
Until 14th March 2009, 7pm Mon – Sat, duration: 1 hour
Ticket Price: £12.50/£10 concessions
Online Bookings: Tel: 0207 734 8932
More info at:

B: Reading – Summary

1. Letter to the Times, 26 Feb: ‘Peace will be achieved only by talking to Hamas’

2. Uri Avnery, ‘10 Ways to Kill Fatah’, 28 Feb 2009

3. Tony Karom, ‘Fatah’s Long March’, 12 Feb 2009

4. Reviews of the Independent Jewish Voices book ‘A Time to Speak Out’

5. Ben White, ‘The real Israel-Palestine story is in the West Bank’ Guardian Comment is Free 20 Feb 2009

6. B’Tselem’s Report 19 Feb 2009 documents the ongoing oppression of the occupation

7. Karl Sabbagh,‘Perils of criticising Israel’, British Medical Journal 24 Feb 2009 – and discussion

8. Waltz with Bashir – some comments

9. Corporate Watch, Direct Action Against Israel – Part 2

10. Finally, especially for those with South African Jewish connexions, a new website

1. Letter to the Times, 26 Feb: ‘Peace will be achieved only by talking to Hamas’
We need to rethink the strategy for achieving peace in the Middle East

A number of experienced peace negotiators signed a letter to the Times (26 Feb) arguing that the ‘latest and bloodiest conflict between Israel and Hamas has demonstrated that the policy of isolating Hamas cannot bring about stability. As former peace negotiators, we believe it is of vital importance to abandon the failed policy of isolation and to involve Hamas in the political process.
…The Quartet conditions imposed on Hamas set an unworkable threshold from which to commence negotiations.
…We have learnt first-hand that there is no substitute for direct and sustained negotiations with all parties to a conflict, and rarely if ever a durable peace without them. Isolation only bolsters hardliners and their policies of intransigence.
…We must recognise that engaging Hamas does not amount to condoning terrorism or attacks on civilians. In fact, it is a precondition for security and for brokering a workable agreement.

Its signatories include Michael Ancram, Lord Ashdown, Shlomo Ben-Ami (Israel Foreign Minister, 2000-01), Alvaro de Soto (UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Envoy to the Quartet, 2005-07) Gerry Kelly, John Hume and Lord Patten

Full text

2. Uri Avnery, ‘10 Ways to Kill Fatah’, 28 Feb 2009

‘Israeli policy is indeed foolish, but there is method in this foolishness. It can go on only because it conforms with a deep-seated desire, which most people are not conscious of or do not want to admit: to hold on to all of Eretz Israel and not to allow a Palestinian state to come into being.
‘If we want to change this, we must drag the unconscious motivation up to the level of consciousness: what do we want? Peace or more territory? Co-existence between two states or occupation and eternal war?’

Full article

3. Tony Karom, ‘Fatah’s Long March’, 12 Feb 2009

‘The rank-and-file of Fatah has long known that Mahmoud Abbas’ habit of jumping through hoops for Condi Rice was political suicide, and that much has been confirmed in recent weeks: Hamas has emerged from the Gaza war stronger than ever politically, and Abbas’ blaming of Hamas for the carnage at the beginning of Israel’s operation cast him as a collaborator in the eyes of many of his own people…
[But pressures for change are building:]
‘In other words, Fatah — whether on the diplomatic front, or on the organizational front on the ground in the West Bank — looks set to try and redeem itself by reverting to the path of struggle.’

Full text

4. Reviews of the Independent Jewish Voices book ‘A Time to Speak Out’:

a) Bernard Gowers in Jewish Quarterly
A thoughtful and careful review raising an important issue about (some) contributors attitudes to Jewish identity:
‘The tactical employment of Jewish identity in pursuit of justice for Palestinians may be a worthwhile political project, but it does not on its own make for a satisfying contribution to Jewish life.’

b) David Landy ‘The mirror stage of movement intellectuals? Jewish criticism of Israel and its relationship to a developing social movement’, Interface 18 Jan 2009

A sympathetic review of four new books including A Time to Speak Out which is faulted (somewhat unfairly given its remit) for ‘a quite remarkable absence of Palestinians from this collection. They are rarely referred to except as the subjects – or rather the unfortunate helpless objects – of human rights discourse.’

5. Ben White, ‘The real Israel-Palestine story is in the West Bank’ Guardian Comment is Free, 20 Feb 2009

White shows that Israel is particularly concerned to target civilian resistance to the separation wall, with a large number of Israeli raids on Palestinian villages, and with dozens of Palestinians abducted.
‘It is impossible to imagine Palestinians accepting a “state” shaped by the contours of Israel’s wall, disconnected not only from East Jerusalem but even from parts of itself. Yet this is the essence of the “solution” being advanced by Israeli leaders across party lines. For a real sense of where the conflict is heading, look to the West Bank, not just Gaza.’

Full article

6. B’Tselem’s Report 19 Feb 2009 documents the ongoing oppression of the occupation

Testimony: 3-year old killed in shelling in Beit Hanun
On 4 Jan. ’09, the entire al-Kafarneh family was injured when their house was shelled, in Beit Hanun. 3-year-old Wiam died of shrapnel wounds the next day. After the family left the house, the army demolished it.

Testimony: Soldiers club and beat merchant, injuring him
On 17 January 2009, Majed al-Hajahjeh went to the main road next to Tuqu’, Bethlehem District, to go by taxi to meet with shopkeepers in Beit Fajer. According to his testimony, an army jeep passing along the road stopped and soldiers got out and beat him severely with clubs, leaving him lying, injured and bleeding, on the road.

Testimony: Border policemen attack East Jerusalem residents
On 12 Jan. ’09, Border policemen came to the a-Ragabi family’s house in Silwan. According to a testimony given to B’Tselem, they broke the door to the house and attacked two members of the family.

Testimony: Border policemen assault workers in carpentry shop
On 11 Jan. ’09 two border policemen drove up to a carpentry shop in Tsur Hadassah while two residents of Husan were unloading wood from the vehicle of the shop’s owner. They beat the two Palestinians and then took them to a checkpoint, where soldiers detained them for hours in the cold, without giving them shelter.

7. Karl Sabbagh, ‘Perils of criticising Israel’, British Medical Journal 24 Feb 2009 – and discussion

a) Karl Sabbagh examined the 1000 emails after the journal published an article criticising Israel in 2004 -and is reminded of what happened when the magazine World Medicine criticised Israel 27 years ago and was forced to close down.

b) Jonathan Freedland thinks Sabbagh protests too much, arguing that coordinated email attacks (like that organised by HonestReporting against the BMJ) are now part of what every critical journalist has to expect, and issues a call to ‘toughen up’!

c) Michael O’Donnell, editor of World Medicine in 1981 comments on the campaign against his journal.

d) Finally, the BMJ has an editorial on ‘What to do about orchestrated email campaigns’ arguing that ‘Authors, editors, publishers, advertisers, and shareholders should ignore them.’

8. Waltz with Bashir – some reviews

Many will have seen the Israeli film Waltz with Bashir. Many expected it to win this year’s Academy Award for best foreign-language picture. But opinion is sharply divided about the film. Here are a few interesting reviews:

(a) Hussein Ibish , ‘A Waltz With the Dogs of Memory’, The Nation 24 Feb 2009

‘It is not enough to say that the film does not purport to be a history of Israel’s involvement in Lebanese politics, a history of the civil war or anything of the kind. In effect, these telling omissions are a conscious or unconscious act of historical denial as pathological as any other interrogated in the film, since the central events represented for Israel, Lebanon and the individual Israeli soldiers in question cannot be understood in any meaningful sense without at least a cursory acknowledgment of that essential context.’

Full review

(b) Gideon Levy, ‘Twilight Zone / Medal of dishonor ‘, Ha’aretz 19 Feb, hates it

‘…it must also be noted that the film is infuriating, disturbing, outrageous and deceptive. It deserves an Oscar for the illustrations and animation – but a badge of shame for its message.’

(c) Julia Chaitlin of New Profile writes:

‘Wow – my interpretation of this film is very, very different from that of Gideon Levy’s. It is irrelevant to argue about interpretations (certainly not about art) – since perspective is definitely in the eyes of the beholder – but I would like to offer here another view and understanding for your consideration.

I find the film to be brilliant – from the cinematic, artistic and psychological aspects. I also believe that it is a film that every Israeli must see, for it forces us to reflect on issues that are central to our social-political-psychological life in this country,

I do not see this film as being anything close to propaganda. I do not see it as trying to convey the message: ‘We are the good guys, feel for us, forgive us… ‘

9. Corporate Watch, Direct Action Against Israel – Part 2

Last month Corporate Watch looked at the private companies in the arms trade, agricultural produce, banks and media sectors that have been targeted by Palestine solidarity protesters and campaigns (see Part 1 here). This month it takes a detailed look at supermarkets and other food chains.

And remember the Coalition of Women for Peace ‘Who Profits’ website

10. Finally, especially for those with South African Jewish connections, a new website

South Africans Supporting Human Rights in Israel and Palestine – SASHRIP

Look at:
1. Response by members of the South African Jewish community to a statement by the Jewish Board of Deputies, Zionist Federation and Chief Rabbi concerning Israel’s attack on Gaza
2. Chaskalson and others speak out on “inhumane” destruction in Gaza
3. Why Fatima Hajaig’s comments are offensive [about Deputy Foreign Minister Fatima Hajaig’s overtly antisemitic comments at a Lenasia rally about a month ago]

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March 2nd, 2009 | Tags: , , , , | Category: News |

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