Website policy


We provide links to articles we think will be of interest to our supporters. We are sympathetic to much of the content of what we post, but not to everything. The fact that something has been linked to here does not necessarily mean that we endorse the views expressed in it.
_____________________

BSST

BSST is the leading charity focusing on small-scale grass roots cross community, anti poverty and humanitarian projects in Israel/Palestine
____________________

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

_____________________

Posts

Avraham Burg plans a new Israeli party committed to equality for all

haaretz.comA new party of good tidings

The time has come for an Israeli party, a Jewish-Arab party, that will carry the banner of total commitment to equality, without a trace of discrimination and racism.

Avraham Burg, 23 July 2010

[For commentary see Richard Silverstein Avrum Burg to Found New Israeli Political Party: Shivyon Yisrael; and the Magnes Zionist poses some probing questions in Avrum Burg’s New Party-Concept]


The second year in office is always a year for making things clear. The government’s energy has waned, its weaknesses are obvious, and anyone with a sense of smell can detect its fears. Unless an act of God intervenes such as a sudden death, an enforced peace, a dramatic indictment or a surprising acquittal, everything is out in the open and predictable. It’s simple and frighteningly simplistic.

Even though the old forces are worn out and exhausted, and the new forces are full of vitality, no real change is blowing in the wind. Television personality Yair Lapid and former chief of staff Dan Halutz are plotting, justifiably and with skill, to fill Kadima’s shallowness. Aryeh Deri is checking the temperature of Shas’ corpse and Eli Yishai, at the behest of the Rabbi of course. The veterans of the Labor Party’s young guard are still sitting, as can be expected, with former minister Uzi Baram and planning their grand attack. And even Meretz’s remnants are weakly trying to revive the coals that burned out long ago.

All of them are justified because the political system in its present form deserves a thorough shake-up; its dead branches must be trimmed, its weeds and other unnecessary parts must be uprooted. These people are justified, but they are boring; they are the same types as before. Their efforts are an attempt to replace the dead fish with other fish that will also die. That is because no one is prepared to admit that the water is polluted and the sea must be changed.

In almost every area of the Israeli rift we need a new and clean political ocean: on issues of war and peace, in the realm between religion and the state, in the spaces between the insensitive Jewish majority and the oppressed minorities. There is also a gap between the rich who grow richer and the have-nots who have less and less all the time.

The current political situation is still built on the basic concepts of the first days of Zionism. The chasm between Zionism and ultra-Orthodoxy became a fixture at the beginning of the 20th century. The challenge of the Israeli Arabs has been stagnating since 1948. And very soon Israel will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the occupation and its injustices. There is an abundance of passionate history, while the offerings of the present are poor.

The greatest internal threat to Israel’s existence is the erosion of Israeli democracy, which has already lost its internal substance – the values of freedom and total commitment to all its citizens.

The time has come for a new proposal, one that is exciting and challenging. The time has come for an Israeli party, a Jewish-Arab party, that will carry the banner of total commitment to equality, without a trace of discrimination and racism. It will be without Meretz’s complications and Hadash’s emotional baggage. A party that will sail far beyond the paradigms of classic Zionism, which to this day ignores the place of Israel’s Arabs. A party that will demand full equality for all Israel’s citizens, the kind of equality we demand for the Jews in the Diaspora wherever they live.

The party Israel Equality (Shivyon Yisrael ) – with the acronym Shai in Hebrew, gift – will fight for a state that will be a total democracy; everything else will be either personal or on the community level. The party will wrestle with the sanctimonious internal contradiction of “a Jewish and democratic state,” which means a great deal of democracy for the Jews and too much Jewish nationalism for the Arabs. It will be the party of those who are committed to the supreme universal and Israeli cultural values of human dignity, the search for peace and a desire for freedom, justice and equality.

Those who vote for it and its candidates will accept the definition of Israel as “a state whose regime is democratic and egalitarian, and which belongs to all its citizens and communities. The state in which the Jewish people have chosen to renew their sovereignty and where they realize their right to self-determination.” The practical expression of this commitment will be a supreme effort to change the social balance of power, which is unjust, to give equal opportunities to the entire population in Israel, regardless of national background, ethnic origin, race, sex or sexual preference.

The new party will cooperate with anyone willing to return to peaceful borders, to help end the occupation and all the injustices that spring from it. This party will always be at the forefront of the struggle against hatred and incitement; it will be for everyone who has given up on the current Israeli political scene. It will offer the possibility of good tidings for everyone who is fed up with everything that is impossible in the current situation.


tikun-olam

Avrum Burg to Found New Israeli Political Party: Shivyon Yisrael

Today’s Haaretz brings the interesting news that Israeli iconoclast, Avrum Burg is founding a new political party to be called Shivyon Israel (Equality Israel).  It will represent one of the few attempts by a mainstream political leader to form a post-Zionist party.  Here is Burg on its platform:

The time has come for an Israeli party, a Jewish-Arab party, that will carry the banner of total commitment to equality, without a trace of discrimination and racism…A party that will sail far beyond the paradigms of classic Zionism, which to this day ignores the place of Israel’s Arabs. A party that will demand full equality for all Israel’s citizens, the kind of equality we demand for the Jews in the Diaspora wherever they live.

The party, Israel Equality (Shivyon Yisrael ) – with the acronym Shai in Hebrew, gift – will fight for a state that will be a total democracy…The party will wrestle with the…internal contradiction of “a Jewish and democratic state,” which means a great deal of democracy for the Jews and too much Jewish nationalism for the Arabs. It will be the party of those who are committed to the supreme universal and Israeli cultural values of human dignity, the search for peace and a desire for freedom, justice and equality.

Those who vote for it and its candidates will accept the definition of Israel as “a state whose regime is democratic and egalitarian, and which belongs to all its citizens and communities. The state in which the Jewish people have chosen to renew their sovereignty and where they realize their right to self-determination.” The practical expression of this commitment will be a supreme effort to change the social balance of power, which is unjust, to give equal opportunities to the entire population in Israel, regardless of national background, ethnic origin, race, sex or sexual preference.

Frankly, I’m ambivalent.  It’s all well and good for this new party to embrace the idea that Israel is a state in which Jews renew their sovereignty and their right to self-determination.  But frankly there is an Arab nation too within Israel and its dreams are no less vivid than those of its Jewish citizens.  Besides, the history of Israeli politics is littered with new political parties and catchy acronyms which don’t live up to expectations.

Further, I wonder how Burg, who soured on Israeli politics several years ago and decamped to France where he’s pursued a business career, will explain his absence.  It will be all too easy for the Israeli political barons to categorize Burg as the jilted Israeli pol who took his marbles home when he couldn’t realize his political ambitions there.  How does he avoid being tarred as a Johnny Come Lately, smelling of French Bordeaux and other decadent foreign tendencies?

I also wonder how this party will differ from Hadash.  He complains in this article that the latter party has “emotional baggage.”  By which he means that it is hated by many Israeli Jews.  But why is it hated?  Because it has a mainly Arab constituency and because it has forged an alliance between Jews and Arabs.  So why does Burg not think that his party won’t be tarred with the same brush since it appears to have an overlapping agenda?  Why the need for two parties representing a similar program?  Isn’t this just the left cannibalizing itself?

One welcome outcome of this should be the long-awaited demise of Meretz, the liberal Zionist party which claimed the mantle of the Jewish left but never really embraced it with vigor, forthrightness or courage.  It may also mark the further weakening of Labor, a party of which Burg was once a crown prince, and which also deserves to be put out of its misery.

In closing, let me say that I’m all in favor of the general outlines of this initiative (with the few caveats above) and wish it well.  Israeli politics is so f*#%ed up that anything would be better than what we have now.


magneszionistAvrum Burg’s New Party-Concept

Jeremiah Haber, 23 July 2010


Political parties in Israel usually crop up prior to elections, and then the parties are launched with a press-conference in which principles are stated and members are introduced. Avrum Burg, former MK from the Labor Party, Speaker of the Knesset, and head of the Jewish Agency, decided to launch his new party (does it exist yet?) with an op-ed in Haaretz. You have to wade through two-thirds of the piece before you get the money passages:

The time has come for an Israeli party, a Jewish-Arab party, that will carry the banner of total commitment to equality, without a trace of discrimination and racism. It will be without Meretz’s complications and Hadash’s baggage. A party that will sail far beyond the paradigms of classic Zionism, which to this day ignores the place of Israel’s Arabs. A party that will demand full equality for all Israel’s citizens, the kind of equality we demand for the Jews in the Diaspora wherever they live.

The party Israel Equality (Shivyon Yisrael – with the acronym Shai in Hebrew, gift will fight for a state that will be a total democracy; everything else will be either personal or on the community level. The party will wrestle with the sanctimonious internal contradiction of “a Jewish and democratic state,” which means a great deal of democracy for the Jews and too much Jewish nationalism for the Arabs. It will be the party of those who are committed to the supreme universal and Israeli cultural values of human dignity, the search for peace and a desire for freedom, justice and equality.

Those who vote for it and its candidates will accept the definition of Israel as “a state whose regime is democratic and egalitarian, and which belongs to all its citizens and communities. The state in which the Jewish people have chosen to renew their sovereignty and where they realize their right to self-determination.” The practical expression of this commitment will be a supreme effort to change the social balance of power, which is unjust, to give equal opportunities to the entire population in Israel, regardless of national background, ethnic origin, race, sex or sexual preference.

Hats off to Avrum Burg for thinking outside the box. Politically, this is very different from the Jewish parties that trace back to 1948. And he talks the language of liberal democracy unapologetically.

Most Zionists will label Burg’s party as “post-Zionist” but it is Zionist, since Israel is described as “The state in which the Jewish people have chosen to renew their sovereignty and where they realize their right to self-determination.” But Burg and his party need to elucidate more here, and I have some questions:

  1. Exactly how is Jewish sovereignty realized in a state of all its citizens? What is the relationship between Jewish sovereignty and Israeli sovereignty, between the Jewish nation and the Israeli nation? A people can have self-determination in an ethnic state, or as an ethnic majority in a multiethnic state, or even as an ethnic minority in a multiethnic state. But sovereignty? That sounds odd, unless Burg is referring to sovereignty over the Jewish people, not the Israeli people.
  2. Why does Burg use in his op-ed the old-fashioned term “Israeli Arabs” rather than “Palestinian Israelis,” which is preferred by many of them? Sometime in the late sixties, American blacks starting calling themselves, “Afro-Americans” or “African Americans” rather than “Negroes” or “Colored.” That decision was respected by the white majority. Is he using the old Zionist term to appeal to a traditional Israeli electorate?
  3. Is the new party a Jewish party with a sprinkling of Arabs, or a genuine Jewish-Arab party? If the latter, then wouldn’t it have been better to have a roll-out with a Jew and an Arab? Once again, my fear is that sensitivity to the electorate’s ethnic biases and paternalism will doom the partnership from the beginning.
  4. In the op-ed Burg says the party will be free of the “complications” of Meretz and the “baggage” of Hadash. To what “baggage” is he referring? To its origins as the Israel Communist Party? Surely that means nothing nowadays to its electorate. Or does he mean the “baggage” associated with an Arab-Jewish party that has been regularly demonized by the Jewish electorate and permanently in the opposition? I suspect that Burg’s new party is intended to be a hybrid of both Meretz and Hadash without the associated stigmas in the eyes of the Israeli Jewish electorate. Ideologically, however, it appears closer to Hadash. And so then the question becomes, why add a new party? And the answer presumably will be pragmatic; even though many more Jews vote for Hadash than ever before, the party’s attractiveness to Jews is limited. So we now need a Jewish version of Hadash to appeal to a progressive Jewish electorate (and its supporters) who cannot bring themselves, for ethnic reasons, to support Hadash. If that is the case, then the party will not hurt Hadash as much as it will hurt Meretz.

If this party is really a new and improved version of Meretz, a Meretz, “re-Gifted,” as it were, then that would indeed be interesting, but not sufficient. Meretz was combined originally from the parties of Mapam, Ratz, and Shinui. I would be happier with a party combined of Hadash and Shay – a “New Gift”, as it were. That would be not just interesting but exciting

But it is still much too early to form a final judgment. Welcome back, Mr. Burg, to Israeli politics.

Print Friendly

Comments are closed.