The week in brief, 9th-15th August – a summary of recent postings
In Israel the latest testimony to the Turkel flotilla enquiry is distressing in the patent disregard Israeli leaders show for Palestinian rights or Palestinian suffering. The peculiar vindictiveness of the blockade is obvious as Netanyahu explains why he eased the restrictions: “gradually these limitations [had] turned into a diplomatic and public relations burden…”. As Gisha comments: “If the limitations really were, as Netanyahu claimed, necessary “to prevent the entry of weapons and war materiel into Gaza”, easing them just in order to improve Israel’s public relations would seem grossly irresponsible. If they weren’t necessary for security – why were they imposed in the first place?”
Mathew Reisz, 2009 winner of the National Education Journalist of the Year award and a former editor of the Jewish Quarterly, draws together the threads of the attack on academic freedom in Israel and raises the spcctre of a McCarthyite era. Daphna Baram writes on the topic more broadly, assessing the rising spirit of xenophobia, and the hunt for traitors and backstabbers in Israel: “The very right to have an opinion and a voice is now under grave threat”… And Uri Avnery exposes those who would delegitimise Israel… , finding the international headquarters of the Elders of Anti-Zion in the building of the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem…
On a positive note, yet another acquittal: this time for those who protested against the sale of cosmetic products from the settlements as the Ahava four, Palestine solidarity activists who chained themselves inside an Ahava shop, were found to have acted lawfully.
Finally, we reproduce The Tears of Gaza Must Be Our Tears, Chris Hedges’ appeal for funds for the US boat to Gaza, delivered in prophetic mode: “You may have the bulldozers, planes and helicopters that smash houses to rubble, the commandos who descend from ropes on ships and kill unarmed civilians on the high seas as well as in Gaza, the vast power of the state behind you. We have only our hands and our hearts and our voices. But note this. Note this well. It is you who are afraid of us…”