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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



US/Likud latest road block: we won’t speak unless you say ‘Jewish state’

Middle East Quartet Statement failed because U.S. insisted on guaranteeing Israel as Jewish state
Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam

Reuters is reporting that a recent Quartet statement about moving Israeli-Palestinian negotiations forward which was supposed to be a substantive one laying out parameters for a settlement, foundered on U.S. insistence that it must include reference to Israel as a Jewish state:

The issue of whether and how to suggest that Israel should be a Jewish state ultimately sank diplomatic efforts to draft a substantive statement to revive peace talks, sources familiar with the matter said.

…”As well as being wrapped around the settlements freeze axel, we now seem to be wrapped around the ‘Jewish state’ axel too,” said Martin Indyk, a former U.S. assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs now at the Brookings Institution think tank.

U.S. officials originally hoped to enshrine a central bargain in the statement: that the borders of a Palestinian state would follow the lines prior to the 1967 war, with mutually agreed swaps, and Israel would be a Jewish state.

Folks, this is pure Dennis Ross. And worse, it’s Barack Obama being led by the nose by Dennis Ross, while Ross is doing the bidding of Israel’s Likud. I’ll say for what seems like the 100th time: the insistence that Palestine accept Israel as a Jewish state is a red herring. It has never been a part of any Israeli condition until the last few years. Before that, it was never heard. There is no reason why Palestine should make any acknowledgement of what sort of state Israel should be. The Palestinians plan to run their own state and define it for themselves. Why do they need to help define Israel?

In fact, the purpose of the Jewish state demand is to compel Palestine to give up the Right of Return on behalf of Nakba refugees. This is not an issue that Palestine should weigh in on. It’s an issue between Israel and those refugees themselves. Now, if Israel made a reasonable offer to resettle refugees along the lines suggested in the Geneva Accords, then Palestine could make a reasonable argument that Israel was attempting to meet the refugees halfway. And possibly it could negotiate that on their behalf.

But what Israel is doing is trying to foreclose the issue entirely by claiming that being a Jewish state means that Palestinian refugees will not be welcome to return. At all. Which is a non-starter for every Palestinian except faux ones like Hussein Ibish.

Note, this finely nuanced articulation of the debate over Israel as a Jewish state in the Reuters report, which provides a number of formulations which could satisfy any reasonable Israeli politician who wasn’t to the right of Jabotinsky:

There are many formulas to address whether Israel should be viewed as a Jewish state, including that it is a homeland for the Jewish people or that it embodies the right of the Jewish people to self-determination or that its status as a Jewish state should not prejudice any Palestinian “right of return.”

None of these formulations contradicts my own vision of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people (but not necessarily a state in which Jews enjoy supremacy). Nor do they foreclose the right of Palestinians refugees to return to Israel, which could remain a homeland for two peoples.

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