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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



Why is the left so critical of Israel?

Why is the Western left so obsessed with Israel?

It ain’t anti-Semitism.

By Larry Derfner, +972

There’s no question – the evil perpetrated by Bashar Assad on the Syrians for the last year and a half makes the evils of the occupation during this time seem mild. So why does the Western left still seem so much more preoccupied with Israel, not to say obsessed, than it is with Syria? Or with Congo, or with Sudan, or with Afghanistan, or with any other place where man’s inhumanity to man is causing far greater agony and bloodshed than it is in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza?

The Israeli answer, of course, is anti-Semitism. The left naturally disagrees – but it has had a hard time defending its obsession – a fair word – with Israel’s injustices when, as even Israel-obsessed leftists will acknowledge, there is much, much worse shit going on elsewhere in Asia, and in Africa and Latin America.

The reason for the left’s difficulty in defending its Israel obsession lies in the embarrassment of leftists to admit who, in the overwhelming majority of cases,  they are – white, middle-class members of the First World’s educated elite. They number among the haves. As leftists (or progressives, liberals or social democrats), what they hate more than anything else is seeing the strong bully the weak – but the worst, by far, is when the bully comes from among their peers, the strong on a global scale – the Western-dominated, economically-advanced world. Then the left – the college students, professors, activists, writers, artists and other politically engaged people – have a personal stake in the injustice they’re seeing. When Syrians are bullying Syrians, or Sudanese are bullying South Sudanese, they don’t.

Israelis may not be as white as people think, but they are as Western as you get in the Middle East, and they are without doubt the haves against the Palestinians’ have-nots, while the occupation is without doubt a case of the strong bullying the weak. After nearly a half-century of this, how can any Western left-winger, how can any American liberal or European social democrat, not be incensed at what this country is doing?

Before Israel, there was South Africa as the most glaring example of the white, rich Westerner trampling the dark, poor Third Worlder. The left’s obsession with South Africa was no less intense or abiding than the one it carries for Israel; was this because of ethnic prejudice, of anti-Afrikanerism? No, it was because left-wing haves naturally recoil when they see fellow haves lording it over the have-nots.

The quality of the left’s enmity toward Israel in the last generation has always seemed to me basically identical to that of its enmity toward apartheid South Africa. Also to its fury at George W. Bush in Iraq, at Reagan in Nicaragua and El Salvador, at Nixon/Kissinger in Chile, and most of all at Nixon/Kissinger and LBJ in Vietnam. Before my time, the left’s fury was directed at European colonialism – at France in Algeria, Britain in India, Belgium in the Congo, and so on.  Always, it’s directed at the spectacle of the haves stepping on the have-nots. For a leftist, that is the ugliest thing on earth, even when elsewhere, other have-nots are being beaten up much worse by “their own.”

It’s important for leftists obsessed with Israel to keep some perspective, to judge this country not only against an absolute standard of justice but against other countries, currently and historically. It’s also important to be alive to other, greater evils going on in the world. But Western liberals – not to mention Israeli liberals – whose greatest moral outrage is reserved for Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians have nothing to apologize for. It’s a natural reaction, an inevitable one. As with apartheid South Africa, Vietnam, European colonialism and other examples from the West’s history, the occupation enflames leftists in a way that other, greater tyrannies in the world don’t, simply because this tyranny – the last of its kind still standing – is being perpetrated by their own side.

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