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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

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Posts

What Europeans can do: keep out Israeli settlers and their products

UPDATE Following Gershon Baskin’s article, there are two from Ha’aretz on Avigdor Lieberman’s assertion that the EU’s policies towards Israel today are the same as those of Europe during the Nazi persecution of the Jews and the Holocaust


Detail from the settlement Kiryat Arba. ‘Nowhere in Palestinian Hebron is there anything as green as this–or as reliably served by water mains.’ From Great Mirror set of photos, West Bank: Israeli Settlements


Towards Expanding European Influence

By Gershon Baskin, Daily Beast
December 10, 2012

The diplomatic escalation of words and actions between Israel and the world has only just begun. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu does not hide his decision to expand Israeli settlement building in the occupied territories in the face of global criticism, because in fact it serves him very well in his own re-election campaign. This is especially true when it comes to European criticism, less so when it comes from the White House. But, nonetheless, Barack Obama is not very popular with Netanyahu’s voters and for them an unhappy Obama means Netanyahu must be doing something right. Even less popular amongst Netanyahu voters are the countries of Europe, which, Israeli voters are often reminded, have anti-Semitic pasts.

The Israeli settlement drive is allegedly in response to the Palestinian state recognition vote in the United Nations. Israel asserts that the U.N. cannot create a Palestinian state; it can only be achieved through Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Settlement expansion drives home the point all too well that Palestinians have no control over the territory that is supposed to become part of their State. Netanyahu seems oblivious to the possibility that with his own vengeful unilateral acts he may be eliminating the possibility of eventually creating a Palestinian state, which is the only real means for achieving peace with Israel’s neighbors. Many of Netanyahu’s supporters remain opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state, fearing new terror attacks if the Israeli army no longer controls the territory.

The decision of some European states to reprimand the Israeli ambassadors in their capitals goes beyond the normal EU statements that settlement building in the occupied territory is against international law and is an obstacle to peace. Some European states have already launched more serious steps towards discouraging Israeli settlement policies. The labeling of goods produced in settlements as “Made in the Occupied Palestinian Territories” has begun. These products would not enjoy tariff-free entry into the EU under the Israeli-EU free trade agreement. Some states are discussing the possibility of preventing the marketing of settlement products in their countries—if settlements are illegal then surely the goods produced in settlements must be illegal contraband. Will these steps alone have the power to persuade the Israeli government to halt settlement building? Probably not, but they should signal to the Israeli government and people that the advocates of the two-state solution around the world are tired of being passive observers while the chances of real peace between Israel and its neighbors disappear by mutually wounding Israeli and Palestinian unilateral steps.

What else might be considered? The EU should apply pressure on the Palestinians to hold back on moves to take Israel to the International Court of Justice in the Hague and to not file suits against Israelis in the International Criminal Court; those steps at this time would be counter-productive. The EU should continue to support the state building efforts in Palestine so that the newly recognized State of Palestine can actually function as a state as well as entering into full diplomatic international relations with all of the states that recognize Palestine. European representative missions in Palestine should now be upgraded to full embassies.

A step that would surely impact Israeli citizens immediately would be to renew a visa requirement for Israelis to enter Europe. European countries could decide that most Israelis would continue to enter Europe without a visa, but that residents of the occupied territories living in settlements would not be granted a visa. All Israelis carry identity cards which indicate their place of residence; it would not be too difficult to determine who is living in a settlement and who is not. At the Tel Aviv airport Israel refuses entry to many foreigners who are entering Israel to visit Palestine. Israel is even now stamping the passports of those people, indicating that they are not allowed to travel freely in Israel but are “only valid for travel in Judea and Samaria,” meaning in the Palestinian territories. It would not be outrageous for European countries to consider policies that would limit the ability of people residing in illegal settlements to have free entry to Europe.

Europe should consider a series of steps escalating gradually in their smarting impact and let the government of Israel know what would be the consequences of continued settlement building activities. Hopefully none of the steps would actually be implemented. In order for Europe to move beyond words and to actually have the ability to influence positive Israeli and Palestinian movement towards real peace, it must be willing implement policies that can convince people and governments that Europe is serious.

Dr. Gershon Baskin is the Co-Chairman of IPCRI, the Israel Palestine Center for Research and Information, a columnist for the Jerusalem Post, and the initiator and negotiator of the secret back channel for the release of Gilad Shalit.


Lieberman invokes the Holocaust to slam Europe’s Israel policy

After the EU condemned Israel for advancing construction near Jerusalem, Lieberman says that ‘once again’ Europe ignores calls for the destruction of Israel.

By Barak Ravid, Ha’aretz
December 11, 2012

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Tuesday compared the European Union’s policy toward Israel on the Palestinian issue to the behavior of European countries toward the Jews during the period of the Holocaust.

In an interview to Israel Radio, Lieberman was asked to react to the EU foreign ministers’ decision on Monday to condemn Israel for advancing the plan to build in E-1. Interviewer Aryeh Golan also mentioned the report in Newsweek magazine to the effect that United States President Barack Obama intends to let Europe apply pressure to Israel on the issue of the peace process with the Palestinians. “Are you satisfied with this?” Golan asked Lieberman.

In reply, the foreign minister launched into a fierce, and perhaps, unprecedented attack on the EU. “I can tell you what I am not satisfied with,” said Lieberman. “I am not satisfied with the position of Europe, which once again in history is ignoring calls to destroy the state of Israel … Europe is keeping silent. The call yesterday [Monday], what we saw, is not a condemnation of Hamas statements but rather a call to the heads of Hamas to refrain from incitement. We have already been through this with Europe at the end of the 1930s and in the 1940s.”

In his remarks Lieberman related to the speeches by Hamas political bureau head Khaled Meshal this weekend in Gaza, during the course of which he called for annihilating Israel. Contrary to Lieberman’s statement, along with the condemnation of Israel the European foreign ministers did in fact condemn Meshal’s remarks. “The EU finds inflammatory statements by Hamas leaders that deny Israel’s right to exist unacceptable,” they declared.

The radio interviewer asked Lieberman whether he is accusing the EU of anti-Semitism. “It isn’t an anti-Semitic motive but rather it’s a narrow motive of interests,” replied Lieberman. “They [the EU] are sacrificing all values in favor of interests. Then too, back in the 1940s. They already knew by the start of the 1940s exactly what was happening in the concentration camps, what was happening with the Jews and didn’t exactly act. Today they admit that even in the 1930s they prevented Jews for coming to the land of Israel.”

The foreign minister also charged that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) supports Meshal’s call to annihilate Israel. “A large delegation of Fatah from Ramallah went to Meshal’s rally,” said Lieberman. “Fatah flags flew there at that rally. Abu Mazen supports [Hamas].”

But Lieberman did not stop there. He also addressed the clashes last week between Israel Defense Forces soldiers and Palestinian policemen in Hebron. The foreign minister argued that the soldiers should not have fled but rather should have killed the Palestinian policeman who punched one of them with his fist.
“It is untenable,” he said, “to have a situation in which that soldier in Hebron gets punched by a Palestinian policemen and the Palestinian policeman remains alive after that.” Lieberman continued: “This is unacceptable to me. It cannot be that Israeli soldiers take slaps or punches from Palestinian policeman and they remain alive … To anyone who has seen the videos it was clear that the soldiers’ lives were in danger.”


EU: Lieberman’s Holocaust reference is inappropriate and offensive to Europeans

Ashton says ‘dismayed’ by FM’s comparison of EU’s policy toward Israel and the behavior of Europe during the Holocaust.

By Barak Ravid, Ha’aretz
December 12, 2012

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton condemned the comments made by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, in which he compared the EU’s policy toward Israel to the behavior of Europe toward the Jews during the period of the Holocaust.

“Mr. Liberman’s reference to Europe in the 1940s in this context is inappropriate and offensive to Europeans,” Maja Kocijancic, the spokesperson of Catherine Ashton, told Haaretz.

Kocijancic said Ashton was dismayed after she heard Lieberman’s comments.

“Europe’s commitment to Israel’s security cannot be questioned,” she said. “This was reiterated in the Council conclusions on Monday, as was our condemnation of inflammatory statements by Hamas leaders that deny Israel’s right to exist.”

In an interview to Israel Radio on Tuesday, Lieberman was asked to react to the EU foreign ministers’ decision on Monday to condemn Israel for advancing the plan to build in E-1.

In reply, the foreign minister launched into a fierce, and perhaps, unprecedented attack on the EU. “I can tell you what I am not satisfied with,” said Lieberman. “I am not satisfied with the position of Europe, which once again in history is ignoring calls to destroy the state of Israel … Europe is keeping silent. The call yesterday [Monday], what we saw, is not a condemnation of Hamas’ statements but rather a call to the heads of Hamas to refrain from incitement. We have already been through this with Europe at the end of the 1930s and in the 1940s.”

The radio interviewer asked Lieberman whether he is accusing the EU of anti-Semitism. “It isn’t an anti-Semitic motive but rather it’s a narrow motive of interests,” replied Lieberman. “They [the EU] are sacrificing all values in favor of interests. Then too, back in the 1940s. They already knew by the start of the 1940s exactly what was happening in the concentration camps, what was happening with the Jews and didn’t exactly act. Today they admit that even in the 1930s they prevented Jews for coming to the land of Israel.”

Later on Tuesday, during a Hanukkah candle-lighting event for his party Yisrael Beiteinu, Lieberman repeated his criticism of the European Union saying that the European foreign ministers’ decision against construction in the settlements was “unbalanced and unjustified.”

“From the point of view of some of the European foreign ministers,” he said, “the destruction of Israel is apparently something that is taken for granted.” Lieberman added also that “the European Union’s decision shows how much we can rely on those same countries that say that they guarantee Israel’s security interests.”

Hatnuah Chairwoman Tzipi Livni condemned Lieberman’s comments. “Comparing Israel’s situation today to the Holocaust is contempt for the Holocaust,” Livni said during a conference organized by the Jerusalem Post in Herzliya. “It’s an incorrect comparison, and incomprehensible. There is absolutely no similarity between the situation of Israeli citizens today to that of European Jews then. Not everybody is against us, and not everyone is anti-Semitic.”

Labor Chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich added her own criticism of Lieberman, as well as of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accusing them of diverting public discourse on the eve of elections from economic and social issues.

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