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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



Nakba denial and its consequence

Apartheid of the consciousness

We may one day have ‘peaceful coexistence’ with the Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza. With the Arabs of Israel, it will take much more. We need sincere reconciliation.

Zvi Bar’el, 17 April 2013

The workers at the immaculate Jaffa butcher shop had their hands full on the eve of Independence Day. Packaged trays of kebab were being panic-bought as if the Iranian bomb was already on the way; dozens of veal and lamb skewers were piled up like arrows ready to be released; pieces of entrecote and chicken parts filled overflowing baskets on their way to the checkout.

As usual, there was someone among the dozens of Jews waiting in line who remembered to share the colorful saying, “This is Nakba Day for the sheep” [a reference to the Palestinians’ Nakba Day, when they protest the formation of Israel]. Someone else responded: “Never mind, the Arabs also deserve to be happy on Independence Day. Let the guy make some money until the Jewish butchers drop their prices.” A woman hugging a huge side of meat said with a sigh, “They make a pretty good living off of us,” adding, “The line here is longer than the line at Abulafia after Passover week,” referring to the popular Arab-owned bakery.

The Jaffa butcher is unlikely to be in line for the award honoring outstanding citizens that the Tel Aviv Municipality hands out on Independence Day, despite his leadership of the large institution contributing to Arab-Jewish coexistence. You don’t even need all the fingers on one hand to count the number of Arabs who have been awarded that honor in all the years of its existence. But why complain? After all, one of the Independence Day ceremony torch lighters was the president of Achva Academic College, Prof. Alean Al-Krenawi, a resident of Rahat. Also from that Bedouin city was the truck driver who ran down and killed six citizens near Nesher last week. Citizens? Arabs. The country breathed a sigh of relief.

Deep semantic and ideological controversy is generated by the question of whether Israel is an apartheid state. Some people see Israel’s policies in the occupied territories, and institutionalized discrimination between settlers and Palestinians, as proof of the existence of apartheid. That perception is wrong. The territories are under occupation, which by definition is discriminatory and oppressive. The solution to discrimination in the territories is not for the Palestinians to enjoy the same rights as Israeli citizens, as if they had been annexed to Israel; rather, it is freedom from occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state, which will be founded on equal rights for all citizens.

Others see apartheid in the differences in the funding that Arab municipalities receive and the untenable gaps in education and income between Jews and Arabs. That perception legitimizes the concept of apartheid.

True apartheid is in our consciousness and nothing like the expression “peaceful coexistence with the Arabs in Israel” − as a number of the torch bearers hoped for in their statements, to describe this handicap of consciousness. After all, no one calls for peaceful coexistence with immigrants from Russia, Ethiopia or Europe, because peaceful coexistence is what we wish for with an enemy.

Last year, then Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar criticized the Nakba Day ceremony at Tel Aviv University: “This is a wrong, infuriating decision that hurts the public’s feelings,” he said. “There is no reason that campuses in Israel should be places for shows of hatred against Israel.”

All he was doing in this statement was protecting the consciousness of apartheid. The nakba terrifies Israel. We cannot forgive the Arabs for exiling themselves from Palestine, for destroying their own villages, for becoming refugees and for causing the cleansing of the War of Independence. Neither can we forgive them for the fact that many of them remained in Israel, destroying its aspiration to be a pure Jewish state, not only a state for Jews.

In contrast to an occupation that can end and unlink Israel from the occupied population, apartheid of the consciousness has become part of the Israeli-Jewish DNA. It germinated before the occupation, flourished during it, and will continue to do so even after the occupation ends someday. We may one day have “peaceful coexistence” with the Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza. With the Arabs of Israel, it will take much more. We need sincere reconciliation.

“Apartheid cannot be reformed; it has to be eliminated,” Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme said, one week before he was assassinated. Equal funding or formal affirmative action will not uproot Israeli apartheid, nor will a joke about sheep at the butcher. Only reconciliation with the nakba.

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