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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

Why pick on Israel? Because it is funded and defended by us ‘haves’

Norman Finkelstein at a conference organised by Jews4big, London November 2011. Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, of Jews 4 big and JfJfP on the left.

Why boycotts against Israel are fair game

Israel is unique in one very important way: for other malefactors like Syria and Sudan, there is no need to convince the international public of their wrongs.

By Larry Derfner, +972
June 21, 2013

If it wasn’t a persuasive argument, Israel’s defenders wouldn’t keep using it, like they are now against Alice Walker: Why are these left-wingers singling Israel out for boycott, not to mention condemnation, when so many other countries are committing far worse injustices and causing so much more suffering? Why aren’t these people boycotting Syria, or Iran, or the Taliban, or Sudan, or Eritrea, or Zimbabwe, or China, or Saudi Arabia, or any of the other regimes and movements whose human rights violations are in a completely different league than Israel’s?

And the answer given by Israel’s defenders, of course, is that these left-wingers with their BDS and their Israel Apartheid Week are simply anti-Semites. “If the only country you want to label is Israel, that’s anti-Semitism,” as the Israel Lobby’s elder statesman, Anti-Defamation League head Abraham Foxman, recently told The Times of Israel. And it’s not just the Israel-right-or-wrong crowd who accepts this argument; even liberals who genuinely oppose the occupation and criticize Israel forthrightly argue that this country shouldn’t be singled out for punishment when there are so many more deserving candidates, and these liberals, too, suspect that anti-Semitism is, if not the driving force behind this relentless focus on Israel, then it’s one of them.

In a July 2012 post, I wrote that the Western left was obsessed with Israel for the same reason it had been obsessed with South African apartheid, with the Vietnam War and with European colonialism before: because the Western left is peopled overwhelmingly by the “haves” of the world, and “left-wing haves naturally recoil when they see fellow haves lording it over 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.’” I still think that, but there’s also a simpler, less psychological, even fairly obvious reason why there’s a Western movement to boycott Israel but not to boycott Syria, Iran, Sudan, Eritrea or other countries whose regimes practice a much “darker” form of repression on their victims than Israel does on the Palestinians.

The reason is that while these other states are, indeed, worse criminals than Israel, no popular movement is needed to convince the public and political leadership in the West that what those regimes are doing is wrong and ought to be stopped. Everybody knows that what Assad is doing is wrong, nobody is publicly defending the mass slaughter he commits; the U.S. has been supporting the rebels and the only debate in the West is whether or not to physically join the war against the Syrian regime.

By contrast, in America, by far the world’s most powerful, influential country, God help the politician who stands up in Congress or on the campaign trail and denounces Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, and God help the one who isn’t tough on Israel’s enemies, the Arabs.

There is no Syria Lobby in the U.S., but there sure is an Israel Lobby. Is America arming Israel’s enemies like it is Syria’s? No, America is arming Israel against its enemies to the tune of $3 billion a year, plus any other goodies Congress gets inspired to throw in. Is the U.S. or any other country debating whether to send in troops to end the occupation? (Samantha Power was branded an anti-Semite for once uttering a few words that seemed to sort of suggest such a thing, and she’s had to spend years assuring the Israel Lobby that she didn’t mean it.)

As it is with Syria, so it is with Iran, Sudan, Eritrea, the Taliban, Saudi Arabia and so on: they’re already on the world’s shit list, especially America’s. The only debate is over how badly they should be attacked/sanctioned/ostracized/denounced. Israel, by contrast, is the favorite son of the world’s only superpower – despite its half-century of tyranny over the Palestinians.

Despite Israel’s occupation, it is the one country on earth that every U.S. presidential candidate has to visit and where they have to get their picture taken with the prime minister and president – and not to show their foreign policy credentials, but to show that they stand with Israel. Did Mitt Romney or Barack Obama consider it mandatory to do a photo-op with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in Tehran?

Congress gives dozens of roaring, standing ovations for a speech by Mr. Occupation Forever, Bibi Netanyahu; does it do that for President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan?

In America, as well as in parts of Canada, Australia and even Europe, Israeli dignitaries and local Jewish leaders will hear Israel praised by officials as a frontline ally in the global fight for freedom. Nobody says that about Eritrea.

Meanwhile, the Western powers that don’t glorify Israel like the U.S. does, occupation and all, don’t give it any trouble, either. The outrage here and accusations of anti-Semitism over the European Union’s measly gesture to label products made in the West Bank and Golan Heights is a measure of the indulgence this country is accustomed to from that continent.

So if the Western Left singles out Israel among the world’s human rights violators for boycott, it’s because the ultimate Western power singles it out for patronage, while Europe grits its teeth in obedience. Israel is by no means the world’s worst malefactor – but it is the only one the world always encourages or, at the very least, protects. When that finishes, the occupation will finish, and so will the justification for singling Israel out.

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