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Settlements Generate Virtually No Economic Activity
"A recent Israeli government report estimated there are…$250 million in annual exports — [only] 0.55 percent of the national total — from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, territories the international community generally considers illegally occupied."
Jodi Rodoren cited by Richard Silverstein, 22 Jan 2014

Daily acts of violence committed by Jewish Israeli citizens against West Bank Palestinians
"These incidents — now particularly heightened during the olive harvest season — are not the aberration from the norm, but a regular feature of life in the occupied West Bank. In 2012, over 7,500 Palestinian olive trees were destroyed. In the 5-year period between 2007 and 2011, there was a 315 percent increase in settler violence."
Mairav Zonszein, Israel Must Stop Settler Violence, 8 November 2013
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Police impunity
After their own investigations establishing a prima facie violation, Btselem has lodged over 280 complaints of alleged police violence in the oPt since the start of the second Intifada: "we are aware of only 12 indictments" Btselem April 2013
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Runners in the first ever Bethlehem Marathon were forced to run two laps of the same course on Sunday 21 April 2013, as Palestinians were unable to find a single stretch of free land that is 26 miles long in Area A, where the PA has both security and civil authority. See Marathon report
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30th March, land day.
On 30 March 1976, thousands of Palestinians living as a minority in Israel mounted a general strike and organised protests against Israeli government plans to expropriate almost 15,000 acres of Palestinian land in the Galilee.The Israeli government, led by prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and defence minister Shimon Peres, sent in the army to break up the general strike. The Israeli army killed six unarmed Palestinians, wounded hundreds and arrested hundreds more, including political activists. All were citizens of Israel.
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* Out of 103 investigations opened in 2012 into alleged offences committed by Israeli soldiers in the occupied territories, not a single indictment served to date
Yesh Din, 3 Feb 2013
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* In total, out of an area of 1.6 million dunams in the Jordan Valley, Israel has seized 1.25 million − some 77.5 percent − where Palestinians are forbidden to enter.
Haaretz editorial, 4 Feb 2013
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Posts

Establishment says US Jews who criticise Israel don’t know what they’re talking about


Jewish Americans in May 2011 but recent research finds younger Jews are more sceptical about Israel than are their parents. Photo by AP.

Jews Express Wide Criticism of Israel in Pew Survey But Leaders Dismiss Findings

Establishment Sticks to Guns Even as Consensus Frays

By Josh Nathan-Kazis, Jewish Forward
October 02, 2013.

American Jews are far more critical of Israel than the Jewish establishment, according to the new Pew survey, but Jewish leaders say the findings won’t change their positions.

Officials with leading Jewish organizations told the Forward that the 38% of American Jews who Pew says think the Israeli government isn’t making a “sincere effort” to come to a peace deal are either uninformed, unengaged, or wrong. They also asserted that those respondents don’t represent their constituency.

“You know who the Jewish establishment represents? Those who care,” said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. “This is a poll of everybody. Some care, some don’t care.”

“I think it’s interesting, we need to be aware,” he said. “But I’m not going to follow this.”

Pew’s Portrait of Jewish Americans, based on interviews with 3,500 Jews in all 50 states, found that most Jews feel attached to Israel. But it also found high levels of skepticism of the Israeli government and high levels of opposition to the continued construction of settlements in the West Bank.

American Jewish establishment groups are reluctant to criticize the Israeli government in public. While most don’t actively support the settlements, few mainstream groups outright oppose settlement construction.

Leaders of these establishment groups, when contacted by the Forward, were unconcerned about the apparent disconnect.

Foxman, who has led the ADL since 1987, said that Jewish leaders weren’t beholden to the opinions of the Jewish public. “I don’t sit and poll my constituency,” Foxman said. “Part of Jewish leadership is leadership. We lead.”

Some Jewish officials argued that those Jews suspicious of the Israeli government didn’t know much about Israel.

Jews who told Pew that they had no religion were far less likely to believe that the Israelis are sincere in their peace efforts than those who said that their religion is Judaism. Jews of no religion are also less likely to be involved in Jewish life. According to Steve Bayme, director of the Contemporary Jewish Life Department at the American Jewish Committee, that suggests that they know less about the peace process.

“Those who are most involved in Jewish life are also most knowledgeable, and therefore I tend to think their opinion more closely parallels the opinion of the organized Jewish community,” said Bayme. “Those not involved… they are the ones who are going to be viewing these issues from a lack of [an] adequate knowledge base.”

Other officials within the Jewish establishment said that the broad swath [of] Jews reflected in the survey were not within the constituency of the mainstream Jewish groups.

“Do we represent the disorganized, unaffiliated Jewish community? Do we represent the 50% of Jews who, in a calendar year, do not step into a synagogue, do not belong to a JCC, and are jews in name only?,” asked one official with a major Jewish organization not authorized to speak by his group on the Pew survey. “The answer is a complicated one.”

The official said that the survey results, which mix answers from engaged Jews and those unattached to the Jewish community, paint a muddy picture of the opinions of engaged Jews.

In response to nearly all of Pew’s questions about Israel, young Jews were more likely to be critical of Israel and less likely to feel attached to Israel. A quarter of Jews aged 18 to 29 believe that the U.S. is too supportive of Israel, according to Pew.

Bayme said that the figure concerned him, but argued that it pointed to assimilation among young Jews rather than a policy disagreement.

Jewish Voice for Peace activists were part of a 2009 protest in San Francisco. photo/andy altman-ohr
Officers of JVP, which is headquartered in Oakland, refused to talk to j. about the report, but the organization did issue a stern response in which it called itself “a home and a voice for those who share our values of working toward a truly just peace for all the people of Israel and Palestine.”

Yitzhak Santis, chief programs officer at Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor and author of the report, told j. by phone from Israel, “JVP has grown from a tiny group to now having national reach. We’re concerned that JVP is showing up with influence in different arenas: on campus, within mainline churches as well as the corporate stockholder meetings.”

 
L, Jewish Voice for Peace activists in a 2009 protest in San Francisco photo/andy altman-ohr. R. New York protest at occupation,  photo, onto/NYC Indymedia

“The distancing from Israel…among the younger generation is less a reflection of harsh criticism of Israeli policy than it is a distancing from Jewish matters generally,” Bayme said. “Therefore, Jewish organizations do need to be concerned about this, but they need to be concerned primarily about continuity and assimilation.”

Rabbi Steve Gutow, executive director of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, said that those criticisms of Israel among the young could change as young Jews age.

“What will happen, more than likely, is that many of these younger people will become more attached,” Gutow said.

The leaders of J Street, the dovish pro-Israel group that is more willing to criticize the Israeli government on some issues, suggested that mainstream Jewish groups are having difficulty maintaining support because they have maintained lockstep support for the Jewish state, even as Jewish public opinion shifts.

“Many of the major organizations see their job as supporting Israel 100% of the time,” said Alan Elsner, vice president for communications at J Street. “And that may be a reason why some of these same organizations are finding it difficult to maintain their support and maintain the enthusiasm of their backers.”

Contact Josh Nathan-Kazis on Twitter @nathankazis

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