Website policy

We provide links to articles we think will be of interest to our supporters. We are sympathetic to much of the content of what we post, but not to everything. The fact that something has been linked to here does not necessarily mean that we endorse the views expressed in it.


BSST is the leading charity focusing on small-scale grass roots cross community, anti poverty and humanitarian projects in Israel/Palestine

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



The US asks nothing of Israel – even a ‘thank you’

This cartoon portraying a weight holding President Obama back from improving US relations with Iran was published By the Economist on January 18th. It was pulled 3 days later as ‘antisemitic’ – though the only hook-nosed stereotypes are Iranians and the main weight of the ball and chain round Obama’s ankle is the US Congress. However, look hard and there’s a little star of David on the rim which would better have been an Israeli flag.

Israel Needs to Learn Some Manners

By Avi Shlaim, Op-Ed, NY Times
January 30, 2014

OXFORD, UK — On Jan. 14, the Israeli defense minister, Moshe Yaalon, told the daily Yediot Aharonot, “Secretary of State John Kerry — who arrived here determined, who operates from an incomprehensible obsession and a sense of messianism — can’t teach me anything about the conflict with the Palestinians.” Even by Israeli standards, Mr. Yaalon’s comments were rather rude. Mr. Kerry’s crime was to try to broker Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that began last July and to stipulate a nine-month deadline. This is the kind of talk that gives chutzpah a bad name.

The episode also reveals a great deal about the nature of the much-vaunted special relationship between the United States and Israel. It suggests that this relationship is a one-way street, with America doing all the diplomatic heavy lifting while Israel limits its role to obstruction and whining — repaying Uncle Sam’s generosity with ingratitude and scorn.

Israeli leaders have always underlined the vital importance of self-reliance when it comes to Israel’s security. But the simple truth is that Israel wouldn’t be able to survive for very long without American support. Since 1949, America’s economic aid to Israel amounts to a staggering $118 billion and America continues to subsidize the Jewish state to the tune of $3 billion annually. America is also Israel’s main arms supplier and the official guarantor of its “quantitative military edge” over all its Arab neighbors.

In the diplomatic arena, Israel relies on America to shield it from the consequences of its habitual violations of international law. The International Court of Justice pronounced the so-called “security barrier” that Israel is building on the West Bank to be illegal. All of Israel’s civilian settlements on the West Bank violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, but Israel continues to expand them.

Since 1978, when the Camp David Accords were brokered by President Jimmy Carter, the United States has used its veto power on the Security Council 42 times on behalf of Israel. The most shocking abuse of this power was to veto, in February 2011, a resolution condemning Israeli settlement expansion that had the support of the 14 other members of the Security Council.

Some Americans, especially those of the neoconservative persuasion, favor the strongest support for Israel on the grounds that the interests of the two allies coincide in the Middle East. An argument can be made that the occupation of the West Bank serves Israel’s security interests even if it erodes the foundations of Israeli democracy and turns Israel into an international pariah.

There is no rational argument, however, that Israel’s occupation of the West Bank serves America’s national interest. On the contrary, as General David Petraeus told a Senate committee in 2010, the occupation foments anti-American sentiment throughout the Islamic world and hinders the development of America’s partnership with Arab governments. A resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is therefore a major, if not vital American interest.

Burning the American flag in Gaza, 2012. The US is not seen as an honest broker.

America poses as an honest broker, but everywhere it is perceived as Israel’s lawyer. The American-sponsored “peace process” since 1991 has been a charade: all process and no peace while providing Israel with just the cover it needs to pursue its illegal and aggressive colonial project on the West Bank.

The Quartet, which consists of the United States, Russia, the United Nations and European Union, came up in 2003 with an excellent road map for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel by the end of 2005. But the Quartet cannot act independently of the United States to pressure Israel. Its record suggests that it is little more than a clever American device for wasting time.

Mr. Kerry is to be commended for the energy and commitment that he has displayed in pursuit of peace in the Middle East and for the 11 trips he has made to the region in his first year in office. But his peace mission was doomed to failure from the start. The Kerry-hating Mr. Yaalon and his hawk-infested Likud party are committed to the geopolitical status quo on the West Bank at almost any price. Their real aim is to terminate the peace talks and blame the Palestinians.

In a normal country a defense minister who played fast and loose with such a crucial bilateral relationship would have been thrown out on his ear. But Israel is not a normal country.

The reason that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not disown his defense minister is that what Mr. Yaalon said is what Mr. Netanyahu thinks. The real problem is not Mr. Yaalon’s bad manners but the policy that he and Mr. Netanyahu are trying to foist on their senior ally: to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, to confront Iran, to protect Israel’s nuclear monopoly, and to preserve its regional hegemony solely by military means. This program is diametrically opposed to America’s true national security interests.

America gives Israel money, arms and advice. Israel takes the money, it takes the arms, and it rudely rejects the advice.

The fundamental problem with American support for Israel is its unconditional nature. Consequently, Israel does not have to pay a price for acting unilaterally in a multilateral world, for its flagrant violations of international law, and for its systematic abuse of Palestinian human rights.

Blind support for the Jewish state does not advance the cause of peace. America is going nowhere in the Middle East until it makes the provision of money and arms conditional on good manners and, more importantly, on Israeli respect for its advice.

Avi Shlaim is an emeritus professor of international relations at Oxford University and the author of “The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World.”

Print Friendly

Comments are closed.