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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

Milestone in the Right Direction

ynetnews

By Boaz Okon, 30 December 2009

“Route 443 is just one example of the practices employed in the territories, which are part of a systematic and declared policy of applying” one law to Jews and another to Arabs.  This is not related to the war on terror, it is related to the policy that prefers the Jewish interests in the territories in the areas of water, lands and so on.

No one likes to hear that our state is almost like South Africa or becoming like it.  Nevertheless, we should beware.  Apartheid states are created slowly and tend to collapse all at once.  When they do so, it happens without advance signs, like the collapse of the ceiling in the Versailles hall [in Jerusalem in 2001] or like marionettes whose strings are suddenly cut.”

*                 *                  *

The court reached the only logical outcome.  The ban on Palestinian movement on Route 443 was lifted.  The ruling was courageous, but the reasons may elicit misunderstandings.  Instead of declaring that the separation regime on the roads is fundamentally wrongful, it was determined that the ban on Palestinian movement on the road, which was paved on lands taken from them, was imposed by the army without proper authority.  It was also determined that a sweeping and total ban on Palestinian movement was disproportionate.  However, anyone who makes an effort could understand between the lines that another solution of separation, for example, granting some of the Palestinians travel licenses, is possible.

In practice, any separation regarding travel of the roads is a kind of Israeli-style near-apartheid, which is taking form right outside our window.  The argument that the separation is between Israeli citizens and Palestinian residents, and therefore it is not racial separation, does not hold water.  The separation is between Jewish residents of the territories who move freely on the road and Arab residents of the territories who are barred from movement.

The time has come to determine that the separation regime in the territories is completely wrongful.  This outcome is necessitated by the law prohibiting discrimination in public places, which prohibits discrimination in entry to a public place on grounds of race, religion, nationality, personal status and more.  We are familiar with this law because it is employed here and there in Israel, mainly when bouncers prevent members of various ethnicities from entering clubs.  The rationale of this law should also apply to Route 443, since its operators are Israelis.  It is in this spirit that we should address the most important statements made by Judge Beinish in the ruling.  She pointed out the risk involved in “complete separation between different populations in use of the roads” in a manner that evokes a “sense of inequality and even an association of wrongful motives.”  But in her reluctance [to accept] the bitter truth that arises from her words, she warns against the use of the word apartheid.  “Not every wrongful discrimination is apartheid,” Judge Beinish said, because apartheid expresses “a policy of racial separation and discrimination based on race and nationality, which is based on a series of discriminatory practices aimed at establishing the superiority of a certain race and oppressing members of other races.”  Therefore, a separation based on security measures taken against terror attacks is not apartheid.
But this is precisely the problem.  Today’s apartheid no longer comes in an outspoken wrapping, which explicitly declares superiority or oppression.  It lurks beneath the surface, and crawls slowly and cunningly to the surface, with all the prejudices sprouting next to it, and it is already permissible to speak about someone who “looks like an Arabush [derogatory term for an Arab]” or explain where prostitutes come from.  Route 443 is just one example of the practices employed in the territories, which are part of a systematic and declared policy of applying one law to Jews and another to Arabs.  This is not related to the war on terror, it is related to the policy that prefers the Jewish interests in the territories in the areas of water, lands and so on.
No one likes to hear that our state is almost like South Africa or becoming like it.  Nevertheless, we should beware.  Apartheid states are created slowly and tend to collapse all at once.  When they do so, it happens without advance signs, like the collapse of the ceiling in the Versailles hall [in Jerusalem in 2001] or like marionettes whose strings are suddenly cut.


Boaz Okon’s former article on Road 443:

Don’t travel on Route 443: The Apartheid Road – Silence of the Judges

Yedioth Aharonot, June 10, 2008

There are acts for which in retrospect we would not be able to forgive ourselves. Moments for which we would ask ourselves how we could have been so stupid.

Our Supreme Court is approaching such a moment. On its desk is the appeal against the decision of the Defense Minster to block to Palestinian traffic the part of Route 443 which goes through the West Bank, and allowing passage to Israelis only. The Defense Minster gave the order to create a network of alternative roads for the Palestinians, which came to be knows as the “Fabric of Life Roads”. Which means: in the 1980’s, a narrow village road was widened into a full-fledged inter-city highway, the present Route 443. In order to achieve that, the land of Palestinian villagers was confiscated; now, these villagers are forbidden to use that route, and face new confiscation of lands in order to have new routes, with a tempting and cynical names, created for their use.
Had words been capable of dying of shame, the words “Fabric of Life Roads” would have died long ago.

“The Apartheid Road – Silence of the Judges”

There are acts for which in retrospect we would not be able to forgive ourselves. Moment for which we would ask ourselves how we could have been so stupid. In order to overcome our shame and confusion, we will try to find support in the claim that “things were different than” or that “that’s the way everybody was thinking at the time” or with arguments of national security.

Such moments come also for elected institutions, legislatures and governments, which in stormy situations, out of righteousness or security hysteria, are passing laws or defining policies which afterwards could not possibly be explained. This also happens to courts, when they abandon their fundamental duty to uproot any manifestations of racism.
Such a moment in the history of the US Supreme Court was, for example, the Dred Scott Case (1856). The court in this case decided that a Black person cannot be a citizen, since he belongs to an inferior race. Another such moment was the notorious ruling of Justice Holms (1927) approving a Virginia State law providing for the forced sterilization of retarded persons, since “Three generations of imbeciles are more than enough.”

Now, our Supreme Court is also approaching closer to such a shameful moment. On its desk is the appeal lodged by ACRI (Association for Civil Rights) and by Palestinian villagers against the decision of the Defense Minster to block to Palestinian traffic on the part of Route 443 which goes through the West Bank (Modi’in – Jerusalem), and allowing passage to Israelis only. The Defense Minster gave the order to create a network of alternative roads for the Palestinians, which came to be knows as the “Fabric of Life Roads”. All for reasons of security, of course.

Had words been capable of dying of shame, the words “Fabric of Life Roads” would have died long ago. In the 1980’s, a narrow village road was widened into a full-fledged inter-city highway, the present Route 443; in order to achieve that, the land of Palestinian villagers was confiscated; now, these villagers are forbidden to use that route, and face new confiscation of lands in order to have new routes, supposedly aimed at their own good, with a tempting and cynical names, created for their use.

“Security” has been used, more than any other word, to justify acts of infamy. This word is like a suitcase with a false bottom, outwardly carrying a legitimate interest and in fact carrying a negative, illegal load.

For the time being, the Supreme Court ruled on March 3, 2008 not to deal with this appeal at all, and asked the Defense Minster to provide within six months information on the progress in construction of the “Fabric of Life Roads”. This week, the court rejected a request by ACRI to hold a hearing on the subject anyway. In this way, the court in practice endorsed the decision of the Defense Minster, a decision which is leading us beyond the doorstep of Apartheid.

The rolling thunder of that decision is strong that no one can but hear it. The judicial backing of the Supreme Court serves as it powerful amplifier.

Sometimes, we prefer to become voluntarily blind, and rely on various bodies to take the decisions in our place. “It is a fact” we tell our conscience “that the judges have convened and took a decision, we are no longer personally responsible”. Such a silencing of the conscience has a tendency to develop into a chronic disease, which through continuing erosion becomes a habit of obscuring even the most heinous of deeds.

Of course, the Supreme Court will continue to express its shock at individual act of discrimination (“An Arab was no allowed into the water park”, “Ethiopians were not allowed to register their children at a Petach Tikva school”) but will shrug at a comprehensive official policy which is systematically criminal.

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