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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



This week’s


Liberation theologian Marc Ellis sets a rare standard of moral argument this week, October 23rd-29th 2017. It is not comforting. The  Occupation is permanent and that leaves Jewish identity ‘permanently infected with atrocity’ he writes. If Judaism is not a system of ethics then what is it? One can escape into a New Diaspora of the disaffected but that will not be just a Jewish place. Plus link to an interview with him by Robert A.H. Cohen:
‘The end of ethical Jewish history’

One issue which set an absolute standard for European Jews was to blackball those countries which treated far-right, racist parties as unexceptionable. These are countries which did not exercise self-government during the Nazi genocide and so could deny any duty to examine their role. Two of them, Austria and Hungary, have actually or almost elected far-right, Nazi-tainted governments. The Jews living there have appealed to Israel to have nothing to do with them. Netanyahu has ignored them. His mission is NOT to defend all Jews against antisemitic attack. His mission is to find allies for Israel vis-à-vis the EU, that is, whatever the rhetoric, Israel’s economic and political interest is always going to override its role in relation to diaspora Jews:
Bibi ditches European Jews in grab for EU favours

Many dissident Jews are of course ethically troubled as Jews but that’s mainly what’s done in their name by the Israeli state and dogmatic Jewish bodies. Brad, like others before him, turns to values that are universal – where he’s joined to others as equals and not hived off in a separate tribe:
My Judaic values are not tribal but universal

Someone else who found her own way to Jewish identity and values is Jo Bird, JfJfP signatory. She didn’t inherit the tradition of Orthodox identity and practice – from which she would have been rejected for having the wrong Jewish parent – so realised she had to work out her Jewishness in her own way. That involved embracing solidarity with Palestinians, as a Jew:
Jewish dissidents are often ‘outlaws’

The worst aspects of dogmatic Israeli–Jewishness are usually found in the USA. What exactly Israel means to the southern and mid-western Christian is unclear but it certainly distorts moral values. The councillors in a Texas city, recently hit by Hurricane Harvey, have decided that no-one can claim aid from the city if they have supported any form of boycott against Israel, the relevance of that criterion being exactly what?:
Protecting Israel more important than hurricane aid

An American immigrant to Israel, Eugene, has set himself up as giving the best legal advice to companies, councils, countries wanting to block BDS. This is good news for BDS supporters as his lack of grasp of the movement and its aims (he claims it’s led by the EU and all BDS supporters just want to destroy Israel) will send his clients galloping down the wrong path. (His advice to states to pass anti-boycott laws has brought ACLU into the fray to defend free speech):
Legal adviser on BDS says EU leads irrational boycott of Israel

Irrationality holds sway in public opinion about Israel in the view of former defence minister Moshe Arens. He is struck by how the country divides opinion between those who think it’s a pariah state and those who think it’s heaven-on-earth. He thinks concern for Palestinians quite proper but warns, with a look over his shoulder at Trump, that lefty-liberals should not abandon their own working class in the support of a more renowned victim group:
It is the best of states, the worst of states

Is Netanyahu beating a Trump-like populist drum? Unlike Trump he has no special message for those who feel excluded and left behind. He doesn’t face a situation where Ahkenazi Jews are being outstripped by Ethiopian and Mizrahi Jews. Nonetheless, Pres. Rivlin sees him as shameless populist because he began the Knesset term with a speech extolling the universal wonderfulness of Israel, He didn’t address a single complaint or query because they all came from ‘sour’ people. For this he was attacked by Pres. Rivlin. Though he comes from the right Reuven Rivlin has grown into presidential status and regards Netanyahu’s inaction plus demagoguery as a threat to democracy:
Ruvi sounds alarm about Bibi’s populism

Christian Zionists have never had the moral quandaries about Israel which Jews struggle with (see Marc Ellis above). Christian Zionists have a simple, and untestable, hypothesis by which at the end of days 1) all Jews will move to Israel and 2) there will be the 2nd coming of Jesus and 3) the forces of good and evil fight it out at Armageddon. We’re still at stage 1, though more prosaically it’s often anti-Muslim feeling that feeds the supply of Christian Zionists. Until recently, this was largely a phenomenon of the USA. Now, says The Atlantic, that solid base has been supplanted by charismatics, speakers in tongues, from Nigeria, South America, the Far East. Their theology still has a special place for Israel. Their governments don’t:
Charismatics take the lead in Christian Zionism

There is something shocking about the contrast between the IDF’s self-presentation (the most moral army in the world defending their country against the greatest threats in the world) and what the IDF spends most of its time doing: arresting and interrogating teenage Palestinians for throwing stones as their vehicles. HaMoked and B’Tselem get testimony from 60 of the arrested boys:
Teenage boys prime target of IDF

This a new era in Israel-Palestine as Hamas and Fatah edge towards reconciliation. For most of its life Hamas has only had one or two allies – Egypt and Qatar. Qatar is currently out of the picture; Egypt wants a reconciliation at whatever cost. Hamas has been putting out feelers for other allies – Jordan and Iran. Iran is willing to supply Hamas with weapons. This is not going to improve Mid-East negotiations:
Hamas in a fix

Palestinians have taken to Facebook in large numbers. Given the surveillance and tight control over their movements Facebook provides a minimal form of communication and association. Which is too much for Israeli and Palestinian security agents. An Al Shabaka article on surveillance of Palestinians reports how Facebook collaborates with states to silence critics, often by yielding personal information which can be used for blackmail by security police:
Facebook provides hoard of personal info to authorities

The Israeli state cannot get rid of the Palestinians in their midst and souring the dream of a Jewish nirvana (good to have someone to blame). But now – far more than in the 1940s and ’50s – the attention of many is on the welfare of Palestinians. So there is a new tactic in Israel state governance for excluding Palestinians. Let’s call it municipalisation meaning defining more places as municipalities and according them more powers.

Thus we have the invention of Greater Jerusalem as an imagined entity into which a variety of West Bank illegal settlements would be drawn. This is opposed internationally – more on this next week:
Municipal road to Greater Israel

And for those brief snippets of news and opinions, see:
NIBS – Rabbis urge Israel to stop arming Burmese

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