This is about the efforts to create a city-wide alliance of Arabs and Jews on a left-wing programme with an especial emphasis on housing and racism. Although the small details of different groups may make it a difficult read, those details also show how immensely difficult it is in Israel, with its hugely fragmented body politic, to create a broad leftwing alliance.
What will happen when the Jewish privilege of disenfranchised Israeli Jews disappears entirely? Will they turn to the anti-colonial cause, or to fascist reaction?
The Arabs of the Galilee, all Israeli citizens, have lived there a long time. But, like the Bedouin Israeli citizens, this is unacceptable to the World Zionist Organization – an arm of the Israeli state. They don’t want to build more homes for Jews in the existing towns – which would mean desegregation – so new towns must be built to install a Jewish majority. Equality for all citizens is not one of WZO’s principles.
The headline is a quotation from Primo Levi, a comment he made about the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. It is used by Joseph Massad in a discussion of the fraught question of competing sufferings – Jewish and Palestinian. The two sufferings are not comparable because the only purpose of such comparison is to demean or justify sufferings which exist sui generis. One should always stand with victims of racist oppression.
The destruction of Iraq as a dominant regional power, the chaos in Egypt left Israel as the undisputed hegemon. But as Iran is invited to come in from the cold everything changes again. Will Israel accept this – or seek underhand methods to put Iran back in its place as a pariah? Le Monde Diplomatique, Ha’aretz and Al Arabiya examine the options.
If the Gulf states did not control such a high proportion of the world’s oil Israelis would not have been able to present Iran as an ‘existential threat’. But as the Gulf states control such a high proportion of the world’s oil only a maniac would drop bombs on Iran – which could close the Gulf of Hormuz without difficulty. Uri Avnery suggests ways in which Israel could break out of its isolation. Reuven Kaminer says the hawks screech to drown out the counsel of security chiefs.
This is one of several postings on Gaza this week. The reason is obvious. Despite many many warnings from responsible bodies that the conditions of life for the people are becoming dire – beyond anything anyone in Israel or Europe or the USA would find tolerable – no-one with the power to alleviate conditions has acted. Easier to let the people of Gaza suffer than ship in fuel or a desalination plant or even a gift of a few tankers of fresh water.Critical articles from Ramzy Baroud and the Economist, pleas for action from NGOs and Amnesty.
If AIPAC can be said to have a technique it is to finesse a deal so that serving the Israeli government appears as serving the interests of the American people. This was a sleight of hand it could not pull off when American government and people both saw the Iran deal as a Good Thing while Netanyahu loudly fulminated against it as a very bad thing. What to do? Richard Silverstein examines their tactics.
If the Israeli government thought they could just dispose of the Bedouin as they wished they had their heads up their bottoms. On the designated day of rage, November 30, there were public manifestations of opposition to the Prawer plan (no-one believes the Israeli government’s claim this plan has been introduced in the best interest of the Bedouin) throughout Palestine and in several European cities including London, with JfJfP.
The historic deal in Geneva over Iran’s nuclear capability is shaking up the Middle East as much as the Arab revolutions of 2010-11. Saudi Arabia is said to be Israel’s new (only) best friend, but the Saudis can make only secret deals with ‘the Zionist entity’ or lose face with other Arab countries. The same problem afflicts the apparently cordial welcome from Israel for General al-Sisi’s coup. Advisers say ‘Look East’ – but the Chinese will not side with Israel against Palestinians. Everywhere Bibi looks, it’s the Palestinian issue which blocks his foreign relations.
EU countries have taken the high ground about Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territories. But their remit seems to stop short of European companies which continue to accept Israeli contracts for demolishing Palestinian homes (Volvo, JCB), imprisoning Palestinians (G4S), importing goods from the settlements (Tesco, Waitrose) and servicing the settlements (Veolia). Such companies ease the functioning of settlements despite the formal position of their home countries.
The only outsiders who seem to be keeping an eye on Gaza are the Israelis, whose UAVs drone constantly over the rooftops of Gaza. The horrible sound does people’s heads in. Is that the point? Jonathan Cook reports. Otherwise there is only UNRWA to raise its voice about what is obvious to anyone who looks – a growing catastrophe caused by lack of fuel and clean water.
According to Edward Said, serious discussion about Israel in the US was ‘the last taboo.’ Now that has been well and truly broken. This week the association of university professors held an open meeting (packed) to discuss BDS action against Israeli institutions complicit with the occupation. The large majority favoured such actions though this has not materialised in a decision – unlike the Association for Asian American Studies which did pass a resolution for boycotting Israeli academic institutions. Many attribute this great shift to student activism on campuses.
‘We did it through diplomacy’ said John Kerry to Congress in an appeal for their support for the Iran deal. There is significant opposition to the deal in Israel and the US – but how can they oppose it? Why, by calling Lady Ashton ‘ugly ‘ – nuff said. In the US, war-weariness has muted opposition to the negotiations. In Israel, the EU is the convenient bad entity forcing Netanyahu to acknowledge settlements in order to be eligible for Horizon 2020 grants – a programme for which Lady Ashton is also a lead negotiator.
The Palestinian right of return is an absolute slogan for most Palestinians and Israelis – an idealised dream for one and an image of terrifying loss and revenge for the other. Behind the absolutes, Zochrot and academics have been exploring what it might mean in practice.To begin with, suggests Danny Rabinowitz, it should be the freedom to return – implying choice – rather than right.
The growth of Salafism causes horror in both Palestine and Israel. This Islamist tendency is now seen as associated with violence and intolerance. It is also understood as a response to the failure of both Hamas and the peaceful PA to secure a Palestinian state. Salafism has no association with nationalism and is against democracy and for a Muslim emirate, not a Palestinian nation.Who Salafi are is a cause of dispute among Muslims.
The British-born director of Sydney’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies is being threatened with a prosecution for racial discrimination. His offence was to have refused to sponsor an application for a fellowship from an Israeli academic at the Hebrew University. As a supporter of BDS he did not believe there should be support for an institution that was implicated in the occupation. The complaint has been made by a strange Israeli law centre and taken up as an instance of antisemitism by The Australian, amongst others who like life to be simple.
A short article in the Economist explores the politics of hard-liners – shoring up a position (Hamas), provoking war (George Bush and Iraq) or holding a delusional position. The implication is that Benjamin Netanyahu, who is threatening the safety of Israel, American interests in the Middle East and Israel’s historic special relationship with the US, is delusional.
The jewel in the crown of the grants in the EC’s gift is the technological Horizon 2020 programme from which Israel desperately wants to benefit. After behind-the-scenes negotiations it emerged this week that the EC is standing firm on the conditions Israel must meet to be eligible – explicitly stating that no entity may be in the occupied territories. While Israel’s hardliners want to walk away from the EU rather than compromise, some are still looking for wiggle room.
An Israeli senior security official warns of ‘a looming catastrophe’ in Gaza which will be left without drinking water – already reduced to a mere trickle from taps in summer – in a few years. Many Palestinians resort to digging illegal wells at night. There are plans for costly desalination plants – but without a large injection of funds they will not be built. Thirsting for Justice has organised a petition to go to the EU asking for action.
Last month, 113 American Jews holding office in synagogues signed a public statement calling on the American and Iranians to show repentance for past hostilities and to take steps towards mutual welcome, peace and justice. The public atmosphere into which this statement is delivered is described by M.J.Rosenberg – a bellicosity that is almost entirely being whipped up by AIPAC and their servile Congressmen – and which tramples on American interests. A survey by the American Jewish Committee shows Jewish support for a strike against Iran has fallen to just over half.