This summer, like last, there has been another surge in the demolition of Palestinian homes by Israeli forces, creating mass homelessness. Despite growing pressure from the UN, EU and USA, state officials barely bother to justify their actions.
The Campaign Against Antisemitism is very keen be seen as the UK’s leading body on defining, monitoring and combatting antisemitism. It is very keen NOT to be seen as a pro-Israel lobby group – though they have left a long trail behind – lest that jeopardise its charitable status. Can those claims stand up?
The primary damage to Israel done by the BDS campaign is reputational. It casts a shadow over Israel’s integrity for people who have no interest in MidEast politics. The government says it has no impact on its growing economy but it has set up a unit in the Strategic Affairs Dept to spearhead the denigration of BDS. It’s floundering, Adelson’s billions may not be enough.
What passes as antisemitism in the UK today has no connection to antisemitism up to 1945 – a sustained dispossession, humiliation, exclusion and finally mass murder of Jews. Now, for the desperate, it seems to mean any support for anything Palestinian or any impolite comment about anything at all to a Jewish person.
Some one started a rumour that there was a great treasure to be found if Labour looked for it. This treasure was evidence that antisemitism in the Labour Party was rampant. Anyone who had spotted it was invited to send the evidence, pinpointing its whereabouts, to Sami Chakrabarti who had been commissioned to inquire into the allegation. To the tremendous disappointment of some, no such evidence could be found. Why not? Well obviously because the search was not thorough enough. Should Chakrabarti have resorted to the rack to extract confessions? A letter from over 100 Jews protesting at the attacks on the searchers for coming up empty-handed.
In another tour down memory lane, we revisit the Magnes Zionist’s 2007 contribution on the forced exile of the Jews after the failure of their revolts against the Romans in 70 and 135CE.
To this day, writes Jeremiah Haber, most lay people, Jews and non-Jews, accept the myth of the exile, whereas no historian, Jew or non-Jew, takes it seriously. Drawing on the work of Prof Yisrael Yuval, Haber looks at “the disconnect between popular and scholarly belief and tr[ies] to examine the origin of the myth several centuries after the event occurred”.
In a relatively quiet week, we are revisiting some interesting analyses and interventions from the past. Here is Diane Mason’s entertaining piece from 2010, Tell Me Again, Who Made The Desert Bloom?. In December 1945 and January 1946, the British Mandate authorities carried out an extensive survey of Palestine. Mason draws on it extensively in her account of the productivity of Palestinian agriculture at the time. Yet another Zionist myth bites the dust…
Israel is divided – and the army being blown apart says Uri Avnery – by the Azaria affair. Sergeant Azaria, remember, shot and killed a wounded, incapacitated Palestinian at point blank range. For the army command killing a wounded enemy is against orders. For a large part of the population, especially the religious and the right, Azaria is a hero. Lieberman and Netanyahu are supporting him – against the army command…
Many countries have appalling histories of the mistreatment of children in recent times. Israel, too, has its own dark history of rank racism in its earliest years, when substantial immigration of Jews from Arab countries was accompanied by a visceral contempt for their ‘backwardness’. Here Jonathan Cook tells the story of the theft of Yemeni and other children from their biological parents simply because they were Mizrachi – to be brought up by good Ashkenazi families instead…
A document obtained by Peace Now reveals the big bluff behind the pretext of “military necessity” used since 1967 to seize Palestinian land, on which about one-third of the settlements were established. This method was used throughout the 1970s until it was banned by the Elon Moreh ruling in 1979. Today the government has found another bluff and is using “declarations of state lands” in order to expropriate lands in area C for the purpose of settlements.
In videos released last week in English and Hebrew, Benjamin Netanyahu urged Palestinian citizens to become more active in public life. But these videos are addressed to European audiences, disquieted at the rank discrimination against Palestinians in Israel. The reality on the ground is that this discrimination is growing worse, as Jonathan Cook makes clear.
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