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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



Judaic law undermines the rule of democracy

Last Saturday, November 4th, was the 22nd anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, the prime minister who signed the Oslo accords. The act, the trial and aftermath show the incompatibility of religious and democratic law. Tomer Persico in +972

Israel: no matter how bad it is, it can always get worse…

Michael Sfard, activist and lawyer, reports that incitement against human rights defenders is part of a greater government assault on democratic freedoms in Israel. Bills and laws supported by several Netanyahu-led coalition governments between 2009 and today continue to narrow the boundaries of speech and activism. Things are getting worse…

Israel in crisis

In an anguished and hard-hitting critique, Naomi Chazan, former Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and former chair of the New Israel Fund, lays bare the “democratic regression” that is taking place in Israel today and calls for those who care for the values of tolerance and freedom to “awaken from their slumber and finally truly break their silence”.

The trade treaty that threatens democracy and the right to boycott

International trade treaties are often ignored by all except policy wonks and campaigners on international economic fairness. The TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, between the USA and EU, is slowly gaining attention wider attention as the implications of a law that would, amongst other things, inititiate a slump to the bottom in regulatory standards for labour, safety standards and health and open up bodies like the NHS to compulsory competitive privatisation. And it would prohibit trade with bodies that advocate BDS. The negotiations are secretive, and we have no say. An issue for UKIP – and the rest of us – surely. Petition to sign.

Meshaal: ‘our values are democracy, justice, human rights, respect’ – and we will not beg

Last February Khaled Meshaal, political leader of Hamas left Syria to live – via his first, brief, visit to Gaza – in Doha. There, in the Qatari capital, he is interviewed by Foreign Policy magazine. He gives brief explanations on why Hamas left Syria, and his opposition to making any concessions until Israel shows itself ready to end the occupation. It is less revealing than other interviews he has given but is, perhaps, a message to an American audience that he is a human being who believes in democracy and human rights – but is unflinching about the priority of ending the occupation.

Hamas leader welcomes ‘beautiful diversity’ of nation- but insists on arms and unity

This is the edited text of a rich and densely argued speech by Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in which he attempts to identify the new elements produced by the Arab Spring and the unchanging principles of Hamas. He reaffirms both that Hamas accept the 1967 borders and that it does not recognise Israel, he insists all Palestinian institutions must be based on democracy but the form of a Palestinian state must follow Palestine’s liberation – the single aim of Hamas.

Bedouin demand right to elect own councillors

Local affairs in Israel are run by regional councils, required by law to hold elections every 4 years. One of just 3 non-Jewish councils is Abu Basma, representing the Bedouin of the area. Except it doesn’t represent them. A 2009 amendment allows the Interior Ministry to postpone elections – which it has done. The Supreme Court has ordered elections. They still haven’t taken place.

‘Democratization of the PLO is a long overdue, essential political reform’

Caught up in factional battles and resistance to the occupation, the PLO is neither democratic nor subject to internal pressure for democracy. Toufic Haddad argues it is the Palestinian disapora which should press for reform – while asking what sort of democracy in what arena is most desirable.

Reactionaries, not Arabs, are enemies within Israel’s democracy

Democracies are frail systems for they always contain people who would rather get their own way than abide by principles of equality and inclusion. In Israel, democracy is under peculiar stress, argues David Remnick, because of the belligerent occupation – and protection of that occupation – of Palestinian territories.

Opposition to settlements prompts new British group for Peace Now

New group ‘Brits for Peace Now’ says it believes settlements are ‘fundamental’ as a block to peace and a 2-state solution. Unlike JfJfP which is confined to Jewish signatories in order to make the point that Jews are opposed to the occupation and the Israeli government does not speak for all Jews, Brits for Peace Now will be open to all. Whether (2nd item) they really want to realise Herzl’s vision of Israel as a European nation and outpost of German Kultur is another matter.

Knesset passes law to imprison illegal immigrants for 3 years

“Of all the antidemocratic laws that have descended on us of late, it is perhaps the most shameful…From now on, work seekers from Africa who enter Israel illegally can be imprisoned for three years, without the benefit of a trial and without any distinction between asylum seekers and labor migrants.” A very angry Haaretz editorial

Netanyahu joins attack on lack of democracy – in Arab spring

A ferment of anger at moves which make Israel’s democracy inoperable – on libel, media control, NGO funding to take the most recent – 2nd article below and other postings this page – has prompted a Brussels discussion – invitation 3rd in this posting. Netanyahu takes this moment to attack hopes for the Arab spring as a ‘delusion’

Bill will keep Palestinians ‘in cellars of military dictatorship’

The NGO-isation of political activism can cause problems, as Yitzhak Laor points out, but in Israel NGOs are the only agents which give Palestinians an effective voice – which is why Knesset members want to deprive them of funds. A statement from B’Tselem, NGO for human rights in the occupied territories, first.

Haven for Jews or for all its citizens: left-wing bloggers debate Israel

Last May, Larry Derfner wrote that he supported a Jewish state because, despite its unfairnesses, in the end it replaced something worse – anti-semitism. In response, Richard Silverstein argued that such objections would not apply to a democratic Israel and, moreover, classical zionism consigned diaspora Jewry to being a mere bank of money and people to keep Israel supplied

Petition to support social justice in Israel

On September 3, 1 million Israelis are expected to march for social justice, democracy and equality- all devastating lacks in today’s Israel. The New Israel Fund has launched a petition of support – letter of invitation 1), preamble and petition 2). Jewish Forward on NIF support for the protest, 3)

New bill to make all in Israel subject to Judaic religious law

If a new Knesset bill defining Israel as ‘the national home of the Jewish people’ is passed, Israel’s Arab and democratic heritage would be made subservient to Judaic ‘tradition’ An editorial in Haaretz, followed by a report by Zvi Bar’el, express their dismay and anger.

Who is destroying Israel’s Israel-ness?

Israel’s Progressive rabbis, below, and the New York Times, first in this post, have joined the condemnation of the new boycott act, both seeing in it the destruction of what had been seen as the essential and admirable – qualities of Israel. ICAHD, 3rd, urges all to boycott all products from Israel, the occupying power, especially armaments

Israeli democracy undercut


Neve Gordon, doctor of Politics and Government at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, argues that ‘as the Arab citizens in the region struggle for more openness and indeed democracy, … the Israeli book of laws is being rewritten so as to undercut democratic values.’

Tony Judt: 6 clichés about Israel/Palestine


In a New York Times op-ed two months ago, following the Israeli assault on the flotilla, Tony Judt took a look at 6 clichés that bedevil discussions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict…

Who’s monitoring the monitor?


On 3rd December a Knesset conference was organised by NGO Monitor as a blatant attack on Israeli peace NGOs especially those funded by European coutnries or agencies.
David Newman writes: “It is indeed a sad day for Israeli democracy when Israel joins the elite group of states – Syria and Algeria – which make constant complaints to the EU over its funding of human rights activities within their countries. This is the family of Middle Eastern democracies to which we now join forces as the Knesset attempts to legislate against legitimate human rights activity.”