The University and College Union – for all academic staff in the UK – has had some fraught debates about what constitutes antisemitism in recent years. Now UCU has produced its own leaflet stating its opposition to antisemitism and making clear what it means by this term. Starting with a definition by Brian Klug, it lists the harms done by this prejudice and commits itself to act against antisemitic behaviour by members
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.
Last week the House of Lords passed, by one vote, the law on universal jurisdiction which has allowed ordinary citizens to bring charges against those suspected of human rights crimes in another country. The change means only the Director of Public Prosecutions can now bring such charges
The governments of the UK, France and, especially, Germany do not support the PA’s bid for UN recognition The peoples of their countries do according to a new poll. Support for Palestinians’ political rights are highest in Germany, lowest in the UK, However, an Early Day Motion for Palestinian admission to the UN has so far been signed by 93 MPs, all but 27 of them Labour (list 2nd in this post)
Blaming unnamed British ‘activists’ and ‘extremist organizations’ , Amir Peretz and Danny Rothschild – see post on this page – both suddenly left London on the advice of ‘defence elements’ from Israel The news report is followed by a press release from Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Israel has chosen as its new ambassador to the UK not a diplomat, but the legal adviser to its Ministry of Foreign Affairs on many of his country’s most controversial practices. Here we publish the news of his appointment, an interview with him on Operation Cast Lead and a transcript of his answers on the Goldstone report at a MFA press briefing inn 2009
Yachad, a new website at least, aims to speak for UK Jews, but at first sight seems to be lagging behind critical and unhappy opinions among Britain’s diaspora Jews writes Antony Lerman. And what’s with that name?
The main decision-making organ of the Quakers in the UK has called for Quakers worldwide to reflect on boycotting , divesting and sanctions against firms and organisations involved in the Occupied Territories. The “Meeting for Sufferings” on 2nd April, issued a statement that stresses they are not at this time proposing to boycott goods from Israel itself.
The Jewish Chronicle reports that the UK branch of Israeli cosmetics store, Ahava, is moving from its central London shop after years of demonstrations highlighting its role in supporting the illegal occupation of Palestinian lands.
That this House welcomes the Stop the Jewish National Fund Campaign launched on 30 March 2011. The JNF is a UK registered charity whose patrons include high profile figures such as Prime Minister David Cameron. Palestinian civil society
organisations say that from its establishment “the JNF has been a chief
partner in the Zionist colonial drive to dispossess indigenous Palestinians
of their land…”
Pressure mounts (slowly) on Israel as Foreign Secretary William Hague announced that the UK would join many other countries in upgrading the Palestinian Delegation to London to the level of a Mission.
Labour Friends of Israel is set to rebrand itself, becoming a two-state enthusiast in order to try to stem the tide of criticism and “the erosion in Israel’s diplomatic status”.
This tactical blowing with the wind (or are we being cynical?) was also clear in the Jewish Chronicle of 11 February which was awash with “allowing criticism of Israel” articles…
Defend Universal Jurisdiction
URGENT – contact your MP now to ask them to sign Ann Clwyd’s amendment to remove clause 152
Last week the Jewish Chronicle ran an editorial “Guardian’s shame”. Apparently its behaviour, in how it presented the Palestine Papers was “even by its own often disreputable standards over Israel… simply shocking”. This week the Guardian replies – and the JC continues its private war.
Acclaimed writer/director Peter Kosminsky has produced a four-part drama series, The Promise, about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as seen through the eyes of two Britons from different eras. It screens from Sunday 6th Feb on Channel 4. Here is an interview with Kosminsky published in the Jewish Chronicle, headlined in their summary of the week’s articles as “How the British lost their love for the Jews of Israel”.
Last week the Board of Deputies of British Jews voted down a resolution declaring support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At the same meeting the Board also affirmed that, “in particular’, it stood completely “behind the courageous stand of the present government as formulated by Prime Minister Netanyahu.” A petition has been raised making the point that a majority of the Jewish community in Britain is in favour of a two-state solution and therefore urging the Board to reconsider its decision.
The protest against Veolia’s involvement with the occupation is intensifying, with five demonstrations in London in February as the North London Waste Authority’s contract comes up for consideration.
JNews has launched a bloggers’ corner.
In the first posting Israeli Eyal Clyne ponders his first encounter with Jews in London discussing a meeting about ‘ashamed to be Jewish': “I quickly came to realize that the discussion had little to do with how Jews feel about Judaism or their identity, and that it had no relevance to questions of pride or shame; rather it was code for gauging attitudes towards Israel… I sat in the audience for a few hours, confused and embarrassed. In front of me others were debating politely, arguing, asking questions, and applauding – about what (they think) is happening in my country. And I insist: MY COUNTRY, not theirs…”
30 January: a response by Brian Klug, one of the original speakers, has been posted as well.
The Jewish Leadership Council has postponed a trip to meet Palestinian leaders in the West Bank following an angry reaction from community representatives when news of the trip was leaked at a Board of Deputies meeting. JNF UK chairman, Samuel Hayek, for instance, doesn’t seem to want Jewish communal leaders seeing at first hand what is going on: “Despite best intentions, the trip would have simply been used by our enemies as further ammunition in their ongoing campaign to delegitimise Israel.” As if the JNF’s activities, amongst others, don’t delegitimise Israel enough…
“Boycott From Within”, Israelis supporting the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions has written a letter to BT about its “complicity in severe breaches of international law and the violation of human rights” through its relationship with Bezeq International:
“By partnering with Bezeq, BT is supporting the infrastructure which enables illegal Israeli settlements, built in violation of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, to exist.”