The summary for this week, September 11th – 17th 2017, consists of just the descriptions as JfJfP’s postings editor has had a week off following an operation. We wish her a speedy recovery.
In milestone Supreme Court hearings in Israel recently a serious debate was held about what constitutes torture and its use in interrogation. The result: a declaration that torture is unacceptable in Israel. The Court brought state representatives who reiterated in public that torture is forbidden. All sides in the hearing agreed that even the “necessary defense” claim – known as the “ticking time bomb” – cannot justify torture. Rachel Stroumsa, executive director of the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, reports.
So torture is still widely used in Israel
The co-founder of Youth Against Settlements in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron had been arrested on 4 September for criticizing the PA’s earlier detention of Palestinian journalist Ayman al-Qawasmi. “This case represents more than simply a gross violation of the freedom of expression, it tells us all as Palestinians that the PA, our supposed government, values it own survival and prestige over the rights of its people,” the prisoners rights group Addameer said.
Mahmoud Abbas cracks down on Palestinians
Isso Amro, an internationally acclaimed nonviolent activist in Hebron who has written for the Forward, has been arrested by Israel numerous times. He is currently awaiting trial before an Israeli military court on charges that Amnesty International calls “baseless and politically motivated.” But on Sunday, Amro was detained not by Israeli troops but by Palestinian ones. When it comes to subjugating Palestinians, argues Peter Beinart, Israeli-Palestinian cooperation is alive and well.
Peace activist unites Israel and the PA (they both want him in gaol)
Back in 1948 Jewish families who were forced to leave neighbourhoods such as Sheikh Jarrah were compensated with property left behind by Palestinians in West Jerusalem. Now they’re claiming back their East Jerusalem properties as well. But – you’ve guessed it – Palestinians are not being compensated by the return of their former properties in West Jerusalem.
Double standards in Jerusalem
Israel’s best-kept open secret is its possession of nuclear weapons. Mordechai Vanunu, who revealed their existence publicly in 1986, is still being hounded for that by the Israeli state. Now 100 citizens have gone to the Israeli High Court calling for it to intervene and regulate the status of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission.
Singling out Israel? Yes – calling on it to behave like other democratic states
A United Nations blacklist of companies operating in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights includes some of the biggest firms in Israeli industry as well as some household names in the US. The US government is doing its level best to prevent publication.
UN Human Rights Council is proposing to blacklist settlement-friendly firms
In the US a draconian bill, the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, is before Congress. It threatens individuals and businesses who actively participate in boycott campaigns in support of Palestinian rights conducted by international governmental organisations with up to 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine. Roger Waters of Pink Floyd argues strongly against it in the pages of the New York Times.
Against Aipac’s attempt to criminalise campaigning for Palestinian rights
Ruchama Marton, has just turned 80. She founded Physicians for Human Rights-Israel during the First Intifada, bringing the term “human rights” into the Israeli political discourse. Born in Israel, where she has lived her whole life, she has been an active psychiatrist for more than 40 years. Her relationship with this place is complicated and painful, almost impossible. Alon Mizrahi interviews Marton and reports.
Three cheers for Ruchama Marton! – founder of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel
Congratulations to Haaretz and its publisher Amos Schocken for standing up and speaking out against injustice, despite ongoing and increasing abuse and accusations of treason. Long may it survive and prosper, an essential voice for Jews worldwide to gain a broader understanding of what is happening in Israel today, and of the resistance to its slide into authoritarianism – and far worse.
Haaretz English edition is twenty years old this month!
Palestinian citizens of Israel constitute at least a fifth of Israel’s population and yet they are often overlooked, by Israel and by the international community. Inspired by Mohammed Amin’s 2-16 article, Remember the Forgotten Israelis, Oasis of Peace has organised a symposium in London to explore the issues at stake.
Based on the ethos of Neve Shalom / Wahat al-Salam (NSWaS), the mission of Oasis of Peace is to advance social equity and cohesion in both Israel and the United Kingdom.
Remember the forgotten Israelis – a panel discussion in London, 9th October
‘The Independent View‘ is a slot on Lib Dem Voice which allows those from beyond the party to contribute to debates believed to be of interest to LDV’s readers. Here Arthur Goodman, Parliamentary and Diplomatic Liaison Officer of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, and a member of the Liberal Democrats and the Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine, describes JJP’s work.
Jewish opposition to Israeli policies
SISO, Save Israel, Stop the Occupation, is a call from Israeli to Diapora Jews to speak out. As the High Holy Days approach, SISO has issued a sourcebook of collected materials to encourage reflection, acknowledgement and collective repentance regarding Israel’s continued rule over the Palestinians.
A call to diaspora Jews
Might there “be a change of paradigm, a shift away from the two-state ideal to a civil rights struggle inside the single-state reality that exists on the ground” asks Jonathan Freedland in this pessimistic assessment. For there is no longer serious pressure for a peace agreement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – whether from within Israel, the Occupied Territories, or from the international community. It is, he says a “longest-running of dramas [a] story that refuses to have a happy ending. It remains a tragedy without end.”
There REALLY is no peace process left
Recently the National Coalition of Christian Organisations in Palestine (NCCOP) sent an Open Letter to the World Council of Churches (WCC). The WCC recommended that its member churches read and share the Open Letter. A motion to do just that at the Methodist Conference in the UK in June this year came under intense pressure from the Board of Deputies of British Jews. And, in the event, the motion was not put. An intense correspondence has followed in the pages of the Methodist Recorder.
Methodist Recorder: an exchange of views
The Institute for Jewish Policy Research has published one of the most comprehensive studies of antisemitism ever conducted in Britain. “It finds that only a small proportion of British adults can be categorised as ‘hard-core’ antisemites – approximately 2% – yet antisemitic ideas can be found at varying degrees of intensity across 30% of British society.” It draws important distinctions between anti-Israelism and antisemitism but finds some correlation between them in some contexts. “Yet, importantly, most of the antisemitism found in British society exists outside of these three groups – the far-left, far-right and Muslims; even at its most heightened levels of intensity, only about 15% of it can be accounted for by them.”
Antisemitism in contemporary Britain
In a meme posted by Yair Netanyahu to his Facebook account on Friday last week, and hastily taken down Sunday evening, the face of Jewish tycoon George Soros was put on a neo-Nazi character known to symbolize the imagined world-manipulating Jew, beneath the distressing headline “food chain”. Not a word of condemnation from the prime minister – and the right understands his silence as approval
Jewish nationalism and anti-Semitism
Last December the Chief Rabbinate published a new regulation allowing it to investigate the religious status of Israelis even if they are not applying to marry in Israel and even if they were already recognized as Jewish for the purpose of marriage. Recently it also emerged that the Chief Rabbinate maintains a blacklist of rabbis from abroad whose letters of certification for the purpose of marriage it does not honour.
“The idea that the Chief Rabbinate can suddenly ‘un-Jew’ individuals is completely antithetical to halakha (Jewish religious law), which states that one must take the word of people who say they are Jewish,” say Rabbi Seth Farber.
Religious bigotry is alive and well in Israel