The week in brief, 1-7 February 2010 – a summary of recent postings

February 7, 2010
Richard Kuper


The key development this week has been the intensification of McCarthyite repression in Israel, with its increasing focus on ‘the enemy within’. The New Israel Fund has been in the centre of the storm as various postings below testify. (You can email email your displeasure to PM Netanyahu by going to the NIF website). But also: the assault on internationals working for Palestinian NGOs has intensified; Richard Goldstone has been on the receiving end of increasingly poisonous venom, this time from Alan Dershowitz who regards him as ‘a traitor to the Jewish people’; leaders of the Arab minority in Israel are facing an unprecedented campaign of persecution; while the Bedouin in the Negev are having their crops destroyed again. Canadian government funds, earmarked for human-rights work, have been withdrawn from two leading Palestinian human-rights organisations, Al Mezan and Al Haq, because of “their accusations against Israel’s human rights violations…”.

There have been some robust responses to these developments: from the New Israel Fund (do send them your support); from Gideon Levy who says of Im Tirtzu that under its ‘camouflage people hunt down all signs of democracy and critical thought’;  from Jerry Haber who continues his insightful demolitions of Dershowitz and other on his Magnes Zionist blog; and from the Coteret website with its important work in translating from the Hebrew and generally chronicling the increasing delegitimation of protest in the ‘only-democracy-in-the-Middle East’…

The three month deadline for the various parties to instigate proper investigations into their activities in the war on Gaza came and went as the issue was ducked. There was an Israeli government reponse which Amnesty International described as ‘totally inadequate ‘ while Acri and other Israeli NGOs took a front-page ad in Haaretz calling for ‘a credible and independent Israeli investigation of operation Cast Lead’. Nor was Col Travers, military man and member of the Goldstone Commission, impressed by the Israeli response.

Otherwise a diverse range of issues is covered: two postings consider Egypt’s Gaza wall; Reuven Kaminer takes on Meron Benvenisti’s ‘The Inevitable Bi-national Regime’ posted the previous week; for Bradley Burston ‘the right’s fear of peace will be the death of Israel’; Rabbi Lynn Gotlieb gives a personal account as to why she went on the Gaza Freedom March; David Shulman reports on a shepherd’s day in the South Hebron hills; and more besides…

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