The week in brief, 10th-16th May – a summary of recent postings

May 16, 2010
Richard Kuper


In briefest: further lashing out at critics of the Israeli government.  Scurrilous attacks attempting to destroy Justice Goldstone are now heaping abuse on him for his record as a judge in South Africa. Former South African Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson responds robustly; and Sasha Polakow-Suransky of Foreign Policy reminds us of Israel’s shameful role in supporting the apartheid regime.

It’s not only Goldstone. Academics at Tel Aviv University (TAU), who have called for an academic boycott, were slandered by Alan Dershowitz in a formal address to TAU’s donors. Many academics at TAU, including liberal Zionists opposed to the boycott, have protested furiously.

Over twenty Palestinian and Israeli human-rights organisations called for an end to Israel’s West Bank deportation policy (the Israeli organisations are all under threat of being effectively disempowered if proposed legislation to hound them goes through the Knesset).

The self-same Knesset is upset that Palestinians are calling for a boycott of the settlements and settlement goods. Chutzpah, says Uri Avnery; and Akiva Eldar shows how how “the colonialist mindset has been branded into Israeli consciousness“.

The Al Mezan Human Rights Centre in Gaza writes about a new bill, proposed by Member of Knesset Danny Danon from the Likud Party out of spite and vindictiveness, and likely to pass soon, that will deprive Palestinian political prisoners of family visits and limit visits by Red Cross representatives to one every three months.  And Gideon Levy writes more generally of “What Israeli Jews Want of Israeli Arabs”. His answer is not encouraging.

Nor is “A Dark Time in Israel”, in which Shir Hever of the Alternative Information Center takes a longer look at how Israeli society is closing in on itself. And in If the secret police ran a Jewish state… Bradley Burston writes ironically about what could happen if – but, he reassures his readers: “No way we would let that happen here .” No way…

Benny Begin, extreme right-winger and Minister in the Israeli government was the person chosen by the luminaries of British Zionism  as keynote speaker at their shameful Jerusalem Day conquest rally at Hendon shul. A dignified demonstration of protest, supported by JfJfP, was organised.

Nearer home, too, Britain’s new Deputy Prime Minister writes stirringly that “the [Gaza] Blockade must End” – last December, it is true, but perhaps worth reminding him.

Finally, an appeal to buy cement for Gaza, to be taken to Gaza by a boat organised by our EJJP colleagues in Sweden, was circulated to all JfJFP signatories and posted on the website

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