The week in brief, 11 – 17 April 2011 – a summary of recent postings

April 17, 2011
Richard Kuper

jfjfpA Reminder – the JfJfP Third Seder, is taking place on 21st April. All are welcome. Let us know if you are coming by emailing us here.

More on Juliano Mer-Khamis: We reported on Juliano’s murder’s last week. Many tributes and obituaries have since appeared and we reproduce Rachel Shabi’s obituary notice. Juliano’s death has also been used by Haaretz reporter Ari Shavit to bash the left, no less. Daniel Breslau responds in A leftist has been murdered: attack the left!

Hard on the heels of Juliano murder in Jenin we have the equally tragic killing of Vittorio Arrigoni, an Italian Peace Activist in Gaza. Richard Silverstein rages and weeps at this latest development. And Jared Malsin remembers.

Remember Richard Goldstone and his partial change of mind (or whatever it was) a couple of weeks ago? In a devastating rejoinder Hina Jilani, Christine Chinkin and Desmond Travers, the other three of the four members of the UN fact-finding mission to Gaza, May-September 2009, and co-authors of The Goldstone Report have issued a statement as they “find it necessary to dispel any impression that subsequent developments have rendered any part of the mission’s report unsubstantiated, erroneous or inaccurate”. See it here as Goldstone without Goldstone.

Veteran journalist and peace activist Uri Avnery describes Israel as The Settler State. The settlers “can do whatever they want: build new settlements and enlarge existing ones, ignore the Supreme Court, give orders to the Knesset and the government, attack their “neighbors” whenever they like, kill Arab children who throw stones, uproot olive groves, burn mosques. And their power is growing by leaps and bounds…”
He promises to show, in a future article, how the settlements can be removed…

In the occupied territories it is business as usual. In the denial of Palestinian human rights under occupation Sarah Leah Whitson of Human Rights Watch brings the occupation down to its reality as a massive infringement of human rights and theft of Palestinian property: “in the areas of the Occupied Palestinian Territories where Israel has moved almost half a million Jewish “settlers,” not only do Israeli laws and policies strictly segregate Jews from Palestinians, they deliberately deprive Palestinians of the most basic needs, in many cases forcing them out of their communities.”

Following the dreadful murders in Itamar it is, unfortunately, collective punishment in the nearby village of  Awarta. Noam Sheizaf reports on the thousands of members of the IDF and Shin Beit who have occupied the village, arrested and interrogated hundreds (including women), taken the DNA of all men aged 15-40, and searched and damaged many homes.

In Israel too the right is excelling itself. Or Kashti reports that the Education Ministry’s plan for the coming school year does not include civics, democratic values or Jewish-Arab coexistence…:“This is education for Zionism and Judaism without education for democracy and peace, and it promotes ultra-nationalism,” said University of Haifa Prof. Gavriel Solomon, an Israel Prize winner in the field of education.

Brigitte Herremans, Middle East policy officer for the Belgian development NGO Broederlijk Delen and peace movement Pax Christi Flanders, assesses the prospects of some sort of rapprochement between Hamas and Fatah and places developments there in a wider international context.

Recently an “expansion” in Israel studies at London’s SOAS, and “a new European Association of Israel Studies (EAIS) to be launched in September, were announced. Is the new vogue for Israel studies an academic development or Israel advocacy? Ben White sees this as an attempt to stem the tide as the international BDS movement grows; Antony Lerman asks where advocacy stops and completely disinterested academic sponsorship begin; and the Reut institute’s Eran Shayshon sees “a very small number of radical ideologues [who are] effectively blurring the lines between legitimate criticism over Israeli policy and the assault on Israel’s legitimacy by engaging wider audiences in ‘acts of delegitimization’, such as the BDS Movement and believes Israel studies will show that “Israel is first and foremost a normal country, a democracy that is struggling for its survival in an impossible reality”.

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.

In the States, Aipac spends money to buy support among US students. The Vanguard Leadership Group of African American students is placing ads in student newpapers attacking the term ‘apartheid’ as describing the treatment of Arabs in Israel. AIPAC has been encouraging this group for some years. The ad is misleading as ‘apartheid’ clearly describes the physical separations enforced in West bank and Gaza, whereas the ad refers to Israel itself…

Finally, after being responsible for posting on the website for quite some time, I am taking a welcome rest. Others will fill in and over time shape the website in new ways. I’m away for a month but will then be back to help and advise; but the baton is being passed on and I will no longer be able to take credit or blame.


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