The week in brief 15-21 March – a summary of recent postings

March 21, 2010


The JfJfP annual meeting for signatories will be taking place in London on Sunday 23 May 2010. Details will be circulated in due course, but please put the date in your diaries now.

The big international news has been the continuation of the clash between the US and Israeli governments, with interesting commentaries by Paul Rogers in Open Democracy  and Jonathan Freedland in Comment is Free from the UK, and Glenn Greenwald in the US in; while Johann Hari suggested breaking the deadlock by declaring a Palestinian state. Shlomo Swirski’s Israel’s March of Folly takes a longer view of the conflict since 1967.

For us the launch of JNews, a media centre devoted to “Alternative Perspectives on Israel-Palestine” from a human-rights and social-justice perspective, announced in JNews – alternative Jewish perspectives on Israel-Palestine – is launched today was the highlight of the week. Reports and reactions to it are carried in the posting More on JNews.

The crisis in East Jerusalem continues and we posted an impassioned plea by Avraham Burg, former chair of the Jewish Agency and speaker of the Knesset, on the topic. And Icahd has produced a moving and disturbing video on the settlement and Judaization of East Jerusalem project with extensive commentary by Meir Margalit, a city councillor and Icahd coordinator, and Hagit Ofran, head of Peace Now’s Settlement Watch. It is called Seizing control – a short film on East Jerusalem

The Israeli response to continued non-violent protest in the West Bank has been to put it under renewed attack, declaring the villages of Bil’in and Ni’lin closed military zones on Fridays from 8am to 8pm when the weekly protests take place!

After the second annual conference on health in the occupied Palestinian territory, the issue of Health in Gaza was highlighted by the editor of the Lancet, Richard Horton.

Anthony Julius’s 811-page Trials of the Diaspora: A History of Anti-Semitism in England was published almost a month ago to a surprisingly quiet reception. We published links to two reviews and a commentary based on the themes he raises.

JfjfP issued an Executive statement on the arrest and sentencing arising out of the 10 January 2009 demonstration

Corporate Watch has launched a new Palestine research blog “to track companies profiting from the Israeli occupation of and apartheid policies in Palestine”; while Gush Shalom called on Israeli industrialists to move out of the settlements;

Otherwise, a host of disparate postings:

* Mariam Said angrily takes Pacbi to task for its hostile call for a boycott of Daniel Barenboim and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra;

* Ben Hayes questions the inclusion of Israel in the European Security Research Programme;

* as pesach approaches, Neve Gordon remembers Rachel Corrie;

* the World Bank has published a report on Checkpoints and Barriers: Gender dimensions of economic collapse;

* some good maps of the occupation are collected together;

* Reuven Snir writes about The Arab Jews;

* Saree Makdisi writes on Israel and apartheid;

* Seth Freedman thinks the OECD is ushering Israel in too easily;

*  the construction of the so-called museum of “tolerance” on the site of an ancient Muslim cemetery is still going ahead – sign the petition against it today; and

*  comedian Ivor Dembina is performing his show on the conflict “This is Not a Subject for Comedy” in parliament, while Naomi Wayne has been running ceramic workshops for the Villages Group in the south Hebron hills.

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