The week in brief, 19th-25th July – a summary of recent postings


July 25, 2010
Richard Kuper

jfjfpWe in JfJfP are taking the lead in organising a Jewish boat to Gaza. Its symbolism, political purpose and statement of operating principles are laid out and there is an appeal for donations to help fund the project. If you haven’t given yet, please do so now.

In Israel Ishai Menuhin, of the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, has drawn attention to former Israeli judge and current legal affairs editor for the right-leaning and largest Israeli newspaper, Yedioth Aharonoth, Boaz Okon, who has “called a spade a spade using both the forbidden words; apartheid and fascism…” Janan Abdu writes about the persecution of her husband Ameer Makhoul as pressure on Israel’s Palestinian citizens is ratcheted up. Gush Shalom sees Israel’s proposed anti-boycott legislation as fueling the world-wide boycott movement.

Avrum Burg former speaker of the Knesset, former Chair of the Jewish agency, and author of The Holocaust is Over: It is time to Move On, is planning to found a new party in Israel, with ‘total commitment to equality, without a trace of discrimination and racism’. Richard Silverstein of Tikun Olam is ambivalent, and the Magnes Zionist ask some probing questions of Burg…

A former high-up in Likud, former defence and foreign minister, Moshe Arens is talking of a one-state solution. And he is not the only right-winder doing so, as Noam Sheizaf chronicles at length. Ali Abunimah welcomes this development, but Uri Avnery is horrified by it.

The Israeli military investigation into the assault on Gaza has published a further report which, surprise, surprise, says veteran South African journalist Allister Sparks, has vindicated Richard Goldstone, so vilified earlier by the official bodies of the Jewish community in South Africa – and of course elsewhere.

Mustapha Barghouti, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative, talks on YouTube about the rise of the Palestinian non-violent movement, complementing our recent posting Palestinian non-violent resistance

In the UK, the coalition government is moving to make the application of universal jurisdiction much more difficult. Some MPs are protesting…

The Institute of Jewish Policy Research published its report on the results of the new survey of Jewish opinion in Britain and Tony Lerman, author of the previous 1997 report, comments on it. And Continuum announces the publication of Keith Kahn-Harris and Ben Gidley’s Turbulent Times: The British Jewish Community Today, the first book-length study of contemporary British Jewry.

Chris Patten, now president of the charity Medical Aid for Palestinians, urges a bolder EU approach over Middle East conflict, calling the blockade a “terrible failure – immoral, illegal and ineffective” – which had “deliberately triggered an economic and social crisis which has many humanitarian consequences”; implicitly criticising US dominance of the Middle East quartet; and recognising the need to talk to Hamas.

Chris Spannos raises the question as to Why is it so difficult to criticise Israel in the US? by telling how a small community group in Cape Cod has just been turfed out of its venue, the old Woods Hold Firehouse. Why? On 4 June it screened the award-winning documentary Occupation 101: Voices of the Silenced Majority, a film by American brothers Sufyan and Abdallah Omeish that “details life under Israeli military rule, the role of the United States in the conflict, and the major obstacles that stand in the way of a lasting and viable peace.”…

Finally, OR Books announces the forthcoming publication of Midnight on the Mavi Marmara in which “a range of activists, journalists, and analysts piece together the events that occurred that May night, mixing together first-hand testimony, documentary record, and illustration, with hard-headed analysis and historical overview”.

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