The week in brief, 25-31 January 2010 – a summary of recent postings

January 31, 2010

jfjfpIf you only look at thing this week, let it be the testimony of Israeli women soldiers who have “broken their silence”. The relentless chronicling of the petty, vindictive, unjustifiable assaults the army perpetrates as a matter of routine, designed to hurt and to humiliate, is almost unbearable to read. See the report at

But inevitably there is much else besides.

The case to resist any restriction on the implementation of universal jurisdiction is well made in a Human Rights Watch open letter to Gordon Brown. Israeli Arab MK Ahmed Tibi, one of the most vocal critics of government policy in the occupied territories, evoked praise from most of his fellow Knesset members for his speech on Holocaust memorial day. A new e-publication on the JNF brings together a lot of useful and interesting material on its ongoing role in Palestinian dispossession.

Jeremiah Haber has – cautiously – raised hopes of a rebirth of the Zionist left, as many prominent Israelis join the protest against the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrar.

Howard Zinn,veteran civil rights campaigner and loyal supporter of Jewish Voice for Peace, has died at the age of 87. So too has Janina Bauman, holocaust survivor, activist and writer, and JfJfP supporter.

As for “the peace process”… Ha’aretz shows Israel acting in bad faith, promising to dismantle checkpoints, which it does, only to replace them with even more roadblocks elsewhere; Eyad el Sarraj in “Gaza’s Agony” reflects on the failure of US policy in the Middle East; Amira Hass shows how the west colludes with Israel as it “continues to spit in the face of friendly countries” [this time cancelling the work visas of international NGO employees], “and those countries continue to admire the falling raindrops”; Stephen M Walt (co-author of Mearsheimer/Walt “The Israel Lobby”) feels that it’s time for Mideast special envoy George Mitchell, to resign. Why? “Because he is wasting his time…he was hired under false pretences…”

Israel’s response to the Goldstone Report remains to refuse an independent enquiry as yet another government report says there is nothing to report about – to Ha’aretz’s chagrin.

And a parliamentary debate about the labelling of settlement goods enabled Phyllis Starkey MP to demonstrate the multiple ways in which Israel evades the regulations.

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