The week in brief, 8-14 March 2010 – a summary of recent postings

March 14, 2010
Richard Kuper

jfjfpWe’ve been inundated with interesting articles in the last seven days.

Draconian sentences have been handed out to those – overwhelmingly young muslims – found guilty of public order offences arising out the the demonstrations against the war on Gaza in January 2009.

In a wide ranging interview journalist Jonathan Cook describes the increasingly repressive nature of Israeli society and the prospects for a solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The issue of universal jurisdiction won’t go away and the Board of Deputies, the Jewish Chronicle and others are getting exceedingly agitated that the government won’t simply do their bidding and abolish it. Cries of ‘betrayal’ are in the air…

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine met in Madrid, 1-3 March. The focus of these hearings was on EU complicity with Israel. We carried a report of its proceedings and an article by Michael Mansfield QC, a participant in it.

The European Parliament, to many people’s surprise, stood firm and endorsed the Goldstone report despite enormous lobbying pressure from the European Jewish Congress. (Ha’aretz was among those who anticipated a few days earlier that the motion would be rejected. In its resolution, the EP called on the EU’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, and the bloc’s member states to “publicly demand the implementation of [the report’s] recommendations and accountability for all violations of international law, including alleged war crimes.”

Maariv’s crusade against the New Israel Fund continues with a renewed attack by Ben Caspit. As ever, robust criticism of Israel is supposedly welcome so long as it does not ‘undermine the foundations of the existence of the only Jewish state’. Curiously half the groups funded by NIF are alleged, on no basis whatsoever, to be doing just that.

The protests at Sheikh Jarrar continue to gather strength and Sarah Beninga’s speech “There’s a New Left in Town”delivered on behalf of all the activists, has been widely praised. You’ll find a link to it in the posting “Sheikh Jarrah and the new Israeli left?” as well as other interesting and relevant material in “Sheikh Jarrah campaign in the Israeli press”.

The UN Human Rights Council’s 13th Session has dropped Special Rapporteur Richard Falk’s report from the agenda of its current meeting, as the Palestinian Authority bends to US and Israeli pressure. In a separate posting Nadia Hijab, writes on Richard Goldstone and Richard Falk as two Jewish experts on, and passionate defenders of, international law who have become “pummeling bags for Israel and the Palestinian Authority”.

The US’s Joe Biden got egg in his face as his attempts to broker (or force) new indirect negotiations  (“Proximity talks, settlements, condemnations and exceptions”) were immediately met with Israel’s announcement of 1,600 new housing units to be built in East Jerusalem! Uri Avnery comments pithily as usual on these events in his A Matter of Timing.

Ben White writes interestingly of “the fading of the green line” as Palestinians find themselves increasingly faced with land expropriation in Israel proper as well as in the occupied territories.

In addition:

* There is a moving Zochrot (Remembrance) video showing some of the varied, contradictory and often surprising views on the right of return held by Israelis today;

* Abe Hayeem on the marketing of settlement property in Britain in “Israel’s unfair ‘law of return’”;

*news of British journalist Paul Martin’s release by Hamas following lobbying in Gaza on his behalf by members of the British-Palestine All Party Parliamentary Group;

* an interview with Muna Al-Almi on women in Gaza, to coincide with international women’s day;

* Amira Hass on the coming intifada as Palestinian frustration threatens to boil over – and the need “to prevent its descent into a so-called armed struggle, which inevitably will expropriate the street and the struggle from the public” ;

* Ali Fathollah-Nejad on how Norman Finkelstein, scholar and thorn in the side of the Zionist establishment and apologists like Alan Dershowitz, has been effectively banned from speaking anywhere in Germany;

* Dave Osler reflects on his own inglorious student activity to get the local Jewish Society banned from campus in the early 80s;

* there is comment on a 6,000-word report from the 2009 Global Forum for Combating Antisemitism on how to combat boycott, divestment and sanctions strategies (completely misrepresent them, for starters, seems to be the watchword); and

* Leon Rosselson’s new CD “The Last Chance” weaves eight finely-crafted human stories around the Israel/Palestine conflict – all profits to Medical Aid for Palestinians.

And don’t forget the Jewish Chronicle with its offer of free Ahava cleaner for every reader – fresh from the occupied West Bank.

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