This week’s

November 6, 2016
Sarah Benton


This week, October 31st-November 6th, 2016 the Home Affairs Select Committee report on antisemitism comes in for another detailed, authoritative and condemnatory analysis from David Plank, a former local authority chief executive and director of, and adviser to parliament on, social services. We have posted a third of his 15,000 word analysis. Click the link to read it all.

Its distinctive quality is attention to detail, the identification of the weakest points in the report as well as recommendations on how such an important report should have been written (including determining what its remit was, defining antisemitism and verifying the press reports and anecdotes of antisemitism). He also makes the point that it was conducted at a time of high melodrama concerning Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. He is shocked that such a shoddy piece of work should come from an august parliamentary body:
How can a Select Committee publish such tosh?

We might say how could the CST, a respected body, produce such tosh when it comes to the blogs and a new book by its deputy director of communications, Dave Rich. It illustrates David Plank’s point and is critically reviewed by Mark Elf:
Riding the Labour antisemitism bandwagon

An authoritative body which has promoted the idea of widespread antisemitism, along with the spurious Campaign Against Antisemitism, is the Board of Deputies of British Jews (BoD). Richard Kuper wrote an open appeal to them to recognise the diversity of British Jews, not to claim to speak for us all, and ended with some eminently sensible recommendations. The Jewish Chronicle refused to print it as did the Jewish News – thus rather proving his point that there can only be  a ‘Jewish Community’ if it accepts political and religious differences:
An appeal to the Board of Deputies for a more pluralistic approach

Wanting all Jews to be the same in the face of all reality seems to have been the creation of antisemitism and then entrenched (and no, this is NOT saying they’re alike) as a united community by Israel. This wishful thinking was the fallacy of Ben Gurion’s declaration of independence. Uri Avnery points out that the foundation of his declaration was the lie that all Jews had always yearned to live in ‘Israel’, the mythical entity of prayers:
Living on a false foundation

This week is the sixtieth anniversary of the Suez war which signalled the end of the colonial power of France and Britain – and the entrenchment of colonial overlordship by Israel and the USA. It’s not an anniversary that was marked in Britain but it was by +972:
Suez dashed hope of Israel/Arab anti-colonial alliance

We have accompanied this with the 1957 report of the war from the Commander-in-Chief of the allied (France and UK) attack. Despite being C-in-C, he only found out Israel was taking part through intercepted intelligence. This meant that his operation was almost usurped by his having to mediate between Israel and Egypt. A dry military read with some nuggets to be found:
The Commander’s Suez plan 60 years ago

Many people find states of uncertainty unbearable and this may be why Donald Trump finds many Arabs would prefer him to be the next American president. They think they know where he stands (?) and believe he would launch a lethal military assault on the hated ISIL:
Arabs for Trumpish belligerence

What would the early Zionists have thought if they knew that the state they had yearned for in their prayers had, after the reality of sixty years of independent development, become the subject of analysis about how its entrenched system of apartheid was different from S. Africa’s? It is asked in the book Israel and South Africa: The Many Faces of Apartheid:
Israel’s unique apartheid system

They might have been equally surprised – almost as surprised as today’s Israeli generals – to find the MoD is buying six submarines from Germany. They can be fitted with nuclear war-heads. Subs are not the weapons to defeat any of Israel’s known enemies. What existential threat in Bibi’s mind might they fit?:
Israel’s secret purchase of ‘deadly’ subs

Official Palestinian lobbyists operate ‘within the beltway’ in Washington DC where they have to extract a crumb of money from the tableful for Israel. They are as out of touch with Palestinian popular feeling as is the US administration and the presidential contenders. Samer Badawi thinks both Palestinian and American officials should pay more attention to Trump and his acolytes and other signs of popular feeling including anger with Israel and sympathy for Palestinians.
Pro-Palestinian people v. the White House

Anyone who still accepts Israel’s boasts of a ‘free press’ hasn’t been looking. Facebook is now the principle medium for news and communication among young Palestinians. 150 of them have been prosecuted for ‘incitement’ since last October. The month before a Facebook delegation went to Israel to agree, it seems, what sort of censorship it would operate. Ditto freedom of assembly – between 2011 and 2015, Adalah reveals, 96 Palestinian Israelis have been arrested for waving Palestinian flags. It’s not a crime, so what’s the charge?:
Facebook kowtows to Israeli demands

Israel hardly tries to defend its reputation vis-à-vis the Palestinians apart from insisting they are all terrorists (which it probably said to the Facebook delegation).  Now its diplomats are all under orders to press the governments of countries they are working in to prevent any criticism of Israel. We have seen the results in the UK Cabinet Office order to local governments not to support BDS or make contracts with any body that did support BDS. This surprising accession of power by the Cabinet Office seems to have resulted from direct Israeli pressure (very light, we imagine) on David Cameron, thus bypassing Cabinet itself and parliament. Does your MP know about this? All that Israel wants is for foreign countries to declare their absolute lack of solidarity with Palestinians – however many of them they shoot dead. Over 100 so far this year:
Nous ne sommes pas Palestiniens

Once upon a time the Cremisan valley in ancient Palestine was home to a large body of Christians clustered near the Cremisan monastery. In the valley some of the best grapes in the land were grown. Then one day some men arrived and built a great big wall between the lovely olive grove and the houses where the villagers lived. And so all the vines died and the families went hungry and there is no happy ending:
Historic olive grove sentenced to death

No free speech, no freedom of assembly, no right to move even! Checkpoints, fixed and mobile, roadblocks and barriers hem Palestinians into small enclaves (and see above, on Facebook). This, Says B’Tselem, who have counted the blocks, is collective punishment. Which as we all know is illegal:
Stop there! You have no right to move

A point of stillness and beauty in a violent world: Samer Totah sat out the 1st Intifada sitting in the garden listening to classical music. When the Edward Said conservatory was opened he was the first to join though he was trained as a carpenter. He learned to play the oud, Palestine’s traditional stringed instrument. Now he makes them, happy in his work and happy to reintroduce young Palestinians to their fractured history:
Picking up a musical tradition


© Copyright JFJFP 2017