This week’s

March 5, 2017
Sarah Benton


It was the week, February 27th-March 5th 2017, when Israel’s State Comptroller Joseph Shapira published his report on Operation Protective Edge 2014, the third of Israel’s military attacks on Gaza. The report was highly critical of the lack of information-sharing between the military and, especially, the political leadership and especially by the Prime Minister – even though OPE is now judged a success because Hamas have been ‘quiet’ since. [The reasons for this quietness are not explored]:
The know-nothing war

It was also Israel Apartheid Week last week. Students in and from Gaza used the week to make an appeal for action to get international law  applied to their persecutors, Israel’s military and security agencies:
Appeal for public display of support for Gaza

Two reports on Gaza, from Reuters and The Media Line, are grim reading. Gaza already is unliveable – no ‘sweet’ water, no jobs, little housing, no fuel for sewage and garbage processing and no jobs. The young men have one impulse – get out of here. They have no liking for Hamas but suffer under Israel’s collective punishment – the siege:
Gaza, emigrate or fade away

The official Israeli response to the predictable frustration and anger of young Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank is that the youth are being brain-washed. Without ‘incitement’ these young people would have nothing to complain about. The answer is to silence the sources of incitement [i.e. reporting actuality]:
Raids on Palestinian media

The so-called Regulation act – renamed by ACRI the Expropriation Act- continues to dominate much public discussion. All the human rights NGOs have condemned it. Mustafa Barghouti has appealed for international action:
New law to legalise land theft does not make theft legal

The law was pushed through the Knesset by Jewish Home against legal advice. Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR) provides a clear briefing on all the laws which the Regulation Act is breaking:
All legal opinion condemns land-grab bill

South African Islamic scholar, Prof. Farid Esack, writes eloquently about the deliberate muddling of religious and ethnic categories and the Israeli desire to tie the label ‘antisemite’ round the neck of anyone concerned with the conditions of Palestinians; especially the necks of those supporting BDS:
It is antisemitic to say ‘Palestine’

The IHRA definition of antisemitism – the devil’s in the detail – is now government policy on Mrs. May’s say-so. And it is already being used to censor anyone who talks of Palestinian rights or conditions. If the director of an institution just suspects that a speaker or student group might suggest that there is no ‘right’ to self-determination [who defines the ‘self’?] or that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour she/he can silence such unspeakable opinions by citing the IHRA, as Ben White and others have found:
May sets up attack on free speech

Local and national governments in the capitalist world have looked for ways to limit the activities of BDS supporters. And Lord Sacks, former Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth (a branch of Orthodoxy) has delighted the establishment by using his retirement to produce a video arguing that antisemites are trying to annihilate Israel behind the mask of BDS. Robert Cohen, an admirer of Sacks’ intellectual rigour in matters of theology, is dismayed that Sacks’ intellect vanishes when he’s dealing with Palestine:
BDS strikes Lord Sacks as having the power to annihilate Israel

One man who would not have been quelled by this pile-up of government dictats trying to stop BDS and criticism of Israel [what are they so afraid of?] is former Labour MP Gerald Kaufman, who died on February 26th. He was a courageous, well-informed and relentless critic of Israel’s ‘betrayal’ of Judaic tradition in its treatment of Palestinians:
Courageous, waspish, Kaufman

Uri Avnery, another courageous Jewish critic of Israeli policy towards Palestinians, illuminates the turmoil that the trial of baby-faced Elor Azaria, killer of Abdel Fattah al-Sharif, has caused.  Had Azaria been Ashkenazi – he is apparently from a Mizrahi family – his action would have led to anger about the Occupation on the grounds it had corrupted a fine, upstanding Israeli. As one of the low-class Israelis, well it must have been the fault of army training or the Mizrahi culture of Arab-hating. Israel is  several Jewish nations connected only by a mutual, unacknowledged hatred:
Birth of a second Jewish nation

Israel’s PM is again under investigation by the police for corruption (a hoard of gifts). Every Prime Minister since Begin has been investigated for corruption says Jonathan Cook because corruption is an integral part of how the Israeli political economy works. So every Israeli knows that when, eg. President Rivlin, claims that Israel is “a shining beacon in the heart of the oppressing and cruel Middle East” he is lying:
Corruption the motor of Israel’s un-free market

As we said last week, many people, especially Palestinians, have been declaring the 2-state solution dead (most recently our signatory Prof. Avi Shlaim,
Needed – bodies to enforce universal rights)
and what seems the highly idealistic interest in One Democratic Society is growing. Yet in 1947 the policy of the US state department was precisely for one democratic, egalitarian state from Jordan to the sea:
When the US wanted Palestine to be one democratic state for all

When a young, male, white nationalist Canadian killed six Muslims coming out of a mosque in Quebec it got little media attention (even in Canada). The umbrella group for Jewish peace groups, European Jews for a Just Peace (EJJP) has deplored this lack of interest and urged all Jewish groups to join in resistance to Muslim-hatred:
European Jews call for solidarity against Muslim-hatred

In Britain, Jewish establishment groups have joined in the condemnation of UNSC 2334 on settlements (have they read it? It includes clear condemnation of violence including Palestinian attacks). Now three of the sharpest dissident Jewish groups – JfJfP, IJV and JSG (forgive the acronyms, it’s all on the page) – have placed an advert in the Jewish Chronicle supporting the UNSC resolution. As the JC has a largely right-wing readership (by its own polls) there was a hostile response. Various letters from JfJfP signatories were not published. Then a few from readers were, in which unhappiness with Israeli policy was clear:
Facts and alternative realities

And saving the best till last, 1) we have got through a week without having to mention the POTUS and 2) inescapably imbued with fun and mischief as well as deep seriousness is the opening of The Walled-Off Hotel, all Palestinian employees, in Bethlehem, by British artist Banksy:
Banksy’s Hotel in Bethlehem

The reservation desk opens at 9am on March 11th.

If you want to contact JfJfP postings with a tip, a proposed article, some news, a blog you would like to write yourself, email

© Copyright JFJFP 2017