This week’s

March 19, 2017
Sarah Benton


In this last week, March 13th to 19th, 2017, airport officials – taking direct instruction from government ministers – began to implement the no-boycotters-here ban. First to be stopped for interrogation and return was Hugh Lanning, chair of Palestine Solidarity Campaign and a long-time frequent visitor to Israel.
No entry for supporters of Palestinians.

Even Michael Walzer, a consistent critic of the BDS movement and for long dismissive of most criticisms of Israel which he has visited every year since 1970, wonders if  ‘they will let me in’:
Israel now so far from founding ideals

Also in the above posting the letter signed by 172 scholars of Jewish Studies protesting against the boycott ban as the most recent of a series of new laws which ‘represent a further blow to the democratic foundations of Israel’.

American-Israeli Jeff Halper, co-founder of ICAHD, who has chosen to live in Israel and is known for his campaign against home demolitions, not support for BDS, was nonetheless arrested on suspicion he had BDS material. He didn’t. The new anti-BDS law displays and furthers the paranoia which increasingly afflicts Israeli officials:
Israel is a police state

Kamel Hawwash of Middle-East Eye (MEE) also sees the new law in the context of a series of repressive laws which make a mockery of Israel’s claim to be a beacon of democracy. If you want to read the BoD’s support for an indefensible law, that’s here too:
Israel locks itself out of the dialogue

Yair Svorai, born in Israel now living in the US, writes an unemotional, if chilling, account of making Israel – ‘The expansion of Jewish settlement in, and control of, Palestine has followed a consistent pattern for about 100 years: people replacement – the replacement of Palestinians by Jews’:
Take the land, replace the people

Journalist Mairav Zonszein, who writes for +972 amongst others, recently asked on Twitter “Can a Jewish state exist that doesn’t systematically violate basic human rights?” Here she writes that Israel’s fan base is now made up of ‘Islamophobic Republicans, messianic Christian Evangelicals and right-wing Jews who unconditionally support Israel’. All other Jews can be discarded including Liberal Zionists.

Israel’s state religion is military nationalism not Judaism:
Forget Jews – it’s state loyalty that counts

A new report from a UN regional body, UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) says Israel practises “an apartheid regime that oppresses and dominates the Palestinian people as a whole”. Spokespersons for various institutions, including the UN’s Secretary-General, lined up to condemn the report. None of them had an alternative explanation for the Palestinian predicament – free choice? every single one a terrorist? Comment by Ben White:
If it looks like apartheid

and Ali Abunimah and Linda Gradstein:
Row grows over UN ‘apartheid’ report

Akiva Eldar, formerly commentator for Haaretz now for Al Monitor, seems to be describing a dangerously divided society. Yes, Palestinians make up the majority of the poorest and are least well-served by public services. But Eldar’s article is about the general poor provision of public services in Israel. The large majority of relatively poor people in Israel contrasts sharply with the proportion of wealth owned by a tiny minority:
In start-up nation, over half Arabs live below the poverty line

Further evidence of a racially split nation comes from figures gained by Yesh Din: in more than 95 percent of reported attacks by Israelis against Palestinians no charges are brought. Newsweek is shocked by this fact. Haaretz’s Yotam Berger is more familiar with the situation. He is critical of police accountability but speaks to a retired police major general who accepts the police treat Jews and Arabs differently but blames the leader (Prime Minister) who ‘treats Arab citizens as a dangerous enemy’:
Impunity for violent settlers

With such a high unemployment rate in Gaza [the highest in the world at 41.2 per cent among males and 62.6 per cent among females] it’s not surprising that in a conservative society men take most of what’s going. But there is also a high rate of absence by husbands, fathers, and then the women take what is going. Al Jazeera sees such women as ‘women of steel’. Gisha, the freedom of movement NGO, focuses on the barriers preventing women in particular from going out to work:
It’s grim in Gaza and grimmest for women

The phenomenon of establishment bodies – government, media etc – doing everything they can to protect Israel from the harsh words and choices citizens might make has appeared in Canada. In a vigorous polemic Michael Lesher says both government and media are withholding information 1) about Canadian government policy (protect Israel) 2) the violent attacks on Palestinians by state and settlers. Perhaps because the third piece of information withheld is the result of an opinion poll which showed Canadians were overwhelmingly in favour of BDS as a means of pressuring the Israeli government to change course:
Silence and lies about BDS in Canada

Another establishment body, one which had vowed to change course, is FIFA. They have STILL not acted to exclude clubs from illegal settlements participating in FIFA matches:
Anger at FIFA’s inertia over settlement clubs

In the UK Banksy is widely admired for his humour, his skill, his commitment to holding up Israeli militarism to ridicule and to supporting Palestinians. He has demonstrated this last by opening the ‘Walled-off hotel (pun, say it aloud) in Bethlehem. But some Palestinians don’t get the joke. They feel the seriousness of their liberation struggle is being mocked:
Palestinians sceptical about Banksy’s irony

In the UK Jamie Stern-Weiner looks at the hysteria of the Labour right + media about ‘antisemitism’ among young Labour party members. Oddly, it didn’t seem to matter to the accusers that they had no evidence. Working on the adage that where there’s smoke there’s fire they went about creating as much smoke as possible knowing how hard it would be for Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour left to lose the taint. Antisemitism is a killer accusation:
Those who need there to be antisemitism

© Copyright JFJFP 2017