This week’s

June 11, 2017
Sarah Benton


Assessments of what Israel means to and has become to friends, critics, enemies in the sixty-nine years of its existence and especially the fifty-year old occupation continue this week, June 5th-11th, 2017. The best range of analyses has been gathered by MERIP. We reproduce the first 2 or 3 of their daily collations:
The capture of Israel by religious messianics

In another set of articles – these are forums of 5-6 – several writers argue that ‘Occupation’ does not provide an explanatory framework for the situation of Palestinians. The term settler-colonialism is far more useful:
It’s not the Occupation, it’s the settler colonial system

Israelis avoid the term ‘occupation’ says the FT’s John Reed but this signifies their denial. Those who did not join in the national celebrations for winning the ’67 war – and clamping military law onto Palestinians – are treated as traitors. This has chilling overtones of state dictatorships:
Israelis may not question Occupation

Shocking as such censorship might have been 50 years ago Israel has now arrived at the point where it’s the right-wing/religious Jews who are now leading public discussion. Their grandiose desires treat Palestinians as a dispensable fiction:
Rampaging Right calls for annexation of West Bank

The religious messianics are helped in this project by the deployment of Israel’s ‘moral army’ – the IDF – to defend settlers and their property. The most hated Israeli NGO – Breaking the Silence – reveals  that, without an external enemy to fight, they are primarily deployed to protect the persons and properties of the illegal settlements:
Soldiers as settlers’ bodyguards

It is very long past the point when thoughtful ‘diaspora’ Jews might be persuaded that suppression of Palestinians is justified. Contrariwise, more and more are demonstrating their anger at the injustice of settler-colonialism. Israeli and other activists have set up the Sumud (steadfast) Freedom camp. This is no threat to the security of the state – but it is under constant attack by Israeli police and soldiers:
A time to put our bodies on the machine

Emily Hilton dropped in on the camp and asked why the only opposition to the unjust and illegal policies of the Israeli state comes from grass-roots activism. Why is the Jewish establishment closing its eyes to the monstrous injustice of its treatment of Palestinians?
We need bold leaders who stand against the violence done in our name

The dramatic expulsion of Qatar, defender of Palestine and of Hamas, got a lot of coverage and of confusion. What had happened to the Sunni coalition so recently extolled by Pres. Trump? Iran. The aim of the Sunni monarchs, new friends of Donald Trump and Israel, was to form a strategic coalition against Iran. (By doing what? Nobody says). Qatar is the rogue state which supports Hamas and Iran:
Monarchs of the Gulf kick out Qatar

Ordinary Arabs have different views. Which Gulf state gives how much money to what recipient is opaque. Mostly the wealth goes on flamboyant propaganda projects. But Palestinians have reason to be grateful to oil-rich Qatar and its anti-American stance:
Gulf states, more money than sense

The so-called Sunni-US coalition (against Iran), promoted by Pres. Trump and Sunni monarchs, has little popular support. What the wheeler-dealers forget is that Arab state leaders are held to the support of Palestinians by the Arab street. The kings can’t make deals with other countries which consign Palestinians to oblivion, And Palestinians distrust Americans and their allies more than they distrust Iran:
The block impeding coalition against Iran

But Hamas, which has lost the leadership from Syria, is now dependent financially on the wealth of the Gulf states. What they might demand in political return is unknown:
Hamas now a lackey of the wealthy Gulf emirate

It does seem that political bodies in the West, eg Mrs May, the EU parliament, are most relieved to be given a definition of antisemitism, which they can adopt – the IHRA’s. Or rather, as in the UK, the PM or President gratefully accepts the definition with no public debate at all.

Is it because they fear a public debate – or that they care so little that any old definition will fit the bill? Despite well-informed views from many Jewish groups the EU parliament has adopted the IHRA definition (vague, pro-Israel) of antisemitism. This will increase the vulnerability of critics of Israel’s anti-Palestinian policy:
EU parliament ignores advice and votes for muddled definition of antisemitism

People with strong ideological beliefs for justice as a character trait are hugely unsettled by Israel. The injustice of the occupation is palpable. American Era Rapoport, a nice Jewish boy, turns to extreme violence when he moves to Israel:
Good boy becomes Jewish terrorist

And more besides

© Copyright JFJFP 2017