This week’s

October 8, 2017
Sarah Benton


In this first week of October, 2nd-8th, 2017, olive farmers check when they think the fruit will be ready to harvest, and how much labour this will demand. Olives, or olive oil, are not the primary product in the oPt – productivity is limited by lack of fertilizer (mainly nitrogen) and water, both of which are controlled by Israel. But they are not hampered by lack of labour, partly because the whole family turns out for harvesting and planting and because there is significant official support and help from an army of volunteers. Al Monitor reports on these sources:
The international volunteer olive tree brigade

In addition to the legion of organisations that send out olive-picking volunteers, a number of groups recruit volunteers for a more demanding role – protecting the people from settler attacks, working with them and returning home as witness to what they have observed. One such is the World Council of Churches’ ecumenical programme (EAPPI). Sue Beardon, JfJfP signatory, signed up for this and reports how it works and what she did:
Providing a protective presence

But very disturbing articles by two more dissident Jews, Richard Silverstein and Yair Auron, identify the role of Israeli politicians and arms manufacturers in facilitating genocide, in Burma and elsewhere:
Arming mass murderers

And Israeli Yossi Gurvitz was diverted from the Orthodox Road when studying at a yeshiva school and found the Talmud and Torah are replete with stories of righteous genocides:
The deep genocidal side of Orthodox studies

The Conservative and Israeli governments are as one in wanting us all to unite in celebrating the Balfour Declaration which they declare brought about the creation of Israel. And don’t argue about this. Robert A.H.Cohen finds the elevation of Arthur Balfour to sacrosanct status deeply disturbing. All the more need for people who know a different side of the story to speak up as the November centenary approaches:
Worshipping St. Balfour is profane

Another dissident Jew (and JfJfP signatory) is Mike Cushman who championed the cause of Hungarian historian and Holocaust survivor Marika Sherwood. She had been due to speak at Manchester university, the title of her talk was to be ‘A Holocaust survivor’s story and the Balfour declaration: You’re doing to the Palestinians what the Nazis did to me’. Ambassador Mark Regev had a word in the ear of  the V.C., Dame Nancy Rothwell, citing the IHRA definition of antisemitism (or rather its examples) as evidence of antisemitism. The dame decided the title had to be changed and the meeting restricted to university members.  Mike’s letters of protest are informative and left the authorities with nothing convincing to say:
Jewish activist takes on Manchester uni

Yet another dissident Jew was Moshe Menuhin. Born in Belarus, Menuhin moved to Palestine as a boy. He found the violence used in creating Israel, and the suppression of the widespread dissent among Jews at this development, shocking. His book, “Not by Might, nor by Power” has been rediscovered and republished (e-book only) by Forbidden Books.  He should be honoured. Mondoweiss reports:
Forcing Jews into a nation

There are good Jews and bad Jews too and it seems that in Labour HQ ‘dissident Jews’ are the bad ones. Moshe Machover is a born-in-Israel Jew. He is well-known as a mathematician and an active socialist. He has been expelled from the Labour Party. For antisemitism. This apparently means criticism of Israel. By all accounts, and under heavy pressure from the pro-Israel Jewish Labour Movement, Labour HQ is in a panic about the JLM’s widely publicised claims of antisemitism. Which is often code for supporting Palestinian rights (Moshe is also a JfJfP signatory). The new Jewish Voice for Labour is on his case:
Labour panic in hunt for antisemites

Most Israeli Jews would not like to think of themselves as bigoted (well, who would?) and thus like to recognise and reward ‘good Arabs’. One such good Arab, Nimer Mahmoud Ahmed al-Jamal, shot dead three security guards at the Har Adar illegal settlement. He was shot dead in return and is now ‘a martyr’. He lived in the neighbouring village of Beit Surik and could see every day the privileged lives of the settlers:
Good Arab, bad Arab, holy martyr

Electronic Intifada helps unravel a mystery: why Pres. Trump appointed a (his) bankruptcy lawyer as the US ambassador to Israel. Following an interview with Israel’s Walla! News he appears to know as little about other countries – including the one he’s been posted to – as his boss:
No policy? Make up what you fancy

The Hamas/Fatah reconciliation talks are still proceeding and Shlomi Eldar, long-time commentator on Hamas thinks the omens are good. But knowing current difficulties, and past disappointments, he advises caution:
All on board for unity talks

And more besides.

© Copyright JFJFP 2017