This week’s

October 15, 2017
Sarah Benton


This week, 9th-15th October 2017, there has been one dominant event affecting all Palestinians and those who care about them: the long-heralded rapprochement – reconciliation as it’s called – between Hamas and Gaza. Despite many such beginnings, all petering out, this one got to the public signing of the accord. President Sisi has a big investment in its lasting. There is hope – and doubt:
Signed, sealed but can it be delivered?

As it was change by Hamas that brought it about the former pariah statelet could now be in the driving seat politically. Jonathan Cook can’t see how Fatah – enfeebled by cronyism, corruption, inability to hold elections – can present itself as THE Palestinian leader:
Hamas pushes Abbas out in the cold

Like the Hamas-Fatah deal the readiness of American Jews to hold Israel to the same human rights standard as they enjoy is often said to be imminent but never quite happens. Commentator Chemi Shalev thinks now there may be a schism between Israeli and American Jews. The latter loathe Pres. Trump and all he stands for (and those who stand with him) and are horrified that Israel’s PM has embraced him so unstintingly:
Bond of Trump and Bibi repels many

Many of his voters live in the states which have passed laws stipulating that they, the states, will boycott any potential supplier that does business with any one who supports BDS. Esther Koontz, a maths teacher in Kansas, refused to sign a statement produced by the education department asserting she was “not currently engaged in a boycott of Israel”. Is that now a qualification for teaching maths? The American civil liberties group ACLU has taken up her case because constitutionally the freedom to boycott has already been established:
Fight to entrench right to boycott

Last week there was also the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, 4-11 October, during which the observant will retreat to a tabernacle – a flimsy and moveable shelter. +972 suggests they might dwell on the flimsy homes in which many Palestinians live, often because their stone house has been crushed  by a bulldozer.
Destroying shelters at Sukkot

A young Israeli woman, Frima (Merphie) Bubis, was doing her military service when it dawned on her that she was a living cog in the bureaucratic mill whose only purpose was to tie Palestinians up in a myriad petty laws. We Israelis must face the daily reality of the occupation. She makes her plea through the allegory of Jonah and Nineveh:
I took part in a cruel occupation

Hebron is an angry place. A group of Jewish settlers has taken up residence near the centre of the West Bank’s largest city, and is protected by countless checkpoints, soldiers and private guards. Now that group is get its own municipal administration, delivering various amenities just to them. The only word anyone can find for this is apartheid:
Hebron settlers awarded their own separate admin

Unusually, the remainder of the postings are all made in Britain. Our signatories’ blog this week is an interview with Miki (Miriam) David, a high-flying sociologist of education. How did she go from a Zionist childhood in Yorkshire to being one of the first signatories of JfJfP in cosmopolitan London? She explains:
A woman on the margins

The Al Jazeera series, The Lobby, exposed the reach and ambitions, of the Israeli embassy in London. Three people complained to watchdog Ofcom that they had been damaged in some way by the series. Ofcom issued a 70 page report dismissing all the complaints and stating it was not antisemitic’. For some reason our antisemitism-spotting press ignored the judgment:
The plot to infiltrate UK: exposé not antisemitic

Fortunately the Ofcom board members seem to know what antisemitism is. Unlike a large swath of people (opinion formers) from the right of the Labour party onwards and taking in almost every single British newspaper who believe it is antisemitic to express support for Palestinians (Oh Jeremy Corbyn!) or criticism of Israeli policy.

The meticulous Jamie Stern Weiner checked it out. He found that most journalists had swallowed the canard that Labour is obviously (don’t bother to check) antisemitic. Their only job is to find the useable hints, rumours and fabrications:
Lies, lies, lies

It was clear from fairly early on that the chaps administering the mandate in Palestine were not going to implement the second half of the Balfour Declaration (“it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country”). The JTA has posted a fascinating report of an English Zionist Federation meeting in 1931 addressed by sundry politicians led off by Lloyd George. He had been prime minister in 1917 and makes it clear that Balfour was issuing wartime government policy to Lord Rothschild. His denigration of the land in Palestine did not come from eye-witnesses; it came from  a desire to blame the (defunct) Ottoman empire for all MidEast defects (the British had by then been in charge of Palestine for over nine years):
Don’t blame Balfour. It was the wily wizard

It is not at all clear what the political principles and ideas of Mrs May are. She seems to find power irresistible (clutching Trump’s hand, having not an inkling of doubt that Israel deserves her whole-hearted support). She takes the Israeli line on Balfour; the centenary being a good reason for British pride and celebration:
May sees no principle at stake in Balfour ‘celebration’

Talented Palestinian journalist Ramzy Baroud is clear about the policy of the British government in 1917. It didn’t give a hoot about Jews in the UK. It wanted ‘the support of wealthy Zionist leaders in Britain’s massive military buildup during World War I’.  The Balfour Declaration was ‘equivalent to a decree calling for the annihilation of the Palestinian people’. But while their hopes of a national homeland may be very uncertain the Palestinian people continue to become more nationalist and more political:
84 words that killed Palestinian aspiration

Judy Price, artist and JfJfP signatory, has an installation, now in Ramallah, using Palestinian stone to display destruction, and a copy of the many changes the Balfour Declaration went through before it was issued:
The iterations of the “Balfour Declaration”

© Copyright JFJFP 2017