Friday, February 7, 2014
What has struck me in all this is that the state of Israel was founded because of what happened to the millions and millions of Jews who suffered genocide. Their properties, homes and land—everything—were taken away, and they were deprived of rights. Of course, many millions perished. It is quite strange that some of the people who are running the state of Israel seem to be quite complacent and happy to allow the same to happen in Gaza.

Yasmin Qureshi MP

Thursday, January 5, 2014

(Source: Hansard)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

More from David Ward

Again with this.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Map: Israel’s Housing Ministry announces new settlement tenders

The Housing Ministry announced Friday morning new tenders for 1,400 housing units in settlements in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem.

The announcement was made three weeks after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he intends to launch a new wave of settlement construction parallel to the third step of Palestinian prisoner release.

Tenders were released for the construction of 600 housing units in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood in Jerusalem, which lies over the Green Line, and a further 801 units in settlement blocs in the West Bank.

Israel will build 227 housing units in Efrat, 78 in Alfei Menashe, 86 in Karnei Shomron, 40 in Ariel, 75 in Adam, 24 in Beitar Illit, 102 in Immanuel and 169 in Elkana.

In addition, tenders were released for the construction of 532 units in Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, across the Green Line. The plots for these units were marketed in the past but found no buyers, and were now put back out on the market. These include 182 units in Pisgat Ze’ev, 294 in Ramot and 56 in Neve Yaakov.

(Source: Ha’aretz)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Britain should apologise to Israel for the Balfour Declaration

In 2014, commemoration of the First World War on the one-hundredth anniversary of its commencement will be inescapable. So, too, will the debate over the merits of the miserable and bloody conflict that took the lives of over 16 million soldiers and civilians, crippled an entire generation of Europeans, and begat the infamous Treaty of Versailles.

In the United Kingdom, this conversation has already begun and has spiralled off so as to encompass another product of the Great War: the Balfour Declaration. At the end of last year, the Palestine Return Centre launched in Parliament a campaign called, “Britain, It’s Time To Apologize,” requesting an international voice to call on Her Majesty’s Government “to apologize to the Palestinian people, for either wilfully or carelessly failing to protect their human and political rights, while under British protection.”

Leaving aside the Palestinians for a moment, in the first instance any campaign against the Balfour Declaration must be treated with great suspicion. After all, that declaration was more than a government memorandum. It was the first declaration of its kind from a world power in support of the Zionist idea of Jewish autonomy and self-rule in Palestine.

More importantly, it was a legal instrument, incorporated into the Mandate for Palestine ratified by the League of Nations in July 1922, in which it was stated that Britain as overseer would be responsible for fostering political, administrative, and economic conditions that would secure “the establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish people.”

The Mandate would go on to recognize “the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine” and “the grounds for reconstituting their National Home” in that country. It would also provide room for the creation of what would become the Jewish Agency, the de facto governing body of the Yishuv.

To request that the British government apologize for Balfour, then, is to ask it to repudiate the underpinnings in international law of the State of Israel itself. It is a flagrant act of delegitimization — an attempt to negate the Jewish right to self-determination and deny the basis of Israel’s existence.

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Poll: Israelis Believe US Committed to Israeli Security, Netanyahu Can Withstand American Pressure

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Monday, January 6, 2014 Monday, December 9, 2013

The wisdom of Roger Waters

Roger Waters — singer, songwriter, composer, anti-Semite — gave an interview to Frank Barat, published in Counterpunch. Some extracts are re-published below.

On artists playing in Israel:

The situation in Israel/ Palestine, with the occupation, the ethnic cleansing and the systematic racist apartheid Israeli regime is un acceptable. So for an artist to go and play in a country that occupies other people’s land and oppresses them the way Israel does, is plain wrong. They should say no. I would not have played for the Vichy government in occupied France in the Second World War, I would not have played in Berlin either during this time. Many people did, back in the day. There were many people that pretended that the oppression of the Jews was not going on. From 1933 until 1946. So this is not a new scenario. Except that this time it’s the Palestinian People being murdered.

The parallels with what went on in the 30’s in Germany are so crushingly obvious.

On why more artists don’t boycott Israel:

Well, where I live, in the USA, I think, A: they are frightened and B: I think the propaganda machine that starts in Israeli schools and that continues through all the Netanyahu’s bluster is poured all over the United States, not just Fox but also CNN and in fact in all the mainstream media.

The Jewish lobby is extraordinary powerful here and particularly in the industry that I work in, the music industry and in rock’n roll as they say.

On Max Blumenthal:

I have nearly finished Max Blumenthal’s book “Goliath: Life and Loathing in greater Israel”. It’s a chilling read. It’s extremely well written in my view. He is a very good journalist and takes great pains to make sure that what he writes is correct. He also gives a voice to the other side.

On the rabbinate:

They believe some very weird stuff you know, they believe that everybody that is not a Jew is only on earth to serve them and they believe that the Indigenous people of the region that they kicked off the land in 1948 and have continued to kick off the land ever since are sub-human.

On the Israeli government:

The lie that they have told for the last 20 years is “Oh, we want to make peace”, you know and they talk about Clinton and Arafat and Barak being in Camp David and that they came very close to agreeing, and the story that they sold was “Oh Arafat fucked it all up”. Well, no, he did not. This is not the story. The fact of the matter is no Israeli government has been serious about creating a Palestinian state since 1948. They’ve always had the Ben Gurion agenda of kicking all the Arabs out of the country and becoming greater Israel. They tell a lie as part of their propaganda machinery whilst doing the other thing but they have been doing it so obviously in the last 10 years.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sheldon Adelson doesn’t know much about the Middle East

From The Forward, Josh Nathan-Kazis’ report on “Will Jews Exist?”, a forum at which Sheldon Adelson spewed forth on a variety of subjects. Of Adelson’s opinions, better read to be believed, I think:

  • On the Palestinians: “If they truly want peace, it’s very simple to say to all their henchman, lay off the terrorism for five years.”
  • Whether Netanyahu will bomb Iran without U.S. permission: “[Former Israeli prime minister Ehud] Olmert is a political person. His wind blows in the direction of the polls. [Netanyahu] is not a political person. [His] wind blows in the direction of his ideology, and his deep and unwavering support and love for the Jewish people and the state of Israel. I am absolutely convinced that Bibi says what he means, means what he says, and if he says that Iran is an existential threat, he would not live…without taking some kind of action.”
  • A preemptive U.S. nuclear strike on unpopulated areas of Iran as a negotiating tactic: “Then you say, ‘See! The next one is in the middle of Tehran. So, we mean business.’”
  • Muslims: “I don’t know the difference between the Shia and the Sunnis.”
  • More on the Palestinians: “There’s no such thing as a Palestinian. Do you know what they are? They call themselves southern Syrians.”
  • His opposition to a two-state solution: “To go and allow a Palestinian state is to play Russian roulette.”
Thursday, August 22, 2013

"I write to you now, my brothers and sisters in the family of Rock and Roll…"

Aged rock star and inflatable pig fancier Roger Waters has called upon his fellow musicians to boycott the State of Israel, in solidarity with the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign. He elected to do so in the form of a letter, which merits further reading. A few choice quotes:

Nigel Kennedy the virtuoso British violinist and violist, at The Recent Promenade Concerts at The Albert Hall in London, mentioned that Israel is apartheid. Nothing unusual there you might think, then one Baroness Deech, (Nee Fraenkel) disputed the fact that Israel is an apartheid state and prevailed upon the BBC to censor Kennedy’s performance by removing his statement. Baroness Deech produced not one shred of evidence to support her claim and yet the BBC, non political, supposedly, acting solely on Baroness Deech’s say so, suddenly went all 1984 on us. Well!! Time to stick my head above the parapet again, alongside my brother, Nigel Kennedy, where it belongs. And by the way, Nigel, great respect man. So here follows a letter last re-drafted in July.

What a strange way to open a letter. Setting aside the misuse and abuse of George Orwell’s magnum opus, most interesting and revealing of all is that Waters wishes for us to know that Baroness Deech is Jewish — “one Baroness Deech, (Nee Fraenkel)”, he writes. Why does Waters feel the need to reveal to us that Baroness Deech’s maiden name is more obviously Jewish? Why is it necessary to know this? One dare not speculate.

It is seven years since I joined BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) a non violent movement to oppose Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and violations of international law and Palestinian human rights. The aim of BDS is to bring international attention to these Israeli policies, and hopefully, to help bring them to an end.

But that it was, Roger. You would have to have read none of its materials or examined who supports BDS to believe this to be true.

BDS’ concern is not with the West Bank or violations of international law but the total delegitimisation of the State of Israel through “broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel” and therefore Israelis, whether they support the status quo or not. Moreover, BDS does not care for the establishment a Palestinian state alongside a Jewish state but the washing away of Zionism entirely. BDS supports the full right of return for Palestinian refugees and as such, as Yair Rosenberg has argued, is “antithetical to the two-state solution, the only solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict accepted by majorities on both sides and the international community.”

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Gush Katif nostalgia is based upon illusion

It has been eight years since the homes and shops and factories of Gush Katif were evacuated, since the synagogues were made flat, since the greenhouses that once yielded 90 percent of Israel’s organic produce were either taken down or turned over the Palestinian Authority. Those who were evacuated, some of whom are still to be permanently re-housed, continue to live with its legacy.

Anshel Pfeffer reported from Gaza during the disengagement, and also served in the military in the years prior. In Ha’aretzhe writes:

The first of these settlements to be evicted was the small agricultural community of Morag which, on its last day, numbered 30 families. I knew quite a few of the Morag residents personally and on the most basic human level, seeing them being removed from their homes that morning was heartbreaking. Of course it was a lot of manufactured drama; they had many months advance notice to leave and take advantage of the resettlement programs they were offered. It was their choice to remain there until the last day. They didn’t have to suffer the trauma of an Israel Defense Forces officer entering their kitchen during breakfast and ordering their children to leave. Part of me blamed them for doing that, but it was no less painful to watch.

The most poignant moment for me however was after the last settlers had been dragged out and put on the buses back to Israel. The journalists’ transport had not yet arrived and I went into the settlement’s small synagogue which had remained untouched. Some of the men would be allowed back later to pack up the Torah scrolls and prayer books and on that early afternoon, the synagogue looked just like any other tranquil house of prayer waiting for a minyan of men to assemble for Minha. In the quiet that had descended on the settlement, I could easily imagine I was just the first early arrival and in a few minutes the rest would arrive. The siddurim (prayer books) and talitot (prayer shawls) seemed to be waiting for their owners. I could have been sitting in any synagogue around the world.

One must feel some sympathy for those who had to leave their houses and their lives, whatever one’s view of the settlement enterprise itself. After all, Israeli governments one after the other never gave the residents of Gush Katif any other impression than that their status on the land was a permanent one. Up until the moment they changed their minds. Even taking into account that those who stayed in anticipation of a bitter end made the whole thing as traumatic as possible, those scenes of Jews being uprooted and dragged from their homes by the military were certainly perturbing.

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