The state filed a law suit on Tuesday against the residents of the Bedouin village Al-Arakib, claiming that razing the illegal outpost multiple times has cost it NIS 1,790,000 ($527,050).Well in the past they've paid with absentee property and with lives so now it's hard cash
The law suit comes exactly one year after a major demolition operation destroyed the town. The residents have been marking the anniversary with protests and renewed construction.
July 27, 2011
July 26, 2011
The Russell Tribunal on Palestine -- a standing organization that held two tribunals against Israel last year in Barcelona and London -- has been called for Nov . 5-6 in Cape Town “to probe whether the treatment of Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories meets the criteria of the United Nations convention against the crime of apartheid.”Local zionists aren't happy and are talking it down:
The South African Zionist Federation has called the event, which is to involve prominent South Africans and already is making national headlines here, “an irrelevant talk shop.”JTA doesn't agree:
But because of the attention it is receiving in South Africa, the tribunal is likely to be a damaging public relations exercise against Israel.Look who's supporting it:
South Africa’s leading federation of trade unions, the ruling African National Congress party, the South African Communist Party, and Zackie Achmat, the AIDS activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee......And for the defence?
Two Israelis are slated to participate in the tribunal: attorneys Michael Sfard, who has represented Israelis refusing to serve in Israeli army operations in the West Bank and is the legal counsel to Peace Now's Settlement Watch project, and Leah Tsemel, who represents Palestinians in cases against Israel.....
Nobel Peace laureate and Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu, a frequent critic of the Jewish state, is slated to open the proceedings.
The “jury” will include Ronnie Kasrils, the Jewish former South African minister of intelligence who gained international notoriety some 10 years ago when he promoted several anti-Israel measures in parliament; Alice Walker, the African-American author who tried to take part in this year’s flotilla to Gaza and has defended suicide bombings as “last-ditch resistance"; Nobel Peace laureate Mairead Maguire, who in 2009 was arrested by Israel for sailing on a boat attempting to break Israel’s blockade of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip; and Spanish Supreme Court judge Jose Antonio Pallin, who has accused Israel of war crimes.....
South African “witnesses” will include Steven Friedman, a Jewish proponent of the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign targeting Israel; John Dugard, a former U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in Palestine; and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the ex-wife of anti-apartheid activist and former South African President Nelson Mandela.
While the tribunal said it invited Israel, Dov Segev-Steinberg, the Israeli ambassador to South Africa, denied the claim.Why South Africa?
“I have not seen any approach by the tribunal to Israel or the embassy,” he told JTA. Segev-Steinberg said Israel views the tribunal as a "kangaroo court without any justification.”
“The world expects South Africa to champion the rights of other people,” Kasrils said.And why the District Six Museum?
The tribunal will meet at the District Six Museum, which was set up to commemorate some of the early forced removals of “Cape Coloreds,” as mixed-race South Africans from a particular ethnic group in Cape Town were known, from their homes and businesses under the apartheid government.More on District Six here.
More on the Crime of Apartheid here.
Beware – a publicity blurb about a book follows. The book is mine – Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights – and it analyses diaspora Jewish opposition to Israel. There'll be a description of what the book is about over at Mondoweiss. There’s another description from Zed, with blurbs from Omar Barghouti and Ilan Pappe, and you can buy it over at Amazon as well. But here at JSF we like to go deeper, and so I want to talk about what I was trying to do with this book.
Firstly, I was trying to research something positive. Whether in academia or activism there’s a focus on the negative, on the problems. This is necessary, but we also need to move beyond the ‘ruthless criticism of everything existing'. The piling up of critiques often leads to despair, when the point after all is to change the world. There’s no doubt how energising researching those of us trying to change the world was. It was a real joy, a privilege to chat to activists around the globe, asking whatever questions I felt like about their work. Listening to what these activists were doing and why was fantastic, a genuine education.
I also wanted to critique this movement. In fact, starting off, I was far more critical, suspicious that the movement was as much about ‘healing the Jews’ and fighting Jewish identity wars, than about Palestinians. My increasingly positive take on the movement was partly a result of ‘going native’, of growing respect for movement participants, but also because of a growing understanding of the actual work the movement does to promote justice in Israel/Palestine, something which takes up far far more time than any discussions of Jewishness. This positivity (mixed with criticism) was also because of my own deepening involvement with Palestinian solidarity work. While it’s important to critique tendencies that lead to Jewish groups treating Palestinians as unfortunate helpless objects of solidarity, I could see similar dynamics at work within wider solidarity. So I began to see this tendency as a function of distant issue activism, and analyse how it comes about and how it can be dealt with.
This leads to the other reason I wrote this book – I want people to be aware of this movement. Not coincidentally, this is also one of the movement’s aims – to achieve recognition that many Jews oppose Israel, so people stop conflating Jews and Israel. Without losing the run of ourselves, the growth of diaspora Jewish opposition has been a significant development in Palestinian solidarity and it is useful to understand it. So a lot of the book is empirical, concentrating on British Jewish groups, but also tracing the development of this movement in Europe and North America. It’s also beneficial for participants to understand the various facets of the movement. So I took a lot of pleasure in discussing the various stances movement members take on boycotting Israel. Although I take a pro-boycott position, it is helpful to delineate the good, logical reasons why movement members take different positions on the tactic, depending on what field of practice they are contending within.
And here’s the last reason I wrote – possibly the most quixotic. It was to make academic theory more movement relevant. The book is definitely an academic work, especially chapter one with its discussions of Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of practice, and social movement theorising of identity. I wanted to deploy this theory in order to say something of use to movement participants, rather than engage in yet another abstract academic discussion which would treat this movement as an inanimate object, a means to produce lofty empty theories.
In the end, I wanted to produce a useful document for people in and linked to this movement. It’s not the summation of a monologue about this movement, but the continuation of a conversation that I’ve been glad to be part of.
As a newspaper, The Jerusalem Post strongly denounces all acts of violence against innocent civilians. This editorial is not aimed at deflecting attention from the horrific massacre perpetuated in Norway, nor the need to take greater precautions against extremists from all sides.So what was it saying?
In the Forward, JJ Goldberg has a very thoughtful piece on the schadenfreude being expressed in both Hebrew and English on the Israeli internet:
The Norway massacre has touched off a nasty war of words on the Israeli Internet over the meaning of the event and its implications for Israel. And I do mean nasty: Judging by the comments sections on the main Hebrew websites, the main questions under debate seem to be whether Norwegians deserve any sympathy from Israelis given the country’s pro-Palestinian policies, whether the killer deserves any sympathy given his self-declared intention of fighting Islamic extremism and, perhaps ironically, whether calling attention to this debate is in itself an anti-Israel or anti-Semitic act.The comments largely prove the point being made in the article.
1. And in the mosque there won’t be some ceremony?
2. It’s fun and warms the heart to see them crying!!!!
3. Go to hell. Haters of Jews/Israelis, anti-semites busy with the problems of others all day—here you got some too. [signed Zionist]
4. I have no identification with an anti-Semitic country that leads to the hatred of Israel. Not happy, not sorry.
5. All in all, what they asked for is what they got!!!!
6. [in Norwegian.] Serves you right, you Nazis.
7. He is a hero, kill all leftists, expel all Muslims.
8. European efficiency.
9. It’s only a matter of time until an Israeli rightwinger will do something similar.
10. My heart with the families of all the victims. I wish you will never know more sorrow and I wish all the wounded will heal as quickly as possible and will put this tragedy behind them. Condolences and sympathy from Israel. [Norwegian and English]
11. I have hope too… that you have many more days of mourning and tears.
12. Feel a little bit of what we feel here all the time, maybe now you’ll understand what it is, terror.
13. The ugly Israeli continues to talkback. Shame on you, you bunch of people who rejoice in the suffering of others dancing on the blood. It’s a shame that you even hold Israeli IDs.
Just for a taste. I'm told the tone remains consistent thru the rest of the comments. E.G., No. 18 reads: "Rename Rabin Square to Anders Breivik Sq. for a good finish to my wonderful weekend"
h/t to Dena
July 24, 2011
And check out who has been cheering for Wilders lately.The herd mentality of pundits and commentators was on display as they fell over each other to immediately blame the Norway killings on Muslim extremists. It wasn’t long before it became clear that the culprit, Anders Behring Breivik, was a blond Norwegian far right sympathiser, an Islamophobe, a Christian fundamentalist and an admirer of the English Defence League and of Geert Wilders.Muslim extremists have indeed been responsible for atrocities in Europe, but this fact has merged with a more generalised anti-Muslim prejudice to produce a fixation with Muslims as the source of numerous negative trends afflicting Europe. We’re constantly being warned about the dangers of ‘Islamo-fascism’, a seriously flawed concept, while the European fascism that we know and love is being shortsightedly neglected.You only need to read this article by Gary Younge, dating from 2008, to realise that the heirs of Hitler and Mussolini are once again flexing their muscles as they benefit from alarm over immigration, the failures and iniquities of capitalism, the greed of bankers and high unemployment. Or follow the work of Cas Mudde who warns that the new right as represented by Wilders and others are still closely attached to the ideas of the traditional far right.
July 22, 2011
It was very moving to see David Lomon and fellow International Brigade veteran Thomas Watters laying their wreaths at the International Brigade annual commemoration last weekend, recalling the volunteers for liberty who went to Spain to fight against Franco's forces. However Martin Sugarman’s claim (JC letters 8 July 2011) that Lomon is “the last surviving British-Jewish member of the International Brigade” will come as news to Stepney-born Brigade stalwart Lou Kenton who is approaching his 103rd birthday in a few weeks.
I’m sure that was an honest mistake. but then Sugarman goes on to claim that “the Israelis” per head of population “sent the largest contingent from any nation”, a claim made presumably so that those who support Israel today should feel a vicarious pride in those who courageously volunteered to fight against Franco.
The truth may be less palatable to them. There was no State of Israel in 1936, but there were Jewish immigrants in Palestine. The 300 Jews who went to Spain from that community (of whom 70 were killed) were overwhelmingly Communists who were committed to creating a bi-national state built on workers unity between Jew and Arab – a far cry indeed from the current state of Israel.
Now consider why anyone would seek to misrepresent the identity of those fighting fascism?Moreover, the leaders of the Zionist movement in the Yishuv – left and right – completely disapproved of them going to Spain rather than staying in Palestine to work to create a Jewish state. Zionist leaders coined the phrase “Hanita before Madrid”, referring to a kibbutz that had been established in Northern Palestine. But the volunteers for the International Brigade went anyway, having decided that the fight against international fascism must take precedence. Their conflicted lives have been celebrated in the film “Madrid Before Hanita” made by the Israeli film-maker Eran Torbiner.[links added by me]
More recent anti-fascism here.
July 21, 2011
I don't know where 972 got the quote from because so far it's the only site to carry it.
Aha, many thanks to evasmagacz in the comments for pointing to this 972 mag update:
July 20, 2011
Anti-zionist consensus in the UK media? Wow!
Anyone following the way Israel is portrayed here in Britain will be concerned. Murdoch's publications (from time to time, at least) provide rare counter blasts against the prevailing winds of anti-Israeli hostility. His commitment to Israel is resolute. In a speech last year to the Anti-Defamation League he spoke of "the disturbing new home that antisemitism has found in polite society - especially in Europe", and of "an ongoing war against the Jews".As long as Rupert is at the helm, The Times, the Sunday Times and the Sun are safe from the anti-Zionist consensus.
But it's not just here. Yanks and aussies are worried too. Here's Ron Kampeas on the Jewish Telegraphic Agency website:
“His publications and media have proven to be fairer on the issue of Israel than the rest of the media,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice-chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. “I hope that won’t be impacted.”And for Australia:
Murdoch’s affection for Israel arose less out of his conservative sensibility than from his native Australian sympathy for the underdog fending off elites seized by conventional wisdoms, according to Isi Liebler, a longtime Australian Jewish community leader who now lives in Israel.There's something grotesque about the way these zionist Jewish leaders can only worry about how the discomfiture of such a repulsive character affects Israel.
Jailed leader Marwan Barghouti has called on Palestinians to stage mass rallies in September in support of a diplomatic bid to gain UN membership for a state of Palestine.
Well I suppose it would show that lots of Palestinians support the idea but I don't know what the idea itself would achieve and I recently has some difficulty trying to find a Palestinian I know who would want to speak in favour of the UN bid at a public meeting.Barghouti, a figure widely respected among many Palestinians, said taking the statehood quest to the United Nations was part of a new strategy that would open the door to "peaceful, popular resistance".Barghouti was convicted of murder for his role in attacks on Israelis during the Second Intifada and was sentenced to life in jail by Israel in 2004.
"I call on our people in the homeland and in the diaspora to go out in a peaceful, million-man march during the week of voting in the United Nations in September," Barghouti said in a statement written from his jail cell in Israel.
But let's see some more from Ha'aretz:
Ok, the great satan's against it as is the little satan but what's their beef? It might just be the aversion to the very word Palestine. That could be Israel's beef. I really can't see what the UN's recognition of a powerless state would achieve and for all I know the yanks could be engaging in a double bluff. They might want the UN to bless the efforts of the PA.The United States, the main sponsor of the two-decade-old peace process, has objected to the Palestinian diplomatic offensive, instead calling for a resumption of negotiations that were derailed by an impasse over settlement construction in the West Bank. Israel says the Palestinians aim to isolate and delegitimize it.A U.S. veto at the Security Council is likely to thwart the Palestinian bid for full UN membership for a state of Palestine in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.
July 19, 2011
This year’s strange diplomatic beauty contest between Israel and the Palestinians is entering a crucial phase: excitement is building, the tantrums are becoming louder – and the jury is showing signs of strain.I don't think there's much to get worked up about one or another here but I could be missing something, as I often do. But I couldn't help noticing that if there are 193 member states of the General Assembly, which I think is because the Holy See is a non-member state of the UN but represented at the General Assembly then Palestine would become UN General Assembly member state number 194. And wouldn't that be a coincidence?
The final pageant starts in September, and will see the two contestants appear before a panel of no fewer than 193 judges. That, of course, is the number of states that sit in the UN general assembly. Facing it, as things stand, will be a draft resolution calling for the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
July 18, 2011
On 11 July 2011, the Knesset plenum passed the Anti-Boycott Law, which enables the filing of civil lawsuits against those who call for a boycott of the State of Israel or any of its territories (e.g. Israeli settlements). Following the final approval of this law, ACRI has prepared a Q&A document, to explain the legal implications of this law.I'm not sure I understand that first crossed out bit, especially as the link is broken.
To read the final version of the law (translated to English), click here.
Is it prohibited to call for a boycott of Israel? Is it a criminal offense?
Calling for a boycott, under the terms detailed in the law, is not a criminal offense but might be deemed as a civil wrong, which is subject for financial compensation. Meaning: there is no legal prohibition on calling for a boycott, but those who do so might be exposed to lawsuits and economic sanctions.
To whom does the law apply?
According to section 2(A) of the law, it applies to someone “who knowingly publishes a public call for a boycott against the State of Israel, where according to the content and circumstances of the publication there is reasonable probability that the call will lead to a boycott, and he who published the call was aware of this possibility.” According to this definition, the law applies to any person who publicly participates in a call for boycott, for example in signing a petition or by making a statement in the media, even if this person did not initiate the boycott.
Does the law apply only to Israelis?
It appears that the law applies to anyone who is in Israel when calling for boycott.
To which boycotts does the law apply?
The law applies to economic, cultural, or academic boycott of the settlements, the State of Israel, or any of its institutions. Therefore, for example, a boycott of academic institutions in Israel or in Israeli settlements, or a consumer boycott of settlement products – are included within this law.
What could be the implications of calling for boycott?
Anyone who publishes a call for boycott as defined in the law could be subject to a civil lawsuit (for compensation) filed by those who were harmed by this boycott, for damages, economic or otherwise, caused to them. Furthermore, according to section 2(b) of the law, if a company violates or cancels a contract because of a call for boycott, those who called for the boycott can be sued for any subsequent damages.
Further sanctions, that could apply to companies and organizations, are limiting their ability to participate in state tenders and limiting their eligibility to receive various kinds of support from the State (such as being considered a public institution, including for budgetary support or income tax benefits, receiving funding from the Council to Regulate Sports Gambling, guarantors under the Guarantors on Behalf of the State Law, and benefits under the Encouragement of Capital Investment Law or under to the Encouragement of Research and Development in Industry Law).
Does the plaintiff have to prove damages?
Section 2(c) of the law states that should the court find that a civil wrong as defined in this law was deliberately carried out, the court may order the defendant to pay compensations without proof of damage. This means that the court may order those who called for boycott to pay punitive damages even of there is no proof that their action caused the damage. In calculating the sum of these damages the court must take into consideration, among other things, the circumstances under which the wrong was carried out, its severity, and its extent.
Could those who call for boycott be arrested?
No. As stated above, the law defines a call for boycott as a civil wrong, which could lead to a civil lawsuit for damages or to the limitation of various economic benefits from the State. A call for boycott is not a criminal offense.
Has the law already taken effect?
The law is in effect since 13 July 2011, when it was published in Israel’s Book of Laws (link to PDF file in Hebrew). The only exception to this is section 4 of the law, which stipulates the sanctions of preventing various economic benefits from companies and organizations, and will take effect 90 days after this date.
But what about the petitions against this law, which are being filed to the High Court?
On an individual level, even if high court petitions are filed, the law is in effect as long as there is no High Court ruling that disqualifies it. Therefore, any person or organization that calls for boycott as defined in this law is exposed to a lawsuit and for other sanctions determined by this law.
In the public arena, it is very important to fight this law, including through a petition to the High Court, since this law is has a dangerous chilling effect on freedom of expression and freedom of protest in Israel, meaning that it could deter citizens from voicing criticism or from protesting, for fear of being harmed by the authorities.
The good news about this law is that like those of us in the anti-zionist camp, it pretty much dates the start of the occupation somewhere around 1948 or 1917, not just 1967.
July 17, 2011
Here's what he says in the NS interview:
In your view, Israel has appropriated the Holocaust. Could a non-Jew have said that?Well I'm sure he has detractors who are more than happy to accuse him of being "certifiably insane" but I wonder if they're so done with the bogus allegations of holocaust denial they're resorting to plain silliness. Which brings us back to Norman Geras and his post on the interview:
There is no way a non-Jew could say what I did in The Holocaust Industry without being labelled a Holocaust denier. I am labelled a Holocaust denier, too. Nobody disputes that my parents were in the Warsaw Ghetto from 1939 to 1943. If I were denying the Holocaust, I would have to be certifiably insane.
For that post, based on what appears to have been a jokey anecdote relating to Finkelstein's upbringing, Geras thanks "AL". Apparently he needed help to pull that together.Asked here whether he believes in God, Norman Finkelstein says:No. When I was a young man, my mother said to me, "You can't be a communist without being a militant atheist." So I had to be a militant atheist because I wanted to be a communist.This is unsound reasoning. Let's give Finkelstein the benefit of the doubt and assume that he followed his mom's dictum, not just because it was she who said this to him, but because he had independent grounds for believing that what she said was true. If we don't give him the benefit of that doubt, then he was accepting the truth of the statement merely on her authority - not a good principle, especially not for a militant atheist, since one of the things atheists dislike about organized religion is the religious tendency to appeal to the authority of sacred texts and suchlike, regardless of relevant reasons and evidence.So then, if we assume that Finkelstein found his own way to the supposed truth of his mother's claim, it is clear that he must have lost his way. It isn't true that one can't be a communist without being a militant atheist. Communism is a principle of social organization and can be adhered to (or not) with or without a belief in God. There have been religious communists. The point is even clearer if we consider agnostics. Why someone who is uncertain about the existence of God couldn't be devoted to communist principles in politics... well, of course they could be.
Now Professor Geras is a leading Eustonista and something of a darling of neo-con and zionist bloggers. Many boast of how they feature in his profiles of like-minded bloggers. So to have him stoop to such a ridiculous post simply to remind his readers, by way of a dog whistle, that "we" (that is, they) don't like Norman Finkelstein and that "we" (that is, they) will only appear to take him (that is, Finkelstein) seriously when he (that is, Finkelstein) appears to be joking. This, I think, is another recent example of things looking up for critics of the State of Israel.