Citizen Action Monitor

It’s crucial that Jews speak out for Palestinians’ human rights, say British Jews’ network

If Ontario MPPs had known about JfJfP, their motion would have been “Support for Israel and Palestine”.

No 1926 Posted by fw, April 3, 2017

JEWS FOR JUSTICE FOR PALESTINIANS (JfJfP) is a network of Jews who are British or live in Britain, practicing and secular, Zionist and not. We bring together Jews from across the religious and political spectrum and value contributions to the struggle for justice for Palestinians by Jews from every background, in Britain, Israel, and across the world.

WE BELIEVE THAT

  • Lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians requires justice, mutual recognition and respect.
  • Peace requires ending Israel’s illegal occupation and settlement of Palestinian land, including its illegal blockade of Gaza.
  • Peace requires Israel to acknowledge its responsibility in the creation of the Palestinian refugees, and its obligation to negotiate a just, fair and practical resolution of the issue.
  • Violence against civilians, no matter who commits it, is unacceptable.
  • Israel’s repressive policies in the West Bank and Gaza are breeding hatred and resentment.
  • Israel’s discrimination against its Palestinian citizens is unacceptable.
  • It is crucial that Jews speak out for Palestinians’ human rights.
  • The humanitarian values of Judaism have been corrupted by the Israeli state’s abuses of human rights.
  • Britain, the EU, the USA, Russia and the UN must be persuaded to implement UN resolutions on Palestine.

The above text is excerpted from the About page on the Jews for Justice for Palestinians (jtjfp) website. As a subscriber to at least a dozen newsletters about the Israeli-Palestinian problem, jfjfp’s weekly is one of my favourites.

Why this post about a British Jews’ network that speaks out for Palestinians’ human rights? In recent posts I have referred to the apparent display of willful ignorance of 49 members of the Ontario Parliament who passed a motion to endorse the Ottawa Protocol on Combatting antisemitism; and reject the differential treatment of Israel, including the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.” 

Today’s repost about Jews for Justice for Palestinians is intended to contrast JfJfP’s responsibly informed contribution to the public debate, with the biased and often misinformed “Support for Israel” discussion by the 49 Ontario MPPs. The MPPs clearly didn’t know what they didn’t know about the long and tragic history of occupation and continuous war. They didn’t know because they didn’t bother to find out.

Below is a repost of jfjfp’s summary of posts for the week March 27 to April 2, 2017. The only change in the repost is the order in which the items are arranged – from chronological to personally preferred order. To read the piece on the jfjfp website, click on the following linked title.

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This week’s postings at JfJfP by Jews for Justice for Palestinians, March 27 to April 2, 2017

There have been several commanding issues this week, March 27th-April 2nd, 2017. To read the articles, click on the linked titles.

Jewish establishment can’t condemn occupation — It had seemed that US Jewish Groups had failed to condemn the Israeli Occupation out of blind loyalty to Israel. It now seems they are blinded by hatred of all things Muslim – and that means Palestinians.

 

Fewer and fewer want to visit IsraelAsa Winstaneley reports that the number of tourists visiting Israel has fallen, along with visits to all MENA countries; Israel is seen as no less violent than, say, Tunisia or Morocco.

 

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Paralysed by despair in the midst of total madnessIn a powerful and eloquent article Howard Cohen (London-born Israeli) describes a society which thinks everything it needs to know and feel is contained within its own boundaries. What lies outside is negligible. And that means a wide range of human consciousness which could empathize with Palestinians and talk critically about Israel’s violent attacks on all forms of Palestinian resistance.

IHRA definition of antisemitism not fit for purposeWe start with the much-disputed definition of antisemitism chosen (for what purpose?) by PM May. It’s the one drawn up by the International Remembrance Alliance, IHRA. A group of concerned organisations, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Free Speech on Israel, Independent Jewish Voices and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, asked Hugh Tomlinson QC to provide a forensic analysis of this document and its compatibility with the obligations of public authorities under the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA). We post his full Opinion here which is a fine, detailed unpicking of the slippery and meaningless. In short, in his words, it has no legal weight and is too confused to be useful.

Abuse of the term ‘antisemitism’Another distinguished lawyer, retired judge Sir Stephen Sedley, also read the definition and its ‘explanation’ and said it does not serve to end the political abuse of the term antisemitism, conflating ‘Israel’ with all Jews. His contribution is succinct and very clear.

Better destroy Labour than offend IsraelThe Labour party civil war is purportedly about antisemitism but in fact, as Jonathan Cook says, is part of the Get Corbyn – and never be rude about Israel – campaigns.

 

To allege antisemitism against Ken Livingstone discredits the termLast week the NCC (the National Constitutional Committee) was preparing to expel Ken Livingstone for engaging in conduct that was ‘grossly detrimental’ to the party. The hearing has been postponed until next week. The charge sheet is presented by general secretary Iain McNicol. Several JfJfP signatories have provided witness statements for Livingstone’s defence; he is obdurate about his view that top Nazis had explored the idea, with Zionists, of deporting German Jews to Palestine. There could have been an open debate about the truth of this. Instead he is charged with causing offence to Jews. The headline for the package of pieces comes from the witness statement of JfJfP signatory Naomi Wimborne Idrissi

Despite UN+ deal, siege on Gaza tightensAfter the hideous summer of 2014 there were a number of international efforts to make Gaza an economically functioning society. One of these was the GRM – the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism. Its aim was to weaken Israel’s siege by increasing the range and quantity of goods companies in Gaza could import. In fact, says an Oxfam report, the GRM has enabled the Israeli authority to declare an increased number of imports have ‘dual use’ and so ban them. Given almost anything can, to the paranoid and punitive mind, have a bellicose function – babies can be human shields, cars can be vehicles for suicide bombers, your home can be a terrorist shelter – it looks as though the GRM, embodying the PNA, UN and Israeli interests, is not going to work.

Falk banned for warning of apartheid The tide of attacks on any critics of Israel is swelling. Richard Falk, former UN rapporteur on ‘Israeli Violations in Palestine’ and professor of international law knows more about Israel and human rights abuses than most. His new book, Palestine’s Horizon: toward a just peace has just been published. The launch event at LSE was disrupted by Zionist hecklers and two other universities cancelled planned meetings with Prof. Falk – he had invoked Zionist ire by co-authoring the report “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid”. The admins cited health and safety concerns.

Laws, censorship, travel bans, intimidation fail to quell BDSThe BDS campaign continues to create disproportionate anxiety among Israel loyalists who, rather like the Labour party, prefer judicial strangulation to open debate on the substance of the matter. In what seems a hastily-written article Ramzy Baroud recounts the measures Israel-protectors have used to banish BDS.

US states block free speechIn the US the drive to silence critics of Israel, or turn them into criminals, comes from the states, often those with a Christian evangelical (right-wing) profile. Their new laws and administrative censorship conflict with human rights law – but Israel doesn’t care about that so why should they?

AIPAC – don’t spoil our dream with factsChemi Shalev of Haaretz attended the AIPAC conference and pours scorn on a body which will continue pressing Israel’s cause whatever the country does and acting as though it knows nothing of what the country actually does, making it complicit with the maltreatment of Palestinians.

What’s the point of AIPAC?The power hungry American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) held its policy conference last week, prompting many critical articles. It’s not a Jewish body – its sole concern is to establish contact with the political establishment and lobby for Israel for which generous donors give much thanks. Articles by the lively new group IfNotNow and Bradley Burston.

Keep it secretMost of the work done to keep Israel going and out of the ICC is done in secret. While AIPAC works by cultivating direct contact with Congressmen, Trump and Netanyahu see no point in letting anyone know what they’re up to.

 

Ultra-Orthodox refuse all state dutiesThe founders of Israel did not expect a Haredi population who thought Israel should not exist (the Messiah not having arrived) and that the proper task of Jews was study of the Torah and not nation-making or military service. This is an irresolvable problem. If the point of Israel is to cultivate Judaism then the Haredim should be the leading light. If Israel is defined as a military state then the Haredim are the enemy within – growing in numbers and votes.

Only retired security heads speak truth to power Israel is a security state par excellence. Who’s the enemy? Former Mossad chief Tamir Pardo says it’s not Iran. It’s the Occupation which creates a state of permanent conflict. This will not resolve itself. He joins a long list of security chiefs who have told their government that they must seek a peaceful resolution of the conflict with Palestinians.

How I became a dissident Jew — This is the transcript of an interview with Ann Jungman, a founder signatory of JfJfP. Why did she join? What made her critical of Israel? and how did she find her time on a kibbutz?

Hamas takes the antisemitism out of its charter — Rumours of changing Hamas’s charter have been circulating since last year. Many doubted it was possible – did Hamas have the diplomatic skills to engage all factions in change? It seems so. The changes are dramatic. But children absorb anti-Israel violence from very early. Can that be changed to fit the new Charter?

END OF JfJfP’s THIS WEEK’S POSTINGS 

SEE ALSO

To download the full “Support for Israel” discussion, click on this link: Private Members’ Public Business — Support for Israel — From Ontario Legislature, Hansard Transcript, December 1, 2016.

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