Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Jewish Voice for a Just Peace

People often like to note that many of the most courageous and brilliant campaigners in the West for a fair and peaceful future in Israel/Palestine are Jewish. I have pointed this out myself, and it's true.   We note Jewish dissent regarding Israel as if it were remarkable, and often it is.  Yet one must also note the long and illustrious traditions of radical Jewish thought in Europe, and say that today's campaigners are the inheritors of that work.  Judith Butler has gone so far as to say that Jewish dissent - the dissidence of Jewish dissent, to adapt Burke - might be the greatest expression of that complex and rich culture. 

So I welcome the initiative of my comrades highlighted below, while recognising that sooner or later, it was something they would have had to do anyway.  They have a tremendous vision, even as they stand on the shoulders of giants.


Jewish Voice for Just Peace launched today, on first day of Hanukah

A new pro-Palestinian group of Jewish people in Ireland has launched today, the first day of the Jewish festival of Hanukah. 

The statement says:

“We are Jewish people in Ireland who support the Palestinian struggle for human rights and justice – a struggle that resonates with the Irish journey towards peace. We share a commitment to human rights and justice for all.
As Jewish people, we oppose the cynical deployment of the anti-Semitic label, and the history of the oppression of the Jewish people, to silence those who legitimately criticise Israel. We are part of a long historical Jewish tradition of fighting oppression and standing up for peace and justice for all.

The ongoing occupation of Palestinian land, the siege of Gaza, brutal military repression and violence, the rejection of meaningful peace, and the growth of far-right racism and fundamentalism in Israel have led to the formation of pro-peace and pro-justice Jewish groups throughout the world. 

Our group is proud to be part of this pro-Palestinian Jewish community, and to join the global movement that supports the Palestinian struggle for their human rights and for justice.

We support the application of the norms of international law and human rights to Israel/Palestine. We also support those groups that are working to create a just and lasting peace in Palestine.

The State of Israel does not represent the Jewish people. We have an obligation to speak out when Israel claims its actions against the Palestinian people are taken on behalf of the Jewish people.

Not in our name! ”

Founder signatories include Jo Bird (Derry), Laurence Davis (Cork), David Landy (Dublin), Aisling McGeown (Belfast) and Sue Pentel (Belfast).

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Guilt and Shame - Germany and Israel

Germany is one of Israel's most fervid and uncritical supporters (and armourers) in the world after the United States.   Here are two articles about the kinds of distortion and moral confusion that arise from Germany's terrible legacy vis-a-vis the Jewish people, and from Israel's ongoing manipulation of it.

An interview with Max Blumenthal, from Electronic Intifada:

Germany made Palestinians "indirect victims of Holocaust," says author Max Blumenthal 


And a critique of the great hope of the German 'left', Die Linke, from Jacobin: 


The German Left’s Palestine Problem



The Jerusalem Syndrome

News of Israel/Palestine in the last few weeks has mostly concerned violence in Jerusalem.  Typically this has been de-contextualised, so that the murder of rabbis is not placed alongside Jewish-Israeli attacks on Palestinians, or the scandalous ethnic policies pursued by Israel for many years in the planning of the whole city and in the illegally-annexed eastern part of the city in particular.

Here is a report on the overall picture in the month of November, from Mondoweiss:

Report: Israeli forces killed nine Palestinians, arrested 650, during month of November

Nathan Thrall's essay in the London Review of Books helps to frame this situation rather more carefully and honestly:

Rage in Jerusalem