Jonathan Cook: the Blog from Nazareth -

Civics class lost for words in Arabic

The other day Shimon Gapso, the far-right mayor of Upper Nazareth, outraged a family of US Jewish philanthropists by refusing to set up a school teaching in Arabic for the fifth of the students in his care who belong to the Palestinian minority. The Green family have threatened to withdraw the funding they provide to [...]

Chuck Hagel forced to pledge fealty to Israel

Lobbies, like cockroaches, are happiest operating in the dark. Here are a couple of pieces suggesting that things may finally be moving in the right direction – even if only a little – in the US. One is a major new TV series starring Kevin Spacey in which a plotline brings out into the open [...]

Israel guarantees impunity for soldiers

A new study by Yesh Din shows a familiar pattern. Some 240 complaints of crimes by Israeli soldiers against Palestinians were filed in 2012; Israel launched 78 investigations but instituted no indictments at all. In other words, absolute impunity for the soldiers. Two things are worth noting. In the Haaretz report, the Israeli army tries [...]

Israel’s unholy trinity of Jewish self-interest

Our views of the Israel-Palestine conflict may not coincide much but I can’t help enjoying the refreshingly no-nonsense opinions of Aluf Benn, the editor-in-chief of Haaretz. He makes a very intriguing analysis of the priorities of all Israeli governments, including Netanyahu’s. In short, he argues that Israeli leaders have understood the need to glue Israeli [...]

BBC echoes Israeli ‘demographic’ concerns

Thanks to Ben White for alerting me to this BBC report on the Bedouin inhabitants of the Negev, who are facing the renewed threat of ethnic cleaning as Israel intensifies its Judaisation programme. Ben has written about his successful challenge to a claim by BBC reporter Tim Whewell on this story that “Jewish and Arab [...]

Anti-Arab mayor speaks for Israel

The saga of the virulently anti-Arab mayor of Upper Nazareth, Shimon Gapso, continues. Gapso, if you recall, recently rejected a request to set up a school for Palestinian children in his city, even though 20% of the population are now Palestinian citizens (mostly refugees from neighbouring Nazareth, forced out of their original city by a [...]

The racism of anti-semitism scrutineers

My recent post on the Scarfe cartoon has provoked a lot of interesting debate from readers. Here is another perspective, one I strongly disagree with, from Rachel Shabi, someone I respect and who usually writes very well about Israel and the Palestinians. The key line in her piece that reveals her (and many others’) problematic [...]

Israel draws on cartoon to silence critics

As Holocaust Day comes round again, Israel has taken advantage of the occasion to teach the world a lesson. Not, of course, a lesson about the Holocaust’s universal message but one that Israel can exploit to shut up its critics. Israel and its lobbies have pounced on the cartoonist Gerald Scarfe over one of his [...]

The fascist enforcers of Zionism

There’s something deeply creepy about Ronen Shoval of Im Tirtzu proudly declaring in court that he paid private investigators to break into the offices of human rights groups to spy on them – but that he’s not the one in the dock, he’s the one bringing the court action. Shoval is suing a Facebook group [...]

Mayor continues ethnic cleansing tradition

The far-right mayor of Upper Nazareth, Shimon Gapso, rides to the rescue again against the “Arab enemy” living in the midst of his Jewish city. Despite at least 20% of the population of Upper Nazareth (next to Nazareth) being Palestinian, he’s banned Christmas trees in public places, the building of a mosque and now even [...]

Dark underbelly of Upper Nazareth politics

On the tours I lead of Nazareth and Upper Nazareth, I explain the strange – in fact, unique – problem Israel faces in these two cities. Upper Nazareth was built to “Judaise” Nazareth: swallow it up and leave it a poor Arab ghetto suburb of a modern vibrant Jewish city. In fact, the task failed [...]

Israel’s enduring fear of intermarriage

The Israeli political parties started running their campaign ads on TV this week. One that has caused a minor upset is this one by Shas, the large religious fundamentalist party that sits in most coalitions and is usually put in charge of the Interior Ministry. The ad shows a Jewish man at his wedding to [...]

The ‘doves’ who designed the occupation

We seem to be entering a period of acute reflection from Israeli documentary makers, presumably prompted by their belated realisation that no Israeli leader is contemplating a peace agreement with the Palestinians. So now along comes The Gatekeepers, trailing awards and in the running for an Oscar nomination. It interviews six former heads of Israel’s [...]

Will Al-Jazeera hold its nerve in the US?

The cabal that is the mainstream media in the US was exposed a few years back when Al-Jazeera English launched. There are millions of Arab Americans, as well as many other Americans, desperate for a different take on the Middle East than that offered by their current media. And yet AJE could not find a proper [...]

Britain’s very own Thomas Friedman

If the UK press has a Thomas Friedman, it’s Jonathan Freedland of the Guardian. Freedland’s chief role has been to dissipate British readers’ rightful anger about the Israeli occupation, and the UK’s role in sanctioning it, and reinforce the sanctity of the state’s Jewishness. He uses various techniques: he blows up out of all proportion [...]

Israel belatedly takes honour out of killing

For years Palestinian women’s groups have been arguing that so-called honour killings – that is, murder of women by their families – were not, as Israeli Jews liked to believe, proof of “Arab” backwardness but rather largely a consequence of racism in Israeli society that refused to tackle the social causes of these women’s deaths [...]

Israeli army starts doing its own dirty work

I accidentally drove right into the clashes between the Israeli army and Palestinian youths in Jenin this morning on my way from Nazareth into the Jordan Valley. The ambulance that tooted its horn when I parked in front of it was the first warning (unheeded) that all was not normal. Moving a little further up [...]