When the Palestinians gain a little visibility in the west, it is chiefly because of grassroots activities like Israel Apartheid Week and the BDS movement. When the Jewish Labour Movement and the Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland reject such initiatives as evidence of anti-semitism, they choose to speak in the loud voice of Jewish privilege, not the quieter voice of Jewish victimhood.
At last week’s Labour party conference, when members wanted to celebrate Jeremy Corbyn’s successes, media headlines were once again dominated by a supposed “anti-semitism crisis” in the party. But the real crisis is that Labour’s pro-Israel old guard is now under fierce challenge from a new grassroots movement.
Israel’s support for the Kurdish independence referendum was not surprising. The unravelling of Britain and France’s century-old map of the region would lead to chaos of the kind that a strong, nuclear-armed Israel could richly exploit. Not least, yet more bedlam would push the Palestinian cause even further down the international community’s list of priorities.
Renewed moves towards reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah are being hailed by PA officials as a victory for Abbas after he imposed harsh sanctions on Gaza over the summer to punish Hamas. But experts argue that the drive for unity puts Hamas – not Abbas – in the driving seat, by helping it find a way out of regional isolation.
Israel has quietly revoked the citizenship of thousands of members of its large Palestinian minority in recent years, highlighting that decades of demographic war against Palestinians are far from over. According to government data, some 2,600 Bedouins are likely to have had their Israeli citizenship voided. Officials, however, have conceded that the figure may be much higher.
The Greek Orthodox Church has been plunged into a renewed crisis in the Holy Land as its leaders are accused of selling off land to extremist Jewish settlers in prime locations in Jerusalem’s Old City. Hundreds of Palestinians rallied in the city to call for the removal of Patriarch Theophilos III, claiming that he had colluded with a settler organisation.
The eldest son of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has found himself an unlikely poster boy for David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader, and neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer. These cheerleaders for Jewish hatred described 27-year-old Yair Netanyahu as “awesome” for posting a grossly anti-Semitic image on social media.
The threat of criminal indictment that has hung for months over Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, loomed much larger this weekend as it was announced that his wife, Sara, faced potential criminal charges. Israel’s attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit, said he intended to indict Sara Netanyahu with fraudulently diverting some $100,000 from public funds.
Having killed off the chances for Palestinian statehood, Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is preparing the one settler-state solution in its stead. That requires opening Israel’s doors to millions of “Jewish” non-Jews – crypto-Jews, lost tribes, and “emerging communities” – to help in the demographic fight against the Palestinians.
In a leak to Israeli TV, Netanyahu’s office said he had proposed to the Trump administration ridding Israel of a region known as the Little Triangle, which includes some 300,000 Palestinians citizens. In effect, he was making public his adoption of the highly controversial plan of his far-right defence minister, Avigdor Lieberman.
An obvious question arises: why have we not heard about Jodi Rudoren’s incendiary view that Israel is practising apartheid in the pages of the New York Times? In her four years as Jerusalem bureau chief, she never wrote an op-ed or analysis expressing that view, or gave a voice to experts in Israel and abroad who have reached a similar conclusion.
Palestinians have been pondering the significance of recent secret meetings between Egypt, Hamas and Mohammed Dahlan, an exiled Fatah leader. Are they paving the way to a permanent solution for Gaza? One possibility – known to be much-favoured by Israel – would be to engineer the creation of a Palestinian state in Gaza and then pressure Egypt to allow it to expand into the neighbouring territory of northern Sinai.
Israel has taken collective punishment to new extremes, stretching the notion to realms once imaginable only in a dystopian fable like George Orwell’s 1984. These ever-more sadistic reprisals against Palestinians are not designed to deter attacks, but to shore up Israel’s sense of victimhood.
Wonder Woman, this much-praised Gal Gadot vehicle seemingly about a peace-loving superhero, is actually carefully purposed propaganda designed to force-feed aggressive western military intervention, dressed up as humanitarianism, to unsuspecting audiences. In short, this is straight-up propaganda for the military-industrial complex.
Often described as the Palestinians’ Nelson Mandela, Barghouti led the recent prisoners’ hunger strike. Paradoxically, his incarceration has served only to make him more visible, a Palestinian national icon. And now he is said to be developing a new model of resistance, to replace the failed strategies of Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas.
One can understand why making the Palestinians invisible is the tactic of choice for Israel’s supporters. But a new report suggests it would be wise for them to keep Israel in the shadows too. The Brand Israel Group found that the more US college students knew about Israel, the less they liked it. In the six years to 2016, support for Israel among the next generation of Jewish leaders dropped precipitously.
Israel’s quiet agreement to the transfer from Egypt to Saudi Arabia of two islands guarding the Gulf of Aqaba, and access to the southern Israeli port of Eilat, has surprised observers. The benefits include increasing normalisation with Riyadh, a chance to bring into the daylight an Israeli-Arab military and diplomatic front against Iran, and full-spectrum pressure on the Palestinians to sign up to a disastrous ‘peace deal’.
Israel is seeking to exploit the rift between a Saudi-led bloc of Arab states and Qatar to advance its strategic interests in the region, against the Palestinian movement Hamas and against Iran, according to analysts. Israel added fuel to the fire this week by threatening to close down Al Jazeera’s bureau in Jerusalem.
Israeli and US officials are jointly pre-empting Donald Trump’s supposed “ultimate deal” to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They hope to demote the Palestinian issue to a footnote in international diplomacy – and it can be achieved by dismembering the framework of international laws and institutions established after the Second World War.
The Trump administration is using unprecedented threats and financial “blackmail” against the United Nations and its agencies to end their focus on human rights abuses by Israel, according to analysts and Palestinian leaders. They accuse the US of leading the campaign of intimidation to forcibly rehabilitate Israel’s international standing.