Liberal Zionists are at a crossroads. The original tradition of combining Zionism and liberalism — which meant ending the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, supporting a Palestinian state as well as a Jewish state with a permanent Jewish majority, and standing behind Israel when it was threatened — was well intentioned. But everything liberal Zionists stand for is now in doubt.
The decision of Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to launch a military campaign against Hamas in Gaza has cost the lives, to date, of 64 soldiers and three civilians on the Israeli side, and nearly 2,000 Palestinians, the majority of whom were civilians.… Seguir leyendo »
Avigdor Lieberman is no aberration in Israel’s polity. His aggressive rightwing Zionist rhetoric, racist demonisation of Palestinians and Arab-Israelis, shameless political populism and the tide of corruption allegations now close to engulfing him are all depressingly and dangerously familiar features of a broken system. The immigrant from Moldova has brilliantly exploited and contributed to the fracturing of politics in the state – but anyone who thinks his removal from the governmental scene will signal some sea change is sadly mistaken. The trends Lieberman represents and epitomises are deeply ingrained. Netanyahu is midwife and child of them, too.
There is speculation that were Lieberman to resign as foreign minister if indicted – as he has said he would – this would give the prime minister the opportunity of replacing the Yisrael Beiteinu party in the coalition with Tzipi Livni’s Kadima.… Seguir leyendo »
Using Nazi analogies to criticise Israel and Zionism is offensive, but should it be banned, criminalised or branded as antisemitic? Comment is free itself has a policy on this, according to which moderators generally rule Nazi comparisons out of order for being provocative, abusive and doing nothing to promote better understanding of the Israel-Palestine conflict; a distinction is made, however, when actual historical connections between Zionists (or Arab nationalists) and the Nazis are a legitimate topic under discussion.
The authors of a new report, Understanding and Addressing the «Nazi Card»: Intervening Against Antisemitic Discourse, from the European Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism (EISCA), take a different line.… Seguir leyendo »
This is hardly the time for levity, but watching delegates at the Durban anti-racism review conference walk out while President Ahmadinejad served up his version of Zionist history, I couldn’t help thinking of that immortal phrase from Laurel and Hardy: «Well, that’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into.» The Geneva UN gathering is an event of high seriousness. It coincides with Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day and Hitler’s birthday. It has been heading for disaster for months while western states and Jewish groups have been at loggerheads over strategy. It appears to have been completely derailed by a publicity-seeking, not especially powerful politician, desperately campaigning for re-election as president.… Seguir leyendo »
Each and every Jew who protested as a Jew against the Gaza war had a personal Jewish imperative for doing so. Some simply expressed dismay; most demanded action to end the carnage. To say that we failed is neither an expression of despair nor a statement that dissent wasn’t worthwhile. Realism suggests that it was inevitable.
Let’s be clear: diaspora and Israeli Jewish support for the war was extensive – and extremely dispiriting. It raises the question: critical Jewish voices may have increased, but can we ever trigger decisive change in mainstream Jewish opinion? An unsentimental look at developments may give reason for hope.… Seguir leyendo »