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Support for Israel ‘continues to drop’ among US liberals, youth

In February 2017, Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked expressed concern about “decreasing support for Israel in the Democratic party”, telling her Jewish American audience that the problem was “a strategic issue” for Israel.

“I couldn’t sleep after I saw a poll two weeks ago”, she added.

A new US poll on the same topic will not help Shaked rest easy. The results indicate that key trends identified in recent years show no signs of slowing; Israel’s reputation is deteriorating among demographics such as Democrats, younger voters, African Americans and Hispanic Americans. Read more

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Has the BDS campaign really achieved so little?

Last March, outgoing Jewish Agency chair Natan Sharansky declared that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign had “been almost fully defeated”. Sharansky’s pronouncement came two years after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced BDS had been “beaten“.

BDS ‘failure’?

Premature reports of the BDS campaign’s “failure” are not the sole preserve of Israeli officials. In a recent article on the attempted deportation of American student Lara Alqasem by Israeli authorities, Haaretz staffer Anshel Pfeffer, who also writes for The Economist, portrayed Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan’s handling of the affair as a rare boost for the BDS campaign. Read more

When it comes to Palestine,’taking sides’ and ‘solutions’ are not mutually exclusive

Back in August, I received an invitation from an organisation called Solutions Not Sides (SNS) to be a speaker at their Student Leadership Programme event in London in early September. After some research, I declined the invitation – and I want to explain why in a public forum. Read more

Palestinian violence isn’t ‘antisemitic’, it’s a response to occupation

On September 16, Khalil Jabarin – a 17-year-old Palestinian from Yatta in the southern West Bank – left his family home and headed north, to the Israeli settler-managed Gush Etzion Junction. There, the teenager fatally stabbed American-Israeli Ari Fuld, before being shot and arrested.

Following the killing of Fuld, a well-known far-right activist who lived in the nearby Efrat settlement, some Israelis vociferously objected to the reporting of his death, and in particular, to Fuld being described in various international news reports – quite accurately – as a settler. Read more

Can Hamas walk the fine line between deterrence and escalation?

More than a month has passed since the last significant exchange of fire between the Israeli military and Palestinian factions in the occupied Gaza Strip.

Thus, despite a number of significant and deadly flare-ups, the summer passed without a new large-scale Israeli assault on the blockaded territory materialising.

While Israeli military strategy has long relied on deterrence – the idea that short, sharp shocks to enemy forces and civilian population will secure periods of “quiet” – events this summer beg the question whether Hamas and other factions in Gaza have established their own deterrence. Read more

The Troubled History of the Two-State Solution

Since 30 March, when ‘Great March of Return’ protests began in the occupied Gaza Strip, the Israeli army’s brutal crackdown on Palestinian demonstrators has prompted condemnation worldwide. On 14 May, Israeli snipers positioned across the other side of a fortified fence killed 60 Palestinians and injured many more – some 1,300 were hit with live fire.

The bloodshed of 14 May occurred the day before Nakba Day, marked annually by Palestinians to remember the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian communities in 1948, and protest Israel’s continued rejection of the refugees’ right of return. Read more

Trump’s assault on UNRWA is an assault on Palestinian refugees

Over the weekend, Israeli television reported that the US administration is planning to escalate its attacks on Palestinian refugees by not only explicitly rejecting their right of return but also by unilaterally redefining who constitutes a refugee so as to slash their numbers to just half a million.

Since then, US diplomat Nikki Haley has affirmed the US would only support the Palestinian refugees’ relief agency UNRWA if the organisation were to “change the number of refugees to an accurate account”.

It is now being reported that the Trump administration has decided to cancel all US funding to UNRWA. Read more

Why calling Israel an apartheid state or racist is not anti-Semitic

The frenzied debate over the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)’s definition of anti-Semitism – or more precisely, definition and illustrative examples – has centred on whether the document restricts criticism of the state of Israel and delegitimises solidarity with the Palestinians. Read more

Why has Netanyahu pushed through the Jewish Nation State bill now?

Late on Wednesday night, Israel’s parliament passed the Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People law, in a 62-55 vote hailed by prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “defining moment”.

No ordinary piece of legislation, the new bill takes its place among Israel’s quasi-constitutional set of Basic Laws. Read more

‘Jewish nation state’: How Israel enshrines apartheid into law

On Thursday, the Israeli government formally passed the “Jewish nation state”law. With the Knesset’s summer recess on the horizon, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu managed to pass the law ahead of the break.

“This is a defining moment in the annals of Zionism and the history of the state of Israel,” Netanyahu told the Knesset after the vote. Read more