Revelations about the activities of an Israeli embassy staff member have been headline news in the British media over the last few days. There might be more to come – the Al Jazeera Investigations programme on which the stories have been based is aired over four nights starting Wednesday.
To summarise what we know already, an Israeli government official based at the embassy in London, Shai Masot, was caught on camera discussing how to “take down” British politicians deemed unfriendly to Israel, including foreign office minister Sir Alan Duncan. Read more
Millions of British adults boycott Israeli goods, according to a poll commissioned by Israel lobby group BICOM and carried out by Populus.
The survey suggests that despite efforts by pro-Israel groups and British government ministers to smear, and undermine the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, support for boycott remains largely unchanged. Read more
On February 17, British Cabinet Minister Matthew Hancock stood alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, and announced the publication of “new guidance” for local authorities concerning procurement. The move was trailed – and presented by the government – as designed to ‘ban’ boycotts of Israeli goods and services by councils.
But did the procurement guidance really criminalise boycotts – and what about additional, pending moves by the British government to restrict how local authorities choose to invest pension funds? What is really going on behind this attack on local democracy, in the name of shielding the Israeli state, its institutions, and complicit corporations from a growing global boycott campaign? Read more
Apartheid, in the words of the Rome Statute, is when inhumane acts are committed “in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.”
Increasingly, Israel’s “inhumane acts” against the Palestinians are being understood not as mere aberrations or excesses, but as part of a system of discrimination and segregation: an Israeli form ofapartheid. In response, support for campaigns like Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) is growing.
Recognising these developments, pro-Israel lobby groups are worried. In 2014, one such organisation, the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre, orBICOM, published a booklet called ‘ The Apartheid Smear’, written by staffer Alan Johnson. Read more
The London School of Economics (LSE) has been accused of bowing to external “lobby groups”, following the university’s public criticism of the student Palestine Society.
The controversy centres around an exhibition held by the Palestine Society in the SU building on October 22, intended to raise awareness about Israel’s repression of Palestinians living under military occupation, particularly in light of recent unrest. Read more
Earlier this week, the University of Southampton pulled the plug on a forthcoming conference about Israel and international law.
The decision to withdraw permission for the event was taken on “health and safety” grounds, but came after months of pressure by pro-Israel groups who objected to the conference’s contents. A legal challenge to the decision is now underway.
Whatever the final outcome, this story is significant for the way in which it illustrates not so much the pro-Israel lobby’s power, but its weaknesses. Read more
In the end, the deadline came and went, and some people did not even notice. April 29, a day that had loomed on the horizon portending decisive developments for the US secretary of state John Kerry’s stricken peace process, brought neither breakthrough nor decisive failure.
Israeli-Palestinian negotiations have been “paused”, and the US has very little to show for months of shuttle diplomacy, discussions, and proposals. On the ground, meanwhile, Israeli colonisation has continued apace. In nine months of formal talks, Benjamin Netanyahu’s government advanced construction for around 14,000 housing units in West Bank settlements. Read more