Earlier this year, I took a look at a booklet by the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) called ‘The Apartheid Smear’, authored by staffer Alan Johnson. Intended as a “vital tool” for fighting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, the publication is full of errors and omissions; for example, it doesn’t mention the illegality of Israeli settlements even once.
I am returning to BICOM and Alan Johnson, following the latter’s interventions in recent debates on BDS and antisemitism. Johnson presents himself as a leftist when arguing Israel’s corner, especially in contexts where Israeli apartheid gets short shrift (e.g. campuses). He also tends to repeat the same points again and again – so here is the BICOM guide to defending Netanyahu’s Israel. Read more
Israel has defeated the BDS movement, declared Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday. According to Bibi – who “pulled out a world map, colour-coded to illustrate how Israel’s foreign relations have improved” – BDS is “on the defensive”, and “taking hits on many fronts.”
Netanyahu made his remarks during a meeting of the State Control Committee, the background for which, as Ha’aretz described, “were two state comptroller reports published on May 24 exposing a list of Israeli failures against the BDS movement and in the state Hasbara (public diplomacy) system.” Read more
1. The ‘status quo’ is already changing
In 2014, almost 11,000 Jews entered the Al-Aqsa mosque compound. This represented a 28 percent increase from the previous year – and almost double the number of Jewish visitors in 2009. While in 2012, Jewish activists entered the compound on average once every 2 weeks, in 2013 this had become once every 4 days, and in 2014, closer to every 2-3 days.
The UN has described how this week’s confrontations were preceded by “three consecutive weeks of [Israeli forces] preventing all Palestinian women, as well as all men under 50, from entering Al Aqsa Mosque Compound during the morning hours, to secure the entry of settlers and other Israeli groups.” Last week, the Israeli government outlawed two Muslim groups, “informal movements of mostly Arab women and elderly men”, who protest Jewish activists’ visits to the compound. Read more
As Israeli politicians ramp up the rhetoric against the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, two reports have suggested that much worse is in store for the movement which advocates economic and cultural disengagement from Israel.
First came a secret, Israeli government report obtained by business newspaper Calcalist. The internal document looked at the potential future impact of BDS on the country’s economy – and the results are striking. Read more
In 2003, Israel’s then-finance minister, Binyamin Netanyahu described Palestinian citizens of Israel as the real “demographic problem”.
Seven years later as prime minister, Netanyahu told his cabinet that “without a Jewish majority”, the Negev posed “a palpable threat”.
Did someone say “incitement”? Read more
The Israeli government’s approval of an $86 million plan for tightening its grip over occupied East Jerusalem is the latest development in a process of colonisation that continues to proceed with impunity.
According to an article in Haaretz, the five-year investment plan will fund “a number of actions with the declared purpose of thwarting any possibility that the city would be divided as part of a future accord”. The newspaper described it as “similar in nature to Economy Minister Naftali Bennett’s proposal to annex Area C of the West Bank”. Read more
With the results of Israel’s election in (though the exact final breakdown is still unknown), one message has dominated: ‘Dead heat!’ The Knesset is being presented as split down the middle between ‘right-wing’ and ‘centre-left’ blocs, as discussions take place about how a coalition government will be formed.
But there is another way of looking at it: for Palestinians, the Israeli electorate has returned a parliament that is 90-10 in favour of ethnocracy. Read more
With Israeli elections just around the corner, Prime Minister Netanyahu is expected to retain his position at the head of a coalition government. Tzipi Livni, former foreign minister and now head of her own party, has been one of the most vocal critics of Netanyahu during the campaign, even if that hasn’t translated into success in the polls. Read more