The Guardian published a review last week by Nick Cohen of a new book called The Left’s Problem with Jews. Cohen’s review was predictable enough, and the book itself, written by Dave Rich of The Community Security Trust, is not the focus of this op-ed.
Instead, I want to draw attention to a short excerpt from Cohen’s review, which is instructive in what it illuminates about the current debate on anti-Semitism and the Left, as well as broader questions about Zionism, anti-Zionism, and the Palestinians’ ongoing struggle for self-determination. Read more
Ever since the the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip began in 1967, successive Israeli governments have taken advantage of every opportunity at hand to increase the settlers’ population in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).
The illegality of Israel’s settlements has been affirmed by the United Nations Security Council, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, settlement policy is a war crime.
Aside from being a grave breach of international law—and, as Amnesty International has put it: “inherently discriminatory”—the settlements are also a substantial obstacle to the establishment of a viable, sovereign Palestinian State in the OPT. Read more
Writing in Middle East Eye last month, I noted remarks made by US Secretary of State John Kerry, where he described “the current situation” between Israel and the Palestinians as “simply not sustainable”. Last week, at the annual Saban Forum in Washington DC, Kerry repeated the warning.
Addressing an audience that included senior Israeli political and military figures, Kerry said “current trends including violence, settlement activity, demolitions, are imperilling the viability of a two-state solution”, and urged action “in order to prevent this untenable one-state reality from taking hold.” Read more
Speaking in Washington DC last week, US Secretary of State John Kerry described “the current situation” between Israel and the Palestinians as “simply not sustainable”.
The senior diplomat reaffirmed that his government sees a “two-state solution” as “the only viable alternative” to the status quo. “Anybody who thinks otherwise,” he added, “can measure what unitary looks like by just looking at what’s been occurring over the past few weeks.” Read more
Earlier this month, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that any nuclear agreement reached between the P5+1 group and Tehran must include “unambiguous Iranian recognition of Israel’s right to exist”.
President Barack Obama repudiated such a demand as “a fundamental misjudgement”, but that did not dissuade Israel’s allies on Capitol Hill from backing Mr Netanyahu.
There are parallels here with Mr Netanyahu’s insistence that the Palestinians must recognise Israel as a “Jewish state” in any potential peace deal.
This demand to recognise Israel’s “right to exist” is much more, however, than a negotiations spoiler: it is intended to police the boundaries of acceptable debate, to conceal certain parts of the past and present – and to narrow the options open to Palestinians and Israeli Jews for the future. Read more
Speaking to the Security Council on Tuesday shortly after voting against the doomedPalestinian-drafted resolution on statehood, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power referred three times to an “unsustainable status quo” between Israel and the Palestinians.
It is of course Washington itself that bears most responsibility for this status quo, through its diplomatic, military, and economic support for the occupier, and leadership of a decades-long ‘peace process’ that has given Israel the cover to de facto annex its way to a permanent occupation. Read more
With peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian officials beginning again, many analysts have given their reasons for being either cautiously hopeful or sceptical. Yet what is incredible is that, twenty years on from the Oslo Accords, many people still have not asked more fundamental questions about the paradigm of the official peace process itself. Read more