There are dark clouds gathering across England. The tabloid press attacks the judiciary as “enemies of the people”. The prime minister berates “activist left-wing human rights lawyers” for pursuing legal cases against British soldiers accused of war crimes. Right-wing demagogues contrast the “political elite” with “the will of the people”. Read more
The warm congratulations extended by Israeli politicians to Donald Trump after his election victory was unsurprising. Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is a coalition of right-to-far-right parties, including ministers with a penchant for authoritarian, nationalist legislation, and anti-Palestinian, Islamophobic rhetoric. Read more
This month marks the 99th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration and the beginning in earnest of preparations for next year’s centenary.
Israel and its supporters are gearing up for a celebration of what they see as an historic document that underpins the state’s legitimacy. Palestinians and their allies, meanwhile, are seeking an apology from Britain for an injustice whose impact is still felt today. Read more
Israel advocacy groups and individuals are seeking to undermine Palestine solidarity activism on British campuses, using Islamophobic abuse and false accusations of antisemitism.
Last Thursday, former Israeli army officer Hen Mazzig, who served in the occupied West Bank as part of the Israeli occupation authorities’ forces, was invited to speak at University College London (UCL) by the Friends of Israel student society. Read more
Israeli newspaper Haaretz this week published minutes of a secret meeting between then-Israeli premier Menachem Begin and Shimon Peres, who was head of the opposition at the time. The discussions took place on 31 August 1978, ahead of Begin’s talks with Egypt’s leader Anwar Sadat at Camp David, the US presidential retreat.
For Haaretz, the minutes “lay bare the hawk that peacemaker Peres once was”. In fact, the document gives a valuable insight into what shaped Peres’s world view to the very end: settler colonial racism. Read more
A new video published by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has prompted ridicule and accusations of distorted history and racism. The clip, presented by officials as a short history of the Jewish people, was made by an Israeli production company on behalf of the Israeli government, as part of the latter’s PR efforts. Read more
In 2005, a draft, working definition of antisemitism was circulated by the European Union’s Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC). To the dismay of its critics, the document confused genuine antisemitism with criticism of Israel, and was repeatedly, and erroneously, promoted by Israel advocacy groups as the EU definition of antisemitism.
By 2013, the EUMC’s successor body, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), had abandoned the politicised definition as unfit for purpose. Just this week, in response to a motion passed at NUS conference, the FRA explicitly denied having ever adopted the definition. Yet on March 30, Eric Pickles, UK Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust issues and chair of Conservative Friends of Israel, revived the discredited definition by publishing it on the government’s website. Why? Read more
On January 3, two Palestinians were removed from an Aegean Airlines flight from Athens to Tel Aviv, after Jewish Israelis claimed that they constituted a “security risk”. The incident made headlines worldwide. A month later, a Tel Aviv-based cleaning company sparked outrage with a flyer that priced its staff based on ethnicity. The story was also covered around the world.
For some, these kinds of episodes are proof of the racism that critics claim permeates Israeli society; for others, they are examples of isolated bigotry and idiocy. In fact, neither interpretation is quite right. While stories resonate and go viral, they can mask the fact that in Israel racism is the law. Read more
This week I have participated in events organised as part of Israeli Apartheid Week, which every year “aims to raise awareness about Israel’s ongoing settler-colonial project and apartheid policies over the Palestinian people”.
For some, talk of Israeli “apartheid” may seem like just another buzzword used by activists. Others see it as unhelpful, lazy, inflammatory, or even antisemitic.
But what are we really saying when we talk about Israeli apartheid? Read more