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Posts tagged ‘Zionism’

Behind Brand Israel: Israel’s recent propaganda efforts

“The Delegitimization Challenge” report from the influential Israeli think tank the Reut Institute has put the spotlight on efforts by Israel and the Zionist lobby to counter the growing movement for justice in Palestine, and specifically, the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign. The work done by Reut has rightly attracted attention, but it is only one (particularly prominent) example of a wider trend, as the Israeli government and global Zionist groups mobilize to fight the threat to the apartheid system.

It was an issue discussed when Israeli policymakers convened for the recent Herzilya Conference where there was a session called “Winning the Battle of the Narrative: Strategic Communication for Israel.” There was also an associated working paper, prepared by a team that included Ido Aharoni from Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), along with senior officials from the prime minister’s office, public relations firms and two key lobby groups — The Israel Project in the US, and Bicom from the UK (”Winning the Battle of the Narrative” (PDF)). Read more

‘Punish, humiliate, terrorise’

As the one year anniversary of Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip is marked, it is vital to re-examine Operation Cast Lead within the wider context of Israel’s approach to both Gaza and the Palestinians.

There is a danger that the scale of the devastation and the international protests which followed the war can deflect attention from the broader Israeli policies of collective punishment and deliberately-engineered socio-economic collapse.

The first important part of this context for both before – and since – Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip is the crippling blockade. Read more

Real reform in Israel is a distant prospect

Once again, issues like the settlement “freeze” are dominating the official peace process, ignoring not only core questions like Israel’s “matrix of control“, but also the status of Palestinian citizens of Israel. While the increasingly overt racism of Knesset members has got its fair share of headlines, other important developments have escaped scrutiny outside the region. Read more

Killing Israel’s peace process

Following on from Barack Obama’s speech in Cairo, this weekend it was the turn of Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu to stake out his vision for a way forward in the peace process with the Palestinians.

Ever since Netanyahu announced that he would be making an important speech, there had been plenty of speculation about its content. Netanyahu’s hard-right coalition allies desperately lobbied the PM to stick to his “principles” and some of them expressed confidence that the address would end up being satisfactory to their constituencies. The typical build-up spin was that Netanyahu was feeling “the heat” from both Washington and his rightwing government. Read more

What direction will Israel take now?

Three pieces of legislation proposed recently by members of Israel’s Knesset have been making headlines: banning the commemoration of the Nakba; introducing a mandatory ‘loyalty oath’ to the Zionist state; and criminalising public declarations of opposition to Israel being a ‘Jewish state’.

None of these efforts may actually become law – the loyalty oath has already been voted down by the cabinet’s law committee. The Nakba bill though has now been tweaked, so that rather than straightforwardly outlawing any events, there will be economic sanctions for the local authorities and organisations involved. Read more

Why justice and peace are the needed in the Middle East

The Bishop of Manchester recently warned of an increase in anti-Semitism as a result of a “backlash from Gaza”, in remarks reported in this paper. The week before, Paul Richardson had also written (Jan 23) of how Israel’s attack on Gaza led to attacks on synagogues in Britain and Europe”.

Unfortunately, these and other articles that have appeared in CEN since Israel launched its operation at the end of December have not helped to either clarify the link between Gaza and anti-Semitism at home, nor to foster a serious understanding about events in Israel/Palestine and the Western church’s role. Read more

Israel’s alternative independence day

Mothers with prams mixed with old men leaning on sticks, and groups of teenagers sang boisterously alongside those walking in silence. All along the stony path, the sun’s rays shone through the tree tops to illuminate the flags and placards. Not every afternoon woodland stroll is labelled a “subversive challenge” to the state, but the Palestinian citizens of Israel were well aware of the significance of their alternative ‘Independence Day’ event, as they gathered on the ruins of Safuriyya, one of the hundreds of villages destroyed by Israel in 1948. Read more

In praise of Palestinian steadfastness

As Israel celebrates 60 years of statehood this month, Palestinians are taking the opportunity to remember the catastrophic shattering of their society in 1948. It is not simply a question of recalling the past; they continue to struggle for self-determination and to have their rights recognized under international law.

Yet it is a mistake to consider the past 60 years as simply a story of unmitigated disaster for the Palestinian people. There have also been significant successes and achievements – and it is a story worth telling. This is all the more remarkable, given the extent to which the society was devastated in 1948: Israel destroyed some 400 villages as 85 percent of Palestinians in what became Israel were dispossessed. Read more

What lies beneath

A few days ago, the Associated Press reported that the small Israeli town of Kiryat Yam is suing Google for slander, after a Google Earth user “inserted a note on the map” saying that the town was built “on the location of Ghawarina”, a Palestinian village destroyed in 1948.

A town official said this was impossible, as Kiryat Yam was founded in 1945, while Google emphasised that their service “depends on user-generated content that reflects what people contribute, not what Google believes is accurate”. Read more

An American President and the outposts of Zion

This week US President George W. Bush embarks on a tour of some of the US’ Middle East allies, including his first visit while in office to Israel. The trip has been presaged by a lot of media guesswork about what exactly Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will discuss, and one of the likely topics will apparently be the so-called “illegal outposts.” [1]

The New York Times last Saturday reported remarks made by Bush in an interview with Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot about the need for Israel to dismantle these outposts and the apparent “awkward” nature of the issue for both US and Israeli governments. [2] However, the issue of outposts — framed as Bush forcing a reticent Israeli administration to compromise for the sake of peace — risks clouding far more crucial issues that go to the heart of the conflict. Read more