April 30, 2012
April 29, 2012
Palestine human rights campaigners today welcomed news that the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer, The Co-operative Group, will “no longer engage with any supplier of produce known to be sourcing from the Israeli settlements”.Someone told me recently that the Co-op might not be as cooperative as its name suggests though it does have some kind of profit share and decision-making scheme for its customers. It's still good news for BDS.
The Co-op’s decision, notified to campaigners in a statement, will immediately impact four suppliers, Agrexco, Arava Export Growers, Adafresh and Mehadrin, Israel’s largest agricultural export company. Mehadrin sources produce from illegal settlements, including Beqa’ot in the Occupied Jordan Valley. During interviews with researchers, Palestinian workers in the settlement said they earn as little as €11 per day. Grapes and dates packaged in the settlement were all labelled ‘Produce of Israel’.Mehadrin’s role in providing water to settlement farms and its relationship with Israeli state water company Mekorot makes the company additionally complicit with Israel’s discriminatory water policies. Other companies may be affected by the Co-op’s new policy if they are shown to be sourcing produce from Israel’s settlements in the Occupied Territories.
April 28, 2012
I wonder how they make those decisions. Are there meetings in the editor's office to decide what pearls are too delicate to be cast before swine, and what aren't? Or is it just one brave apparatchik who rules the kingdom of translations. Do they get calls from the Prime Minister office, or maybe even from Evet the Magnificent, chastising them for this or that pearl? Like 60 minutes?
Perhaps Gideon Levy would write one day and answer these questions. Until then, it is worth reading Levy's excellent article on Guenter Grass, which was published in English for a while, until it was suddenly deemed belonging to the category of Sod and was withdrawn, not very skillfully. Here it is in its entirety:
Israelis can be angry with Gunter Grass, but they must listen to him
After we denounce the exaggeration, after we shake off the unjustified part of the charge, we must listen to the condemnation of these great people.
By Gideon Levy
The harsh, and in some parts infuriating, poem by Gunter Grass of course immediately sparked a wave of vilifications against it and mainly against its author. Grass indeed went a few steps too far (and too mendaciously ) - Israel will not destroy the Iranian people - and for that he will be punished, in his own country and in Israel. But in precisely the same way the poem's nine stanzas lost a sense of proportion in terms of their judgment of Israel, so too the angry responses to it suffer from exaggeration. Tom Segev wrote in Haaretz: "Unless Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently confided in him, his opinion is vacuous." ("More pathetic than anti-Semitic," April 5 ). Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mentioned Grass' Nazi past, and Israeli embassies in Germany went so far as to state, ridiculously, that the poem signified "anti-Semitism in the best European tradition of blood libels before Passover."
It is doubtful that Grass intended his poem to be published on the eve of Passover. It contains no blood libel. In fact, it is the branding of it as anti-Semitic that is a matter of tradition - all criticism of Israel is immediately thus labeled. Grass' Nazi past, his joining the Waffen SS as a youth, does not warrant shutting him up some 70 years later, and his opinion is far from vacuous. According to Segev, anyone who is not a nuclear scientist, an Israeli prime minister or an Iranian president must keep silent on the stormiest issue in Israel and the world today. That is a flawed approach.
Grass' "What Must Be Said" does contain things that must be said. It can and should be said that Israel's policy is endangering world peace. His position against Israeli nuclear power is also legitimate. He can also oppose supplying submarines to Israel without his past immediately being pulled out as a counterclaim. But Grass exaggerated, unnecessarily and in a way that damaged his own position. Perhaps it is his advanced age and his ambition to attract a last round of attention, and perhaps the words came forth all at once like a cascade, after decades during which it was almost impossible to criticize Israel in Germany.
That's the way it is when all criticism of Israel is considered illegitimate and improper and is stopped up inside for years. In the end it erupts in an extreme form. Grass' poem was published only a few weeks after another prominent German, the chairman of the Social Democratic Party, Sigmar Gabriel, wrote that there is an apartheid regime in Hebron. He also aroused angry responses. Therefore it is better to listen to the statements and, especially, finally, to lift the prohibition against criticizing Israel in Germany.
Israel has many friends in Germany, more than in most European countries. Some of them support us blindly, some have justified guilt feelings and some are true, critical friends of Israel. There are, of course, anti-Semites in Germany and the demand that Germany never forget is also justified. But a situation in which any German who dares criticize Israel is instantly accused of anti-Semitism is intolerable.
Some years ago, after a critical article of mine was published in the German daily Die Welt, one of its editors told me: "No journalist of ours could write an article like that." I was never again invited to write for that paper. For years, any journalist who joined the huge German media outlet Axel Springer had to sign a pledge never to write anything that casts aspersions on Israel's right to exist. That is an unhealthy situation that ended with an eruption of exaggerated criticism like Grass'.
Grass is not alone. No less of a major figure, the great author Jose de Sousa Saramago opened the floodgates in his later years when, after a visit to the occupied territories, he compared what was going on there to Auschwitz. Like Grass, Saramago went too far, but his remarks about the Israelis should have been heeded: "Living under the shadow of the Holocaust and expecting forgiveness for everything they will do in the name of their suffering seems coarse. They have learned nothing from the suffering of their parents and their grandparents."
Dead link: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/israelis-can-be-angry-with-gunter-grass-but-they-must-listen-to-him-1.423194
Original in Hebrew: http://www.haaretz.co.il/opinions/1.1681588
Live link: http://www.haaretz.com/misc/iphone-article/israelis-can-be-angry-with-gunter-grass-but-they-must-listen-to-him-1.423194
I was challenged in the comments to give other examples of articles considered "sod," unfit for the consumption of the nations. A good person alerted me to this one from today:
Shredi Jabarin, star of Miral, Palestinian with Israeli passport living in Germany, was prevented from boarding an el al plane to Israel:
[the security officer at the airport] "asked me why I travel to Israel, and I answered that I go for shooting a film. He asked if I can show him a contract and I said I don't have it on me," Jabarin said. "but in any case, I told him, I an an Israeli citizen and you can treat me as an Israeli citizen going home."
In reaction, he tells, the security officer tells him "don't say home. This isn't home for you." and added that he would have to undergo a comprehensive security check since he has no contract. At the end of the check, he was told that he could not board the plane with the laptop and Ipad. The latter would have to go in cargo or entrusted to security. Jabaring refused and argued with the officer. "although another officer recognized me and said she saw me in a movie recently, that didn't effect him". Finally, Jabarin was told he would not be allowed to board to plane at all.
April 27, 2012
This is based on reports from a photographer, Ziv Oren, who lives in the neighborhood. The police did not alert the journalists as it usually does when a crime is committed.
The attacks bear the trademark of the European far right, although there really is no "far right" in Israel. Hatred on foreigners is at the political center. No terrorist organization took responsibility for the attack. And don't expect anybody in Israel to treat this as a terrorist attack. "Terrorist" are people who use violence against people whose lives count.
According to Haaretz, there only three Molotov cocktails. As of now, it appears there were no casualties.
April 26, 2012
If, like me, you love a happy ending, please read on....I wouldn't normally blog about work related stuff, but since this video has achieved mini-viral status I thought I'd let people know the story behind it.After the Israeli air attacks on Gaza in December 2008 / January 2009 the people at my workplace all agreed that we should use our window on Fawcett Road to show our outrage - and our solidarity with the Palestinian people. In the grand scheme of things it's not exactly the greatest act of resistance, but no matter how small a gesture, it felt that we were at least doing something.The window remained unchanged from the picture above until May 2010 when Israeli commandos boarded a flotilla of ships carrying aid to Palestine, gunning down nine activists in the process. At that point we added the words "ISRAEL = TERROR STATE" at the bottom of the window display. It wasn't long before we had a visit from the local Community Wardens - old bill wannabes - demanding to know when we planned on removing the protest as they feared it might be contentious. We explained, patiently and at great length, that this was a legitimate political comment, proven by recent Israeli actions. We assured them that it was in no way a comment on a particular faith and pointed out that a number of us had spent years actively fighting racism and fascism in the city. Not surprisingly we refused to remove either the flags or the words from the window.By September we were visited by another police officer - the one in the video - who opened his "little chat" with the fantastic "I have to acknowledge that my knowledge of this is... quite limited"! Indeed. Perhaps this explains why he didn't feel like sticking around to debate the issue. His comment that they had received two complaints, "One from a Jewish woman, and one from a member of the public" was as absurd as it was, I believe, untrue. Can you be a Jewish woman and not a member of the public?The whole sorry saga came to a head last year when two uniformed officers came to our door, threatening us with arrest unless we took down the 'offensive' material.
April 25, 2012
This evening, at NUS National Conference, UJS' stall was targeted in a disturbing act of discrimination and vandalism. Posters and banners were defaced with anti-Israel stickers, including over the Star of David emblems on the UJS logo.
NUS should be a safe space for all students within its diverse membership. Whatever one's views on the Israel-Palestine conflict, there is no excuse for this behaviour within the student movement. The singling out of Jewish students and the direct attack on Jewish religious symbols is antisemitism.UJS is calling for strong action to be taken to ensure that this incident is swiftly and appropriately dealt with. We will do everything in our power to protect and secure the safety and welfare of Jewish students.
Needless to say, the UJS can't let an opportunity to falsely allege antisemitism pass them by. The incident was last night and already Harry's Place has two posts on it here and here. Neither HP nor the UJS have mentioned that hostility towards the latter may have to do with their affiliation to the zionist movement globally nor the fact that a zionist fundraising organisation has its logo on the UJS page complaining of the incident. In fact, rather smartly, HP doesn't even link to the UJS site. I suppose Engage can be relied on to bring in all the facts. No? Not at the time of writing. Perhaps they're waiting for the funding.
April 21, 2012
Welcome by Christoph Holzhey | 1:45Since I wasn't there, let me ask David what I would have liked to ask if I were there.
Introduction by Anaheed Al-Hardan | 3:45
Lecture by David Landy, part 1 | 23:20
Lecture by David Landy, part 2 | 17:15
Discussion, part 1 | 23:15
Discussion, part 2 | 19:25
You talk about the work of activists representing a distant field within a local field as translation/appropriation. What about agency/subjectivity? Is it by chance that all our words for, for lack of a better term, the self-assertion of the Sarterian/Hegelian "being for itself," carry a double and almost oxymoronic meaning? To be a Subject is both to be in possession of itself and "subjected" to an external imposition. To be an agent means both to self-actualize and to represent someone else. It seems to me that one has to consider the question of translation/appropriation within that duality (or, to use Lacan's terminology, extimacy of the subject.). Worrying about "erasing Palestinian agency" is necessary to the extent that it is part of a reflection about one's own location and one's own agency. But there is a way of engaging with that which you seem to do sometimes that is almost as a pure anxiety about the other as such, and that anxiety itself reproduces the kind of "savior complex" that is part of a lot of what you call "distant area activism" in the West. After all, it should be a given that, as a white Jew living in the West, I cannot make present the quality of being Palestinian in any local field, and that pretending or seeking to do so would and should be politically suspect. I can only (partially) re-present, translate, intervene, shift and rearrange, and the ethics of these actions is inherently bound to my own agency (in its double determination) in all the fields in which I am present. That is, rather than starting from the relation with Palestinians, and ranking various groups according to how well they incorporate or are true to representing the distant field, shouldn't the point of departure for all criticism be more expressly political, namely, a question of what a political agent is agent of, and how that agency is understood and put into practice?
In a way, to clarify, my critique here is partially also a question about the choice of Bourdieu's sociological framework. Because for Bourdieu, the virtue of the field/habitus logic is that it objectivises systems of symolic domination and makes visible the mechanisms of invisibility within them (It's like blowing smoke to make light rays appear in a room). But within the idea of revolutionary politics, what Bourdieu calls habitus and field is problematized (as death drive, or Thermidor, or simply as death, to take St. Paul as reference). So isn't the use of the field/habitus framework applied to movements at risk of excluding revolutionary politics in advance, or, if it is included, to describe it from the perspective of its death?
April 19, 2012
in a move that will be applauded by those opposed to boycotts of Israel, he also expressed strong opposition to a call by some performers and writers to disinvite Israel's national theatre from a Cultural Olympiad event at the Globe Theatre next month. "I disagree with that. I don't want the Olympics, including the Cultural Olympiad, turned into a political football."There have been knives out for Livingstone throughout the hasbara blogosphere and his interview with Totally Jewish has him trying to pander his way back into favour. I think his sheer lack of principle may still keep him on the endangered list.
My thanks to Coventrian in the comments to the previous post who drew my attention to the Sam loves hummus blog. Sam details the whole case together with screen grabs of the relevant pages which have now been disappeared by the JC and denied then undenied by its editor, Stephen Pollard.
In his post, Sam lists out three posts by Cortiglia, the last of which is headed, When things go wrong, we need common sense. Sam describes this last one as "rather content free". As an article, that's true but the expression "common sense" appears to be the name by which the BNP likes to describe its racist worldview, as in "it's not racism, it's just common sense." I think it's also the name of some picnic event the BNP holds from time to time.
The articles not described by Sam as "rather content free" are restatements of hasbara which can often be found in reports and comments in the JC print edition and on line by JC journos who would never admit to having anything in common with the BNP though I am now reminded of when Board of Deputies spokeswoman, Ruth Smeed* described the BNP's website as "the most zionist on the web".
Many thanks to Tony Greenstein for spotting the error in calling Ruth Smeed "Ruth Smeeth" and for pointing out that she speaks for the Board of Deputies, not Gerald Ronson, I mean the Community Security Trust.
April 16, 2012
From Ma'an News Agency in Bethlehem:
Israeli forces assaulted a group of cyclists who were participating in a West Bank tour on Saturday, official news agency Wafa reported.Ha'aretz reports on Netanyahu apologising for his soldier getting caught and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's report is the second major news item to appear on the google news page at the time of writing.
Footage appeared on Youtube which showed an Israeli commander hitting an international participant with the butt of his rifle, in an unprovoked attack.
Israeli forces can be seen physically assaulting cyclists in the video.
Soldiers stopped a group of around 250 participants near the Jericho village of al-Auja and refused to let them start a cycling tour, which was organized by youth group Sharek and officials from the al-Auja environmental center.
The Guardian has a report of the flytilla at Ben Gurion airport and those supporters of the flytilla who didn't quite make it to Ben Gurion.
April 14, 2012
Book Launch: IN YOUR EYES A SANDSTORM Ways of Being PalestinianJEWS FOR JUSTICE FOR PALESTINIANS AND
April 11, 2012
April 09, 2012
Silvia Cattori, a Swiss "journalist," posed the following question in a recent "interview" she conducted.
For obvious anatomical reasons, few people can perform anilingus and engage in libel at the same time. That is quite an achievement.
...the Israeli Gabriel Ash or Caroline Finkelstein, for example, who are members of "Comité Urgence Palestine" and IJAN, signed a statement against you. In doing so, aren't your detractors trying to silence a very rare and brilliant ex-Israeli intellectual "who is more qualified then they are and who has no doubt the ability to shed light on the true cause of the ordeal suffered by Palestinians, and is honest enough to neither make a living from the suffering of others nor monopolise a just cause in order to turn it into a profession, obtain a position or a promotion." [translated from French]
The "journalist" Cattori changed the text of her article after I quoted her, attributing the quoted words to another someone with an opinion. That changes nothing.
Bob, the driving forces in the JLC today are Mick Davis (definitely well left of centre on Israel, was happy to give the Jewish Chronicle an interview in which he said he was sometimes ashamed of Israel), Vivian Wineman (Peace Now), Jeremy Newmark (had brilliant idea of funding soft Trotskyists Engage to lead the campaign against the higher ed boycott with disastrous results)I've never heard that claim before and nor, clearly, had Bob:
Is it true that Newmark/JLC funded Engage? Or that the results of Engage's strategy have been "disastrous"? Or that a different strategy against an academic boycott would have been more effective?Back comes Judy:
Yes,it is true that the then Board of Deputies, with Jeremy Newmark central to the operation concerned, funded Engage to run a campaign against the then boycott proposals of AUT in 2005.Now I don't know how much the funding was, nor how long it went on for but I have noticed that neither Engage nor Greens Engage have been posting much of late and when Engage has run any kind of post it has been a rehash or a repost of something from elsewhere or prepared years earlier. So for apparent want of funding Engage is doing what Greens advocate, reducing, reusing and recycling.
April 08, 2012
The thrust of the article is clearly sympathetic to Jacobson's and Habima's position because it goes on to quote Habima's artistic director thus:
we are state-financed, and financially supported to perform all over the country. This is the law. We have no choice. We have to go, otherwise there is no financial support.ie, we represent the State of Israel or, We are completely independent, artistically and politicallyie, we choose to perform in the occupied West Bank.
As it happens, it's just a tiny bit more complex because Ronen also claims that
company members who asked not to perform were not required to, and they were not pressured or demoted, rather they were protected and consciences were respected. "It is a difficult situation, not ideal," he said, declining to say how many of the company refused to work in the West Bank.Aha, so it's "this is the law" but only for theatre companies, not theatrical individuals. Maybe I missed it by reading too fast but I don't see Maggie Brown challenging the self-contradiction anywhere in the article but, in fairness, she seemed to be praising the passion with which Howard Jacobson denounced the idea of a boycott.
April 02, 2012
A brawl broke out Saturday night at the soccer match between Maccabi Petah Tikva and Hapoel Haifa, at the end of which Haifa midfielder Ali Khatib was taken to hospital.
If you click on the link some time soon you will see the page festooned with adverts for an event called Fighting for the Zionist Dream. It's Jerusalem Post hosted event including various zionist bigwigs including the ubiquitous, Alan Dershowitz.Khatib was allegedly headbutted by Petah Tikva’s goalkeeping coach before being kicked while on the ground by a man supposedly connected to the Petah Tikva management. The two men were detained and remanded to custody until Monday at 4 p.m.
It occurred to my friend that Ali Khatib may have been assaulted because he is an Arab. In other words, his assailants could well have been fighting for the zionist dream.
An editorial in today's Ha'aretz certainly takes that view. It is headed, It's time to intervene against racism in Israeli soccer and it gives the following details:
So, it's not quite clear which events amounted to "fighting for the zionist dream" but maybe Alan Dershowitz can shed some light on racist violence in Israeli football.In March alone, there were four recorded violent incidents linked to Israeli soccer.Thousands of Hapoel Tel Aviv fans rioted after the team lost the Tel Aviv derby, throwing objects onto the field and blocking the players of both teams from leaving it. A few days later, two Maccabi Petah Tikva fans burst onto the field and tried to assault a referee; then we had the 300 Beitar Jerusalem fans who ran amok at the Malha Mall, yelling "Death to the Arabs" and beating up Arab cleaning workers; and on Saturday two officials of the Maccabi Petah Tikva club attacked Hapoel Haifa player Ali Khatib, who was head-butted by one and kicked in the face by the other.