O N E D E M O C R A C Y N E W S L E T T E R
No. 2 — 15 Dec 2010
ONE STATE News and Opinion
** The Carmel Fire
Could Israel cash in on the Carmel fire to patch up relations with Turkey, which sent help despite being owed an apology for the Mavi Marmara? The Prime Minister’s office want to fix wording to normalise relations (such as Turkey saying it accepts that Israel didn’t kill its citizens with malicious intent), but Foreign Minister Lieberman says he’ll have none of it, and that Turkey should apologise for supporting the flotilla. It’s being hailed as a diplomatic crisis, but is that between Israel and Turkey, or between Netanyahu and Lieberman?
When a contingent of firefighters was sent by the PA from the West Bank, Netanyahu (in a rare show of good manners) rang Abbas to thank him, as though they were foreigners. But when the fire crew were due to be honoured, the event had to be cancelled as some of them were refused entry permits to cross into Israel, though they were deemed fit to enter and risk their lives to fight the fire.
Two interesting links about the villages at the centre of the fire:
1. Max Blumenthal on filming for a documentary at Ein Hod and Ayn Hawd, and his illuminating account of Zionist land acquisition and planting. http://maxblumenthal.com/2010/12/the-carmel-wildfire-is-burning-all-illusions-in-israel/
2. The Palestine Remembered site has records of the original village of Ayn Hawd going back to 1596, and the rest of the site is packed with details of towns and villages destroyed during the Nakba, and their stories before and since, interviews with survivors and extensive oral histories. http://www.palestineremembered.com/Haifa/Ayn-Hawd/
** EU rejects call for action
Over two dozen European heavyweights including Chris Patten, Mary Robinson and Javier Solana and nine former heads of state urged the EU to get tough with Israel. They support a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders including East Jerusalem, failing which they say the EU should boycott settlement products and downgrade ties with Israel. Israel’s spokesman said the letter was “extremely problematic” and added that it showed “a confrontational attitude to Israel” which would “marginalise the EU’s role in peacemaking”. Israel need not have worried. Even the letter did not call for sanctions, and EU foreign ministers responded underlining EU support for “a negotiated settlement” by August 2011. But they made a point of referring to a World Bank report approving the Palestine Authority’s readiness to establish a state, and said that the EU was ready to recognise a Palestinian state “when appropriate”. Supporters of a unilaterally launched Palestinian state are reading this as an open door to EU recognition after August, when Fayyad plans to declare independence.
This is the date set for elections to the Israel Palestine Confederation, which shows a sense of playful optimism from its creator Joseph Avesar. The IPC is gathering candidates and voters to set up a parallel or alternative government, an exemplary body which can hold a different sort of dialogue and even make law. Target numbers are 1500 candidates to contest 300 seats representing actual districts between river and sea. With so many unknowns in the next two years, who knows what role it might play, but it’s brilliant that so many individuals (over 200 so far) are willing to commit to this ambitious project, and maybe they’ll be in the right place at the right time to make a difference. http://www.ipconfederation.org/faq.aspx
** Another form of segregation
A 50-page report out last week shows that with the support of the authorities, women are being bodily excluded from many public facilities, included those funded by the public purse. Over ten years, gender segregation has increased to encompass buses, government and municipal offices, health clinics, sidewalks, and private businesses such as stores and restaurants, with women being physically separated from men. The report warns of the gradual removal of women from the public space. MK Shulamit Aloni recalled Israel’s founding commitment to women’s equality in political, economic and social life. The then religious parties all agreed; their successors, now powerful, do as they please.
** Umm al-Fahm
The fascist march through this town to commemorate Israeli terrorist Meir Kahane and to demand the expulsion of all Palestinians from Israel was widely reported, but the background wasn’t highlighted. This town is threatened with the building of a Jewish ultra-orthodox city (Harish), intended to swamp nearby Palestinian towns, with the express purpose of stunting their possible growth. The two things are not coincidental, but another example of the web of connections where expansion and Judaisation is promoted by government and planners, which are both egged-on and backed up by physical violence.
** Rabid Rabbis 1
PM Netanyahu actually condemned the Fatwa published by Rabbi Eliyahu of Safed, and signed by 50 other such “spiritual leaders”, against anyone renting property to Arab citizens. The letter clearly incited neighbours and friends of any offending landlord to shun and boycott them. These rabbis are paid by the state, from taxes that “Arabs” also pay. Priests or mullahs are of course not paid at all by the Jewish state.
Again we see the toxic interplay of law, custom, and populist agitation. All the racist discrimination in the rabbbis’ fatwa has been practised for years, more or less brazenly. Housing segregation is also upheld in existing and new law, e.g. nearly 700 Jewish settlements with fewer than 500 residents can appoint “reception” committees to vet new residents so they “fit the criteria of the settlement’s character”, so they can legally keep unwanted people out. On top of racial exclusion (only Zionists allowed in) they can also exclude secular jews, single parents, divorcees and “certainly gay couples”.
One city hall launched a public campaign against renting to migrant workers and refugees, following a call from, yes, local rabbis, who complained about foreigners and “cushim” (best translated as “niggers”).
There’s now a rising spiral of practices and attitudes, backed by law. Jews who survived the rise of Nazism recall how the Nuremburg Laws (which made anti-Jewish acts into state policy) both confirmed common but not consistent practice and created a new base level, until the next stage which abolished citizenship for all Jews. But Israel has yet to require its Arab citizens to stitch a green crescent to their sleeves. http://coteret.com/2010/12/08/yediots-legal-editor-cites-nuremberg-laws-eichmann-trial-in-critique-of-new-rabbinical-ruling/#more-2912
Roi Maor, in +972 Magazine, writes: The Israeli establishment is in the midst of a pushback against efforts to change long-standing racist and suppressive practices. … Palestinians’ demands for fairness and equality are met by increasingly explicit racism by Israeli elites. This is why long-held practices are being formally enshrined, rhetoric is becoming more blunt, … But how long can this last without tearing Israel apart? http://972mag.com/segregation-law-continuity-and-change-roi-maor/
** Rabid Rabbis 2
The rabbis’ assaults on human rights are backed up by biblical quotations. Many people reply with counter-quotations instructing respect for “the other” and citing a more benign Jewish tradition.
It may seem that it’s a good idea to respond in kind, quote against quote. But it won’t convince a single bible-thumping racist. And it’s descending to their level. Trading biblical quotes with the rabbbis only concedes in principle that an ancient text (whether Bible, Talmud, Koran or the mad sci-fi world of the Book of Revelations) full of the prejudices of its time, can be held as a competing authority against internationally agreed standards of human conduct and law.
Jerry Haber’s blog The Magnes Zionist exposes the pitfalls of a liberal reading of the bible. A counter manifesto to the rabbis’ original, issued by 42 observant Jewish organisations as an advert and titled “No to Racism in the name of Judaism”, had quoted the Torah saying “The stranger who lives with you will be like the citizen…” But the problem with this is that Arab Israelis are not “like citizens”, they ARE citizens.
Haber writes: “What is to be concluded from this passage if not that Arab native citizens of Israel are to be loved as ‘resident aliens’? … the advert fails to mention the equal rights of all citizens qua citizens. And why doesn’t it? Because the minute you appeal to ancient sources to give your viewpoint authenticity, you leave behind modern notions of “rights”, “equality” “citizenship.” In their desire to show that Judaism and democracy are integrated with each other, the Jewish organizations have altered democracy beyond recognition.” And “to consider a native population – made a minority by expulsion and ethnic cleansing – as ‘alien’ is morally despicable. I am an orthodox Jew, but I don’t need to ground my moral convictions on a verse, especially if it is utterly inappropriate.” http://www.jeremiahhaber.com/2010/12/on-rabbis-manifesto-and-moral.html
** New Facebook Page ONE STATE, ONE DEMOCRACY FOR PALESTINE AND ISRAEL: Follow the link and click the Like button to stay connected http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?v=info&ref=profile&id=1152867051#!/pages/One-State-One-Democracy-for-Palestine-and-Israel/166133830084464?v=info
** New in One Democracy Website
* The Undead Two State process and Obama’s plans for the ghoulish corpse. http://onedemocracy.co.uk/news/two-state-process-still-undead/
* 2011: A game-changing year: some of the known unknowns. Will it be RIP for the Palestine Authority, and what are the knock-on effects? http://onedemocracy.co.uk/news/2011-a-game-changing-year/
* Let’s Vote for a New Jerusalem: a 2013 human rights election campaign the Jerusalem city council and mayoralty: could Jerusalem be the answer, not the problem? http://onedemocracy.co.uk/news/fayyad-plans-economy-of-dependence-for-his-state/
* The economic underpinning of an “independent” Palestinian state in the planned Free Trade Zones at Jerico, Bethlehem and Jenin. http://onedemocracy.co.uk/news/fayyad-plans-economy-of-dependence-for-his-state/
* Hamas’s promise to respect any referendum vote on a two-state solution. But why not a one state democracy? http://onedemocracy.co.uk/news/hamas-makes-a-move/
** Stuttgart Conference
“I don’t think anybody except spoiled diplomats goes to conferences on the two-state solution any more.” Ilan Pappe. A sell-out solidarity conference organised in support of the One State to work out “Obstacles and Perspectives for a Just Solution”. These video speeches are moving, elegant, witty and thoughtful, with all the clarity you never see in the two-state pious waffle.
* Lubna Masarwa: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ju_Iv5rCJQ
* Stuttgart Conference site: http://senderfreiespalaestina.de/konferenz/index.html
* Read Mazin Qumsiyeh’s personal account of the conference: http://www.qumsiyeh.org/thoughtsongermanyandpalestine/
Ali Abunimah: I tell you a story. The other day I was in St. Louis and some observant Jews, very strong supporters of Israel, came to my talk. Afterward they came to talk to me and I asked them a few questions. I said: “You are clearly very religious observant Jews, and you value your way of life as Jews, and you want to bring up your children the way you want to, and educate them the way you want to, and you are doing that here in Saint Louis Missouri.” They said: “Yes.” I said: “Is Missouri a Jewish state?” “No!’
Dr. Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories: the Peace process is a “deceptive effort to impose an inadequate solution”. There are only two possible outcomes now: a unified democratic secular state that respects the rights of all people within its borders, or an intensification of the existing apartheid situation. (1 Dec 2010, London)
From Avrum Burg’s speech at a special demonstration against the “Rabbis’ letter”: “Israel is mortally sick. Malignant lumps and racist metastases threaten the lives and existence of state and society. Don’t say these are foolish weeds, they are rabbis. They are not foolish, they are malicious. They are not the weeds, they are the gardeners themselves.”
SOLIDARITY and OTHER NEWS
** Just an ordinary district of Jerusalem
Issawija, a district of East Jerusalem, has not so far been targetted by Jewish settlers. It’s not at the sharpest edge, not on the front line. But bits of its land have been annexed over the years to build Jewish neighbourhoods, roads and “green areas”. Recently house demolitions have increased, and the Israeli authorities have now ringed it with concrete roadblocks, leaving just one way in for traffic. So on Dec 3rd the regular Sheikh Jarrah Friday demo joined up with the people of Issawija to protest its “imprisonment”. The village representative spoke in Hebrew and Arabic, saying they wanted better services, playgrounds for the kids, and to be treated like any other tax-paying residents. And he welcomed all the Israelis who had come, and invited them to come back and visit.
** Shop signs: Hebrew only
have all been told to re-write their shop signs into Hebrew or lose their licenses and be shut down, in the latest dictat from West Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat. The Merchants Committee held a protest, and Israeli attorney Yifat Solel has written to Barkat demanding that he void the decision as it is illegal and won’t stand up in court.
** A year in prison with no lawyer
IDF Radio reports that the Government has approved legislative amendment allowing “security” prisoners to be held for up to a year (!) without meeting lawyer.
** Human Rights Day
Following shortly after a separate protest against the Rabbis’ Letter, ten thousand people mustered in Tel Aviv for Human Rights Day, almost double last year’s number. Focusing on the growth of racism in Israel over the past year, over 120 organisations were involved. The march was joined by nearly 1000 African refugees and asylum-seekers. There was also a surprise “contingent”, a counter-demonstration claiming “human rights” for settlers. They were no doubt spoiling for a fight, but were politely given their own division of the march, with ACRI Director Haggai Elad saying they might learn something about universal rather than sectional human rights.
** One of the few ways to leave Gaza: a meeting with Shabak
It’s possible to get out at the Erez crossing for medical treatment. But it comes with a price-tag: a seriously heavy interrogation by the Israel secret service, the Shabak, under threat of being turned back if they didn’t talk. Questions are not about their medical needs, but about who they know, what organisations their neighbours might be members of, is anyone they know a Hamas member, etc. Personal accounts from http://www.boycottima.org/
** Well worth a visit
In any other struggle you’d think that a group of “Architects and Planners for Justice” might be a bit esoteric. But in Israel’s work to erase Palestine and replace it with Israel, building has been a crucial weapon. This is a brilliant site full of real writing, in-depth analysis, reports and book reviews and very fresh news. It’s easy to read and navigate and illustrated with high quality images and the best and clearest maps. http://apjp.org
** The Assault on Democracy
The Coalition of Women for Peace has published an essential report on the new repression of dissent, organised by a sinister alliance of the establishment and the extreme right, “The current overriding atmosphere in Israel is one of threat towards opposition both in Parliament and civil society, growing governmental violence, deterioration towards a repressive regime seeking to violently to silence critical and opposing voices, the continuation of oppression and control over the Palestinians, and an uprooting of fundamental democratic principles.” http://coalitionofwomen.org/home/english/articles/Political_Persecution_Report/AllOutWar-internet-ENG.pdf
** Bil’in message and a brilliant Video
“Young boys from our village have been taken from their homes violently and report being denied sleep, food, and water and being kept in Isolation and threatened and often beaten during interrogation. Adeeb, myself, and thousands of other prisoners are being held in prison based on testimonies forced or coerced out of these children. … When the children who had testified against me retracted what they said in interrogation and told the military judge that their testimonies where given under duress, the judge declared them hostile witnesses.” Abdullah Abu Rahma’s message from prison. Read the whole message: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/majda-abu-rahmah/a-message-from-israeli-mi_b_794627.html?ref=fb&src=sp
** JVP stats
Remarkable figures from the American group Jewish Voice for Peace, a leading force in the BDS campaign. In the past year they’ve taken over 250,000 actions. They have 27 local groups. They are working with 29 “good rabbis”. They have 100,000 online supporters. And they’ve clocked up over 500 mentions in TV, radio, print and online media.
** Electronic Intifada on Israel’s hit-list
Israel is gunning for the Electronic Intifada via its attack-dog NGO Monitor, which specialises in silencing opponents by choking off their funding. EI calls itself a “Weapon of Mass Instruction”. It is powered by dozens of first class original reporters, and in turn empowers activists all over the world. And most odiously for the Israeli establishment, its co-founder Ali Abunimah is a passionate speaker and writer for One Country. For more on NGO Monitor’s McCarthyite attack on freedom of speech and a free press, see http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11651.shtml
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