Women of the world were watching and waiting

In an excerpt from his book Gil Troy describes Betty Friedan’s confrontations with and overcoming of anti-zionism in the women’s movement of the 70s and 80s.

‘Most Third World delegates decided that sexism was a Western problem because only Western women complained about it.’

Via Engage.

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Bias

This, from A. Jay Adler via bobfrombrockley, is a well explained and particularly dispiriting example of what people who dislike Israel are prepared to say, think and do. Seemingly trustworthy sources are not what they seem, all that is said about Israel these days must be tested for truth and untruth by fact-checkers like Adler.

Israeli elections 2013

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Israeli elections are taking place on 22nd January. Likud has merged with the further-right nationalist party Israel Beteinu to form Likud Beteinu, a party with a solid support base, if dwindling chances. Likud, who used to be firmly on the right of Israeli politics, have become much more like the centre ground. With all the new alignments and parties there is a lot of confusion – except for the religious right which is looking dangerously stable.

OneVoice Israel has produced an election campaign video, below. Unlike the several featuring Israeli soldiers (can you imagine how troubled this country would have to become before Farage and Cameron started using squad imagery to win elections?) it hasn’t been banned. The urgency of its message is striking – if the far right come to power, the EU and US will withdraw their moral and material support from Israel. The consequences are obvious and left unsaid: Israel will be impotent to withstand the religious and nationalist menaces in the region. OneVoice isn’t an organisation given to provocations – it must feel that desperate times call for desperate measures.

It’s helpful for moderate Israelis to be able to predict a loss of goodwill from concerned international supporters. In these affairs supporters have more influence than detractors.

Unfortunately the Green Party, which has been treating Israel as an untouchable state for years, won’t be making any contribution to this election campaign in this country and region which they and many others – on paper at least – hold crucial to world peace. The Green Party won’t be of help to Israeli moderates – not even its comrades Yeruka, the Israeli Greens. In fact, the Green Party turns its back and officially boycotts Israel as if Israelis were politically alike.

The Green politicians who understand these things aren’t able to prevent the Greens who don’t from indulging their disturbing prejudices as Party policy. Along with the worry and concern it’s caused British Jews, it’s a badge of Green politics.

And during the period of the Green Party boycott campaign against Israel, what has happened with Israeli public opinion? Israeli public opinion has moved toward the political right – Bob From Brockley points to some differing commentary on this. And although it’s probably far-fetched to claim that Green policy has any effect on Israeli policy, it’s important to note and learn from this Green mistake.

Here’s OneVoice’s Israel’s election video. It makes me sad but I think this negative, defencist, scare campaigning will work – because it’s correctly to the point.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign can only mean one thing

Eric Lee writes:

From the river to the sea?

Sorry, but there’s no way to be polite about this. That chant, and the PSC’s own logo of a map of Palestine from the river to the sea, and the subsequent chanting of “Israel out of Palestine” really could mean only one thing.

The demonstrators, or at least the people leading the chanting and making up the slogans, were supporting a one-state agenda, a solution to the century-old conflict between Israelis and Palestinians by demanding that one side pack up and leave.

This is clearly nothing to do with supporting the Palestinian.

Fighting fire with fire

When Palestinians and Israelis fight fire with fire it’s easy to get drawn in.

Resist contributing to the hatred. For those of us who are lucky enough not to be directly at risk, it’s far more constructive to hunt out and surface smart alternatives to war from people who want to understand the region and hope for peace in the region. What ideas are coming from the political opposition in Israel? What are Palestinian secularist progressives saying? What are the views of international relations and conflict resolution specialists? We may need to wait a while for the most insightful commentary – it’s the extra thinking and research time that makes it insightful. Meanwhile there are some commentators who want to get to the bottom of things including Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian sets out alternative readings of the recent escalation, Janine Zacharia in Slate makes the case for diplomacy in Israel’s interests.

Remembering the aftermath of Cast Lead, British Jews are braced for the spike in Jew-baiting and antisemitic behaviour which attends Israel’s conflicts. Here’s Steve Bell depicting a Jewish puppet master of other countries’ leaders as if – writes Dave Rich from the CST – he “…reached for the ‘puppeteer’ trope to explain that fact that William Hague’s statement on the conflict was presumably not critical enough of Israel for his liking, as if this is the most plausible explanation for Hague’s view.”

Steve Bell’s response isn’t really doing it for me. I think it might be something to do with his affronted tone. And what he says. As if being accused of antisemitism is worse than antisemitism.  Anyway, if Netanyahu is so powerful why are Israel’s citizens scurrying for their bomb shelters tonight?

Behind a Ha’aretz paywall, Abeer Ayyoub writes from Gaza and Israel Green Movement’s Gershon Baskin’s twitter feed is very well worth following for its links out to Palestinian and Israeli commentary. Unlike the Alqassam Brigade’s which coldly counts off the missiles it has launched at Israeli civilians, and  signals its intent towards the Israeli state by referring to Tel Aviv in inverted commas.

Update: don’t forget to look at the sources on our blogroll.

Pippa Bartolotti doesn’t have antisemitism in the family

A few weeks ago Martin Bright ran a Jewish Chronicle piece on Green Party England and Wales leadership candidate Pippa Bartolotti, somebody who makes the obvious and boorish kind of antisemitic statements which can’t be ignored.

Adam Ramsay’s response at Bright Green Scotland reminded me that most people who say they find antisemitism unbelievable are reacting to other people who don’t toe their line on hating Israel. He’s an exception and it’s important to recognise that.

You can read PB’s defence in the comments under Adam’s post. She refers to her Jewish grandfather as if not being antisemitic were in the genes. If Jews were as harshly oppressed by Palestinians, she says she’d be working as hard for their human rights – I imagine her invoking the “university of life” lie about Arabs being treacherous by nature. That would be the equivalent to what she has said about Israel’s Jewish ambassador. I wonder how her conversation with the Foreign Office unfolded – has Rowan Laxton been reinstated? They’d have so much to talk about.

You can find out about better candidates on the Green Party’s Internal Elections pages, and by listening to this recent audio hustings. Voting closes on August 31st.