Israel/Palestine

Letters: Don't use the word "mob"; Singling out Israel?

Don’t use the word “mob” The occasional use of the word “mob” in Solidarity 577 requires some comment. The first point I want to make is that “mob”, “mob rule” or variants thereof, have almost always been used against the left: strikers, demonstrators such as those involved in unemployed movements, anti-fascist struggles and campaigns such as BLM and so on. We shouldn’t be borrowing the language of the ruling class, however appalled we might be by what we see on the television screen. I have no desire to go into a detailed history of the term “mob”. It probably gained currency in the French...

Vaccine nationalism in Israel

After a deal with Pfizer, Israel is leading the world in Covid-19 vaccinations, with a goal of vaccinating everyone over 16 by the end of March. It has already vaccinated about 20% of its population. It is not providing vaccines to the millions of Palestinians living under its rule in the Occupied Territories, let alone to Gaza. Israel may have completed its vaccination programme by the time Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank start getting vaccinated. Israel has done badly in the pandemic, with lockdowns lifted too fast and inadequate social policies. It is now in the middle of its third...

Socialist Worker on "The Lobby": half a step forward

Socialist Worker half-breaks from its previous attitudes to tell readers that seeing "the Israel lobby" as super-powerful in world politics is an antisemitic idea "Continuing to believe [criticism of Corbyn inside Labour is] all simply orchestrated by an 'Israel lobby' can lead you down some very dark paths… It can lead to antisemitic arguments". That's not from Solidarity, but, surprisingly, from an article by Nick Clark in Socialist Worker (2 December 2020). Clark's article is progress. Mind you, he doesn't explain how the "Israel lobby" idea of Jews worldwide being mysteriously highly...

New focus on Nation-State Law

A recent court case in Israel has brought into focus the implications of the country’s “Nation-State Law”, passed in 2018 by (then and now) prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu despite huge protests. The law implied downgrading the rights of the large non-Jewish (mainly Palestinian Arab) minorities in Israel. On 30 November, a judge cited that law when dismissing a court case brought by Palestinian Arab parents in Carmiel, an Israeli city with a Jewish majority but a 6% Arab minority. The parents wanted an Arabic-language school in Carmiel, or failing that funding for students to travel to Arabic...

Israel demolishes Palestinian village

B’ Tselem, the Israeli campaign for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, reports: “On 3 November 2020, with the eyes of the world on the US elections, Israel demolished an entire Palestinian community in the Jordan Valley. A convoy of bulldozers drove up to the tiny shepherds’ community of Khirbet Humsah and razed it to the ground”. You can see a video of the demolished village here. Israeli forces left 74 people, 41 of them children, without shelter in the wind and rain. They demolished residential tents and sheds, livestock enclosures, storage sheds, kitchens, portable...

Free Hallel Rabin

On 1 November, demonstrations in Israel showed solidarity with Israeli citizen Hallel Rabin, imprisoned for the third time, and for 25 days, for her continued refusal to serve in the Israeli army. Rabin, 19, said: “For too long, the good people of Israel have agreed to participate in the atrocities committed by the occupation. While I know my refusal is small and personal... It is time to shout: There is no such thing as good repression, no such thing as justifiable racism and no more room for the Israeli occupation.” She was refused exemption, three to two, by the five-person draft board as...

Israel tries to ban protests

On Wednesday 30 September the Israeli government passed a law to suppress protests. For many months there have been weekly protests against Netanyahu in Jerusalem. The new law states that gatherings of over 20 people are illegal and that it is illegal to travel more than 1 km to attend a protest. This is, supposedly, to reduce the spread of Covid-19. It is true that infections in Israel have spread alarmingly. Many outbreaks have been linked to indoor religious gatherings — there is a much greater risk of Covid spreading indoors — but those have been allowed to continue. Outdoor protests have...

Anti-Netanyahu protests grow

Mass demonstrations against Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's hard-right prime minister, have continued, as the country lurches towards its fourth election in two years. Following a previous wave of anti-Netanyahu protests which highlighted the corruption allegations against him, due to come to court in January, the latest mobilisations have focused on his mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic, where a precipitous easing of lockdown measures and inadequate social provision has seen both infections and unemployment spike massively. An article in the left-wing 972 magazine notes that, although...

Netanyahu's coalition under new pressure

Amid deepening political and public health crises, Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was reported by the daily Haaretz (23 July) to be set on calling new elections for 18 November. This would be the country's fourth round of general elections in the last two years. The next day Netanyahu denied the report, but tensions within the ruling coalition, agreed between Benjamin Netanyahu's hard-right Likud party and Benny Gantz's centre-right Blue and White party in May, and also involving Avigdor Lieberman's secular far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party and various religious fundamentalist...

Netanyahu under fire

Mass protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s handling of the coronavirus crisis have continued in Israel, with one protest converging on Netanyahu’s residence on Saturday 18 July. Demonstrators blocked roads and built barricades before being dispersed with water cannons. Netanyahu’s trial for corruption has now resumed, with the case expected to last years. Polling by the Israel Democracy Institute suggests just 29.5% of the Israeli public trusts Netanyahu’s handling of the pandemic. This backdrop of discontent and unrest has made it difficult for Netanyahu to proceed with plans...

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