USC Students for Justice in Palestine

history, analysis, news, and event updates on the struggle for justice in palestine

Archive for October, 2008

A time to break ranks

Posted by uscsjp on October 21, 2008

“As individual Jews come under increasing pressure to unite behind their ‘leaders’, Brian Klug puts the case for disunity.

On Sunday 29th June 2008, Trafalgar Square was filled with thousands of people who had ‘come out’ as supporters of Israel. Henry Grunwald, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, under whose auspices (along with the Jewish Leadership Council) the event was held, told the crowd: ‘We are proud to be British, we are proud to be Jewish and we are all proud to support Israel’. Union Jacks were dotted like sails in a sea of blue-and-white Israeli flags. It was hailed as ‘the first ever UK “Salute to Israel” parade’. But Nelson on his column, unless he turned a blind eye, would have had a sense of déjà vu.

The scene was a reprise of the Israel Solidarity Rally held in the same place six years earlier when tens of thousands of British Jews assembled with placards proclaiming ‘Yes to peace, No to terror’ and ‘Israel, we are with you’; slogans that begged certain questions. Who exactly were ‘we’ (or indeed ‘you’)? Why say ‘No’ to terror but not to occupation, closures, collective punishment and demolition of homes? These questions went unasked: the mood in the square and across a broad section of the British Jewish population was not exactly reflective. Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to rally round.

It was shortly after Operation Defensive Shield, when Israeli troops had entered the West Bank in force. Television viewers and newspaper readers were assailed with scenes of devastation in Jenin, Ramallah and elsewhere. But seen through the eyes of Ariel Sharon, it might have been the other way round: Palestinians laying waste to Tel Aviv or Ashdod – or the Warsaw ghetto. ‘This is a battle for survival of the Jewish people, for survival of the state of Israel’, declared Israel’s Prime Minister at the time.

As the collective clamour leading up to the rally grew louder, someone close to me wrote in a private email: ‘I would go so far to say – speaking entirely for myself – that it is getting hard to hold on to any Jewish identity at all when it bears no relation whatsoever to the mindless nationalism one is forced to listen to from Jews round the world every day.’ Though speaking for herself, her words spoke for many others who felt (as another friend put it) ‘the untenable position of being Jewish today’…”

–Brian Klug, Oct 18, 2008, Z Net

Also from Z Net:

Robert Fisk on the American Election


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Israeli best seller breaks national taboo: Idea of a Jewish people invented, says historian

Posted by uscsjp on October 12, 2008

“No one is more surprised than Shlomo Sand that his latest academic work has spent 19 weeks on Israel’s bestseller list – and that success has come to the history professor despite his book challenging Israel’s biggest taboo.

Dr. Sand argues that the idea of a Jewish nation – whose need for a safe haven was originally used to justify the founding of the state of Israel – is a myth invented little more than a century ago.

An expert on European history at Tel Aviv University, Dr. Sand drew on extensive historical and archaeological research to support not only this claim but several more – all equally controversial…”

–Jonathan Cook, Media Monitors Network (originally published in The National,, in Abu Dhabi), Thursday, October 9, 2008

Also by Jonathan Cook:

Israel’s breeding ground for Jewish terrorism

Boundless indulgence has emboldened the settlers

October 01, 2008, ZNet

“The words ‘Jewish’ and ‘terrorist’ are not easily uttered together by Israelis. But just occasionally, such as last week when one of the country’s leading intellectuals was injured by a pipe bomb placed at the front door of his home, they find themselves with little choice.

The target of the attack was 73-year-old Zeev Sternhell, a politics professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem specialising in European fascism and a prominent supporter of the left-wing group Peace Now…”

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Al Jazeera: Tunnels feed besieged Gaza

Posted by uscsjp on October 5, 2008

About 6,000 Palestinians are said to be engaged in smuggling through the tunnels [EPA]

“Hundreds of tunnels under the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt are keeping many of the Palestinian territory’s 1.5 million impoverished residents supplied with food and fuel.

On Saturday, Egyptian authorities found the entrances of three tunnels and confiscated a large amount of fuel about to be smuggled into the territory.

Sources say there are more than 6,000 Palestinians employed in the clandestine industry, which merchants say is heavily controlled by the Hamas authorities.

Strict rules are imposed on what can be brought in – weapons, drugs and people-trafficking are prohibited – and tunnel operators are taxed.

Ehab Gheissen, a spokesman for the interior ministry in the deposed Hamas-led government, said: ‘It is the right of the Palestinian people to do whatever they can to break the siege they live under. They have a right to do whatever they can to get what they need, including through tunnels, but at the same time we are watching all of the things that are being brought in.’

The tunnels were previously used to smuggle weapons to fight the Israeli occupation, but the blockade that was enforced after Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 has made the smuggling of basic supplies a necessity.

Shortages have sent prices of flour and milk soaring, and the industry established around the tunnel smuggling system is now worth millions of dollars.

Sami Abdel Shafi, a Gaza-based business analyst, said: “These days, most of the anecdotal evidence we hear is that the tunnels are being used to bring in very human items, for lack of proper medicine in the Gaza Strip…”

–Al Jazeera English, Oct 5, 2008

For more on the current situation in Gaza, check out Abdelfattah Abusrour’s piece in The Electronic Intifada’s Live from Palestine series, Oct 2, 2008:

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