May 29, 2014

De Klerk ought to know that apartheid is not simply about numbers

But apparently Mr De Klerk doesn't know that if this Jewish Telegraphic Agency headline is anything to go by:

De Klerk: Israel not an apartheid state, but could become one

We know where this is going but let's take a look anyway:
Israel could become an apartheid state without the creation of a Palestinian state, former South African leader F.W. de Klerk said on Israeli television.

 De Klerk, the last president in his country under apartheid, said in an interview Tuesday on Israel’s Channel 2 that it was “unfair” to call Israel an apartheid state now.

In Israel to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Haifa, de Klerk said Israel may have to contend with one state for two peoples.

“The test will be does everybody living then in such a unitary state, will everybody have full political rights?” he said. “Will everybody enjoy their full human rights? If they will, it’s not an apartheid state.
So far, so bad.  Palestinian Arabs within Israel's pre-67 boundaries do not have the same rights as Jews in a variety of areas.  And even if they did, the Palestinians under occupation have endured their inferior status for nearly fifty years now. What will happen in the future to make that apartheid that hasn't been happening these last almost five decades.

And then there's the major issue of the people of Palestine who have been forced to leave their homeland since 1947.  Jews from all around the world have more right, under Israel's racist laws, to live in Palestine than the native non-Jewish population who have been forced to leave.  And if we do choose to live there we have more rights there than those who have managed to remain.

Many aspects of Israel's governance within its pre-1967 boundaries qualify for the apartheid label since apartheid is not about the quantity of the unjustly governed but the quality of the governance.  But of course it's chutzpah to describe Palestinians simply as a minority.  Taking all of them together, West Bank, Jerusalem, Gaza, the bits in between and those in exile, Palestinians are a majority and zionists subject them to minority rule.

Having said all that, the apartheid label has its limitations.  I already mentioned something far worse: it's the ethnic cleansing, stupid!

So what really happened to FUCU II?

I've just found another JC article about the aborted Moty Cristol against Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust case.

It was again by Martin Bright and significantly it was written before the disastrous outcome of Mr R Fraser v University and College Union.

So let's have a look at the article from the Jewish Chronicle dated, November 15, 2012:
Across the country, strikes are being organised in the heath service by public sector union Unison. Just this week, the union described plans to cut 50 per cent of nursing staff at NHS Direct as a “disaster”. The Department of Health and Unison are effectively at war. All the more bizarre then, that they are united in their fight against Moty Cristal, an Israeli conflict resolution expert, whose invitation to run a workshop at Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust was withdrawn in May.
There's a point to this in an article that has nothing to do with strikes or austerity:
I have tried this week to discover why Unison and the Trust have decided to prioritise fighting an expensive legal case during such straitened times. Neither was prepared to comment while the case was ongoing. This is patent nonsense: this is not a criminal trial and there is no jury to prejudice. But I can understand their reticence. It must be extremely embarrassing that a rare point of common ground between NHS managers and Unison is their determination to justify boycotting a respected international expert, simply for being an Israeli. Meanwhile, the Department of Health and ministers have thus far refused to intervene for fear of further inflaming Unison. 
Actually, it wasn't the union that decided to prioritise the case, it was Moty Cristol, the conflict resolution advisor.  He wasn't boycotted for "simply for being Israeli".  An explanation for his disinvitation was already reported in the JC back in April 2012 thus:
"It was considered that the decision to invite a prominent Israeli negotiator would be unacceptable given UNISON and TUC policy on the Middle East conflict, the irrelevance of the speaker to working relationships within a local NHS Trust and the inappropriateness of funding an international speaker at times of such austerity, when front line staff in the trust are at risk of redundancy."
In more recent articles the JC lets on that Moty Cristol was seeking £26.5 k.  Now in the name of fighting austerity, Martin Bright is suggesting that Unison should simply roll over and pay Moty Cristol £26.5.  He is further arguing that in these "times of such austerity" the health trust should simply have proceeded with an event the union deemed irrelevant and costly.  A bit of a logic fail there.

Further, the union's refusal to comment "while the case was ongoing" seems perfectly reasonable, especially given, that there was another ongoing case at the time.  Yes, the FUCU case linked above.

Whilst trying to pull together the various JC articles on this case I noticed one by Marcus Dysch dated August 30, 2013 announcing the scheduling of the trial:
A trial is due to begin at Central London County Court on September 11 [2013]and to last three days. He is expected to be represented by lawyers from the Mishcon de Reya law firm.
So did it happen?  Again Marcus Dysch reports (September 17, 2013):
Judge David Mitchell told Central London County Court that the complexity of the case meant its future in the courts was unclear.....

Following three days of legal arguments.....
Judge Mitchell told Dinah Rose QC, acting for Prof Cristal, that he was “not against” her, but that he was “concerned” by the number of legal issues the sides were debating and feared the case would “simply mushroom into a huge series of issues”.

The judge added a further warning that with appeals likely from both sides, it may end with the case going as far as the Supreme Court.........

He pledged to publish a judgement “as soon as I can”..........

The court had earlier heard that the Trust’s lawyers would argue that Prof Cristal’s claim was “trivial” and that the cost of the litigation was out of proportion with the benefits that he could gain.
So did the judge publish a judgement?  Did the Jewish Leadership Council threaten to withdraw their support.  Did partners in Mishcon de Reya warn any of their over enthusiastic hasbaristas of the dangers of another costly humiliation?

Its a funny old thing but in his article denouncing Unison and the health trust, Martin Bright called on  the government health minister, Jeremy Hunt,  and the then head of the Trades Union Congress, Brendan Barber to force Unison and the health trust to capitulate.  Look at what turned out to be some major hostages to fortune:
like Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Mr Barber has decided to keep his head down over Moty Cristal. Perhaps they think if they avoid the issue it will just go away, or that it is an obscure matter unworthy of their attention. But their hand may yet be forced when the case comes to court. Moty Cristal is by profession a skilled negotiator and, as such, he knows his demands must be very clear and very reasonable. All he wants is an admission of wrongdoing from the health trust and the union and an assurance that it won’t happen again. This will cost them nothing. The alternative is potentially very expensive indeed in terms of hard cash and reputations.
Well the issue did just go away and Cristol wasn't just seeking an apology, he was seeking money too.  But if Martin Bright didn't want the case simply to go away he certainly wanted it to go one way:
Messrs Hunt and Barber could stop this nonsense now.
In the event it was Moty Cristol who stopped this nonsense but who blinked out of his own side, Mishcon le Reya, the Jewish Leadership Council or Moty Cristol himself or indeed all three?

Another FUCU Case Averted?

Well it certainly looks like it.

A couple of years ago, almost exactly, Moty Cristol, according to Martin Bright in The Jewish Chronicle (August 23, 2012):

an Israeli conflict resolution expert and peace activist with a track record of negotiating at a high level with Jordanian and Palestinian officials, was due to speak at an NHS conference in Manchester to advise health service managers and trade union officials.
However his invitation was revoked following objections from the trade union, Unison.  Closer to the time, ie, April 2012, the Anshell Pfeffer reported in the JC (April 30, 2012) Unison's explanation for the decision:
Explaining the decision, Mr Nelson said: "It was considered that the decision to invite a prominent Israeli negotiator would be unacceptable given UNISON and TUC policy on the Middle East conflict, the irrelevance of the speaker to working relationships within a local NHS Trust and the inappropriateness of funding an international speaker at times of such austerity, when front line staff in the trust are at risk of redundancy."
By November of 2012 Martin Bright in was reporting in the JC (November 8, 2012) that:
Unison, the partner organisation for the seminar, told the NHS Trust that its members would not take part in anything run by the Israeli academic
and that Mr Cristol would now be suing Manchester Health Trust:
Prof Cristal flew to London to talk to lawyers about taking legal action. It now looks likely that the case against Manchester NHS Trust and Unison will be heard in a county court.

Prof Cristal told reporters: “I came here to assess the legal situation. Now I am even more convinced that I am going to pursue the action in the county court.
Significantly it didn't report in that piece on the explanation given by Unison for the disinvitation.  It did however state what it was that Moty Cristol wanted to achieve from his action:

“It is the right thing to do to fight the delegitimisation movement. I was boycotted because I am an Israeli. As a negotiator, I will pursue the action until a decent offer is put on the table”.

He wanted two things, he said: “Public acknowledgement of the wrongdoing of discrimination against me as an Israeli — and the public assurance that this will not be repeated.”
It appears he wasn't boycotted for being an Israeli.  Rather it appears he was boycotted because he is a high profile representative of the Israeli state, now in academia.  And note he is not simply claiming to seek a remedy for anything he has lost but to "fight the delegitimisation movement".  Some people make bones over this.  Some say you can't delegitimise an illegitimate state others say we must deligitimise a state that does after all have international recognition via the UN.  Still others, say we mustn't try or even give the impression that want to delegitimise Israel because its status at the UN is sacrosanct.  I'm with the bunch that says Israel's has no legitimacy but just in case it has then delegitimisation is a perfectly, well, legitimate goal.

But note also that he is saying he wants the Manchester Health Trust to say it did wrong and that it won't do it again.  Note further there is no mention of money.

Anyway, now (today, May 29, 2014) the JC's Marcus Dysch is reporting that Mr Cristol has dropped his action against the Manchester Health Trust:
An Israeli conflict resolution expert has dropped his legal case against a health trust which he claimed had discriminated against him.

Moty Cristal had been seeking damages totalling £26,500 and an apology from Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust after it cancelled a workshop he was due to run for its staff in 2012.
So he wanted £26,500 and a sorry from the aforementioned Trust. I wonder where Dysch got his information from.  Clearly, sensibly, he doesn't rely on the JC.  The article sets out why the case has been dropped:
He [Moty Cristol] said: "I made this decision since the goals that I first set out to achieve have broadly been met. My primary goal was to establish that I had been unfairly treated and discriminated against as an Israeli negotiator."

He said he had received a letter from the health trust’s chief executive apologising for cancelling the lecture. But he originally said he wanted “Public acknowledgement of the wrongdoing of discrimination against me as an Israeli — and the public assurance that this will not be repeated.”  Remember?  He didn't get either of those.  Nor did he get that £26.5 k.

But a more significant aspect might be this:
The JC understands his supporters — including the Jewish Leadership Council — had been prepared to continue backing him, but the court’s initial warnings relating to costs and the likelihood of success had eventually led to his decision to withdraw.
So the JLC was going to continue backing him in his pursuit of public redress plus £26.5 k but he had the magnanimity to withdraw because he didn't want the JLC being stung for costs?  That really doesn't seem likely.  It seems more likely that the JLC told him his cause was hopeless and they were damned if they were picking up the tab especially with the costs of the FUCU disaster possibly still hanging over them.  Or it could be that the JLC really was going to pick up the tab in another fruitless cause but Moty Cristol didn't want to waste his time and face the same humiliation that Ronnie Fraser has gone through.

But Marcus Dysch's conclusion is both interesting and encouraging to those of us who support BDS:
His move also appears to support the belief within the community that the JLC and other organisations will take a new approach to countering boycotters and groups opposed to Israel, using discourse rather than legal process.
 So it appears that lawfare is being quietly dropped and BDS is going from strength to strength.

May 22, 2014

Come to London to see and hear Norman Finkelstein, the man who pissed off everybody

If you're in striking distance of London you could find yourself in striking distance of Norman Finkelstein by taking a trip to the Conway Hall at 25 Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4RL where his book, Old Wine, Broken Bottles, Ari Shavitt's Promised Land is being launched by publishers, OR Books, in association with Jews for Justice for Palestinians.

Here's the blurb from Conway Hall:

Image of Old Wine, Broken Bottle : Norman Finkelstein's Book Launch

Old Wine, Broken Bottle : Norman Finkelstein's Book Launch

Sat 31 May 2014, 19:00
Jews for Justice for Palestinians presents
London Launch of Norman Finkelstein's latest book: "Old Wine, Broken Bottle: Ari Shavit's Promised Land"
Start: 6.30pm for a 7pm start. End: 10pm.
Norman Finkelstein is a strong speaker celebrated for his brilliant demolitions of Zionist propaganda and full-tilt attacks on the American Israel Lobby.

His new book is a take-down of Ari Shavit’s “My Promised Land”, which he finds is an attempt to repackage Zionist propaganda and win back Diaspora Jews. "Old Wine, Broken Bottle" is a devastating and very entertaining critique that concludes that Shavit will not succeed, and that a broad-based mass movement is now growing that can pressure the Israeli government to withdraw to the 1967 borders.

But Finkelstein is nothing if not controversial: having defied the Zionist establishment, he now stands apart from the mainstream of Palestine solidarity by denouncing the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement as a marginal “cult”. His vehement insistence on the Two State Solution has also been widely challenged.

Professor Finkelstein will open with a conversation with JfJfP signatory Stephen Marks. Then fans and critics alike can put their own questions to him. All are welcome.

Expect a bumpy ride!

Tickets: Free event, but please help towards costs: £3 donation suggested at the door

Image Credit: Wikipedia
Finkelstein has written some wonderful stuff exposing the gulf between Israel's image in the west with its reality on the ground.  He's also given some good talks and made devastating ripostes to zionist critics.  More recently he has lashed out against proponents of the one state solution in Palestine and supporters of the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against the State of Israel.  He's expressed a certainty about future events that seemed to some to be misplaced at the time and certainly hasn't been borne out by events.  I'm referring to his belief that Kerry was poised to impose a disastrous settlement on the Palestinians that would leave Israel in direct control of everything within the area of the wall.  This, of course, didn't happen.  Does that mean it won't happen?  I don't know.  Perhaps we should double check with Norman Finkelstein.

May 20, 2014

Posters from the Palestinian Revolution

I'm going to blog some of the posters and maybe some other things I saw at the RichMix venue in London's Bethnal Green Road tonight at the exhibition, The World is With Us, Global Film and Poster Art from the Palestinian Revolution, 1968 - 1980.

But first up I must say what a tremendous success the evening was.  The RichMix has various levels and the reception, you know, drinks and nibbles was on the ground floor and the exhibition was downstairs in the basement.  Karma Nabulsi opened the proceedings by explaining what the exhibition was all about and she made the now customary reference to Palestine Film Foundation director, Nick Denes, who has worked very hard to bring the whole thing together.

The exhibition consisted of several old televisions positioned around the room on tables and posters adorning the walls.  The age of each TV was matched to the age of the film it was showing and there were headphones wired to each TV so each one could be focused on individually.  I didn't actually pick up a program for the event so I can't say what any of the films were. Some were colour and some were black and white.  There was also an old radio and an old reel to reel tape player to show the kind of technology that was available to our revolutionary heroes during the period under view.

Anyway, here are some of the pics I took and tweeted in the order that I took them:

That's simply the view from the ground floor down to the basement and here's what you see as you land:

But the downstairs wasn't open yet so that was a sneak preview.  Here's the poster announcing the event and the series:

And here's Karma Nabulsi introducing the event:

And here are some of those TVs I mentioned:


See that last one?  Can't see a thing on the screen hardly. But look at those phones.  Quaint huh?

And now some posters:

Now I'm hoping the posters will mostly speak for themselves because I spent the whole evening snapping and tweeting the narratives so if you want the narrative I tweeted with the pic please check out @jewssf on twitter:


Now that last one doesn't hang well with the others.  It was narrated on the wall as 1980 and nothing else, or artist unknown.  It's the only one that drew criticism on twitter and I must admit I found it kind of perplexing.  But see what Nick Denes had to say about the whole exhibition over at MEMO :

It was a lengthy and quite difficult process choosing these posters, as there are so many striking works one might choose," says Nick Denes, Co-Director of the series. "But our aim has been - insofar as we can restrain ourselves - not to pick the 'best' or our 'favourite' works, but rather ones that were widely used or seen in their time, and, or which represent key aesthetic or thematic concerns.
And it's that "thematic concern" that this last poster conveys: international solidarity, the magnet that draws so many of us to the Palestinian cause.

Here are some afterthought shots taken just while the event was closing and I was leaving:

And here's my parting shot:

There's a whole site, The World is With Us, devoted to the exhibition and its whereabouts at any given time. It does the exhibition far more justice than I have done here but you really have to be there to appreciate what the exhibition has achieved.

May 18, 2014

Livni in London Speech in (almost) full

This is a copy and paste of notes of the Jewish National Fund's "Livni Event".  As you will see, they are not full transcripts but I trust the note taker:


Daniel Taub recently Israelis have commemorated Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Day), Yom Hazikaron (Remembrance Day for Israeli soldiers), Yom Ha'atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day) and Yom Yerushalyim (Jerusalem Day).  These days are the first new days to be added to the Jewish calendar in the last 2000 years.  Jews are re-entering history. 

In the rubble of the Warsaw Ghetto was found a JNF blue-and-white box.  The people sent to the Warsaw Ghetto were told only to take their most valued possessions with them, so this must have been included among a family's most valued possessions. 

Israel is a miracle - a miracle with a fair number of challenges.

The demonstrators outside are a group of people that has wiped Israel off the map.  Their maps do not show Israel.

Tzipi Livni is the woman who has done more to try to reach peace than anyone he can think of.


JNF is turning the desert green and building new communities.  It is improving the lives of all residents of the Negev, regardless of their backgrounds.  Israeli farmers in the Negev are facing daily attacks.  JNF is the glue that binds Anglo-Jewry to the State of Israel.  

We face a relentless, well-organised and well-funded propaganda war to delegitimise Israel.

He is delighted to see that  the Israeli Bedouin diplomat Ismail Khaldi is in the audience tonight.

It is not for our communal leaders to openly criticise the elected government of Israel.  It is both irresponsible and unjustified to criticise Israel.  The Israeli government has made tremendous efforts to achieve peace.

He is proud and privileged to welcome Tzipi Livni, who will be interviewed by Douglas Murray after her speech. 


Daniel Taub referred to days in the recent past, but she wants to refer to yesterday:  May 14th, which she personally regards as Yom Ha'atzmaut.  May 14th is the day that Ben-Gurion declared the establishment of Israel as a Jewish state. Her parents were the first couple to get married in the State of Israel, on May 14th 1948.  Her parents met, very romantically, while robbing a British money train in order to get money to buy weapons - as the Minister of Justice, she feels a bit embarrassed at telling us this.  Both were in prison and they both escaped from prison.  They were in the Irgun.  Her parents were freedom-fighters, not terrorists.  She is not willing to accept the comparison between freedom fighters who do not want to incur civilian casualties and those who attack civilians.  She is very proud that she made decisions to defend her own people against terrorists.   She has put her own "Wanted" picture on her wall at home, next to the "Wanted" picture of her father that was issued by the British.

There is no hope of peace with Hamas.  They may be prepared to accept Israel's actual existence within the 1967 borders, but they refuse to accept Israel's right to exist and they refuse to renounce violence.  She felt frustrated, even angry when Abbas signed the reconciliation agreement with Hamas.  

Israel is facing threats.  We live in a tough neighbourhood.  We need to recreate the Zionist vision of a secure Jewish and democratic State. What does it mean to be a Jewish State?  It means keeping Jewish values, but does not mean giving a monopoly to the Orthodox parties (loud audience applause).  It means giving rights to minorities in accordance with our Jewish values.  It means fighting hate crimes, fighting for equal rights for all, but it also means that Israel is the nation-state of the whole Jewish people.

She is the chief negotiator in the peace talks.  Her parents believed in Greater Israel.  This is engraved on their tombstones.  But we need the Jewish majority.  We need two states for two peoples. This is the only way we can be a Jewish and democratic State.  Giving everyone Israeli citizenship means that Israel could become an Arab or binational State.

Oslo was a failure because the final status issues were not addressed and left till later.  We need the entire package and the end of the conflict.  We need to tackle all the final status issues.  We have a legal and moral right to the entire land, but her choice is for Israel as a Jewish and democratic State.  Any Israeli leader has difficult decisions to make.  We built more and more settlements, but they take up only a small percentage of the West Bank. We left Gaza but got only terror in return - so any agreement needs to take security into consideration.  

We need two States for two peoples.  Each State will provide an answer to the national aspirations of each people.   In 1947, the UN decided for a Jewish State and an Arab state - in fact, not a Palestinian State (sounds of agreement from the audience). Israel provides the answer for the entire Jewish people.  Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people.  The creation of the Palestinian State will be the answer to the Palestinian problem.  It will be the answer for the Palestinian refugees.  It will also be the answer for the Palestinians within Israel.  They will have equal rights as Israeli citizens, but their national aspirations will be fulfilled in the Palestinian State.

Defining borders: we need to annex the blocs of settlements. The Palestinians will need some land in compensation. 

The future Palestinian State will be demilitarised.  We need to define what this means.

Jerusalem and the holy places: another difficult question to negotiate.

She feels that she is negotiating on behalf of the Jewish people, not only on behalf of the State of Israel.

Secretary of State Kerry is a man who is not willing to take no for an answer.

In July last year, they agreed on confidence-building measures.  Israel agreed to release prisoners and the Palestinians agreed not to go to the UN Conventions to use them against Israel.

Building settlements was not against Israel's agreement with the US.

There needed to be compromises on both sides.  There were problems with releasing the last tranche of prisoners and we asked Abu Mazen to wait till we could release them.  But he refused to wait and went to the UN.  How would you feel if you were about to pay a debt but had a few problems and asked the debtor to wait a little while and he refused?  Israeli compromises are not all that is needed.  The Palestinians need to make compromises too. (Loud audience applause).

There is a huge gap between Israel as it is and the image of Israel abroad.

She will end with a story that Arik Sharon once told her.  When he was a small child, he was working with his grandmother in a field.  He said: "Stop - I'm so tired and there is so much more to do".  She said: "Instead of looking ahead to see how much we have to do, look back and see what we have achieved." 



It's wonderful to have you back in London.  But after what you have said, how can we hope for peace?


In 2005, Abu Mazen  told Condi Rice that Hamas would only get 20 per cent of the vote in the Palestinian elections.  But Hamas won.

People say: how can you negotiate with Abu Mazen when he doesn't represent all the Palestinians?  This may seem a contradiction of our refusal to negotiate with him after his reconciliation with Hamas.  But Abu Mazen himself would say that he really represents all the Palestinians.  And Hamas brings in the religious perspective.  Abu Mazen only brings in the national perspective.  Hamas needs to accept the right of Israel to exist and to renounce violence.

But the peace talks are not over.  There is only a pause.  

I have doubts that the PA and Hamas will create a government.


There is a lot of fatigue about the peace process.  How do you break through that fatigue?


The vast majority of Israelis support two states for two peoples.  But some think there is no partner for peace.  Many Israelis have been born into this situation.  Some think it can't change.  I joined politics in 1995 and left two years ago. In the last election, no-one was talking about peace - only social problems.  But the price of peace is less than the price of not making these decisions.  The world is going to turn against us more and more unless we make these decisions.


You are quoted as saying recently that "the settlements make it impossible to defend Israel around the world." Do you still think this?


As a young girl, I celebrated the settlements. One vision is Greater Israel.  Those who want this are in the minority.  The majority of Israelis believe in two states for two peoples.  We are asked: "why do you build in places that will not be part of the State?".   A settler said to me recently: "You are going to reach the point of no return, when you can't remove the settlements".


Why does the BBC go on about settlements but says nothing about Hamas indoctrination of children to kill Jews? 


Israel is a small state surrounded by enemies.  The BBC sees Israeli soldiers and tanks threatening Palestinian children. They do not see the big picture of Israel as the David threatened by the Goliath of the region. Thank God, Israel is strong, but we are the David of the region.


Only a few were allowed.  They included:

1) How much freedom did you have in the negotiations?*


Netanyahu's representative was in the room.  At first I found this difficult, but we are partners now.

2) What is Israel doing about Iran getting the bomb?

Livni never actually answered this and the meeting was closed.

There were actually 4 questions allowed but two of them were too mad for my man to note. One was leaning in the direction of the international community abolishing the concept of human rights and the other claimed that Israel is the size of London (which might be true in population terms but even London has clearer boundaries than Israel) so why can't those enormous Arab states take in "their own".

*That was Jonothan Hoffman.

May 16, 2014

Let's see which Zionist is the first to accuse Merkel of being the new Hitler

The German government has decided not to grant Israel a massive subsidy on the purchase of a billion dollars worth of gunboats.  Here's Ha'aretz:

Germany nixes gunboat subsidy to Israel, citing breakdown of peace talks

Decision will cost Israel hundreds of millions of dollars.

By Barak Ravid | 23:03 15.05.14 |

The German government has decided not to give Israel a massive subsidy for the purchase of German missile boats, due to the breakdown in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, both Israeli and German officials said on Thursday.

For months now, Israel and Germany have been negotiating a deal under which Israel would purchase three or four German gunboats to protect its offshore gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea. The deal, first reported by Haaretz, was valued at about $1 billion before any discounts.
However, Israel had asked Germany for the same 30 percent discount it received on an earlier purchase of German submarines – a benefit that would be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Berlin agreed to cover a third of the cost of the submarines as part of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s policy of bolstering Israel’s security.

The German decision not to subsidize the gunboats was first reported Thursday morning by the Israeli website Maariv Hashavua. According to that report, the Germans sent a “secret letter” announcing the decision to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office on Independence Day (May 6). But Haaretz has learned that the news came not in a letter, but in a phone call from Merkel’s national security advisor, Christoph Heusgen, to his Israeli counterpart, Joseph Cohen.

The conversation between Heusgen and Cohen was an extremely difficult one that quickly deteriorated into mutual recriminations. According to a senior Israeli official, Cohen accused the Germans of violating an explicit promise that Merkel made Netanyahu during a joint meeting of the German and Israeli cabinets in Jerusalem in February. Heusgen responded that Merkel never made any such promise.

The Germans said they would be happy to sell Israel the gunboats, but only at full price. Heusgen explained to Cohen that given the breakdown of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which has been blamed at least partly on Israeli settlement construction and that there is no chance the German parliament would approve subsidizing the gunboat deal.

Senior Israeli officials said they believe the seeds of this decision were sown during Merkel’s White House meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama two weeks ago when he voiced great frustration over Netanyahu’s conduct during the eight months of Israeli-Palestinian talks.

The gunboat issue also arose during U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice’s visit to Jerusalem last week. But Rice vehemently denied that Obama had asked Merkel to pressure Israel and said the two leaders never discussed the issue.

Senior German officials said Merkel had taken note of Obama’s statements, but that these did not exert a decisive influence on her decision.

I've posted the whole thing because most of it was behind a paywall but also there is lots of interesting stuff there. 

Germany is blaming Israel for any security issues arising out of the failure of (do we still call it) Oslo(?).

Israel suspects that Obama has put the Germans up to it.

And Israel thinks it's entitled to massive subsidies on weapons no matter what it does.  And it turns out Israel is wrong about that.

Now, I know my churlish headline doesn't do the article or the issue justice but it stands.  There are bound to be some zionists out there right now saying that Merkel is the new Hitler.  I would like to see some examples when they come in.  That's all.

Jewish Chronicle praises Livni but won't mention the Irgun

There's a typically dishonest article on the Jewish Chronicle website which didn't quite make it into today's print edition because it was about Tzipi Livni's address to the Jewish National Fund faithful (plus a couple of infiltrators) last night in London.

First up the headline is contradicted in the article.  Here's the headline:

What protests? Livni enchants the crowd at JNF event

And this is from the article:
Outside the venue, over 100 pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathered to protest against Ms Livni’s appearance, countered by a similar number of pro-Israel supporters. The two sides were separated from each other by police barriers and a busy road.
One day's notice and Palestine solidarity activists could muster as many opponents of Livni as the article claims the Zionists could muster for their own event.

Also my people in the event told me that they thought the Palestine solidarity demonstrators outnumbered the zionists by about two to one and the police confirmed this when I turned up after the event while they were putting away the barriers.

And what of Livni's speech?
Ms Livni told her audience: “The first thing I want to emphasise is my parents were freedom fighters and not terrorists. I am not willing to accept any comparison with terrorists like Hamas who are looking for civilians to kill.”
Deir Yassin anyone?  Her parents were in the Irgun but you would never know this from the JC article.   Livni herself wasn't so reticent.  She was happy to name the terrorists of the Irgun even she wasn't so keen on calling them terrorists nor on recalling their undeniably terrorist actions.

There's another article which did make it into today's print edition and that is the bizarre Livni claim that she would still have come to the UK without the special immunity that had to be arranged for her.
Ms Livni said: “I am a proud Israeli and I have no problem coming to the UK despite the arrest warrant. I would have come anyway, whether or not the UK government had not blocked the warrant.
Again, you would never know from the article that it was the Israelis who have been demanding, and eventually getting, this legal immunity in the UK for their war crimes suspects.

Back to last night.  Remember I said about the good Arab being seen but not heard.  Well the JC did hear him:
After the speech, Ismail Khaldi, an Israeli diplomat in London who comes from Israel’s Bedouin Arab community told the JC: “I wish it was me up there. One day I want to become a politician.”
See, I said he was seen but not heard and he even claims he wanted to be heard.  Maybe he's only just found out about Israel's ethno-religious pecking order.

Israel's good Arab seen at Livni event but not heard

Well apparently Israel's favourite Arab, diplomat Ishmael Khaldi, was in attendance at the JNF's Livni event and according to my man at the event all the speakers from Livni herself to islamophobe, Douglas Murray, were pleased to see him.  But apparently whilst every speaker was pleased to see him, no one actually heard him because, good Arab that he is, he was seen but not heard.

Betar and their Brownshirts

I just had a rather silly twitter exchange with a supporter of Betar and Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.

See here:

Silly of me I know but I responded:
Well it turns out that Nick from Enfield didn't know that because he responded to me thus:

I was out while this exchange was going on but I told him I'd come up with some evidence.

So here I am on the Betar website.  There's a whole page on Betar ideology and it turns out I made a little error.  Here's the relevant section:
The first convention of Betar (Vienna 1928) resolved that the Betar uniforms especially the brown shirts (which, by the way, were worn before one had heard of the German Nazi movement) should be made by Jewish weavers in Eretz Yisrael.
As it happens the Betar ideology, from the page I linked, is frighteningly similar to nazi ideology but then so was that ghastly speech by UK Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis I posted on recently.

And zionists want it declared antisemitic to compare them to the nazis.  They compare themselves to the nazis it's just some of their supporters just don't seem to know it.

May 15, 2014

International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network say Stop the Jewish National Fund

On Nakba Day:

Despite Repression, A Rising Movement!

Don't let the Young zFUKers get you down!

The Youthful wing of the Zionist Federation UK aka ZFUK is holding a counter demo tonight at the Jewish National Fund's Tzipi Livni event so here's another invite:

Come out to support Israel TONIGHT!

Do you believe Israel has the right to defend itself from terrorism?
Do you believe Israel should respond when rockets are fired at her civilians?
Do you believe Israelis should be free to visit this country without harassment?
If your answer to any of these is ‘yes’ then come out to support Israel TONIGHT!
This evening the Palestine Solidarity Campaign will be protesting against Tzipi Livni speaking in London. The ZF will be holding a mass pro-Israel rally in response, to show the Israel-haters that they won’t go unopposed. We have flags, banners and music – all we need is you!
Our rally will be from 6.30 – 8.30
Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel,
2 Cadogan Place, London, SW1X 9PY
If you’re interested in details for tonight, please email chris@zfuk

Their rally will be from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm which is a curious coincidence because so is PSC's demo.

Invitation to an evening with Tzipi Livni

This is what the Jewish National Fund sent out to invitees to the "Tzipi Livni event".  They sent it out yesterday to thwart protestors:

Thank you for confirming your attendance at JNF UK’s Tzipi Livni event this Thursday evening, 15 May 2014.

We are delighted to confirm the event details, as follows:

Venue:          Jumeirah Hotel, Carlton Tower, 2 Cadogan Place, London, SW1X 9PY click here for map
Event Timings:    Doors open 7:30pm for a pre-event canapé and drinks reception
   8:45pm – 10:30pm Main Event
Security Access:         Photographic ID and a print-out of this ticket confirmation are both essential

JNF UK has the right to refuse entry (whereby a full refund will be given) and details of the venue are strictly confidential to attending guests only. We ask you to kindly refrain from publicising these details on any media, either before or during the event. Seating will be allocated on arrival.

For any enquiries, please contact 020 8732 6146, or visit

We look forward to seeing you there,
The JNF UK team
Palestine Solidarity Campaign is organising at demonstration at the event.

Tzipi Livni can run to the UK but she can't hide in the UK

Well the cat's out of the bag. Tzipi Livni's whereabouts tonight night is now known to all Palestine Solidarity activists.  She's the star speaker at a shindig for the London registered charity the Jewish National Fund:

Here are the details:

Date: 15/05/2014
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel
2 Cadogan Place,

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign is on the case, as is, Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods

May 11, 2014

Follow @LondonPFF on Twitter

I was just going through some of the tweets from @LondonPFF and they're well worth a follow and not just for the upcoming film and poster series I blogged earlier.

Here's a tweet announcing just one element of the series:

The World is With Us, Global Film and Poster Art from the Palestinian Revolution, 1968 - 1980

This is just a pointer to a Middle East Monitor interview with Nick Denes, one of the directors of the London Palestine Film Festival, about the upcoming cinema and gallery series with the above title.

Here's a taste:
"We want to capture this sense of their being 'living' media rather than artificially sacralised or displayed with a gallery-style reverence that was never their original intention, and which jars with their very nature as political ephemera, however wonderful their artistic content might be."
And another:

The World is With Us, Global Film and Poster Art from the Palestinian Revolution, 1968-1980 will begin at the Barbican Cinema on 16 May and continue at the Rich Mix until 14 June.

God's gift to Aryans?

I'm indebted to Mike Marqusee for drawing attention to this outrageously racist diatribe from the UK's newish Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis.  Mike found it in Jewish News:
In his opening commentary to the Torah, Rashi brings a rabbinic tradition stating that the reason the Torah commences with details of creation is to emphasise that as creator of the world, it is in God’s gift to determine which lands belong to which people. In this context, Israel is the eternal home and God-given land of the Jewish people.

So what was God's gift to Aryans?  The Third Reich?

May 10, 2014

Israel advocates becoming "discredited, irrelevant and marginal"

Cor, this is exciting. The Board of Deputies of British Jews is starting to realise that the game is up for hasbara, in particular over the merry dance formerly known as the, ahem, peace process.

See this in Jewish News:

Confidential documents have shed new light on concerns of the Board
of Deputies ahead of the suspension of Middle East peace talks and their
fears of over the potential for growing polarisation within the
community over Israel.

A draft document seen by the Jewish News looks to set out the possible consequences whether the nine-month process ends in failure or with an agreement, as well as to examine how community leaders should respond. It is believed to have been written around six weeks ago......

It warns: “The risk of arguing for the fault of failure lying squarely
with the Palestinians while many will at least partially blame Israel,
is that supporters of Israel will become increasingly discredited,
irrelevant and marginal.”

Alright, they still want to have their cake and eat it, "many will at least partially blame Israel" indeed!  Just a quick reminder here that Israel is the one that keeps building or expanding racist colonies in the West Bank and blockading Gaza and it was Israel who reneged on the commitment to release prisoners.  The Palestinian negotiators response was to apply to join some toothless international organisations and, after Israel had broken off talks, the PLO, with whom Israel was no longer dealing, went for a unity pact with Hamas with whom Israel had not been dealing in the first place.  This actually means that the breakdown is entirely down to Israel, much as it was back in 2000.  The difference now is that the Board of Deputies, for zionism in the UK, recognises that the old blame the Palestinians card isn't going to work this time, or ever again.

So what do we know?  The Board appears to know it is now becoming out of touch with the UK Jewish community and more general public opinion.  Its support for Israel is as firm and uncritical as ever but it has to watch what is supposed to be its raison d'être: British Jews.  Its real raison d'être has been Israel for decades now.  But it now recognises that to support Israel and to honour its members is a balancing act.  How it performs that is very much an open question.

May 01, 2014

IJAN: Defend Freedom of Speech, Academic Freedom and Campus Organizing

Take Action: Defend Freedom of Speech

Defend Freedom of Speech, Academic Freedom and Campus Organizing

Join IJAN in defending the rights of students and professors to learn about, teach about and organize for justice in Palestine. 
Congratulations to Northeastern University – Students for Justice in Palestine for their reinstatement after having being wrongfully suspended. 

The Palestine solidarity movement has and will continue to successfully defend ourselves against attempts to censor our freedom of speech and anti-racist organizing.

Take Action

Despite ongoing attempts to quash the speech of faculty and students alike, the campus movement for justice in Palestine has gone from strength to strength. It has passed divestment resolutions in student assemblies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and Loyola, successfully organized to reinstate Students for Justice in Palestine at Northeastern University, gathered professors to defend the American Studies Association landmark endorsement of the academic boycott, won endorsement of the Asian American Studies Association and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association. Campus organizers have incrementally built the level of struggle while facing attacks, as with the Students Allied for Freedom and Equality’s inspiring sit-ins at University of Michigan-Ann Arbor which forced their student government to vote on their boycott resolution. 
Israel’s defenders, aware that their longstanding attempt to control public opinion is faltering, are investing over $300 million in propaganda, surveillance, and repressive litigation in attempts to silence solidarity with Palestine by making false accusations of antisemitism. 
By now, the pattern of institutional muzzling of voices advocating for an open hearing for the Palestinian cause is unmistakable: Northeastern University with its Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) suspended until the movement forced its reinstatement, NYU falsely accused of anti-Semitism for distributing home demolition orders to highlight the destruction of Palestinian homes by the State of Israel, Florida Atlantic University students forced into re-education programs, a call for the removal of Palestinian professor Rabab Abdulhadi at San Francisco State University, and University of California-Irvine students facing state charges for voicing opposition to the presence of state apologists following the brutal 2008-2009 assault on the Gaza Strip. 
Coordinating the charge against the growing support for justice in Palestine is the Israel Action Network (IAN), a strategic initiative of the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, launched in October 2010 with an initial three-year, $6 million investment. 
A sister project, the national Israeli Campus Coalition, is a national network of students, faculty and professionals dedicated to combating Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), tracking “anti-Israel” organizing on campus and coordinating an "early warning system" to alert campus constituents and national partners about anti-Israel activity. They recruit, train and resource campus activists – students and faculty – and organizations to carry out the goal of silencing any criticism of Israel or support for the Palestinian struggle by every available means. 
This agenda threatens many things people of conscience hold dear: free speech, academic freedom, the sanctity of universities as places of anti-racist organizing, self-determination of oppressed peoples, and ethnic studies. 
Join us in encouraging campus administrators to protect these strongholds of freedom and justice and protect students, professors and faculty from this bullying.