B’Tselem on Israel’s “whitewash mechanism”

On Thursday, September 29th, 2016 in Voices.

Earlier this month, former Israel Defence Forces (IDF) deputy chief of staff Uzi Dayan testified in defence of an Israeli soldier (Sgt. Elor Azaria) who was captured on film summarily executing a Palestinian man in Hebron who posed no threat. Dayan protested that, in opening an investigation into the incident, the authorities had violated the accused’s “right to innocence”: Azaria’s right to innocence was trampled on. My basic argument is that a fighter, even if he made a mistake and if he


The Midwest Peace Process

On Thursday, July 14th, 2016 in Voices.

In 1793 a great council was held, to which came the chiefs and headmen of the Delawares, and of twelve other tribes, to meet commissioners of the United States, for one last effort to settle the vexed boundary question.  The records of this council are profoundly touching.  The Indians reiterated over and over the provisions of the old treaties which had established the Ohio River as one of their boundaries.  Their words were not the words of ignorant barbarians, clumsily


The politics of Israel’s ‘existential threats’

On Friday, June 17th, 2016 in Voices.

Moshe Ya’alon, then-Israeli defence minister (February 2016): Israeli defense minister Moshe Ya’alon told defense officials attending the Munich global security conference this weekend that Iran is the ‘biggest generator of terrorism in the world’, and saying that the recently implemented nuclear deal with Iran posed an ‘existential threat’ to Israel. Moshe Ya’alon, now out of government, attacking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (June 2016): ‘The Iranian nuclear program, which was put on ice following the signed agreement, does not constitute an


Jonathan Freedland keeps digging—how low will he go?

On Friday, May 27th, 2016 in Voices.

Guest post by Jamie Stern-Weiner In a recent interview leading Israel-Palestine scholar Norman Finkelstein recounted a shocking, but revealing, encounter with Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland: [W]hen my book, The Holocaust Industry, came out in 2000, Freedland wrote that I was ‘closer to the people who created the Holocaust than to those who suffered in it’.  Although he appears to be, oh, so politically correct now, he didn’t find it inappropriate to suggest that I resembled the Nazis who gassed my family. We appeared on a


Labour antisemitism witch-hunt turns on leading anti-racism campaigner

On Monday, May 9th, 2016 in Voices.

Last week, prominent Momentum activist Jackie Walker was suspended from the Labour Party for alleged antisemitism.  (Momentum is a grassroots movement affiliated with the Labour Party, which currently supports the elected leadership of the socialist and veteran Palestine solidarity campaigner Jeremy Corbyn.) There are five points to make about this. The antisemitism allegations against Walker are devoid of factual basis The evidence against Walker consists of two Facebook comments.  In the first, Walker dismissed claims that Labour has ‘a major


Jonathan Freedland’s plea

On Saturday, April 30th, 2016 in Voices.

Let’s imagine for just a moment that a people was forcibly dispossessed of its homeland. Let’s imagine that a portion of this people had rotted in refugee camps for some seven decades while the rest had lived under a brutal military occupation for almost five decades. Let’s imagine that the people living under this military occupation were systematically tortured, abused, stolen from, and prevented from exercising their most basic and universally ratified human and political rights. Let’s imagine that for


UK ‘antisemitism’ smear campaign claims its most high-profile scalp to date

On Friday, April 29th, 2016 in Voices.

Yesterday Ken Livingstone, a prominent UK politician, socialist and key ally of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, was suspended for allegedly antisemitic comments.  His suspension brings the phony ‘antisemitism’ smear campaign being waged against the elected leadership of the Labour Party to within an inch of Corbyn himself. Over the past 36 hours Livingstone has been accused of being a ‘Nazi apologist’, a ‘disgusting racist’ and a historical revisionist – and that’s just from one of his party colleagues. I’ve written a short piece


Another day, another ‘antisemitism’ smear campaign

On Thursday, April 28th, 2016 in Voices.

I have an article up at openDemocracy debunking the ‘antisemitism’ smear campaign against the elected leadership of the UK Labour Party. Headline after headline in recent weeks has claimed that the party, in whose last-but-one leadership election both front-runners were Jewish, has become infested with antisemitism.  The outbreak has been blamed on the veteran socialist and prominent Palestine solidarity campaigner Jeremy Corbyn, and the mass influx of new members who were inspired by his leadership to join. These attacks are


The ‘antisemitism’ smear campaign against Malia Bouattia

On Monday, April 25th, 2016 in Voices.

I have an article at openDemocracy pushing back against the thuggish smear campaign against Malia Bouattia, the newly-elected president of the UK’s National Union of Students. The attacks on Bouattia are part of a broader offensive against the elected leadership of the Labour Party and the Palestine solidarity movement, waged under the guise of fighting antisemitism.  The offensive is being prosecuted by two distinct, but overlapping, groups: pro-Israel activists, who hope to unseat a prominent critic of Israel and to discredit Palestine solidarity activism; and


Will Palestinian statehood bring self-determination?

On Friday, March 4th, 2016 in Voices.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) suffers an extreme case of that increasingly common political affliction, responsibility without power.  Its domestic legitimacy hinges on an ability to display plausible evidence of progress towards ending Israel’s occupation, while providing effective economic administration in the interim.  But the occupation sets strict limits on what can be achieved economically, and even within those, the PA’s ability to deliver depends entirely on international support, which is itself conditioned on the PA enforcing Palestinian quiescence in the



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