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God’s gift?

Ephraim Mirvis, Britain’s current Chief Rabbi (in fact, he’s the Chief Rabbi of the orthodox United Hebrew Congregation, to which only a minority of British Jews are affiliated) has penned an appalling column in Jewish News. Mirvis is leading a group of 50 Rabbis in “one of the largest ever rabbinic missions to Israel from… Read more

Once again, Britain’s Jewish leaders miss the point

In a confidential report (revealed by Jewish News), the Board of Deputies of British Jews at last acknowledges that there is a significant division of opinion about Israel among British Jews. However, it proposes to address that division not by promoting open, informed debate, but through pro-Israel forces adopting a somewhat subtler, softly-softly approach. The… Read more

A further note on BDS and “singling out” Israel

Opponents of the BDS campaign accuse its supporters of unfairly “singling out” Israel while neglecting a host of other deplorable regimes. It seems that until we simultaneously campaign against all outstanding injustices, any campaign against a particular injustice will remain illegitimate. Presumably, however, the liberal critics of BDS have no objection to the Palestinians themselves… Read more

“If not now, when?” On BDS and ‘singling out’ Israel

[This is an edited version of a letter I’ve sent to a relative in the US who’s been trying to figure out the BDS issue in the wake of the recent onslaught against the American Studies Association’s decision to support the academic boycott.] The “singling out” objection seems to me quite perverse. It’s not possible… Read more

How the left supported ethnic cleansing

Contending for the Living Red Pepper, December 2013 The British left has made some terrible errors in its time but surely few more appalling than its 1948 support for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their own land. Today the left is attacked for “singling out” Israel for criticism but historically its record is the… Read more

Obama abroad

LEVEL PLAYING FIELD The Hindu, 29 May When it came to foreign affairs, Barack Obama’s first presidential task was a simple one. He had to be better than his predecessor. For this alone, it seems, he was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. But those who hoped Obama’s promise of “change” would apply to the US’s… Read more

“Life is possible on this earth”: the poetry of Mahmoud Darwish

CONTENDING FOR THE LIVING Red Pepper, April-May 2011 On a bright winter morning we made a pilgrimage to the hill of Al Rabweh, on the outskirts of Ramallah, where the poet Mahmoud Darwish is buried. An ambitious memorial garden is planned, but at the moment it’s a construction site littered with diggers and cement mixers…. Read more

Sheikh Jarrah and the “masterplan” for Jerusalem

LEVEL PLAYING FIELD The Hindu, 20 February On a visit to Jerusalem in December, we met with residents of Sheikh Jarrah, a neighbourhood north of the Old City, where 28 extended Palestinian families are waging a struggle against eviction and displacement by Jewish settlers. The families came here in 1948 as refugees from Israel. With… Read more

The art of resistance

Red Pepper, August-September 2010 Mike Marqusee reviews Against the Wall: The Art of Resistance in Palestine by William Parry (published by Pluto Press) When the state of Israel began constructing its “separation barrier” through the West Bank, it never anticipated that the wall would become a living gallery of resistance, crowded with images and words… Read more

Palestinians face existential threat

LEVEL PLAYING FIELD The Hindu, 18 July In an effort to mitigate the global outrage that followed its attack on the Gaza aid flotilla, Israel has (ever so slightly) eased its blockade on Gaza. However minimal, this step has only been taken because of the pressure applied to Israel by the international grass-roots protest movement…. Read more