Israeli Criticism of Zionism and of Israel’s Treatment of the Palestinians: The Academics and Activists

2009: Israeli activists protest against Israel's military operation in Gaza

by Edward C. Corrigan / August 21st, 2010

There are many Israeli critics of Zionism and anti-Zionist Jews in Israel where the conflict with the Palestinians is most apparent.1 In 1975 journalist Charles Glass estimated that 5 to 8 percent of Israel’s Jewish population fell into the anti‑Zionist category. Most of this opposition was of a “leftist” variety. However, Glass also stated that “they represent 50 percent of the only significant debate in the country.”2

Yeshayahu Leibowitz, the renowned scholar of Judaism and philosophy and the editor of several volumes of the Encyclopedia Hebraica had the following to say about Zionism and Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians:

The big crisis of the Jewish people is that the overwhelming majority of the Jews genuinely desire to be Jewish ‑‑ but they have no content for their Judaism other than a piece of colored rag attached to the end of a pole and a military uniform. The consciousness and the desire to be Jewish did not vanish, rather they are transformed today into a Judeo‑Nazi mentality.3

Gideon Levy, the highly regarded columnist from the Israeli daily Haaretz, has also made a comparison between Germany in the 1930’s and Israel today. Continue reading

New York Times: Massacre of Migrants in Tamaulipas, Mexico

“We [the US] have delegated to drug lords the job of managing our immigrant supply, just as they manage our supply of narcotics.”

New York Times Editorial, August 29, 2010

The full story of the massacre in Tamaulipas, in northeast Mexico, awaits telling by its one survivor. The early news accounts are horrifying: 72 people, said to be migrants from Central and South America on their way to the United States, are waylaid and imprisoned by drug smugglers on a ranch 100 miles south of Texas. They refuse to pay extortion fees and are executed. The survivor, shot in the neck, hears their screams for mercy as he flees. After a gun battle with the authorities, the killers escape in S.U.V.’s. The dead, 58 men and 14 women, are found piled in a room, discarded contraband.

The temptation may be to write this atrocity off as another ugly footnote in Mexico’s vicious drug war. But such things do not exist in isolation. Mexico’s drug cartels are nourished from outside, by American cash, heavy weapons and addiction; the northward pull of immigrants is fueled by our demand for low-wage labor. Continue reading

The Revolutionary Work of a Political Prisoner: Maoist classes in Tihar Jail, India

Cops mull changing Khobad ward every two months

New Delhi, Aug. 28:

The battle to control Maoism has reached the Tihar jail’s barracks.

Exasperated prison authorities are thinking of changing Maoist ideologue Khobad Ghandy’s ward after every two months because he has been propagating ultra-Left ideology among fellow inmates.

Ghandy, 63, has built a captive audience inside Jail No. 3 at Tihar, his home for the past 11 months. He meets fellow inmates, who revere him, every day during his morning and evening walks and often holds “interactive sessions”.

He tells them he had fought for the poor throughout his life and that the government had failed to do anything for the people. The prisoners salute him after every session. Continue reading

Press reports reveal divisions over settlements; Israeli artists declare boycott

Prominent Israeli theatre artists boycott new centre in settlement

Israeli children walk past the new Theater in the Jewish settlement of Ariel in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. Leading Israeli theater artists have pledged not to perform in Jewish settlements in the West Bank, stirring a heated debate in Israel over the settlements, which have been deemed illegal by the international community and built on occupied Palestinian land.

August 29, 2010

Jerusalem – Citing reasons of conscience, 36 prominent Israeli theatre directors, actors and writers have declared a boycott of a new cultural centre to be opened soon in a settlement in the West Bank town of Ariel, media reports said Sunday.

The group sent a letter to several theatre directors around Israel declaring their boycott aims.

Among those signing the letter was famous dramatist Joshua Sobol, author of, among other works, the triptych of plays, Ghetto, Adam and Underground.

“We wish to express our revulsion of the fact that theatres are planning performances in the new hall in Ariel,” the letter said.

“The actors below hereby declare that they will refuse to perform in Ariel, as in every other settlement,” it added.

The letter stirred controversy in Israel with some right-wing politicians calling for cutting the budgets of those theatres which do not perform in the occupied areas. Continue reading

India: Peace Talks mediator exits peace process, says govt is not serious

Sun Aug 29 2010

Kolkata : Swami Agnivesh had been assigned to act as a mediator between the government and the Maoists and bring them to the talks table, has decided to stay out of the peace process as according to him the UPA government lacks the seriousness to start negotiations with the Maoists.

“I have decided to stay out of the process until Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Home Minister P Chidambaram show any positive response to the initiative. I have tried to communicate some information and messages, which I received from the central committee of the CPI-Maoists. I had asked the Prime Minister’s office to arrange an appointment with the PM, but even after a month I have not received any response from the PMO,” an irate Agnivesh told The Indian Express.

Earlier, Agnivesh had been requested to act as a mediator by Chidambaram.

“From July 20 onwards, I have gone to the PMO and approached the officers on phone more than 15 times. But I was not given any satisfactory reply. If the Prime Minister does not have time for a serious discussion, which is very important for the future of the country, they why should I bother about it? It is not my domestic work. So, I have decided to stay aloof from the peace process till I receive any positive response from the Centre,” he said. Continue reading

Irish artists pledge to boycott Israel

Irish Boycott Israel campaign also targets TESCO, which sells Israeli goods produced in settlements on occupied Palestinian lands

The Irish continue to put the world to shame with their fighting spirit and devotion to justice.

From the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign:

On the afternoon of Thursday 12th August 2010, the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) officially launched the historic “Irish artists’ pledge to boycott Israel” at a lunchtime concert in Meeting House Square in Dublin. Present at the launch were 20 of the pledge’s current 150 signatories, including musicians Damien Dempsey, Donal Lunny and Eoin Dillon (Kíla), artists Robert Ballagh and Felim Egan, playwright Jimmy Murphy and actress Neilí Conroy as well as a crowd of supporters.

Pledge Signatories (L-R): Hassan Ould Moctar (musician), Philip Donnery (musician), Jimmy Murphy (playwright), Felim Egan (painter), Renate Debrun (artist), Sami Moukkadem (musician, writer), Rhona Clarke (composer), Dave Lordan (poet), Raymond Deane (com

Pledge Signatories (L-R): Hassan Ould Moctar (musician), Philip Donnery (musician), Jimmy Murphy (playwright), Felim Egan (painter), Renate Debrun (artist), Sami Moukkadem (musician, writer), Rhona Clarke (composer), Dave Lordan (poet), Raymond Deane (composer), Stephen Rothschild (artist), Steve Woods (film-maker), Bobby Ballagh (artist), Deirdre Murphy (dancer), Donal Lunny (musician), Damien Dempsey (singer), Trevor Knight (musician), Eoin Dillon (ceoltóir), Dearbhla Glynn (film-maker), Neilí Conroy (actor), Freda Hughes (IPSC chairperson)

The pledge, described by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) as “a ground-breaking initiative”, has now been signed by over 150 Irish creative and performing artists including Christy Moore, Andy Irvine, Seamus Deane, Sinéad Cusack, Jimmy MacCarthy, Margaretta Darcy and Conor Kostick. It commits signatories to boycotting the Israeli state under it respects international law, Continue reading