The newly appointed European Commission Coordinator on Combating Anti-Semitism spoke at a Jerusalem conference that was a thinly veiled platform for bashing pro-Palestinian activists. Above all, it sent an alarming message about how she perceives her own role. By Ben White A senior European official spoke last week at an Israeli government-hosted conference in Jerusalem where human rights defenders were denigrated and smeared as anti-Semitic. The International Conference on Online Anti-Semitism was organized by the pro-Israel group Israeli Students Combating Anti-Semitism (ISCA). The group’s director, Ido Daniel, is a veteran hasbara activist who believes in “exact[ing] an economic and personal…Read More...
Stricter trade guidelines, harsher rhetoric and corporate responsibility campaigns all send a clear message: Israel's closest allies are no longer willing to passively accept the occupation, and the only consensus on settlements is that they are illegal. The United States appears to be following the European Union in taking symbolic steps to challenge the aura of normalcy with which Israel has cloaked its settlement enterprise for decades. United States Customs officials published a notice last week clarifying that U.S. law does not permit goods manufactured in the West Bank, including in Israeli settlements, to be labeled as “made in Israel.”…Read More... | 4 Comments
What's in a name? A lot, it turns out. Why the name 'Israel' alone just isn't doing the job. PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat touched off a sizable media storm when he asked to remove an Israeli flag hanging above his head as he addressed the Haaretz conference in New York this week. Veteran journalist Dan Margalit from the pro-Netanyahu newspaper Israel Hayom called the conference organizer’s decision to comply a “burning and outrageous mistake.” [tmwinpost] But I can’t get worked up about the flag. In fact, lately I have a hard time saying the name Israel at all. And…Read More... | 39 Comments
The prime minister had a busy week. We were taking notes. 1. We could destroy Al-Aqsa — if we wanted to Netanyahu dedicated a good part of the past few months to swearing up and down that Palestinians are inciting violence by suggesting that Israel, Israelis or Israeli rule threatens Islam’s third-holiest site, Haram al-Sharif and Al-Aqsa Mosque. (Ignoring, of course, that members of his own government regularly incite against Al-Aqsa.) And then there was this. “If the Jews wanted to destroy Al-Aqsa it wouldn’t take much effort, not at all,” the prime minister told party members in a closed…Read More...
On the same day the EU adopts guidelines for labeling settlement goods, the Knesset passes a preliminary reading of a bill to prevent entry to individuals who support a boycott of Israel. The European Union approved a plan Wednesday to begin labeling goods produced in West Bank settlements, raising the ire of the Israeli government, even prompting a response from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On the very same day, the Knesset approved a preliminary reading of a bill to ban individuals who call for a boycott of Israel. [tmwinpost] "The Israeli economy is strong and will withstand this, those who will suffer…Read More... | 8 Comments
Israeli government allegations of an EU double standard are largely grounded on misguided or incomplete information. By Lorenzo Kamel In 2005 the European Union clarified that products originating in areas beyond Israel’s pre-1967 lines do not benefit from preferential tariff treatment under the EU-Israel Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Ten years later, on September 10, 2015, the European Parliament passed an historical resolution calling on the EU to issue labels for products from those areas — settlement products. It passed 525 to 70 (with 31 abstentions), and will likely be effective from October 1 of this year. Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister…Read More... | 12 Comments
In attempting to hold off European plans to label West Bank settlement products, Israel could easily overplay its hand. The Netanyahu government's bunker mentality will only increase international isolation. It’s pretty difficult to find a minister in the Israeli government who will go on record supporting a two-state solution in any sincere terms these days. Of course we want a Palestinian state, they say, but god forbid we hand over control of the West Bank and withdraw our troops. [tmwinpost] Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has been saying as much for years. “I think the Israeli people understand now what I…Read More... | 12 Comments
When the Israeli government does everything in its power to erase the Green Line and subjugate the Palestinian economy, boycotting settlement goods does little to challenge the regime. In order to understand the decision by the European Parliament on Thursday to overwhelmingly support a motion in support of labeling of goods produced in West Bank settlements on, one must look at a different event that took place Europe a few weeks back. [tmwinpost] Two weeks ago, a Luxembourg supermarket chain "Cactus" decided to boycott fruits and vegetables made in Israel. The reason: Israeli vegetable suppliers do not mark produce that…Read More... | 3 Comments
Thousands of refugees sleep in tents, waiting to receive a permit to travel to Athens; women suffer from dehydration while the children re-enact the treacherous journey from their war-torn home countries to Western Europe. A special report from the Greek island of Kos. Text and photos by Oren Ziv and Irene Nasser KOS, GREECE — Syrian children are playing in the water on the beach in front of the police station. The beach is occupied with tents and wooden shacks where refugees from Syria, Iraq, and Pakistan sleep every night. Afraid to get any further away from the police station,…Read More...
Up against extraordinarily harsh diplomatic pressure from its closest allies, Israel seems to have found a way to save face without creating too much of a fuss — at least temporarily. With more or less the entire Western world warning Israel not to demolish the Palestinian village of Susya and forcefully displace its residents, it is no surprise that the Israeli army might be seeking a way to climb down the tree it is stuck on. So how does one announce that it might not demolish that village which it has been claiming for years has no right to exist?…Read More... | 105 Comments
The European Union is substituting pressure on Israel for dialogue. How else will it be able to continue building schools and solar panels in the occupied territories? The European Union is one of the most demonized bodies in Israel at the moment, and the hate is no longer coming only from the extreme right. The working assumption in the Israeli mainstream is that the EU is biased against Israel, that it supports different forms of sanctions and boycotts, and that it is trying to isolate Israel and force it to withdraw from the occupied territories. [tmwinpost] The truth is entirely…Read More... | 1 Comment
The UN's Commission of Inquiry report on the 2014 Gaza war has been able to achieve what the Goldstone report could not in 2009: a new gateway for confronting the EU to demand accountability for the devastation of the war. Two weeks ago the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution to adopt the report of the UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the 2014 Gaza Conflict, calling for the implementation of the report’s recommendations. In a move that some observers described as “unprecedented,” all eight EU member states on the Council – the U.K., France, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland,…Read More... | 2 Comments
Former European officials urge a new two-state approach that includes more pressure and fewer Americans. But can the EU ever bring enough pressure to change Netanyahu's calculus? The Oslo peace framework is obsolete, Netanyahu is disingenuous about a two-state solution, European funding for the Palestinian Authority only perpetuates the occupation, and the United States has never been an objective peace broker — that is what a group of 19 former prime ministers, foreign ministers and senior EU figures wrote in a letter to the European Union’s top leadership this week. (Read the full letter below.) [tmwinpost] The top-ranking group of…Read More... | 39 Comments
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