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United Kingdom

  • Losing the will to fight Israel Apartheid Week

    It's getting harder and harder for liberal Zionists to reconcile an Israel that legitimizes settler land theft with the values they have been raised to believe the Jewish state stands for. By Ben Reiff I’ve been dreading Israel Apartheid Week since I arrived at university in London – a supposed hot-spot for Israel-Palestine tension on campuses. My understanding of what happens each year during Apartheid Week has always been a scene of hate-fueled anti-Israel, pro-BDS, “free Palestine”-chanting protesters, often facing off with equally hate-fueled anti-Palestine, pro-Israel, “Hatikvah” singing counter-protesters. As a Jew and an anti-occupation Zionist, as someone who sympathizes with…

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  • Backing the Palestinian liberation struggle, as a liberal Zionist

    As Diaspora Jews, do we actually talk to Palestinians about their wishes? Do we take the time to support liberal Palestinian activists? Our role is not to fight for what we think Palestinians want but to support them as they push for their liberation themselves. By Jake Cohen When young liberal Zionists arrive on British campuses many of us find that we naturally settle into left-wing, progressive, political circles. Our fellow progressive students are committed to anti-racism, gender equality, equality of access to higher education; it’s a natural fit. If we just don’t mention Israel, then it’s all fine. [tmwinpost]…

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  • Anti-Semitic, white supremacist slogans at Exeter University event

    Even the most off-hand displays of white supremacism and anti-Semitism — perhaps especially off-hand, "normalized" displays — are not only deplorable in their own right, but directly affect conversation on racism, anti-Semitism and Israel-Palestine. Students attending an off-campus Exeter University party on Tuesday were seen sporting t-shirts with anti-Semitic and white supremacist slogans, +972 has learned. Reports of anti-semitic incidents in the UK have risen by 11 percent in the first half of 2016, according to a recent report by the Community Security Trust, a UK organization providing security guards to Jewish schools and synagogues. Anti-semitism has figured heavily in headlines over the past year, especially…

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  • Brexit and the Israel-Palestine problem

    More and more people are stuck with each other in this world, even as rejectionists pretend — if only for a minute or two — that we’re not. I wasn’t much of a political junky as a kid, and I was certainly no wunderkind at foreign relations. The Cold War was a fact of life, as solid as the skyscrapers of New York. The world was divided by ideologies of life or death — the bad guys threatened to take over, “and that’s the way it is.” The war just ended one day when I was 17. Peace was suddenly a real…

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  • What the Left can learn about anti-Semitism from Ken Livingstone

    Why would the senior Labour member allow himself to be dragged into a debate about the Holocaust while his party is bending over backwards to fend off accusations that it is teeming with anti-Semites? By Gilad Halpern Ken Livingstone may not realize it, but he has done the progressive left a great service. Livingstone, a veteran UK Labour Party politician and former mayor of London, was suspended from his party on Thursday for saying in a radio interview that Hitler was a Zionist. For his party, still reeling from a series of mini-scandals involving unsavory statements about Israel and the Jews,…

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  • Ed Miliband is a Jewish leader of historic magnitude

    With his refreshingly cool attitude towards Israel, the defeated leader of the British Labour Party heralds the future of Jewish politics in the West. By Gilad Halpern Unlike what many predicted, Ed Miliband did not become the first Jewish prime minister of Great Britain. Tendering his resignation after a crushing defeat in last week's general election, Miliband will probably disappear to the back benches of the Labour Party, only to resurface as a run-of-the-mill cabinet minister when – if, rather – a Labour government is formed. Miliband's leadership, as well as his heritage, will be cast into oblivion. [tmwinpost] Few…

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  • Maintaining conflict, stopping bloodshed: Lessons from 15 years of peace in Northern Ireland

    Although Republicans and Unionists still have extremely different ideas as to where the country should be heading they still accept each other's right to imagine opposite identities and futures. Fifteen years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, there is much Israelis and Palestinians can learn from Northern Ireland. "No two conflicts are alike, and a solution that fits one conflict could never be copied successfully to anywhere else." The same sentence, in minor variations, was said to me by countless members of the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly, as well as journalists, academics and political activists during my short…

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  • Israeli minister aptly compares Ariel settlement with Falklands

    Last Tuesday, it became official: the IDF (following approval from Defense Minister Barak) recognized the academic center in the settlement of Ariel as a full-fledged university. International condemnation soon followed. A UK minister, for instance, expressed disappointment regarding Israel’s decision, and labeled it an obstacle to peace. In response, Israeli Education Minister Gideon Saar (Likud) argued that “[o]ur connection to Ariel is at least as strong as the UK’s connection to the Falkland Islands.” This comparison is quite apt because Ariel, like the Falklands, is the product of a colonial enterprise, meant to place a metropolitan population amidst a weaker…

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  • Future sound of London: The UK as model for our region

    The first page I ever "liked" on Facebook now proved itself worthwhile. It is the page of British folk singer Billy Bragg, the "Bard of Barking" (an area in East London). Besides being one of the best baladeers ever born, Bragg is a socialist thinker and an activist. It is from him that I learned today of the Welsh referendum, in which the nation voted to give their national assembly direct powers. Bragg, an Englishman, was certainly excited. He wrote: "Before one of you nay-sayers points out that the turn out was only 35%, I say this: history is made…

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