Let’s Talk About Genocide: The State of Israel Vs. William A. Schabas

For other articles in this series 1234, 5, 678, 9, 10

William A. Schabas
William A. Schabas

Since Israel’s latest attack on the besieged Gaza Strip, last summer, I’ve been researching the issue of Israel’s genocide. I quickly found out that I’m not the only one, and although the subject has been addressed by scholars, politicians, UN bodies, and Palestinian civil society since 1982, this attack has prompted an unprecedented amount of criticism and study.

The sudden popular resurgence of the term, especially coming from President Mahmoud Abbas, has already prompted many independent articles, rejecting not only the terminology, but mostly the users of the term. From Liberal Zionists calling those who charge genocide “the loony left” and “antisemitic”; to hard-core right-wingers like government- funded StandWithUs with the help of fox news, with the tried-and-true “what about Syria, Iran, Iraq” and anything else that isn’t the issue of discussion and furthers Islamophobia; to AIPAC with the ironic claim that naming the crime hinders peace, and quotations from none other than Benjamin Netanyahu that “we warned them” and after we bombed the hell out of them, we gave them “tons of humanitarian aid.” That said, I’ve yet to see an organised government initiative on the subject. Until now.

Never Again Unless We Did It

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A Response to Jacky Terrasson’s Agent, Christophe Deghelt, about the Red Sea Jazz Festival

Note: I don’t speak French, I’m responding to a Google Translate version of the original post, so I’ll refrain from my usual special attention to semantics, in order not to dwell on what may be a technical mistake in translation.

Jacky terrasson with manneger Christophe Deghelt
Jacky terrasson with manneger Christophe Deghelt

Last Wednesday, Jacky Terrasson’s agent, Christophe Deghelt, responded to the massive campaign to boycott the Israel state sponsored Red Sea Jazz Festival (more details on the government and corporate connections of the festival in this article). Since thought did actually go into this post, I think we in the BDS movement should respond. So here it is, point-by-point. I hope this furthers public discussion, as BDS so often does, because just like Christophe Deghelt, this is a “debate that I hold dear”.

On Notions of  War, Peace, and Popular Struggle

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Creative Community for Peace: Elite Club for the Endless Cycle of War Profiteering, Whitewashing and Violence

Creative Community for Peace Logo

A month ago, I mailed the Red Hot Chili Peppers a letter, asking them not to perform in Israel. The campaign, of course, is much broader than myself; The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), a Lebanese group of BDS activists, the US Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI), and my own group BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within have all made statements and called for action. International social media campaigns are spreading [1, 2], the petition based on my letter is constantly growing in signatures from all around the globe, and even Macy Gray (who’s been reaching some new conclusions) twitted a little word of support. All this noise isn’t going by unnoticed by the Israeli government, media, and corporate elite, and though it took them a while, they are beginning to take action.

Music Industry Fat Cats Profiteering off of Military Occupation: An Economic-Ideological Cycle

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Drawing the Line: Palestinian BDS Picket Line Realigns the Entire Zionist Establishment

Israel Needs You!When oppression is successful, the oppressor gains control over his victim’s borders, erases them, and redraws them according to his whims. The victim’s narrative no longer exists, and as such, just telling their own story is an act of liberation. When Palestinians chose Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) as a form of telling their story (not just a form of action), they changed a continual paradigm of abuse which made their story insignificant, and were finally able to cut the cycle of abuse and silence. No longer do Palestinians need to react to Israel’s Hasbara line. They have reclaimed their narrative, and now the state of Israel is forced to react in accordance to it.

Continue reading “Drawing the Line: Palestinian BDS Picket Line Realigns the Entire Zionist Establishment”

Israel’s advocates in the UK cosy up to Christian Right

Faced with the increasingly difficult task of ‘selling’ Israeli policies to the UK public, Israel’s supporters in this country are cementing relationships with some strange bed-fellows.

Israeli embassy officials are happy working with groups like ‘Mordechai Voice’, a new addition to the Christian Zionist scene in the UK. Apart from helping with local presentations, staff from Israel’s embassy spoke at a July “prayer meeting” organised by people who look forward to the day “all Israel is saved”. It seems the Embassy has no problem collaborating with Christians whose motivation for supporting Israel is the belief that such advocacy is the “key to UK revival”.

Where Israel’s government representatives go, the advocacy groups follow. In October, the UK’s Zionist Federation will host David Dolan, billed as a “Broadcast Journalist and Author”, to speak on “Turmoil in the Middle East: What comes next?” Well for Dolan, the answer is the Second Coming. In his book ‘Holy War for the Promised Land’, Dolan shares his own unique ‘analysis’:

I am personally convinced that there are strong supernatural forces at work behind the Arab-Israeli dispute. I cannot help mentioning that I often perceive a certain glowing, otherworldly light behind the conflict…

His website has details of the speaking tour that includes the Zionist Federation date, an event Dolan describes as a meeting with “members of the Jewish community”. Perhaps he’ll share with them his belief in “the only peace process that will ultimately succeed”, namely for “Arab and Jew” to receive “God’s gift of eternal life, offered in his chosen Messiah, Jesus”.

Then there’s Israel lobby outfit StandWithUs, notorious in the US for their ties to Islamophobic right-wing donors and aggressive tactics. A more recent presence in the UK, though already embraced by some student groups, they helped Mordecai Voice arrange a recent rally where signs were held saying “God warns: The nations that refuse to be Israel’s allies will be utterly destroyed”.

Their UK coordinator Gili Brenner will be a guest speaker at a November conference (PDF) called ‘Israel’s Future & Ours’, billed as “a unique, not-to-be-missed Christian conference that will educate, inspire and move you to intercede for the Jewish people”. The conference is being promoted by the likes of ‘The Time is Now’, a site that believes that God will “curse those who curse Israel”.

Alongside the StandWithUs UK coordinator will be speakers from Christian Friends of Israel (CFI), who believe that “God’s time to ‘favour Zion’ has begun”, and Nathan Barnard, whose website ‘The Last Trumpet’ aims to inform Christians “about current events in relation to biblical prophecy”. Another speaker is David Pawson, a pastor who has warned that Britain is on its way to becoming an Islamic state.

Despite discomfort in Israel about such alliances, Israel’s advocates in UK seem glad to get any support they can.

Brand Israel: I Hear the Congo Has Some Lovely Views

Gaza Views

Israel’s (fishy) acceptance into the OECD isn’t really a surprise, when you look into this Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development:

It defines itself as a forum of countries committed to democracy and the market economy… [Wikipedia]

“Democracy” and “market economy” (aka “capitalism”) have long been Israel’s reiterated mantras, in an attempt to cosy up to other “developed” countries of the world, that use the same phrasing in order to back up their military or economic exploitation of “less developed” people within and without. In fact, this seems to be a very natural coupling.

Continue reading “Brand Israel: I Hear the Congo Has Some Lovely Views”