Israel Lobby Watch

I will not be silenced

“Last week, Hillel Director Robert Fishman sent an organizational e-mail over the Hillel listserv accusing me of being a terrorist,” writes GW law student Fadi Kiblawi, “The claims include that I have ‘led chants (of) ‘Death to Jews.’” In this contribution to EI, Kiblawi, a leading advocate of divestment from Israel, demands an apology for these falsehoods, calumny and intimidation, and warns he will take legal action to clear his name against those who launched this scurrilous campaign. He affirms that he and other students who insist on open debate about how to confront Israel’s human rights abuses will not be silenced. 

Asking Hamas for the moon: Severing ties illustrates flawed policy

Canada and the US are the first governments that have severed all ties with the Palestinian Authority. The US administration and Canada accordingly want Hamas to denounce violence, recognize Israel and accept previous agreements, including the Road Map. EI’s Arjan El Fassed argues that this move shows how inconsistent foreign policy is towards Palestine and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. These governments have failed to denounce violence on the part of Israel, have not recognized Palestine themselves and have failed to ensure Israel’s for signed agreements. This latest move has formally exposed the bias of the Quartet. 

Blaming the lobby

In the last 25 years, many Palestinians and other Arabs, in the United States and in the Arab world, have been so awed by the power of the US pro-Israel lobby that any study, book, or journalistic article that exposes the inner workings, the substantial influence, and the financial and political power of this lobby have been greeted with ecstatic sighs of relief that Americans finally can see the “truth” and the “error” of their ways. “But,” asks Jospeh Massad, “when and in what context has the United States government ever supported national liberation in the Third World?” 

Britain's Duplicity and the Siege of Jericho Jail

To Palestinians, the British broken promise, as well as the hasty exit from Jericho and apparent collusion with Israel, all smacked a little too painfully of other episodes of British foreign policy in the Middle East. There were echoes of 1956 and London’s pact during the Suez Crisis with Israel on the invasion of Egypt. And there were echoes too of 1948, when Britain hurriedly abandoned Palestine, though not before it had effectively fulfilled the Balfour Declaration’s promise of creating a Jewish homeland by allowing hundreds of thousands of Jews to immigrate. 

Building an edifice on blackmail

Richard Rogers, the noted British architect, was recently summoned to the offices of the Empire State Development Corp. to explain his connection to a group called Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine which has called for a boycott of Israel’s construction industry to protest the apartheid wall. Empire State is overseeing the redesign of New York’s $1.7-billion Javits Convention Center, and Rogers is the architect on the job. EI contributor Saree Makdisi explains how pro-Israel groups, enraged at Rogers’ association with the architects’ group used their political clout to force Rogers into obsequious professions of loyalty to Israel. 

Britain secretly gave Israel plutonium for atom bombs, BBC investigation reveals

Britain secretly supplied Israel with plutonium during the 1960s, despite a warning from British intelligence that the material could help Israel get the atom bomb. Documents obtained by the BBC program Newsnight show the decision to sell plutonium to Israel in 1966 was blocked by officials in both the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office who said “It is [government] policy not to do anything which would assist Israel in the production of nuclear weapons”. But it was forced through by a civil servant in the Ministry of Technology, Michael Michaels, whose full name was Michael Israel Michaels. 

"This House believes that Zionism is a danger to the Jewish people"

In a full chamber, the Cambridge Union last Thursday hosted the motion ‘This House believes that Zionism is a danger to the Jewish people”, an event labelled a “Jewish blood sport” by participant Ned Temko. The motion, which was carried by a small margin, was a good chance for Zionist apologists and their critics to showcase the best of their arguments. Brian Klug, speaking in favour of the motion alongside Israeli journalist Daphna Baram and Chair of Jews for Justice for Palestinians Richard Kuper, opened the proceedings. One of the recurrent themes of the evening were the repeated attempts to specify what this debate was not, with Klug pointing out that specific historical narratives, or potential future solutions, were not on the agenda. 

CNI calls on U.S. to deal with new democratic forces in Middle East

A delegation from the Council for the National Interest that participated as international observers to the recent Palestinian elections and met with government and opposition figures in six Middle East countries called yesterday on President Bush and his administration to deal honestly and openly with the new Islamist opposition that has been brought to power by democratic means in several Middle East countries. The members of the delegation, including two ambassadors, were among the firstAmericanretired foreign service officers to meet with Hamas leaders Mahmoud al-Zahar and Khaled Meshaal, whom they described as eager to talk to American officials ,and even to reach a peace with Israel. “There seems to be a lack of dialogue with leaders in the Middle East,” said CNI President Eugene Bird in a public hearing on Capitol Hill Thursday morning. “Many U.S. diplomats are not talking to people they should be, and this has been shocking for us to see this.” 

European Jews say current silencing of criticism of the occupation is "totally unacceptable"

The current campaign being waged in Germany and Austria by Jewish and other groups against people, whether of Jewish or other backgrounds, who have stated their legitimate criticism of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, is totally unacceptable. Israel is no more immune to criticism than any other country which violates human rights. Individuals and peace groups based in Israel itself recognize this as do many others around the world. If intellectuals of the countries who were most closely associated with crimes of genocide are forced into silence by pressure being put on them, or those inviting them to speak out, we fear that future generations will rightly accuse ours of compliance with this pressure because of silence about the war crimes in Palestine. 

Herzliya Conference reveals Israeli plans after disengagement

Acres of analysis will be dedicated over the coming days to the significance of this week’s Palestinain general election and what it heralds for the Middle East conflict. But that spectacle and Hamas’ starring role in it have overshadowed a far more important drama playing out in the wings. Barely anyone has remarked on the unfolding events at the Herzliya Conference, Israel’s most important annual policy-making jamboree. This week Israeli elites converged in Herzliya, to share their thoughts on the country’s central concern. It will matter little whether Hamas or Fatah are heading the Palestinian Authority. Israel made up its mind long ago about how best to protect its interests.