“Jewish extremists” are Israel’s own sons

Earlier this month, a strange thing happened: a Jewish extremist was held in “administrative detention” by Israel. This practise, internment without charge or trial, dates back to the British occupation of Palestine, and Israel habitually uses it against Palestinians.

But for a Jewish citizen to be “administratively detained” is highly unusual. The internee is Meir Ettinger, a 24-year-old pro-settler fanatic who is the grandson of the notorious Rabbi Meir Kahane.

Kahane was the founder of the Jewish Defence League, a terrorist organization founded in New York in 1969. The group was responsible for a string of bombing and other violent attacks against Palestinian, Egyptian and Soviet civilian targets in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as against JDL members who quarrelled with the leadership in one way or another.

Continue reading over at MEMO.

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Scottish activists lead the way on BDS

Liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Thursday that this year, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe did not host a single Israeli act for the first time in years.

“Because of the high costs and political tensions,” the reporter stated, “there have never been more than one or two Israeli productions at Edinburgh over the past two decades.”

A performance put on last year by Jerusalem’s Incubator Theatre (which is funded by the state of Israel) ultimately had to be cancelled: “BDS caused huge outlays on security … and the play collapsed.”

Protests led by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) in 2014 meant that there were fears of disruptions of the production at the Scottish venue, and police insisted that a large number of security guards would have to be employed. Neither the organizers or the venue had the resources, so consequentially it was called off.

Continue reading over at MEMO.

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The socialist MP imprisoned by Israel for her opinions

On Monday, Palestinian MP Khalida Jarrar faced a military hearing at Ofer, an Israeli army base in the illegally-occupied West Bank. Jarrar’s only “crime” is speaking out against against the Israeli occupation of Palestine and for the rights of Palestinian political prisoners.

At the hearing Monday, the two witnesses brought by the prosecution (an army officer) before the judge (also an army officer) said that false confessions had been extracted from them by Israel under the duress of torture in Israeli detention. The prosecutor then farcically had the witnesses designated by this kangaroo court as “hostile” and was able to cross examine them.

This was a brave move by the witnesses, who were essentially forced to testify and will likely now face ominous consequences when they head back to Israel’s notorious prisons system, which habitually tortures its victims.

The Israeli columnist Gideon Levy, who has been covering the case for Haaretz, says that the case demonstrates again that the whole of Israel’s military court system (used almost exclusively for Palestinians, and not for Jewish citizens) is a “ridiculous costume party … a system where the judge salutes the prosecutor, who outranks him militarily”.

Continue reading over at MEMO.

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Is Tony Blair setting a trap for Hamas?

Reports have trickled out over the summer that Israel and Hamas are engaged in indirect negotiations in Doha. The reports, some of which have originated with Middle East Eye, say that the talks have been facilitated by Tony Blair, and are aimed at establishing a long-term ceasefire in exchange for a lifting of the siege on Gaza and other conditions.

MEE first reported this in June, based on anonymous “European and independent Palestinian sources”. Since then, Blair has reportedly met with top Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal several times. The latest revelation is that Blair had even made an offer to Meshaal for a visit to London and that this offer was made with the knowledge of Prime Minister David Cameron himself.

A significant related development over the summer has been Meshaal’s attempt to reconcile with the Saudi royals. This has been met with mixed results.

Read the rest over at MEMO.

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The Corbyn phenomenon

It has been the story of the summer, but there are still almost three weeks left to run in the Labour Party leadership election, believe it or not. What initially looked like it was going to be the dullest leadership election ever was electrified after the entry of left-wing MP Jeremy Corbyn in June.

Initially dismissed as the rank outsider allowed into the contest as a sop to the more leftist activist base of the party, Corbyn’s campaign soon gathered momentum. It has become a genuine phenomenon, and he has been packing out meeting halls for rallys all over the country. He leads the polls, and looks likely to become the leader of the opposition next month.

Nobody (including myself) saw this coming. Now it is happening, it’s not too hard to see the reasons why.

Continue reading over at MEMO.

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Hilary Clinton’s failed attack on BDS

Earlier this month, The Scotsman reported that US presidential hopeful Hilary Clinton had tried to stop a cultural boycott of Israel in Edinburgh.

In 2009, the Edinburgh film festival returned small amount of funding from the Israeli embassysensitivity that Israel and its supporters have to BDS.. Famed left-wing director Ken Loach had been a prominent figure in the campaign.

The festival later admitted accepting the £300 was “a mistake” and publicly returned the money.

But newly published emails revealed this monththat Clinton, a strong supporter of Israel, had tried to intervene in the affair. (Her emails were released as part of the ongoing controversy in the US over her use of a personal email account to conduct official business in an apparent attempt to avoid freedom of information law.)

Read the rest over at MEMO.

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Scandalous attempts to smear Jeremy Corbyn belie reality about Raed Salah

On Raed Salah:

As I reported in detail back in 2011 and 2012, when Raed Salah arrived in Britain he was subjected to a vicious Islamophobic and anti-Palestinian media campaign. This campaign was instigated by the pro-Israel lobby, at the vanguard of which was the Community Security Trust, a registered charity which is supposedly an apolitical organisation established purely to monitor and combat anti-Semitism.

Read the rest over at MEMO.

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