Zeitgeist
Events around date of publication of this item.
Show later events
Thu, 16 Apr 2015
Foreign ministers of 16 European Union countries send a letter to EU foreign policy chief asking her to push forward process of labeling goods produced in Israeli settlements
General chronic harassment: Gaza: Israeli soldiers menace farmers with gunfire. West Bank: Israeli military invade several areas, storm houses, provoke confrontations; destroy 4 old olive trees at Al Aqsa mosque; block off Beit Furik and Beit Ummar; seriously injure 4, kidnap at least 6 Palestinians.
Wed, 15 Apr 2015
Israeli High Court of Justice upholds Anti-Boycott Law
Israeli supreme court rules that Absentees' Property Law can be applied to East Jerusalem
mid Apr 2015
Israeli supreme court upholds prohibition against Palestinian prisoners studying
Wed, 15 Apr 2015
General chronic harassment: Gaza: Israeli military menace farmers and fishing boats with gunfire. West Bank: Israeli military conduct military exercises in village; conduct harassment operations; storm houses; kidnap at least 37 Palestinians. Settlers stage provocative action at Al Aqsa mosque; hundreds of settlers invade Kifl Haris.
Tue, 14 Apr 2015
Projected date for previously postponed vote in US Congress on motion to increase sanctions against Iran
Dozens of Hamas members arrested in night raids in Nablus
General chronic harassment: Gaza: Israeli airplane sprays herbicide on Palestinian crops and fruit trees. West Bank: Israeli military provoke confrontations, storm houses; block off towns; destroy aparment buildings; kidnap at least 23 Palestinians.
Mon, 13 Apr 2015
President of Russia lifts ban on delivery of S-300 missile systems to Iran
General chronic harassment: Gaza: Soldiers menace farmers in border area with gunfire. West Bank: Israeli military invade several towns, provoke confrontations, storm houses; steal tools, computers; seriously injure 22 (inc live ammo), kidnap at least 24 Palestinians. Settler stage provocative action at Al Aqsa mosque.
Sun, 12 Apr 2015
General chronic harassment: West Bank: Israeli military storm houses; kidnap at least 3 Palestinians. Settlers stage provocative action at Al Aqsa mosque; invade village to conduct "archaeological" excavations; settler car runs over young woman.
Sat, 11 Apr 2015
General chronic harassment: West Bank: Israeli military conduct large-scale harassment operations in several villages; storm dozens of houses; erect checkpoints and harass residents; assault young man, kidnap at least one Palestinian.
Fri, 10 Apr 2015
Israeli forces shoot Palestinian dead at his cousin's funeral
General chronic harassment: Israeli military suppress demonstrations, provoke confrontations; storm houses; assassinate young man, seriously injure 21 (inc. live ammo), kidnap at least 6 Palestinians.
Thu, 9 Apr 2015
General chronic harassment: Gaza: Israeli military fire on fishing boats and farmers, severely injuring one. West Bank: Israeli military bar Palestinians around Route 60 to hold marathon; raze land; storm houses; raid shop; kidnap at least 5 Palestinians. Settlers stage provocative actions at Al Aqsa mosque and Artas; raze farm land.
Wed, 8 Apr 2015
General chronic harassment: Gaza: Israeli military menace fishing boats and farmers with gunfire. West Bank: Israeli soldiers suppress demonstrations; assassinate one, kidnap at least 5 Palestinians. Settlers stage provocative actions at Al Aqsa, Yatta, Joseph tomb; steal yet more land; destroy Palestinian park.
Tue, 7 Apr 2015
General chronic harassment: Gaza: Israeli military menace fishing boats and farmers with gunfire. West Bank: Israeli military order eviction of 100+ Palestinians from Beit Iksa; confiscate school bus; detain teachers; assault and injure 1, kidnap 12 Palestinians. Settlers menace farmers with gunfire; stage action at Al Aqsa mosque.
Mon, 6 Apr 2015
General chronic harassment: Gaza: Israeli warships menace fishing boats; military bulldozers raze border area. West Bank: Israeli military provoke confrontations, storm dozens of houses; block off towns; kidnap at least 11 Palestinians (inc. 14 year-old). Settlers stage provocative action at Al Aqsa mosque.

Show earlier events

Don’t rush to welcome cancellation

<<< Earlier issue of this journal ^ This issue of this journal (1 other article) Later issue of this journal >>>

Article/book #: 281116
Title: Don’t rush to welcome cancellation
By: Simon Johnson  
Published in: Jewish Chronicle
Date of issue: Friday, 10 April 2015
Timeline event(s) mentioned in this item:
   17 Apr 2015
to 19 Apr 2015
:
Projected conference aborted by Zionist pressure: International Law and the State of Israel

Commentary

Abstract:

ONE OF the Jewish Leadership Council’s day-to-day jobs is to co-ordinate the best response and engagement when Israel-related issues impact on the UK Jewish community. In the past fortnight, there have been two issues which required a more sober, more sceptical analysis than the headlines provided.

The first was the decision by Southampton University to cancel the “International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism” conference on the grounds of health and safety and security. There is no doubt that this conference was an appalling example of delegitimisation of Israel, a manipulation of academic freedom to promote hatred and discrimination. Jewish community organisations and grassroots activists had worked closely together to oppose it.

But the fact Southampton University chose to cancel for health and safety reasons and security concerns represents a double-edged sword.

Those who seek to undermine the legitimacy of Israel are already accusing Jewish organisations of threatening violence to force the cancellation of the conference. We do not know all of the complicated security considerations of Southampton University, but pro-Israel groups were planning to protest peacefully and appropriately.

Another problem is that “security reasons” have been used in the past by other universities and student unions to prevent Israel supporters or Israel embassy representatives from speaking on campus. Sometimes these are real fears about violent protests or attacks, but other times we suspect that universities have misused “security” to kick out pro-Israel events. We have emphasised to university authorities that security of speakers is an inalienable element of universities’ duty to protect freedom of speech.

So, the challenge for Jewish community organisations is this — how can we welcome this security decision and yet condemn others when those same reasons are used against our interests?

This is why the JLC has not rushed to judgement and is thinking carefully about what this cancellation means in the bigger picture.

Recently, Amnesty International published a report entitled Unlawful and Deadly: Rocket and Mortar attacks by Palestinian Armed Groups during the 2014 Gaza/Israel Conflict. At first glance, there seemed to be a welcome rebalancing of Amnesty’s previous anti-Israel publications. The report rightly condemned Hamas for its indiscriminate firing of rockets at Israeli civilian areas; its callous disregard for Gaza based civilians in the firing of rockets, and even rightly identified a Hamas rocket as the cause of death of 11 children and two adults in a Palestinian refugee camp in July. That is what made the headlines.

But, if you study the full report, it is clear that Amnesty tries to explain away Hamas’ actions by referring to the Israeli blockade — a context denied to Israel in its report on Israel’s actions last year. The report contains criticism of Israel for its treatment of Bedouins inside its recognised borders; this isn’t related to Hamas rockets but it’s clearly a theme that Amnesty — with its relentless focus on Israel — is likely to return to.

And of course, the organisation’s bona fides in its reports on the region are called into question by Amnesty UK’s continued employment of Kristyan Benedict, a man with a track record of provocative social media postings that some have seen as antisemitic.

That is why we and other organisations have reserved judgement so we can discuss the troubling detail.

So, a delegitimising conference cancelled and a critical report on Hamas? Behind these headlines lie complex issues that we will be wrestling with for months. We should sometimes be careful what we wish for.










Previous Next