On Friday 23rd December the UN passed a resolution demanding a stop to Israeli settlement in the occupied territories as, in a shock move, the US refused to veto the resolution. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exploded, calling it a 'declaration of war' (having recently been granted a $38 billion military aid package by the US), and Secretary of State John Kerry criticised Israel's approach to the peace process. But with Trump tweeting that Israel should 'stay strong' until his inauguration, progress still seems unlikely.
Verso presents a list of books from Israeli, Palestinian, and anti-imperialist authors, to explain the conflict and provide some perspectives on the future.
The storm over Labour's alleged "culture of anti-semitism" rolls on, with daily news of further suspensions and resignations - the latest of which is the suspension of anti-Zionist activist and Momentum member Jackie Walker because of a contrived controversy over a months old facebook comment.
The more allegations emerge, the more the gap between anti-semitism and legitimate criticisms of Israel seems to be closing for the commentariat. As acclaimed scholar Norman G. Finkelstein recently stated in a interview for Open Democracy, the scandal "has nothing whatsoever to do with the factual situation; instead, a few suspect cases of antisemitism – some real, some contrived – are being exploited for an ulterior political motive." While real anti-semitism undoubtably exists, the string of warnings about "new anti-semitism" must not act as a cover for Israeli state actions. As the powerful statement released on behalf of the Jewish Socialist Group states "criticism of Israeli government policy and Israeli state actions against the Palestinians is not antisemitism," - the two must be clearly seperated.
For more on Israel and Palestine, below is a Verso reading list on the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the politics of anti-Zionism.
Al Jazeera and the Guardian and Al Quds (Arabic) newspapers yesterday released over 1600 confidential documents laying open the last decade of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. The papers go well beyond refuting the threadbare myth that the Israelis have had no 'partner for peace', and show rather how weak and incompetent officials betrayed Palestinians by offering to surrender "virtually everything except their salaries", as Tariq Ali puts it on the London Review of Books blog. As Ali notes, it is well worth revisiting Edward Said's prophetic 1994 article for the LRB in which he described the Oslo accords as a "Palestinian Versailles" in the light of these revelations.
Recorded earlier this year to mark sixty-five years since the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet troops, in this CrossTalk video, Peter Lavelle asks his guests what the legacy of the Holocaust is today. Is its memory being abused? Does Israel use Holocaust as a blackmail weapon? Norman Finkelstein, author of The Holocaust Industry and Israel W. Charny discuss the issue in a heated debate.