Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Israel legalises another settlement and authorises expansion

The Israeli government has formulated plans to legalize 60 existing homes at an unauthorized settlement outpost in the West Bank and allow the construction of 240 other residences, an Israeli group said Tuesday.

Such a move would flout a U.S. demand for a settlement freeze. It would also bolster the claim by Palestinians that the unauthorized outposts are intended to permanently seize land they want as part of their future state.

The plans were approved by Israel's defense minister, Ehud Barak, and filed with authorities in April, according to Bimkom, a private Israeli group that specializes in planning issues.

The Defense Ministry had no immediate comment. more

Irish students cycling to Gaza for Medical Aid for Palestinians charity

Waterford students to begin 4,000 mile fund-raising cycle

Four Waterford students will begin a 4,000 mile cycle to Gaza tomorrow to raise money and awareness for the war-torn region.

The "Pathways to Palestine" team will sail to France before beginning their journey and are raising money for the Medical Aid for Palestine organisation.

Their trek is expected to last 40 days and takes them through 14 different countries.

All money raised will go towards medical equipment for Gaza and donations can be made through their website.

The group will also be "phlogging" along the way which is a type of audio blog submitted over the phone.

From Ireland Online

Israeli protesters block one of the few open crossings into Gaza

Israeli protesters are blocking aid getting into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing in a move designed to bring more pressure to bear on Hamas to release Gilad Shalit the Israeli prisoner of war. So one soldier being held prisoner justifies these humanitarian crimes against 1.5 million people in Gaza? The protesters won't need to require very many people to effect their 'blockade' as their government is already doing that. There are at least 11,000 Palestinian prisoners illegally held by Israel.

KEREM SHALOM CROSSING, Israel (AFP) — Dozens of Israeli protestors blocked crossings into Gaza on Tuesday to push for the release of a soldier held captive for three years by militants in the Hamas-run enclave.

The demonstrators held back lines of aid trucks at the Kerem Shalom crossing into southern Gaza demanding that its Hamas rulers give a sign of life of Gilad Shalit, who was seized by militants on June 25, 2006.

"The message is for the Hamas government to give an answer from Gilad Shalit so Israel can know if he is alive," David Gilboa, one of the organisers of the rally, told AFP. more

Former IDF commander defends Seven Jewish Children against anti-semitism

An important Op-ed in Canada's Now magazine by Misha Shulman an ex-IDF commander, defending Caryl Churchill's play and castigating the misguided opposition that does a disservice to the real fight against anti-semitism.
In defense of Seven Jewish Children

Controversial play about Israel is a chance to re-examine ourselves

Misha Shulman

Perhaps having spent three years in Southern Lebanon as an IDF commander has lowered my tolerance for misconstructions of Israeli ideology.

But when I heard names like "Sons of Hitler" and "Jew killers" were called out as theatre-goers entered Theatre Passe Muraille last week for the play Seven Jewish Children: A Play for Gaza, I was angry.

The recent fiasco surrounding Crow’s Theatre’s staged reading of Caryl Churchill’s controversial play provided yet another example of the way North American Jews do their worst to perpetuate the conflict in the holy land, and keep anti-Semitism stronger than ever.

So it has come time for this Israeli Jew to make a request of members of organizations claiming to represent the Canadian Jewish community, such as the JDL and B’nai Brith: Please stop crying anti-Semitism in the name of the Jewish state. It makes people hate both Jews and their state. And there’s enough hatred around for both of those already.

I am proud of being a Jew. I am proud of being an Israeli. These are two very different statements. more

Charges against pro-Palestine professsor in doubt as defence campaign gains ground

Supporters of sociology professor William Robinson at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), facing the charge of anti-semitism for circulating an email juxtaposing images of Nazis atrocities against Jewish people and Israel's oppression of Palestinians, are campaigning hard.

Latest developments have seen the UCSB Academic Senate vote to investigate the mishandling of the Robinson case following the circulation of a petition in support of him among faculty members.

Now the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has demanded that UCSB cease investigation of Robinson:
FIRE – a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit that works to protect student and faculty rights at college campuses nationwide – has demanded that the University of California at Santa Barbara cease its investigation of sociology professor William I. Robinson.

Letter from FIRE to Chancellor Yang here

More info: Committee to Defend Academic Freedom at UCSB

Toward the end of February 2009, Sociology and Global Studies Professor William Robinson received notice from the Academic Senate’s Charges Committee that two of his students had filed charges against him. The students alleged that course material Prof. Robinson had circulated to his class via the course listserv, criticizing Israel’s then-ongoing siege on Gaza, comprised anti-Semitism. Professor Robinson also received a letter from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to this effect. The student complaints (Complaint 1 & Complaint 2) included claims and rationales that exactly mirrored those included in the ADL letter. The course material at issue in the complaints included an editorial written by a Jewish journalist condemning Israel’s invasion of Gaza and images of the bloody consequences of the siege on Gaza juxtaposed with congruent images from Nazi concentration camps in the 1930s (a not uncommon understanding of Israel-Palestine relations, as this 2003 Haaretz article and recent ADBUSTERS piece demonstrates). Alleging that the circulation of this course material caused them to drop his class, the students in their complaints claimed the subject of the email was not relevant to the course. The course title was “Sociology of Globalization” and the course curriculum covered contemporary, global conflicts and struggles. more