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Middle East News Service comments

Middle East News Service comments:

As a lot of my political communication these days is done via Facebook where lots of people can comment instantly I am experimenting with sending a compilation of significant items. I envisage that such compilation be sent about twice a week but, at this stage, it is very much work in progress. If you have comments about the method of delivery I would appreciate hearing them. Comments on contents can be posted via Facebook.

Also note that a much less formal tone prevails on Facebook.

Sol Salbe -

The strange voyage of Avraham Burg

via Lisa Goldman: Sharing Lisa's introduction as well: Yossi Gurvitz attended a debate between Avrum [Avraham] Burg and Peace Now director Yariv Oppenheimer. Burg, a former Labor pol who was once director of the Jewish Agency, used to belong to the same moderate political camp as Oppenheimer. But over the past few years he has become radicalized. The question is, why?

The strange voyage of Avraham Burg

This item generated discussion.

SABAWI: BDS and Israel’s battle for legitimacy

One of the most coherent discussions of Israel, the rest of the world and International law from a Palestinian perspective you are likely to read anywhere. I have some serious differences with Samah's in regard to the best tactics to respond to what she's describing. But her analysis needs not only to be heard but understood as well.

Hecklers disrupt Netanyahu's speech at U.S. Jewish conference

Delegates responded to the young Israelis and Jews heckling with chants of "Bibi Bibi" and "Am Israel Chai" [The Jewish people lives.]. Commenting on this intellectual response Mitchell Plitnick wrote: "Am Yisrael Chai was once a point of pride. It represented the survival of the Jewish people against enormous odds. Now, it has been reduced to a nationalist chant to excuse the worst actions, and, moreover, it has been divorced from the Jewish people and
wedded only to Israel. It's appalling."

This item generated discussion.

A translation of an extract the Hebrew Ynet on same event (,7340,L-3981673,00.html):

"When I got up to disrupt the prime minister's speech, he spoke of the delegitimisation of Israel. And I shouted that I was Israeli and I want to say that the Occupation, the siege of Gaza and the loyalty oath Law, are responsible for Israel’s delegitimisation", Matan Cohen told Ynet, Cohen was one of five protesters - including three Israelis – who tonight (Monday) interrupted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech, at the annual meeting of the North American Jewish community.” In another paragraph Ynet explained that five years earlier Cohen was injured while demonstrating against the route of the Wall/Fence near the Palestinian village of Bil’in. {Ynet got the village location wrong –Sol S]

If cultural life thrives, is democracy alive?

via Lisa Goldman: Lisa Goldman looks at the Israeli cultural scene and goes beyond the superficial (at least IMHO). Useful for those who want to understand Israel, rather than blindly support or merely oppose it.

If cultural life thrives, is democracy alive?

This item generated discussion.

Bibi, Tom Friedman, and US Jews divesting from Israel

via Didi Remez: Didi (below) is correct this is a brilliant column, which I strongly recommend to all supporters of Israel to read. "Brilliant column, Bradley Burston. Sharansky's incredible whistling in the dark is a great segue for this particularly succinct point: 'As the continued political survival of Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak demonstrates, Israelis have a fatal weakness for the magnificent Ahbal, the omniscient blockhead, the ostentatiously intelligent person who knows everything except the one thing he really needs to know: Everything that he doesn't.'"

A Special Place in Hell-Israel News - Haaretz Israeli News source.

This item generated discussion.

The Yacoubian Building – in Hebrew

Can't remember how much of this story has appeared in English beforehand. [A very interesting and challenging story.]

Akin Ajayi: NGO claims translation of Alaa al Aswany's bestseller promotes Israeli-Palestinian understanding. But the author was not consulted.

Nature and parks: Free market or free from the market?

via Didi Remez: Like me, most people in Australia won't be able to read the JP article which is behind a firewall. We have to do with Didi Remez's intro and extract [You can have a fortnight for free but mine has long expired] :

Thank you, The Jerusalem Post, for highlighting elegant solutions for our Arab problem. "Consider the story of Afula’s park. The town spent a great deal of money creating a beautiful park for its citizens. However it was soon taken over by people from neighboring villages, particularly Nazareth.

They came to play, listen to loud music... and smoke nargilas. The locals felt harassed and complained that the interlopers were sexually harassing women, making them uncomfortable in their own park. The mayor’s answer was, rather than expressing simple-minded racism against the newcomers, to start charging an entrance fee to everyone not from Afula. Suddenly the harassment decreased."

Nature and parks: Free market or free from the market? This item generated discussion.

My own comment: Remember the Cronulla riots in southern Sydney, a few years back? The complaints were about interlopers playing loud music and the locals being harassed. Well it sure sounds familiar. Why couldn't the mayor of Cronulla learn from his brilliant counterpart in Afula and just charge the "interlopers" an entry fee to the beach? Who would have described it as a racist move? After all the white folks of Manly would have had to pay the same amount as migrants from Lakemba.

Yes, some of the Cronulla locals rioted but the police protected the visitors (at least one with his body) and with the exception of the "Parrot" and the Daily Telegraph media lined up against the rioters. Who in the Israeli media or Parliament has criticised the Mayor of Afula?

Wolkowski’s Cartoon

At the new Cultural Centre in Ariel

Driver of Cameri Theatre bus: "They got off to help [the Palestinians] with olive picking

[Eran Wolkowski]

Pen Pals

via Lisa Goldman: This item sparked quite an argument on Lisa's page.
Lisa's intro:
David Grossman, Amos Oz and AB Yehoshua are often viewed in Europe as secular saints of the fading Israeli peace movement. Liel Leibovitz explains, in this incisive, insightful essay, why the praise is undeserved. This is one of Leibovitz's best pieces - far superior to most of the stuff he's written over the past few months.

Pen Pals - by Liel Leibovitz > Tablet Magazine - A New Read on Jewish Life

This item generated discussion.

My own comment: I would love to delve more into it myself. One thing I noticed is that the discussion in various places ignored the real political differences between the three. Grossman has been willing to line himself with the force of the New activists who are forming a new Israel left at Sheikh Jarrah [Deliberately used low case as both New Left and New Israeli Left are already existing "brands".] In this way he has taken a real risk which the other two haven't.

One way or the other this is an important piece for those who seek to understand Israel. It should be read alongside less critical views to provide a multi-dimensional picture.

One dead as driver rams bus stop in Israel

Not a major story but a telling one. The AFP says "In the past, Palestinians have carried out several attacks, ramming crowded bus stops with cars and trucks, but Rosenfeld said this was not the case." I much prefer Israel's Einyan Merkazi's earlier report: "The background is at this stage unclear, but if a Jew is involved he is always 'mentally disturbed' while in Arab is always a terrorist."

One dead as driver rams bus stop in Israel


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