A pro-Israel “gathering of influencers” known as the Beyond Conference took place in The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College last Friday on a beautiful New York afternoon. The purpose of the conference – which promoted itself with the tagline “Inspiration. Innovation. Israel.”– was to promote Israel, particularly its booming high-tech sector, which raised a record $4.4 billion in 2015. But as Rob Bryan writes, beneath the rote platitudes of the presentations lied a more sinister motive – whitewashing Israeli apartheid with a tech-friendly veneer.
Category Archives: Israeli Government
In a surprise move, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week forced out his long-serving defense minister, Moshe Yaalon. As he stepped down, Yaalon warned: “Extremist and dangerous elements have taken over Israel.” He was referring partly to his expected successor, Avigdor Lieberman, and Israeli commentators pointed out that the new government will be the most extreme in Israel’s history. Less noticed however has been the gradual and parallel takeover of Israel’s security institutions by those espousing the ideology of the settlers – known in Israel as the national-religious camp.
Amid mass political upheaval this week, the Israeli prime minister’s government reshuffle has brought in the creme de la creme of Israel’s far-right and raised the hackles of those fearing an apparent rise in extremism among Israel’s political leadership. “The question now is: what is the world going to do?” Joint List MK Aida Touma-Souliman tells Mondoweiss. “The world until today still believes what Netanyahu says about his willingness to talk to the Palestinians. To have Lieberman as defense minister…I think this is a very clear message Netanyahu is sending to the world over his goals for the future.”
After campaigning on a platform of “Anybody-but-Netanyahu,” Israeli opposition leader Issac Herzog is in discussion to join forces with the one man he said he would never work alongside in a unity government. While Herzog’s constituents are mad about it, analysts say Netanyahu is hoping to build favor with the Obama administration with a broader tent. Still it is the Joint List’s Ayman Odeh that might stand the most to gain and Herzog’s defection would leave him to lead the opposition, the first time a Palestinian citizen of Israel would ever be in that position.
An Israeli investigation has revealed a 23-year old Palestinian woman and her 16-year old brother were killed last week at an army checkpoint in Jerusalem by civilian security contractors, not soldiers. The shooter, whose identity was not disclosed, is likely employed by the $180 million Israeli security conglomerate Modi’in Ezrachi.
The lead suspect of a gruesome kidnapping and murder of a Palestinian teen two summers ago was sentenced today by a Jerusalem district court to life in prison, plus 20 years for additional crimes, ending a lengthy criminal trial that shook Palestinian communities across Israel and the occupied territory. After the sentencing was announced the victim’s cousin Ansam Abu Khdeir told Mondoweiss the punishment was not enough, “he deserves more than he got, more than he will get,” she said.
Israeli forces killed two Palestinians, a woman and a minor, Wednesday morning at Qalandia checkpoint in Jerusalem after the female threw knife at border officials, according to a preliminary Israeli police investigation.
Last week more than 5,000 Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square in a massive outpouring of support for the Israeli soldier recently indicted on manslaughter charges for executing a wounded, immobile Palestinian man in Hebron. The rally included signs featuring the motto of the Nazi SS and was the latest example of the genocidal current running through Israeli society. In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “I suggest that everyone lower the flames,” but Netanyahu himself has been stoking these flames since Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a Jewish opponent of the Oslo Accords.
Pronouncement by Netanyahu and cabinet on Israeli right to enter Area A shows Israel has abandoned two state program for a “one-state, two systems… apartheid” arrangement, Saeb Erekat of the PLO says
The detention by Palestinian Authority security forces of three Palestinians who allegedly planned to carry out an attack inside Israel this week brought renewed public criticism of the PA amid a slew of political disputes. The PA finds itself pitted between a need to appease the Israeli authorities through security coordination and the mass upheaval such coordination brings among political rivals and the wider public.
Hamas’s armed wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, displayed for the first time Friday photographs of four Israelis believed to be held in Gaza, of whom two are civilians and two are soldiers killed in combat.
Palestinian citizens of Israel today marked “Land Day,” an annual commemoration of protests that began 40 years ago on March 30, 1976 when Israeli police killed six during a demonstration over land confiscations. As in years past, a general strike was announced for one day, and thousands protested in the north and the south of the country in opposition to a similar looming round of land expropriations.
One of Israel’s biggest newspapers, Yedioth Ahronoth, staged the country’s first national conference against the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement in Jerusalem. Antony Loewenstien reports, “It was a surreal day, filled with determination to defeat BDS, but participants were seemingly incapable of truly understanding why the movement was surging globally. Fear, paranoia, anger and determination was ubiquitous amongst the panelists and audience. BDS could never have imagined a more high-profile advertisement for its agenda.”
Last year Brazil refused to accept Israel’s bid for settler leader Dani Dayan to become the country’s next Israeli ambassador. According to a statement from Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office today, Dayan will now take a post in U.S. as the newest Consul General in New York instead.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the Israeli army Sunday as controversy gripped the country over a soldier caught on video shooting a Palestinian in the head as he lay on the ground: “Any challenge to the morality of the IDF is outrageous and unacceptable. The soldiers of the IDF, our children, maintain high ethical values while courageously fighting against bloodthirsty murderers under difficult operational conditions.”
As a video recording of an Israeli soldier killing a wounded Palestinian in Hebron on Thursday emerged hours after the shooting Israeli government officials and civil society representatives were split in their responses. Some quickly moved to condemn the shooting, while an outspoken group of Israeli leaders applauded the soldier and circulated a counter-theory of self-defense and heroism.
Elor Azraya, the soldier who summarily executed Abed al-Fattah Yusri al-Sharif as he lay immobile and unarmed on the street in Hebron yesterday is suspected of murder.
In his defense, his lawyer Eyal Beserglick said Azraya “acted in accordance with the rules of engagement as suggested by his superiors.”
The United Nations Human Rights Council will “produce a database of all business enterprises” operating in Israel’s settlements in territory occupied in 1967. The company blacklist was approved as part of a series of five resolutions passed by the Geneva-based group, condemning Israel’s control over Palestinian lands and re-affirming European guidelines to label Israeli products originating in the settlements.
Here is the transcript of the speech Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave this morning at the AIPAC policy conference in Washington DC, including the videos he presented.
Over the weekend arsonists set ablaze the home of a high-profile Palestinian witness scheduled to testify against Israeli settlers charged with firebombing the home of his relatives in the West Bank village of Duma last summer.
The killing of Israeli civilians and the young age of the Palestinian attackers, along with their almost inevitable deaths at the hands of police, are raising tough questions for Palestinians. A recent event in Ramallah featuring Mariam Barghouti, Diana Buttu and Husam Zomlot was billed as a discussion of whether an “Intifada” has began, but the conversation soon turned to personal feelings about knife attacks on Israelis.
In the Israeli military’s fairytale world, it is Palestinian society, and not the elephant in the room — Israel’s occupation of Palestine — that “cultivates hate, violence, and a willingness to kill.”
Knesset members from all coalition parties and some in the opposition signed a bill that would deport Palestinian attackers’ family members to Gaza, even though the Israeli Attorney General said last week that expelling the families from the West Bank to Gaza violates Israeli and international law.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas today for failing to condemn the killing of an American tourist in Jaffa yesterday evening in an attack where 10 more were injured.
Adalah, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, has released a new report (PDF) on discriminatory and anti-democratic legislation being considered by the Israeli Knesset. “We are being introduced to new laws and bills that in some way are narrowing the meaning of democracy here,” Adalah legal advocate Nadeem Shehadeh tells Mondoweiss.