Category Archives:
Israeli Government

Giving up on political propaganda, Israeli consulate turns to Ted-style inspirational conference

Rob Bryan on
An attendee at the 2016 Beyond Conference. (Photo:  Consulate General of Israel in New York/Facebook)

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.

Religious zealots ready for takeover of Israeli army

Jonathan Cook on
Naftali Bennett, leader of the Jewish Home party, recently boasted that the national-religious camp, though only a tenth of the population, held “leadership positions in all realms in Israel”.

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.

Joint List MK: Lieberman deal reveals ‘the real face of Netanyahu’

Emily Mulder on
Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman in 2012 (Photo: REUTERS/Baz Ratner)

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.”

Aymen Odeh and the Joint List stand to gain if Herzog joins Netanyahu government

Allison Deger on
Aymen Odeh

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.

Meet the private contractors manning Israel’s checkpoints

Allison Deger on
A member of the Israeli security forces gestures towards Palestinian men while they wait to cross Qalandia checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem, in the occupied West Bank, 2013. (Photo Issam Rimawi/APA Images)

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.

Ringleader in Abu Khdeir kidnapping and murder given life sentence

Allison Deger on
16-year old Mohammed Abu Khdeir, kidnapped and murdered by three Israelis on July 2, 2014. (Photo: AFP)

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.

As right-wing incitement spreads through Israeli society, Netanyahu looks to extinguish fire he has stoked for years

Carlos Latuff on
(Image: Carlos Latuff)

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.

PA under renewed criticism for security coordination with Israel

Emily Mulder on
Palestinian supporters of the Hamas movement burn an Israeli flag during a demonstration against the political arrests and the violence against Hamas members by PA security in the West Bank, in Gaza City on June 11, 2014. (Photo: Mohammed Asad/APA Images)

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.

Palestinians march in Negev to protest Bedouin evictions on 40th ‘Land Day’ commemoration

Allison Deger on
Land Day protest in the southern Negev village of Umm el-Hieran, slated for demolition, as Palestinians mark the 40th anniversary of protests of land confiscations. (Photo: Joint List)

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.

‘We don’t want to find ourselves in a position like apartheid South Africa’: A report from Israel’s first national conference against BDS

Antony Loewenstein on
Entrance to the Ynet-sponsored #stopBDS conference. (Photo: Antony Loewenstein)

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.”

Rejected by Brazil, Israeli settler leader Dani Dayan given diplomatic post in US

Allison Deger on
Israeli Consul General Dani Dayan who formerly was the chairman of the pro-settler group the Yesha Council. (Photo: Nati Shohat/Flash90)

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.

Netanyahu defends Israeli military after soldier caught on tape executing Palestinian: ‘Any challenge to the morality of the IDF is outrageous’

Kate on
Benjamin Netanyahu

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.”

Israeli soldier filmed killing wounded Palestinian finds support among Israeli politicians

Allison Deger on
Naftali Bennett at an Israel Project event in Jerusalem. (The Israel Project/Flickr)

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.

UN Human Rights Council to create ‘blacklist’ database of settlement businesses

Allison Deger on
The Israeli flag flying over Israeli settlements in the West Bank (Photo: Reuters)

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.

Palestinians grapple with knife attacks as violence enters fifth month

Allison Deger on
Palestinians clash with Israeli security forces during a protest against the separation wall and Jewish settlement near the Ofer prison in the west of the city of Ramallah on the West Bank on March 11, 2016. (Photo: Anadolu Agency/ Getty Images)

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.