The recent media revelations of the Israeli justice system’s treatment of Ben Zygier, who was known as Prisoner X, has further exposed to the world the charade that is the carefully manufactured image of Israel as a supposedly democratic and liberal state. Many politically aware people already know about Israeli human rights abuses, massacres and other crimes, but the almost total lack of reporting in the mainstream media of the true nature of Israel has kept some people in the dark about the immorality of the Israeli state that lurks behind the mask.
On February 3, Artists Against Apartheid Australia (AAPA) sent an email to the organisers of WOMADelaide 2013 with a request to reject funds it received from the Israeli embassy for the upcoming show of the Alaev Family. The call is part of the global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign, initiated by a wide range of Palestinian groups. It targets Israel in a bid to force it to abandon its apartheid policies against Palestinians.
More than 10,000 Palestinians took part in a funeral procession on February 25 in the West Bank village of Saeer for 30-year-old Arafat Jaradat, who died while in Israeli detention. Jaradat's death on February 23 in Megiddo Prison came less than a week after he was arrested for throwing stones at Israeli cars in the West Bank. Although Israeli officials say he died of cardiac arrest, an autopsy shows clear signs that his death was the result of horrific torture, according to Palestinian Authority officials.
It appears that the movement for a cultural boycott of Israel can claim another victory. On January 5 guitarist Stanley Jordan announced he will not be performing at the winter installment of Israel’s Red Sea Jazz Festival. In a brief statement on his Facebook page, Jordan stated: “My performance at the Red Sea Jazz Festival has been cancelled. I apologize for any inconvenience to anyone.” Jordan, an acclaimed an innovative guitarist, had been billed as a headliner at the festival.
The Israeli right-wing may not have lived up to expectations, but the real losers of Israel's national elections on January 22 were the Palestinian people. Though they lost ground to more “centrist” parties such as Yesh Atid and Labor, the right-wing Likud-Beitenu alliance remains the largest bloc in the assembly. Although he will remain prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu will probably have to compromise with moderates to form a coalition.
For the first time ever, the African National Congress (ANC), the ruling party in South Africa, today made the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) on Israel part of its official policy. Mbuyiseni Ndlozi of BDS South Africa said the decision “by the ANC’s National Conference, its highest decision making body, is by far the most authoritative endorsement of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign”.
A call by 62 top football players, many from English Premier League and first division teams in Europe, condemned Israel’s recent attack on Gaza and the decision by UEFA, the European football federation, to hold its 2013 Under 21 tournament in Israel. The call has received wide and favourable coverage. This takes the Palestinian campaign for the boycott of Israel, especially the sporting boycott, to new levels of international mainstream prominence and legitimacy.
A major theme of this year’s US presidential election campaign was the threat to world peace allegedly posed by Iran’s nuclear program. Democrat President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney competed to take the hardest line. Obama boasted of organising the “strongest coalition and the strongest sanctions against Iran in history” and promised to “take all options necessary” to force Iran to abandon its nuclear program.
Israel's brutal eight-day assault on Gaza, which killed dozens of Palestinian children, was formally ended with an Egyptian-negotiated ceasefire between Israel and Hamas on November 21. It caused fresh carnage in the besieged Gaza Strip, which is regularly bombed by Israel and has not recovered from Israel's 22-day offensive in 2008-09 that killed about 1400 people. Rockets fired from Gaza in response to Israeli attacks killed five Israelis.
Israel's latest attack on Gaza killed about 32 times more Palestinians than Israelis killed by Palestinian rockets. But few who followed mainstream media reports would realise this fact. When the ceasefire was announced on November 21, 161 Palestinians and five Israelis had been killed in the attacks, CBSnews.com said. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights said that by November 20, 66% of Palestinians killed were civilians. Of the more than 900 Palestinians injured, 97% were civilians.