Common Grounds

Our Wednesday News Analysis | The American Jewish war over Zionism can begin

November 16, 2022

By Abraham A. van Kempen

Published November 16, 2022

Our Wednesday News Analysis | The American Jewish war over Zionism can begin

Source: Mondoweiss


Published November 8, 2022


Zionism destroys everything in its path. It has corrupted every major American Jewish organization. And Netanyahu's return allows American Jews to acknowledge this.



Oh yes, those Israelis are tough.
Tough like Nazis were tough.”


Phil Weiss



I last visited Israel in 2018 just before it passed the constitutional law declaring the country the nation state of the Jews, and in those four years it has become a narrower place. The signs of religious nationalism are everywhere today, even near Tel Aviv. The settlers have now taken over the army (Yossi Gurvitz tells me), and when activists visit hotspots in the South Hebron Hills settlers smash their car windows with rocks as soldiers do nothing. The young bartender at the King David Hotel tells me there is no occupation, those are Jewish places not the West Bank.


When I was young, my girlfriend came back from Israel and said, “It’s hard there, they are tougher than we are,” as a form of praise. American Jews admired those Jews for being tough. Now it’s different. The ugliness of Israel is inescapable. The guns everywhere. The hatred of Palestinians. The complete acceptance of apartheid.


The importance of Tom Friedman’s article saying the Israel we knew is gone is not about Palestinians. No, the Israel Palestinians know is the same. It is about American Jews. They are finally catching a clue. That is the importance of last week’s election, the Itamar Ben-Gvir election, in which his fascistic Religious Zionism party took 14 seats, and hard right wing parties took 74 (per Dahlia Scheindlin). The new ugly Israel will alienate American Jews, as Israel lobbyists Dennis Ross and David Makovsky openly fretted in an Op-Ed.


Tom Friedman is following in the footsteps of Peter Beinart and Jeffrey Goldberg: Zionist journalists who stood up for Israel again and again in the public square then had enough. Beinart is the bravest, he has come out for one state. Goldberg completely disappeared when he saw that the occupation was devouring Israel five years ago. Now Friedman is pivoting, and liberal Zionists are in complete meltdown; J Street wants to change the subject to AIPAC and the U.S. elections...


Read more: The American Jewish war over Zionism can begin




Source: Middle East Monitor


By Ramzy's Baroud and Romana Rubeo
Published November 5, 2022



"… three enemies pose a "principal threat" to the Palestinian national movement:
"The local, reactionary [Palestinian] leadership; the regimes in the Arab states surrounding Palestine and the imperialist-Zionist enemy."



On Monday, 31 October, Palestinians in the town of Al-Eizariya, east of occupied East Jerusalem, observed a general strike. The strike was declared part of the community's mourning of 49-year-old Barakat Moussa Odeh, who was killed by Israeli forces in Jericho a day earlier.


This is not an isolated case. General strikes have been observed throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories in recent weeks as a form of civil disobedience and protest against the Israeli attacks on the cities of Nablus, Jerusalem, Jenin and Hebron. They were also held to mourn Palestinian fighters killed following shooting operations against Israeli soldiers of illegal Jewish settlers.


Historically, general strikes have been declared and observed by working-class Palestinians. This form of protest often represents the backbone of popular, grassroots resistance in Palestine, starting many years before the establishment of Israel, on the ruins of the historic Palestinian homeland.


The return of the general strike tactics suggests that the new revolt in the West Bank is a direct outcome of working-class resistance. Indeed, many of the young Palestinian fighters hail from refugee camps or working-class population centres. Their revolt stems from the growing realisation that the political tactics of the elites have resulted in nothing tangible, and that Palestinian freedom will certainly not be achieved through Mahmoud Abbas and his self-serving politics.


The budding revolt also seems to share many similarities with the Palestinian anti-colonial revolt between 1936-39, as well as the First Intifada, the popular uprising of 1987. Both historical events were shaped and sustained by working-class Palestinians. While the interests of wealthy classes often negotiated political spaces that allowed them to exist alongside various ruling powers, working-class Palestinians, the most disaffected from colonialism and military occupation, fought back as a collective...


Read more: The 'principal threat': Time to talk about the Palestinian class struggle






Source: The Times of Israel


By Amir Fuchs
Published November 11, 2022


With no integral checks and balances to the Israeli system, this so-called reform would leave human rights and minorities susceptible to abuses by the majority



“… an override clause would turn the country
into one of the weakest democracies in the world,
human rights and minorities would have no effective protection
against the majority."



In the absence of a formal constitution, Israel has a set of Basic Laws that regulate the division of powers among the branches of government and anchor some human and civil rights. An “override clause” is a mechanism that would allow the Knesset to enact legislation that overrides a Basic Law.


When an ordinary law passed by the Knesset contradicts a provision of a Basic Law (especially when it seriously infringes on human rights without a justification, based on the grounds that it serves a worthy cause in a way that is proportional), as the Supreme Court reads and interprets the Basic Laws, the court can declare the law “unconstitutional.”


In these cases, an override clause, if introduced, would allow the Knesset to re-enact the law that was struck down, despite the Supreme Court’s explicit ruling that it is incompatible with a Basic Law (that is, that the law is unconstitutional).


In some versions of the proposal, the override clause would even permit a law to be shielded in this way when first passed, and thus be totally immune to judicial review. In an early proposal submitted by several Knesset members, the support of only a bare minimum of 61 Knesset members would suffice to override provisions of the Basic Laws; in other words, precisely the number needed to control the legislature (there are even proposals that would allow the Knesset to pass a regular law, with any majority, contrary to a Supreme Court ruling). In essence, this would allow the majority to do as it wishes and ignore the Basic Laws the Knesset itself passed, and not heed High Court rulings, whether ab initio or post factum.


There is no country in the world except Canada (from which we can learn a lesson as to the damage done by an override clause) where a parliamentary majority can override the constitution...


Read more: All you need to know about Israel’s ‘override clause’


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