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    Fathom 20 | From ‘intersectionality’ to the exclusion of Jewish students: BDS makes a worrying turn on US campuses

    Kenneth Waltzer is the executive director of the Academic Engagement Network, a national US faculty organisation committed to countering Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). In this survey of BDS activity on US campuses he argues that, where BDS has a following, Jewish students are increasingly being consigned to a place of insult and derision, barred from progressive causes, and labelled oppressors. Those who come to their aid get similar treatment. BDS is morphing into an attack on the equal rights of Jewish students to associate freely with others on campus, to shape their own organisations and goals, to express their religious and cultural identity and to observe their heritage free from…

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    Fathom 20 | Professor Asher Susser on Ian Black’s history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

    Ian Black has written a very well-researched, comprehensive and insightful survey of a century of Palestinian-Israeli conflict, from the Balfour Declaration to the present. Even though this is well-travelled terrain, his systematic and detailed account is instructive as it pulls together from a wealth of, albeit secondary, sources a complex story in a very coherent and well-structured narrative. However, the narrative of the conflict is marred by the absence of some critically important contexts and by an imbalance in the treatment of the two parties. CONTEXT Black argues, correctly, that the settler colonialist paradigm does not fit the Israeli Zionist story as it fails to grasp ‘the Jewish religious-national connection…

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    Fathom 20 | Israel70 ‘Young Voices’: Reading Herzl’s Altneuland in 2018

    Asaf Yusufov is one of seven new generation voices featured in Fathom Journal this week. Asaf is a former counsellor and manager at Tel Aviv’s Barnoar (an LGBTQ Youth Club) and is currently media coordinator and video editor for Darkenu, a non-parliamentary political movement of ‘the moderate majority’. I grew up in a patriotic Israeli family. My mother is a teacher and my father was seriously injured while serving in the Israeli Paratroopers. He is immensely proud of the country he loves, even though that love came at a cost. I served as a commander in a special combat unit. My service took me to the northern parts of the…

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    The Metaphoric Kite

    This is a Guest Post by Noah Phillips Hamas’ riling up the masses and ‘populist warfare’ tactics are a concerted effort to provoke Israeli retaliation.  These tactics are not novel by any means, nor are their espousal of terrorism and advocacy for the destruction of Israel by way of bombings, rockets, and lethal Intifadas. However, the recent use of incendiary kites deployed from Gaza by the thousands into Israel is especially disconcerting for its symbolic and violent outcomes. What are kites but symbols of youth and innocence, emblems of playfulness and wonder for children? But leave it to Hamas to pervert a toy and joyful experience for youth.  As the…

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    Fathom 20 | Amos Oz’s Israel

    While Amos Oz’s novels are often read reductively as political allegories, Liam Hoare suggests that Oz’s special subject is really a particular people, the Israelis, and their experience in a particular place. ‘All the stuff of Israel’ is in his books, writes Hoare, and we should count ourselves fortunate to have such a guide. INTERPRETING AMOS OZ It is the fate of the Israeli novelist to be misread. So many, from David Grossman to Nir Baram, write with two pens — one for the novel and another for the essay — and thus there can be, Amos Oz has noted, an unwillingness on the part of readers to draw a…

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    Fathom 20 | Burning money: the urgent need to rethink UNRWA

    Dr Simon A. Waldman is the author of Anglo-American Diplomacy and the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1948-1951. In this opinion piece he makes the case for the urgent institutional reform and restructuring of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) before other countries follow Trump and cut funding, making the humanitarian work of UNRWA impossible. In many countries, it’s a serious offence to burn or destroy currency. Get caught doing it and you might find yourself with a fine or even prison time. However, by unconditionally funding the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), burning money is exactly what successive governments have been doing. For…

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    Tommy Robinson Arrest Explained

    The Secret Barrister has written an excellent post explaining the circumstances surrounding the imprisonment of Stephen Yaxley Lennon AKA Tommy Robinson. some parts have been added below however it is worth reading the whole thing for a fuller picture. 7. So what you’re saying is that Tommy Robinson was given a suspended sentence simply for trying to report on a case? Free speech is truly dead. No, ye of little brain. He was found to be in contempt of court and given a suspended sentence because his actions put a serious criminal trial in jeopardy. Running around a court building shouting “paedophile” at defendants during a live trial, or live-streaming…

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    Fathom 20 | ‘To understand what makes Israel tick today you must understand who Netanyahu is and how he became the man he is’: a Fathom Forum with Anshel Pfeffer

    Anshel Pfeffer is the author of a major new biography of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In this wide-ranging discussion at a recent Fathom Forum in London Pfeffer talked candidly about his book and its subject. He claims that Netanyahu’s sustained dominance of Israeli politics is no interlude after which normal Labour Zionist service will be resumed. Bibi, says Pfeffer, is ‘Israeli through and through, and in order to understand what makes Israel tick today you must understand Netanyahu’. Below is an edited transcript. Question: What distinguishes your biography of Benjamin Netanyahu from the others that have been published in the last few years? Anshel Pfeffer: I started working on the…

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    Fathom 20 | Israel’s grand strategy and the return of Russia as a Great Power

    Former head of Mossad Efraim Halevy presents a sweeping overview of Israel’s strategic situation. He argues that the desire in both US political parties to pivot away from the region, coinciding with the equally strong desire of Russia to return to the Middle East as a status-hungry great power will have significant long-term consequences for Israel and for the peace process. ‘Trump will be unable to close a deal without President Putin on board,’ says Halevy, so while a joint American-Russian peace plan (or at least one signed off by Putin) for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may seem outlandish, it may also be the only prospect in town. 1948 AND THE…

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    Fathom 20 | ‘Leadership is about telling your own people the things that are difficult to hear’: an interview with Yair Lapid

    According to the latest polls, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid is Israel’s most liked politician after the Prime Minister. In this exclusive interview with Fathom, he talks about Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran deal, prospects for restarting peace talks, and why he believes centrist politics still holds the key to Israel’s future security as a Jewish and democratic state. Fathom: What are your thoughts on the JCPOA nuclear agreement and US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from it? Yair Lapid: I believed the JCPOA was a bad agreement and needed to be fixed. But I thought it was worth giving ourselves another chance to try to recreate the international coalition…