Others will have different short lists of 'best' books, films, and videos on
Israel/Palestine but, for what it's worth (and I think they are all platinum) here goes with
Five key books
1. Ramzi Baroud, My Father was a Freedom Fighter The Palestinian story told through the lives of real individuals in Gaza
2. Lenni Brenner, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators Record of Zionist collaboration with anti-Semitic regimes of even the most extreme kinds. Just republished - buy it - but also still available online
3. Noam Chomsky, The Fateful Triangle Meticulously researched history of the US-Israeli alliance that aims at the destruction of the Palestinian people
4. Ghada Karmi, Married to Another Man A history and analysis of the nightmare that Zionism brought to Palestine and how it can be resolved
5. Ben White, Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner's Guide A good place to start. Short, succinct and demonstrating clearly the all-pervasive apartheid system that Israel imposes throughout the area its military controls
Five key books that are available on-line
1. Ralph Schoenman, Hidden History of Zionism (1988) Still a great place to start for a demolition job on the myths of Zionism
2. Anthony Loewenstein & Ahmed Noor, After Zionism: One State for Israel and Palestine Includes essays by Omar Barghouti, John Mearsheimer, Ilan Pappé, Jonathan Cook,
3. Ilan Pappe, The Israel/Palestine Question, Essays by Rashid Khalidi, Beshara Doumani, Butrus Abu-Manneh, Nur Massalha, Avi Shlaim, Uri Ram, Gershon Shafir
4. CEIA factsheets on Zionism: Facts and Myths Short, clear and succinct summary from the Campaign to End Israeli Apartheid http://www.palestineremembered.com/download/ZionismFactsAndMyths.pdf
5. Walid Khalidi, Plan Dalet Khalidi demonstrates the coldly deliberate planning that directed the Zionist ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1947-48 http://palestine-studies.org/enakba/military/Khalidi,%20Plan%20Dalet%20Revisited.pdf
Five great films
1. The Promise (2011), not a film, but a masterful, umissable 4-part series by Peter Kosminsky for Channel 4 http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-promise
2. Arna's Children (2004) recreates brilliantly the lives of young people in Jenin Refugee Camp under occupation
3. Jenin, Jenin (2003) Mohammed Bakri allows Palestinians to tell their version of the Israeli assault on Jenin Camp, when the Israeli Army used Wehrmacht military manuals that were used against the fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising to execute their plans.
4. Defamation (2009) Yoav Shamir This amazing film is about the exaggeration and manufacture of anti-semitism in the failing effort to legitimise Israel.
5. The Lab (2013) Yotam Feldman Wars no longer impose a cost on the Israeli economy but boost earnings by allowing Israel to sell weaponry as field tested on Palestinians. Due to be broadcast on Al Jazzera on Wednesday 7th May 2014 at 8.00pm GMT.
If you can get past the immense amount of rubbish on YouTube, from Jew-haters, Holocaust deniers, Nakba deniers, there are some gems:
1. John Pilger, Palestine is still the issue. A classic https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TocsC16HIOQ
2. Noam Chomsky - US/Israeli Crimes Against Palestine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdfzC5NNAew
3. Zachary Lockman, A Brief History of Zionism (2010) An expert run through the history of the Zionist movement from its origins to the present.
4. Salman Abu Sitta, The Right of return. Magisterial, memorable re-telling and analysis of the brutal ethnic cleansing of 1948
5. Archbishop Atallah Hanna, Talk at Al Awda conference in US
The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign started in autumn 2000 in response to the Palestinian second uprising against Israeli occupation (intifada). The SPSC has branches and groups of supporters in several Scottish cities and universities, as well as individual members across Scotland. We are all volunteers, independent of all political formations, and wholly dependent on donations to finance our activities. We are unaligned with any Palestinian factions and support the right of the Palestinian people as a whole to self-determination.
We work with a generally sympathetic Scottish public at every level from the Parliament to street publicity events..
We detect a huge shift in popular support away from Israel and towards support for the human and national rights of the Palestinian people. We are committed to building effective solidarity with the people of Palestine - solidarity which can send a message of hope inside the ghettoes Israel is now building across the whole of Palestine, and which will also send a message to people in Israel that they will face mounting world-wide opposition if they continue along their present path.
Boycott is the key
There is always a need to educate the public about the history of Palestine, its present day realities, and the real danger of Israel accelerating its ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in the future. We believe, however, despite general press and official UK Government positions of support for Israeli crimes, that a sufficient awareness has been reached among broad sectors of public opinion to sustain a successful campaign of active protest against Israeli crimes in Palestine and the wider region.
Most SPSC activities are related in some way to the Palestinian appeal for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israeli companies and state-supported institutions. We have identified Israel's Achilles' Heel: while the regional super-power can kill lightly-armed Palestinians with virtual impunity, the Zionist State has become deeply unpopular around the world and vulnerable to boycott. Wherever we unearth institutional collaboration with Israel in Scottish society, whether in universities, city councils, and the Scottish Parliament, we are able to challenge it with every chance of succeeding. We are always working to solve the fundamental problem of how the many citizens already sympathetic to Palestine can make a real difference.
Working for BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) against Israel
The major part of our work, therefore, is responding to the appeal from the entirety of Palestinian civil society for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, as long as the Zionist State denies Palestinian human rights and violates international law. The SPSC focuses on specific targets where we can measure our successes and setbacks.
The Jewish National Fund (JNF-KKL)
This racist organisation is one of the basic institutions for the past and ongoing dispossession of the Palestinian people. The JNF-KKL operates in the UK as a charity, although its stated aims are to acquire land in Israel/Palestine which can never be re-sold to a Palestinian, or any non-Jew, and is to be used exclusively for the benefit of Jews.
We work to strip the JNF of its charitable status because:although many others have failed before us, there is in the present climate, a real chance of winningmost Scottish people, when told of the activities of the JNF, are appalled at it being given charitable status
The Israeli-owned Eden Springs water cooler company
We work to spread the boycott against this particular Israeli company, Eden Springs. Contracts with Eden Springs are beginning to be cancelled. We focus on Eden Springs because:
it is vulnerable: almost everybody in Britain can reach and punish this Israeli company, either using their local council democracy or by petitioning and protesting to their employer. Eden Springs has contracts with most universities, health trusts and local authorities in Scotland. Eden Springs actively and undeniably violates international law in the Occupied Golan. Eden Springs is part of a harsh system of water apartheid which privileges illegal Jewish settlers over resident Arabs.
Any campaign for active boycott of Israeli institutions has, obviously, to be based on convincing enough people that Israel's crimes are of such a magnitude, and the British Government's complicity so clearly wrong, that British civil society has to act.
Scottish PSC runs well-attended public events regularly. We also use video-conferencing technology to link up Palestinian and international audiences and speakers. In this way a large number of Scottish and other universities can combine to participate in pro-Palestinian events, sometimes several thousands of people at a time. Speakers have included the late Edward Said, as well as Azmi Bishara, Noam Chomsky and a host of others.
Delegations to Palestine
SPSC organises regular delegations to Palestine with the specific aim of motivating participants to return to Scotland to build the BDS campaign against Israel. The searing testimonies they receive first-hand while in Palestine are powerful motivators to work on their return for effective solidarity with Palestine.
Funds raised through donations and memberships fees assists Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign to develop our agitation throughout Scottish society, using the available weapons of non-violent democratic action, especially our right to boycott and disinvest, to isolate and de-legitimise the apologetics of supporters of Israeli human rights violations, ethnic cleansing and mass killings.
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign
16 February 2016
The UK Government plans to criminalise the adoption of BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) policies by local authorities, health boards and student unions. It will act directly "against organisations that impose boycotts" and it will encourage "others to take such bodies to court”. Tories echo the dishonest Zionist claim that BDS campaigning against Israeli apartheid leads to "anti-semitism”.
Israel no longer dismisses the international BDS campaign, viewing us as a “strategic threat”. The Government attacks mean that solidarity with the Palestinian people is now linked to our right to oppose the crimes of Government. Not even disgraced Tony Blair thought of outlawing opposition to his crimes.
Cameron is far from original: domestic opponents of Britain’s invasion of foreign lands and massacres of colonial peoples have always faced repression, although nothing like the insane levels of naked violence faced by those resisting British invaders on their own soil. Gordon Brown made moves to criminalise BDS when he was Prime Minister.
SPSC calls for defiance of the UK Government’s effort to stifle non-violent opposition to the violent crimes of Israel. We call on student unions to pass motions supporting the Palestinian call for BDS, and for citizens to organise support for councils adopting BDS positions.
Powerful and wealthy enemies cannot be defeated unless you act. The Israeli Government, unworried by decades of sombre denunciations of their crimes as long as the weapons and aid kept flowing, has allocated 100m shekels to fight the BDS threat. The Israeli Embassy in London funds lobbying efforts north of the border to deny Palestinians solidarity, while Israeli bulldozers destroy homes, and settlers and soldiers steal, terrorise, torture and murder Palestinians at will.
Palestinian people are being slaughtered by highly profitable British and Scottish weapons technology. To oppose this effectively we also have to defend our own rights to free association and free expression. These rights were hard won and we must not allow them to be taken away by a Tory Government held in widespread contempt, who lack any democratic mandate in Scotland.
Scottish PSC is an extension to the Palestinian struggle for freedom against Israel's ethnic cleansing and genocide in Palestine. Friends and foes acknowledge our determined efforts; join us to strengthen the effective and dynamic Scottish component of the global BDS campaign, to send a powerful message of solidarity to the Palestinian people and a warning to Israel that its crimes must end.
The Scottish Government has condemned "any attempt to limit local authority’s autonomy and people’s right to protest, and we have made it clear that we do not dictate to cultural institutions, organisations or individuals on what approach they should take.” The fight is on and we need to let every MP and MSP know how we feel:
We publicise in Scotland the persecution of the Palestinian people by the Israeli armed forces and settlers and build active solidarity with the Palestinians in their struggle for justice. We seek to influence government and other public and private institutions in Scotland towards policies promoting Palestinian rights. We encourage and facilitate visits to Palestine by Scots interested in gaining an understanding of the reality of this conflict.
As a campaign we take no position on the state or states that should exist following a resolution to the present conflict. We welcome as members those who support a two-state solution, an Israeli state existing alongside a Palestinian state, as well as those who support the establishment of a single state in Israel/Palestine not dominated by either ethnic group.
We believe that only a solution based on justice for all can bring a lasting peace and acceptable quality of life for the people of the region. This includes the millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants in the camps and the Palestinian diaspora. We stand with the Palestinians of the camps in their fifty-year struggle for their human rights, above all their right to return to their stolen lands and properties.
We stand also with the Palestinians of Israel¸ both citizens and non-citizens of the state. We highlight and oppose Israel’s Apartheid system.
We support the right of the Palestinian people to resist oppression¸ as guaranteed by the Geneva Conventions. This does not imply that we support all of the tactics employed by the various resistance organizations¸ while recognizing the unequal nature of the struggle that they face.
We oppose racism in all its forms¸ including Islamophobia and anti-Jewish racism. We recognize that the Israeli state continues to benefit from anti-Semitism while the Palestinians suffer.
We note with alarm the erosion of support from western governments for the two-state solution based on a complete Israeli withdrawal from the territories occupied in the 1967 conflict. Particularly unacceptable is the recent change in US government policy in favour of recognising facts created by Israeli settlement construction. We view the UK’s support for Ariel Sharon’s "disengagement" plan in a similar light. The UK claim to see this as a positive step towards the two state solution is grossly unrealistic given the current realities.
We note also the failure of western governments to match their rhetoric on human rights with action in support of the defenceless Palestinian population. For example we regard the UK’s support for maintaining the favourable trading status of Israel with the European Union (against the wishes of the European Parliament) as an expression of complicity with the crimes of the Israeli regime.
We note the struggles of the Israeli peace movement under the most disadvantageous conditions, and its inability to prevent the ongoing genocide as long as the political and social corruption of billions of annual US dollars in military and economic ‘aid’ continues and as long as such massive US protection encourages the Israeli government culture of impunity and dismissal of overwhelming world opinion.
We note the role of the UN in the initial violation of the rights of the native Palestinians in 1948, and its complete inability to arrange the return of a single refugee from 1948 until the present day in spite of the UN’s support for the founding of the State of Israel being conditional on such a return.
We believe that only the internationalisation of the struggle against Israeli genocide holds out any hope for the desperate people of Palestine. This means, in a situation where massive numbers of people in Britain have realised that terrible crimes are being committed by the Israeli state:
Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign
28 Auguest 2005
Scottish PSC Statement, 17 November 2015
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) has been committed to campaigning for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of Israel since the call was launched from Palestine in 2005. Even before that call SPSC had worked to defeat the bases of support for Israel in Scotland, for example, by campaigning vigorously and successfully against the racist JNF and by protesting Israeli football and cricket teams visiting Scotland.
The growth, proven effectiveness and future potential of the BDS movement has led the Israeli Government to finance and train anti-BDS personnel worldwide and in Scotland. A new tactic being used by the Israeli Embassy in London is to send invitations to and open 'dialogue' with individuals holding pro-Palestine positions whom the apartheid regime believes it can detach from others it considers 'extreme', i.e. committed to BDS.
We have seen attempts in Scotland to urge some individuals to attend or otherwise open relations with the Israeli Embassy. SPSC condemns in the strongest terms attempts at normalisation with the Israeli Embassy or other Israeli State agents. Dealing with Israeli State bodies is a red line for SPSC and would be counter to our successful actions aimed at isolating the state that dispossesses, tortures and massacres the Palestinian people.
The Palestinians are fighting for their freedom, indeed for their survival, against a genocidal regime. Those who urge Palestine supporters to attend the Israeli Embassy are, whether knowingly or unknowingly, doing the work of the Israeli State. This core position is non-negotiable, and only by responding strategically in Scotland to the Palestinian call for BDS have we been able to contribute to the international developments that have led JK Rowling, Boris Johnson and many others to attack the BDS movement, and have led many pro-Israel groups to move from public derision to alarm.
SPSC reaffirms our commitment to the BDS Call and therefore our opposition to normalisation. We also recognise that the efforts of the Israeli government demonstrate a degree of desperation on the part of the Zionist State faced with the palpable momentum of an increasingly organised international campaign of BDS.
“Both within the Israeli community and around the world, there exists a great deal of discomfort and confusion about the tactics and intentions of anti-normalisation work. Many people find the BDS campaign, among others, to be “imbalanced” or overly punitive; many believe the Palestinians should “dialogue” with the Israelis about what’s happening in the oPt, because the problem is just a lack of information and mutual understanding; many believe that only a “positive” approach will do, and BDS doesn’t qualify.
“Unfortunately, these claims are not only patronizing and ineffectual, but also irrelevant.”
Read the full article ‘Thoughts on normalisation in the Israel-Palestine conflict’ by Rifat Odeh Kassis
“Nothing Normal About It” – Palestine, Normalization and Dialogue on Campus– a comic made by Ethan Heitner in partnership with Tanya Keilani of Columbia SJP, contains the complete text of the Statement of Palestinian Students Against Normalization
The struggle between Israel and the Palestinians is not unique -- whatever the news media may suggest. Lorenzo Veracini argues that the conflict is best understood in terms of colonialism. Like many other societies, Israel is a settler society. Looking in detail at the evolution of other colonial regimes -- apartheid South Africa, French Algeria and Australia -- Veracini presents a thoughtful interpretation of the dynamics of colonialism, offering a clear framework within which to understand the middle east crisis.