Jeff Halper on Israel Lawfare group

Jeff Halper, Facebook, June 25, 2016

This is an important piece by Ali Abunimah, posted on the The Electronic Intifada. It exposes a dark, little-known campaign by the Israel government, Israeli “human rights” lawyers and their allies in the US and elsewhere to pursue a campaign of what they call “Lawfare.” The goal is not only the usual one of “reframing” Israel as an icon of human rights, delegitimizing BDS and demonizing Arabs and Islam, but something far more subversive and dangerous: to actually change international law so that states (like Israel and the US) can kill non-combatants at will (as long as they are classified as “terrorists”) and can unleash their mighty armies against people merely resisting occupation, neocolonialism and exploitation (as Israel has done in its last three assaults on Gaza, or the US is doing in Iraq, Afghanistan and everywhere it is fighting “insurgencies”).

They define “lawfare” as when “terrorists” (who can be whoever you want them to be) use international laws of human rights as weapons against democracies — those same good democracies that impoverish, conquer and exploit them — thus rendering illegitimate all resistance and permitting uncontrolled attacks by the dominant powers. In fact, just as Brooke Goldstein, the head of the Lawfare Project, explains how Israeli propaganda must appropriate the language of human rights, so, too, does it appropriate the protections international law affords innocent civilians, turning their attempts to constrain military attacks on them by appealing to the recognized Principles of Distinction (between civilians and combatants) and of Proportionality into illegitimate forms of “terrorism.” Its about as Orwellian as you can get, and the video Ali’s post contains provides a glimpse into this twisted world where everything is reduced to PR/Hasbara/Newspeak, and all in the end to justify and sell Israeli repression.

One of the people in the video that you’ve never head of — in fact, which 98% of American Jews have never heard of — is Malcolm Honlein, the Executive Vice-President of an organization called the Conference of Presidents (of Jewish organizations, an exclusive “club” that even J Street was not allowed to join). Honlein is probably the most influential Jew in the US. He appears in Congress and in the Oval Office as the “official” leader of the Jewish community, its “official” voice even though he’s never been elected and American Jews have never heard him. He is also religious, as against the vast majority of American Jews, is probably a Republican and certainly does not represent the views of American Jews, still the most liberal community in the US and increasingly critical of Israel themselves. If the vast majority of American Jews knew that their “voice” had been appropriated by the lies of Honlein, and that racist Islamophobes and apologists for right-wing Israeli governments like Goldstein are well-funded to undermine human rights, perhaps the most cherished value of American Jews, they would be outraged. Its time for a mainstream Jewish intifada against these marginal types who are dragging the name of the Jewish community into extremely dark places.

Israel’s Global War Web and a One-State Solution

Jeff Spitzer-Resnick, The Progressive, May 10, 2016

Jeff Halper, anthropologist and Israeli peace activist, does not shy from unconventional positions. In his latest book, “War Against the People: Israel, the Palestinians and Global Pacification,” he argues that nations around the world allow Israel to continue its repression of Palestinians because they benefit from Israeli technology and security support to pacify their own people.

Halper lays out how Israel provides military and security technology across the globe and has developed an international military and security web that has engendered often unexpected support from around the world, including from China and India. He argues that Israel has used the Palestinian territories as a laboratory for this military and security technology, which it now proffers worldwide.

Halper still sees a way forward to peace.

Co-founder and Director of the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolition (ICAHD), Halper was born in Hibbing, Minnesota, engaged in anti-Vietnam war protests, and then emigrated to Israel in 1973, where he has lived and engaged in peace activism ever since. He is currently on a book tour, which included a stop in Madison, Wisconsin.

Until about five years ago, Halper believed that the much-touted two-state solution, through which an independent Palestine would be created out of the West Bank and Gaza, was the pathway to a just and peaceful resolution. But he now believes Israel has intentionally made this solution impossible with its ever-expanding settlements in the West Bank.

At the time of the Oslo accords in 1993, he notes, there were 200,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank. That number doubled by the year 2000, and currently there are 600,000 settlers there. Israeli building plans project a settler population of about 1 million in the foreseeable future.

In Halper’s view, the current state of affairs amounts to the warehousing of Palestinians, and that most Israelis do not approve of the radical settlers (90 percent of settlers are not political, but merely seeking cheap subsidized housing). His proposed solution for the future of IsraelPalestine (he combines the name into one word): a bi-national democratic state that would recognize the importance and viability of both the Jewish and Palestinian people. He proposes that citizens would get two votes for members of a bicameral legislature, one vote for a democratically elected house, and the other vote for a house whose purpose would be to protect the rights of each people from a possible tyranny of the majority.

Israel does not currently have a constitution, so Halper believes that to make a bi-national state work, a constitution would need to be adopted to protect the integrity and rights of both peoples.

Of course, the real question is what needs to change to make such a binational state a reality. Halper sees the current leadership of both Israel and Palestine as incapable or unwilling to come to any resolution of their conflict. Noting President of the Palestinian Authority (PA) Mahmoud Abbas’s poor health and the lack of widespread support for him among his people, Halper sees the PA as verging on collapse. Halper believes that collapse will create sufficient chaos to shake up the status quo. Halper is quick to admit that a binational state cannot come into being without strong popular Palestinian support, which is currently not there.

As for the role of progressives in the United States, Halper argues that they cannot force a solution on Israelis and Palestinians. He supports what he calls “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” of Israel, and has coined the phrase, “BDS 4 BDS,” or “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions for a Bi-national Democratic State.” He is concerned that the current BDS movement must become connected to an end game, because as only a protest movement it is unlikely to accomplish anything meaningful.

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May 4, 2016
An Evening with Jeff Halper

Wednesday, May 4, 2016
7:00 pm
DeLuca Forum, Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery
330 N. Orchard Street, Madison
Book Signing to Follow

In his new book, War Against the People: Israel, the Palestinians and Global Pacification, Jeff Halper argues that Israel’s need to continuously suppress and dispossess the Palestinians has led to the militarization of everyday life, and that systems like database tracking, automated targeting, and unmanned drones have become a “seamless” part of it. He points to the Occupied Palestinian Territories as a “veritable laboratory” for this effort and explores how the approach is rapidly globalizing as major powers and corporations transform military, security, and police forces into instruments of global pacification.

A leading figure in the Israeli peace movement, Jeff Halper is a co-founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), an anthropologist, and former professor at Haifa and Ben-Gurion Universities. His previous books include An Israeli in Palestine: Resisting Dispossession, Redeeming Israel; and Obstacles to Peace: A Reframing of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Halper travels and lectures widely on the Israeli/Palestinian issue. In 2006, the American Friends Service Committee nominated him along with Palestinian Ghassan Andoni for a Nobel Peace Prize.

This free event is sponsored by The Wisconsin Union Directorate Distinguished Lecture Series and is co-sponsored by: the American Friends Service Committee of the Madison Friends’ Meeting; Amnesty International Local Group 139; Bright Stars of Bethlehem; Jewish Voice for Peace – Madison; Madison-Rafah Sister City Project; Playgrounds for Palestine-Madison; Students for Justice in Palestine – UW Madison; The Crossing; and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – Madison Branch. Welcomed by WORT Radio.

For more information, visit

  • or e-mail rafahsistercity at
    Note: You can also hear Jeff Halper live on WORT Radio (89.9 FM or listen live on line) at 12 noon on Wednesday, May 4 with A Public Affair host Karma Chavez.


    For a short preview of Jeff’s talk, see the book trailer:

  • Richard Falk Review of “The War Against The People”
  • WORT A PUBLIC AFFAIR audio: Jeff Halper And “The War Against The People”, MAY 4, 2016
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    Israeli army orders confiscation of Palestinian land in West Bank

    · Seizure would allow huge expansion of settlements
    · Move seen as rush to make changes before US summit

    Conal Urquhart in Jerusalem
    Wednesday October 10, 2007
    The Guardian

    Construction workers in the West Bank
    Construction workers in the West Bank. Photograph: Sebastian Scheiner/AP

    The Israeli army has ordered the seizure of Palestinian land surrounding four West Bank villages apparently in order to hugely expand settlements around Jerusalem, it emerged yesterday.

    The confiscation happened as Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met to prepare the ground for a meeting hosted by President George Bush in the United States aimed at reviving a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

    However, critics said the confiscation of land suggested that Israel was imposing its own solution on the Palestinians through building roads, barriers and settlements that would render a Palestinian state unviable.

    The land seized forms a corridor from East Jerusalem to Jericho and is intended to be used for a road that would be for Palestinians only. Analysts said the road would run on one side of the Israeli security barrier, while the existing Jerusalem-Jericho road would be reserved for Israelis.

    A spokeswoman for the Israeli army said it was necessary to build a road to link Bethlehem and the Judea region with Jericho and the Jordan valley area in order to “improve the quality of life” for Palestinians.

    She said the road would be nearly 10 miles long and would be built on 145 hectares (357 acres) of state land and 23 hectares of private land that had been confiscated. She added that the army had designed the route to minimise losses to private landowners.

    Adam Keller of the Israeli peace group, Gush Shalom, said the confiscation of land belonging to the villages of Abu Dis, Arab al-Sawahra, Nebi Musa and Talhin Alhamar would “rob many villagers of their sole livelihood” but would also “facilitate the big annexation plan known as E-1, which is aimed at linking the settlement of Ma’aleh Adummim with Jerusalem and cutting the West Bank in two.”

    He said the confiscations were aimed at constructing a “Palestinian bypass road” that would “push the Palestinian traffic between Bethlehem and Ramallah deep into the desert and effectively bar them from the central part of the West Bank”.

    The E-1 area has been marked out on Israeli government maps for years but the state has refrained from large scale development of the area. The only building to be completed is the proposed headquarters of the Israeli police in the West Bank.

    The plan for the area envisages 3,500 housing units and dozens of businesses which have yet to be started, although infrastructure such as roads and drainage is being constructed.

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