Sifting the Berkeley Left

by Jock Taft
published in MER129

On June 5, 1984, voters in Berkeley, California, by a margin of almost 64 percent to 36 percent, defeated a ballot measure calling for the United States to reduce its aid to Israel by the amount Israel spends on its settlements in the occupied territories of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Golan Heights. What’s going on here? Since the 1960s, Berkeley has had a reputation as the most politically progressive urban community in the country. Civil rights activism on the University of California campus spawned the Free Speech Movement, which in turn set the stage for the early protests and organizing against the US war in Vietnam. When Ronald Reagan was elected governor in 1966, one of his main campaign targets was UC campus radicalism.

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Israel's Political Formations

by Joel Beinin
published in MER129

Alignment: The dominant party in the Labor Zionist movement was the right social-democratic Mapai. In 1965, a group loyal to Mapai’s historic leader, David Ben-Gurion, split and formed Rafi -- a formation characterized by an “activist” military policy and a technocratic/statist outlook. This group included Shimon Peres, Moshe Dayan and Yitzhak Navon. The same year the first Alignment, an electoral coalition and not a merger of forces, was formed between Mapai and Ahdut ha-Avoda, a kibbutz-based party with a tradition of military activism and close links to the military establishment (best represented by Yigal Allon, Deputy Prime Minister under Golda Meir and author of the “Allon Plan” for the occupied territories).

Israel's "National Unity"

by Zvi Schuldiner
published in MER129

Israel’s latest elections, for the eleventh Knesset, have certified the state of paralysis and polarization that has gripped the country since the Lebanon invasion of 1982. The results of the election, and the failure of the Likud bloc to maintain a decisive plurality, certainly represent one consequence of the Lebanon war. When Menachem Begin resigned as prime minister in the fall of 1983 without any public explanation, many Israelis attributed this move to the Lebanon “tragedy,” as Begin himself referred to the continuing war in a Knesset speech just before his resignation. Clearly a great many Israelis consider the war a failure -- even a nightmare.

The Cold Peace

by Joel Beinin
published in MER129

March 26, 1985, will mark the sixth anniversary of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, brokered and signed in Washington, the culmination of the “Camp David process.” What have been the consequences of this pact, and where is the peace it was supposed to usher into the region?

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From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER129

We would like to begin this first issue for 1985 with heartfelt thanks to our readers for your very strong support over the past year. Your unprecedented generosity in response to our fundraising appeals was essential to our work, and we appreciate very much the confidence this expresses for MERIP’s future. In this coming year we will continue to count on your help. The need for a strong, critical perspective on US policy in the region will be more important than ever as the Reagan administration begins its second term. We are grateful to know that you are with us. One innovation we are planning for this year is a special newsletter for those who contribute $50 or more to MERIP’s work. The first issue will appear shortly.

Thorpe, Prescription for Conflict

by Ellen Cantarow
published in MER131

Merle Thorpe, Jr., Prescription for Conflict: Israel’s West Bank Settlement Policy (Washington DC: Foundation for Middle East Peace, 1984).

Benvenisti, The West Bank Data Base Project

by Alex Pollock
published in MER131

Meron Benvenisti, The West Bank Data Base Project: A Survey of Israel’s Policies (Washington: American Enterprise Institute, 1984).

This book, by the former Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, is the first major commercial publication of the small but industrious West Bank Data Base Project (WBDBP). The project constitutes an attempt to collect and collate an accurate and comprehensive data base which will enable “[us] to focus on fast changing conditions in the territories and, in so doing, prevent the political discussion and decision-making process from being overtaken by events.” (p. ix) This meritorious claim has received the imprimatur of no lesser figures than former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and Special Envoy Philip Habib.

Israel and the Jewish Question

by Zachary Lockman
published in MER131

Maxime Rodinxon, Cult, Ghetto, and State: The Persistence of the Jewish Question, London: Al Saqi Books, 1983.

Akiva Orr, The unJewish State: The Politics of Jewish Identity in Israel, London: Ithaca Press, 1983.

Lenni Brennr, The Iron Wall: Zionist Revisionism from Jabotinsky to Shamir, London: Zed Books, 1984.

 

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From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER131

Over the last several years, library subscriptions to MERIP Reports have expanded steadily. We are very pleased at this development, and we are anxious to encourage an even higher rate of growth in library subscriptions. In particular, we would like to see more subscriptions at public libraries, where the Reports are still poorly represented. Library subscriptions are particularly important in bringing MERIP Reports to many readers who might not otherwise see it. For this reason, we ask our readers to request subscriptions at their local public library and/or their university library. Thanks to a donation from a friend of MERIP, we are able to offer a half-price introductory subscription to the first 20 libraries that request it in 1985.

Jerusalem Mixed and Unmixed

by Michelle Campos | published August 8, 2014

The popular Israeli television series, Arab Labor, follows the lives of the fictional journalist Amjad and his family, all of whom are Palestinian citizens of Israel. Season one of the series, which first aired on Israeli public television in 2007, introduces Amjad and his endearingly unquenchable faith in humanity. Tired of living in his natal village, Amjad moves his family to a Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem, replete with strong water pressure in the shower, manicured parks and gardens, and what he thinks is the freedom to live out his dream of integration into Israeli society.