Back Debate by Ben White


From ethnic cleansing to return: a peace process worthy of the name

Miska displacement mapThis week marks the 66th anniversary of the ethnic cleansing of Miska, a Palestinian village whose roughly 1,000-strong population was expelled in April 1948 by Haganah forces. Located around 10 miles from Qalqilya, Miska boasted 100-200 houses, an elementary school for boys, and a mosque.


The real delegitimisation: Apartheid Israel targets Palestinian citizens' political activism

Ben WhiteLast week, Palestinian activist Muhammad Kanaaneh was due to address Tel Aviv University students at an event marking Land Day, a commemoration of the bloody state repression of anti-land expropriation protests in 1976. However, following pressure by right-wing Zionist activists, university authorities stepped in to ban Kanaaneh from delivering his speech on campus.


Losing the debate, boycott opponents rely on legal threats

Ben WhiteLast month at the University of Leeds, a debate was held on the boycott of Israel. The specific motion read: "This house believes that UK academics should boycott Israeli academic institutions until Israel ends the occupation and abides by international law".


Spring in the step of BDS, as a worried Israel plans pushback

Ben WhiteThe first quarter of 2014 has been an interesting time for the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) campaign, with a number of promising developments - particularly in Europe - and indications that the Israeli government is taking the 'threat' posed by boycott initiatives more seriously than before.


Under pressure, a strong EU-Israel relationship faces uncertain future

Ben WhiteLast week, EU Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen warned on Israeli television that the country would face "increasing isolation" if the peace process collapsed, echoing remarks he made in January about a "price to pay" in terms of boycott and divestment initiatives by European companies. Yet last week also saw the official launch of Israel's participation in the EU's Horizon 2020 research programme, making it "eligible to compete for €77 billion worth of industrial research grants over seven years". This juxtaposition is a useful picture of current EU-Israel relations, with close cooperation continuing even as strains have emerged in the context of a troubled peace process and civil society pressure.