President Abbas’ Foreign Minister Urges Europe to Shun Hamas

From Reuters:

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Western-backed government warned European states on Monday against easing a boycott of Hamas Islamists, saying it could put unity talks at risk.

Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said he relayed that message last week to European leaders during talks in Brussels.

Egyptian efforts to reconcile Abbas’s secular Fatah faction, which holds sway in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, have so far been unsuccessful.

The talks, held in Cairo, were adjourned last week without agreement on the shape or agenda of a proposed unity government that would oversee the rebuilding of the Gaza Strip after Israel’s offensive, as well as prepare for new elections.

Negotiations are expected to resume but big differences remain, including over demands by Fatah that Hamas agree to abide by interim peace agreements signed with Israel. Hamas has refused to make such a commitment.

See Reuters for the rest of the story.

Café’s Israel boycott becomes PR disaster

This piece by Marcus Dysch, is from the Jewish Chronicle.

A café owner has apologised for displaying a sign declaring “Jews are welcome”, saying it was a bid to allay fears that his boycott of Israeli goods could be interpreted as being antisemitic.

Chris Boddington said he was open about his boycott and support for the Palestine Solidarity Campaign at Café Crema in New Cross, south-east London. But he realised a boycott of Israeli produce could be equated with antisemitism.

The nearby Goldsmiths College owns the café and is Mr Boddington’s landlord. Many customers are Goldsmiths’ students or academics. In an attempt to reassure Jewish customers, Mr Boddington wrote on a blackboard: “We do not use any Israeli products. We are not antisemitic but anti-fascist. Jews are as welcome here as anyone else.”

He admitted it had backfired and constituted a substantial “PR cock-up”.

He said: “I wanted to make it clear we are not antisemitic. But people have taken it as me singling out Jews. I have said sorry. We do not want to exclude anyone. I am also well aware there are plenty of decent Israelis, but I do not believe they will dismantle the settlements and end the occupation.”

David Hirsh, a Goldsmiths’ lecturer and editor of the Engage website, which campaigns against academic boycotts of Israel, said: “Antisemitic ‘cock-ups’ follow the boycott campaign wherever it goes. Not because the boycotters are Jew-haters. But because the campaign to single out Israelis for exclusion is antisemitic.”

This piece by Marcus Dysch, is from the Jewish Chronicle.

Five British Children – Shalom Lappin