Since the escalation of tensions between Israel and Hamas, a debate has arisen among Jewish writers in European news outlets from Spain’s El Pais to Norway’s Aftenposten: Can, and should, the Diaspora be critical of Israel’s policy? Some Jewish writers claim to be victims of bona fide accusations of self-hatred, and even anti-Semitism, from Jewish communities and elsewhere.“Dissent against Israel from Jews in the Diaspora is a relatively new phenomenon,” wrote Antony Loewenstein in an op-ed in the Guardian last week.Loewenstein, a Jewish-Australian journalist, has been outspoken against Israel’s actions in Gaza. He writes that as a Jew in the Diaspora, to criticize Israel is risky and that non-Israeli Jews face a dilemma between stoutly supporting Israel’s actions no matter what, or criticizing the state – which could lead to being ostracized by family, community and friends.He is critical of the way Jewish pundits are being treated in this matter, and stresses the importance of Diaspora Jews separating anti-Semitism from anti-Zionism (an issue he covered in a 2006 book, My Israel Question). He says failing to make the differentiation could end up splitting “Jewish communities along the generation lines, or [lead to] growing disillusionment of the Jewish population.”He further contested a New York Times piece in which Shmuel Rosner argued that the Diaspora should support Israel if they consider all Jews to be a family. “In my own family,” Loewenstein wrote, “it was simply expected that Israel should be supported in times of peace and war. Although support for the Jewish state has been an unofficial second religion for Jews for decades...times are changing.”He agrees on one point with Rosner, however: the Diaspora still plays a crucial role for Israel. “After all, since Israel’s establishment... communal organizations have been deeply involved in providing the intellectual, emotional and financial backing for the Jewish state.”Striking a similar tone, Göran Rosenberg, a wellknown liberal Jewish-Swedish writer, argues in the Expressen daily that Jews should be allowed to criticize Israel. “In times like these, anti-Semitic illusions threaten to sneak their way into critical statements about Israel, and anti-Semitic propaganda [clothes] itself as a critique of Israel. In the same way, there is a risk of legitimate critique of Israel being labeled as anti-Semitism, which has been experienced by a number of Jewish critics.”In other news fr om Europe BDS beseeches Italy: Stop selling weapons to Israel Il fatto quotidiano, Italy, August 23 The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement recently started a campaign with slogans such as “Italy, stop selling weapons to Israel.” According to some sources, Rome is the No. 1 European weapons exporter to Israel. There are currently 77 organizations associated with the BDS movement in Italy, according to Stephanie Westbrook, head of BDS in Italy.Israel under attack Tagesschau, Germany, August 24 In an event wrap-up, the German daily reported via the IDF that several missiles had been fired from Syria and hit the Golan Heights. The attacks fueled concerns regarding a widening of the Gaza conflict, as at least one missile was also fired from Lebanon by extremists. No casualties or injuries were reported. At least four rockets have been fired from Lebanon into Israel since the beginning of the Gaza conflict, without anyone claiming responsibility. Lebanese representatives assume they have been fired from militants with strong ties to radical Palestinians. Egypt has made several attempts to mediate; Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is now calling for an end to the conflict.Israel carries out more air strikes Yle, Finland, August 25 Despite Israel’s warnings, Hamas continued to launch missiles during the day, provoking an IDF air strike that killed two Palestinians. The IDF Spokesman stated that a total of 16 air strikes were carried out that night; only one victim was a member of Hamas, and six were children. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called for civilians in Gaza to leave the buildings from which Hamas launches missiles against Israel. According to Palestinian sources, 2,122 Palestinians have died in the conflict thus far.Iran claims to have shot down Israeli drone over nuclear site Il Corriere della Sera, Italy, August 25 The Iranian government claims to have shot down an Israeli drone that was allegedly hovering over a nuclear site in Natanz. A national Iranian newspaper reported that “a drone from the Zionist government has been shot down by a missile.” According to the same source, the drone was shot down by the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps; this claim was not confirmed in Tel Aviv.HOLLYWOOD Heavyweights sign petition for Israel ABC, Spain, August 25 American actors such as action stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone have signed a petition in support of Israel against Hamas. The petition, initiated by the nonprofit Creative Community for Peace, was a response to actors such as Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem accusing Israel of “excessive violence” and even “genocide.” The petition is the largest of its kind ever created in Hollywood history, and has already attracted a number of movie stars and producers.