THE ISRAEL QUIZ

It seems nothing at all is virtually known about Israel outside of its borders…. but its horrendous polices are blindly supported nevertheless.
The ‘man on the street’ was recently interviewed in London… watch the following to see the results of the ‘Israel Quiz’…. the ignorance and blind support of Israeli policies is what has destroyed Palestine… it’s frightening.

Even more frightening is the fact that the video and questions were prepared by a pro Israeli organisation, it seems they like the fact that the people remain ignorant…

If only it were all true. Londoners — well, some Londoners, anyway — believe that “Israelians”, part of a whopping population of 450 million, are getting ready to celebrate their 2,000th anniversary in their capital city. Which is, of course, Iran… or possibly Afghanistan.

Some enterprising researchers from Bicom, the pro-Israel advocacy group, took a video camera out into the streets of London to discover what people did or did not know about Israel. The results, which will be posted on YouTube, were collated to highlight Bicom’s first Israel advocacy training conference, which is being held on April 6 on the JFS school’s campus in Kenton, North-West London.


If these random responses are typical of the population as a whole, then pro-Israel groups may need to re-think their entire approach to outreach education. Beyond the chattering classes, it is not so much a learning curve as a learning flatline, a black hole of fairly good-humoured ignorance about the Middle East. From young professionals to single mothers, from people hanging out on park benches to cheerful fruiterers on London street markets, the responses — often uttered with considered authority — bear little resemblance to the truth.

What are the Golan Heights, Bicom asked. One woman confidently explained: “They’re those buildings with tops, that look gold in certain weathers.” Who is this, the Bicom staffers said, showing respondents a picture of Israeli premier Ehud Olmert.

“Bob Marley,” said one man. (We know the reggae icon sang about “Iron, Lion, Zion”, but that’s pushing it a bit.)

Respondents were on safer ground when asked if they could name three famous Israelis. Two went for Eurovision winner Dana International, while one opted for Chelsea coach Avram Grant. But neither “Arafat” nor “Bin Laden” has ever been a famous Israeli.

Geography was similarly dodgy: Israel’s capital was given as Iran or Afghanistan, while, when asked what countries bordered Israel, one woman riposted brightly: “Vietnam”.

Lorna Fitzsimons, Bicom’s chief executive, said: “Perception is reality when it comes to most things. The video vox-pops we did for our conference, although for fun, show how little people actually know about Israel. There is a danger that we presume too much knowledge when we communicate messages about Israel to UK audiences. The conference is about stripping away these assumptions and getting down to the real view of Israel in Britain and how best to communicate with people accordingly.”

The JC’s media commentator, Alex Brummer, will join — among others — the Israeli ambassador, Ron Prosor; John Spellar MP; DJ Collins, head of corporate communications for Google; Michael Prescott, managing director for the communications consultancy Weber Shandwick; and Rick Nye, managing director of pollster Populus, in running sessions during the advocacy day.

The event is designed to give members of the community the skills and confidence to promote or defend Israel either in the media or in daily life and at work.

Source

PALESTINE REMEMBERED ~~ 60 YEARS LATER ~~ LIFTA (2)

Palestine, a nation almost completely forgotten by the world, a nation that continues to suffer daily under the yolk of zionist occupation. But, Palestine survives and will be reborn despite all odds that are against Her.

In this series I will present accounts of various incidents that occurred during the Nakba. These are tales that must be known to all… Palestine must be remembered…

This second part of the series deals with the murders and destruction at the village known as Lifta, situated on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The text is taken from an essay that appeared on the ElectronicIntifada.

The first part of the series can be read HERE.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The year 1948 is the worst year in Palestinian history. It is the year of the destruction of Palestinian society and the dispossession and expulsion of more than 700,000 Palestinian Arabs from their villages and cities by Zionist forces. Today, there are about five million Palestinian refugees around the world, still waiting to exercise their right of return. Most refugees live in the surrounding Arab countries Jordan, Lebanon and Syria; however some of them live very close to their original homes. In my case, I live only three kilometers from my own village: Lifta. My parents were born in Lifta, they spent their childhood in its hills and valleys. I inherited from them the memories of the life in Lifta with its easiness and hardships. Since I was a child I was addicted to my grandparents’ stories about Lifta. They told me that before 1948, about 3,000 Palestinians lived in Lifta, most of them where farmers. The lands of Lifta totaled around 8,700 acres planted with olive trees, figs, cactus and almonds. Lifta had hundreds of beautiful old-style homes, two schools, community club, olive press, mosque, library, and cemetery. On 28 December 1947, a Zionist terrorist group attacked the village coffee shop, killed five civilians and threatened the rest of the people forcing them to leave the village. The people left with the hope that they would return after a few days. Afterwards the Zionist forces bombed Lifta’s houses to insure that the indigenous inhabitants did not find anywhere to return to.

The estimated number of Lifta refugees today is around 30,000 who are scattered around the world. My family, along with dozens of other Lifta families live in Jerusalem. We can visit the village but cannot return to it while a number of Jewish settlers live in some of Lifta’s houses.

In my imagination created by the stories I’ve heard and the reality I see, I perceive Lifta as an inhabited place, full of people and amazing nature. I imagine the people meeting during the days next to the water spring, where young women fill their water jugs and young men wait to chat with them. In the evenings, people meet in a house to listen to the al-Hakawati (storyteller) who tells stories inspired from history and our culture. I imagine the wedding-parties next to the water spring where young men and women dance debke — the Palestinian folkloric dance — to the flute and sing dallona (folklore) songs.

I have no words to describe my feelings when I see my house and land in front of me inhabited by strangers who prevent me by their laws from returning to it. I thought maybe through pictures I would be able to tell part of the story of Lifta. To express myself, my anger, my hopes and my dreams, I created the above work. It is my way to feed my imagination and develop a new vision of the place that belongs to me and the place that I belong to. A place that the Zionists failed to erase from my memory.

Lifta, like many other Palestinian villages, does not only consist of abandoned walls and trees, rather they are history and future, life and existence, struggle and victory that will be achieved one day through the right of return. With the images I’ve captured, as well as my imagination, I try to illustrate, on one hand the destruction of the place and the society that inhabited it and on the other a continuous picture that connects past and future, sadness and happiness, dreams and reality.

Anan Odeh is a human rights lawyer and refugee from Lifta, Palestine. Born in 1972, he lived most of his life in Jerusalem and moved to the US two years ago to continue his studies.

Source (click on source to see slideshow taken by the author…)
Photostory: As long as there is life, there is hope
Slideshow, Anan Odeh

ISLAMOPHOBIA IS UNPATRIOTIC

Watch the following video to see how Muslims are treated in the USA…. and the reactions of the others when they witness it…

CONDI’S FARCE GOES ON

The Farce goes on
Comment by Khalid Amayreh

As prospects of true peace in Palestine look as bleak as ever, mainly because of Israeli intransigence and American complicity with the Zionist state, peace-loving  people in the Middle East and around the world are once again affronted by yet another disingenuous visit to the region by US Secretary of State.

Rice has made numerous visits to Ramallah and occupied Jerusalem ever since she became Secretary of State more than three years ago.

However, the overall situation pertaining to the Palestinian plight  has more or less remained unchanged. In fact, one can safely contend  that the Israeli occupation and apartheid are now much worse than they were three years ago.

Hence, it is highly unlikely that  Rice’s current visit is going to make any difference.

It is really not difficult to pinpoint the causes and reasons for the failure of American  “peace efforts”  in this part of the world.

The US knows very well that Israel will not move even one centimeter toward peace without  serious American pressure. But the US government lacks both the inclination and the willingness to do so. The Jewish-control of Congress and the virtual complete subservience of Bush administration to the powerful  Jewish lobby, known as AIPAC,  as well as to pro-Israeli neocons, make any breakthrough, even any genuine progress in peacemaking , extremely unlikely.

Rice knows that very well, despite the artificial optimism she often tries to foster, mainly to give a false impression that the moribund peace process is still alive.

The Israelis, too, know well that, when it comes to Israel,  American officials  don’t always mean what they say, nor say what they mean.

Take,  for example,  the issue of  Israeli roadblocks and checkpoints dotting the map of  the West Bank, which really  render any normal economic activities outright impossible. US officials, from Bush himself, to Rice, to other US and Quartet envoys, have on numerous occasions urged Israel to remove the estimated 600 roadblocks,  often manned by trigger-happy Nazi-like Israeli soldiers.

However, instead of heeding American and international demands, the Israeli government decided to erect more roadblocks and checkpoints to make Palestinian daily life even more miserable and unbearable.

Why does Israel fly in the face of the Bush administration, which has asked Israel for the umpteenth time to relax its harsh and crippling measures against ordinary Palestinians in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip?

The answer is very clear? Israel thinks, rightly or wrongly, that it controls the United States of America, that it controls American politics and policies, that it controls congress and media and major financial institutions in the US.

A few years ago, it was rumored that former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told Shimon Peres, who was then Foreign Minister, that “we control America and the Americans know it”

One Jewish settler leader in Hebron, whom this reporter met a few years ago, was even blunter. He said that “the Jewish people could bring America to its knees in less than 24 hours.”

I asked the apparently arrogant settler leader, who himself had immigrated to occupied Palestine from Florida,  how a few million American Jews could bring  the most powerful country on earth to its  knees. “We don’t directly control the 300 million Americans,” he said rather ostentatiously. “We control those who control them.”

Many Israel apologists may dismiss such remarks as “nonsense.” However, there are a growing number of Americans who have come to the conclusion that American foreign policies, particularly toward Palestine, Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, even toward Europe, are made in Israel, not in Washington.

Two months ago, I met with a group of American Christian leaders at a restaurant in West Bank town of  Hebron. One lady, I think from Illinois, told me the following. “I am sorry to tell you that you will languish under the Israeli occupation for many years to come.” Baffled by her remarks, I asked the nearly 65-year-old retiree how she could be so sure about this bleak assessment. Her answer was even more baffling. “Today the only country that is able to pressure Israel to end its occupation of Palestine is the United States. And Israel controls our government and our country, I would say very tightly.”

In short, it would be futile to really expect the US to bring peace to the Middle East since peace would depend nearly entirely on  the US government exerting real pressure on Israel, something that is highly unlikely at least in the foreseeable future.
Yes, the US  tries often to  have the appearance of a peace maker and honest broker. But it is a disingenuous appearance since everyone knows that the eternally barren talks between Olmert and Abbas have got nowhere and will get no where.

Today, with Israel having created irreversible facts in the occupied West Bank, especially in East Jerusalem, the prospect of the so-called Two-State Solution is dead, despite all the empty babbling we keep hearing from Israeli, American and even Palestinian officials.

Hence, it is imperative that the Palestinian people and their true leaders and representatives stop letting the United States of Israel …yes, the United States of Israel, to dupe them endlessly toward the liquidation of their enduring cause.

Hence, it is vital that the Palestinian people and their uncorrupted leaders and representatives find an alternative salvation strategy based on the one-state solution.

NEW GROUP LITERALLY GIVING AIPAC A ‘ RUN FOR THE MONEY’….

The following sounds too good to be true…. let’s cross our fingers and hope for the best….
New group offers alternative to AIPAC

Left-wing groups in US form J-Street as fresh political voice in American Jewish community, hoping to raise funds, awareness by coming November congressional elections

 

WASHINGTON - AIPAC (American Israeli Political Activity Committee) has some new competition: A new, organization, presenting itself as an alternative to AIPAC, will be operational in two weeks, the New York Magazine Jewish Week, reported recently.

 

“J-Street” intends to be a the political contra to AIPAC ; offering an left-wing agenda, as opposed to the right-wing one offered by what is undoubtedly the most veteran pro-Israeli organization in the US.

 

The entire report can be read HERE

LIVE INTERVIEW WITH CARLOS LATUFF

My dear Associate, the brilliant Brazilian political cartoonist Carlos Latuff, speaks to Dr. Hesham Tillawi about his amazing work depicting the truth about the war on Iraq and the suffering of the Palestinian people.
There is also commentary regarding the upcoming US Presidential election on the following video…

PALESTINE REMEMBERED ~~ 60 YEARS LATER ~~ DEIR YASSIN

As Israel gets underway to celebrate the 60th anniversary of its founding, Palestine also remembers the destruction of their state.

Palestine, a nation almost completely forgotten by the world, a nation that continues to suffer daily under the yolk of zionist occupation. But, Palestine survives and will be reborn despite all odds that are against Her.

In this series I will present accounts of various incidents that occured during the Nakba. These are tales that must be known to all… Palestine must be remembered…

This first installment deals with the massacre at Deir Yassin, taken from the Deir Yassin Memorial Site.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Early in the morning of April 9, 1948, commandos of the Irgun (headed by Menachem Begin) and the Stern Gang attacked Deir Yassin, a village with about 750 Palestinian residents. The village lay outside of the area to be assigned by the United Nations to the Jewish State; it had a peaceful reputation. But it was located on high ground in the corridor between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Deir Yassin was slated for occupation under Plan Dalet and the mainstream Jewish defense force, the Haganah, authorized the irregular terrorist forces of the Irgun and the Stern Gang to perform the takeover.

In all over 100 men, women, and children were systematically murdered. Fifty-three orphaned children were literally dumped along the wall of the Old City, where they were found by Miss Hind Husseini and brought behind the American Colony Hotel to her home, which was to become the Dar El-Tifl El-Arabi orphanage.

Part of the struggle for self-determination by Palestinians has been to tell the truth about Palestinians as victims of Zionism. For too long their history has been denied, and this denial has only served to further oppress and deliberately dehumanize Palestinians in Israel, inside the occupied territories, and outside in their diaspora.

Some progress has been made. Westerners now realize that Palestinians, as a people, do exist. And they have come to acknowledge that during the creation of the state of Israel, thousands of Palestinians were killed and over 700,000 were driven or frightened from their homes and lands on which they had lived for centuries.

Presented here is a video in which a witness to the horrors of the Deir Yassin Massacre relates her story and the impact it has had on her life…..

‘SHOOTING THE WITNESS’ ~~ PALESTINIAN ART EXHIBITION

Image by David Baldinger
In ‘commemoration’ of the 60th year of the destruction of Palestine, an exhibition featuring the works of
Naji Al-Ali is presently underway in the city of London.
Al-Ali is best known for his beloved Handala, the symbol of the Nakba and of hope….
HERE you will find other links relating to the exhibit, including a review that appeared in the Guardian.

‘Shooting the Witness’ exhibition by Naji Al-Ali
@ The Political Cartoon Gallery
Open till 19 April 2008

Shooting the Witness is an exhibition featuring the work of the late Palestinian cartoonist, Naji al-Ali, to commemorate 60 years to the Palestinian Nakba and the 20th anniversary of al-Ali’s assassination in London.

Naji al-Ali was one of the most prominent cartoonists in the Arab world. Sarcastic, poignant and perhaps too bold, al-Ali’s cartoons were drawn from his experience as a Palestinian refugee from childhood and clearly reflected his political stance. Naji al-Ali had no political affiliations and the absence of slogans and dogma in his work brought both success and criticism. His bold and illustrative cartoons, widely published over the past 20-30 years, reveal the tragic state of the Middle East. The artist combined art and political satire like none other; his work sadly still rings true today.

His cartoons portrayed the bitter struggle and plight of the Palestinian people against Israeli oppression. He also campaigned against the absence of democracy and the gross inequality in the Arab world, and the widespread corruption of Arab leaders and their alliances with colonial superpowers against the interests of their people. Naji al-Ali draws a sincere critique of all sides in the conflict, and the world’s complicity in the prolonged occupation of the Palestinians, in simple, mesmerizing lines. He was said to have antagonized virtually everyone in the Middle East.

During his lifetime, Naji was said to have drawn around 15,000 drawings, on average two cartoons a day. He worked for various prominent publications in the Arab world, including the Al-Safir, Al-Qabas and Al-Khalij; his work was published daily in Cairo, Beirut, Kuwait, Tunis, Abu Dhabi, London and Paris.

For the first time in London, 50 of Naji al-Ali’s original illustrations will be exhibited in Political Cartoon Gallery, located in central London, the world’s only centre dedicated to political cartoons and caricature.

The Exhibition:

Shooting the Witness exhibition will showcase 50 original art works of the late Naji al-Ali over a period of period of 6 weeks, starting from 7th March 2008. The works are thematically arranged to cover Middle Eastern political topics such as oil in the Arab world, women, political prisoners, Arab leaders and Palestinian refugees.


Venue: The Political Cartoon Gallery
The Political Cartoon Gallery is the world’s only centre dedicated to Political Cartoons and Caricature. Only at the Political Cartoon Gallery can you purchase the finest original cartoons by leading political cartoonists from both the past and the present.

Opening hours:
Monday, Wednesday & Friday: 9:30am – 5:30pm
Tuesday & Thursday: 9:30am – 7:30pm
Saturday: 11:30am – 5:30pm

Location:
32 Store Street,
London WC1E 7BS

The gallery is located in London’s West End, close to Goodge Street Station, Tottenham Court Road and only 10 minutes walk from Oxford Circus.

Tel: 0207 580 1114


Shooting the Witness
is organized in association with
Political Cartoon Society, Cartoon County and the family of Naji Al-Ali

ZIONISM IS THE CAUSE OF RISING ISLAMOPHOBIA

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

“I want to tell you something very clear: Don’t worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it.”
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon

“Our race is the Master Race. We are divine gods on this planet. We are as different from the inferior races as they are from insects. In fact, compared to our race, other races are beasts and animals, cattle at best. Other races are considered as human excrement. Our destiny is to rule over the inferior races. Our earthly kingdom will be ruled by our leader with a rod of iron. The masses will lick our feet and serve us as our slaves.”
Former Israeli Prime Minister Menechem Begin

“One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail.”
— Rabbi Yaacov Perrin (NY Daily News, Feb. 28, 1994, p.6)

 
The above are just three examples reflecting the attitudes of zionism towards the non Jewish world, Arabs in particular. For a country that depends on outside help for survival, is this not the ultimate in ‘chutzpah’?
 
For years Israel has been guilty of  ‘false flag violence’, the act of  of committing a crime and first blaming it on someone else, and then attacking that someone else. We have seen this demonstrated on numerous occasions in the West Bank, in Gaza and in Lebanon. For some reason, the West always finds Israel to be right. In the few odd cases when Israel is found guilty, nothing is done. The support continues to pour in, the crimes are committed over and over again.
 
Could the attitudes above be a result of ‘ziophobia’? Is the world actually afraid of Israel? Is the world that afraid to be labeled  anti Semitic by the likes of Foxman and his ‘Kosher Nostra’, or any other group affiliated to AIPAC?
 
Do the above not realise that this constant blind support and ‘go ahead’ given to Israel is probably the main contributing factor to the growth of Islamophobia. Cartoonists in Denmark, film makers in Holland continue to anger the Islamic communities throughout the world with their works. Islam does not have the ‘Lobby’ that zionism has. Islam does not have supporters throughout the world that zionism has…. in effect it is zionism itself that is responsible for the hatred we see towards Islam. They accomplish this by using their tactic of ‘false flag violence’.
 
How long will the world stand for this? How long will the world continue to let the zionist leadership literally spit in their faces as seen in the above quotes?

THE LAND THAT ‘CELEBRATES’ THE NEGATIVE

Unlike any other nation, Palestine has nothing positive to celebrate at this point in time. There are two ‘major holidays’ on the Palestinian calendar, the first being The Nakba, a commemoration of the day Palestine was literally wiped off the map by the zionists….

The second is a day simply known as Land Day, which is ‘celebrated’ this weekend.

There are poets, writers, statesmen,religious figures whose birthdays are waiting to be celebrated along with the Independence Day of Palestine….. a nation waiting to be born again…. and IT WILL!

Internationally, no opportunity must be missed that can bring attention to the plight and suffering of the Palestinian people… they must not be forgotten. They deserve to celebrate life itself, not only death.

Below is a report of just one of the many Land Day demonstrations that took place yesterday…. one that the parents of our beloved Martyr Rachel Corrie attended…..

Nonviolent protest in W Ramallah: Parents of Rachel Corrie speak, 17 injured, including journalists

ImageRamallah / PNN – During the weekly nonviolent demonstration in Bil’in Village, Israeli soldiers brutally attacked the crowds, injuring 17 people, including seven journalists.

The villagers left the mosque after Friday prayers today in a massive march called by the Popular Committee to Resist the Wall in the village to mark the thirty-second memorial of Palestinian Land Day. Among the foreign supporters was the family of Rachel Corrie, the American girl killed by an Israeli bulldozer in Rafah, 2003.

The demonstrators took to the village streets chanting slogans denouncing the occupation, and headed towards the Wall. After crossing to their land the army sealed gate and waited behind cement blocks They then suppressed the nonviolent march by using tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets, wounding 17.

The Popular Committee to Resist the Wall in Bil’in reported that among the injured were several journalists, including Guevara Budeiri of Al Jazeera, a Kuwaiti correspondent, a photographer, a journalist with an Iranian television agency, a sports photographer, and several others: Mohamed Ali Abu Sadin, Wael Fahmi, Iyad Bernat Chairman of the People’s Pact, Huwaida Arraf one of the founders of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), Issa Abu Rahma, Abdullah Ahmed Yassin, Mohammed Ahmed Hamed, Ibrahim Abdel-Fattah Bernat, Abdel Raouf Abu Rahma and Abdullah Mohamed Yassin.

Demonstrators were holding banners that reflected their rejection of Israeli occupation, and the desire to unite to face land confiscation. “We stand shoulder to shoulder in the face of the colonialist cancer,” one demonstrator’s banner read. They were also talking about the hope for the collapse of the Wall, the release of political prisoners from Israeli prisons, and Palestinian Land Day.
The demonstrators called on the participants in the Arab Summit to take seriously the situation, and to transit from words to deeds, as the people live under siege and starvation, killings and confiscation of land and building of settlements, barriers and grave Israeli violations on Palestinian lands.

Craig Corrie, Rachel’s father, cited Rafah and his continuing support for the Palestinian people. “I am in Bil’in for the second time. This village has become a symbol of nonviolent resistance. I call for solidarity with the people of Palestine in resisting the conditions imposed by the Israeli occupation to prevent the establishment of their state.”

Rachel’s mother, Cindy Corrie, said, “We talked about the suffering of the Palestinians during our visit two years ago. We were in Israel two days ago, and we saw how life is easy there. We always compare between the life there and here. It is difficult for us to forget.”

FREE MUMIA NOW!

The following is a statement from Mumia’s lead council…


This is an update on the case of my client, Mumia Abu-Jamal, who has been on Pennsylvania’s death row for over a quarter of a century.We continue to await the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Pennsylvania. I am in contact with the court, and will alert everyone immediately upon the issuance of a ruling. Oral argument was on May 17, 2007, thus people ask why the court is taking so long. This is a highly complex case involving issues of great constitutional significance and a voluminous amount of material. In three decades of successfully defending people in numerous murder cases involving the death penalty, I have not seen one more complicated.

It is impossible to know how the federal court will rule, but the briefing and arguments could not have gone better even though there have been problems due to mistakes by prior counsel. If the federal court follows the mandate of the U.S. Constitution, the decision should be favorable.

However, Mumia remains in jeopardy because courts are so unpredictable.

Robert Bryan
San Francisco CA


On Thursday, a Federal Appeals Court declared that Mumia deserves a new hearing… You can read about it HERE
Updates on the case can be tracked at THIS site.
Yesterday a mass demonstration was held in New York in support of Mumia. I was impressed by the representation of every race and age group that was in attendance. The following photos were all taken by my activist cousin Bud who was there with the family….
All photos are © by Bud Korotzer…













THE AMERICA THAT IS // WAS // COULD BE

By Uri Avnery

The US is now the only super-power on earth. It will remain so for quite some time to come. The decisions of the President of the United States affect every human being on this planet.

Unfortunately, the citizens of the world have no part in these elections. But they may, at least, voice an opinion.

Availing myself of this right I say: I am for Barack Obama.

FIRST OF ALL I must confess: my attitude towards the US is one of unrequited love. In my youth I was a great admirer. Like many others of my generation, I grew up on the legend of the new, idealistic country of pioneers, the world’s torch of freedom. I admired Abe Lincoln, who freed the slaves, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who hastened to the rescue of besieged Britain, when it stood alone against the Nazi monster, and who entered World War II at the decisive moment. I grew up on Wild West movies.

Gradually, I lost my illusions. Joe McCarthy helped me along the way. I learned that with depressing regularity, the US is seized by some hysteria or other. But every time, just before the brink of the abyss, it draws back.

During the Vietnam War I took part in demonstrations. I happened to be in America in 1967, and participated in the legendary march of the half million to the Pentagon. I reached the entrance of the building and saw before me a line of cold-eyed soldiers who seemed to be just itching to open fire. At the last moment it occurred to me that it would be unseemly for an Israeli Member of the Knesset to be implicated, so I jumped from the ledge of the entrance and twisted my ankle.

Somehow I got on the CIA (or was it the FBI?) black list. I managed to obtain a visa only with great difficulty, and was struck forever from the list of invitees to the American embassy parties in Tel Aviv. I don’t know if this happened because of those protests, or because of my friendship with Henri Curiel, a Jewish-Egyptian revolutionary who helped us in our contacts with the PLO. The Americans held him, quite mistakenly, to be a KGB agent.

At the same time, my name was struck by the Soviets from every list of people invited from Israel. Perhaps they considered me a CIA agent (as I was called in the Israeli Communist party paper). So I was one of the few people in the world who appeared simultaneously on the black lists of both the USA and the Soviet Union – a source of moderate pride to me.

My friend Afif Safieh, now the chief PLO representative in the US, argues that there are two Americas: the America which exterminated the Native Americans and enslaved the blacks, the America of Hiroshima and McCarthy, and the other America, the America of the Declaration of Independence, of Lincoln, Wilson and Roosevelt.

In these terms, George Bush belongs to the first. Obama, his opposite in almost every respect, represents the second.

ONE CAN arrive at Obama by a process of elimination.

John McCain is a continuation of Bush. More attractive, probably more intelligent (which doesn’t mean much). But he is more of the same. The same policy – a dangerous mix of intoxication with power and simple-mindedness. The same world of the Wild West myth, of Good Guys (Americans and their stooges) and Bad Guys (everybody else). A macho world of sham masculinity, where everything is seen through the sights of a gun.

McCain will go on with the wars, and may start new ones. His economic agenda is the same “swinish capitalism” (Shimon Peres’ phrase), which has now brought disaster on the economy of the US, and the economy of all of us.

Eight years of Bush are enough for us. Thank you.

Hillary? True, there is something very positive in the fact that a woman is a potential candidate for the leadership of the most powerful country in the world. As the old Jewish blessing has it: Blessed art thou, the Lord, our God, who let us live to see this day. I believe that the feminist revolution was by far the most important one of the 20th Century, since it overturns the social patterns of thousands of years, and perhaps also the biological patterns of million of years. This revolution is still going on, and the election of a woman president would be a milestone.

But it is not enough that it be a woman. It is also important which woman it is.

I spent some years struggling against Golda Meir, the worst Prime Minister Israel ever had. Almost all recent female leaders of countries have started wars: Margaret Thatcher started the Falklands War, Golda Meir bears the responsibility for the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War, Indira Gandhi made war on Pakistan, the current presidents of the Philippines and Sri Lanka are conducting internal wars.

The usual explanation is that in order to prevail in a man’s world, a woman politician has to prove that she is at least as tough as the men are. When she comes to power, she wants to show that she, too, can make war and command armies. Hillary has already acted tough by voting for the disastrous Iraq war.

(Years ago, when she came out for a Palestinian state, Gush Shalom demonstrated in her honor in front of the US embassy in Tel Aviv. We wanted to present her with a bunch of flowers. The embassy people treated us as enemies and refused to accept the flowers. Since then, Hillary has not uttered another word in favor of the Palestinians.)

I don’t know how much she was a partner to her husband’s decisions in the White House. The President’s wife may be closest to his ear – and the President’s husband will probably be closest to her ear. Anyhow, in the eight years of Bill Clinton nothing good for Israeli-Palestinian peace happened. In his “peace team” there were a lot of American Jews, but not a single American Arab. He was totally subservient to the Israel lobby, and on his watch the number of Israeli settlers in the Palestinian territories more than doubled.

Israel doesn’t really need another term of Billary.

Hillary is a run of the mill politician. If McCain is a continuation of Bush, Hillary is an extension of the entire present American political system, the present policy and the present routine. But the world needs another America.

THE NAME of another America is Obama. Full name: Barack Hussein Obama.

The very fact that this person can be a serious contender for the presidency at all restores my faith in the possibilities inherent in America. After the excesses of Senator Joe McCarthy there was President John Kennedy. After Bush there can be Obama. Only in America.

The great message of Obama is Obama himself. A person who has roots in three continents (and another half: Hawaii). A person whose education spans the wide world. A person who can see reality from the viewpoints of America, Africa and Asia. A person who is both black and white. A new kind of American, an American of the 21st Century.

I am not as naïve as I sound. I realize that in his speeches there is more enthusiasm than content. We can’t know what he will do once elected president. President Obama may disappoint us. But I prefer to take a risk with a man like this than to know in advance what the two routine politicians, his competitors, will do.

I am not overly impressed by election speeches. I have conducted four election campaigns myself and I know that there are things one has to say and things one must not say. It’s all with limited liability. But beyond all the speechifying, one fact is more important than a million words: Obama opposed the Iraq invasion from the start, when this took integrity and a lot of courage. Hillary voted for the war and changed her position only when public opinion had changed. McCain supports the war even now.

We in Israel know the huge difference between opposing a war in its first, decisive hour, and opposing it after a month, a year or five years.

On the other hand, perhaps this very fact – more even than the color of his skin, his middle name and his “lack of experience” – will work against him. The voters do not like a person who was right when they were wrong. It’s like admitting: he was wise and we were stupid. When a politician wants to be elected, he would be well advised to hide the fact that he was right.

A personal note: as an optimist from birth, I like Obama’s optimism. I prefer a candidate who brings hope over one destroying hope. Optimism spurs to action, pessimism produces nothing but despair.

America needs a complete overhaul. Not just a wash, not just a wax job, not just a new coat of paint. It needs a new motor, a change of the entire leadership, a reappraisal of its position in the world, a change of values.

Can Obama do this? I hope so. I am not sure. But I am quite sure that the other two will not.

HERE A JEW will pop the classic question: Is it good for the Jews?

The people who claim to speak for the American Jews, the “leaders” who were not elected by anyone, the chiefs of the fetid “organizations”, are conducting a dirty campaign of defamation and sly hints against him. If his middle name is Hussein and he is black, he must be an “Arab-lover”. Also, he did not distance himself enough from the anti-Semite Louis Farakhan.

The same “leaders” are in bed with the most loathsome racists in the US, obscurantist fundamentalists and blood-stained neo-cons. But most American Jews know that their place is not there. The unholy alliance with those types will inevitably come home to roost. The Jews have to be where they have always been: in the progressive camp, striving for equality and the separation between state and religion.

IT MUST be asked: Is it good for Israel?

All three candidates have groveled at the feet of AIPAC. The fawning of all three before the Israeli leadership is disgusting. They all show a lack of integrity. But I know that they have no choice. That’s how it is in the USA.

In spite of this, Obama succeeded in getting out one courageous sentence. Speaking before a mainly Jewish audience in Cleveland, he said: “There is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel, you’re anti-Israel and that can’t be the measure of our friendship with Israel.”

I hope that the American Barack (blessed, in Arabic), if elected, will not turn into a replica of the Israeli Barak (lightning, in Hebrew).

Real friendship means: when you see that your friend is drunk, you don’t encourage him to drive. You offer to take him home. I am longing for an American president who will have the courage and the honesty to tell our leaders: Dear friends, you are drunk with power! You are speeding along a highway that leads to an abyss!

Perhaps Barack Obama will be such a friend. This would be a blessing for us, too.

PALESTINE IS STILL THE ISSUE ~~ NOTHING HAS CHANGED

 
 
 
Palestine Is Still The Issue
John Pilger in Palestine
In 1974, John Pilger made the film ‘Palestine Is Still The Issue’. It was about a nation of people – the Palestinians – forced off their land and later subjected to a military occupation by Israel. An occupation condemned by the United Nations and almost every country in the world, including Britain. But Israel is backed by a very powerful friend, the United States.In 2002 Pilger made another film of the same name. “In 25 years,” said Pilger, “if we are to speak of the great injustice, nothing has changed. What has changed is that the Palestinians have fought back. Stateless and humiliated for so long, Palestinians have risen up against Israel’s huge military machine, although they themselves have no arms, no tanks, no American planes and gun ships or missiles.
 
 
Israeli tank

“Some have committed desperate acts of terror, like suicide bombing. But for Palestinians, the overriding, routine terror, day after day, has been the ruthless control of almost every aspect of their lives, as if they live in an open prison. This is the story of the Palestinians and a group of courageous Israelis united in the oldest human struggle – to be free.”

The film can be watched below, it’s almost an hour long but is most educational and worth the time. Come back later if you don’t have the time to watch it now…. it will be here….

REPORT FROM GAZA ~~ FLOWERS, STRAWBERRIES, AND MISSILES

 Flowers, Strawberries, and Missiles
By Mohammed Omer


BEIT LAHIYA, Gaza, Mar 27 (IPS) – Just 300 yards from the hidden eyes in the Israeli tank, Ahmed Felfel picks his strawberries. But it isn’t the Israelis in the tank who worry him as much as those others who will not let him sell them.

Earlier, it was flowers grown in Gaza and then fed to camels because the Israeli blockade would not let them through. Now it is strawberries grown and wasted.

It is Gaza’s irony that the most desperate conditions produce some of the finest people seek. Nature itself has been kind to Gaza; the soil is rich, there is plenty of sunshine, and predictable rainfall. All that produces strawberries of a quality that the best restaurants in Europe like to serve.

After Gaza elected Hamas, Israel moved swiftly with U.S. backing to isolate the 23-mile long strip of land with Israel on one side and the Mediterranean on the other. It’s a siege that will not let even flowers and strawberries through.

“I am alive but I feel dead,” says Ahmed Felfel. He is expecting losses of 35,000 to 45,000 dollars as a result of the Israeli blockade. That is above more direct losses. “Israeli tanks and bulldozers demolished my irrigation system, my greenhouses, my equipment.”

Beit Lahiya is close to the Israeli border, and just a few miles from the Israeli town Siderot which has been within reach of home-made rockets fired from within Gaza. Israel, in turn, has launched deadly missile attacks on Gaza.

The Israelis come in and simply bulldoze any place they think can hide a launching pad for rockets. When they find nothing, no compensation is offered.

In an average year, Gaza’s 6,000 strawberry farmers harvest nearly 2,000 tonnes of the fruit that sell altogether for about 10 million dollars. Two-thirds is normally shipped out through Agrexco, the agriculture exchange half-owned by the Israeli government that Gaza’s fruit and flower growers are required to use.

In November two trucks carrying flowers and six carrying strawberries were allowed through by the Israelis. Then the blockade came down again.

Agrexco vice-president Malachy J. Malinovich has said “Palestinian producers have decided not to continue shipping.” That could be partly true, because many Palestinian farmers have decided not to grow fruits and flowers rather than spend all that time and money only to see their produce rot.

Ahmed al-Shafi, director of Gaza’s Agriculture Cooperative, says that one shipment of 12 tonnes of strawberries was destroyed in December last year because it was held up at the Karem Shalom crossing (Hebrew for what the Palestinians call Karm Abu Salem).

Gaza has an airport and sea port, but Israel prevents their use. On the other hand the border crossing at Rafah into Egypt is sealed by Egypt, under heavy U.S. pressure.

“We used to sell a kilo of strawberries for 4.50 dollars,” says al-Shafi. “Now it sells for 50 cents here.”

Two years ago, he said, 40 to 45 tonnes of strawberries were exported from Gaza daily in season. This year, no more than 100 tonnes have been exported so far.

And this may do long-term damage. Europe could simply get used to importing from elsewhere. And Gaza could face an “emigration of experience” because the best farmers are heading out to Egypt.

Al-Shafi has been privileged enough to be allowed out of Gaza. He has spoken to EU representatives and to U.S. officials in Tel Aviv. “We Palestinians and Israelis are neighbours and farmers,” he said. “We should seek a way to co-exist.”

Particularly now, and particularly Israelis. It’s the year of Shimita that comes every seven years, when Orthodox Jews are required to eat foods produced by non-Jewish sources. Some, at least, of the Israeli blockade is against Israelis.

IS AMERICA LOSING ITS COLLECTIVE MIND?

Watch the following and decide for yourself…..

A MESSAGE FROM CARLOS LATUFF

Here is the latest contribution from Carlos ….

سالة إلى أخوتي وأخواتي العرب والمسلمين Message to my Arab/Muslim brothers and sisters


http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/article.php?pg=11&ar=176

latuff@uninet.com.br

————————–

Dear brothers and sisters,

I need your help to find Arab newspapers or magazines willing to reproduce my cartoons about Palestine and Iraq in weekly or monthly basis, in order to reach Arab audience whom do not speak English and have no Internet access. Samples of my work can be seen here: http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/article.php?pg=11&ar=176

If you have any direct contact with editors, please, inform. Write me in English only, since I don’t speak Arabic, unfortunately. Contact me here!

Thanks a lot in advance.

Here you can see his works reproduced in Greek and Korean magazines….

ISRAEL CELEBRATES 60 YEARS OF TERROR

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
Every anniversary is a call for celebration… Israel started their’s years ago…


…All on camera for the world to see

Click HERE to see a slide show of Israel’s ‘accomplishments’ over the past two months…

Some of the photos are quite graphic, click at your own risk…

NEW YORK STATE… ONE SCANDAL DOWN, ONE TO GO

The new Governor of New York hasn’t had enough time to redecorate his new office yet, but the press is already busy at finding skeletons in his closet.
Let’s give the guy a chance…. perhaps he can actually do the job properly unlike his predecessor who obviously had other things on his mind. If he fails, go for the jugular…. but in all fairness… hold off with the scandals until that time.

NY gov says he tried coke and pot in his youth

NEW YORK (CNN) — New York Gov. David Paterson admitted during a television interview Monday that he used cocaine and marijuana during his early twenties.

art.paterson.gi.jpg

Gov. David Paterson says he tried cocaine “a couple of times” when he was “22 or 23.”

Appearing on an NY-1 political show, Paterson was asked about using cocaine and said he’d “tried it a couple of times” when he was “22 or 23.” About marijuana, he said he hadn’t touched it “since the late 70s.”

Paterson said that during his 2006 campaign for lieutenant governor he had been asked on camera about drug use.

He said he had answered “in the affirmative.”

Paterson, 53, became governor of New York a week ago after Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned amid his alleged connection to a prostitution ring.

One day after he was sworn in, Paterson said he was involved in some affairs several years ago during a troubled period in his marriage.

Paterson is regarded in New York as a politician of integrity who is capable of building consensus in the capital in Albany after the Spitzer shake-up.

The Patersons have two children.

THE VATICAN MUST SHOW GOOD WILL TOWARDS MUSLIMS

The Vatican must show good will toward Muslims
Comment by Khalid Amayreh in Occupied East Jerusalem

The highly-publicized conversion  to Catholicism of a naturalized Italian citizen of Egyptian origin  this week once again illustrates the uneasy relations between Islam and western Christianity.

The problem, of course,   doesn’t lie in the conversion itself.  People after all should be free to choose their faith and way of life without coercion. The Quran  itself declares that “let there be no compulsion in religion.”  The way Muslims ought to relate to disbelievers is engraved  in Sura (or chapter) 9 of Islam’s holy scriptures, which reads:

Say : O ye that reject Faith!

I worship not that which ye worship,

 Nor will ye worship that which I worship.

And I will not worship that which ye have been wont to worship,

 Nor will ye worship that which I worship.

To you be your Way, and to me mine.

But the  problem  lies in the vindictive atmosphere surrounding the conversion ceremony, including the anti-Islamic allusions and  insinuations.

Magdi Allam, who an Israel newspaper once called a “Muslim Zionist” admitted that he had always been a nominal Muslim, that he had never really practiced Islam and never prayed in his life. Yet, we have been told ad nauseam  by a wantonly ignorant or dishonest  Western media that Allam was “a prominent Muslim.”

Well, the truth is that he was neither Muslim nor prominent. How could a person who praises and glorifies Israel’s genocidal crimes against his fellow human beings (Christian and Muslims alike) be a man of faith?  Morality, honesty and candor are the ultimate signs of faith, characters that Allam conspicuously lacks.

So, it is highly doubtful that a man who believes  Zionism represents true righteousness and genuine civility will be a righteous individual, let alone a good Catholic.

In the context of his baptism at the hands of the Pope of the Vatican, Allam made a series of provocative lies against Islam.

The man who had written a book titled “Long Live Israel” was quoted as saying that “the root of evil is innate in an Islam that is physiologically violent and historically conflictual.

This is a cardinal mendacity, because all religions, ideologies, and isms are by definition “conflictual.” Indeed, in order for an idea, any idea, to be un-conflictual, it has to be completely  “morally neutral” between good and evil. Christianity itself was conflictual from day one.

In Matthew 10-34-39, Jesus is quoted  as saying that:

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.

In the Gospel of Thomas 16, (SV),  Jesus said:

“Perhaps people think that I have come to cast peace upon the world. They do not know that I have come to cast conflicts upon the earth: fire, sword, war.  For there will be five in a house: there’ll be three against two and two against three, father against son and son against father, and they will stand alone.”

The above shows beyond doubt that Allam doesn’t know what he is talking about  when he faults Islam for  being “historically conflictual.”

As to the issue of violence,   Allam is being equally ignorant of historical facts, because  if a religion is to be judged solely by the behavior of its followers, then Christianity stands out as the main  candidate for being the most violent religion under the sun.

Let us consider some of the following historical facts pertaining to the relationship between Christianity and violence. In the past century alone,  Western “Christians” killed more than a hundred million people, mostly other Christians. In just two essentially ‘Christian” World Wars, as many as 70 million people were killed.  Indeed, the numerous crusades, holocausts, pogroms, inquisitions, gulags and ethnic cleansings that the White man committed in the name of Jesus make Muslim violence and wars look utterly negligible in comparison.

In the Middle Ages, Catholics spread death, terror and havoc through Europe, Asia Minor and the Levant. The Franks not only slaughtered Muslims and Jews en mass, but targeted their Orthodox coreligionists, destroying  and desecrating their churches, murdering their priests and raping their women.

In North America, South America and Australia the White man murdered millions in the name of Christ and Manifest Destiny?

To be sure, Muslims, too, indulged in violence, including unjustified violence. However, stigmatizing Islam with this calumny, as if the hands of  Catholics and other western Christians were  clean,  constitutes a pornographic deviation from historical truth and honesty.

Samuel P. Huntington is one of the West’s most  prominent  contemporary  intellectuals. He argued that “the west won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion, but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence.”

“Westerners,” he said, “often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.”

One Vatican official, Cardinal Giovanni, told an Italian newspaper following the conversion ceremony that “conversion is a private matter, a personal thing and we hope that the baptism will not be interpreted negatively by Muslims.”

Well, one might give Giovanni  the benefit of the doubt were it  not for the  purposefully high profile the Vatican gave this conversion.  In the final analysis, the Vatican can’t hope for good relations with Muslims  and at the same time continues to incite hatred and racism against a religion that has as many as 15 hundred million followers, including millions of Europeans and hundreds of thousands of Italians.

Millions of erstwhile Christians converted to Islam in Europe and North America in recent years. However, unlike the Vatican, the Muslim religious authorities have  chosen not to turn every conversion into a  trial of Christianity.

Finally, it is imperative to remember that Muslims and Christians are neighbors and compatriots all over the world. This fact alone, which is not going to disappear, necessitates that each community  be sensitive to the sensibilities and feelings of the other.

Mutual respect, we are told, is the essence of religious faith.

SADDAM HANGED FOR BUSH’S CRIMES

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

Below you will find enough evidence  that George W. Bush is the enemy of the Iraqi people, not Saddam Hussein as he would like us to believe…

While the majority of Iraqis know that the current Sunni-Shiites tension did not exist before 2003, no one can deny that after five years of U.S. occupation, sectarian tension is now a reality. Sectarianism is another disaster that was brought to Iraq by the war and occupation of Iraq.


The U.S.-led invasion did not only destroy the Baath political regime, it also annihilated the entire public sector including education, health care, food rations, social security, and the armed forces. The Iraqi public sector was a great example of how millions of Iraqis: Arabs and Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites, Muslims and Christians, religious and secular, all worked together in running the country. The myth that the former Iraqi government was a “Sunni-led dictatorship” was created by the U.S. government. Even the Iraqi political regime was not “Sunni-led,” let alone the rest of the public sector. A good way to debunk this fairy tale is through a close look at the famous deck of cards of the 55 most wanted Iraqi leaders. The cards had the pictures of Saddam, his two sons, and the rest of the political leadership which most Iraqis would recognize as the heads of the political regime. What is noteworthy is that 36 of the 55 were Shiites. In fact, the two vice presidents were a Christian and a Shiites Kurd.


The above is an excerpt from THIS article…


Tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians also have been killed since the U.S.-led invasion on March 20, 2003, although estimates of a specific figure vary widely because of the difficulty in collecting accurate information.


One widely respected tally by Iraq Body Count, which collects figures based mostly on media reports, estimates that 82,349 to 89,867 Iraqi civilians have lost their lives in the conflict.


That excerpt is from THIS report…


And in the following video, one can see the continuing harassment and murder of those civilians by the American troops…One can’t help but wonder if perhaps the wrong man stood on those gallows pictured above.


« Older entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,156 other followers