THE ISRAELI WEHRMACHT

The Israeli Wehrmacht
From Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank


I realize that comparing Israel with Nazi Germany makes many people angry. However, it is perfectly true that when Israel thinks, behaves and acts as Nazi Germany did, Israel becomes deserving of and qualified for the ultimate comparison.

And Israel has been and is behaving and acting very much as Nazi Germany did prior to and during the Second World War. I bet this is not news for all those who have been following up Israeli behavior against the Palestinians (and other peoples of the Middle East) ever since Zionism seized Palestine from its native inhabitants sixty years ago.

Let us borrow some examples from the outrage that is happening right now before our eyes in the Gaza Strip where Israel is effectively carrying out slow-motion genocide against the enclave’s 1.5 million Palestinians.

On Friday, 30 May, trigger-happy Israeli soldiers indoctrinated in the racist ideology that non-Jews are not complete human beings, opened fire on unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in the northern Gaza Strip, wounding and maiming seven people.

According to medical sources, at least two of the victims were listed in critical conditions.

The protesters were not trying to “storm Israel” and posed no risk whatsoever to the safety of Israeli soldiers.

They were merely protesting the diabolic blockade imposed on them for the past 12 months by a state that claims to be a light upon the nations.

Yet, the murderous sons of Zionism shot into the crowd of protesters without any thought for the innocent blood they were spilling. The apathy and feeling of nonchalance should remind us of Nazi behaviors more than six decades ago.

There is no doubt that a state that murders innocent people knowingly and deliberately is a criminal state that is an abomination, not a light, upon the nations.

Likewise, there is no doubt that the citizens of such a state who passively or actively watch the daily theatre of murder without trying to stop it or at least speaking up against it are as criminal-minded as those Germans that watched, saw and looked the other way when Jews and non-Jews were being exterminated en mass at the hands of the Nazi beast.

Zionist Jews, who are bringing dishonor to Judaism, a great religion that teaches “thou shall not murder” and “thou shall not lie,” and “thou shall not steal” have no right to lecture the world about the evils of Nazism as long as they adamantly refuse to apply the lessons of the holocaust to their Palestinian victims.

After all, there is no such a thing as a kosher genocide or a kosher holocaust. And when Jews (or anyone else) think, behave and act like Nazis, they become Nazis. Pure and simple. A crime doesn’t become less when perpetrated by Jewish hands.

Interestingly, the incident near the Erez Checkpoint on Friday was actually minor compared to the pornographic atrocities and crimes against humanity Israel has been committing in Gaza. According to human rights organizations, including Israel’s own B’tselem group, Israel has killed and maimed thousands of innocent people in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank since 2000.

The Israeli army murdered Palestinian families vacationing along the Gaza beach. The Israeli army murdered children sleeping in the privacy of their homes and flats. The Israeli army knowingly and deliberately bombed residential homes and annihilated entire families on the ground that a member of the doomed family held political views the Zionist establishment didn’t like. Israel committed these crimes, not once, or twice, but many times.

And never ever did Israeli military and political officials truly expressed regret for their crimes. And whenever they did, they did it for media consumption, given the continuation of these criminal obscenities.

Israel is a lying nation that lies as often as it breathes. It claims it is only reacting to Palestinian rockets fired from the Gaza Strip onto nearby Jewish settlements in southern Israel.

However, it is crystal clear that it is Israel, not Hamas, that has been refusing a ceasefire by arrogantly insisting that Israel must retain the right to murder, starve and blockade Palestinians for not accepting the “legitimacy” of Zionism.

Well, Zionism has no legitimacy just as Nazism had no legitimacy, and according legitimacy, especially moral legitimacy to Zionism, would be like according legitimacy to Nazism.

Indeed, it would be a thunderous act of moral insanity to lend legitimacy to an ideology that permits the mass murder and mass expulsion of one people in order to enable another people to enjoy life at the expense of the victims.

It is perfectly true that the magnitude of Israeli criminality against the Palestinians has not reached the level of the holocaust.

But it is also true that the “manageable level” of Israeli Nazism is not mainly attributed to Zionist morality. Morality and Zionism are an eternal oxymoron.

Indeed, the Israeli blockade of Gaza, which in many aspects resembles the Nazi siege of Ghetto Warsaw, demonstrates that Zionist Jews could embark on the unthinkable if they thought the world would grant them a few weeks or months to “get the job done.” The nearly daily statements we keep hearing from some Israeli rabbis, intellectuals and politicians underscore the Nazi mentality permeating throughout Israel.

This is the reason Israel keeps trying to desensitize and neutralize world public opinion with regard to Israeli crimes against the Palestinians.

In the past, Israel refrained from exterminating a larger number of Palestinians due to possible American objections. This is when American retained a modicum of common sense in its overall discourse.

Now, however, there are influential American circles, especially within the evangelical and Jewish communities, that wouldn’t necessarily view a prospective Palestinian genocide at Israel’s hands as something totally undesirable or unacceptable. Didn’t Eli Weisel claim that the world that didn’t protect Jews from Nazism had no right to protect Palestinians from Israel?

Hence, it is essential that genuine efforts be made to stop the slide toward a full-fledged genocide against a long-tormented people that has survived 60 years of oppression and persecution at the hands of the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of the holocaust.

This task is certainly not easy but not impossible either. We need to see hundreds of thousands or millions of people take to the streets in the capitals of Europe to urge governments to see to it that the current slow-moving genocide be stopped immediately and that the people of Gaza be allowed to access food, and fuel and other basic consumer goods.

In short, Israel must not be allowed to destroy an entire people under the rubric of fighting Hamas.

Otherwise, what is the point of even remembering the holocaust?

KAFKA LOOKS AT ‘DOING UNTO OTHERS…LATER’

Click on image to enlarge
Image by Skulz Fontaine

FREE WORLD OF CENSORSHIP ~~ PURGE AT HaARETZ NEWS

Many of my readers may have noticed that I have not been posting many articles by Amira Hass lately. I have also not been cross posting a regular column by Gideon Levy called ‘The Twighlight Zone’. To be honest with you, I have combed the pages of HaAretz looking for these tidbits but to no avail.

This morning I found out why… there has been a purge at HaAretz. New owners of the newspaper are slowly but surely ‘weeding out’ the only voices of truth and reason in the Israeli press…. so typical of what has been going on generally in the ‘free world of censorship’.

I received the following via email today… it tells it all.. it was written by Edward C. Corrigan, a lawyer (Immigration and Refugee Law) living in London, Ontario, Canada. It’s a MUST read….


Putsch being carried out among reporting staff at Haaretz
by Ed Corrigan
A new German owner has purchased Haaretz and a “Putsch is being carried out among reporting staff,” in the most important and liberal Zionist paper in Israel. According to inside sources, the new owner has carried out a rough, sittingroom survey that revealed that “the occupation doesn’t sell newspapers” and they are therefore concentrating on the business world (ie. The Marker). Twilight Zone, Gideon Levy’s regular Friday column, has been scrapped, Amira Hass has been degraded to freelance on half salary, Meron Rapaport has been fired and Akiva Eldar has lost at least one half page a week.

The paper frequently allowed journalists critical of the Israeli occupation to publish articles that exposed the reality of the occupation to be exposed to the Israeli population and was circulated around the world. The new editorial direction is disturbing news. Haaretz was one of the few decent Israeli media outlets and showed that in Israel there was some respect for freedom of the press and critical discussion. This is a repeat of the situation when Conrad Black bought the Jerusalem Post and hired an Israeli censor to be publisher. The decent journalists all quit in protest, including Benny Morris back when he still had a moral conscience.

It reflects a more disturbing trend. Norman Finkelstein was recently denied entry into Israel and the West Bank. Bishop Desmond Tutu was denied entry into Israel too. Prominent Palestinian journalists are routinely denied exit visas by the Israelis to leave the Occupied Territories to go on speaking tours and a group of Palestinians students from Gaza were also recently denied exit visas to attend American universities after being granted Fulbright Scholarships from the American Government.

It appears that the Israelis are closing down many if not all of the sources of critical information coming out of Israel. The hypocrisy of it all is that Israel complains that when the British Academic Union proposes a boycott of Israeli academic institutions as a way to pressure Israel and to protest Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians the Israelis start to scream that the proposed boycott is a violation of freedom of speech and a violation of academic freedom. Israeli authorities have been crushing academic freedom and free speech for Palestinians, and even Israeli critics, for decades. Israel does not want its own population and the rest of the world to know what it is doing to the Palestinians.

PETITION FOR FREEDOM ~~ LIFT TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS ON PALESTINIAN JOURNALIST

The following is a repost…. I just looked at the signatures and many of my regular and loyal readers are not there…. PLEASE…. take a moment to sign this very important petition. Only YOU can put an end to this zionist harassment.

PETITION FOR FREEDOM ~~ LIFT TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS ON PALESTINIAN JOURNALIST

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

My brilliant Associate Khalid Amayreh is literally being held prisoner in his own land for ‘crimes’ not committed. Both the Israeli Government and their counterpart the Palestinian Authority refuse to grant him permission to attend a media conference that will soon be held in Germany.
Khalid is a journalist… what he writes is the truth as can be verified by every post he has on this Blog. Both Israel and Abbas fear what he writes… as he exposes both in their true light. A journalist that refuses to whitewash the war crimes that are committed here.
I spoke to Khalid a few weeks ago regarding setting up a Blog of his own. He lives about ten minutes from my home, so I naively suggested he come to my home so we can set it up together… his response was ” I cannot get a permit to enter Jerusalem”…. can you believe those words… right here in the ‘only Democracy in the Middle East’?
You can help make it that by signing the linked petition…. One of the basic freedoms in a democracy is Freedom of the press…. help us achieve that.
PETITION! Lift Travel Restrictions on Palestinian Journalist

SIGN THE PETITION To: Israeli and Palestinian Authorities -Palestinian journalist Khalid Amayreh, who lives in the West Bank, has been invited to attend a media conference in Germany. As required, he set about to request all of the necessary travel documents, including a visa that needs to be granted from the German representative office in Ramallah. After routine questioning regarding his political affiliations, it was not only determined that he was not a member of any party, nor formally associated with any organisation, but it was clear that he had never been arrested or detained by Israeli authorities. Mr Amayreh was granted an entry visa to Germany. However, the Israeli military authorities have refused to give him a permit to leave the West Bank. No Palestinian can travel abroad without receiving such a permit beforehand, otherwise he or she would be turned back once arriving at the Israeli-controlled border terminal at the Allenby Bridge.

Mr Amayreh then went to his local District Coordination Office in Dura, where he was informed that his information was forwarded to the Shin Bet (General Security Services) of the Israeli government. Then two days later, the GSS informed the Palestinian office that Amayreh was “barred from leaving the West Bank for security reasons.” No further explanation was given.

His fortune in obtaining the required travel permission did not change as he applied to the Civil Administration Headquarters in Hebron, a metallic pen holding persons seeking the mandatory permission even to go to East Jerusalem for medical treatment, where it is not unusual to find them huddled and waiting their turn for ten or more hours, under the watchful eye of Israeli military watchtowers.

The Palestinian Civil Affairs Coordination Office in the West Bank was also unable to mediate on his behalf, as they too are entirely dependent upon the decisions, without clarification, evidence or justification, made by the Israeli Security division.

There is indeed no justification for the violation of this man’s civil and human rights, and along with him, the rights of all others who are denied freedom of movement with no justification whatsoever. The Occupation authorities, while they have no sovereignty over citizens of the Palestinian Authority, dictate what must be done with those citizens and the world seems to consider the violation of their rights acceptable and normal praxis. These people are not pawns on a chessboard, but are individuals who seek the basic liberties that all democracies are obligated to provide for their people. The Palestinian Authority does not exercise its duty of guaranteeing civil liberties to its own citizens, and treats them as if they shall be subject to the whims of the Occupier.

We ask for the immediate revision of the decision regarding Mr Amayreh, so that he is granted the documents necessary for him to exercise his freedom of movement allowing him to continue to provide for himself and his family in the work that he is employed in, as well as for the Palestinian Authority to assume a position that sets the freedoms of its citizens as a priority that is greater than the perceived “security” risks declared by the agency of the State of Israel.

Sign the petition HERE

THE DEMOGRAPHIC FEAR FACTOR IN ISRAEL

The Demographic Fear Factor in Israel… Keep Them Babies Coming!

By Mary Rizzo

Most observers of the Israel-Palestine conflict have heard a phrase without even really reflecting upon what it might mean or any implications behind it. The phrase is that Israel risks the detonation of a demographic bomb. The Israelis have been convinced up until very recently that they are unbeatable in any military milieu. That belief has allowed them to continue with the Occupation of Palestine and the inhumane treatment of the Arabs. All Arabs, even those who have held political office in Israel, are treated as foreign bodies that need to be extirpated. But, with the curtain of “permanent victory” being slashed from the rod to the ground, the illusion of force is dying, and rather than entrust security to the young men and women aged 18 to 35 in combat fatigues, they are now pinning their hopes on Jewish lives still in the womb.

While many Israelis will falsely claim that there are total equal rights for all Israeli citizens (this is a famous and oft repeated hasbara lie), it is enough to ask Azmi Bishara his opinion on the matter. The Knesset Member now lives in exile because his belief in equality appears to be a menacing security threat in the eyes of those who lead Israel and, given the lack of outcry, in the populace. He was accused by the Shin Bet of passing reserved information, of which he actually had no access to, to Hezbollah during the 2006 war Israel waged against Lebanon. But if it’s the Shin Bet doing the accusing, the fear factor would keep even MKs silent, not to mention a citizen that is not guaranteed any parliamentary immunity, which is an instrument introduced so that lawmakers could freely express their views without being imprisoned for them. If an MK is not even treated according to law for expressing his pacific point of view of equality that is closer to Martin Luther King than it is to Avigdor Lieberman, what can we expect by way of protection and justice for common citizens?

There is indeed racism in Israel against Arabs, even those with Israeli citizenship, as they receive treatment that is “merely” discriminatory, such as the Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel who are given the charming epithet, “Fifth Column”, indicating an internal risk for national security. Discrimination in allotment of public services and risk of losing residency rights if they exercise freedom of movement that a Jewish Jerusalemite enjoys, is the order of the day for Palestinian Israelis. The Palestinians who are outside the Green Line have things much harder, as torture, collective punishment and oppression are the daily bread, a fact that is well-documented and does not need to be stressed more in this instance.

Yet, all of these people are considered to be an existential threat to Israel. The fact that THEY, the Arabs who live in the Occupied Territories and Israel itself, exist is considered to be a weapon that even the faith in military might can’t compensate for, in lieu of massacres, deportations and bloodbaths that go under the name of counter-terrorism.

As a matter of fact, history has always shown that the masses, when pushed too far, tend to rebel. Restrictive laws, collective punishment and even exile have never been unsurmountable obstacles to an oppressed people. Therefore, Israel is correct in assuming that there is danger in numbers.

However, the numbers they fear don’t concern a popular uprising, given that so far, there has never been the leader or the historical circumstance to permit an effective rebellion that will overturn the state of affairs. There is a great deal of internal division, fomented also by the “international community”, and the very fact that Palestinians themselves are divided into groups does not contribute to an effective popular movement. The Fifth Column is, in that way, extremely useful for Israel, because the unity that Palestinians on this side or that side of the Green Line should feel is undermined at every turn. They are not allowed to be in contact, nor are they permitted a unified national, political or cultural identity that they are able to express. As long as the Palestinians in the Historic Homeland are divided, and into as many segments as possible, this allows the schizophrenic identity of Israel as a Jewish Democracy to continue unthreatened in essence. Deporting Palestinian Israelis is out of the question perhaps more for the reason of political astuteness than for reasons of ethics and morality. As the story of Cain and Abel shows, sometimes there is no greater enemy than one’s own blood, and dividing brothers is entirely possible and politically feasible.

The numbers that are important to Israel are the number of Jews that are citizens of Israel. Aliyah worked in the past, and to a certain extent, still is effective, especially in the young, upwardly mobile adult sector who is looking for a cheap break away from the nest. If you go to Tel Aviv or New York, it’s all the same for an IT expert from the heart of America. The success of Birthright and other programs that finance not only trips to Israel for aspiring immigrants, but state financed and privately financed programs to settle in the Olim in lovely, modern flats, find jobs, some of them perhaps even created by the Shin Bet just to bring in the numbers of promising youth, are testament to all of this. Yet Aliyah is not what is used to be. It is harder to sustain the expenses of transferring families, and in fact, the settler movement is no longer willing to live in a rural and traditional way, but demands bigger homes, gardens in the desert, services that are equal to those they can get in North America. Private companies that speculate on the upward mobility factor specialise in proposing real estate that has little to do with living a life according to Jewish tradition, but with making a solid investment, profit for the real estate developer, cheap housing for the newcomer and political dependence on the government that maintains the apartheid state.

As an article in Le Monde Diplomatique expresses, the settler movement has changed its colours a bit:

We need to look at their social composition and economy, and ask who profits from the colonial project. What drives ordinary people to take part in it, becoming instruments of dispossession and perhaps its future victims? Modi’in Illit is a perfect example. It was not the work of nationalist-messianic settlers and their political representatives, but of a heterogeneous social-political alliance linking real-estate developers, investors looking to make a profit and politicians pushing the colonisation project.

As a matter of fact, it creates an intense political bond between those making Aliyah or those moving from Israel to the settlements and the power structures in Israel. The two entities protect one another and give the essential oxygen to keep Israel alive as a Jewish State based on containment of the Arab population and Jewish control of land and resources. The article continues:

These settlements are not based on messianic fervour alone, but offer answers to social needs – quality of life for the upper middle class, jobs and subsidised housing for the underprivileged. They broaden the social base of the settlement movement and link it to additional constituencies, particularly the real wall profiteers: contractors, capitalists and the upper class seeking a grander life in gated communities, far from the poor and shielded from the Palestinians. They also tie to colonisation those searching for a way out of hardship, large families looking for cheap housing or new immigrants dependent on government subsidies and seeking social acceptance. These pay the price of the hostility and hatred that the wall generates, and are completely dependent on capitalists and politicians.

However, moving families from Israel or from other countries to the Occupied Territories, while it does increase the electoral power of those who finance the move and therefore a continuation of settlement policies, does not guarantee a Jewish majority in times when the Arab birthrate is far higher than that of Jews in Israel or the OPTs. What is essential, in the view of some, is to increase the birthrate. The creation of an “Inner Aliyah” is what moves the activists of Efrat, an organisation that seeks to aid women who have decided to opt for abortion or who are unsure as to whether to continue a pregnancy. As stated in their site:

Israel is currently fighting a war for her very survival as a Jewish State. As this is being written Israel’s borders are in jeopardy due to the demographic threat of being out numbered. The Arab birthrate is 4.6 double the Jewish birth rate of 2.3. It is forecasted that the Arabs will be the majority in Israel by the year 2020, less than fifteen years from now.

Israel has lost more than one and a half million Jewish children to abortion since 1948. In a country of about 5.5 million Jews this number has great demographic significance. Imagine how much stronger Israel would have been today with one million more Jews. Imagine if we could create an “Inner Aliyah” of 10 to 15 thousand Jews a year. At a cost of just $1,000 per “Oleh” Efrat is a bargain compared to other Aliyah projects. And the Israeli government wouldn’t even have to pay for housing or airfare as the potential Olim are already in Israel just waiting to be born!

Not wanting to go into the issue of abortion itself, what does seem very interesting is the reasoning behind “keeping them babies coming”, for the good of the State. It is well known that under Fascism and Nazism, policies were implemented for increasing the birthrate of Italians and Germans. The size of the citizens of the State was considered to be a formidable security weapon and a duty to the State itself.

From my translation of a Wikipedia entry on Fascism in Italy:

The Demographic Battle (with the Bachelor’s Tax) to increase the Italian population according to the concept inherited from an agricultural tradition, implied that more children means more available workers and especially more soldiers. For this reason, having families with many children was encouraged in every possible way. The fathers of large families received increased salaries, the mothers were awarded with ribbons, diplomas, gold and silver medals. Public loans were granted to the new couples that had to be paid back only if they had not given birth to children or if too few of them were born.

While Efrat is a private organisation, looking around their site we are informed that they are proud of the support they gain around the world. Heavyweights in the Washington Israel Lobby, the
Friends of Lubavitch and the endorsement of many political figures such as US Senators and other policy makers finance and promote the program. Obviously, the Israeli demographic question is seen by some as a “pro-life” campaign and by others as a “pro-Israel” one. While the ideological reason behind support of it by those in power may differ, the result is the same: financing so that the Jewish population increases in order to balance Palestinian birthrates, which have always been high.


So, a few might be asking, “what’s so bad about women having babies? Are you picking on Jewish women, as if their families are worth less?” Actually, it’s not the case at all. If a woman or a family wants to have children, they should be encouraged to do so, and this would mean that their society should provide stability for all of its citizens so that children are not seen as a luxury and a burden, not only of the family itself, but the society as a whole. But, it isn’t what I think that matters. What is important to stress is that it is not about the welfare of individuals and about improving the society, but it is all about waging a cultural war against a people that have not yet surrendered.

Let’s have a look at what a Settler Friendly (and self-styled Machavellian) site, Samson Blinded, has to say in the post equating Arabs with roaches:

The phrase “and it was good” concludes every act of Creation. Everything is good – including the evil, also a created thing. Everything stems from the divine goodness. Why do we fight, then? Why not accept the good intentions of Arabs who breed to dominate the Land of Israel? One answer is that for Jews the ultimate goodness rests in the Torah, and every opposition to it should be quashed in the name of goodness. On the practical plane, goodness doesn’t matter. Our actions toward Arabs are evil. People pursue self-interest which, in the case of Israel’s right, only incidentally correlates with the divine goodness of Torah. Roaches are not happy when we squash them. They are unthreatening, but merely aesthetically detestable. Arabs, likewise, suffer through no guilt of their own. They are good, but still have to be evicted from Israel for the Jewish good.

Judaism resents hunting because animals have to be killed for food properly, with respect for their lives. Stone Age people enjoyed hunting because it gave them food; modern hunting is recreational. Enjoyment of murder, even of animal, is unethical. There is nothing wrong with Arabs. They lived their lives on the hills which they plowed for generations when Jews came to their country.

Naturally, the Arabs fought back – not because of the European Judophobism, but as normal people who resist their country usurped by aliens; it’s a pity that Jews are less normal than Arabs and accept that Arabs breed to become a majority in Israel. Jews have to push the Arabs out and inflict suffering. That’s regrettable, but there’s no choice: as we need food to sustain bodies, we also need sovereignty to sustain our communal body. We “hunt” the Arabs without enjoying it – just because we have to live in a state of our own.

I might say that there is very little to add, although terms such as “breeding” and much less doing it for the sole reason of becoming “a majority in Israel” denote an image of Arab inferiority bordering on being less than human in the eyes of this faithful follower of the Torah, that even the most lazy eye can’t miss. Yet, it seems as if reasons of eminent domain of Palestinian property to secure Lebensraum for Jews being the practice has not been enough. With Aliyah and the programs to get the Israeli birthrate up, considering people as animals, tools, weapons and cannon fodder is intrinsic in Israeli thinking and in the thought pattern of those who support the “right” of a Jewish State to exist in Palestine, no matter how many justifications they make, or how “humanitarian” their project for achieving this goal might look. They are in war, and that embryo is the soldier.

Source

U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT NOMINATED FOR AN OSCAR

Image by Abonoon
Did you ever have a surprise party planned for you that you found out about ahead of time? Do you remember how your friends and family begged you to act surprised? It’s happened to many of us at one time or another….

But how often does it happen with countries? The United States has made it virtually impossible for residents of the Palestinian Occupied Territories to obtain visas to visit the United States for many years now. For a year there has been a siege and blockade on the Gaza Strip converting that territory into nothing less than a concentration camp.
Now Fulbright Scholarships are being canceled because of this…. brilliant minds literally put on hold because of apartheid and racism…..
And the U.S. State Department is acting surprised?????
They are the one’s behind this in the first place!

They definitely deserve an Oscar for this performance!

US grants canceled for 7 Gaza students

Fulbright scholarship recipients to stay home, cannot leave Strip due to Gaza siege; Rice says she’s surprised by decision

Associated Press

Hadeel Abu Kawik was supposed to spend next year in the United States on the prestigious Fulbright scholarship program, but now it appears she will remain trapped in the Gaza Strip by an Israeli blockade. Word that the US State Department was canceling her scholarship came after Abu Kawik, 23, a computer engineering student, went through a lengthy process for the scholarship that included interviews, exams and an English test.

“I was building my hope on this scholarship,” she said Friday.

In all, seven Gaza students lost their grants. The decision was made because they would not be able to get exit visas from Israel, according to State Department Spokesman Tom Casey.

The scholarships meant for the Gazans will be offered instead to Palestinian students from the West Bank, Casey said, “rather than lose them for this year.” The eight Gazans will be eligible next year, he said.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she was surprised to learn that the State Department had yanked the scholarships. Rice said she is going to look into it since she believes it’s important to help young Palestinians. She said that engaging young people is key to the future of a Palestinian state.

Later, the State Department said it was pressing the Israeli government to allow the Palestinian students to travel to the United States.

“We are trying to revisit this issue with the Israeli government,” State Department spokesman Tom Casey told reporters

‘I don’t know what to do’

An Israeli military spokesman said the US made the decision about the scholarships on its own, but confirmed that only urgent humanitarian cases are allowed through Gaza’s crossings and that does not include students.

“We are extremely sorry that we are unable to finalize your scholarship at this time, and hope you will reapply next year and be able to complete your studies in the US,” read the letter received Thursday by another one of the eight students from the US consulate in Jerusalem.

Abu Kawik’s said her family, living in the United Arab Emirates, has repeatedly asked her to leave Gaza. But she insisted on staying because of her hopes for the Fulbright grant.

“Now I don’t know what to do — to wait by myself in Gaza for another year with no guarantee what the answer will be?” Abu Kawik said. “Actually I just don’t know. I was astonished at how the United States government cannot get a few students out of Gaza.”

LETTER FROM A BEREAVED PALESTINIAN FATHER TO ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER

The blood of Abir will remain as a black crown on the brow of every Israeli and every Jew in the world until her murderer is brought to justice and passes the remainder of his days in jail, among the murderers and the criminals.

An Open Letter to Defense Minister, Ehud Barak
Here’s the Truth You’ve Been Running From

BASSAM ARAMIN

May 30, 2008

Honorable General Ehud Barak, you don’t know me personally. I am a seeker of peace, and I struggle with all my strength and ability for the realization of a just peace that will bring calm and prosperity to Palestinians and Israelis together. I have suffered personally from your criminal occupation and I have paid a heavy price. Firstly, I was imprisoned when I was 17 years old and wasted seven years of my life in your barbaric prisons. Secondly, have you perhaps read or heard about what happened to the young girl Abir Aramin? She was a ten-year-old whom your soldiers killed with a rubber bullet from a distance of 15 feet on January 16, 2007 in front of her eleven-year-old sister Areen. Despite this I, the father of Abir — may she rest in peace — believe in the right of the Israeli person, as in the right of all people, to exist and to live in peace and security. So why do you not believe in our right to enjoy these same things, sir?

Where was the democratic nature of your state when your heroic soldiers killed my daughter before the eyes of her friends at the entrance to her school in Anata? Where were your democratic ideals when you closed the investigation file into Abir’s murder for lack of sufficient evidence, this despite the fact that the crime is clear and was committed in front of more than ten witnesses? Was Abir really a threat to your soliders, sir?

I carry in my possession the weapons with which Abir threatened those soldiers. I have in my hand her school backpack, reinforced and armored, of course — the mechanical pencil she had, laden with dangerous lead cartridges, and her math book in which class she had a test the same day, which of course included detailed instructions on how to prepare chemical weapons. In addition to all this, she had a sharp ruler, which could for sure be used as a weapon to stab someone. Lastly, I found in her possession two pieces of chocolate that perhaps contained a bit of enriched uranium that would have certainly brought devastation upon your state, if she hadn’t been tempted to take them in her hand for a taste seconds before she was shot.

Here I have to give your soldiers credit in their incredible ability to incapacitate and kill with such deadly accuracy. The bullet hit Abir exactly one centimeter from her hypothalamus—this caused her to immediately enter a coma and she died thereafter and went to dwell in the presence of God, sparing her the continuing pain and heartache herein expressed.

Thus, Abir Aramin can be added to the list of great successes and security accomplishments in the name of the state of Israel. But I request, Minister and General, in that I am the father of this young girl, at the very least an admission of responsibility for this murder, or its cause. It is your duty to bring the soldier who murdered Abir to court so he may be tried and judged a murderer and criminal.

I believe that there is no military solution to the conflict and when those cowards murdered my daughter, I announced that I did not want revenge, I wanted justice, even though revenge is much easier. The real fighter is one who chooses the harder path of the two for the sake of peace, and revenge is the path of the coward.

Sir, the Palestinian people cannot forever pay the price of the fear and suspicion of the Israeli people. Free my people from this abominable occupation so that your people may live in prosperity and be free from fear.

For sixty years, the Palestinian people have paid the price of the Israeli military occupation an occupation which, in celebration of the Israeli state’s inception, carries out acts of outright antagonism that spill the blood of Palestinian fighters, women, children and elders indiscriminately. It is the Palestinian general public that provides a target for your war machine that does not protect the small from the grown. Our people has faced the same murderer since Gaza in 1956 — and the never-ending series continues.

I will not remind you now of the massacres that your government committed against my people; you know them far better than I. I read about them, heard about them — but you took part in them.

The question I pose to you is this: in light of your rich military experience, and as someone who himself has seen sixty years of conflict go by, when will Israel have the strength to finish the conflict militarily and realize a complete victory over the Palestinian people? Do you continue to believe that what cannot be done by might may be done by more might? Does the occupation conceal in its bag of tricks additional methods of killing that the Palestinian people have not yet had the misfortune to know?

If this is the case, perhaps it is a good idea for the Israeli government to try and use those methods. And perhaps they will be able to accomplish that tantalizingly complete victory…in another 60 years.

Sir, when will you understand that the conflict between us cannot be ended with an army? For despite all the effort and conceit of the occupation, it could not stop the stones of our children from hitting your occupying soldiers. How will you be able to stop the Palestinian uprising? This is a dream that will never come true, even in another 1000 years. Why are you not telling this truth to the residents of Ashkelon and Sderot, that there is no solution that will stop the Qassam missiles flying at them from a destroyed and blockaded Gaza except if there would be an end to the occupation?

This is the truth you’ve been running from for a long time.

Believe me, sir, that you will gain nothing out of continuing to detain people. More than 750,000 Palestinians have been detained from 1967 until today. What result has been achieved except an increased determination on our part for confrontation and resistance?

The policy of occupation only creates more and more people who rise up to fight occupation and refuse to accept its burden. The Palestinian prisoners who sit in your jails are among the most learned and erudite of our people, those are the most sensitive and humanistic. They have become educated in the tradition of liberty and democracy—and for this reason they will never agree to accept the occupation and subjugation. It is these men and women who will fight for peace, and if you want to realize peace you have no option but to set free these soldiers of peace first and foremost.

How much have you really benefited from your strategy of home demolitions, uprooting of trees, confiscating lands for questionable reasons and then establishing illegal settlements on those same lands? How much has it helped you to set up disgraceful checkpoints in every corner and every road of the West Bank and Gaza and at each intersection for the purpose of humiliating the residents of those areas, among them workers, students and political leaders. What is the expediency of all this, sir?

When will the bloodthirsty bullets of your soldiers be sated by the blood of our children? When will you be satisfied with our blood that you have already spilled and leave us? When will you leave our waters and our heavens? Do you not see the helmets upon which your soldiers write, “I was born to kill”? Do you not see your brave men killing children every day? How can you decide to prevent the people of Gaza from acquiring cooking gas and at the same time send them teargas and tanks and warplanes?

Only now do I understand the will of an Israeli woman in Italy — my colleague Eidan and I met her when we participated in a peace march from Perugia to Assisi as representatives of Combatants for Peace. When I asked her, “You aren’t planning to return to Israel?” She answered me: “I swore that if Ehud Barak won the election, I will leave Israel forever.” She continues to live there because you act according to a policy that says there is no Palestinian partner.

I cannot begin to express in this short letter the enormity of the moral failures that have harmed Israeli society. The newspaper Yediot Ahronot said that 40 per cent of new recruits to the IDF have criminal records and this may go a long way in explaining the long list of acts against Palestinian civilians that they commit during their service. This is supposed to be the most distinguished, moral army in the entire world, no? Is this why we find that 25 per cent of the soldiers of the army of the occupation took part in instances of torture and punishment of innocent civilians or were witnesses to such acts?

Sir, I want to submit that I have read the shameful report that every person of conscience should be horrified by, that talks of the torture of children in Hebron. And this — the strangling of Palestinian children by soldiers to test how much time they can stand without breathing, incidents that were committed by captains in your army, the most moral army in the world, this is the crown of shame on the brow of the occupation.

Sir, how do you justify your soldier’s use of children aged 10 as personal shields that they tie to the front of your patrols when they search for wanted persons or break up a demonstration? Where does international law permit this? I am trying to understand if this use of children as human shields is in some way related to the science of modern warfare, for the accusation that I hear in all instances of the killing of children in particular and in the killing of Palestinian citizens in general is that the Palestinians fighters use citizens for human shields to hide behind. How can there be a legal justification and distinction even in the Israeli terminology, but not in the international terminology, between Israelis and Palestinians?

How can you justify the deaths of those innocents just trying to peacefully pass though the checkpoints that your soldiers put up at all entrances to villages, cities or camps that prevent pregnant women from walking to hospitals to deliver? Would you ever agree to let this happen to your wife? What would you do then?

There are, however, military men, Israeli soldiers that used to do battle with the Palestinian people who at the moment of truth found that they are no more than pawns in the hands of the occupation. They had the courage and the valor to announce unanimously that they refuse to be occupiers. They exposed the falsehoods of their leaders who claim that Israel is reaching out her hand for peace but she has no partner on the Palestinian side. They discovered that they had never met a real Palestinian fighter face-to-face in combat, and that instead their day-to-day work was chasing schoolchildren, enforcing closures, destroying houses and putting up checkpoints and roadblocks to stop children who aren’t even 13 years old. They took a moral and courageous stance and without any difficulty found themselves a Palestinian partner from within the heart of the Palestinian movement, people who wasted the spring of their youth in the prisons of your occupation. Together they founded the organization Combatants for Peace. The name itself exposes the false promises and the policy that says there is no partner for peace. This organization, united in courageousness and and morality, is made up of people from both sides who understand that there is only one shared enemy that conceals the path of realization of peace and life together as two nations. This enemy is the illegal and immoral Israeli occupation. I am a member of this organization, and I call upon all who are searching for a true peace to join us.

We tell our peoples the truth, only the truth. We are committed to nonviolent resistance to the occupation, and I call here, in this very missive, to the people of our Palestinian nation that have been inscribed in the pages of history as the epitome of resilience, that have had the humanity to withstand decades of abuse and occupation with the purest steadfastness. I call also upon the people in Israel to accept moral and historic responsibility for the establishment of these two states together, and for a national, humanistic, peaceful intifada, a rising up against this unjust occupation that has transformed your children into war criminals and to abject murderers. You Israelis — stop sending your soldiers — your sons — to kill our children, because the blood of our children and the blood of all those Palestinian innocents will chase your soldiers and the generals of your army to judgment in international courts as the rest of the war criminals in the world. You must learn this lesson. The honorable general must surely be aware that the majority of captains and generals in the Israeli army are forbidden from entering any European state for they will be wanted persons there, to be arrested and taken to court as war criminals and for crimes against humanity?

One last word – the blood of Abir will remain as a black crown on the brow of every Israeli and every Jew in the world until her murderer is brought to justice and passes the remainder of his days in jail, among the murderers and the criminals.

Bassam Aramin is co-founder of Combatants for Peace. Translation by Mimi Asnes.

ISRAEL COMMITTING MEMORYCIDE

Israel ‘committing memorycide’
By Ilan Pappe

Ilan Pappe says Israel needs to acknowledge the crime it committed
against the Palestinian people

Between February, 1948 and December,1948 the Israeli army systematically occupied the Palestinian villages and towns, expelled by force the population and in most cases also destroyed the houses, looted their belongings and took over their material and cultural possessions. This was the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

During the ethnic cleansing, wherever there was resistance by the population the result was a massacre. We have more than 30 cases of such massacres where a few thousand Palestinians were massacred by the Israeli forces throughout the operation of the ethnic cleansing.

Pappe says the Israeli army systematically
forced Palestinians from their homes

The Israeli army became a bit tired toward the end of the operation and the Palestinian villages became more aware of what was awaiting them and therefore in the Upper Galilee the Israeli army did not succeed in expelling all of the villages. This is why today we have what we call the Arab-Israelis or Israeli-Arabs.This is a group of 50 to 60 villages that remained within the state of Israel and its population was steadfast and was not expelled over to the other side of the border – to Lebanon or Syria.

The international community was aware of the ethnic cleansing but the international community, especially in the West, decided not to confront head on the Jewish community in Palestine after the Holocaust.

And, therefore, there was a kind of conspiracy of silence and again the international community did not react and was complacent and this was very important for the Israelis because it showed them that they can adopt as a state ideology ethnic cleansing and ethnic purity.

Erasing history

Part of any ethnic cleansing operation is not just wiping out the population and expelling it from the earth. A very typical part of ethnic cleansing is wiping people out of history.

For ethnic cleansing to be an effective and successful operation you also have to wipe people out of memory and the Israelis are very good at it. They did it in two ways.

They built Jewish settlements over the Palestinian villages they expelled and quite often gave them names that reflected the Palestinian name as a kind of testimony to the Palestinians that this is totally now in the hands of Israel and there is no chance in the world of bringing the clock backwards.

Pappe says many former Palestinian villages
were turned into recreational spaces

The other way they did it is planting trees – usually European pine trees – over the ruins of the village and turning the village into recreational spaces where you do exactly the opposite of commemoration – you live the day, you enjoy life, it is all about leisure and pleasure. That is a very powerful tool for ‘memorycide’. In fact, much of the Palestinian effort should have been but was never unfortunately – or only recently began – was to fight against that ‘memorycide’ by at least bringing back the memory of what happened.

I think that there should be no reason in the world that two people – the Palestinians and the Jews – despite everything that happened in the past should not be able live together effective and in one state.

You need three things for that to happen. You need closure for the 1948 story – namely you need an Israeli acknowledgment of the crime it committed against the Palestinian people.

The second thing that you need is you need to make Israel accountable for this and the only way of making Israel accountable is by, at least in principle, accepting the Palestinian refugees right of return.

And thirdly you need a change in the Palestinian and Arab position towards the idea of a Jewish presence in Palestine as something legitimate and natural and not as an alien colonialist force.

I think these principles have to emerge and so far the political elites on both sides are unwilling to accept them.

Source

OLD OSLO ILLUSIONS

Image by Abonoon

Old Oslo illusions

Promises of money and jobs are not enough to hide the brutal reality of occupation, writes Khalid Amayreh in Bethlehem

Amid lavish settings and tight security, hundreds of investors and entrepreneurs from around the world last week gathered in the southern West Bank town of Bethlehem to discuss and plan joint business ventures.

Palestinian Authority (PA) officials described the “Palestine Investment Conference” as a “mega event” in light of the large number of attendants, many of whom were businesspeople from expatriate Palestinian communities in the Gulf region.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas opened the conference on Wednesday 21 May at the InterContinental Hotel with a brief speech in which he appealed to investors from the Arab world to invest in Palestine and in peace.

Abbas sought to strike a delicate balance between the anti-business and investment environment emanating from the entrenched Israeli occupation and the need to maintain a semblance of economic well-being in the occupied territories if only to enable Palestinians to withstand systematic Israeli repression aimed at killing Palestinian aspirations for freedom and independence.

Abbas carefully avoided any bleak assessment of “peace talks” with Israel, ostensibly in order to maintain the “positive atmospherics” of the conference. However, Abbas’s artificial optimism did little to reassure sceptics worried that investing in Palestine while still under military occupation may not be a good idea.

Former British prime minister and Quartet envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process Tony Blair, a key proponent of the economy-first agenda in Palestine, sought to foster optimism, saying Palestine deserved a prosperous economy. Some Palestinian intellectuals and journalists accused Blair of trying to use economic inducements to bribe the PA into giving political concessions to Israel, especially with regard to keystone issues of the Arab-Israeli conflict such as Jerusalem and the right of return of Palestinian refugees.

Blair, who undertook laborious efforts to convince Israel to ease up restrictions strangling the Palestinian economy, has hardly succeeded in getting Israel to remove even two or three roadblocks in the West Bank. Indeed, a recent report by the United Nations pointed out that Israel actually increased, not decreased, the number of barriers and roadblocks in the West Bank, a fact likely to generate despair among those who think that no viable economy can be sustained in an environment of roadblocks, checkpoints, military curfews and closed military zones.

According to organisers, as many as 1,500 local and foreign investors and business representatives participated in the three-day conference. Participants included a high-level delegation from the United Arab Emirates that arrived aboard a Jordanian army helicopter that flew them directly from Amman, apparently in coordination with Israel. Many other participants had to receive special access permits from the Israeli army, a grim reminder that accessibility to the West Bank, including its business market, is tightly controlled by Israel.

A number of invitees, especially Palestinian expatriates, were barred for political reasons. Some of the more sceptical participants said they only came to visit families and in order to be able to pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Others said they wanted to enjoy the holiday setting and meet old friends.

Yet despite the omnipresent spectre of the Israeli occupation, epitomised by army barriers and roadblocks near the conference venue, the gathering itself was successful. According to PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, the man behind the conference, around $1.4 billion was pledged for joint business projects, which could create up to 35,000 jobs in the West Bank. The sum reportedly includes about $550 million from major Arab investors for the construction of a new Palestinian town near Ramallah.

In a press conference marking the end of the conference, Fayyad announced a joint strategy between the private sector and the government “to strengthen coordination and integration” for the purpose of bolstering the national economy. “The Palestinian National Authority believes in the leading role of the private sector and the importance of integration with the efforts exerted by the government,” he said, adding that he hoped that the conference would lead to “economic recovery”, “sustainable social and economic planning and management”, “developing services” and “tackling Israeli impediments to strengthening the Palestinian economy”.

Responding to critics who have argued that foreign-induced economic investment was inherently artificial and designed to bribe Palestinians to give political concessions to Israel, Fayyad said there was a total separation between peace talks with Israel and efforts to attract foreign investment into Palestine. “This is not an economic conflict that requires an economic solution. This is a political conflict that requires a political solution. And I assure you that we won’t meet any political demands attached to efforts to revive our economy,” he said.

Recognising the fact that the Israeli occupation was the ultimate spoiler of an investment- friendly environment, Fayyad argued that Palestinians had no choice but to cling to life. “We want to live, and we can’t live normally without creating a minimum of economic normality. Every year, 50,000 young men and women enter the labour market. We must create jobs for those people. We want permanent development, but realising this goal depends on the removal of Israeli barriers and restrictions. Hence this conference is a message to the world, a message of defiance — a positive defiance.”

Despite the optimism, the stark contrast between the illustrious surroundings of the conference on the one hand and the abject poverty haunting large sectors of Palestinian society on the other seemed to serve as a metaphor reflecting the vast gap between the high expectations raised and bleak political realities on the ground.

Mohamed Shtayeh, head of the Palestinian Economic Council For Development and Reconstruction (PICDAR), acknowledged: “Investment in Palestine is unlike investment in any other country.” “In the US, they say ‘Business as usual’. Here it is ‘Business as unusual’.”

Shtayeh denied that the conference was an economic bribe that comes at the expense of Palestinian rights, saying it “is always better to light a candle than curse darkness.”

Adel Samarah, a leftist Palestinian economist, disagreed. “This is not a matter of lighting candles or cursing darkness. Talking this way is poetry, literature and emotions, not economics. During the Oslo era they told us that Gaza would become the Singapore of the Middle East and the West Bank would become like Hong Kong. What actually happened is that Gaza became a concentration camp and the West Bank sank deeper and deeper in the quagmire of the occupation,” he said.

Samarah lashed out at the PA, calling PA leaders and officials “a gang of money-grabbing careerists who are sacrificing Palestinian national interests for the sake of their immediate financial interests.” Samarah further accused the PA of “pimping Arab investors to normalise with Israel while Israel is decapitating Palestine and its people.”

“This is a disgraceful economic normalisation between the Arab states and Israel and it is happening at the expense of the Palestinian national cause. They are simply trying to reproduce the Oslo- era illusions,” Samarah added.

IN ISRAEL YOU CAN PICK YOUR FRIENDS ~~ BUT BEWARE WHEN YOU PICK CABINET MINISTERS

Israel: Olmert Corruption Scandal Grows
Ehud Barak threatens to take Israeli Labour Party out of governing coalition unless Olmert steps aside

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said he would use his considerable power to topple the coalition government if Prime Minister Ehud Olmert does not step aside to face corruption allegations. Although Barak stopped short of setting a firm deadline, his comments make it extremely difficult for Olmert to stay in power. If Barak’s Labor Party withdraws from the coalition, Olmert would lose his parliamentary majority and the country would be forced to hold new elections.

Bernard Avishai, contributing editor of Harvard Business Review and author “The Hebrew Republic,” comments on the possibility of early elections that would most likely see Israel’s current Foreign Minister appointed as Prime Minister.

He insists “Barak is not really interested in precipitating a new election now, in advance of any diplomatic breakthrough,” and notes that “if Olmert goes and some interim Prime Minister like Tzipi Livni is appointed,” this “would be pretty good for a peace deal.” Perhaps of greatest significance for the region and the advancement of any peace negotiations, Avishai believes that “Tzipi Livni would be a much more attractive face of a peace deal; more people would trust her.”

Watch the full story here:

Source

TUTU: GAZA BLOCKADE ABOMINATION

My message to the international community is that our silence and complicity, especially on the situation in Gaza, shames us all. It is almost like the behaviour of the military junta in Burma
Desmond Tutu
That is basically the short summation of the fact finding mission to Gaza led by Desmond Tutu. Perhaps, after words like that from a wise and respected man someone out there will listen…. we can only hope.
A BBC report of Tutu’s visit is below….

Tutu: Gaza blockade abomination

Desmond Tutu, 29 May, 2008

Desmond Tutu was speaking at the end of an official two-day visit to Gaza

Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu has called Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip an “abomination”.

He strongly condemned what he called international “silence and complicity” on the blockade, which he compared to the actions of Burma’s leaders.

Speaking at the end of a two day mission to the area, the former archbishop said the humanitarian situation there could not be justified.

Earlier, 60 Palestinians were detained in an Israeli raid on northern Gaza.

Residents in the Beit Hanoun area were summoned to a local square by Israeli troops with loudhailers before dozens were taken away, witnesses said.

‘International complicity’

Mr Tutu was in Gaza on a United Nations fact-finding mission into the killing of 19 Palestinians by Israeli shellfire in November 2006.

The former archbishop of Cape Town said the international community’s “silence and complicity, especially on the situation in Gaza, shames us all”. Mr Tutu said conflicts were resolved through talking to enemies not friends.

He said his meeting with the deposed prime minister, Ismail Haniya, was an opportunity to tell the Hamas leader the firing of rockets into Israel was also a violation of human rights.

During his two-day visit, Mr Tutu met relatives of 19 civilians killed in the Israeli shelling of two houses in Beit Hanoun and is due to report his findings to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

He condemned the incident as a “massacre”.

Map

Israel says the Beit Hanoun deaths in November 2006 were a mistake during action to target areas used by Palestinian militants. The Israeli military confirmed its pre-dawn incursion into Gaza on Thursday and said about 60 “wanted Palestinians” were being interrogated.

Armoured military bulldozers destroyed farmland during the incursion, witnesses told AFP news agency.

Israeli forces launch frequent attacks into Gaza which they say are aimed at combating Palestinian militants who fire rockets into Israel.

KAFKA LOOKS AT THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE

Click on image to enlargeImage by Skulz Fontaine

PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION BELOW

Please read the following and add your name to end this outrage.

Photo of Khalid Amayreh

SIGN THE PETITION To Lift Travel Restrictions on Palestinian Journalist To: Israeli and Palestinian Authorities -Palestinian journalist Khalid Amayreh, who lives in the West Bank, has been invited to attend a media conference in Germany. As required, he set about to request all of the necessary travel documents, including a visa that needs to be granted from the German representative office in Ramallah. Mr Amayreh was granted an entry visa to Germany. However, the Israeli military authorities have refused to give him a permit to leave the West Bank. No Palestinian can travel abroad without receiving such a permit beforehand. There is indeed no justification for the violation of this man’s civil and human rights, and along with him, the rights of all others who are denied freedom of movement with no justification whatsoever. We ask for the immediate revision of the decision regarding Mr Amayreh, so that he is granted the documents necessary for him to exercise his freedom of movement allowing him to continue to provide for himself and his family in the work that he is employed in. www.petitiononline.com/ k1h2a3l4/petition.html

TAKING ISLAMOPHOBIA TO THE LIMITS

The following has got to be the stupidest item that appeared in the American press this year… a country that has proven time and time again that there is no limit to ignorance…. or hatred.

First watch the following related video….

Michelle Malkin’s Meltdown Over Dunkin Donuts and Rachael Ray’s Scarf

Michelle Malkin has too much time on her hands.

If you don’t recognize the name, she’s the flavor-of-the-month among conservative commentators. True, she has significant credentials as a journalist. But (and I can say this as an Asian-American woman) she would probably not be where she is today as a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, standard-issue conservative. Because Malkin is Filipino – and Asian-Americans are a rare commodity in the conservative movement – she brings with her the cachet of diversity. And that makes her the current conservative ‘It’ girl pundit. But I digress.

Michelle Malkin has too much time on her hands because of what she made Dunkin Donuts do – pull a TV ad featuring All-American girl/talk show host/TV food queen Rachael Ray simply because she was wearing a scarf that looked too ‘Arab.’ Apparently her neckwear resembled a garment called a keffiyeh, as Malkin writes:

The keffiyeh, for the clueless, is the traditional scarf of Arab men that has come to symbolize murderous Palestinian jihad. Popularized by Yasser Arafat and a regular adornment of Muslim terrorists appearing in beheading and hostage-taking videos, the apparel has been mainstreamed by both ignorant (and not so ignorant) fashion designers, celebrities and left-wing icons.

Malkin’s online fuss incited a number of bloggers to climb onto her “Bad Scarf! Bad Dunkin Donuts!” bandwagon. And Dunkin Donuts, fearing a boycott, yanked the commercial from the airwaves. This profoundly bothers me, especially coming from a woman of color. I’d expect a bit more understanding and insight from her than this knee-jerk response. When we demonize people, their apparel and the culture they come from, and practice guilt by association to the extent that we feel threatened by a scarf in a Dunkin Donut commercial, it’s a sad, sad moment.

Just a few decades ago Malkin herself would have been suspect – racially profiled as a person of Asian descent during World War II – after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. (I too would have been suspect; as the half-Japanese daughter of a full-blooded Japanese woman, I – along with my mother – would certainly have been sent to an internment camp.)

So Malkin should understand the slippery slope we step on when we start to go after people on such ridiculous grounds. I know I do.

Multiculturalism is the bedrock underlying our rich American soil; ours is a melting-pot nation where immigrants have planted roots, raised families, and become U.S. citizens. Malkin’s own parents are Filipino immigrants who came here and had a daughter who availed herself of all the advantages an open society has to offer, including education, freedom of speech, and the right to protest a commercial for a coffee shop chain.

Wearing a scarf that looks like a keffiyeh in a TV commercial that sells coffee is not a political statement. It’s nothing more than a fashion accessory that a stylist picked out simply because she thought it looked good on Rachael Ray. That’s all. Story over. Case closed.

And by going after this commercial for that one trivial choice, Malkin cements her reputation as “the Asian Ann Coulter” by creating controversy just to get headlines and attention.

If she has the ear of conservatives nationwide, then do something better with that time and that talent than focusing on television commercials and what pitch people wear.

Photo © Peter Kramer/Getty Images

Addendum: Pierre Tristam, About.com Guide to Middle East Issues, has an insightful and in-depth piece on the meaning and history of the keffieh (the traditional spelling) and looks at it in the context of how it is worn in the Middle East and the larger world. Indiana Jones fans: Pierre notes the keffieh’s influence on pop culture fashion, including the fact that “Sean Connery’s Henry Jones Sr. character, in a nod to Lawrence of Arabia’s fashion sense, [wears] a keffieh toward the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” I urge you to read Pierre’s post and consider the thoughtful perspectives of one who is well-versed in Middle East issues and culture.

And Epicurious.com, the destination of serious foodies, also weighs in with “The Perfect Hate Storm: Malkin vs. Rachael Ray and Dunkin’ Donuts” on its Epi-log blog. Michael Y. Park makes many excellent points about why Malkin’s argument regarding the keffiyeh is flawed.

UPDATES ON DESMOND TUTU’S VISIT TO GAZA

Despite the Israeli news blackout on Desmond Tutu’s visit to Gaza, reports are trickling out from other sources. Below are the latest updates on what he has been doing and saying…
The truth WILL get out and we will spread it worldwide. Israel cannot stop this from happening!
Ismail Haniya and Desmond Tutu

Tutu plunges into heart of Israeli-Palestinian conflict

The South African cleric, heading a team of UN human rights observers, listened to members of the Assamna family tell of a 2006 Israeli shelling of their village that killed 19 civilians, including eight children, while they were sleeping.

On the top floor of the Assamna’s bombed home, the glass in the windows is gone and there is a hole in the ceiling and the blue sky can been seen through the rusted iron frame of the house.

“I was here with my son. I was holding his hand when he died. Can you imagine a mother holding the intestines of her own son,” said Tahini al-Assamna through her tears, describing the scene after the attack.

Tutu commented that the purpose of the visit was to gather information to write a report for the UN Human Rights Council, “but we wanted to say that we are quite devastated.”

The Palestinian woman told Tutu and his UN team that she also lost three brothers-in-law in the attack. And her husband was killed two days before the bombing during an Israeli army operation against rocket firings from Gaza.

Imad Okal, a UN representative in northern Gaza, looked around the Assamna house and commented that it was “very evident that this building was a residential home.”

Leaning against a scorched wall of the house, Saad Abdallah Assamna, 52, said he only hoped that “there will be an inquiry and those responsible will be judged before an international tribunal.

Tutu also met with the mayor of Beit Hanun, a member of the Islamic Hamas movement which has ruled Gaza since last June after ousting forces loyal to moderate Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

“The Israelis do not need any pretext to kill civilians. The only goal is to kill,” the mayor, Mohammed Naziq al-Kafarna, told Tutu and British professor Christine Chinkin who is accompanying the mission.

“What we have seen confirms that what has happened is totally unacceptable,” said Tutu, also conveying his sympathies to the townspeople.

But the longtime anti-apartheid and peace activist pointed out that there is also suffering on the other side of the border in Israel.

“We also say that the people of Sderot suffer from the Qassam rockets. We care about them too,” said Tutu, referring to the southern Israeli town that is the frequent target of rockets fired by Palestinian militants from Gaza.”

“The two people, Israeli and Palestinian, can live peacefully together but it cannot happen through acts of violence,” he said.

The Palestinian mayor frowned and responded: “You must realize that the Palestinians are fighting for their rights. The rockets are one reaction” to Israeli military operations.

“Rockets are nothing in the face of Israeli Apache helicopters and F-16s which kill our children day and night,” he added.

But Tutu interrupted the mayor to say “any attack against civilians, whatever their motivations, is a violation” against human rights.

Israel has refused to allow the UN rights observers to visit Sderot to speak with the victims of rocket firings from Gaza. It also refused to issue visas to the UN Human Rights Council team sent to Gaza to investigate the 2006 slaughter.

Tutu and his team on Tuesday circumvented Israeli restrictions by entering the Palestinian territory through the crossing with Egypt, which was opened especially for them.

As for the killings in Beit Hanun, the Israeli army announced in February that no charges would be brought against Israeli soldiers over the attack.

After an internal investigation, Israel concluded that shelling the civilians’ homes was “a rare and grave technical error of the artillery radar system.”

The army said it had been aiming its artillery at an area from which Palestinian militants were firing rockets at Israel but, due to the technical problem, the shells instead hit two homes.

Also read THIS report that appeared in the Guardian today.

KAFKA LOOKS AT ISRAEL’S CORRUPT PRIME MINISTER

Click on image to enlarge
Image by Skulz Fontaine

PETITION FOR FREEDOM ~~ LIFT TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS ON PALESTINIAN JOURNALIST

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

My brilliant Associate Khalid Amayreh is literally being held prisoner in his own land for ‘crimes’ not committed. Both the Israeli Government and their counterpart the Palestinian Authority refuse to grant him permission to attend a media conference that will soon be held in Germany.

Khalid is a journalist… what he writes is the truth as can be verified by every post he has on this Blog. Both Israel and Abbas fear what he writes… as he exposes both in their true light. A journalist that refuses to whitewash the war crimes that are committed here.

I spoke to Khalid a few weeks ago regarding setting up a Blog of his own. He lives about ten minutes from my home, so I naively suggested he come to my home so we can set it up together… his response was ” I cannot get a permit to enter Jerusalem”…. can you believe those words… right here in the ‘only Democracy in the Middle East’?

You can help make it that by signing the linked petition…. One of the basic freedoms in a democracy is Freedom of the press…. help us achieve that.

PETITION! Lift Travel Restrictions on Palestinian Journalist

SIGN THE PETITION To: Israeli and Palestinian Authorities -Palestinian journalist Khalid Amayreh, who lives in the West Bank, has been invited to attend a media conference in Germany. As required, he set about to request all of the necessary travel documents, including a visa that needs to be granted from the German representative office in Ramallah. After routine questioning regarding his political affiliations, it was not only determined that he was not a member of any party, nor formally associated with any organisation, but it was clear that he had never been arrested or detained by Israeli authorities. Mr Amayreh was granted an entry visa to Germany. However, the Israeli military authorities have refused to give him a permit to leave the West Bank. No Palestinian can travel abroad without receiving such a permit beforehand, otherwise he or she would be turned back once arriving at the Israeli-controlled border terminal at the Allenby Bridge.

Mr Amayreh then went to his local District Coordination Office in Dura, where he was informed that his information was forwarded to the Shin Bet (General Security Services) of the Israeli government. Then two days later, the GSS informed the Palestinian office that Amayreh was “barred from leaving the West Bank for security reasons.” No further explanation was given.

His fortune in obtaining the required travel permission did not change as he applied to the Civil Administration Headquarters in Hebron, a metallic pen holding persons seeking the mandatory permission even to go to East Jerusalem for medical treatment, where it is not unusual to find them huddled and waiting their turn for ten or more hours, under the watchful eye of Israeli military watchtowers.

The Palestinian Civil Affairs Coordination Office in the West Bank was also unable to mediate on his behalf, as they too are entirely dependent upon the decisions, without clarification, evidence or justification, made by the Israeli Security division.

There is indeed no justification for the violation of this man’s civil and human rights, and along with him, the rights of all others who are denied freedom of movement with no justification whatsoever. The Occupation authorities, while they have no sovereignty over citizens of the Palestinian Authority, dictate what must be done with those citizens and the world seems to consider the violation of their rights acceptable and normal praxis. These people are not pawns on a chessboard, but are individuals who seek the basic liberties that all democracies are obligated to provide for their people. The Palestinian Authority does not exercise its duty of guaranteeing civil liberties to its own citizens, and treats them as if they shall be subject to the whims of the Occupier.

We ask for the immediate revision of the decision regarding Mr Amayreh, so that he is granted the documents necessary for him to exercise his freedom of movement allowing him to continue to provide for himself and his family in the work that he is employed in, as well as for the Palestinian Authority to assume a position that sets the freedoms of its citizens as a priority that is greater than the perceived “security” risks declared by the agency of the State of Israel.http://www.petitiononline.com/k1h2a3l4/petition.html

COVENANT OF THE ‘CHOSEN PEOPLE’ OFF LIMITS TO THE IMPERFECT

Photo of the young Helen Keller

Anyone inflicted with a severe hearing and speech impediment cannot undergo Jewish conversion. This harsh statement was recently made by Rabbi Avraham Sherman of the Chief Rabbinical Court, in a ruling now made public.

I couldn’t believe I read that…. it’s a total admission of plans to become the ‘master race’. Today it’s the deaf, tomorrow it’s the disabled, Heaven only knows who’s next.

The court’s reasoning was that since the Halacha says that “one who is deaf, one who is young and one who is a simpleton shall be exempt form ordinance,” the woman in deemed incapable of observing mitzvahs, thus incapable of accepting the burden of ordinance, which is the cornerstone of conversion.

Helen Keller was deaf and blind. I suppose she too would have been turned away by these (insert whatever word you feel fitting) so called rabbis. Having read her books and meeting her personally many years ago, I can testify that she was more intelligent and open minded than anyone sitting on that Rabbinical Court.

With every passing day the State of Israel and the various courts within it move closer to the dream of another tyrant in recent history… it’s just plain wrong!

As this linked article states in the last sentence…. This is not my Judaism.

THE NEW McCARTHYISM: FEAR OF OBAMA

Image by David Baldinger
Since a histrionic article about Barack Obama’s childhood friendship with the African-American, Communist? poet and journalist, Frank Marshall Davis appeared on the vile AIM (Accuracy In Media) website, the guilt by association charge of being either a Marxist or socialist has been repeated ad nauseum by the Right-Wing hacks of the blogosphere about Obama. Apparently, Obama is a secret Commie mole working for the Communist Party USA to destroy this shining gem of Democracy into a Red gulag. The whole idea would be laughable if it were not for the fact that a large percentage of the US voting public are simpletons with no grasp of history or the reality of their own country. This BS is only going to become more ridiculous as the Right attempt to scuttle Obama’s presidential chances. They really fear his intelligence and masterful oratory skills. The racist objections to Obama are quite obvious.

The above is not to be confused in any way by the ‘other’ New McCarthyism that is plaguing the political arena.

KAFKA LOOKS AT JIMMY CARTER’S CLAIM OF NUKES IN ISRAEL

Click on image to enlarge
Image by Skulz Fontaine

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