PETE SEEGER ENDORSES BOYCOTT OF ISRAEL

  
  
Seeger joins a growing roster of international performers who have declined to whitewash, greenwash, or in any way enable Israel’s colonial project, including Elvis Costello, Gil Scott-Heron, Roger Waters, Devendra Banhart, and the Pixies. 
 

Folk music legend Pete Seeger endorses boycott of Israel

Folk music legend Pete Seeger has come out in support of the growing Palestinian movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel as a program for justice for Palestinians and a route to peace in the Middle East.

Seeger, 92, participated in last November’s online virtual rally “With Earth and Each Other,” sponsored by the Arava Institute, an Israeli environmental organization, and by the Friends of the Arava Institute. The Arava Institute counts among its close partners and major funders the Jewish National Fund, responsible since 1901 for securing land in Palestine for the use of Jews only while dispossessing Palestinians. Although groups in the worldwide BDS movement had requested he quit the event, Seeger felt that he could make a strong statement for peace and justice during the event.

During a January meeting at his Beacon, NY home with representatives from the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) and Adalah-NY, Pete Seeger explained, “I appeared on that virtual rally because for many years I’ve felt that people should talk with people they disagree with. But it ended up looking like I supported the Jewish National Fund. I misunderstood the leaders of the Arava Institute because I didn’t realize to what degree the Jewish National Fund was supporting Arava. Now that I know more, I support the BDS movement as much as I can.” 

Jeff Halper, the Coordinator of ICAHD, added, “Pete did extensive research on this. He read historical and current material and spoke to neighbors, friends, and three rabbis before making his decision to support the boycott movement against Israel.” Seeger has for some time given some of the royalties from his famous Bible-based song from the 1960s, “Turn, Turn, Turn,” to ICAHD for their work in rebuilding demolished homes and exposing Israel’s practice of pushing Palestinians in Israel off their land in favor of development of Jewish villages and cities.  

The November virtual rally “With Earth and Each Other” was billed as an apolitical effort to bring Israelis and Palestinians together to work for the environment. Dave Lippman from Adalah-NY noted, “Arava’s online event obfuscated basic facts about Israel’s occupation and systematic seizure of land and water from Palestinians. Arava’s partner and funder, the JNF, is notorious for planting forests to hide Palestinian villages demolished by Israel in order to seize their land. Arava was revealed as a sterling practitioner of Israeli government efforts to ‘Rebrand Israel’ through greenwashing and the arts.” 

Currently, the JNF is supporting an Israeli government effort to demolish the Bedouin village of Al-Araqib in order to plant trees from the JNF that were paid for by the international evangelical group GOD-TV. The Friends of the Arava Institute’s new board chair has recently published an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post that only cautiously questions some activities of the JNF, an organization whose very raison-d’etre is to take over land for Jews at the expense of the Palestinian Arab population. 

Pete Seeger’s long-time colleague Theodore Bikel, an Israeli-American known for his life-long involvement with Israeli culture, recently supported the Israeli artists who have refused to perform in a new concert hall in Ariel, a large illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank.

Seeger joins a growing roster of international performers who have declined to whitewash, greenwash, or in any way enable Israel’s colonial project, including Elvis Costello, Gil Scott-Heron, Roger Waters, Devendra Banhart, and the Pixies.

The above is from a Press release issued byAdalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel &

The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)

 

MISCONCEPTIONS AND MYTHS ABOUT THE ISRAELI / PALESTINIAN CONFLICT

8 Misconceptions: Israel-Palestine Conflict


The Israeli occupation of the West Bank and blockade of Gaza goes on, seemingly without end. Israeli troops continue to kill innocent Palestinians. The United States arms Israel to the tune of $3 billion a year or more. And most progressives talk as if there’s not a thing anyone can do about it. 

This sorry state of affairs persists because so many wrong ideas about the conflict are widely held here. Here are eight of the worst distortions in our discourse. 

 

1. The biggest and most dangerous misconception of all: “Israel is a vulnerable nation surrounded by powerful enemies — a little David, pure and innocent, bravely fighting back against Goliath-like Arabs bent on destroying it.” 

This tale was, and still is, so commonly accepted that most Americans ignore the obvious facts: Israel has been the Middle East’s dominant military power since the Six Day War in 1967. It has a sizable nuclear arsenal while its neighbors have no nukes at all. 

The idea of Israeli being destroyed or “pushed into the sea” is a fairy tale. Palestinian violence against Israel never came near the levels of Israeli violence against Palestinians. Now, while Israel continues to occupy the West Bank and economically strangle Gaza, Palestinian violence has virtually ceased. 

Yet the old story of tough little Israel fighting for its life — which is often read, between the lines, as a story of civilization warding off the barbarians — continues to be the foundation of most everything the U.S. mass media and policymakers say about Israel. It’s a powerful story, especially when coupled with another, equally common misconception: 

2. “There is no space between the United States and Israel” when it comes to our national interests. Obama administration officials like to say that a lot. They make it sound as if U.S. and Israeli interests are identical. 

In fact, there are huge differences. The U.S. has plenty of reasons to want an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israelis are in no rush. The Israeli right thrives on the vote-getting power of a continuing battle against an enemy. Israeli centrists and even many liberals tend to ignore the Palestinian issue now that violence against Israel has practically disappeared.  

On the other hand, Israeli leaders have long been eager to strike Iran’s nuclear installations. But U.S. leaders have never even considered giving them the green light.  The George W. Bush administration knew as well as the current administration that military action against Iran would be unthinkable folly. According to a senior Israeli official, his government has not asked for U.S. permission to attack Iran because it does not want to be embarrassed when it’s told no. As Vice-President Joe Biden said, “There is no pressure from any nation that’s going to alter our behavior as to how to proceed” on Iran. 

The differences between U.S. and Israeli interests were on public display most recently during the uprising in Egypt. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it clear that he was eager to see Hosni Mubarak stay in power. After some uncertainty, Barack Obama came down on the other side, recognizing the strategic dangers if the U.S. supported Mubarak. U.S. officials were “on the telephone almost daily with their Israeli counterparts,” the New York Times reported, “urging them to ‘please chill out,’ in the words of one senior administration official.” 

The obvious differences between U.S. and Israeli strategic interests belie a third misconception: 

3. “The U.S. and Israel are tied together because they need each other as military allies.” Anthony Cordesman, one of the most prominent hawks in the national security establishment, has stated flatly what many other experts have also concluded: “America’s ties to Israel are not based primarily on U.S. strategic interests.” 

Top U.S. military leaders have explained why, in private and in public: U.S. military support for Israel endangers U.S. military interests in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the predominantly Muslim world. In Israel Meir Dagan, until recently head of the Mossad (Israel’s CIA), warned that Israel is gradually becoming a strategic burden on the United States. 

An article in the New York Jewish Week, quoting a former staffer for AIPAC (the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee), explained that the whole idea of “shared strategic goals” was cooked up by AIPAC in the 1970s “to persuade Republicans, who were overwhelmingly opposed to foreign aid, to vote for aid to Israel.” 

In recent years the GOP has been more likely than the Democrats to approve a U.S. blank check for Israel. But that may be changing. So watch out for the next misconception: 

4. “A more Republican Congress means more U.S. support for Israel’s right-wing government.” 

It’s true that Republicans are usually more hawkish on Israel, even though they usually come from districts with very few Jewish voters. But more GOP influence could be bad news for the Israeli government. 

Although Rep. Ileana Ross-Lehtinen, the new chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has always been a stalwart friend of “anything and everything for Israel,” she now warns that the new Republicans in Congress are again bent on slashing foreign aid, and even Israel’s aid could be “on the chopping block.” A Reuters analysis suggested that the Dems’ midterm loss “might convince Obama he has nothing to lose and decide to lean heavily on Israel to accept painful compromises.” 

If Obama leans heavily, would the Israelis move? That brings us to the next common misconception: 

5. “Israel never responds to pressure from the U.S.” 

The Israeli press is constantly filled with warnings from top-drawer pundits that when push comes to shove, Israel would not dare to refuse firm orders from the Obama administration. No less a figure than Israel’s President Peres bluntly explained why: “Israel must forge good relations with other countries, primarily the United States, so as to guarantee political support in a time of need.” 

Even a longtime hardliner like Netanyahu bends rather than run the risk of losing U.S. support and leaving Israel alone in the world. There are plenty of examples since Obama took office. For his whole life Netanyahu refused even to consider the possibility of a Palestinian state. Now he has publicly committed Israel to that goal. He initiated a de facto freeze on settlement expansion well before he agreed to the official 10-month freeze. He kept up a de facto moratorium on Jewish building in East Jerusalem for many months, too. These steps and others angered his right-wing coalition partners. But as leader of the nation he saw no choice except to cede to Obama’s demands. 

The Obama administration’s pressure on Israel points to another misconception: 

6. “The right-wing Israel lobby has an invincible lock on U.S. Mideast policy.” 

If that were true, Obama would never have made his groundbreaking speech in Cairo, demanded the settlement expansion freeze, reprimanded the Israelis for breaking it and for building in East Jerusalem, or humiliated Netanyahu at the White House (which led a popular Israeli columnist to write that lots of Israelis were repeating “that joke about the eight-ton elephant that can sit down anywhere it wishes … Obama sat down on us this week.”). 

If the Israel lobby could control U.S. policy, Obama would have swung all his weight behind Mubarak in the recent Egyptian upheaval. But the Israelis’ plea to the White House to support Mubarak, seconded by their lobby in Washington, was ultimately ignored by the administration. 

Inside the U.S. foreign policy establishment there are powerful voices opposing the traditional pro-Israel lobby, too. Elite newspapers are regularly taking more moderate stands on the issue, including the New York Times, whose two Jewish foreign policy columnists, Tom Friedman and Roger Cohen, regularly chastise the Israelis. 

The same change has come to Congress. Last spring, when AIPAC initiated another of its typical “we love Israel” letters in Congress, they were shocked to find that more than a third of Democrats refused to sign. As I recently heard a Jewish congressman say, when Israel issues come up, legislators generally turn to their Jewish colleagues for advice. The Jews used to simply parrot the AIPAC line. Now they’re likely to say, “Well, AIPAC says this, but J Street says that. You decide.” 

On every front, the hawks who once ruled the roost have to contend with a serious challenge from the doves. The division among Jewish lobby groups points to yet another misconception: 

7. “The U.S. supports Israeli policies because American Jews demand it.” 

Exit polls on Election Day, 2010, showed that three-quarters of Jewish voters want the U.S. to lead Israelis and Palestinians toward a two-state solution, and nearly two- thirds say they’d accept Obama administration pressure on Israel to reach that goal. 

American Jews are increasingly disturbed about the overt anti-Arab racism that’s moving from the fringe to the mainstream of Israeli society. New Israeli laws mandate McCarthyite crackdowns on prestigious human rights and peace groups. 

In response, top American-Jewish journalist Ron Kampeas recently wrote, “mainstream American Jewish organizations are embracing a strategy of acknowledging what’s wrong about Israel … addressing what some characterize as the deterioration of Israel’s civil society.” They “remain dedicated to defending Israel” when they think it deserves to be defended, “but they are no longer holding back on criticizing Israel.” 

Prominent individual Jews are speaking out too, like Peter Beinart; New Yorker editor David Remnick, who says he “can’t take” the occupation any more; the Atlantic magazine’s prominent pro-Israel writer Jeffrey Goldberg, who has confessed that “peace will not come without the birth of a Palestinian state on the West Bank which has its capital in East Jerusalem”; and prominent Jewish historian Howard Sachar, who now says “the Israelis and the Palestinians will never find peace if they are left to negotiate on their own. …Washington must lead the way in enforcing a final-status settlement.” 

Sachar’s view was recently echoed by a much more influential Jew, Tom Friedman, who is urging Obama to “put his own peace plan on the table … and demand that the two sides negotiate on it.” 

8. That’s not to say the right-wing pro-Israel lobby is powerless, by any means. Those right-wingers are eager to spread a misconception of their own — that they don’t really influence government policy at all. The U.S. backs Israel so firmly, they say, because the American people have a long-standing cultural affinity with Zionism and just love the Jewish state. 

But polls consistently show that about two-thirds of all Americans want our government to stay neutral between Israel and Palestine. The continuing pro-Israel tilt attests that the right-wing lobby is still a force to be reckoned with. But the large majority who favor neutrality show that the lobby has no hammerlock on public opinion any more than it has on policymaking. 

However most Americans are still much more favorable toward Israel than toward the Palestinian cause, according to the polls. The main reason, I suspect, is the power of misconception number one: the widespread view of Israel as a victim of aggression whose very existence is always endangered. Americans love to root for the innocent underdog — especially when he looks like a tough, courageous fighter who just won’t quit. 

The other misconceptions show there could be a very real possibility of changing U.S. policy, if progressive groups are willing to make the effort. But they won’t have any success unless they confront misconception number one head on, debunk it, and rebuild the public narrative on a foundation of truth about Israel’s strength and security. 

    
  
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THE BROTHERHOOD OF HATE

  
There has been much talk lately, especially since the events in Egypt, of a group known as the Muslim Brotherhood. Not much good was said about them, lumping them in with all of the fictious enemies of Israel and the United States….
  
 
But what about a real enemy…. the Jewish Brotherhood. Bet you never heard of them…. read the following to see who and what they are.
 
 
The report deals with a situation in the northern Israeli city of  Haifa, but it could be any major centre throughout the country…. 
 
 

We should beware of the Jewish Brotherhood

Jews and Arabs still get along in Haifa. But if the ultra-Orthodox are taking over the city, the good relations between Jews and Arabs may also be at risk.

By Neri Livneh

The year was 1945 and my father, Sgt. Joseph Weiss, was at the end of a very long stay at the Augusta Victoria hospital in Jerusalem, after suffering a serious injury in a battle fought by his battalion in the British army. It was already known that most of his huge ultra-Orthodox family in Czechoslovakia and Hungary had been was killed in the Holocaust, but he remembered that in Jerusalem, in the Ungarin houses in Mea She’arim, he had relatives.

One sunny Shabbat he took a bicycle and rode to the neighborhood for a visit, his hand still entirely bandaged. Youths in the neighborhood stoned him, the relatives scolded him for not wearing a skullcap and my father – a yeshiva graduate who had left religion, become a Zionist, immigrated to Palestine and wanted to fight Hitler – cultivated an abhorrence of Jerusalem that lasted until his dying day. To him it resembled a stronghold of “strictly religious, fanatical and parasitic haters of Israel,” or a “safari.” He chose to move and went to live in Haifa, a city that was then free, multinational, and which, over the years and to this very day, is still considered by many to be the most sane and secular city in Israel, because it even has buses that run on Shabbat.

For a while now readers have been writing me that the neighborhood where I grew up, Neveh Sha’anan, which had a clearly middle-class, blue-collar character, is becoming more ultra-Orthodox. In the Neveh Sha’anan of my childhood there was only one religious school where boys and girls studied together in the same classes. Today, the high school where my brother studied has become a yeshiva. The building where my family lived has mostly ultra-Orthodox residents. The last time I visited the area I found out that the entire street we lived on, which was once called “municipal employees’ housing,” has become an ultra-Orthodox area.

It’s all a matter of demography, and there’s no one to blame for it, but something essential has changed in the relations between ultra-Orthodox and secular Israelis around the country. So much for Jerusalem, which we gave up on a long time ago. We also conceded Beit Shemesh, and never had hopes for Bnei Brak. But we were so preoccupied with Jerusalem and the southern towns that we forgot about the rest of the country.

Once when skullcap-clad people who combined Torah with work were just called “religious,” without reference to the sort of materials from which their head-covering was made, and only extremists like those in Jerusalem were called “strictly religious” or “Israel haters” – we, in Haifa as well, could return the glares of the strictly religious boys who spoke Yiddish and had long earlocks, who gazed at us with anthropological interest from behind the fence of Vizhnitz yeshiva as we walked barefoot from Neveh Sha’anan, through Geula Street, where the yeshiva stood, to the pool.

We were their safari, and they were our zoo. Secular people, by the way, were called “free” then. But where has this freedom gone today, even in Haifa? The buses still run on Shabbat and the beaches are full, but what began as one small yeshiva, in an area that was once completely secular, has already spilled over into the whole area. From two large neighborhoods with a tiny ultra-Orthodox island in their midst, parts of Hadar and Neveh Sha’anan have become secular fringes of what is becoming one large ultra-Orthodox enclave.

Jews and Arabs still get along in Haifa. But if the ultra-Orthodox are taking over the city, the good relations between Jews and Arabs may also be at risk. Instead of worrying about the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab states, we should start fearing the Jewish Brotherhood that is about to take over, and start acting accordingly.

Source

HEBRON: A MASSACRE REMEMBERED ~~ WE WILL NEVER FORGIVE OR FORGET

Eugenio Merino’s sculpture “Starway to Heaven”
 
 
Seventeen years ago this past Friday, 30 Muslim worshippers were slaughtered while at prayer. 270 were severely injured. This took place in one of the holiest sites in Palestine, a site revered by both Jews and Muslims. It is the resting place of our common Father Abraham and his family. The massacre was carried out by a crazed Jewish settler from Brooklyn.
 
 
The site itself is a unique structure as it serves both as a mosque and a synagogue. When one enters, it is difficult not to feel the thousands of years of common history that these two peoples share. Today, it is difficult not to feel the lingering hatred in the area as a result of the zionist occupation and harassment.
 
 
Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu literally slapped the entire Palestinian Nation on the face when the following was announced…. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Sunday that the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem would both be added to the list of national heritage sites that the government plans to promote. A full report can be read HERE. This move is a definite indication and admittance of the influence the extreme right and fascist elements have on the government of Israel today. Literally making money at the site of such a horrible tragedy is nothing less that revolting.
 
 
THIS is also worth reading.
 
 
The site in question is in Hebron, in PALESTINE. This move by Netanyahu is also an indication that the Israelis have no plans to allow Palestine to declare it’s statehood.
 
 
The following is by far the best account of the massacre itself. It was originally posted three years ago…..
 
 

14 Years of Lessons after Al-Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre – A Memorial History for the 30 Palestinian Martyrs

The story:

The dawn of Friday 15 Ramadan 1414 a.h. / 25 February 1994 marked the first of three massacres perpetrated by Israeli settlers accompanied by the Israeli Army. There were more than 30 martyrs and 270 injured. The main massacre took place while the victims were performing al- Fajr (Dawn) Prayer at Al Ibrahimi mosque.


(Al-Ibrahimi Mosque – Al-Khalil, Occupied Palestine)

At 05:00 on February 25, around eight hundred Palestinian Muslims passed through the east gate of Al-Ibrahimi mosque to participate in al-Fajr prayer, the first of the five daily Islamic prayers. At that time of the holy month of Ramadan, there were many people who flocked the Ibrahimi Mosque to perform their prayers. The mosque was under Israeli Army guard.

Baruch GoldsteinThat same day, a Jewish American Zionist physician decided to materialize the dream of the typical Zionist movement of annihilating the Arab existence in Palestine. Dr. Baruch Goldstein prepared for the move. It was during Ramadan when Dr. Goldstein decided to execute his old plan of vengeance.

Goldstein passed two army checkpoints at the dawn of February 25, 1994 from the northeastern gate of the mosque near privy. That privy could be the reason why Goldstein decided on that gate because he, probably, received his contemplation about Arabs from the Rabbis of Kach in Kiryat Arab where the Arabs were described as the demons of the privy. The privy of the mosque is important not only because it has two Israeli army checkpoints on its nearby mosque’s gate, but also because it is surrounded by Israeli army posts from the east and army patrols in the west. So Goldstein was acting from the deepest parts of the Zionistic ideology in liquidating the demons.

ibrahimi_mosqueGoldstein walked at least 100 yards in the mosque before he decided to choose the exact location to liquidate his demons. He positioned himself at the last row of the main hall, just opposite to the Imam’s place (Manbar.) In this case and as a typical Zionist, shooting from the back was the style. The position was not arbitrary not only because it enabled him to shoot directly at the largest number of the backs of the worshipers but also because it was supposed to have enabled him to get a fast escape or protection from the Israeli soldiers who were scattered right behind him in the northern hall -the plate- of the mosque.

Goldstein was carrying his IMI Galil assault rifle, four magazines of ammunition, which held 35 bullets each and hand grenades. He thought about the best moment to execute the plan, maximize the number of casualties and secure the escape or rescue. The best moment, of course, was when the Muslim worshipers knelt on the floor with their backs towards Goldstein.

hebron_al_ibrahimi_massacreIt was first a hand grenade that he threw among the worshipers causing casualties, confusion, and possibly an invitation to the Israeli soldiers in the halls and outside of the mosque to intervene for rescue. And in no time, the automatic massacre took place with the same kind of mercy that other Zionists like Goldstein shows all the time toward Arabs.

Standing in front of the only exit from the mosque and positioned to the rear of the Muslim worshipers, he opened fire with the weapon, killing 29 people and injuring more than 125. He was eventually overwhelmed by survivors, who beat him to death.

An eyewitness said that when Goldstein was executing the massacre and people attacked him, there was a soldier who attempted to come closer to the scene. But instead of “rescuing” Dr. Goldstein, the Israeli soldier shot his bullets in the air and then escaped from the inside eastern door of the northern hall to the previously known “women praying area.” In the opinion of the eyewitness, the soldier could have rescued Goldstein by killing 5 or 10 more Palestinians, but it appeared that his personal safety was above any blood value.

Al Ibrahimi massacre (a.k.a Hebron massacre) is not the last one. Muslims and Jews are and will remain candidates for victimization. But the cause will always be the same: “The Nazi style laws of the Zionists occupation in Palestine.”

Reports after the massacre were inevitably highly confused. In particular, there was uncertainty about whether Goldstein had acted alone; it was reported that eyewitnesses had seen “another man, dressed as a soldier, handing him ammunition.” The Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said that the attack was the work of up to 12 men, including Israeli troops. However, Israeli Army denied that and confirmed that Goldstein had acted alone without the assistance or connivance of the Israeli guards posted at the mosque.

News of the massacre immediately led to riots in Hebron (Al-Khalil in Arabic) and the rest of the occupied territories. Additional Palestinian Muslims were crushed to death in the panic to flee the mosque and in rioting that followed.

Now that was history, a bloody history that marked Feb 25 of every year with memorials of the Palestinian Martyrs massacred that day for nothing but being Palestinians. So, what are the lessons learned from this?

First we will look at the ideology behind this massacre (and all the Zionist massacres), then how it is treated among Zionists. And last but not least, how does the media look at Zionist (terrorists) and how do they handle such massacres compared to other terrorist acts and massacres.

Prof. Israel Shahak wrote – The Ideology Behind Hebron Massacre:

The sympathy which Baruch Goldstein enjoys among the Gush Emunim, whose influence is more pervasive than that of the Kahanists, can only be explained by a shared ideology. However, Gush Emunim leaders enjoy Rabin’s friendship and strong influence in wide circles of the Israeli and diaspora Jewish communities. Therefore it is their version of this ideology which is more important. Gush Emunim’s thinking assumes the imminence of the coming of the Messiah, when the Jews, aided by God, will triumph over the Gentiles. Consequently, all current political developments call be interpreted by those in the know as destined either to bring this end nearer or postpone it. Jewish sins, the worst of them being lack of faith in Gush Emunim ideology, can postpone but not alter the predestined course of Redemption. The two world wars, the Holocaust and other calamitous events of modern history serve as stock examples of such a curative punishment for Jewish sins. Such explanations can go into a lot of specific detail. The rabbi of Kiryat Arba, Dov Lior (who attended Goldstein’s funeral and praised him), blamed Israel’s relative failure in its 1982 invasion of Lebanon on the lack of faith manifested through signing a peace treaty with Egypt and “returning the inheritance of our ancestors [i.e Sinai] to strangers”.[...]

The fundamental tenet of Gush Emunim’s thinking is the assumption that the Jewish people are “peculiar”. Lustick discusses this tenet in terms of their denial of the classical Zionist claim that only by undergoing “a process of normalisation”, by emigrating to Palestine and forming a Jewish state there, can the Jews become like any other nation. But for them this “is the original delusion of the secular Zionists”, because they measured that “normality” by applying non-Jewish standards. According to Gush Emunim, “Jews are not and cannot be a normal people”, because “their eternal uniqueness” is “the result of the covenant God made with them at Mount Sinai”. Therefore, according to Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, one of their leaders, “while God requires other normal nations to abide by abstract codes of ‘justice and righteousness’, such laws do not apply to Jews”.

Harkabi quotes Rabbi Israel Ariel, who says that “a Jew who kills a non-Jew is exempt from human judgement, and has not violated the prohibition of murder”. The Gush Emunim rabbis have indeed reiterated that Jews who kill Arabs should be free from all punishment. Harkabi also quotes Rabbi Aviner, Rabbi Zvi Yehudah Kook and Rabbi Ariel, all three of whom say Arabs living in Palestine are thieves because since the land was once Jewish, all property to be found on that land “really” belongs to the Jews. In the original Hebrew version of his book Harkabi expresses his shock at finding this out. “I never imagined that Israelis would so interpret the concept of the historical right.”

Gush Emunim’s plans for governing non-Jews in Israel are also based on “theological” principles. According to Rabbi Aviner; “Is there a difference between punishing an Arab child and an Arab adult for disturbance of our peace? Punishments can be inflicted on Jewish boys below the age of 13 and Jewish girls below the age of 12…But this rule applies to Jews alone, not to Gentiles. Thus any Gentile, no matter how little, should be punished for any crime he commits.” From this dictum, it is only a short step to slaughtering Arab children.

Even Israel’s Supreme Court compared Kahane to the German Nazis. The prominent Orthodox dissident, Professor Yeshayahu Leibovitz, said that the mass murder in Hebron was a consequence of “Judeo-Nazism”. But Gush Emunim’s ideology is no less like that of the Nazis than Kahane’s.

 

Celebrating the Hebron massacre:

Why do we hate them?

When you see the Israelis and Zionists from different parties and sections of the Israeli society, including their army, as well from around the world, gathering annually at the grave of Baruch Goldstein to celebrate the anniversary of his massacre of Muslim worshipers in Al-Khalil (Hebron), how can you but “LOVE” them?

Here is a sample of the news stories from BBC – Graveside party celebrates Hebron massacre (21 March, 2000):

Militant Jews have gathered at the grave of Baruch Goldstein to celebrate the sixth anniversary of his massacre of Muslim worshippers in Hebron.

The celebrants dressed up as the gunman, wearing army uniforms, doctor’s coats and fake beards.

Goldstein, an immigrant from New York City, had been a physician in the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba.

Waving semi-automatic weapons in the air, the celebrants danced, sang and read prayers around his grave.

“We decided to make a big party on the day he was murdered by Arabs,” said Baruch Marzel, one of about 40 celebrants.

The tribute was a macabre twist on the Jewish festival of Purim, when it is a custom to dress in costume and celebrate.

Massacre in mosque

In 1994 on Purim, Goldstein stormed a mosque and fired on praying Muslims in the West Bank city’s Tomb of the Patriarchs – a shrine sacred to both Muslims and Jews.

Twenty-nine people died in the attack, and the angry crowd lynched Goldstein in retaliation.

Israeli extremists continue to pay homage at his grave in the nearby Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba, where a marble plaque reads: “To the holy Baruch Goldstein, who gave his life for the Jewish people, the Torah and the nation of Israel.”

About 10,000 people had visited the grave since the massacre, Mr Marzel said.

Note: the above news story is eight years old.

Goldstein_graveNot only that. The Israeli government allocated a special site for the grave, in the Tourist Park in Kiryat Arba settlement. Over the years, the grave has become a site of pilgrimage. Tens of thousand people from all over the world go to pray and honor this terrorist memory. The local religious council of Kiryat Arba settlement declared the grave site a cemetery. During the Feast of Purim, Goldstein friends celebrate the feast near his grave to honor him, in appreciation of what he did!

Last but not least, on the biased media side, Leon T. Hadar wrote:

Following the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York and the arrest of several Muslims who were charged with the crime, the American media were flooded with news stories, analyses and commentaries that warned of the coming “Islamic threat.” “Investigative reporters” and “terrorism experts” alleged on television talk shows and op-ed pages that the accused perpetrators of the bombing were part of an “Islamic terrorism network” coordinated by Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, or other Middle Eastern bogeymen.
[...]
Contrast those reactions with the media’s response to the massacre in Hebron. No analyst suggested that the event reflected the emergence of a global “Jewish threat. ” No terrorism expert was invited to discuss on “Nightline” or the “MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour” the rise of a “global Zionist terrorism” organization manipulated, say, by the Israeli Mossad. No scholar alleged that the massacre by a Jewish settler suggested that Western and Jewish values were somehow incompatible.

If one really had wanted to apply the journalistic methods that were used in the case of the World Trade Center bombing, it would not have been so difficult, after reviewing the biography of Rabbi Meir Kahane by Robert I. Friedman, to point to the strong ties between Baruch Goldstein and the other “fanatics” in the Jewish settlements and members of the Israeli political establishment, especially in the Likud party. One could even have reminded American readers that Kiryat Arba, where Goldstein resided, was actually the brainchild of a pre-1977 Labor government.

Any analysis of public statements and writings by some of the major political and spiritual leaders of the Jewish settlers, including the rabbis who head the movement, would reveal a fanatical hatred and racist attitudes toward non-Jews in general, and Arabs and Palestinians in particular.

Instead, most journalists and analysts adopted the official Israeli line and described the massacre as an “isolated” case of Jewish “extremism,” an act of a “lone gunman,” a “lunatic,” a “madman” who does not represent Israeli society or, for that matter, Jewish settlers in the occupied territories. Journalists, like the Israeli government, stressed that killing of innocent civilians violates the moral tenets of Judaism.

 

 

 

The above was originally posted by Haitam Sabbah three years ago.

HERE is a link to a post that appeared on this Blog the same day.

NOT ALL COPS ARE UNION BUSTING PIGS

 
Wisconsin Police Have Joined Protest Inside State Capitol
 
From inside the Wisconsin State Capitol, RAN ally Ryan Harvey reports:

“Hundreds of cops have just marched into the Wisconsin state capitol building to protest the anti-Union bill, to massive applause. They now join up to 600 people who are inside.”

Ryan reported on his Facebook page earlier today:

“Police have just announced to the crowds inside the occupied State Capitol of Wisconsin: ‘We have been ordered by the legislature to kick you all out at 4:00 today. But we know what’s right from wrong. We will not be kicking anyone out, in fact, we will be sleeping here with you!’ Unreal.”

You can find more updates from Ryan Harvey on Twitter @ryanharveysongs and his blog Even If Your Voice Shakes.

UPDATE: This video says it all. It makes me proud of my neighbors. “Let me tell you Mr. Walker, this is not your house, this is all our house.”

 Source

IN PALESTINE: A NEW ‘CONTROLLED’ INTIFADA?

Riding the wave of unrest in the Arab world, the PA called for a carefully controlled ‘day of rage’ throughout the West Bank against the United States for their recent veto of an internationally accepted resolution declaring (once again) that Israeli settlement activity is illegal.
  

Hebron demonstration signals a new intifada in the West Bank?

Posted by Joseph Dana

Riding the wave of unrest in the Arab world, the PA called for a carefully controlled ‘day of rage’ throughout the West Bank against the United States for their recent veto of an internationally accepted resolution declaring (once again) that Israeli settlement activity is illegal. While in Ramallah the PA sponsored demonstration was weak with almost no one showing up, in Hebron one thousand people, including Israeli peace activists, took to the streets. Feburary 25th also happened to be the Open Shuhada Street Global Day of Action. Organized by the Palestinian NGO, Youth Against Settlements, protests were held in more than thirteen cities including New York, Cape Town, London and Rome. The demonstration was called for 25th February because it marks the anniversary of the Baruch Goldstein massacre and subsequent closing of Shuhada street to Palestinians. The Global Day of Action demands for the re-opening of Shuhada Street to Palestinians and an end to the Occupation. All of the factors for present for a peaceful demonstration to get out of hand. With the first salvo of tear gas, the demonstration quickly turned into a riot.  

Demonstration in Hebron on Friday 25 Feb 2011. Photo: Activestills.org
Demonstration in Hebron on Friday 25 Feb 2011. Photo: Activestills.org

 According to Open Shuhada Street, a South African based advocacy website,

Shuhada Street used to be the principal street for Palestinian residents, businesses and a very active market place in the Palestinian city of Hebron/ al Khaleel. Today, because Shuhada Street runs through the Jewish settlement of Hebron, the street is closed to Palestinian movement and looks like a virtual ghost street, which only Israelis and tourists are allowed to access. Hate graffiti has been sprayed across the closed Palestinian shops and Palestinians living on the street have to enter and exit their houses through their back doors or, even sometimes by climbing over neighbor’s roofs.We are focusing on Shuhada Street as a symbol of the settlement issue, the policy of separation in Hebron/al Khaleel and the entire West Bank, the lack of freedom of movement, and the Occupation at large.

Winding through the narrow ally ways of the ancient city of Hebron, one thousand demonstrators reached Shuhada street around 12h30 on Friday. A massive force of Israeli soldiers/border police were waiting for them and had formed an impenetrable line. Soldiers had stationed themselves on surrounding rooftops in order to have complete control and ability to repress the demonstration at any point. This is exactly what happened.
 
Demonstration in Hebron on Friday 25 Feb 2011. Photo: Activestills.org
Demonstration in Hebron on Friday 25 Feb 2011. Photo: Activestills.org
 
Soldiers began firing indiscriminately at protesters, using tear gas canisters as large bullets. A thousand people spread in every direction and chaos ensued. Palestinian youth began throwing rocks at the attacking soldiers. Due to the political climate in Hebron, a Palestinian Authority police force was deployed on the borderline between Palestinian H1 and Israeli H2 in order to stop Palestinians from joining the clashes. The scene was bizarre in its layout: the empty and deserted Shuhada street filled with Palestinian, International and Israeli demonstrators inspired by the tide of revolution spreading in the Arab world, caught between heavily armed Israeli border police guarding Jewish settlers on one side and armed (but not so heavily) Palestinian Authority police on the other trying to keep Palestinians from joining.
 
PA police in Hebron demonstration 25 Feb 2011. Photo: Activestills.org
PA police in Hebron demonstration 25 Feb 2011. Photo: Activestills.org
 
Clashes continued and intensfied. A number of Israeli demonstrators were detained by border police but released. Palestinians and Israelis were injured as the rampaging soldiers pushed closer to the PA controlled area of H1. More Israelis were detained and released. One reporter from Al Jazzera was arrested and charged with stone throwing. At the time of this writing, he remains in an Israeli jail. After two hours of cat and mouse clashes between Palestinian youth and Israeli soldiers, the demonstration was finished. The PA police, however, remained on the streets in order to ensure that another demonstration would not break out, this time against the PA itself.
 
Demonstration in Hebron 25 Feb 2011. Photo: Activestills.org
Demonstration in Hebron 25 Feb 2011. Photo: Activestills.org
 
From the vantage point of nonviolent demonstration, last Friday’s demonstration was not as much a success as it was an indicator of what is to come in the West Bank. The nature of the demonstration reinforced the notion that Palestinians are ready for a new wave of popular civilian resistance to the Israeli Occupation and its agents (the Palestinian Authority?). Israeli peace activists, who have courageously struggled for the past eight years against the separation wall and Occupation in many Palestinian border villages, will soon have difficult and important questions to ask themselves. Namely, if a third intifada breaks out and there is mass unarmed resistance in Palestinian cities, will the village model of ‘joint struggle’ survive and translate to the urban context? Direct action for Israelis supporting Palestinian nonviolence has been confined, by and large, to villages for the past years. Some activists associated with the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity movement have been forging relationships in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, where the last six months have seen serious urban clashes. Members of Anarchists Against the Wall routinely visit demonstrations when they happen in Qalandiya and Hebron. Yet, there has been an absence of large scale resistance to Israeli Occupation emanating from the cities in the past years and the villages such as Bil’in and Nabi Saleh have been centers of violent clashes.
 
Demonstration in Hebron 25 Feb 2011. Photo: Activestills.org
Demonstration in Hebron 25 Feb 2011. Photo: Activestills.org
 
Many Palestinians believe that another Intifada is inevitable and almost all argue that it is going to be in the spirit and style of the First Intifada. This means that massive unarmed civilian resistance will sweep through the West Bank in a similar way that it has throughout the Arab world from Egypt to Libya. It remains to be seen weather there will be large scale Israeli support in these demonstrations to bring about the end to Occupation and resistance to Israeli domination.
 
 
Posted AT

GET A TAX BREAK BY SUPPORTING ISRAELI TERRORISM

 

Support Your Own Illegal Israeli Settlement [Satire]
 by Mantiq al-Tayr
 

 
 The illegal town of Ariel

Hey goys and girls, are you interested in supporting terrorism, violating international law, stealing other people’s property and being in general a smug narcissistic asshole and getting the US taxpayer to subsidize this behavior? Of course you are, who wouldn’t be? So you will be most interested in a new occasional feature that the tuyuur here at Mantiq al-Tayr have come up with called “Support Your Own Illegal Israeli Settlement”. Once every couple of weeks or so we will choose a nice Israeli settlement built on Palestinian land and we’ll give you some links about it so you can learn about what a great place it is. We will also provide you a link so that you can make US tax-free donations in order to keep the illegal settlement going – something you really should go to jail for, but here in the US this sort of theft and support of insane Israelis is encouraged and the taxpayers as usual get to foot the bill. What a deal.

  

 
  

How about this:

 

Gosh, I am just striking out today. Give me another chance.

 

Okay, one more chance. Please.

 

 Just one more, I promise.

See, I’m getting better. And here’s one more. It’s real short so Shas Party members can follow it. 

 

  
 
 

  The full post can be read at at Sabbah’s Blog

 
 The illegal town of Ariel
 

 

 
  
 
 

  The full post can be read at at Sabbah’s Blog

      

 

 

THE CHALLENGE OF JESUS

“Jesus was a Palestinian under imperial rule. Just as the modern state of Israel and other states in the Middle East were the creation of Western colonialism, so the ancient temple-state in Judea was set up by foreign powers”.

 

Jesus Challenged Empire

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
 

Today, there was hundreds of confrontations between the power of states (armed to the teeth) with peaceful, unarmed demonstrators in cities like Hebron (Palestine), Tripoli Libya), Faluja (Iraq), Amman (Jordan), Aden (Yemen), Manama (Bahrain), and other places. Hundreds of people were injured, many were killed (especially in Libya).  I joined the large demonstration in the old city of Al-Khalil/Hebron that is commemorating the day 17 years ago when a Jewish settler massacred worshippers in the Haram Ibrahimi (and this racist act was supported by the Israeli authorities because they followed it by expanding the colonial Jewish settlement and restricting Palestinian more (i.e. strengthening racism). Despite attempts by Israeli forces to encircle the city and prevent demonstrators from arriving, over 100 people came from around the west Bank (and many Internationals) to join the over 200-300 local people.  THe Israeli army would not even let us assemble peacefully and started to use tear gas and concussion grenades (some of the gas drifted in the soldier’s direction ;-).  A back and forth ensued when demonstrators stood the ground and regrouped to advance again (at least three times). 

I included a short but powerful video from Hebron event today in the second half of this video which also include segments of our demonstration in Bethlehem in support of Egyptian and other Arab people (Feb. 13, note Palestinian security officers tried to stop us) and a demonstration last Friday (Feb. 18) in Al-Ma’sara. See

 
 

Sabeelers, PLEASE DISTRIBUTE WIDELY!
Feb 24, 2011
SABEEL CONFERENCE IN BETHLEHEM: JESUS CHALLENGED EMPIRE

Bethlehem, Occupied West Bank — About 200 international participants have come to Bethlehem for the Eighth Sabeel International Conference. The group gathered at the Bethlehem Hotel under the theme, “Challenging Empire: God, Faithfulness and Resistance.” Sabeel is the ecumenical liberation theology center based in Jerusalem.

Dr. Richard Horsley told participants, “Jesus was a Palestinian under imperial rule. Just as the modern state of Israel and other states in the Middle East were the creation of Western colonialism, so the ancient temple-state in Judea was set up by foreign powers”.

Horsley described Jesus as a community organizer working to renew in village communities a commitment to the covenant laws of God. He said, “… all of the Gospels … portray Jesus as having the same basic agenda, the renewal of the people of Israel in opposition to the Jerusalem and Roman rulers of the people.” Jesus’ program “tapped into the people’s deeply rooted cultural traditions,” he said. Horsley is Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and the Study of Religion, University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA.

Jesus’ commitment to renewal in village communities was strategic, Horsley said. It was “a key component in a strategy of resistance to the rulers, a confrontation of Empire. By restoring their mutual cooperation and solidarity, villagers could resist the further disintegration of their communities.” Vulnerable families could be encouraged “not to succumb to the outside forces that would turn them into share-croppers or force them off their ancestral land and out of the village community,” he said. “By mobilizing people power and building community solidarity, Jesus’ renewal of the covenant also became a form of resistance to the predatory pressures of the Empire,” he said.

Horsley pointed to “a new form of Empire, global capitalism.” He said, “The transnational megacorporations that constitute this dominant imperial apparatus are far beyond any attempt at regulation (…). The U S still is, or has, an Empire. But it is now interlocking with the new Empire of global capitalism (…) while the US military serves as the enforcer of the New World Order which aids and abets the operation of global capitalism.”

Ambassador Hind Khoury told the group Wednesday that they could not be meeting at a more interesting moment in history, “a historical moment for us Palestinians and Arabs, for empire and for the world. While the situation in Palestine has been dramatic for too long, events are now snowballing in front of our eyes planting the seeds of change for the region and forever.” Khoury is the former ambassador to France from the Palestinian Authority. She serves on the Sabeel Board of Directors.

Khoury described “the hegemonic grip of the global American empire, with Israel constituting an integral and essential strategic partner” in the Middle East. Disregard for “the human factor” is both shocking and consistent, Khoury said.

“People and values simply do not matter, you walk over them, you crush them, you bombard them, you assassinate them, you deny them a present and a future, and all is legitimate on the altar called the security of the state of Israel,” Khoury said.

Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh described “the 13 percent of Bethlehem that is the concentration camp we (Palestinians) are allowed to live in,” while the remainder is either zoned restricted or is “illegally annexed.” He said, “Israel continues building its Wall, which in Bethlehem is 60-70 percent complete.” Qumsiyeh, a professor at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities, addressed “Mapping Empire Today in Palestine and Israel.”

“Shedding fear is the most important part of people-power resistance,” Qumsiyeh said. “State power requires fear,” and it employs “unimaginable” tactics such as demolishing homes six and seven times.

 As for “empire,” we have to ask who is behind all this, Qumsiyeh said. “Greed and interests of greed that cannot be ignored. We must understand the biology of the disease we are facing so that we can treat it.” Palestinians are facing world powers, not just another state, he said.

“Justice, peace, truth – these are not just words. Leaders blurt them unconsciously. I say as a Palestinian Christian, look to Jesus Christ. He was the first Palestinian martyr. He spoke Aramaic, a precursor to Arabic, and he was killed for acting, not just for saying these words,” Qumsiyeh said.

The Rev. Christopher Ferguson, United Church of Canada, said the gospel message “has been grabbed and imperialized, the message of liberation made to destroy and oppress.

Ferguson said, “Freedom is the message of the Jesus movement. Where we stand is resisting empire with the Palestinian people. It is not an optional extra but at the core of our faith and our relationship to God.”

The Rev. Mitri Raheb preached at the Wi’am Center, located next to the Separation Wall in Bethlehem. He spoke to the familiar text from the Beatitudes, “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth,” saying it would more correctly be translated, “for they shall inherit the land.” Raheb is the pastor of Christmas Lutheran Church and president of the Diyar Consortium in Bethlehem.

“We really think empire will last. Jesus says it will not,” Raheb said. “How wise Jesus was. No one of Jesus’ time would have imagined that Herod was not here to stay. Jesus tells us through this verse that we are released from the power of empire. Jesus speaks and empire has lost its power over us. We see it in the Arab world in these recent weeks. Young people saw that empire could be shattered. God won’t do it alone, only with us.”

The Rev. Alison Tomin and Deacon Eunice Attwood, president and vice-president respectively of the Methodist Church in Britain, discussed the process that led to adoption of an important report and resolutions on justice and peace for Palestine and Israel at last summer’s Methodist Conference in Portsmouth.

Methodist people should take seriously the deepening of their understanding of issues (here), said Attwood. “They should examine their understanding, though it will bring some discomfort into established Methodist-Jewish discussion groups. The vast majority have decided to face discomfort and face these issues, bringing the possibility for more discussion with other Christians as well as with Muslims,” she said.

“Methodists are committed to listening to every voice, but particularly the poorest, the most vulnerable, the oppressed and the most needy,” Attwood said.

Thanking the UK Methodists, the Rev. Naim Ateek, director of Sabeel, said Wednesday, “Today if you stand for justice and truth, you will be attacked. Churches suffer from weakness of the prophetic. Israel wants you silent, then you are okay. Once you speak out, immediately you will be attacked. Then the question is: Can you stand? And I thank God for every person who does that.”

The Sabeel International Conference continues at the Bethlehem Hotel through Monday, 28 February.
— 30 –
Reporter: Ann Hafften
Sabeel Media Coordinator: Nicolas Atallah
phone: 0526822443
http://www.sabeel.org/

 
 
Written FOR

 

IS THERE RACISM IN THE AFTERLIFE?

Only if you were a Palestinian that lived under Israeli occupation….
Only twenty men and fifteen women were allowed to be present while the body was being prepared for burial, and no more than fifty men could be at the funeral ceremony itself. The family was not allowed to visit al-Aqsa, either, which is a customary practice for Jerusalem-area Muslim families.
    
  
Murdered Jerusalem man subjected to racism even in death
Jillian Kestler-D’Amours*

 

Hussain Rwidy speaking at a demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah two weeks after the murder of his son, Hussam. (Jillian Kestler-D’Amours)
 
All Hussain Hassan Rwidy wanted was to bury his son.

“They took me to see the investigator who worked on the case. He called me inside [his office], alone, and asked me, ‘Are you strong?'” I said to him, ‘I want my son,'” Rwidy told The Electronic Intifada.

“He said directly to me, ‘Your son died …'” Rwidy paused, then continued. “‘Your son died, and there are two people arrested.'”

Twenty-four-year-old Hussam Rwidy was killed in the early morning hours of Friday, 11 February, on Hillel Street in West Jerusalem as he and a friend, Murad Khader Joulani, were walking to their car to drive home from work.

According to the Rwidy family, who live in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Kufr Akab, everything began when a group of extremist Israeli Jews heard Hussam and Murad speaking Arabic to each other, and shouted “Death to the Arabs.”

“My son started to walk [away],” said Hussam’s father, from a mourning tent set up to remember Hussam in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, where the family is originally from, last Saturday.

“They came from behind with a knife and jumped on him. After they cut his throat, four more people came and started to beat them with punches and kicks,” he explained.

While Hussam died of his injuries when he reached the hospital, Joulani survived the attack with a deep knife wound visible on the back of his neck. According to an account Joulani gave to the Wadi Hilweh Information Center, a resident-run information and media center in Silwan, Joulani managed to pull Rwidy to a nearby restaurant where he called for help.

“None of the Israeli customers assisted the two men, except for one who handed Joulani a paper napkin to remove the blood from Rwidy’s face. Joulani was then himself able to call the police, who then commenced investigation into the incident,” the Wadi Hilweh Information Center article states (“The final moments of the martyred Husam Rwidy,” 20 February 2011).

The Israeli police originally arrested two suspects for the crime, but placed a gag order on the details of the criminal case. The Israeli media, however, quickly presented the attack as a drunken brawl between the two groups, an account the Rwidy family vehemently denies.

“If the government or police lie and say that [Hussam] started this, I will never believe that. He was handsome, a gentleman,” Hussam’s uncle, Bassam Maswadi, told The Electronic Intifada.

The gag order on Rwidy’s case was lifted earlier this week, and the Israeli media reported that four Israeli teenagers — two from Jerusalem and two from illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank — were arrested for his murder. Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz reported that “police suspect that the stabbing had nationalistic motives and the prosecution decided to put them on trial for manslaughter” (“Four teens suspected of stabbing Arab youth to death in Jerusalem,” 23 February 2011).

“After praying in the mosque on Friday [11 February], I was on the bus and my wife called me to tell me [what happened]. I was shocked,” Maswadi said. “I started crying, like he was my son.”

Family’s suffering prolonged by “security threat”

The Rwidy family’s turmoil didn’t end with Hussam’s death, however, as they were forced to wait five days before the Israeli authorities would release Hussam’s body for burial.

The family wanted to hold his funeral in a graveyard adjacent to the Haram al-Sharif, or Noble Sanctuary, which is known to Jews as the Temple Mount and is the third holiest site in Islam.

“They said to me that Sunday at 11am, everything is okay and [I] can come and take [my] son. When I went on Sunday, they said to me the security situation didn’t allow that,” Hussain Rwidy said.

The Israeli authorities argued that they had secret evidence proving that if Hussam’s funeral was to be held in the vicinity of the Temple Mount, a riot would break out, similar to what happened when an Israeli settler security guard shot and killed Silwan resident Samer Sarhan in September 2010.

Therefore, the Israeli police forced a set of rules upon the Rwidy family, which needed to be agreed upon before his body was released. Israel said only forty persons could be present at the burial, that it could only take place after 8pm and that the family couldn’t hold the ceremony near the al-Aqsa mosque.

“But at 1pm on Sunday, the police called me and said that everything [in the agreement] is cancelled,” Rwidy said. He explained that the Israeli authorities told the family that they would only be allowed to pick up Hussam’s body at the Qalandiya checkpoint — which separates East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank — and that he could only be buried in the West Bank, not Jerusalem.

This outrageous condition, Rwidy explained, forced the family to submit a petition to the Israeli high court to get Hussam’s body back. They finally reached an agreement, and at 12:30am on Wednesday, 16 February, were able to prepare Hussam for burial.

That night, Hussam’s body was taken to a mosque in Ras al-Amud, a neighborhood of East Jerusalem near Silwan, and was buried in a cemetery there.

Only twenty men and fifteen women were allowed to be present while the body was being prepared for burial, and no more than fifty men could be at the funeral ceremony itself. The family was not allowed to visit al-Aqsa, either, which is a customary practice for Jerusalem-area Muslim families.

Attack reflects rising tide of Israeli racism

Palestinian citizens of Israel and residents of East Jerusalem have been the target of increasingly discriminatory and hostile rhetoric in recent months on the part of Israeli politicians, religious leaders and members of settler-related organizations.

In Jerusalem, this inciting rhetoric has translated into more than a dozen separate incidents since the summer of 2010 in which Palestinians have been attacked, beaten or killed by groups of Jewish Israelis.

Last November, it was reported that groups of Israelis were stalking Independence Park in central West Jerusalem, looking for Palestinians to attack. The rising wave of violence received international attention when a middle-aged Chilean tourist was mistaken for a Palestinian and was sent to a hospital after he was jumped and beaten near the park (“Fundamentalists Attack Chilean Tourist After ‘Suspecting’ He Is Arab,” International Middle East Media Center, 8 November 2010).

In another incident reported in late December by the Wadi Hilweh Information Center, a 28-year-old resident of Jerusalem’s Old City was severely beaten in a bar on Jaffa Street in West Jerusalem after a group of Jewish youth shouted racist, anti-Arab remarks at him (“Racist attacks on Palestinians,” 23 December 2010).

“These attacks in the last two years I would say are not just one person or two persons, [but] it’s actually quite organized. You can see an organization going on in especially the suburbs of Jerusalem, in the settlement suburbs like Pisgat Zeev, Givat Zeev,” explained Yossi Bartal, a long-time Israeli activist and community organizer based in Jerusalem.

“Young kids that come from these neighborhoods that are very much influenced by right-wing politicians, by rabbis, go to the city center and try to use violence and show their right-wing ideology by attacking Arabs or anyone else they don’t like,” he said.

The Jerusalem Post reported in December 2010 that a group of nine Jewish Israeli youth from the Jerusalem area had been taken in for questioning on the suspicion that they were involved in a string of attacks on Palestinians in the city (“Nine member J’lem gang arrested for attacks on Arabs,” 21 December 2010).

“The youths, most of whom are aged 14 to 19 and are residents of Jerusalem or the surrounding suburbs, are accused of gathering on Thursday nights, identifying Arabs and attacking them with stones, glass bottles and pepper spray,” the article reports.

According to Bartal, while the Israeli police have made some arrests, they aren’t taking these racist attacks seriously enough and most importantly, have failed to define much of the violence as being racially-motivated.

“The way the police tries to define these things as just normal fights is very political,” Bartal said. “They are actually stating the obvious: that they don’t want to fight racism by not defining these attacks as racist attacks.”

The pressure on the Israeli police and government, therefore, needs to come from
Israeli society itself if individuals and groups are to be held accountable for their role in the wave of violence, Bartal said.

“There is a law in Israel against racist incitement. This law that actually defines, in a very problematic way, what is racist incitement should be used against these rabbis and against these politicians who call very clearly to use violence against minorities inside Israel.”

Hussam Rwidy remembered

More than a hundred persons gathered in Silwan last Saturday to mourn the loss of Hussam Rwidy and condemn the vicious attack that ended his life.

“People need to open their eyes and see what’s going on. All of us are human beings. We can live together. We need to respect each other,” said Bassam Maswadi, Hussam’s uncle.

Maswadi explained that Hussam worked two jobs — as a Coca-Cola salesman during the day, and making deliveries from the Mahane Yehuda market in West Jerusalem at night — in an effort to save money and start a family. The eldest of three children, Hussam planned on getting engaged next summer.

“Anyone who needed help, he would help. Lots of people respected him. He was just great. He was like one of my sons,” Maswadi added.

According to Hani Baidoun, a Silwan resident and friend of the Rwidy family, the Israeli government and police and security forces play a large role in perpetrating the violence toward Palestinians in Jerusalem.

“Previously we used to hear them saying that a good Arab is a dead one. Today, neither a live or dead Arab is good for Israel. They want to evacuate Jerusalem from Arabs as much and as quickly as possible. They are pushing them to think openly about leaving Jerusalem for the West Bank and even abroad,” Baidoun said.

“The Israeli policy and government encourages such beliefs and such acts against Arabs, Palestinian youth and the Jerusalemites in particular,” he added.

Maswadi agreed.

“[The Israeli authorities] have a responsibility,” Maswadi said. “We will be afraid to go in the streets at night now. We live together. This is not a life.”

*Originally from Montreal, Jillian Kestler-D’Amours is a reporter and documentary filmmaker based in occupied East Jerusalem. More of her work can be found at http://jilldamours.wordpress.com.

  
 

A ZIONIST VICTORY IN NEW YORK’S GAY COMMUNITY

  
Even the oppressed are capable of oppressing….. 
  
 
 NY’s famed LGBT Center folds under pressure – bans “Party to End Apartheid!,” Israeli Apartheid Week event and groups
 
 Taking Pinkwashing to a whole new level, one of Israel’s very very good friends– gay male pornographer Michael Lucas– is boasting that he single-handedly got NY’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Trans Community Center to not only cancel a “Party to End Apartheid” fundraiser to cover costs for Israel Awareness Week, but to ban the group from ever renting there again. How? You know, the usual calls from supporters and threats to withhold major donations (according to Lucas). Stephen Thrasher in the Village Voice writes:

Lucas, one of gay porn’s most outspoken figures, is known equally for his “Men of Israel” films, hisrabidly right-wing political writing for theAdvocate, and his custom-made dildo in the shape of his own manhood.

We were surprised at how quickly he succeeded.

Just hours after writing, “It was an inexcusable decision on the Center’s part to associate itself with a hate group like Israeli Apartheid Week, but there’s still time for them to reverse course and begin restoring their reputation,” Lucas proclaimed victory, writing: “We prevailed! Congratulations to everyone who stood with me in support of Israel. With your help it took only eight hours to accomplish our mission.”

The LGBT Center released a two-sentence statement: “We have determined that this event is not appropriate to be held at our LGBT Community Center, which is a safe haven for LGBT groups and individuals. Therefore, the meeting at The Center has been cancelled and the host group will no longer meet at The Center.”

Safe haven? For whom exactly?

Perhaps it’s the use of the word ‘apartheid’ that got to Lucas. The event was part of Israel Apartheid Week- but that word, whether you agree with it or not, has long been used to describe conditions in Israel by many including former education minister Shulamit Aloni, and former Israeli Attorney General Michael Ben-Yair. And how is Israel so utterly weak that it apparently cannot stand strong or at worst strident language? Isn’t this the core of democracy- protecting popular and unpopular speech?

Here’s a recently released open letter from Queer Palestinians that has something to say about safety, which should extend beyond safety for just Michael Lucas and his friends. It also makes a compelling case that many other groups have made for aligning LGBT freedom with other struggles (including the fight for free speech). A message likely long ago internalized by the LGBT Center except, it turns out, when it comes to Palestinians.

We believe that, as Queer communities, we must pay close attention to any grave human rights violations on our way to support the LGBTQ struggle, especially in a context where the country in question that oppresses, discriminates, and implements an apartheid system. We should question the ethics and the values of Queer organizations or groups that voice fervent support for and participate in an apartheid state’s institutions. Human rights should not be compartmentalized, and the human rights of a certain group should not be more important than others’. We, as Palestinian queers, cannot ignore the struggle and the rights of the Palestinian people.  To us, the two struggles go side by side.

All I can say is, the LGBT Center screwed. It’s appalling how easily they folded to threats from right-wing donors-apparently it took just 8 hours to make this unprincipled decision. I can’t imagine that NY area LGBT activists, who love and helped build the ground-breaking center, are going to like this anymore than the activist community in Toronto that staged a full-out Cairo-style rebellion when a small group of right wing friends of Israel similarly pressured Toronto Pride into banning the word ‘apartheid’ , when associated with Israel, in the parade. (Pride overturned the decision because, like this decision, it was indefensible.)

Thrasher says:

“Party to End Apartheid!” was a benefit for the Siege Busters Working Group, whose membership includes Emily Henochowicz, a Cooper Union art student who lost an eyeduring a peace protest in Israel, and the group Existence is Resistance. Both groups are raising money to send another aid ship to Gaza. The last such unsuccessful effort led to the death of nine people (and to the protest where Henochowicz lost an eye).

Reported AT

~~~~~~~~~~

And from the culprit himself…..

Michael Lucas Calls for Boycott of LGBT Center for Hosting Anti-Semitic Event

 

NEW YORK, Feb. 22, 2011  — Gay adult entertainment entrepreneur and Advocate.com columnist, Michael Lucas, today threatened to organize a boycott against New York’s LGBT Center for its decision to host a party for an anti-Semitic organization.

Lucas called on the LGBT Center to cancel a party by Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW), scheduled for March 5th.

He further demands that the LGBT Center’s leaders publicly apologize, and pledge to ban any and all anti-Semitic groups from using their facilities in the future.

“I’m preparing to organize a boycott that would certainly involve some of the Center’s most generous donors,” said Lucas. “It was an inexcusable decision on the Center’s part to associate itself with a hate group like Israeli Apartheid Week, but there’s still time for them to reverse course and begin restoring their reputation.”

Lucas says he has already spoken with a number of other furious LGBT Center supporters who plan to withdraw all future donations should the “Smash Israeli Apartheid” party go forward.

Anti-Israeli groups, like IAW, are using the pretext of support for Palestinians to stoke old anti-Semitic hatreds and perpetuate Jewish stereotypes. They’re also growing increasingly and aggressively pro-Islam. Sociologists, like Phyllis Chesler of College of Staten Island says, “Anti-Zionism is new antisemitism.” The IAW is attempting to organize a boycott campaign against Israel.

Jewish and non-Jewish members of the gay community are baffled by the LGBT Center’s decision to support a controversial organization that has nothing to do with gay rights.

“At first I thought this was a joke,” says Lucas. “Israel is the only country in the Middle East that supports gay rights, while its enemies round up, torture, and condemn gay people to death — often by publicly hanging or stoning them to death.”

In fact, gay people in these societies flee to Israel for safety and protection.

“If the LGBT Center wants to host a fundraising and awareness party for anti-semites, they might as well go all the way and host a tea dance for Fred Phelps,” said Lucas.

Source

DON’T ALLOW THE USA TO BECOME A DICTATORSHIP

You have the RIGHT to hear the truth about Israel….. PRESERVE THAT RIGHT!
  
 

 
 
Omar Barghouti is a key leader of the global movement for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel’s government. Few people anywhere are better able to convey the power and promise of this nonviolent force for a just resolution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict based on human rights and equality.
And whatever your position, he has a right to speak as a matter of principle.
 
Which is why it’s so critical that he be heard here in the United States.
 
Barghouti – who has advanced academic degrees from US institutions, who lived here for 11 years, whose daughter attends school here- has been inexplicably denied a visa to come to the US in April for a long-planned tour to talk about his new book, Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights, published by Haymarket Books. A book Archbishop Desmond Tutu called  “lucid and morally compelling… perfectly timed to make a major contribution to this urgently needed global campaign for justice, freedom and peace.” 
 
Barghouti has invitations to speak in New York City, Harvard, Yale, Brown, Brandeis University, Washington DC, and Philadelphia. But all that may be over if the US doesn’t issue a visa.
 
But we still have some time.
 
That’s why Haymarket Books and Omar Barghouti have asked for your help. If the US Consulate gets enough emails and calls from concerned US citizens, they could reverse their decision and grant him a visa.
 
At a time when the United States has been forced to recognize the democratic revolution in Egypt after long supporting its dictator Hosni Mubarak, we hope the US government will not violate the freedom of speech of a visiting author and leader for the struggle for democracy for Palestinians.
 
We hope the US is not denying its own citizens the right to hear different ideas and learn from Omar Barghouti’s hopeful example.
 
Some critics of U.S. foreign policy hoped that President Barack Obama would end George Bush’s policy of “ideological exclusion”–denying people the right to visit the United States because they are critical of its policies.  But if the U.S. denies Barghouti a visa for political reasons, it would instead be continuing the worst traditions of Obama’s predecessor and cold-war style suppression of ideas.
Please tell the Israeli consulate and State Department: let Omar Barghouti speak!
 
 

Tell US Consulate: Let Omar Barghouti speak to us

Effectively canceling a planned speaking tour, the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem has inexplicably delayed the granting of a visa for Omar Barghouti, founding member of the Palestinian Civil Society Boycott, Divestment, Sanction (BDS) campaign, due to tour the United States this April for the release of his new book, Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions: The Global Struggle for Palestinian Rights;

Contact the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem and the Department of State to ask them to fulfill the promise from the Obama Administration of “promoting the global marketplace of ideas” and grant Barghouti’s visa immediately. Demand your right to hear this key leader in the nonviolent struggle for a just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

 

Daniel Rubinstein

Consul General, US Consulate, Jerusalem

 

Sponsored BY

ZIODOLLAR$ FOR PEACE?

  

 
Can something good come out of a bad situation? It looks like it is possible. Ian McEwan has been in Israel for the past week to receive the Jerusalem Prize for Literature. He was urged not to come by activists in the Boycott from Within Movement to refuse the prize and refuse to come here…. but he did. He tried to justify his position by being critical of Israeli policies and taking part in the weekly demonstration at Sheikh Jarrah last Friday.
  
Last night he donated the $10,000 in Prize Money to an Israeli/Palestinian Peace group, Combatants For Peace. For this, he must be commended ….. it might result in the ‘Powers That Be’ being more selective of Prize Recipients in the future, but for now, something good did come out of a bad situation.
 
 

However, despite it all, the views of BDS activists can be seen in THIS letter that appeared in today’s Guardian. 

 I, as well, endorse this position despite commending his action.

  

Ian McEwan donates Jerusalem Prize money to Israeli-Palestinian peace group

A representative of Combatants for Peace said the group pledges ‘to use the contribution to further our activities against injustice, oppression and denial of liberties – in the spirit of McEwan’s remarks at the ceremony.’

 

The British author Ian McEwan, who received the Jerusalem Prize at this year’s International Book Fair, said he will be donating the $10,000 award to Combatants for Peace.

The group was founded by Palestinians and Israelis who had previously taken an active part in fighting each other. Its representatives said they are committed to working to end the occupation and achieve a two-state solution.  

McEwan met Thursday with group representatives Bassem Ararmin, Muhammed Aweida, Yoni Yahav and Roi Amit to hand them the prize money.

The novelist arrived in Israel to accept the prize on Sunday, despite calls to boycott the event. During his acceptance speech for the award, given every two years to a writer whose work deals with the “freedom of the individual in society,” McEwan spoke out against Israeli policy regarding the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

He said he hoped Jerusalem “will look to the future of its children and the conflicts that potentially could engulf them, end the settlements and encroachments and aspire creatively to the open, respectful, plural condition of the novel.”

McEwan also took part in the weekly demonstration in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, along with Israeli author David Grossman, his personal friend.

Representatives of Combatants for Peace said they were pleased McEwan had decided to donate the prize money – which the author had received from Mayor Nir Barkat – to their group. According to one member, Barkat “implements the heavy-handed policy and discrimination against the residents of the city.”

A representative of Combatants for Peace said the group pledges “to use the contribution to further our activities against injustice, oppression and denial of liberties – in the spirit of McEwan’s remarks at the ceremony.”

 

Source

PHOTO ESSAY ~~ DON’T HARMONIZE WITH ISRAELI APARTHEID

  
~~~
 
Commentary by Chippy Dee, Photos © by Bud Korotzer
  

On the evening of February 22nd in NYC about 70 people from Adalah-NY, Jews Say No !, War Resistors League, Al-Awda-NY and several other organizations held a protest across the street from Carnegie Hall where the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) was about to perform.  As concert goers arrived, many coming in limos wearing formal evening attire, sparkling in gems, and dripping in fur, they were noticeably astonished to see and hear the tumult going on across the street.  They stopped on the curb to read the placards and hear the chants and songs.  Some took photos.
 
Some demonstrators were within the crowd waiting to get into Carnegie Hall.  They handed out mock IPO programs with a photo on the front of the IPO playing for Israeli soldiers with tanks in the background.  Inside the program there was a call for an international boycott of the orchestra.
 
The orchestra will face 6 similar protests along their tour route.  These protests are a response to the call from Palestinian civil society to boycott any Israeli organization that seeks to distract the world from the Israeli apartheid policies used against the Palestinian people as well as the occupation of Palestinian land and the oppression of Palestinians within Israel, the territories, and those living in exile. 
 
While the IPO does not discuss Israeli policy it is described by American Friends of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra as “Israel’s finest cultural emissary,” which “travels throughout the world…The goodwill created by these tours… is of enormous value to the State of Israel.  As a result, the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra maintains it’s position as the forefront of cultural diplomacy and the international music scene.”
 
Israeli billionaire, Lev Leviev, is a corporate sponsor of the IPO tour.  He held a fundraising gala for them in November.  Leviev’s companies have been shunned by UNICEF, CARE, Oxfam, film stars, and international investment companies because of Leviev’s construction of Israeli colonies (“settlements”) on Palestinian land and human rights abuses in his diamond industry in Southern Africa.
 
Noelle Ghoussaini of Adalah-NY said, “Tonight we sent a clear message to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Israeli government’s ‘Brand Israel’ campaign that their music cannot drown out the Palestinian’s call for justice.”  Those supporting human rights all over the world will not allow cultural ambassadors to stamp a happy face on what Israel is doing to the Palestinian men, women, and children.
~~~
 
 
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JERUSALEM’S ‘DRUNKIFADA’

  
Once the media blackout was lifted, select Israeli media outlets covered the story as a “drunken brawl turned bad.”
   

Did Israeli media sideline racist motives in killing of Arab youth in Jerusalem?

Posted by Joseph Dana
 

Amid the revolutionary cheer that was emanating from Egypt last week, a group of Israeli Jews attacked and killed a Palestinian in the heart of West Jerusalem. 24-year-old Palestinian Hussam Rwidy was killed by a group of nationalist Jewish youth screaming “death to Arabs” as he was walking home from work. The Israeli government quickly put a media blackout on the case fearing a violent reactions from Palestinians in Jerusalem, Israel and the West Bank. Once the media blackout was lifted, select Israeli media outlets covered the story as a “drunken brawl turned bad.” According to one Jerusalem resident who helped the victims after the attack, neither of them were drunk.  

The Alternative Information Center has posted a video report about the killing and racism in the holy city. Anyone who has visited Jerusalem will recognize the street where the attack took place as ground zero of birthright trips and tourists to the city.

UPDATE: 15:11
As this piece was posted, Ynet has reported that four young settlers have been arrested in connection with the crime. The story was posted today at 14:44 and is currently only in Hebrew. You can view the story
here and I will post any new major developments as they happen.

Posted AT

MORE THAN HATE MAIL IN MY ‘IN BOX’ TODAY

  
Every day I am bombarded with hate mail from the zionists that crawl through my Blog …. in most cases they are repeats that go straight to ‘Spam’ so i never get to see them. But today was different… the first email in my box was the following….
  
Hi Steve,
 
We at “Mastersdegree.net”, wanted to let you know that we featured your blog in one of our recent articles on our own blog. (40 Best Blogs for Following the Middle East), is linked below and could be a fun way to share this announcement with your readers.
 
(
http://www.mastersdegree.net/blog/2011/40-best-blogs-for-following-the-middle-east/)
 
Either way, I hope you continue putting out great content through your blog. It has been a sincere pleasure to read.
 
 
Thanks
Kate Rothwell
  
  
Following is what I found when I clicked on the link provided….. OK, so I’m not numero uno… BUT, 40 is a significant number ;)
 
Thanks MasterDegree Net…. I am honoured :)
 

40 Best Blogs for Following the Middle East

What happens around the world impacts our lives here in the US. Conflicts, human rights violations, and the involvement of our troops are issues that are important to many educated Americans. The Middle East is involved in so many issues that matter to the US and the world, and you can keep up with them by following these blogs.

  1. The Angry Arab: The Angry Arab shares news and information on politics, war, the Middle East, and more.
  2. War is Boring: War is Boring offers illustrations and more about the Middle East and beyond.
  3. The Elder of Ziyon: EoZ shares problems and challenges for the Middle East.
  4. Gaza Mom: Gaza Mom’s blog is all about Palestine, politics, and even motherhood.
  5. Al Jazeera Middle East Blog: Al Jazeera shares news about the Middle East on this blog.
  6. Middle East Progress: Follow the progress in the Middle East on this blog.
  7. The Elders: These leaders, brought together by Nelson Mandela, share their influence and experience in the Middle East.
  8. Middle East Diary: Shashank Bengali is a correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers on assignment in Baghdad and Cairo.
  9. The Middle East Blog: The Middle East Blog shares life in the hottest and holiest region in the world.
  10. Informed Comment: Informed Comment has thoughts on the Middle East, history, and religion.
  11. Musings on Iraq: Musings on Iraq has Iraq news, politics, economics, and society.
  12. Free Middle East Blog: Get updates on freedom in the Middle East on FME.
  13. Baheyya: Baheyya shares Egypt analysis and whimsy.
  14. Iraq Today: Iraq Today has war news and more.
  15. Middle East Post: Middle East Post discusses and analyzes Middle East political issues.
  16. Talisman Gate: Talisman Gate offers unconventional thinking about the Middle East from Nibras Kazimi.
  17. Middle East: The Middle East blog from Foreign Policy shares news and more from the Middle East.
  18. Jihadica: Jihadica works to document the global Jihad.
  19. Iraqi American Mojo: The Iraqi American Mojo writes about peace and justice in the world.
  20. Marc Lynch: This associate professor of political science and international affairs covers foreign policy in the Middle East.
  21. The Sudanese Optimist: The Sudanese Optimist discusses Sudan with sarcasm, irony, and controversy.
  22. The Moor Next Door: The Moor Next Door writes on Maghreb affairs, geopolitics, and international relations.
  23. The AfPak Channel: Foreign Policy’s channel discusses the war for South Asia.
  24. The Sudanese Thinker: Drima Abu Hamdan updates on Sudan and more.
  25. Mideast Youth: Mideast Youth shares forward thinking for the Middle East.
  26. Inside Iraq: This blog is updated by Iraqi journalists in Baghdad and outlying provinces.
  27. Middle East Institute: The Middle East Institute blog puts Middle Eastern events in cultural and historical context.
  28. Inside the Middle East: CNN’s journalists share news and more from the Middle East on this blog.
  29. At War: At War offers notes from the front lines of the US at war.
  30. The Arabist: The Arabist offers insight on Arab politics and culture.
  31. Afghanistan Conflict Monitor: The Afghanistan Conflict Monitor reports on happenings in Afghanistan and beyond.
  32. Israellycool: Israellycool has news from Israel and the Middle East.
  33. Michael Totten: Michael Totten reports on foreign policy, the Middle East, Balkans, and the Caucasus.
  34. Afghanistan Crossroads: Find news from the ground in Afghanistan on Afghanistan Crossroads.
  35. Promised Land: Promised Land has news and opinion from Israel.
  36. All Things Pakistan: Stay on top of all things Pakistan on this blog.
  37. Registan: Registan covers all Central Asian news.
  38. Carpetblogger: Carpetblogger shares commentary from Constantinople.
  39. Sandbox: Martin Kramer’s blog discusses policy in the Middle East.
  40. Desertpeace: Keep up with news and opinion from the desert on Desertpeace.

ISRAEL’S DELUSIONAL PRESIDENT

Quite often we see wisdom come with age…. other times we see senility instead. The latter seems to be the case with Israel’s 88 year old president, Shimon Peres. Either that or he just remembered that in 1994 he undeservingly received the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in producing the Oslo Accords which he helped to destroy.

Suddenly the old man is talking Peace again, in a most unrealistic way…. a man that has the executive power to pardon every innocent Palestinian that is languishing in Israeli prisons, including those that are serving long terms for minor offences…. including the HUNDREDS of children being held without ever being charged. That alone could lead to meaningful Peace talks between Israel and Palestine….

But no, it’s easier to dream on and lie through his teeth about unrealistc ways and means of achieving Peace in the Middle East…. Google and FaceBook???

Do you think he Googled ‘GAZA’ today and discovered that the IDF murdered 11 Palestinians at the border? Did he try to get into Haninyeh’s FaceBook page to find it was closed down by FaceBook? Somehow I doubt it….

Did he try to access any YouTube videos (run by Google) that might be critical of zionism…. only to find it was removed?

Peace via FaceBook and Google? Gimme a break!

Peres: Google and Facebook will bring Mideast peace

Unlike other Israeli leaders who have voiced apprehension over the unrest in the Middle East, Peres describes revolutions that toppled the Egyptian and Tunisian regimes as ‘opportunities for peace.’

President Shimon Peres called on the West to push leading software and internet companies like Google, Microsoft and Facebook to help Middle Eastern countries reform, and said the recent events in the region were an opportunity for peace.

Peres was speaking before the Spanish Parliament yesterday, the first day of a four-day trip to Spain.

As opposed to many other Israeli leaders, who have voiced apprehension over the unrest in the Middle East, Peres described the revolutions that toppled the Egyptian and Tunisian regimes as “opportunities for peace.”

“We believe the biggest guarantee of peace is having democratic neighbors.

We are happy to witness this democratic revolution taking place in the Arab world,” said Peres, observing, “Now is the time to resume the talks with the Palestinians.”

Analysts discussing how the Egyptian and Tunisian uprisings could affect Palestinian politics have said they could inspire people to try to topple the Fatah-led government in the West Bank.

Earlier this month, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for general parliamentary and presidential elections in the Palestinian Authority no later than September. Hamas has said it will boycott the polls.

In his wide-ranging remarks, Peres said Israel aspired to a lasting peace with its neighbors, including Syria and Lebanon.

“I turn to Syria and ask that it not become hostage to Iran. Iran is not seeking peace,” Peres said. He accused Iran of “creating terrorist cells in other nations, in the Middle East and even in Latin America.”

Regarding the role of internet and software giants, Peres said that these companies have more available cash than many states, which are going through a financial crisis, and are therefore in a better position to assist.

“These companies have the means and they can help,” he said. “Aid is currently directed mainly at sick people in poorer countries. It’s better to cure the state and let it treat its own ills.”

Joining Peres in Spain is a delegation of Israeli businessmen.

Large international companies need to be called on to join the mission, he said.

“They can set up modern economic networks based on information and technology nearly anywhere in the world,” he said. “They can establish high-tech outlets and provide jobs for the young and unemployed, and provide hope for an entire people.”

Source

SHAKING HANDS WITH APARTHEID

 Last night, Ian McEwan continued his nonchalant support of apartheid by attending an event celebrating his receiving the Jerusalem Prize for Literature. He just can’t get it through his thick skull that you cannot speak out against apartheid while at the same time shaking hands with it.

    
  
British author Ian McEwan (R) sits next to Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat (C) and Israeli President Shimon Peres(L) after receiving the 2011 Jerusalem Prize during a ceremony at the 25th Jerusalem International Book Fair on February 20, 2011. 

Great grandson of S.Y Agnon tells Ian McEwan ‘not to shake hands with apartheid’

Posted by Joseph Dana 

Israeli activists from the Boycott From Within and Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity movements disrupted an event with British author Ian McEwan this evening in Jerusalem. McEwan, the recipient of this year’s Jerusalem Prize for Literature, was asked by Israeli and Palestinian activists to boycott the prize and not ‘whitewash’ Israeli violations of international law in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. Ignoring the boycott call, McEwan accepted the prize and gave a strong speech denouncing Israeli actions towards the Palestinians. McEwan also visited the weekly protest against settlement activity in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah with Israeli writer David Grossman.

This evening, activists held a banner in front of McEwan at a large literary event connected to the book festival in Jerusalem. The banner, “Ian McEwan Shaking Hands with Apartheid”, was a reference to McEwen’s photo opportunities with Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat and Israeli president Shimon Peres as part of his prize recognition. Fittingly, one of the activists who held the banner is the great grandson of Nobel prize wining Israeli author S.Y. Agnon. Activists also handed out fliers about BDS in the auditorium hall (see below).

Tonight’s action was part of a growing number of protests aimed at Jerusalem’s international appeal. Mayor Nir Barkat has announced major changes to Jerusalem branding from simply a holy place to an international cultural capital. Events such as the Jerusalem book festival, next months first ever Jerusalem Marathon and other cultural events in the city are part of Barkat’s master plan to rebrand the city. Israeli activists have been successful in disrupting these events in order to bring light to the aggressive policies of ethnic cleansing that are taking place in East Jerusalem.

click on below to see flyer…

mcewan_flyer_small

 
 
 
Written FOR

WHAT McCARTHYISM AND ZIONISM TRIED TO SILENCE ON CAMPUS



Following is a video interview with Kris Petersen. Kris was involved in a battle less than a month ago with Brooklyn College, a battle that he won ….  for all of us!


TAKING PRIDE IN APARTHEID

This is part of Israel’s attempts to “pinkwash” its colonial policies and occupation of the Palestinian people by diverting international attention to a fictional public relations image appealing to western liberals.


Israeli Pinkwashing Campaign to be Launched at Berlin Tourism Show in March

Yossi Bartal, Connie Hackbarth (AIC)

Berlin’s International Tourism Trade Show (ITB-Berlin) will be the site from which the Israeli government launches its campaign to promote gay tourism to the city of Tel Aviv.



This is part of Israel’s attempts to “pinkwash” its colonial policies and occupation of the Palestinian people by diverting international attention to a fictional public relations image appealing to western liberals.

ITB-Berlin, which brands itself as the “world’s leading travel trade show”, will host the Israeli exhibition entitled Tel Aviv Gay Vibe- Free; Fun; Fabulous. According to information on the ITB-Berlin website, this exhibition is a joint project of Israel’s GLBT Association (Aguda) and Tel Aviv’s Tourism Association, which work together to generate pride events for tourists, information materials, the construction of tour packages to Tel Aviv and their marketing and advertising.

According to a public relations piece, Israeli events in ITB-Berlin, which runs from 9-13 March 2011, will include a celebratory cocktail for gay travel agents from throughout the world and two huge parties for the German public, with DJs and artists flown in from Tel Aviv, in addition to the traditional trade exhibition.

Yaniv Weitzman, a member of the Tel Aviv Municipal Council and special advisor to the mayor on the gay community, stated that in 2010 some NIS 340,000 were invested in promoting gay tourism by the Tel Aviv Municipality and Israel’s Ministry of Tourism. Estimates note that some 4,000 gay tourists came to Tel Aviv in June 2010 for the city’s pride events, while a 20% increase in this number is anticipated for 2011.

Shai Deutsch, a board member of the Aguda, says that new events were developed for Tel Aviv gay tourism, including English language tours on Fridays focusing on the history of the gay community in the city, in addition to three special weekends: Tel AvivPurim Carnival, Tel Aviv Pride Week and Tel Aviv Endless Summer events in September. A “hot city pass” discount card is also being promoted for gay tourists.

Deutsch explains that while the campaign is currently focusing on Germany and the UK as sources of large number of tourists, the campaign will expand its reach in the coming year to include addition European countries, particularly Holland and France, in addition to the United States.

Palestinian Queers for BDS issued a statement in June 2010 calling upon the LGBTQI communities around the globe to stand for justice in Palestine through adopting and implementing broad boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until the latter has ended its multi-tiered oppression of the Palestinian people, in line with the 2005 Palestinian civil society call for BDS.


Additionally, in November 2010 the Tel-Aviv based group Israeli Queers for Palestine issued a statement denouncing the nomination of Tel Aviv in MTV’s gay tourist attraction “a shameful tribute to apartheid” and supported the aforementioned call by Palestinian Queers for BDS.

ITB-Berlin has a code of corporate social responsibility, stating that it “sees itself as a link between research and science, between companies, markets and societies. It utilizes this key position in order to…engage in a dialogue with companies in their efforts to create economically, socially and ecologically responsible tourism products and services…The members of the ITB Team admit their overall social responsibility…

ITB-Berlin may be contacted here:

Contact: Astrid Ehring
Press Officer
Telefon: +49 (0)30 3038 2275
Fax: +49 (0)30 3038 2141
E-Mail:
ehring@messe-berlin.de This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Teodora Vasileva
Press Assistent

Telefon: +49 (0)30 3038 2266
Fax: +49 (0)30 3038 2141
E-Mail:
vasileva@messe-berlin.de This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The AIC calls for the organization of demonstrations and other events to counter Israel’s pinkwashing at ITB-Berlin, which falls during Israeli Apartheid Week. The AIC will be pleased to receive information and photos of actions.

Written FOR

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

In another attempt to hide its ugly image, the Ministry of Tourism is going ahead by hosting a group of Chilean miners. Again, despite attempts to get these brave people to change their mind about coming to Israel, they will be arriving here tomorrow…..


Chilean miners to visit Israel Wednesday

Tourism Ministry plans extensive tour for miners, hoping they will help improve Israel’s image

Thirty-one of the 33 miners who were trapped for 68 days underground in Chile are due to arrive in Israel Wednesday for a week-long tour. “It won’t be a circus,” the Tourism Ministry vowed ahead of the long-awaited visit.

The ministry wants to use the heroes’ visit to improve Israel’s image in the world. The miners will be traveling with their wives, the local governor, and senior Chilean journalists.

Rescued after 68 days (Photo: AP)

Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov will welcome the miners at the airport, from where they will travel to Jerusalem for an afternoon press conference. Hosts say the tour will be of a spiritual character, allowing the miners to “give thanks” for their heroic rescue.

In Jerusalem, the party is set to visit the Old City, the Western Wall, the Knesset, Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, and a number of churches. On Saturday they plan to tour Bethlehem, and then to get a taste of the Jerusalem nightlife.
Then, on Sunday, the miners plan to visit Masada and the Dead Sea after a special ceremony at the Presidential Residence. Throughout the visit they will also get to see Nazareth, Megiddo, the Golan Heights, Tiberias, and the Kinneret. A goodbye ceremony will be held in Tel Aviv.

The Palestinian Authority was outraged that the miners would not visit its territories as well, and the Palestinian foreign ministry said it would appeal to its Chilean counterpart to organize a tour of the West Bank.

Source

TRYING TO JUSTIFY A BAD DECISION

Had Ian McEwan heeded those that urged him not to attend the opening of Jerusalem’s International Book Fair, and refused to accept the prize, his statement would have been much louder and more meaningful than the words he uttered.

Ian McEwan accepting the Jerusalem Prize in the capital on Feb. 20, 2011.

Photo by: Tomer Appelbaum

Accepting Jerusalem Prize, McEwan slams Israeli policies

At opening of International Book Fair, British author criticizes ‘confiscation, land purchases and expulsion.’

British novelist Ian McEwan, this year’s recipient of the prestigious Jerusalem Prize, used the opening of the the 25th Jerusalem International Book Fair last night to sharply criticize Israel’s policies of “confiscation, land purchases, and expulsion in East Jerusalem,” and a national policy that grants a “right of return to Jews but not to Arabs.”

Speaking at the capital’s Binyanei Ha’uma convention center, and in the presence of President Shimon Peres, Culture Minister Limor Livnat and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, McEwan delivered an acceptance speech that was greeted with polite but tense silence.

At the same time, the 62-year-old McEwan, whose 11 novels include “Atonement” and “Amsterdam,” said he felt “somewhat overwhelmed” to have been judged worthy of the Jerusalem Prize, which is awarded every two years to a writer whose work deals with the “freedom of the individual in society” – as long as he or she agrees to travel to Israel to pick it up.

“I couldn’t escape the politics of my decision,” said McEwan, referring to the pressure brought to bear on him since the prize was announced a month ago, to bow to the international boycott campaign against Israel. He added that he had come in order “to learn and to engage.” McEwan noted his amazement at how “the matzav” – using the Hebrew word for “the situation” – seems to be “always pressing in” here, declaring that “when politics enters every last corner of existence, something has gone profoundly wrong.”

The fair, which has taken place every two years since 1963, offers a forum for publishers and writers both from around the world and Israel. This year, some 600 publishers from 30 countries are represented in Jerusalem, including, for the first time, a delegation from Angola, it was announced at the opening ceremony.

The fair will be open to the public starting today and continues through Friday morning; admission is free. Aside from the hundreds of stands belonging to publishers and retailers that fill the convention center – which visitors can stroll past and get lost among – there will also be a number of special events featuring guests, including a variety of conversations between Israeli and foreign writers at the Literary Cafe (McEwan, for example, will be talking with Israeli novelist Meir Shalev this evening at 8 P.M. ). There will also be a program for visiting editors from 16 different countries, including China and South Korea.

Peres, Livnat and Barkat also addressed the invited audience at the opening ceremony, with the mayor acknowledging that Jerusalem “has conflict, big-time.” He boasted of the city’s “pluralism” and “openness,” and of his conviction that the “renaissance of arts” taking place in the capital is acting to “mediate tensions.”

Minister Livnat announced the establishment of a new NIS 500,000 fund to finance the translation of 10 or more works of Hebrew literature each year into English and other languages. She also expressed support for a proposed law that aims to guarantee the ability of “writers, artists and publishers to live in dignity,” by limiting the extent to which new titles can be discounted during the first years after their publication.

Source

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