ANTI APARTHEID IN THE SHADOWS OF 9/11

Commentary by Chippy Dee, Photos © by Bud Korotzer 
*
View from the meeting hall at NYU … The building with red lights is the new WTC Building under construction.
*
*
The evening of February 27th, on the occasion of the 8th Israeli Apartheid Week, NYU Students for Justice in Palestine hosted a meeting on the subject of Apartheid in Israel/Palestine: Legality and Morality.  The 2 extremely  knowledgeable and dynamic speakers were Noura Erakat, a Palestinian attorney and activist who is currently teaching international human rights law in the Middle East at Georgetown University and Omar Barghouti, an independent Palestinian commentator and human rights activist.  He is a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and the Palestinian Civil Society Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Campaign against Israel.  The large room was filled to capacity and the overflow crowd had to wait outside.

*

Erakat began by defining apartheid and then, using a flow chart, went on to show the many Israeli laws (Israel has no constitution) that that have created that policy.  For example, citizenship, 2 categories, one, the more privileged, reserved for Jews only. There are very many other laws that impact quite differently on many aspects of the lives of Jews and non-Jews.  In ways, according to both Nelson Mandela and Bishop Tutu, the apartheid practiced in Israel is much harsher than what existed in South Africa.

* 

Barghouti spoke next and with the aid of a series of photos and graphics he discussed the anti-apartheid movement pointing out that with current communication technology the movement has taken about 6 years to accomplish what took 30 years for the South Africans to achieve.  He said that BDS is not a movement, it is a tactic, and that the anti-apartheid movement takes no position on the question of a one state or a two state solution. He made many references to Martin Luther King pointing out that his position, as well as the position of people fighting apartheid in South Africa was, “One man, one vote”. If equality did not destroy the U.S. A. or South Africa, why should we assume that real democracy will destroy Israel? He said  that many people say they support Palestinian rights but object to the right of return – this is a contradiction. Since about 68% of the Palestinian population are refugees one cannot deny them the right of return and say that one supports Palestinian rights.  One of his final points was that if people here are struggling for a more just world in general, that will impact positively on the lives of Palestinians because it is all part of the same struggle and no individual struggle exists in isolation.

* 

The meeting concluded with a Q & A period.  Some questions were somewhat hostile but they were responded to respectfully with an unshakable emphasis on human rights. Both speakers repeatedly emphasized that every refugee from anywhere should have a right of return, and that gays, women, and all racial and ethnic minorities should have full human rights.

*

The slide show…

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

The Q&A Period …

*

*

*

*

 

 

ZIONISM IS NOT RACISM! OPPOSING IT IS!!

 That is the twisted ‘logic’ of the zionists themselves…. NOT MINE.
*
They say …
*
We say …
*
‘Harvard promoting anti-Semitic event’

Ivy League school to host pro-Palestinian ‘One State Conference’ next week amid growing protest by pro-Israel students, alumni who claim event promotes racism, negates Israel’s right to exist

*Read about the Panic in the Ivory Tower HERE

*

*What the ‘critics’ had to say ….
*
From our very own ‘Psycho Gal’….
Now, writes Glick, ”anti-Zionism” has replaced anti-Semitism among the fashionable, and the “embrace of the cause of Israel’s destruction by so many celebrity professors today is part and parcel of the destruction of the U.S. higher education system.” But Glick gives the most compelling rationale for the existence of Israel when she tells how she read about the one-state conference “as I was feeding my newborn son. I looked out the window at Jerusalem and all I could feel was thankful to be living in the independent, free Jewish state of Israel. I am thankful that these pseudo intellectuals no longer can determine the future of my people, as they could in the 1930s.”
*
From the desk of Abe Foxman….

“This conference goes beyond academic discourse about the conflict by promoting the elimination of the Jewish state,” Foxman said in his letter to Faust. “Although the conference organizers state that one of their goals for the conference is to ‘help to expand the range of academic debate on this issue,’ there can never be any legitimate discussion of a concept which, by its very nature, will result in the end of the Jewish character of Israel.”

ADL said in a news release issued Feb. 24 that Faust and Dean David Ellwood of the Kennedy School of Government in a phone call with Foxman acknowledged ADL’s concerns and said Harvard did not accept any policy that would lead to the elimination of the Jewish State of Israel. Following the telephone call, Ellwood issued a statement regarding the conference which said, in part, “We would never take a position on specific policy solutions to achieving peace in this region, and certainly would not endorse any policy that some argue could lead to the elimination of the Jewish State of Israel.”

Foxman said that “Ellwood’s statement reflects Harvard University’s effort to protect the cherished right of academic freedom and act responsibly by publicly rejecting odious ideas.”*

And of course, no condemnation would be complete without Dershowitz’s two cents…

Alan Dershowitz also targets the conference, with another bogus analogy, suggesting that anyone who calls for one state is denying Jewish peoplehood. There’s not really a connection:

What would Harvard do if a group of right wing students and faculty decided to convene a conference on the topic, “Are the Palestinians Really a People?” and invited as speakers only hard right academics who answered that question in the negative?…

They will claim that the “one-state solution” is a serious academic subject, whereas the question “are the Palestinians really a people?” is not. This is a pure rationalization. The question regarding the Palestinians was raised by a candidate for President of the United States and has been the subject of debate and controversy in the media and in academic writings. Both subjects are essentially political in nature and both have similarly phony academic veneers.

*
The Programme of the Conference can be seen HERE
*


*

RIP VAN ABBAS FINALLY AWAKENS AFTER 45 YEARS

*
Legend has it that Rip Van Winkle slept for 20 years …. Reality has it that East Jerusalem has been occupied for almost 45 years … and Mahmoud Abbas just woke up to that fact?
*
Abbas said that through settlement building in the West Bank and Jerusalem, Israel is carrying out an “ethnic cleansing, in every sense against the Palestinian residents in order to turn them into minorities in their own city.”
*
Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
‘Mr. Settler’ Himself …
*
*
Abbas: Israel carrying out ‘ethnic cleansing’ in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Reuters) — President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel on Sunday of trying to erase any Arabic identity from Jerusalem, drawing a strong response from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Abbas, speaking at a conference in Qatar, said that for the past few years Israel has been waging a “final battle” aimed at erasing the Arab, Muslim and Christian character of East Jerusalem, which Israel captured from Jordan during the 1967 Middle East war.

Abbas said that through settlement building in the West Bank and Jerusalem, Israel is carrying out an “ethnic cleansing, in every sense against the Palestinian residents in order to turn them into minorities in their own city.”

Netanyahu called the Palestinian leader’s remarks “a harshly inflammatory speech from someone who claims that he is bent on peace.”

“(Abbas) knows full well that there is no foundation to his contemptible remarks,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.

Israeli human rights organization BT’Selem says that since 1967 “the government has been taking actions to increase the number of Jews, and reduce the number of Palestinians” living in Jerusalem.

“The government of Israel’s primary goal in Jerusalem has been to create a demographic and geographic situation that will thwart any future attempt to challenge Israeli sovereignty over the city,” the group says.

Netanyahu, who opposes dividing the city, said that Jerusalem has been the “eternal capital for the Jewish people” for thousands of years. He said that Israel will continue to maintain the city’s holy sites and freedom of worship for all.

Israeli forces clashed with Palestinians in Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Friday, exchanging a volley of tear gas and rocks. 

Source

ISRAEL’S BEST KEPT SECRET OUT IN THE OPEN

 Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
*
Many years ago, I participated for some months in an MIT/Harvard faculty seminar on nuclear containment. I learned that without a far more sophisticated technical background than I had, much of the conversation was beyond me. So I gave up any pretense or ambition to expertise. But I remained and remain a citizen, hence obliged to have at least a rudimentary understanding of America’s policies regarding deployment and use of nuclear weapons. In that, I have a distinct advantage over my friends in Israel, whose press cannot easily discuss these matters, whose public cannot debate them. My best guess: The proposal I have here outlined will have no echo whatever in the Israeli political establishment or in the Israeli press. If, by some fluke, it does, it will only be to dismiss it as naïve. And I am bound to confess: It may be naïve. But explaining why it is naive, and thereby delving into other options Israel has, are surely worthy goals.
*

What About Israel’s Atomic Weapons?

Despite 400 Warheads, Nuclear Program Remains in Shadows

What’s Good for Iran: As pressure builds for a strike on Iran, Leonard Fein asks some uncomfortable questions about Israel’s officially undeclared nuclear program.
GETTY IMAGES
What’s Good for Iran: As pressure builds for a strike on Iran, Leonard Fein asks some uncomfortable questions about Israel’s officially undeclared nuclear program.
*
Israel’s best kept secret is not of the “maybe yes, maybe no” variety. In fact it is a “yes” so definitive that it has 162 million Google entries. Honest. That’s what Google’s response is when you type in “Israel’s nuclear policy” — books, articles, essays, arguments, all blithely recognizing that Israel has nuclear arms. 

Yet technically, Israel has chosen a policy of “opacity” (amimut in Hebrew), neither affirming nor denying its nuclear capability. This policy dates back to a 1969 secret agreement between Prime Minister Golda Meir and President Richard Nixon, according to which, in order not to disrupt the United States drive to gain nonproliferation commitments from other countries, Israel committed to remain silent about its nuclear program, to avoid tests, and not to threaten other countries with attack. And so it has been ever since, as Israel has gone on to develop an estimated 400 warheads, including surface-to-surface missiles, submarine- launched ballistic missiles and bombs — and, according to some sources, thermonuclear devices and battlefield weapons such as neutron bombs and nuclear artillery shells.

Scholars and to a lesser degree policy-makers have argued the utility of the policy, and there appears to be a growing (yet still modest) disposition to abandon or at least substantially modify it. (See especially Avner Cohen’s The Worst Kept Secret: Israel’s Bargain With the Bomb, Columbia University Press, 2012.) Yet old habits die hard, and there is no question that Israel’s security establishment sees the policy of opacity as axiomatic.

Now: Imagine (or, if you insist, fantasize) that Israel offers to join the 189 countries that have signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (all the nuclear powers but Pakistan, India, North Korea and Israel), which means that it is fully prepared to grant the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) unrestricted access to its nuclear facility at Dimona. Bottom line: It is ready to abandon its doctrine of opacity — on one condition.

That condition: That Iran do the same.

There are, then, two and a half possibilities. The first, and least likely, is that Iran will agree. In that case, we have a win-win. There’d be an immediate end to the mystery of whether Iran is developing nuclear weapons, and it would, presuming Iran’s verified compliance, permit the re-entry of Iran into the international community. Israel might be somewhat embarrassed that the extent of its nuclear prowess has become public, but its embarrassment would fade as it would be praised for having significantly contributed to regional, even world, stability. Its unexpected initiative would be credited for having put to bed all talk of the need for a massive air assault on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

More likely, however, Iran will say “no,” or (here’s the half) will simply not respond. In that case, Israel will be seen as having acted in statesmanlike fashion while Iran’s status as an outlaw will be massively confirmed. This has the virtue, should the United States decide to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, of relieving Israel of immediate responsibility for the assault.

That must be counted a major achievement. Just now, Israel and most American Jewish organizations are loudly beating the drums of war. But if war — or, more precisely, a massive aerial assault — happens, forget Special Forces, Navy Seals and Top Gun. The assault will be extraordinarily complex (which is why Israel, as a number of its leading security and military officials have boldly stated, should refrain from initiating it). Success is far from guaranteed. All of us of a certain age have too often heard the golden promises of the generals only to discover that what’s been won is no more than pyrite — better known as fool’s gold.

Does this proposal in any way place Israel’s safety in jeopardy? It’s hard to argue that it does. Israel’s very substantial edge in conventional war remains entirely intact, as does its capacity, in extremis, to employ its “Samson Option.” It is, after all, not giving up the bomb; it is simply ending its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Many years ago, I participated for some months in an MIT/Harvard faculty seminar on nuclear containment. I learned that without a far more sophisticated technical background than I had, much of the conversation was beyond me. So I gave up any pretense or ambition to expertise. But I remained and remain a citizen, hence obliged to have at least a rudimentary understanding of America’s policies regarding deployment and use of nuclear weapons. In that, I have a distinct advantage over my friends in Israel, whose press cannot easily discuss these matters, whose public cannot debate them. My best guess: The proposal I have here outlined will have no echo whatever in the Israeli political establishment or in the Israeli press. If, by some fluke, it does, it will only be to dismiss it as naïve. And I am bound to confess: It may be naïve. But explaining why it is naive, and thereby delving into other options Israel has, are surely worthy goals.

Source


The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.

ZIONISTS PULL OUT THEIR ‘VICTIM CARD’ FOR ISRAELI APARTHEID WEEK

*
Israeli Apartheid Week is an annual international series of events held across the globe. The aim is to educate people about the nature of Israeli apartheid against the Palestinian people and to build the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement locally and globally.
*
BUT
*
The zionists have used the week to pull out their ‘victim card’ again, making it the same old, same old…..*

Jewish students should take Israeli Apartheid Week with a pinch of salt*

As the eighth annual Israeli Apartheid Week is gearing up at colleges around the world, anti-Semitism on campuses is, once again, a hot topic. Every Jewish campus organization throws their lot in with Israeli Apartheid Week, using it to highlight what they see as the victimhood of Jewish students. They are, however, missing the point.

That Israeli Apartheid week is hateful, ignorant and just plain stupid is beyond doubt. It’s a gross exaggeration of the flaws of Israel with no regard paid to the good, and it alienates many students, polarizing campuses and, sometimes, causing confrontation. But isn’t that what college is all about?

College is the birthplace of exaggerated emotions and extreme ideologies. Thankfully, it is also normally their graveyard. It’s the place where people go to learn that ideas exist, and it normally takes them nearly all of their time there to realize that most of those ideas are only any good if, like beer and whisky, they are taken in moderation. If not, then you just get drunk on them and do stupid things. Since getting drunk on beer and whisky and doing stupid things is pretty much the hallmark of most people’s college experiences (especially in the progressive, predominantly liberal-arts schools where Israeli Apartheid Week takes place) then why do we get so upset when they do the same thing with their ideas as they do with their Bud Light?*

The above garbage is taken from HaAretz (of all places). One would expect it to come from the Jerusalem Post or Arutz Sheva, but HaAretz seems to have joined the anti Palestinian ‘bandwagon’ as of late. The entire article can be read HERE.

*

TONIGHT ~~ TONIGHT 

*If you are in the New York area, it’s not too late to hear the truth about Israeli Apartheid and Apartheid Week….

*This year’s official poster by Carlos Latuff

*

Apartheid in Israel/Palestine: Legality and Morality with Omar Barghouti and Noura Erakat

Event Date: 
Monday, February 27, 2012 – 19:00

NYU Students for Justice in Palestine presents:
Apartheid in Israel/Palestine: Legality and Morality
with Omar Barghouti and Noura Erakat

When: Monday, February 27th – 7PM
Where: NYU Kimmel Center Room 914, 60 Washington Square South
Accessibility: Event is free and open to the public with photo ID. Wheelchair accessible.

Apartheid, in its simplest understanding, is characterized by institutionalized and systematic racial segregation. The Jewish-only colonies and roadways of the West Bank, the concrete walls engulfing the West Bank and Gaza, and the walls separating Arab ghettos from their Jewish neighbors in mixed Israeli cities, are just some of the disturbing realities of apartheid in Israel and Palestine today. People of conscience across the globe are declaring that it is high time for an end to Israel’s US-backed oppression of the Palestinian people. Join us for a discussion with Omar Barghouti and Noura Erakat examining the issue of Israeli apartheid in light of both international law and morality.

Noura Erakat is a Palestinian attorney and activist. She is currently an adjunct professor of international human rights law in the Middle East at Georgetown University and the Legal Advocacy Coordinator for the Badil Center for Palestinian Refugee and Residency Rights.

Omar Barghouti is an independent Palestinian commentator and human rights activist. He is a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and the Palestinian Civil Society Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.

THE AMERICAN SPRING OCCUPIED

Commentary by Chippy Dee, Photos © by Bud Korotzer
*
*
” I thought you were gone! I’m so glad you’re still here.”  Those words were heard over and over again as Occupy Wall Street made its apearance in New York’s Tomkins Square Park yesterday.  There was good food and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, both free, tables offering literature and conversation, and a series of teach-ins covering subjects like safe, clean food, the health care crisis in N.Y., and knowing your rights and what to do if you are stopped or arrested and questioned by the NYPD or the FBI.
*
Last year the world celebrated the Arab Spring.  This year the people in Tompkins Sq. Park are looking forward to celebrating an American Spring which will begin to bloom as the winter cold diminishes.
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*
*

HOW THE SOCIAL MEDIA BRINGS ATTENTION TO THE PALESTINIAN STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM

The online activism proved “the power of a different kind of media, one that uses corporate media’s silence to create a different kind of noise,” said Peter Hart, the activism director for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), a media watchdog group. Hart authored a piece for the FAIR blog that chastised the corporate media’s silence on this “Palestinian Gandhi.” “It was a real moment where people created a kind of media sensation online that I think you have to be encouraged by,” he said.
*

Social media ‘tidal wave’ helped turn world’s focus to Khader Adnan

CarlosLatuffAdnan
Carlos Latuff’s drawing of Khader Adnan (Via Gaza TV News)

By the time the Western press first noticed the hunger strike of Khader Adnan, the Palestinian baker whose struggle against Israel’s administrative detention policies captivated the world, the 33-year-old had endured 44 days without nourishment. A LexisNexis search shows that it took a week and a half after that first Agence France-Presse story for the Associated Press to publish on AdnanCNN soon followed.

But in the early days of Adnan’s protest, and as the Western press largely ignored the story, a new kind of media activism was making waves and bringing awareness to his struggle. Led by online activists, many of them Palestinian, a sustained campaign on Twitter to publicize Adnan’s stand against administrative detention turned up the pressure on Israel. Perhaps the biggest coup for the activists came when Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former Obama administration official, condemned Adnan’s detention without charge on Twitter.

The online activism proved “the power of a different kind of media, one that uses corporate media’s silence to create a different kind of noise,” said Peter Hart, the activism director for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), a media watchdog group. Hart authored a piece for the FAIR blog that chastised the corporate media’s silence on this “Palestinian Gandhi.” “It was a real moment where people created a kind of media sensation online that I think you have to be encouraged by,” he said.

As Adnan’s hunger strike continued into its 65th day, online activists managed to trend the hashtag #HungerStrikingfor65days at #1 worldwide for forty minutes. (For an explanation of Twitter trends, click here).

“Twitter has got millions of people to pay attention to Khader Adnan’s case online,”wrote Jalal Abukhater, a Jerusalem-based Palestinian blogger for the Electronic Intifada.

Abukhater authored a piece for Al Akhbar English that documented the “global protest” online in support of Adnan. Last Saturday, activists also trended #CoverKhader worldwide in a direct effort to shame mainstream media into covering Adnan. Activists also targeted Nicholas Kristof for his silence on Adnandespite a 2010 article opining for a “Palestinian Gandhi.”

According to statistics on the website Topsy, tens of thousands of people have mentioned Adnan’s name on Twitter over the past month, with many of the mentions coming well before the mainstream media covered the story.

The question of whether the online activism for Adnan played a direct role in convincing corporate media outlets to cover the story is a difficult one to answer definitively. Robert Mackey, the New York Times blogger who was the first NYTwriter to cover Adnan, said that he first heard about the story elsewhere, and not on Twitter. “I dislike the use of Twitter to press journalists to cover events, because I use the social network to find reports or commentary on the news from bloggers, journalists and eyewitnesses,” Mackey wrote in an email. “Organized efforts to make certain subjects more prominent seems to make Twitter less useful to me by changing the signal to noise ratio.”

But Jillian York, a writer and the director of International Freedom of Expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, has a different take on the connection between social media campaigns and mainstream media coverage. In general,“you have this discussion, debate on social media which then parlays itself into campaigning of some sort which then explodes into media coverage,” York said in a phone interview. “A lot of the discussion last year [during the Arab uprisings] was about people organizing around social media. I actually argue that the real value of social media is getting international coverage, international attention to your cause.”

But even if the online activism didn’t lead directly to mainstream media coverage, it did, at least, shine a light on the silence on Adnan’s hunger strike from corporate media. This silence largely held until the climax of Adnan’s case, which culminatedin a deal in which Adnan is to be released April 17 and not have his detention order renewed. Adnan has ended his hunger strike.

“The fact that these people didn’t write about it is an indictment of their previous supposed commitment to Palestinian nonviolence,” said FAIR’s Hart. “In a sense, their silence spoke more powerfully than one or two news articles. I think we learned something fundamental about the media, and we learned something fundamental about working around the media–deciding that if people tweet enough, and I know that sounds corny, but if you can do that and create kind of a tidal wave, maybe Tom Friedman is someone you don’t need.”

 

Written FOR

ROTTEN RACISM AND PUNKS AGAINST APARTHEID

Punks Against Apartheid follows a firm tradition of anti-racism within the punk movement. This encompasses punk rockers’ early embrace of reggae, the formation of Rock Against Racism and the Two Tone movement, the music of the Clash and Bad Brains, X-Ray Spex and MDC, Subhumans and The Specials.
*

Never mind Johnny Rotten, real punks boycott Israel

By Alexander Billet

Johnny Rotten’s racism does not represent the core vaules of punk rock.

(Ed Vill / Wikipedia Commons)

“If Elvis-fucking-Costello wants to pull out of a gig in Israel because he’s suddenly got this compassion for Palestinians then good on him. But I have absolutely one rule, right? Until I see an Arab country, a Muslim country, with a democracy, I won’t understand how anyone can have a problem with how they’re treated.”

These words weren’t spoken by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. They didn’t crawl from the bile of AIPACNewt Gingrich or some hardened, right-wing ideologue from the heart of the Israel’s illegal settlements. They came from the mouth of John Lydon, a.k.a. Johnny Rotten of The Sex Pistols.

Most devotees of punk rock stopped taking Lydon seriously well before he started shilling for Country Life butter. To be sure, any and all credibility he once had from his work with the Pistols, or, for that matter, later on with Public Image Ltd (PiL), flew out the window years ago.

It’s also true that the Pistols idiotically paraded around in swastikas during their early years. Still, even taken with that grain of salt, Lydon’s words are profoundly troubling. Like it or not, the former Rotten is considered a granddaddy of punk rock. It’s not far fetched to imagine someone reading his words and thinking his flagrant racism, his willful defense of an apartheid state, are somehow the punk norm. It’s for this reason that Punks Against Apartheid exists.

In the summer of 2011, Punks Against Apartheid came together as an ad hoc formation of BDS activists and punk fans (a formation that, in the interest of full-disclosure, includes this writer). The goal was initially modest: draft a letter and petition urging Jello Biafra, formerly of The Dead Kennedys, to cancel his gig in Tel Aviv with his band The Guantanamo School of Medicine.

The response was overwhelming: within four days, Punks Against Apartheid’s petition had more than 500 signatures (“Sign the petition: Tell Jello Biafra to cancel the gig in Tel Aviv,” 16 June 2011).

As pressure built and Biafra publicly reaffirmed his commitment to the show, he specifically called out Punks Against Apartheid. However, a few days after that, with the petition bearing more than a thousand signatories, Biafra canceled the gig (“Jello Biafra cancels Tel Aviv gig,” 29 June 2011).

Furthermore, many of those who had supported us were urging Punks Against Apartheid to continue as a formal network.

Now, Punks Against Apartheid has finally launched its official website:www.punksagainstapartheid.com. Of course, the group doesn’t exist in isolation. The global movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions is at a crucial international turning point. With the Arab revolutions and the anti-capitalist Occupy movement in close to 100 countries inspiring a new generation of rebel musicians, there may be no better time for Punks Against Apartheid to announce its formal presence.

“Racism Ain’t Punk”

Punks Against Apartheid follows a firm tradition of anti-racism within the punk movement. This encompasses punk rockers’ early embrace of reggae, the formation of Rock Against Racism and the Two Tone movement, the music of the Clash and Bad Brains, X-Ray Spex and MDC, Subhumans and The Specials.

There’s more than a little romance to the idea that all of this came out fully formed somehow. On the contrary, it had to be fought for both in the concert halls and on the streets. In both the US and the UK, open white supremacists vied for support within the punk movement during these early years. In a climate of economic crisis and harsh anti-immigrant scapegoating, the angry wail of punk was initially just as liable to trail into some dangerously dark territory. (Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?)

And just like today, there was an international dimension that was difficult to ignore. Punk groups like National Wake from Johannesburg, South Africa were shut down and prevented from playing just like Black Flag in Los Angeles — though in the former’s case it was usually due to it being an integrated band in an apartheid state. The pleas from Nazi boneheads like the UK’s National Front or the American National Socialist Party to “support white South Africa” obviously had the effect of dividing the global punk community rather than uniting it.

No surprise then that the anti-racist side also embraced the worldwide movement against South African apartheid. David Widgery, one of the founders of Rock Against Racism, recalled in his book Beating Time that South Africa was a key part of Rock Against Racism’s message. Its publication, Temporary Hoarding, featured pictures of the Soweto uprisings on its cover. The same issue made a case that, as Widgery put it “our little Hitlers had their big brothers in power in South Africa.” The Specials, with their infectious blend of ska and punk energy, were particularly moved to support the anti-apartheid movement — most famously and obviously in “Free Nelson Mandela.”

When Steven Van Zandt, a guitarist in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, formed Artists United Against Apartheid and declared “I ain’t gonna play Sun City,” Joey Ramone and The Dead Boys’ Stiv Bators were among those who recorded the single. Countless other punk acts heeded that same call and pointedly refused invitations to perform in South Africa — including The Dead Kennedys and Public Image Ltd.

The parallels between apartheid South Africa and modern-day Israel have been laid out again and again. Areas designated “off limits” to Arabs and Palestinians, systematic denial of basic rights. Forced removals, refugee camps and checkpoints. Random raids of homes and violent repression of anything smacking of resistance. Though it’s been almost twenty years since white rule was abolished in South Africa, its ancestor is alive and well in a similar colonial settler state.

Of course, punk rock hasn’t gone anywhere either. For every sugary corporate Green Day ripoff willing to cross the Palestinian people’s international picket line (I’m looking in your direction, Simple Plan), there are untold numbers of young folks forming their own bands, their own labels and own fanzines because they believe punk stands for something. It’s these people that Punks Against Apartheid seeks to reach.

And believe it or not, despite the stubbornly persistent notion that punk remains a white boy thing, many of these punks are those most under the gun of American racism, a racism that has become more pronounced since 11 September 2001.

“Being a punk and being a Muslim-American to me go hand in hand,” says activist and writer Tanzila Ahmed. “They are both about standing up to the man. They are about believing what you believe with your whole gut and soul … It’s about being marginalized and fighting to reclaim your voice.”

Ahmed, or “Taz,” as she is known, is one of many participants in the burgeoning Taqwacore scene: Muslim punks. It’s a sub-culture that is currently taking its rightful place next to riot grrl and Afro-punk in the ever expanding horizons of a diverse punk scene.

In an interview with The Electronic Intifada, Taz also insisted that her identity as a Muslim punk is a big reason she supports BDS: “The US government is largely why Israel feels empowered to bully the way it has … It’s all about political power, and at this point of history hate speech against Muslims is the tactic and Muslim-Americans are the pawns. I absolutely believe that the lack of support for Palestine is the sacrifice politicians are making to stay in power and to win votes.”

Bigger than Jello

Thirty years ago it was open fascists emboldened by a political establishment who turned the other cheek. Now it’s white nationalists milling around the ranks of the Tea Party andthe “Stop Islamization” crowd. Back then they pointed at jobs and services “stolen” by black people and higher crime rates in the inner-city. Today they shriek about Arabs and Muslims conspiring to impose sharia law via downtown mosques.

Back then, both gutter racists and establishment politicians alike looked to South Africa as a bulwark against the invading brown hordes. Today, it’s Israel. Global empire doesn’t care about apartheid. On the contrary, without divide-and-conquer, it probably wouldn’t survive.

As always, the fight is international. Amplifying the shouts of those shoved to society’s margins doesn’t end at national borders. Perhaps that’s why the original Punks Against Apartheid petition included signatories from all over the world — London, Beirut, Chicago, Istanbul, Paris and beyond.

It’s also perhaps why a glimpse of those who have signed on to Punks Against Apartheid’s “points of unity” so far will reveal a diverse swathe: “Spirit of ‘77” originators The Angelic Upstarts, anarcho-punk architects Oi Polloi and the Oppressed, riot-folk singer Mark Gunnery, radical torch-bearers Propagandhi and more.

Of course, Punks Against Apartheid is tapping into something much bigger than any list or artists, bigger than Jello Biafra, John Lydon, or even “Elvis-fucking-Costello.” Punk rock’s legacy, twisted and contradictory though it may be, had to be fought for and can still mean something to a new generation. Ultimately, it’s about solidarity. If the world’s most marginalized are ever going to take back what’s theirs, then this is one value that has to remain at our very core. Time to show the world that punk is a lot more powerful than any divisions — real or imagined — ever could be.

Written FOR

18 YEARS SINCE THE HEBRON MASSACRE

*
The number 18 (Chai) also translates to life in Hebrew, yet today is the 18th anniversary of one of the worst massacres in Hebron. Am Falestine Chai!  (The people of Palestine live!) despite it all! We will never forgive nor forget the evil forces responsible for this…
*
The following is by far the best account of the massacre itself. It was originally posted four years ago…..

18 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 four years ago.

ZIONISM’S ATTEMPT TO TURN LIES INTO TRUTH

My response to the critics of BDS
*
 One example of the lies they spread….
*
The Boycott Movement, Israeli Anti-Apartheid Week in particular, seems to have certain sections of the zionist community literally chasing their tails to get attention these days …
Lets start with a report from HaAretz which appeared a week ago; its main claim was that although BDS activists have convinced many to cancel performances here, the movement has not been able to exert the economic pressure on Israel it wishes to achieve. I posted my own response to that ridiculous claim in THIS post.
*
Today a new report appears in HaAretz claiming that The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement is mounting its annual Israeli Apartheid Week. Yet this year, there is something different – people have begun telling the truth about BDS.
*
What is interesting is the main source they use as the ‘truth teller’….
The door was opened by author and lecturer Norman Finkelstein. Earlier this month, Finkelstein, one of Israel’s harshest critics, rocked the BDS movement with a critique devastating in its candor.
 

Finkelstein said he loathed the movement’s duplicity and disingenuousness in hiding the fact that a large part of its membership “wants to eliminate Israel.”
“I support the BDS,” Finkelstein said, but “it will never reach a broad public until and unless they’re explicit in their goal. And their goal has to include the recognition of Israel, or it’s a nonstarter.”

Instead, he said, the movement insists that it’s “agnostic” on whether or not Israel should exist. “No, you’re not agnostic! You don’t want it! Then just say it! But (BDS leaders) know full well, that if you say it, you don’t have a prayer of reaching a broad public … And frankly, you know what, you shouldn’t. You shouldn’t reach a broad public, because you’re dishonest.”

Though BDS constantly claims successes, “it’s a cult, where the guru says ‘We have all these victories’ and everyone nods their head,” Finkelstein said. “People promote it as if it’s proven itself and we’re on the … verge of a victory of some sort. It’s just sheer nonsense. It’s a cult. And I, personally, I’m tired of it.”*

In the case of Norman Finkelstein, there too I posted my response in THIS post. Finkelstein  ends his tirade with the words “I’m tired of it.” So are we! We are tired of the lone voices from the ‘Ivory Towers’ trying to dictate to the activists what is right and what is wrong. It’s not only Finkelsein that is guilty of this behaviour, Noam Chomsky, as well, has been playing at that game for years. In both cases, as ‘friends’ of the Pro Palestinian Movements. Friends do not act or speak like they do. We expect this from the Dershowitzes and others connected with the ADL, but when this nonsense comes from supposed friends, all it does is give amunition to the enemy as can be seen in the two HaAretz reports linked. Do read the second link and see for yourself the weakness of those who dare accuse BDS of dishonesty. Their only defence is dishonesty on their own part.*

Here you can see and hear the truth about the BDS Movement and what it is doing in Israel…
*

THE BIOLOGY OF PEACE

 [This book is an exploration of aggression, and of the evolutionary (and revolutionary) process to peace. Through the insights of men and women, from a wide range of backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives, Why Peace presents stories of wars, invasions, and political repressions—down to the most basic levels of authoritarianism…]**

Biology of Peace

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD*  

I grew up under Israeli occupation, a brutal military occupation accompanied by “colonization” (land theft). My family suffered, though not as much as other Palestinian families. It is hard to describe how much the occupation invades every aspect of one’s life here: from eating and drinking to education and from healthcare to travel, from economy to freedom of religion. The antithesis of all of this repression, violence, occupation, colonization and war is, of course, peace. I was thus captivated by peace as a concept, a dream, a hope. Sometimes I was thinking of peace in terms of a state of external calm and lack of disturbance. In other times, I thought peace was related to freedom from repression. Now, I think of peace as being an inner peace, that only comes from acting on what we believe and freeing our minds of the bondage acquired from external sources.

In the Buddhist traditions, we are asked to seek, to have “joyful participation in the sorrows of this world.” I was reminded of this when I was held on July 27, 2011, along with some Israeli and Palestinian activists, in the Israeli military compound at Atarot. This was after being attacked by Israeli soldiers for participation in a peaceful demonstration in the village of Al-Walaja. This beautiful village in the West Bank is slowly being depopulated of its last remaining citizens. Simple and beautiful slogans are hard to apply here, as a wall will encircle the remaining houses of the village, cutting the inhabitants off from their livelihood and forcing them to leave. How can we even begin to comprehend the sorrow that has engulfed the land of Canaan in the past few decades? The sorrows of the native inhabitants are so horrendous that it sometimes seems unreal. Of 11 million Palestinians in the world, 7 million are refugees or displaced people. The 5.5 million natives who remain inside the country (many displaced) are restricted now to shrinking concentration areas, amounting to only 8.3 percent of the historic land of Palestine.

According to the latest survey of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, some 26.2 percent of families live in poverty and 14.1 percent live in deep poverty, for a total of 40.3 percent living in poverty or deep poverty in the West Bank and Gaza. The situation in Gaza is worse than in the West Bank with 1.5 million people, most of them refugees squeezed in an arid part of Palestine, besieged, blockaded and denied even basic living necessities. This, the worst post-WWII horror inflicted on a people, indeed portends so much suffering. So how can we have personal peace, let alone joyful participation, when we suffer so much?

On a personal level, I have lost many colleagues and friends. Just in the last year alone, I have lost friends who practiced nonviolence and strove to peace: Juliano Mer Khamis, Vittorio Arrigoni, Bassem and his sister Jawaher Abu Rahma. I lost many other friends and relatives to illnesses that seem to be increasing in our population. Cancer and heart disease have claimed the lives of many of those: my two brothers-in-law and four dear friends and fellow activists. All such losses certainly make deep scars that reach to the soul. Even routine difficulties in life stir us and disturb us, leaving us a little further from peace. So how can we aspire to peace while our own souls are still far from peace? I believe our internal turmoil is mainly due to a lack of understanding of human nature and the trajectories of history.

To understand humans and what drives us, we have to understand our biology, especially our early development. I taught developmental biology and researched how things could go wrong in early development. We all start as a zygote, a single cell which is the result of the union of the sperm nucleus with the egg nucleus inside the cytoplasm of the egg. That primal cytoplasm is a soup containing codes for proteins that allow the early embryo to get its initial organizational structure, even before the code in the nucleus of the zygote starts to shape the future of the individual. In a sense then, we all depend far more on “stuff” we get from our mothers than stuff we get from our fathers. In developmental biology we know that axis formation (having three dimensions: anterior-posterior, dorsal-ventral, left and right) comes from the cytoplasm of the egg from our mothers. In essence, without that initial material we get from our mother, we would simply be a round blob. But the miracle of developmental biology is that the joining of 23 chromosomes from the sperm with 23 chromosomes from the egg make onenucleus. There are already endless genetic possibilities for those maternal and paternal chromosomes. This is because the process of producing sperm and eggs, called meiosis, not only reduces the chromosomes by half (from 46 to 23), but creates myriad opportunities for having very different sets of genetic variation, through recombination and chromosome segregation. That is why no two sperm and no two eggs are the same. That is why no two siblings are the same (except of course identical twins, which come from the same zygote).

The first cell divides to become 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64 cells. That early embryo implants itself on the uterine wall and the interdigitation of embryonic and maternal tissue forms a placenta. This remarkable structure is where nutrients are supplied to the embryo, and oxygen and CO2 are exchanged. Many embryos are lost along the way because they have genetic codes that affect these developmental processes. Some 15-20 percent of recognized pregnancies end-up spontaneously aborted (a natural selection process). Harmful mutations are the price that our species pays for possibilities of useful mutations. Mutations are the natural substances upon which natural selection operates. Useful mutations survive and travel to the next generation. That simple idea (developed and spread by Charles Darwin) revolutionized our understanding of biology and in turn has advanced a wide range of fields, from environmental research to medical studies.

The embryo developing in the uterus is, of course, subject to its environment. Both harmful and beneficial stimuli shape its very existence and future. That is why pregnant mothers are told to stay away from harmful materials (alcohol, tobacco and other drugs) and maintain a good diet. (Many Palestinian mothers delivered babies with blindness in the few years following the Nakba of 1948, because of vitamin E deficiencies in the refugee camps.) Some scientific studies also suggest a child’s brain development may be susceptible to nutritional food and toxin-free air and the absence of other harmful things. There are data that show that even music and the mother’s good mood influences the mental capacity and development of the child she is carrying. Needless to say, women in war zones do not produce the healthiest babies. This is why the impact of a military occupation is not just on the adults and children around but on future generations.

After birth, education from society may create tribalistic racist notions (e.g., Nazi Germany… or Israel today). Challenging these notions of superiority and striving for common good is possible, but it requires shedding some of the educational baggage that nationalistic and militaristic societies use to saturate young minds. At one level, this is more difficult today than in the past: Modern warfare is much bloodier than ancient warfare, but it is conducted from a distance.

Soldiers no longer come home to wash off the blood of their enemies from their clothes and swords. They come home with images of the tools that they have used to destroy enemies from a distance. The faces of their enemies are not familiar to them, only outlines in gun sights or on computer screens. The facial distortions and agonized screams of those killed do not reach the killers. Some of these killers like to pretend they do not imagine these things. They want to cling to the elements of their humanity.

They may go back home, and even help an old lady cross the street or pass a candy to a child. But deep in their psyches, these killers know that they have destroyed a human being just like them, with flesh and blood, with feelings, with people who loved him or her.

On the other hand, the development of the internet and of methods of social communication allow a closeness of the human family in new and incredibly positive ways that promote social transformation towards peace and human rights. From the organizing against the World Trade Organization and International Monetary Fund in Seattle, to Tunisia and Egypt, people are finding their voice. Here in Palestine, we have had a vibrant activist community for decades. Increasingly, Israeli and international activists join hands with native Palestinians in our struggle for peace with justice.

After 20 years of fruitless negotiations between colonizer and colonized, occupier and occupied, even Palestinian elites have come around to see the power of the people. Engaging in international diplomacy while doing popular resistance is seen as critical in increasing the pressure to arrive at a just resolution. If the Israeli government remains intransigent and continues to build colonial settlements on Palestinian lands, the only remaining option will become adopted by more and more people: a push for a single democratic state throughout historic Palestine. That outcome may already have been guaranteed by the relentless expansionist Zionist project. By making a two-state option impossible and forcing us into close contacts, we (Palestinians and Israelis) are developing joint strategies to work for peace, even as walls are erected on our land. What is remarkable is that humans of different backgrounds are coming to regard peace as personal, and to regard politicians as “behind the times.” All humans have behaviors that trace back to our ancestral primates. From sex to feeding to self-protection to ambition to control of space, we as a species are driven by these deep-rooted innate behaviors. To what extent we can control our behavior in a positive fashion determines our humanity. Governments endeavor to maintain the status quo of control over individuals and the manipulation of conflicts for their benefits. Yet, the achievements by individuals working together towards freedom, peace, and self-government are a testimony to the power that resides in us.

We learned from the civil rights movement in the US, from ending apartheid in South Africa, from the freedoms achieved in Eastern Europe, and from the Arab Spring. I believe the main reason this world functions (and the main reason we remain optimistic) is that good people are everywhere, endeavoring toward inner peace and extending it by deeds to achieve peace in our societies. This happens despite the push-back from governments who are happy with the status quo. Without this “people power,” we would have endless wars and endless repression and injustice. With it and with human cultural evolution speeding up, we indeed look forward to a day when no human life is lost in useless wars and conflicts, and all individuals are free from state aggression. It is up to us to work to accelerate the trend in history.

*Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh teaches biology and does research at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities in occupied Palestine. He previously served on the faculties of the University of Tennessee, Duke and Yale Universities. He is now president of the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People and serves on the board of Al-Rowwad Children Theater in Aida Refugee Camp. His main interest is media activism and public education. He has published over 200 letters to the editor and 200 op-ed pieces and been interviewed on TV and radio extensively (local, national and international). Mazin has published several books, including Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli/Palestinian Struggle and Popular Resistance in Palestine: A History of Hope and Empowerment.

*

*Re: Book displayed above,  My chapter in the Book “Why Peace”, edited by Mark Guttman, titled Biology of Peace is available here, http://www.why-peace.com/.

MY HUSBAND, THE WOULD-BE MARTYR

For me, the most difficult part of this ordeal has been the knowledge that at any time I could receive a phone call announcing that my husband is dead. But this is the price for our freedom. It is the indispensable sacrifice needed so that our children might enjoy a life of freedom and dignity.
*

My husband, Khadar Adnan, has shed a light on Israel’s disregard for human rights

Randa Musa

 

Maali Adnan holds a picture of her hunger-striking father, Khadar Adnan, a member of Islamic Jihad. Photograph: Mohammed Ballas/AP

Through his own suffering, Khadar has helped expose the plight of Palestinians held under ‘administrative detention’ by Israel

The name of my husband, Khadar Adnan, has now become known across the world. Four months ago he was unknown outside of our homeland, Palestine. His hunger strike of 66 days has transformed him into a global figure and a shining symbol of my people’s struggle.

Our life was turned upside down on 17 December 2011 when Israeli troops raided our home in Araba village, south of Jenin, in the occupied West Bank. It was about 3am when they broke down the doors and stormed into our house. The havoc they wreaked will always remain etched on the minds of our two daughters, Ma’ali, aged four, and Baysan, one-and-a-half years old. I would not be surprised if even our unborn baby will also be affected. Such was the trauma that accompanied the Israeli raid.

Khadar has been a student activist for many years. He is no shadowy figure but an outspoken local leader against the Israeli occupation. He is well known to both the Israeli occupation authorities and the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. Both have detained him for various periods without charge.

This constant harassment has stood between Khadar and the completion of his master’s degree in economics. Yet, we remain a normal couple, yearning for the much-needed stability and freedom to raise our children; to give them the happiness that is the entitlement of every child. With my own university degree, I have no doubt that as parents, we are well equipped to realise our ambitions. But life under Israel’s military occupation has turned our dream into a nightmare.

Not for the first time, Khadar has used hunger strike, his powerful form of peaceful protest, to great effect. When the Palestinian Authority forces detained him in 2010 he went on a hunger strike for 12 consecutive days, forcing the Ramallah authority to release him.

Likewise, he staged several hunger strikes in the occupation’s detention camps. The last of these was carried out in 2005, which lasted nine days in solitary confinement.

What drives my husband to pursue this dangerous and difficult form of resistance? I have no doubt it is the unjust nature of “administrative detention” and its notorious methods of torture and humiliation. From the moment he was bundled into their military vehicle in December, insults and veiled threats were thrown at him. They even tried to unhinge him psychologically by claiming I was unfaithful, a vicious calumny he dismissed with scorn.

I know my husband well; I love him, and will always remain faithful to him. He knows this and this is why he spurned the cheap talk of his tormentors.

Khadar was never motivated by personal hurt or inconvenience. He, like thousands of other young Palestinians, is determined to see an end to the occupation. He is driven by a higher logic: to expose to the world the plight of imprisoned Palestinians. Since 1967, more than 650,000 Palestinians have passed through Israeli jails – many of them in administrative detention – an average of one in four in the occupied territories.

Administrative detention is a nebulous and vindictive measure used by the occupation against our young men and women. It is one of the cruel legacies of the old British mandate in Palestine. Today, in the absence of any deterrent or condemnation from the international community, Israel uses it with increasing frequency against university students and lecturers, young professionals and even elected parliamentarians. Some 300 are being held. It is part of an immoral policy used to keep Palestinians in a state of perpetual poverty and underdevelopment.

When a military commander issues an order for administrative detention, no evidence is produced. No charges are brought against the victims, and the occupation has no obligation to give reasons for the detention. This is by no means a legal mechanism. It is simply an arbitrary draconian measure used to inflict psychological and physical harm on its victims. When they are fortunate enough to be brought before a judge, he can detain them for periods of six months that can be extended indefinitely. The prisoners problem is so prevalent today that Palestinians have had to create a special ministry for prisoners’ affairs.

I know my husband is not selfish. This is why I supported him every step of the way. As with any devoted wife, I am duty bound to help him bear the burden of our oppressed people. Our relatives and extended family have supported us with equal fortitude. Indeed, I would not be telling a lie if I say that all Palestinians across the whole political spectrum and millions of freedom-loving people in the world have also stood with us.The occupation has decided under pressure to free my husband in April, but hundreds more will continue to languish in putrid cells under the same illegal, inhuman scheme. Khadar has, however, delivered his message: that this long night of tyranny and inhumanity will come to an end.

We are well aware that the Israelis may try to renege on this week’s agreement – as they have done with the recent prisoner exchange deal – by re-arresting the freed prisoners. But for every occasion there will be a response, and I have no doubt my husband would not hesitate to resume his stoic struggle with even more strength and determination.

For me, the most difficult part of this ordeal has been the knowledge that at any time I could receive a phone call announcing that my husband is dead. But this is the price for our freedom. It is the indispensable sacrifice needed so that our children might enjoy a life of freedom and dignity.

To the free world, the millions who heard of Khadar and supported him by calling for his release, I extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation.

Source 

IGNORE THE BDS MOVEMENT AND IT WILL GO AWAY

HA!!
Wishfull thinking … but nothing connected to the reality of the situation.
*
*
The conclusion that the ministry and organizations such as ADL are beginning to come around to is that the best defense to the BDS campaign, is not an attack that will simply draw more attention, but disengagement and pro-Israel activities which are not seen as a direct response.
*
The reality is that the Movement is growing by leaps and bounds among students on every major campus in the united States.
*
The following was an opinion expresed at a recent conference at the University of Pennsylvania;
The movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel — long painted as a fringe group by the Israel advocacy community — is seeking to wrap itself in the mantle of the mainstream American left. At the movement’s first-ever national conference, presenters and attendees compared BDS to the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott, the Cesar Chavez grape boycott and the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, from which it draws inspiration.
*
So, despite what is written in the following report, the BDS is growing fast enough and big enough for the Israeli government to outlaw it.
*
Our answer ….. How to defeat the Boycott Law
CONTINUE TO BOYCOTT! That’s how!!
Show the Israeli government that you will not be dictated to by them…. read the following post from the archives to see how you can take part in this grand exercise of freedom….
*
The boycott Israel movement’s small victories are far from sweeping success

Although BDS activists have convinced many to cancel performances here, the movement has not been able to exert the economic pressure on Israel it wishes to achieve.

American jazz musician Cassandra Wilson who decided at the last minute to cancel her planned performance at the Holon Women’s Festival today joins a lengthening list of artists who have decided for political reasons to skip Israel in their concert tours. The BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions) movement can chalk up another victory but while the cancellations have dismayed Israelis who hoped to see their favorite musicians perform live, the BDS central aim, to exert economic pressure on Israel, has so far not been achieved.

The BDS movement has improved its organization over the last year, with a close-knit network of dozens of local groups, from around the world, radical left circles and pro-Palestinian movements like The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel based in Ramallah, coordinating protests over the internet and social networks. Last month, a BDS “handbook” was published, titled “Targeting Israeli Apartheid,” which tracks international corporations trading with Israel and recommending ways that activists can pressure them to cease their Israeli operations. But while the movement has managed to mobilize thousands of supporters around the world to send online entreaties that convince performers, many of whom see themselves as human-rights activists, to avoid Israel, the corporations and some of the more famous performers who are less exposed to Facebook campaigns, have been impervious. Despite the support of some prominent figures such as Bishop Desmond Tutu, the movement has not succeeded in affecting governments to limit their countries’ commerce with Israel either.

The BDS strategy of targeting Israel as a whole, rather than just the settlements across the Green Line, has made it a divisive issue also within the normally pro-Palestinian left. The official demands of the movement refer to end to “colonization of all Arab lands” without distinction, “full equality” for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel and the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees. Even the Palestinian Authority does not officially support BDS, focusing instead on the settlements.

In recent days, the movement is in uproar over a video interview with Professor Norman Finkelstein, a severe critic of Israeli policies, who seemed to be breaking with the BDS strategy, if not with its ideals. In the interview, Finkelstein described the movement’s rhetoric as disingenuousness, saying that “they don’t want Israel. They think they’re being very clever, they call it their three tiers – we want the end of the occupation, we want the right of return and we want equal rights for Arabs in Israel. And they think they’re very clever because they know the result of implementing all three is what? What’s the result? You know and I know, what’s the result? There’s no Israel.” Finkelstein said that he had no problem in principle with that position, but that it would never succeed in convincing large numbers. “If you want to eliminate Israel that’s your right but I don’t think you’re going to reach anybody. I think it’s a non-starter.”

Finkelstein said that to gain credibility, the BDS movement has to recognize Israel’s right to exist, but said that many of the activists wanted to “wipe out Israel” and such a move would split the movement, which he likened to “a cult.”
Following the interview, 
angry debates broke out on the dozens of websites devoted to BDS, with some admitting openly that they believed the movement’s principles were incompatible with the existence of Israel and others writing that they would accept “a different Israel.” The interviewer, a BDS supporter, initially posted the video on YouTube, but subsequently removed it on Finkelstein’s request. It was reposted and has since been circulated on pro-Israel websites.

Finkelstein and his interlocutors probably were not aware, but a similar debate on the efficacy of the BDS campaign has been going on for some time within the Israeli Foreign Ministry and pro-Israel advocacy groups. Israel Apartheid Week (IAW), a series of events around the world, mainly on university campuses, trying to draw attention to Israel’s “apartheid” policies and promote the cause of BDS kicks off next week and while in the past, Israel’s defenders have tried to counter these efforts, even coming up with Israel Peace Week as an antidote to Apartheid Week, there is a growing feeling that BDS and IAW events attract few who are not already committed hardcore activists, fail to interest large mainstream news organizations and their high-profile web-presence does not reflect a widespread grassroots movement. The conclusion that the ministry and organizations such as ADL are beginning to come around to is that the best defense to the BDS campaign, is not an attack that will simply draw more attention, but disengagement and pro-Israel activities which are not seen as a direct response.

Source of Report

HUNGER STRIKE ENDS BUT STILL STARVING FOR FREEDOM

 Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
Khader Adnan: No food without freedom
*
The Supreme Court of Israel ruled yesterday to release Khader Adnan from prison on the 17th of April without charge. As a result Khader agreed to end his 66 day old hunger strike, the longest ever by a Palestinian prisoner.
*
Support demonstrations were held throughout the world the past few weeks, including THIS one which I posted about yesterday. (BTW, the man holding the sign in the first photo is Udi Aloni who is no stranger to Jenin, Khader’s hometown).
*
Yesterday, what was termed a ‘release victory’ by Khader’s wife Randa, celebrations took place in Jenin. AlJazeera’s team was there to capture the moment. A report follows the video;
*
*
Palestinian detainee ends hunger strike
Israel agrees to free Khader Adnan on April 17 as part of a deal to end his 66-day fast over his illegal detention.

A Palestinian detained by Israel, Khader Adnan, has agreed to end his 66-day hunger strike as part of a deal under which he will be released without charge, sources tell Al Jazeera.

Al Jazeera’s Nisreen El-Shamayleh, reporting from Adnan’s hometown of Jenin in the occupied West Bank, quoted officials as saying on Tuesday that “Adnan has informed his lawyers that he has suspended his hunger strike and agreed to the offer to serve his sentence until April 17″.

A spokesperson for the Israeli Supreme Court earlier told Al Jazeera that based on the deal reached between Adnan’s lawyers and the Israeli justice ministry, he would end his fast in return for the court’s decision to “erase” his file and release him on April 17, ending his “administrative detention”.

Israel’s supreme court had been expected to hear an urgent appeal by Adnan’s lawyer later on Tuesday, but the hearing was cancelled after news of the deal became public.

“This man had no charges until now, no interrogation came up with any conclusions, no evidence against him. This is the truth, this is the reality,” Jawad Bulus, one of Adnan’s lawyers, told Al Jazeera.

“After three weeks of severe interrogation they shifted him as administrative detainee, where no charges could be faced. The only phrase that came out of them is that this man is a prominent activist in the Islamic Jihad of Palestine, which can be said against anybody in the world.”

Potent symbol

Adnan has become a potent symbol of protest against Israel’s practice of holding suspects without trial.

The continued detention of the 33-year-old Palestinian from the occupied West Bank had led to global anger, with protesters clashing with police on Tuesday in the latest such incident in the occupied West Bank. 

Israel arrested Adnan, a baker by profession, on December 17 near the northern West Bank town of Jenin.

Israel accuses him of being a spokesman for the Palestinian group, Islamic Jihad.

Adnan’s protest has seen him break the record for the longest hunger strike by a Palestinian prisoner, with the previous record set in 1976 when a group of prisoners refused food for 45 days.

Married for seven years, Adnan has two small daughters, Maali, four and 18-month-old Bissan. His wife, Randa, is five months pregnant with a baby boy.

Speaking to the AFP news agency on Monday, his wife described him as a determined man with very strong principles who would “stick to his message, even if he has to sacrifice his life”.

“For him, a principle is a principle,” she said.

Adnan is one of some 5,000 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails, and one of more than 300 currently being held in administrative detention.

His case sparked expressions of concern from the EU and the UN, and has gained widespread support among Palestinians.

 

Source of report

ISRAEL HATEFEST WEEK BEGINS TODAY

 Israel has launched a week long ‘celebration of hate’ to glorify their Apartheid system…
*
Our answer to them…
*
When someone calls your support for Palestinians as “hate speech”, show them this video…
*
*
The reality… Call it as it is …
*
*
Calling the Israeli regime as one of apartheid is not rhetoric, nor is it an exaggeration or a propaganda tool. This is the reality in modern day Palestine, where the Israeli regime is based on discrimination, through laws, practices, education and most aspects of life. This apartheid regime is not only imposed on the people in Palestine, but also on millions of Palestinian refugees denied their right to return home because they are of the wrong religion.

As awareness across the world continues to increase regarding the Israeli Apartheid regime in Palestine, each effort in this aspect would help accelerate the conclusion of this shameful page in history. And as this awareness rises, campaigns to boycott, divest and sanction this regime provide a very effective and natural response. The world witnessed a similar response transpire and bear fruit in the case of South Africa, and there are very good reasons to believe that it will do the same in the case of Palestine.

*
BUT
*
Israel is sending 100 ‘envoys’ to various foreign campuses to defend Apartheid, accordiing to the Jerusalem Post
*
It was announced that the Israeli Ministry of Public Diplomacy would dispatch “envoys” around the world in an attempt to undermine the upcoming plans for Israeli Apartheid Week (starting  yesterday, 20 February, in some places).

According to the Jerusalem Post,report the participants of the Israeli “mission” have all “undergone several weeks of training in the Public Diplomacy Ministry” and will include settlers and “experts in national security”. (See below for the original Jerusalem Post article.)

The Israeli Minister of Public Diplomacy, Yuli Edelstein, said that “the answer” to initiatives such as Israeli Apartheid Week and delegitimization is “not just to give facts and data, but to bring Israel to them.” Edelstein further accused those organizing Israeli Apartheid Week of hatred and having the “disease” of ignorance.

*
Envoys to fight Israel Apartheid Week on campus
Public Diplomacy Ministry to send Israelis from different sectors in society abroad to represent and defend the state.


Envoys to to fight Israel Apartheid Week
By Courtesy/Yuli Edelstein office
*
The Public Diplomacy Ministry plans to send 100 Israelis from different sectors in society abroad to represent and defend the state during Israel Apartheid Week.

The “Faces of Israel” mission, which leaves next weekend, includes settlers, Arabs, artists, experts in national security, gay people, and immigrants from Ethiopia. Actor Aki Avni will also join the group.

The participants in the project have undergone several weeks of training in the Public Diplomacy Ministry, and will visit dozens of college campuses to battle the “apartheid” label in New York, Boston, Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Toronto, Montreal, Dublin, London, Madrid, Johannesburg and Cape Town.

The mission will be split into 20 groups that will participate in conferences and panels, as well as speak directly to college students.

“Most of those who hate Israel have the same disease: ignorance,” Public Diplomacy Minister Yuli Edelstein said. “We are sure that the answer to the attempts to de-legitimize Israel is not just to give facts and data, but to bring Israel to them.”

According to Edelstein, the groups plan to explain to students that they are all Israelis who come from different walks of life, yet choose to remain in Israel. The mission’s participants were chosen to show that Israel has a diverse society that values equality and human rights, he explained.

The minister said he hopes that students abroad who are meeting real Israelis for the first time will stop the “messages of incitement and hatred that, at the end of the day, could reach students that are the leaders of tomorrow.”

NEW YORKERS IN SOLIDARITY WITH PALESTINIAN HUNGER STRIKER

UPDATE
*

Palestinian prisoner ends 66-day hunger strike after Israel guarantees his release

Israel’s state prosecution reaches deal with Islamic Jihad operative Khader Adnan, who is due to be released in April.

Full report HERE
*
*
Update report….
*

Israel’s Supreme Court moves up hearing of Palestinian prisoner on months-long hunger strike

The Supreme Court has brought forward a hearing this week on the appeal of a Palestinian prisoner waging an unprecedented two-month hunger strike, court officials and his lawyers said Monday.

A statement from the Supreme Court said Khader Adnan’s appeal will be held Tuesday. No explanation was given as to why it had been brought forward. It was scheduled to take place on Thursday. Full Report HERE

*

Also see all of THESE related posts…

*

 Photos © by Bud Korotzer

*

In front of the Israeli Consulate….

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Despite recent differences and criticisms of same, Norman Finkelstein was there and was welcomed by all….

*

DON’T IRAQ IRAN

The US has between 2,000 and 8,000 and has
already used them twice in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki genocides.. 
Russia has between 2,000 and 11,000, the UK between 100 and 200, Israel between 75 and 400, France around 300, China around 200, India
around 100, Pakistan around 100 and North Korea supposedly less than 
10. And we’re worried about Iran getting one?

*
*
Iran is the new Iraq
By Joey Ayoub
The war drums are beating again.

Yesterday, The Telegraph ‘reported’ that Iran is “strenghtening ties with al-Qaeda”, according to “intelligence chiefs”  in yet another among hundreds of ‘reports’ of sudden discoveries of Iran’s secret ambitions. This is all too familiar for us Arabs. 10 years ago, Brian Whitaker wrote in The Guardian that “One of the oldest tricks in the run-up to a war is to spread terrifying stories of things that the enemy may be about to do. Government officials plant these tales, journalists water them and the public, for the most part, swallow them.”  This was, as we all know now, the method used to justify the murder of Iraqi civilians and the destruction of their nation by the Bush and Obama administrations. It was a pack of lies – weapons of Mass Destruction, ties with Al Qaeda etc. –  destined to rape Iraq, steal its wealth and keep it under control, regardless of “civilian casualties” – in fact, General Tommy Franks, who directed the Iraq invasion, famously said that “we don’t do body counts”. The estimate of murdered individuals range between 100, 000 and 1, 000, 000, with American deaths being precise while Iraqi ones, being less important, just approximations. Despite all of us knowing that now, we claim to put that behind us as if those that have suffered from this horrendous crime have been repaid, as if their shattered homes and annihilated families have been restored to normal. Nothing of that sort has been made. Instead, the US has built the largest embassy in the world at 440,000 meters square and employs 15, 000 persons, which clearly shows that they still claim to have a right to occupy Iraq. The countless Fallujas may never be formally acknowledged since the US holds the right to commit murder as being self-evident – historically, a common claim of all empires.

This is what’s happening today. Far from denying Ahmadinejad’s idiocy, we should all recognize the fact that there are special interests behind the ‘facts’ that we are given on a daily basis.

The Sunday Herald had reported in 2010 that “Hundreds of powerful US “bunker-buster” bombs are being shipped from California to the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean in preparation for a possible attack on Iran.”  Note: Britain expelled the citizens of Diego Garcia in 1966 so that the US could build the massive base it uses for attacks in the Central Command area. Democracy Now recently reported that “publicly, the British portrayed the establishment of the marine park as a move to save the environment. But a U.S. diplomatic cable dated May 2009, disclosed by WikiLeaks, revealed that a British Foreign Office official had privately told the Americans that the decision to set up a marine protected area would “effectively end the islanders’ resettlement claims.”


The American scholar and Middle East specialist Juan Cole also revealed on hisblog that “the United States, which professes itself menaced by Iran, rather has Iran encircled by military bases”. “They are gearing up totally for the destruction of Iran,” says Dan Plesch, director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at the University of London. “US bombers and long range missiles are ready today to destroy 10,000 targets in Iran in a few hours,” he said. “The firepower of US forces has quadrupled since 2003,” accelerating under Obama.  “It is depressingly similar to the rhetoric we heard prior to the war in Iraq in 2003”, said Alan Mackinnon, chair of the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.  The US has since encircled Iran with military bases – Remember that the US has bases in Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Turkey and Oman, all surrounding Iran.

Surely, one cannot argue against Iran’s claim to anything Nuclear while defending the right of other nations to possess them? When Netanyahu talks of the “Iranian Threat”, the mainstream media conveniently forgets to mention that Israel already possesses illegal weapons of mass destruction. What gives him the right to even talk about Iran in the first place? and under which right would anyone claim to a nuclear weapon? The US has between 2,000 and 8,000 and has already used them twice in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki genocides. Russia has between 2,000 and 11,000, the UK between 100 and 200, Israel between 75 and 400, France around 300, China around 200, India around 100, Pakistan around 100 and North Korea supposedly less than 10. And we’re worried about Iran getting one? The only argument one can make is for all countries to disable their nuclear weapons.

Iran’s Nuclear Program started in the 1950s as part of the Atoms for Peace program and was assisted by the US and Western European Governments until the 1979 Iranian Revolution that toppled the last Iranian Monarch or Shah – an unacceptable act of independance from imperial control which Iran is still paying for today. In 1975 the New York Times praised Iran for its “alternative energy source, nuclear power”, calling it “mindful that even her 60-billion-barrel reserve of oil will some day run out”. The Shah had at the time insisted that the “purchases are for peaceful purposes”  but no one would believe Iranian leaders saying the exact same thing today, for obvious reasons: Iran is no longer in complete economic cooperations with the US which is, of course, unacceptable.

The mainstream media’s histeria around Iran’s nuclear program couldn’t really  be about the potential Nuclear weapon itself since Iran would only be the 5th Nuclear Weapon State not recognized by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, after Israel, North Korea, India and Pakistan.  Israel is the only one in the world that hasn’t officially declared having them. It took former Israeli nuclear scientist Mordechai Vanunu’s courage to reveal the details of Israel’s nuclear program to the public in 1986, an act which has lead him to be kidnapped by Mossad agents in Italy on the 30th of September 1986. He has since spent 18 years in prison, 11 of which in solitary confinement, and is banned from leaving Israel. All sentences are clear and criminal violations of international human rights, designed to keep silent all those who reject the rule of brute force. But they don’t cause any outrage because those who criticize Israel’s criminal policies are automatically attacked as Anti-semites. All of this does not qualify Israel as a “threat” to “stability”, because of the real meaning of the word stability. Israel’s daily abuse and murder of Palestinians living under occupations cannot be condemned by the US as Israel doesn’t pose a threat to US interests in the region. Same goes for Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, among others. Bahrain’s brutal crackdown on protesters during the largest Arab Spring uprising in the Gulf couldn’t have been done without Saudi intervention and, by extension, US support and silence. The two nations even went further and have accused Iran of inciting violence, a claim which was directly rejected by Mahmoud Cherif Bassiouni, the Egyptian international United Nations war crimes expert . Not suprisingly, Bahrain’s King, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, never received a condemnation as did his Lybian counterpart, Muammar Gadhaffi. This should lead us to think that anything that doesn’t pose a threat to US interest in the region, and indeed in the world, would never be reported or given significant importance by the mainstream media unless an equally significant amount of protest is raised. It shouldn’t be much of a surprise if the US and Israel really do attack Iran in the near future, which would of course lead to retaliations and a catastrophic war. All we have to decide is whether our human civilization can afford another catastrophe. For now, it seems like our answer is yes as we are mostly swallowing tales and having our consent manufactured.

As Noam Chomsky said in his own much more advanced article on the subject, “The Iranian Threat”: “Instead of taking practical steps towards reducing the truly dire threat of nuclear weapons proliferation, the US is taking major steps towards reinforcing US control of the vital Middle East oil-producing regions, by violence if other means do not suffice. That is understandable and even reasonable, under prevailing imperial doctrine, however grim the consequences, yet another illustration of “the savage injustice of the Europeans” that Adam Smith deplored in 1776, with the command center since shifted to their imperial settlement across the seas.”

The original article can be found HERE

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.

ANTI ISLAMIC RACIAL PROFILING BY NYPD EXPANDS TO ENTIRE NORTHEAST

 Photo © by Bud Korotzer
*
**
It started by using this video as part of the police training programme….
*
This is the video NYPD Chief Raymond Kelly routinely used as part of his department’s anti-terrorism training
*
*
It continues now throughout the entire Northeast…
*

NYPD monitored Muslim students all over Northeast

New York Police Department monitors Muslim college students at schools, student websites including Ivy League colleges of Yale and the University of Pennsylvania

*

Though the NYPD says it follows the same rules as the FBI, some of the NYPD’s activities go beyond what the FBI is allowed to do.

Kelly and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg repeatedly have said that the police only follow legitimate leads about suspected criminal activity.

*

Read the Associated Press Report HERE

*

Also see THIS post from the archives

NEW YORK TIMES SHINES A LIGHT ON MILITARY JUSTICE IN OCCUPIED PALESTINE

*

Read this….Under the Israeli youth law, Islam’s treatment would be deemed illegal. Minors are generally allowed to have a parent or other relative present during interrogation, and there are strict rules about nighttime interrogations and other protections.

Most of these protections do not exist in the military system, though military appellate court Judges have stated that the spirit of the youth law should apply whenever possible to Palestinians.*

Now read this….Catapulted into the Israeli military justice system, an arm of Israel’s 44-year-old occupation of the West Bank, Islam became embroiled in a legal process as challenging and perplexing as the world in which he has grown up. The young man was interrogated and pressed to inform on his relatives, neighbors and friends.

*

Do you see the justice? The Times attempt to shine a light on it falls short…

Palestinian’s Trial Shines Light on Military Justice

Rina Castelnuovo for The New York Times

Islam Dar Ayyoub was taken from his home, then pressed to inform on his relatives, neighbors and friends. His brother Omar, in the picture above, is in prison.

By ISABEL KERSHNER
 NABI SALEH, West Bank — A year ago, Islam Dar Ayyoub was a sociable ninth grader and a good student, according to his father, Saleh, a Palestinian laborer in this small village near Ramallah.

Then, one night in January 2011, about 20 Israeli soldiers surrounded the dilapidated Dar Ayyoub home and pounded vigorously on the door. Islam, who was 14 at the time, said he thought they had come for his older brother. Instead, they had come for him. He was blindfolded, handcuffed and whisked away in a jeep.

From that moment, Islam’s childhood was over. Catapulted into the Israeli military justice system, an arm of Israel’s 44-year-old occupation of the West Bank, Islam became embroiled in a legal process as challenging and perplexing as the world in which he has grown up. The young man was interrogated and pressed to inform on his relatives, neighbors and friends.

The military justice system that overwhelmed Islam has come under increasing scrutiny for its often harsh, unforgiving methods. One Palestinian prisoner has been hospitalized because of a hunger strike in protest against being detained for months without trial. Human rights organizations have recently focused their criticism on the treatment of Palestinian minors, like Islam.

Now, as a grass-roots leader from Nabi Saleh stands trial, having been incriminated by Islam, troubling questions are being raised about these methods of the occupation.

It is the intimate nature of Islam’s predicament that makes this trial especially wrenching for the young man, his family and his community. Most of Nabi Saleh’s 500 residents belong to the same extended family. The leader on trial, Bassem Tamimi, 44, was Islam’s next-door neighbor. Islam was close friends with Mr. Tamimi’s son, Waed, a classmate. And Mr. Tamimi’s wife is a cousin of Islam’s mother.

“This case is legally flawed and morally tainted,” said Gaby Lasky, Islam’s Israeli lawyer. Islam is traumatized, she said, “not only because of what happened to him, but also what happened to others.”

After he was pulled from his home at night, Islam was taken to a nearby army base where, his lawyer said, he was left out in the cold for hours. In the morning, he was taken to the Israeli police for interrogation. Accused of throwing stones at Israeli soldiers inside the village, he was encouraged to identify other youths and the adult organizers of weekly protests here.

In a police videotape of Islam’s five-hour interrogation, the teenager is at times visibly exhausted. Alone and denied access to a lawyer for most of the period, he was partially cautioned three times about his rights but was never told directly that he had the right to remain silent.

Instead, the chief interrogator instructed him, “We want only the truth. You must tell everything that happened.”

The young man, who seemed eager to please his interrogators, described how village youths were organized into nine “brigades,” each assigned tasks like throwing stones, blocking roads and hurling unexploded tear-gas canisters back at the soldiers.

Soon, the arrests followed.

Mr. Tamimi was taken last March and is being held at the Ofer military prison. The charges against him include organizing unauthorized processions, solicitation to stone throwing and incitement to violence. Mr. Tamimi has proudly acknowledged that he organized what he called peaceful protests but denied ever having told anyone to throw stones.

Mr. Tamimi’s wife, Nariman, attended a recent court hearing with Waed.

Asked about Islam, her voice softened. “He is our neighbor,” she said. “The interrogation was very difficult. He was afraid. He is just a child.”

Another organizer that Islam identified for the authorities, Naji Tamimi, 49, spent a year in jail and is about to be released.

Islam also informed on Mu’tasim Khalil Tamimi, who was then 15, identifying him as a youth ringleader. Mu’tasim subsequently spent six months in jail; he, too, identified organizers of the protests.

Bassem Tamimi’s lawyer, Labib Habib, said that the testimony of the two minors formed “the essence of the case” against his client. The defense lawyers contend that the terms of the minors’ arrests and interrogations violated their rights, and that their testimony should be dismissed.

But an official in the office of Israel’s Military Advocate General, who was authorized to speak on the condition of anonymity, said the Nabi Saleh case was “a classic one of orchestrated riots that exploit children.”

The official denied that the case against Mr. Tamimi rested largely on Islam’s testimony, saying there were other witnesses.

Under the Israeli youth law, Islam’s treatment would be deemed illegal. Minors are generally allowed to have a parent or other relative present during interrogation, and there are strict rules about nighttime interrogations and other protections.

Most of these protections do not exist in the military system, though military appellate court judges have stated that the spirit of the youth law should apply whenever possible to Palestinians.

After Israel conquered the West Bank from Jordan in the 1967 war, it established military courts independent of the army command. They draw on Jordanian law, on the laws from the period of British rule and on a plethora of military orders issued over the past four decades.

The Israeli official said that the military was striving to close gaps between the two systems, but that the Israeli youth law could not be put into full effect in the West Bank because of the difficult conditions. Israel recently raised the age of majority for Palestinians to 18 from 16, and it established the juvenile military court in 2009. But nighttime military operations were the only way to arrest Palestinian suspects, the official said, because summonses were routinely ignored and daytime arrests could set off confrontations.

Islam’s arrest came as part of a crackdown in Nabi Saleh. A few nights earlier, soldiers had raided the Dar Ayyoub home and other houses, photographing and taking details of all the men and boys. Days after Islam was taken, his younger brother, Karim, then 11, was seized by soldiers and held for hours at a police station on suspicion of throwing stones. Last month, during pretrial proceedings in the case against Islam, a juvenile military court judge acknowledged serious flaws in the interrogation but ruled his testimony admissible.

Sarit Michaeli of B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization, said that the youth judge could have taken a stand but had “failed this particular minor, and all the others.”

Islam spent two and a half months in prison before he was released to house arrest. Since September, he has been allowed out to go to school, which he now loathes. His father says he stays awake all night watching television, fearing that the soldiers will return.

In an interview at his home this month, Islam said he knew his rights, having once attended a workshop on interrogations in the village. But he said that he was told by an officer beforehand that rights would not help him. “I thought that if I spoke, they would release me,” he said.

Most of the villagers have shown understanding. Sometimes friends stop by for an hour or two. Waed is not among them.

 

Source

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN STABS US IN THE BACK

*
We were there for Norman Finkelstein when he was denied tenure at DePaul University…
*
We were there when he was deported from Israel and banned for ten years for holding opinions such as these…
*
Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff … (click on image to enlarge)
*
*
We were there supporting every speech he presented at university campuses…
*
We were behind him every step he took as he was a friend of our cause in every sense of the word… with positions like the following, how could we not support him?
*
*
Yet, almost two years ago he turned his back on many of us when he took the following position;

“Why I resigned from the Gaza Freedom March coalition”

I joined the coalition because I believed that an unprecedented opportunity now exists to mobilize a broad public whereby we could make a substantive and not just symbolic contribution towards breaking the illegal and immoral siege of Gaza and, accordingly, realize a genuine and not just token gesture of solidarity with the people of Gaza. In its present political configuration I no longer believe the coalition can achieve such a goal. His entire post can be found HERE*

Because of his ‘track record’, most of us left room for his opinions and disagreements and continued to support him wherever necessary.

*

BUT…

*

He literally put a knife in our backs this past week when he slammed the entire BDS Movement. At a time when the Israeli government is doing everything in its power to destroy that movement, including legislation outlawing it, the last thing we needed was a ‘friend’ coming out against it publicly. In the US, the Movement is going mainstream, yet Finkelstein refers to it as a ‘cult’. To quote from Mark Twain; The proper office of a friend is to side with you when you are in the wrong. Nearly anybody will side with you when you are in the right. That was found in his notebook, written in 1898. And we thought Norman Finkelstein was a friend…  He is being accused of sounding like Dershowitz. Read on to see why…*

The following was originally written FOR*

*

In flinching move, Finkelstein slams boycott movement

American political scientist and author of the “Holocaust Industry,” Norman Finkelstein – known for his outspoken criticism of Israel and advocacy of Palestinian rights – showed his own fear of the paradigm shift  in discourse on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict when he called the BDS movement a ‘cult’ last week

By Sean O’Neill*

The interview with Norman Finkelstein that circulated all over the web on Wednesday, in which he calls the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel a “cult” and compares it to Maoism is, I think, a milestone of sorts.  Or, more accurately, the symptom of a milestone – a sign that the ground is shifting on Israel/Palestine issues.

Normal Finkelstein has made a career out of being the son of holocaust survivors  who doesn’t shy away from picking a fight with Israel’s backers, and who unabashedly defends the rights of Palestinians.  At times his controversial positions have set his career back, as when he was denied tenure at DePaul University.  However, on balance he has certainly benefited, as a less combative scholar would today likely be simply one of thousands of obscure political science professors.

Everything about the interview is classic Finkelstein: his demeanor, his tendency to raise his voice, his adversarial, passionate approach, everything, that is, except for the things he’s saying.  In a bizarre turn of events, he comes off as a Zionist bully, or for that matter, any other angry right wing pundit.  He accuses activists for Palestinian civil rights of having a secret agenda, that of destroying Israel.  He seems obsessed with some overarching concept of the Law as final arbiter in all matters, as though in this case we weren’t talking about a variety of laws, many of which at times contradict each other, and as though there isn’t a history of the law being written, enforced, and misinterpreted by political actors at the expense of the weak.  His complaint that solidarity movement activists want to cherry pick which laws they respect is reminiscent of the claims made by white religious leaders that Dr. Martin Luther King so famously refuted in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”

Moreover, Finkelstein conveniently ignores the fact that international law recognizes refugees as having a right to return to their homeland.  When the law is inconvenient, Finkelstein employs another classic conservative tactic, insisting that the public simply won’t accept the demands of the activists, that they need to be more pragmatic.  Again, see “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” for an eloquent refutation of such logic.

Finkelstein even resorts to the desperate tactic of denial.  When the interviewer puts forth his contention that the BDS movement is growing in popularity, Finkelstein rejects the idea out of hand, comparing the movement to some Maoist group he apparently was affiliated with at some point in his more idealistic youth.

I recently witnessed BDS’s growing clout at  a meeting I attended with a woman working with an Israeli artist helping set up a series of salons in New York to explore and question the Birthright Israel programs, and the idea of a “birthright” in general.  The project sounds very interesting, but the woman was visibly frustrated at their inability to find people willing to work with them in the city.  They are partially funded by the Israeli Consulate, and as a result have had the proverbial door shut on them by activists, artists, and professors, Arab and Jew alike.  This would have been incomprehensible five years ago, when I first heard of the BDS movement at the annual Bil’in conference and it was, at that point, divisive even among conference attendees.

Here is where things stand now.  There is a paradigm shift in the works in how the Israel/Palestine conflict is understood and approached.  There is an increasing consensus among Israel’s critics to see the issue as one of civil rights, rather than a conflict between two nations.  Indeed, some BDS activists harbor a desire to see the end of the Jewish state, and others believe this is the inevitable outcome of a civil rights movement, whether they desire it or not.  But many others, I would argue most Palestinians among them, simply don’t care about this abstract One State v. Two State argument.  They just don’t think civil rights –  indeed human rights –  can be trumped by someone’s nationalist claims.

Finkelstein’s sudden hostility to the solidarity movement is a symptom of this paradigm shift.  It is easy to rail against Israel when the existence of a Jewish nation-state seems guaranteed in perpetuity.  But that guarantee seems to have eroded a bit.  For some this will be scary.  But then change always is.  It was scary in South Africa.  It was scary in the Jim Crow American South.  For others it is liberating, and you can count among these an increasing number of Israelis who see coexistence – real coexistence, not the tenuous kind that reigns in Jaffa, among other places – as a more attractive guarantee to their security than the ethnocratic state.  As the ground continues to shift, some of those who are afraid will flinch, and retreat to safer, more moderate arguments.  Finkelstein flinched.

*Sean O’Neill worked for Christian Peacemaker Teams from 2006-2009 in the South Hebron Hills supporting Palestinian-led nonviolent resistance to Israeli occupation and continued settlement expansion.  He is currently an MA candidate at New York University in Near Eastern Studies and Journalism. 


« Older entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,157 other followers