#GazaUnderAttack ~~ REACTIONS TO ISRAEL-HAMAS CEASEFIRE COLLAPSE

Analysis: Reaction to Israel-Hamas ceasefire collapse

#GazaUnderAttack

Analysts say that Gaza has bled too much to accept an easy truce with Israel, but fear this will usher in a “horrendous tragedy” that will further compound Palestinian suffering

Israel has resumed air strikes on Gaza after a 72-hour truce broke down (AFP)

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Israel is pulling out of talks in Cairo on extending a truce with Hamas after a 72-hour ceasefire ended and violence resumed on Friday, an official said.

“Israel will not negotiate under fire,” the official said on condition of anonymity, noting Israel had informed Egypt of its willingness to extend the truce by another three days before “Hamas breached the ceasefire”.

Middle East Eye asked experts what will be the next stages of the conflict:

Yossi Mekelberg, Associate Fellow, Chatham House Middle East and North Africa Programme and Programme Director, Regent’s University London 

The hope that a 72-hour truce in hostilities between Israel and the Hamas would lead to a more permanent ceasefire collapsed with a barrage of rockets fired from Gaza at Israel today, and was followed by Israeli air strikes in retaliation. Even more worrying was that the negotiations in Cairo between the two came to an abrupt end with no agreement or even progress in sight.

From the beginning of this war the decision makers in Jerusalem and Gaza should have known, considering past experiences, that by the end of it neither of the sides would cave in to the others demands, or achieve any decisive military result. The longer it continued, the more entrenched both sides became in their initial positions. The price that both sides paid in this conflict in terms of casualties, destruction, deterrence and international reputation, forces them to harden their positions in the negotiations in order to justify the heavy costs of war.

For the more sober observer, there is only one conclusion. Violence can achieve very little in this conflict. Only a genuine political process that addresses the root causes of this conflict and resolves it in a manner which provides security and rights to everyone will reduce the motivation for war and marginalise the extremists from both camps.


Samah Sabawi – Author, political analyst and human-rights advocate

For the Israeli public a ceasefire means they can return to living normal lives and pretending the occupation and the siege of Gaza don’t exist. For the Palestinians in Gaza, it will mean the suspension of their lives within the pit of misery.

Time is a torture weapon for the Palestinians in Gaza. With hundreds of thousands displaced, essential civilian infrastructure destroyed and the entire population of 1.8 million suffering severe electrical, water and medical shortages, ceasefire or not, every single minute that passes under siege is an act of brutal war and aggression.

There is widespread consensus amongst all Palestinians now that if the siege isn’t lifted, the Palestinian armed groups with the support of the population will return to armed resistance.

Israel insists on its demand to demilitarize Palestinian factions. But Palestinians are convinced they need to be able to protect themselves.  No one has intervened as Israel pounded Gaza with Canons, tanks and F16s.  The only ones that stood up to the assault were the armed Palestinian groups who were able to push back the world’s fourth most powerful army.

Convincing Palestinian resistance to surrender their weapons now is likely to be met with rejection not just from the militant groups but the general Palestinian public.

Moving forward, the only break to this impasse is likely to happen if Egypt stepped up to the plate and agreed to open the Rafah crossing and if other significant players demanded that Israel live up to its obligations under International Humanitarian law or face sanctions.

If the Palestinian team returns from Cairo without achieving at minimum an end to the siege, Palestinians will be left with only one option and that is a return to armed resistance which will be a horrendous tragedy that will further compound Palestinian suffering.  We have heard from many in Gaza this past month a repetition of the same phrase:  we want to live free or die here.


Jonathan Cook, a British journalist based in Nazareth since 2001, is the the author of three books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

The overlooked story in Israel’s attack on Gaza is Hamas’ remarkable military achievements. Its fighters used a network of tunnels to ambush Israeli soldiers, killing more than 60 of them – half the number of fatalities inflicted on Israel in Lebanon in 2006 by Hizbullah, a much better equipped force. Hamas even launched a daring raid on a military post inside Israel, killing five soldiers.

It also continued to fire rockets into Israeli cities throughout the fighting, even briefly shutting down Israel’s only international airport. The damage to Israel’s economy is estimated at some $4.5 billion so far.

Faced with Hamas’s stiff resistance, Israel was effectively beaten by the clock. The US and European states can only turn a blind for so long to killing on the scale Israel inflicted on Gaza’s civilians. Benjamin Netanyahu also lost his stomach for a deeper ground invasion, one in which the costs in soldiers’ lives was sure to rise.

Hamas has achieved too much, and Gaza paid too high a price, for it not to insist on the realisation of the one demand that unites everyone in the enclave: an end to Israel’s stifling blockade.

But Israel’s military humiliation means it cannot afford to let Hamas regroup and hone its skills. Israel’s new watchword for Gaza is “demilitarisation”, to keep out all materials that could assist Hamas in the next confrontation.

The current or future talks will have to find a way out of this impasse. The temptation for both sides will be to use long-range blows – rockets from Hamas, shelling and air strikes from Israel – to step up the pressure on the other for a deal, as we saw happen as soon the ceasefire deadline expired this morning.

Ironically, the solution for Netanyahu may be provided by Hamas’ recent agreement to a reconciliation with the Fatah party of Mahmoud Abbas. It was their unity government that Netanyahu has been trying to disrupt with his attacks on Hamas in the West Bank and Gaza.

He can agree to an easing of the blockade, giving Hamas a partial victory, but only on condition that Fatah and Abbas return to police Gaza. Then Netanyahu can turn the screws on Abbas to demilitarise Gaza on Israel’s behalf.


Sam Bahour, a Ramallah-based, American-Palestinian business development consultant and political commentator

Sam Bahour (Photo credit: Epalestine.blogspot.com) Sam Bahour (Photo credit: Epalestine.blogspot.com)

 

The sheer use of the word ‘ceasefire’ is insulting. It depicts an artificial symmetry that the Palestinians have fell for, even though reality on the ground is totally contrary.

For a fragile, non-representative, Palestinian unity delegation to be engaged in ‘ceasefire’ negotiations with their military occupier (it means little if done directly or through intermediaries) sets up Palestinians for an Oslo-like phase, where, no matter what is agreed, the Palestinian side will be signing away rights that have been stripped from them by Israel for decades.

These rights, first among them protection, should be secured by Third States under their obligations toward the Fourth Geneva Convention, without the need for ‘resistance’ or ‘ceasefire’ talks.

A ‘ceasefire’ simply reinforces the false impression that there is some hint of symmetry between Palestine and Israel. There is not! Furthermore, to be conducting these ‘ceasefire’ talks in the capital of a country that participates in the siege of the Gaza Strip should be an embarrassment to every member of the Palestinian negotiating team, first among them Hamas.


Ramzy Baroud, Palestinian author and Middle East Eye managing editor

FROM Received FROM

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Uri Avnery adds this from Democracy Now

CHOMSKY ONCE AGAIN LOST IN THE WILDERNESS

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Noam Chomsky, the leading American philosopher and political activist, has said efforts to force a change in Israeli policies towards the Palestinians through boycotts risk backfiring because of insufficient support.

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In reality the BDS Movement has shown growing support daily both Internationally and in Israel itself.

The Spreading BDS Movement

The BDS movement is spreading throughout the world. European pension funds are divesting from banks and companies that operate in settlements, and European markets are labeling Israeli goods made in the West Bank. [FROM]

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The above is from a report called ‘Israel’s War Against ‘BDS’ Movement‘. Chomsky once again apparently takes Israel’s side.

My personal views on Chomsky’s confusion can be seen in the following posts from the archives ….

Here

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and HERE

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And now his latest blunder FROM

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Israel boycott campaign risks backfiring, says Noam Chomsky

US philosopher argues that parallels between BDS campaign and action against apartheid-era South Africa are misleading
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Noam Chomsky
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Noam Chomsky. Photograph: Jean-Yves Ahern/Demotix/Corbis

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Ian Black, Middle East editor

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Noam Chomsky, the leading American philosopher and political activist, has said efforts to force a change in Israeli policies towards the Palestinians through boycotts risk backfiring because of insufficient support.

In an article for the Nation, Chomsky courts controversy by arguing that parallels drawn between campaigns against Israel and apartheid-era South Africa are misleading and that a misguided strategy could damage rather than help Israel’s victims.

Chomsky’s target is the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, which has made significant strides in recent years. It calls for an end to Israel’s occupation of Arab lands conquered in 1967 and the dismantling of its West Bank wall; recognising the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and respecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.

Chomsky says that while there is wide international support for the first two goals, there is only negligible backing beyond the BDS movement itself for the return of the 1948 refugees – a key Palestinian demand. Insistence on that, he says, “is a virtual guarantee of failure”.

Against a background of bitter arguments over BDS activity on US university campuses, Chomsky invokes the “glass house” principle, writing that if Tel Aviv University is boycotted because Israel violates human rights at home, “then why not boycott Harvard because of far greater violations by the US?”

He also questions the “very dubious” analogy made by BDS between sanctions against Israel and sanctions against apartheid South Africa. By 1960, global investors had already abandoned South Africa, says Chomsky, though some historians dispute the claim. Today, by contrast, US investment is flowing into Israel.

“While there is … a growing domestic opposition in the US to Israeli crimes, it does not remotely compare with the South African case,” he writes. “The necessary educational work has not been done. Spokespeople for the BDS movement may believe they have attained their ‘South African moment’, but that is far from accurate. And if tactics are to be effective, they must be based on a realistic assessment of actual circumstances.”

Similar arguments are deployed against the invocation of apartheid. “Within Israel, discrimination against non-Jews is severe; the land laws are just the most extreme example. But it is not South African-style apartheid. In the occupied territories, the situation is far worse than it was in South Africa, where the white nationalists needed the black population: it was the country’s workforce, and as grotesque as the bantustans were, the nationalist government devoted resources to sustaining and seeking international recognition for them.

“In sharp contrast, Israel wants to rid itself of the Palestinian burden. The road ahead is not toward South Africa, as commonly alleged, but toward something much worse.”

Chomsky expresses support for the boycott of products from Israeli settlements in the occupied territories – a strategy enhanced by an EU policy shift last year that was welcomed by pro-Palestinian activists.

South Africa’s freedom struggle, Chomsky recalls, was helped by Cuban military and soft power, as Nelson Mandela gratefully acknowledged. But as the Palestinians have no such saviour, he concludes, “those who are sincerely dedicated to the Palestinian cause should avoid illusion and myth, and think carefully about the tactics they choose and the course they follow.”

• This article was amended on 3 July 2014 to clarify that a remark about global investors abandoning South Africa was part of a paraphrasing of Noam Chomsky’s argument.

AMERICA’S ROLE IN ISRAEL’S FUTURE

US-Israel-Foreign-Policy
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America is as much a player as a facilitator. The signal it sends helps determine whether the parties move toward war or peace. The White House, despite its frosty relationship with Mr. Netanyahu, hasn’t set itself up as a worthy mediator by opposing Palestinian membership in the United Nations and vetoing condemnations of settlements.
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U.S. Inaction, Mideast Cataclysm?

By BERNARD AVISHAI and SAM BAHOUR
ISRAELIS go to the polls today in an election that will likely give Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a third term; like the current one, Israel’s next governing coaltion will probably be heavily reliant on right-wingers and religious parties.

Even so, Mr. Obama’s second term could offer a pivotal opportunity to restart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. In his first term, he backed away from the process, figuring that America could mediate only if the parties themselves wanted to make peace — and that new talks were unlikely to be productive.

This is a mistake. The greatest enemy to a two-state solution is the sheer pessimism on both sides. Unless President Obama uses his new mandate to show leadership, the region will have no place for moderates — or for America either.

The rationale for inaction rests on four related assumptions: that strident forces dominate because their ideologies do; that the status quo — demographic trends that would lead to the enfranchisement of occupied Palestinians, a “one-state solution” and the end of Israel as a Jewish democracy — will eventually force Israel to its senses; that the observer-state status secured by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the United Nations is empty because his West Bank government is broke, dysfunctional and lacking in broad support; and that given the strength of the Israeli lobby, Mr. Obama’s hands are tied.

These assumptions seem daunting, but they are misguided. First, while Hamas, the militant Islamists who control Gaza, and Israel’s ultra-rightists, who drive the settlement enterprise, are rising in popularity, the reason is not their ideologies, but young people’s despair over the occupation’s grinding violence.

Last month, a poll by the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace, based in Washington, found that two-thirds of Israelis would support a two-state deal, but that more than half of even left-of-center Israelis said Mr. Abbas could not reach binding decisions to end the conflict. The same month, the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, in Ramallah, found that 52 percent of Palestinians favored a two-state resolution (a drop from three-quarters in 2006, before two Israeli clashes over Gaza). But two-thirds judged the chance of a fully functional Palestinian state in the next five years to be low or nonexistent. In short, moderates on both sides still want peace, but first they need hope.

Second, the status quo is not a path to a one-state solution, but to Bosnian-style ethnic cleansing, which could erupt as quickly as the Gaza fighting did last year and spread to Israeli Arab cities. Right-wing Israelis and Hamas leaders alike are pushing for a cataclysmic fight. Mr. Abbas, whose Fatah party controls the West Bank, has renounced violence, but without signs of a viable diplomatic path he cannot unify his people to support new talks. If his government falls apart, or if the more Palestinian territory is annexed (as right-wing Israeli want), or if the standoff in Gaza leads to an Israeli ground invasion, bloodshed and protests across the Arab world will be inevitable. Such chaos might also provoke missiles from Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Shiite militant group based in Lebanon.

Third, the Palestinian state is not a Fatah-imposed fiction, but a path toward economic development, backed by international diplomacy and donations, that most Palestinians want to succeed. It has a $4 billion economy; an expanding network of entrepreneurs and professionals; and a banking system with about $8 billion in deposits. A robust private sector can develop if given a chance.

Fourth, American support need not only mean direct talks. The administration could promote investments in Palestinian education and civil society that do not undermine Israeli security. Mr. Obama could demand that Israel allow Palestinian businesses freer access to talent, suppliers and customers. He could also demand a West Bank-Gaza transportation corridor, to which Israel committed in the 1993 Oslo accords.

America is as much a player as a facilitator. The signal it sends helps determine whether the parties move toward war or peace. The White House, despite its frosty relationship with Mr. Netanyahu, hasn’t set itself up as a worthy mediator by opposing Palestinian membership in the United Nations and vetoing condemnations of settlements.

In nominating Chuck Hagel to lead the Pentagon, Mr. Obama rightly ignored attacks by “pro-Israel” (really pro-Netanyahu) groups. He should appoint a Middle East negotiator trusted by all sides — say, Bill Clinton or Colin L. Powell. He should lead, not thwart, European attempts to make a deal. He has stated that the settlements will lead to Israel’s global isolation; he should make clear that they endanger American interests, too.

Washington has crucial leverage, though this won’t last forever. When it weighs in, it becomes a preoccupying political fact for both sides. If it continues to stand back, hopelessness will win.

Bernard Avishai is an Israeli-American writer in Jerusalem. Sam Bahour is a Palestinian-American business consultant in Ramallah, the West Bank.

 

 

 

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BLAMING THE LEFT FOR ISRAEL’S WOES IS A FLIGHT FROM REALITY

HaAretz is hands down the best commercial media outlet in the State of Israel. It has a handful of top notch reporters that often offer a liberal or left perspective to what is happening here.
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However, at times they stray from the reality of the situations and offer opinions that are not quite rational. My readers should know by now that I have never been a supporter of the One State Solution for Israel/Palestine, but blaming the left As Akiva Eldar does in the following is far from the truth. The left is not to blame for Israel’s woes, to think so is a flight from reality. But, despite my disagreements with his viewpoint, especially the heading of his post, it does offer some food for thought in support of the Two State Solution. That, in my opinion is the ONLY solution.
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The desperate leftists propose joining together two hostile communities with a bloodly feud between them and endless prejudices about each other. For 64 years the Jewish community realized the Zionist vision using discriminatory immigration and residential laws, unequal division of resources and hegemony over religious and national symbols. For 45 years a Jewish minority has deprived the Palestinian collective in the occupied territories of political rights and violated the dignity, property rights and freedom of movement of millions of human beings.
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One State with a wall between??
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The defeatism of the left

A binational state is not a solution, but rather a flight from reality and a recipe for perpetuating a duel between two nations. Anyone who gives up on a peace agreement between two states is gambling with the fate of the State of Israel.

By Akiva Eldar
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The settlers are right. Had today’s Zionist left been leading the Jewish community here in the 1940s there is a good chance we never would have had a state. Had those who lay proud claim to being “the peace camp,” who explain how “it’s impossible to evict 300,000 settlers,” been running the show in the early ‘50s, the Yishuv − with its population of 600,000 − would never have taken in one million Jews. The word “irreversible” does not exist in the vocabulary of the settlers. They did not say that the Oslo Accords spelled the death knoll of their enterprise. The settlers adhere to their faith all the way to another outpost and another coalition government, and the left cries all the way to nowhere.

While the settlers build house after house and destroy the peace process stage after stage, the honorable members of the Zionist left announce one after another the capitulation to “the will of the people.” In exchange for the idea of partition, they propose, accompanied by heartrending sighs, that we begin to prepare for a binational state. It’s like a marriage counselor who advises a couple that has been making each other miserable for decades to go on living together in order to avoid divvying up their assets. Instead of helping them to separate amicably, co-parent successfully and build independent new lives, the counselor urges them to perpetuate their misery.

The desperate leftists propose joining together two hostile communities with a bloodly feud between them and endless prejudices about each other. For 64 years the Jewish community realized the Zionist vision using discriminatory immigration and residential laws, unequal division of resources and hegemony over religious and national symbols. For 45 years a Jewish minority has deprived the Palestinian collective in the occupied territories of political rights and violated the dignity, property rights and freedom of movement of millions of human beings.

What will happen when the Palestinian minority in the binational state becomes the majority − in 2020, or 2030, or perhaps in 2050? What will we do then, when the Palestinian majority exercises its right to vote? The model for action already exists: The Palestinian parliament can copy the behavior of Israel’s Knesset in the Netanyahu-Lieberman-Eldad era.

Is anyone willing to guarantee that the Palestinians won’t replace Israel’s Law of Return, for Jewish immigrants, with a law enshrining the Palestinian right of return? Can anyone guarantee that they won’t turn the Jewish National Fund into the Palestinian National Fund; replace the blue and white flag with a black, white and green flag with a crescent moon on the side, and replace “Hatikva” with “Fida’i” ‏(popularly known as “Biladi, Biladi”‏)? Who will light the torches on Mount Herzl on Independence Day? Or perhaps the government of Israstine will ban ceremonies marking the Jews’ temporary victory.

Why wouldn’t they give funding preference for schools in Arab local councils, rename the Israstine international airport after Yasser Arafat and change the name of Ariel University Center of Samaria to the Arab University of the West Bank? We’ve been riding them for decades, why wouldn’t they want to turn the tables on us? At best we’d come out of it with only a few broken ribs.

True, Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin has said he would rather live in a binational state than to divide Jerusalem. So what? Is he genuinely willing to cede his place on the dais to Knesset Speaker Ahmed Tibi and settle for interjections from the Jewish opposition parties’ back benches? True, “United Jerusalem” will not turn into “United Al Quds” during his term; that irresponsible mortgage, taken out by him and his friends on the new Zionist left, will be paid by all of our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A binational state is not a solution, but rather a flight from reality and a recipe for perpetuating a duel between two nations. Anyone who gives up on a peace agreement between two states is gambling with the fate of the State of Israel. Leftist, go to the settlers, learn their ways and settle at the doorstep of every Israeli voter. It’s not too late.

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WHAT AWAITS PALESTINE IN 2012?

The Palestinian leadership, including Fatah and Hamas, must get its act together in 2012 and make sure it is not going to be another year of futile waiting.
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Palestinians must get their act together in 2012
By Khalid Amayreh
 

2011 was not a particularly bad year for Palestine. In this year, hundreds of Palestinian political and resistance prisoners were able to see the light, having been released from Israeli dungeons and detention camps.

Needless to say, many of these heroes would have spent the rest of their lives in Zionist jails, had it not been for the so-called Shalit deal and Israel’s effective capitulation to Hamas’s conditions for the release of the captive Zionist soldier.

Thanks to the deal, hundreds of Palestinian families, which had lost the hope for ever seeing their beloved ones alive again, breathed a sigh of relief as they were reunited with their children, brothers, husbands and daughters.

Needless to say, Israel had tried every conceivable effort and intelligence act  to locate the captive soldier, but to no avail. After all, Shalit was held under Israel’s nose somewhere in the Gaza Strip for more than 60 months.

This fact alone should make us look with admiration and gratitude to those unknown but heroic soldiers who were able to keep this valuable secret all these months and years.

2011 brought us the Arab Spring, which consigned several tyrannical  pro-American regimes to the dustbin  of history. Some of these regimes, such as that of ex-president Husni Mubarak of Egypt , had been a serious liability for the Palestinian struggle and steadfastness.

For example,  in 2008-09, the Egyptian regime colluded, connived and collaborated with the Zionist entity to murder, torment and vanquish the Gaza Strip, enabling Israel to carry out its Nazi-like  onslaught on the virtually unprotected coastal territory, killing, incinerating and maiming thousands of Palestinians men, women and children.

More to the point, the regime sought effectively to consolidate the criminal Israeli siege on Gaza, by building another concrete wall to make it virtually impossible for Gazans to smuggle even a pack of milk from the Egyptian side of the borders to their starving children on the other side.

Hence, the removal of that regime is considered a great victory for both the Egyptian and Palestinian peoples, for the Egyptians because the corrupt Mubarak regime suppressed human rights and civil liberties in deference to Israeli and American interests, and for the Palestinians because the regime was viewed as a strategic asset for the Zionist regime since it allowed the Zionist entity to savage the Palestinians in exchange for American aid and political protection.

The elections that occurred in Tunisia and Egypt were also auspicious news for the Palestinian cause. The triumph of  Islamic or quasi-Islamic parties, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, is probably some of the best news the Palestinian cause and people have received in many decades.

True, we don’t expect to see miracles very soon as a result of the Arab Spring. However, there is no doubt that the strategic changes taking  place in the Arab world have confused and unsettled Israel’s strategic calculations in the region.

Israel, which is becoming a fully-fledged fascist state, had probably planned to embark on unthinkable measures against the Palestinians, possibly including genocidal massacres, induced emigration and ethnic cleansing.

However, thanks to the Arab Spring, especially the Egyptian revolution, Israel is very likely to think twice before pursuing its lebensraum policy against its neighbors.

The end of 2011 also brought the Palestinian people much closer to national reconciliation and unity.

Hamas agreed to join the PLO and all the sides agreed to form a government of national unity, release political prisoners and hold elections for the Palestinian Authority (PA) as well as for the Palestinian National Council.

What is especially important is that the psychology of the Palestinian people improved significantly during 2011 despite unrelenting Zionist aggressions and provocations.

None the less, there is much to be done in 2012. The National reconciliation must materialize on the ground and ordinary Palestinians must feel its tangible effects.

However,  It is probably  unlikely that true national unity between Fatah and Hamas will  be achievable unless the PA and the Ramallah regime end the  ignominious cooperation and coordination with the Zionist occupation army.

Indeed, the security coordination has been  a sad chapter in recent Palestinian history and it  must be ended sooner than later.

Moreover, with the unmitigated theft of Palestinian land continuing at the hands of the Zionist regime, the PA should have the courage to declare the end of the mendacious peace process.

Yes, dismantling the PA infrastructure may not seem easily done as said. However, if it becomes clear that the existence of the PA militates against and hinders the establishment of a viable and territorially contiguous Palestinian state, then Palestinian leaders must not flinch from  embarking on dissolving the PA. After all the establishment of an independent  Palestinian state is the  raison d’etre of the PA itself, as PA official Sa’eb Erikat said on several occasions.

In any case, the Palestinian leadership should stop playing games with the fate and destiny of the Palestinian people and cause.

We have indulged in futile political games too much and for too long, and must therefore come to the hour of truth.

And reaching the hour of truth should also mean a realization that the creation of a viable Palestinian state on the West Bank, one with Jerusalem as its capital, is no longer a realistic option given the phenomenal spread of Jewish colonies.

Hence, the Palestinian leadership, including Fatah and Hamas, must get its act together in 2012 and make sure it is not going to be another year of futile waiting.

THE disHONOURABLE RICHARD GOLDSTONE; REDEMPTION OF A ZIONIST LIAR

When Richard Goldstone issued his report dealing with the violations of Human Rights in Gaza two years ago there was a renewed hope that the situation might change. Unfortunately, the only things that changed were his opinions on what was originally written. The changes came about due to pressure from the zionists whose camp he himself supported over the years. Local ostracism and barring him from his own grandson’s Bar Mitzvah were too much for him to handle in a rational way.
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These factors led to the irrational positions taken afterwards, positions he adheres to, all in the form of lies, all for the sake of redemption, one which would grant him favour in the zionist community, but disgrace in the rest of the world.
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In an Op-Ed in today’s New York Times he continues with his slander against Palestine, even having the chutzpah to use that very word in the title…

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Israel and the Apartheid Slander

Daniel Hertzberg
By RICHARD J. GOLDSTONE

THE Palestinian Authority’s request for full United Nations membership has put hope for any two-state solution under increasing pressure. The need for reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians has never been greater. So it is important to separate legitimate criticism of Israel from assaults that aim to isolate, demonize and delegitimize it.

One particularly pernicious and enduring canard that is surfacing again is that Israel pursues “apartheid” policies. In Cape Town starting on Saturday, a London-based nongovernmental organization called the Russell Tribunal on Palestine will hold a “hearing” on whether Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid. It is not a “tribunal.” The “evidence” is going to be one-sided and the members of the “jury” are critics whose harsh views of Israel are well known.

While “apartheid” can have broader meaning, its use is meant to evoke the situation in pre-1994 South Africa. It is an unfair and inaccurate slander against Israel, calculated to retard rather than advance peace negotiations.

I know all too well the cruelty of South Africa’s abhorrent apartheid system, under which human beings characterized as black had no rights to vote, hold political office, use “white” toilets or beaches, marry whites, live in whites-only areas or even be there without a “pass.” Blacks critically injured in car accidents were left to bleed to death if there was no “black” ambulance to rush them to a “black” hospital. “White” hospitals were prohibited from saving their lives.

In assessing the accusation that Israel pursues apartheid policies, which are by definition primarily about race or ethnicity, it is important first to distinguish between the situations in Israel, where Arabs are citizens, and in West Bank areas that remain under Israeli control in the absence of a peace agreement.

In Israel, there is no apartheid. Nothing there comes close to the definition of apartheid under the 1998 Rome Statute: “Inhumane acts … committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.” Israeli Arabs — 20 percent of Israel’s population — vote, have political parties and representatives in the Knesset and occupy positions of acclaim, including on its Supreme Court. Arab patients lie alongside Jewish patients in Israeli hospitals, receiving identical treatment.

To be sure, there is more de facto separation between Jewish and Arab populations than Israelis should accept. Much of it is chosen by the communities themselves. Some results from discrimination. But it is not apartheid, which consciously enshrines separation as an ideal. In Israel, equal rights are the law, the aspiration and the ideal; inequities are often successfully challenged in court.

The situation in the West Bank is more complex. But here too there is no intent to maintain “an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group.” This is a critical distinction, even if Israel acts oppressively toward Palestinians there. South Africa’s enforced racial separation was intended to permanently benefit the white minority, to the detriment of other races. By contrast, Israel has agreed in concept to the existence of a Palestinian state in Gaza and almost all of the West Bank, and is calling for the Palestinians to negotiate the parameters.

But until there is a two-state peace, or at least as long as Israel’s citizens remain under threat of attacks from the West Bank and Gaza, Israel will see roadblocks and similar measures as necessary for self-defense, even as Palestinians feel oppressed. As things stand, attacks from one side are met by counterattacks from the other. And the deep disputes, claims and counterclaims are only hardened when the offensive analogy of “apartheid” is invoked.

Those seeking to promote the myth of Israeli apartheid often point to clashes between heavily armed Israeli soldiers and stone-throwing Palestinians in the West Bank, or the building of what they call an “apartheid wall” and disparate treatment on West Bank roads. While such images may appear to invite a superficial comparison, it is disingenuous to use them to distort the reality. The security barrier was built to stop unrelenting terrorist attacks; while it has inflicted great hardship in places, the Israeli Supreme Court has ordered the state in many cases to reroute it to minimize unreasonable hardship. Road restrictions get more intrusive after violent attacks and are ameliorated when the threat is reduced.

Of course, the Palestinian people have national aspirations and human rights that all must respect. But those who conflate the situations in Israel and the West Bank and liken both to the old South Africa do a disservice to all who hope for justice and peace.

Jewish-Arab relations in Israel and the West Bank cannot be simplified to a narrative of Jewish discrimination. There is hostility and suspicion on both sides. Israel, unique among democracies, has been in a state of war with many of its neighbors who refuse to accept its existence. Even some Israeli Arabs, because they are citizens of Israel, have at times come under suspicion from other Arabs as a result of that longstanding enmity.

The mutual recognition and protection of the human dignity of all people is indispensable to bringing an end to hatred and anger. The charge that Israel is an apartheid state is a false and malicious one that precludes, rather than promotes, peace and harmony.

Richard J. Goldstone, a former justice of the South African Constitutional Court, led the United Nations fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict of 2008-9.

GILAD SHALIT: THE REAL STORY

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
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Everybody’s Son
By Uri Avnery

THE MOST sensible – I almost wrote “the only sensible” – sentence uttered this week sprang from the lips of a 5-year old boy.

After the prisoner swap, one of those smart-aleck TV reporters asked him: “Why did we release 1027 Arabs for one Israeli soldier?” He expected, of course, the usual answer: because one Israeli is worth a thousand Arabs.

The little boy replied: “Because we caught many of them and they caught only one.”

FOR MORE than a week, the whole of Israel was in a state of intoxication. Gilad Shalit indeed ruled the country (Shalit means “ruler”). His pictures were plastered all over the place like those of Comrade Kim in North Korea.

It was one of those rare moments, when Israelis could be proud of themselves. Few countries, if any, would have been prepared to exchange 1027 prisoners for one. In most places, including the USA, it would have been politically impossible for a leader to make such a decision.

In a way it is a continuation of the Jewish ghetto tradition. The “Redemption of Prisoners” is a sacred religious duty, born of the circumstances of a persecuted and scattered community. If a Jew from Marseilles was captured by Muslim corsairs to be sold on the market of Alexandria, it was the duty of Jews in Cairo to pay the ransom and “redeem” him.

As the ancient saying goes: “All Israel are guarantors for each other”.

Israelis could (and did) look in the mirror and say “aren’t we wonderful?”

IMMEDIATELY AFTER the Oslo agreement, Gush Shalom, the peace movement to which I belong, proposed releasing all Palestinian prisoners at once. They are prisoners-of-war, we said, and when the fighting ends, PoWs are sent home. This would transmit a powerful human message of peace to every Palestinian town and village. We organized a joint demonstration with the late Jerusalemite Arab leader, Feisal Husseini, in front of Jeneid prison near Nablus. More than ten thousand Palestinians and Israelis took part.

But Israel has never recognized these Palestinians as prisoners-of-war. They are considered common criminals, only worse.

This week, the released prisoners were never referred to as “Palestinian fighters”, or “militants”’ or just “Palestinians”. Every single newspaper and TV program, from the elitist Haaretz to the most primitive tabloid, referred to them exclusively as “murderers”, or, for good measure, “vile murderers”.

One of the worst tyrannies on earth is the tyranny of words. Once a word becomes entrenched, it directs thought and action. As the Bible has it: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21). Releasing a thousand enemy fighters is one thing, releasing a thousand vile murderers is something else.

Some of these prisoners have assisted suicide bombers in killing a lot of people. Some have committed really atrocious acts – like the pretty young Palestinian woman who used the internet to lure a love-sick Israeli boy of 15 into a trap, where he was riddled with bullets. But others were sentenced to life for belonging to an “illegal organization” and possessing arms, or for throwing an ineffectual home made bomb at a bus hurting nobody.

Almost all of them were convicted by military courts. As has been said, military courts have the same relation to real courts as military music does to real music.

All of these prisoners, in Israeli parlance, have “blood on their hands”. But which of us Israelis has no blood on his hands? Sure, a young woman soldier remotely controlling a drone that kills a Palestinian suspect and his entire family has no sticky blood on her hands. Neither has a pilot who drops a bomb on a residential neighborhood and feels only “a slight bump on the wing”, as a former Chief of Staff put it. (A Palestinian once told me: “Give me a tank or a fighter plane, and I shall give up terrorism immediately.”)

The main argument against the swap was that, according to Security Service statistics, 15% of prisoners thus released become active “terrorists” again. Perhaps. But the majority of them become active supporters of peace. Practically all of my Palestinian friends are former prisoners, some of whom were behind bars for 12 years and more. They learned Hebrew in prison, became acquainted with Israeli life by watching television and even began to admire some aspects of Israel, such as our parliamentary democracy. Most prisoners just want to go home, settle down and found a family.

But during the endless hours of waiting for Gilad’s return, all our TV stations showed scenes of the killings in which the prisoners-to-be-released had been involved, such as the young woman who drove a bomber to his destination. It was a continuous tirade of hatred. Our warm admiration for our own virtue was mingled with the chilling feeling that we are again the victims, compelled to release vile murderers who are going to try and kill us again.

Yet all these prisoners fervently believed that they had served their people in its struggle for liberation. Like the famous song: “Shoot me as an Irish soldier / Do not hang me like a dog / For I fought for Ireland’s freedom…” Nelson Mandela, it should be remembered, was an active terrorist who languished in prison for 28 years because he refused to sign a statement condemning terrorism.

Israelis (probably like most peoples) are quite unable to put themselves into the shoes of their adversaries. This makes it practically impossible to pursue an intelligent policy, particularly on this issue.

HOW WAS Binyamin Netanyahu brought to bend?

The hero of the campaign is Noam Shalit, the father. An introverted person, withdrawn and shy of publicity, he came out and fought for his son every single day during these five years and four months. So did the mother. They literally saved his life. They succeeded in raising a mass movement without precedent in the annals of the state.

It helped that Gilad looks like everybody’s son. He is a shy young man with an engaging smile that could be seen on each of the stills and videos from before the capture. He was youngish looking, thin and unassuming. Five years later, this week, he still looked the same, only very pale.

If our intelligence services had been able to locate him, they would have undoubtedly tried to liberate him by force. This could well have been his death sentence, as happened so often in the past. The fact that they could not find him, despite their hundreds of agents in the Gaza Strip, is a remarkable achievement for Hamas. It explains why he was kept in strict isolation and was not allowed to meet anyone.

Israelis were relieved to discover, on his release, that he seemed to be in good condition, healthy and alert. From the few sentences he voiced on his way in Egypt, he had been provided with radio and TV and knew about his parents’ efforts.

From the moment he set foot on Israeli soil, almost nothing about the way he was treated was allowed to come out. Where was he kept? How was the food? Did his captors talk with him? What did he think about them? Did he learn Arabic? Up to now, not a word about that, probably because it might throw some positive light on Hamas. He will certainly be thoroughly briefed before being allowed to speak.

FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTS repeatedly asked me this week whether the deal had opened the way to a new peace process. As far as the public mood is concerned, the very opposite is true.

The same journalists asked me if Binyamin Netanyahu had not been disturbed by the fact that the swap was bound to strengthen Hamas and deal a grievous blow to Mahmoud Abbas. They were flabbergasted by my answer: that this was one of its main purposes, if not the main one.

The master stroke was a stroke against Abbas.

Abbas’ moves in the UN have profoundly disturbed our right-wing government. Even if the only practical outcome is a resolution of the General Assembly to recognize the State of Palestine as an observer state, it will be a major step towards a real Palestinian state.

This government, like all our governments since the foundation of Israel – only more so – is dead set against Palestinian statehood. It would put an end to the dream of a Greater Israel up to the Jordan River, compel us to give back a great chunk of the Land-God-Promised-Us and evacuate scores of settlements.

For Netanyahu and Co. this is the real danger. Hamas poses no danger at all. What can they do? Launch a few rockets, kill a few people – so what? In no year has “terrorism” killed as many as half the people dying on our roads. Israel can deal with that. The Hamas regime would probably not be running the Gaza Strip in the first place if Israel had not cut the Strip off from the West Bank, contrary to its solemn undertaking in Oslo to create four safe passages. None was ever opened.

That, by the way, also explains the timing. Why did Netanyahu agree now to something he has violently opposed all his life? Because Abbas, the featherless chicken, has suddenly turned into an eagle.

On the day of the swap, Abbas made a speech. It sounded rather flat. For the average Palestinian, the case was quite simple: Abbas, with all his Israeli and American friends, has got no one released for years. Hamas, using force, has released more than a thousand, including Fatah members. Ergo: “Israel understands only the language of force”.

THE VAST majority of Israelis supported the deal, though convinced that the vile murderers will try again to kill us.

Never were the lines of division as clear as this time: some 25% opposed it. These included all the extreme right-wing, all the settlers and almost all the national-religious. All the others – the huge camp of the center and left, the secular, liberal and moderate religious – supported it.

This is the Israeli mainstream on which the hopes for the future are resting. If Netanyahu had proposed a peace agreement with the Palestinians this week, and if he had been supported by the chiefs of the army, the Mossad and the Security Service (as he was this week), the same majority would have supported him.

As for the prisoners – another 4000 are still held in Israeli prisons, and this number is liable to grow again. The opponents of the deal are quite right in saying that it will provide Palestinian organizations with a strong incentive to renew their efforts to capture Israeli soldiers in order to get more prisoners released.

If all of Israel is drunk with emotion because one boy has been returned to his family – what about 4000 families on the other side? Unfortunately, ordinary Israelis don’t put the question this way. They have got used to seeing the Palestinian prisoners only as bargaining chips.

How to thwart the efforts to capture more soldiers? There is only one alternative: to open a credible way to have them released by agreement.

Such as by peace, if you can excuse the expression.

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

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Also see Stuart Littlewood’s essay HERE

Yes, rejoice for precious Shalit. Spare a thought for the 8,000 Palestinian prisoners

ISRAELI ACTIVIST LOOKS AT THE WALL STREET OCCUPATION

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website….. BUT, it’s definitely worth reading.

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“There is some hesitancy with proclaiming to be in solidarity with the tent protests in Tel Aviv, because there has not been a direct call from those protests to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine.”
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Wall Street Protest Can’t Match Israeli Tent Cities, For Now

Letter From Wall Street

Not Like Tel Aviv, Yet: The protesters camped out on Wall Street haven’t brought American capitalism to its knees yet. A veteran of the Israeli tent city protests says they started small, too.
Josh Nathan-Kazis
Not Like Tel Aviv, Yet: The protesters camped out on Wall Street haven’t brought American capitalism to its knees yet. A veteran of the Israeli tent city protests says they started small, too.

It was one day after New York City police arrested scores of left-wing demonstrators during a march on Manhattan’s Union Square, and the ranks were dwindling at the protesters’ downtown encampment.

A member of the group offered a weather forecast extending to the end of the week — not a minor consideration for the activists, who gathered on September 25 in the plaza they had occupied for a week and in which they intended to stay put.

To Ronen Eidelman, a 40-year-old Israeli activist who helped organize the massive tent protests that rocked Israel this past summer, the young, largely white crowd was a little underwhelming.

“It’s very easy to come here and be cynical — a bunch of white kids with laptops playing revolution,” Eidelman said of the anti-corporate activists. But he added, “That’s also what they said on the first days of the Rothschild protest.”

Eidelman spent 6 weeks, on and off, sleeping in a tent this summer. He showed up at the first protest camp on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv within three days of its founding, then moved to establish a satellite camp in the immigrant neighborhood near the Central Bus Station in southern Tel Aviv.

The movement sparked by Israel’s tent cities grew, over the course of three months, into the largest social protests in Israel in decades. But on September 25, the New York protest effort, known as Occupy Wall Street, wasn’t quite there yet. In fact, the Wall Street protest seemed bedeviled by obstacles when Eidelman visited.

Take the loudspeaker problem. The few hundred activists holding a planning meeting in the corner of the park relied not on an electronic amplification system, but rather on participants talking in short phrases that the crowd repeated, like a massive game of telephone.

“We had mics,” Eidelman said of his tent city near the bus station.

Wall Street activists told Eidelman that police had threatened to arrest those who used megaphones. Eidelman thought: Why not buy a few hundred megaphones and dare them to arrest everyone? Apparently the idea hadn’t been raised.

“I could say that they’re wimps,” Eidelman said.

Eidelman immigrated to Israel at the age of 7 and speaks English in an American accent with Hebrew cadences. A founder of the anti-occupation group Anarchists Against the Wall, he spent years working on direct action campaigns against the construction of Israel’s security barrier.

Eidelman and his allies were used to being beyond the fringes of the Israeli consensus, so finally being part of a mass movement during the tent protests felt strange.

“It’s so weird to be suddenly in a place where everybody supports you,” Eidelman said.

In protester-occupied Zuccotti Park, a few feet from ground zero, Eidelman observed that the American activists seemed more afraid of the police than the protesters had been in Tel Aviv. Perhaps not without reason: A widely circulated video taken at a march the day before showed a police official, seemingly unprovoked, spray a group of young women with pepper spray.

In Tel Aviv, Eidelman said, the Israelis came onto the streets with a sense of ownership and a feeling that the police worked for them.

“The good thing about Zionist education is they tell you the country is yours,” Eidelman said.

Zionism also values collective effort, and Israelis are often veterans of youth movements and of the army — experiences that couldn’t have hurt in preparing thousands of Israelis to go camping together for a few months. Meanwhile, the student movement and the kibbutz movement offered supplies and infrastructure to the protesters in Israel, Eidelman said, functions that the Wall Street protesters are pulling together on the fly.

For Israelis, Eidelman said, “collectivity is kind of in our genes.”

The protesters who sparked the Israeli mass movement made sure to be accommodating to everyday Israelis. At Eidelman’s camp in Tel Aviv, the kitchen had served meat — anathema to the longtime activists, many of whom are vegetarians. But the tent cities were meant to be for everyone. On Wall Street, Eidelman saw a lack of openness. He said he had visited three times and no one had invited him to join in.

“I think people are angry. I just don’t think people feel this is a place they could fight it,” Eidelman said. He added, “Yet.”

But while Eidelman held out hope for the Wall Street protests, the Tel Aviv-based demonstrations were conspicuously absent from the Wall Street protesters’ rhetoric. The protesters regularly cite the demonstrations in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and the ongoing protests in Madrid. But Rothschild Boulevard is rarely name-checked.

“There is some hesitancy with proclaiming to be in solidarity with the tent protests in Tel Aviv, because there has not been a direct call from those protests to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine,” said Ari Cowan, 21, who said on September 26 that he had slept in the plaza all but two of the nine nights of the occupation.

The complaint, which is not uncommon, is one for which Eidelman has little patience.

“To look at a social movement only through the prism of the Palestinian struggle, that’s very limiting,” Eidelman said. “What do you expect, we’re going to change the whole system in two months?”

 

DEATH TO THE DEATH PENALTY!

I applaud any effort that reduces the number of executions and this strategy appears to be making some headway. It fails, however, to address the core problems of the death penalty and our criminal justice system. Even if we could guarantee without bias that the state would execute only those guilty of premeditated killing, these executions would still be wrong.
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Keep the Death Penalty to Encourage Prison Reform?

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Ross Douthat concluded his Op Ed piece about Troy Davis’s execution in The New York Times on September 24, 2011 as follows:

“Abolishing capital punishment in a kind of despair over its fallibility would … tell the public that our laws and courts and juries are fundamentally incapable of delivering what most Americans consider genuine justice. It could encourage a more cynical and utilitarian view of why police forces and prisons exist, and what moral standards we should hold them to. And while it would put an end to wrongful executions, it might well lead to more overall injustice.”

Perhaps the Times published this piece so it could respond to it obliquely with an excellent editorial it published two days later which stated: “The death penalty is grotesque and immoral and should be repealed.”

Lest some find the paragraph I quote above unclear, Mr. Douthat appears to argue that rather than abolish the death penalty because we can’t apply it fairly, we should take greater pains to apply it and other criminal penalties in a more just fashion.

I find Mr. Douthat’s logic strained, even perverse. Is he saying it is worth risking a few unjust executions in order to improve the public’s perception of our criminal justice system?

But in a way Mr. Douthat’s analysis is not an unreasonable response to the tactics of much of the domestic anti-capital punishment movement, which is engaged primarily in case-by-case demonstrations that we might execute innocent defendants. This strategy is being applied on a state-by-state basis in those locales where anti-death penalty sentiment is strongest. Abolitionists employing these tactics supplement their arguments with proof of the system’s unfairness and excessive cost.

I applaud any effort that reduces the number of executions and this strategy appears to be making some headway. It fails, however, to address the core problems of the death penalty and our criminal justice system. Even if we could guarantee without bias that the state would execute only those guilty of premeditated killing, these executions would still be wrong.

The initial words of Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as adopted by the United Nations, which is the first to enumerate a specific right, read: “Everyone has the right to life”.” Simply put, the death penalty is a human rights abuse. This makes sense because if our government has the right to extinguish our lives, it has the power to deny us access to every other right listed in the Declaration. The rights set forth in Articles 4 through 30 won’t do you much good if you aren’t alive to enjoy them. While the domestic anti-capital punishment movement is reluctant to make this argument because most Americans don’t agree with it, it is the one we must ultimately make and win if we wish to permanently rid our nation of the death penalty.

We must also consider the larger context capital punishment inhabits. Our system disproportionately imprisons far too many people for far too long. Mr. Douthat exposed a basic truth, although he backed into it. Race and class discrimination permeates our entire criminal justice system. Mr. Douthat poses this as an either/or proposition. Either we eliminate capital punishment to avoid a wrongful execution or we reform our system to make it fairer. Instead, we must do both, although I think the word “reform” understates what is needed. Commuting Troy Davis’ death sentence – or that of any other wrongfully convicted death row defendant – to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole is not a just solution, but it is a result many in the mainstream anti-death penalty movement in our country appear to be promoting.

Let us use Troy Davis’s wrongful execution as a rallying cry to reassert our common humanity by demanding that our government stop its cold-blooded extermination of our fellow human beings. But we must also demand the end of the wholesale warehousing of over two million people in the degrading conditions of our bloated prison industrial complex.

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*Robert Meeropol is the younger son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. In 1953, when he was six years old, the United States Government executed his parents for “conspiring to steal the secret of the atomic bomb.”
For thirty years he has been a progressive activist, author and public speaker. In the 1970’s he and his brother, Michael, successfully sued the FBI and CIA to force the release of 300,000 previously secret documents about their parents. He earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in Anthropology from the University of Michigan, graduated law school in 1985, and was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar.
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In 1990, after leaving private practice, Robert founded the Rosenberg Fund for Children (www.rfc.org) and now serves as its Executive Director. The RFC, which is in the midst celebrating its 20th anniversary, provides for the educational and emotional needs children in this country whose parents have been harassed, injured, jailed, lost jobs or died in the course of their progressive activities. The RFC also helps activist youth in the U.S. who have been targeted themselves.

In its 20-year history, the Fund has awarded almost $4 million in grants to benefit hundreds of children.

Robert’s memoir, AN EXECUTION IN THE FAMILY was published by St. Martin’s Press on the 50th anniversary of his parents’ executions. The book details his odyssey from Rosenberg son to political activist and leader of the Rosenberg Fund for Children.

www.rfc.org

 

 

Written FOR

THE NEW ANTI-SEMITISM KNOWN AS ZIONISM

It is absolutely the case that the Jews should not be held collectively responsible for the actions of Israel. But it should be pointed out that it is just such collective responsibility that Zionists insist upon. Zionist ideology demands that Israel be recognized as representing world Jewry. Zionists expect that, in return, all Jews will identify with and actively support Israel–feel one with the “Jewish state.” They classify those Jews who do not recognize their collective responsibility to Israel as somehow deficient or perhaps “self-hating” Jews. So let us get this straight, if holding Jews collectively responsible for the acts of Israel is anti-Semitic, what does that make the Zionists?
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Murky Anti-Semitism (Zionist Style)

Israeli Pirate Flag Silwan - (June 26 2010, Rebecca Fudala)

An Analysis-  by Lawrence Davidson*

Part I – Stretching the Definition of Anti-Semitism

Can criticism of Israel, particularly a) criticism of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people and b) criticism of the state ideology of Zionism that justifies that treatment, be labeled anti-Semitic? This is not a hypothetical query. An affirmative answer to this question is being advocated by influential Zionist lobbies in the United States. The question is of particular importance on the nation’s college and university campuses. In places like the University of California at Berkeley and Santa Cruz, and also at Rutgers University in New Jersey, Zionist students are now threatening to sue these institutions for failing to prevent an “atmosphere of anti-Semitic bigotry” allegedly created by the presence of pro-Palestinian student groups and faculty.

One might ask if it isn’t a stretch to assert that protesting Israeli and Zionist behavior is the same as anti-Semitism? Common sense certainly tells us this is so. Unfortunately, we are not dealing with situations that are ruled by common sense. What we are facing here is the issue of ideologues bred to a specific perceptual paradigm and their insistence that others conform to it.

Here is an example: Take an American kid from a self-conscious Jewish home. This kid does not represent all American Jewish youth, but does typify say 20% of them. He or she is taught about the religion and also taught about recent history and the near annihilation of the Jews of Europe. He or she is sent to Hebrew school, and maybe a yeshiva school as well. Most of our hypothetical student’s friends will be Jewish and of similar background. Between home, friends and school the student might well find him or herself in something of a closed universe. Throughout this educational process Judaism and its fate in the modern world is connected with Israel and its survival. The Arabs, and particularly the Palestinians, are transformed into latter day Nazis. In addition, Israel’s state ideology of Zionism becomes assimilated into the credos of the religion. Soon our hypothetical student cannot tell the difference between the two. Then, having come of age, our student goes off to college or university. Now he or she is no longer in a closed world. The result can be culture shock and an uncomfortable feeling that the student is on a campus where vocal and assertive debate about Israel and its behavior sounds like an attack on the Jewish religion. Our student complains to the ZOA, Hillel, AIPAC, or some similar organization and we are off down a road toward censorship and/or litigation. Lawsuits are lodged (particularly if the ZOA is involved), donors swear that they will no longer support the institution, legislators bang on desks at the state capital, and boards of directors want to know what is going on and what the institution’s president is going to do about it?

Part II – Sweet Reason

There have been a number of efforts to try to use sweet reason to work out some of these problems before they get too explosive. For instance, in 2006 there was concern over the efforts of various pro-Palestinian campus groups to promote an academic boycott of Israel. Is this being anti-Semitic? Should campuses allow this to be advocated? After all those who espouse academic boycott have a good deal of evidence of criminal activities on the part of the Israeli Universities. At that time the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) sought to clarify the issues by arranging a roundtable discussion on academic boycott by those who stood pro and con. This sounded like a good idea. But no, the Zionist side did not like the list of discussants on the pro side and tried to censor the list. The AAUP resisted that move, so the Zionist side pressured the donors subsidizing the proposed roundtable to pull their support. The whole thing collapsed. It seemed the Zionists were not going to discuss the topic except on their own terms.

Just recently there has been similar attempt at sweet reason. A heated debate is now taking place over whether Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (which bars federal funds from institutions that discriminate) can be applied to schools that allow criticism of Israel which the Zionists claim is anti-Semitic. If so, those same Zionists, whose influence is strong in Congress, can use Title VI as a club to threaten colleges and universities with the loss of financial support unless they shut down the criticism. This, of course, equates to censorship and an attack on free speech.

Once more the AAUP, which opposes the use of Title VI in such situations, approached the American Zionists in an effort to find a compromise position. Professor Cary Nelson, head of the AAUP, managed to enter into negotiations with Kenneth Stern, the “anti-Semitism expert” of the American Jewish Committee (AJC). The two of them worked out a common position which, after consultation with others in each organization, was signed and released to the public. What did this document say? For our needs, here are its most important points:

1. Title VI is not an appropriate instrument to use when trying to “protect” Jewish students from “anti-Israel events, statements and speakers.” To use Title VI this way amounts to censorship.

2. Question: How do we know what is going on at a college or university campus is anti-Semitism? Answer: “Six years ago the European monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) created a working definition of anti-Semitism….while clearly stating that criticism of Israel in the main is not anti-Semitic, [it] gives some examples of when anti-Semitism may come into play, such as holding Jews collectively responsible for the acts of the Israeli state, comparing Israeli policy to that of the Nazis, or denying to Jews the right of self-determination (such as by claiming that Zionism is racism). In recent years the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights have embraced this definition too. It is entirely proper for university administrators, scholars and students to reference the working definition in identifying definite or possible instances of anti-Semitism on campus.”
3. Conclusion: Censorship should be avoided, Title VI should be avoided, but the “working definition” should be used to make judgments as to how best to “wrestle with ideas” while at the same time “combating bigotry.”

This letter was signed by both Cary Nelson as President of the AAUP and Kenneth Stern as the Director of the anti-Semitism and extremism sub-division of the AJC. Released in early August 2011, it took only a few days before it was repudiated by the AJC. On 9 August David Harris, President of the American Jewish Committee, “apologized” for the joint declaration, said it was “ill advised” and blamed a breakdown in the AJC’s “system of checks and balances” for the slip up. Kenneth Stern is now on an unscheduled sabbatical and can not be reached for comment.

This is, of course, a replay of the 2006 situation and just goes to show that, it is the hard right ideologues who are in charge on the Zionist side. These people have a worldview that allows for no compromise. Censorship is exactly what they want and Title VI is as good a weapon to wield as any. What could Kenneth Stern possibly have been thinking? There is no room for sweet reason here.

Part III – The AAUP Makes a Mistake

This is not the end of the story. There is something wrong with the fact that the AAUP was so quick to endorse the EUMC working definition of anti-Semitism (a definition, by the way, that Kenneth Stern had a hand in writing). Consider these two statements from the above AAUP-AJC declaration each of which, according to the “working definition,” can be seen as anti-Semitic: 1) “holding Jews collectively responsible for the acts of the Israeli state” and 2) “denying to Jews the right of self-determination (such as by claiming that Zionism is racism).” As we are about to see the first statement has hidden facets to it and the second defies historical reality.

Statement 1:

It is absolutely the case that the Jews should not be held collectively responsible for the actions of Israel. But it should be pointed out that it is just such collective responsibility that Zionists insist upon. Zionist ideology demands that Israel be recognized as representing world Jewry. Zionists expect that, in return, all Jews will identify with and actively support Israel–feel one with the “Jewish state.” They classify those Jews who do not recognize their collective responsibility to Israel as somehow deficient or perhaps “self-hating” Jews. So let us get this straight, if holding Jews collectively responsible for the acts of Israel is anti-Semitic, what does that make the Zionists?

Statement 2:

a. That Jews have some sort of natural right to political self-determination is highly questionable. How about Protestants, Catholics, Hindus, Buddhists, ad infinitum? Just how far do we want to push this claim of political self-determination for religious faiths? Oh, but the Zionists insist that Jews are not just adherents to a particular faith–they are a “people.” Well, for sure that is an opinion. It just doesn’t happen to be the opinion of millions of other Jews who see Judaism as a religion pure and simple. Of course, if the latter are vocal about this they run the risk of being labeled “self-hating.”

b. And who, except of course the Zionists, says that Zionism is a desirable vehicle for the expression of this alleged right of self-determination? Let us face it. Israel and its Zionist ideology were born of the will of a small minority of Jews, almost exclusively from Central and Eastern Europe, most of whom were secularists, and almost all of whom carried within their heads the poisoned perceptions of European imperialist bigotry – an outlook which still characterizes the state they set up. That is why, in practice, Zionism has resulted in a prima facie racist environment in Israel. And now we are told that, according to the “working definition,” pointing out the link between Zionism and racism is an act of anti-Semitism!

Given this close reading of parts of the “working definition,” the AAUP really ought to rethink its apparent support of the document. It is a position that can only give impetus to the very censorship the AAUP dreads.

Part IV – Conclusion

One has come to expect twisted logic from the Zionists. Actually, one can expect this sort of thinking from any band of ideologues. Their blinkered vision, incapable of seeing around the corners of their prejudices, guarantees that most of what comes out of their mouths and their pens is sophistry.

However, what is one to do when folks you count on as rational and careful thinkers, like the leadership of the AAUP, get caught short this way? What is one to do when flawed reasoning and spurious assumptions start to be translated into criteria for government administrative decisions? What can you do when a fifth of the Congress decides to take a break and visit one of the most racist places on the planet and you risk being labeled an anti-Semite for decrying this fact? Well, you have a good laugh, have a good cry, and then go post your assessment of the situation on your website. Then you get a bit drunk. Finally, you repeat ten times “I will never to stay silent.”

*Dr. Lawrence Davidson is professor of history at West Chester University. He is the author of numerous books, including Islamic Fundamentalism and America’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood.

The author is a regular contributor to RamallahOnline.com.More articles can be found on RamallahOnline.com, Logos Journal, and Dr. Davidson also maintains an online blog, you can find it at http://www.tothepointanalyses.com

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

ARE THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL IN DANGER OR IS THEIR GOVERNMENT?

Over half a million people demonstrated throughout Israel last night …. will anything come of it? Uri Avnery deals with this in the following report…

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WHO ARE these people? What exactly do they want?

It started with a demand for “Affordable Housing”. Rents in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and elsewhere are extremely high, after years of Government neglect. But the protest soon engulfed other subjects: the high price of foodstuffs and gasoline, the low wages . The ridiculously low salaries of physicians and teachers, the deterioration of the education and health services. There is a general feeling that 18 tycoons control everything, including the politicians. (Politicians who dared to show up in the tent cities were chased away.) They could have quoted an American saying: “Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.”

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“How Goodly Are Thy Tents”

By Uri Avnery

FIRST OF all, a warning.

Tent cities are springing up all over Israel. A social protest movement is gathering momentum. At some point in the near future, it may endanger the right-wing government.

At that point, there will be a temptation – perhaps an irresistible temptation – to “warm up the borders”. To start a nice little war. Call on the youth of Israel, the same young people now manning (and womanning) the tents, to go and defend the fatherland.

Nothing easier than that. A small provocation, a platoon crossing the border “to prevent the launching of a rocket”, a fire fight, a salvo of rockets – and lo and behold, a war. End of protest.

In September, just a few weeks from now, the Palestinians intend to apply to the UN for the recognition of the State of Palestine. Our politicians and generals are chanting in unison that this will cause a crisis – Palestinians in the occupied territories may rise in protest against the occupation, violent demonstrations may ensue, the army will be compelled to shoot – and lo and behold, a war. End of protest.

THREE WEEKS ago I was interviewed one morning by a Dutch journalist. At the end, she asked: “You are describing an awful situation. The extreme right-wing controls the Knesset and is enacting abominable anti-democratic laws. The people are indifferent and apathetic. There is no opposition to speak of. And yet you exude a spirit of optimism. How come?”

I answered that I have faith in the people of Israel. Contrary to appearances, we are a sane people. Some time, somewhere, a new movement will arise and change the situation. It may happen in a week, in a month, in a year. But it will come.

On that very same day, just a few hours later, a young woman called Daphne Liff, with an improbable man’s hat perched on her flowing hair, said to herself: “Enough!”

She had been evicted by her landlady because she couldn’t afford the rent. She set up a tent in Rothschild Boulevard, a long, tree-lined thoroughfare in the center of Tel Aviv. The news spread through facebook, and within an hour, dozens of tents had sprung up. Within a week, there were some 400 tents, spread out in a double line more than a mile long.

Similar tent-cities sprang up in Jerusalem, Haifa and a dozen smaller towns. The next Saturday, tens of thousands joined protest marches in Tel Aviv and elsewhere. Last Saturday, they numbered more than 150,000.

This”] has now become the center of Israeli life. The Rothschild tent city has assumed a life of its own –a cross between Tahrir Square and Woodstock, with a touch of Hyde Park corner thrown in for good measure. The mood is indescribably upbeat, masses of people come to visit and return home full of enthusiasm and hope. Everybody can feel that something momentous is happening.

Seeing the tents, I was reminded of the words of Balaam, who was sent by the king of Moab to curse the children of Israel in the desert (Numbers 24) and instead exclaimed: “How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, Oh Israel!”

IT ALL started in a remote little town in Tunisia, when an unlicensed market vendor was arrested by a policewoman. It seems that in the ensuing altercation, the woman struck the man in the face, a terrible humiliation for a Tunisian man. He set himself on fire. What followed is history: the revolution in Tunisia, regime change in Egypt, uprisings all over the Middle East.

The Israeli government saw all this with growing concern – but they didn’t imagine that there might be an effect in Israel itself. Israeli society, with its ingrained contempt for Arabs, could hardly be expected to follow suit.

But follow suit it did. People in the street spoke with growing admiration of the Arab revolt. It showed that people acting together could dare to confront leaders far more fearsome than our bumbling Binyamin Netanyahu.

Some of the most popular posters on the tents were “Rothschild corner Tahrir” and, in a Hebrew rhyme, “Tahrir – Not only in Cahir” – Cahir being the Hebrew version of al-Cahira, the Arabic name for Cairo. And also: “Mubarak, Assad, Netanyahu”.

In Tahrir Square, the central slogan was “The People Want to Overthrow the Regime”. In conscious emulation, the central slogan of the tent cities is “The People Want Social Justice”.

WHO ARE these people? What exactly do they want?

It started with a demand for “Affordable Housing”. Rents in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and elsewhere are extremely high, after years of Government neglect. But the protest soon engulfed other subjects: the high price of foodstuffs and gasoline, the low wages . The ridiculously low salaries of physicians and teachers, the deterioration of the education and health services. There is a general feeling that 18 tycoons control everything, including the politicians. (Politicians who dared to show up in the tent cities were chased away.) They could have quoted an American saying: “Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.”

A selection of the slogans gives an impression: We want a welfare state! Fighting for the home! Justice, not charity! If the government is against the people, the people are against the government! Bibi, this is not the US Congress, you will not buy us with empty words! If you don’t join our war, we shall not fight your wars! Give us our state back! Three partners with three salaries cannot pay for three rooms! The answer to privatization: revolution! We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, we are slaves to Bibi in Israel! I have no other homeland! Bibi, go home, we’ll pay for the gas! Overthrow swinish capitalism! Be practical, demand the impossible!

WHAT IS missing in this array of slogans? Of course: the occupation, the settlements, the huge expenditure on the military.

This is by design. The organizers, anonymous young men and women – mainly women – are very determined not to be branded as “leftists”. They know that bringing up the occupation would provide Netanyahu with an easy weapon, split the tent-dwellers and derail the protests.

We in the peace movement know and respect this. All of us are exercising strenuous self-restraint, so that Netanyahu will not succeed in marginalizing the movement and depicting it as a plot to overthrow the right-wing government.

As I wrote in an article in Haaretz: No need to push the protesters. In due course, they will reach the conclusion that the money for the major reforms they demand can only come from stopping the settlements and cutting the huge military budget by hundreds of billions – and that is possible only in peace. (To help them along, we published a large ad, saying: “It’s quite simple – money for the settlements OR money for housing, health services and education”).

Voltaire said that “the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one class of citizens to give it to the other”. This government takes the money of decent citizens to give it to the settlers.

WHO ARE they, these enthusiastic demonstrators, who seemingly have come from nowhere?

They are the young generation of the middle class, who go out to work, take home average salaries and “cannot finish the month”, as the Israeli expression goes. Mothers who cannot go to work because they have nowhere to leave their babies. University students who cannot get a room in the dormitories or afford accomodation in the city. And especially young people who want to marry but cannot afford to buy an apartment, even with the help of their parents. (One tent bore the sign: “Even this tent was bought by our parents”)

All this in a flourishing economy, which has been spared the pains of the world-wide economic crisis and boasts an enviable unemployment rate of just 5%.

If pressed, most of the protesters would declare themselves to be “social-democrats”. They are the very opposite of the Tea Party in the US: they want a welfare state, they blame privatization for many of their ills, they want the government to interfere and to act. Whether they want to admit it or not, the very essence of their demands and attitudes is classically leftist (the term created in the French Revolution because the adherents of these ideals sat on the left side of the speaker in the National Assembly). They are the essence of what Left means – (though in Israel, the terms “Left” and “Right” have until now been largely identified with questions of war and peace).

WHERE WILL it go from here?

No one can say. When asked about the impact of the French Revolution, Zhou Enlai famously said: “It’s too early to say.” Here we are witnessing an event still in progress, perhaps even still beginning.

It has already produced a huge change. For weeks now, the public and the media have stopped talking about the borders, the Iranian bomb and the security situation. Instead, the talk is now almost completely about the social situation, the minimum wage, the injustice of indirect taxes, the housing construction crisis.

Under pressure, the amorphous leadership of the protest has drawn up a list of concrete demands. Among others: government building of houses for rent, raising taxes on the rich and the corporations, free education from the age of three months [sic], a raise in the salary of physicians, police and fire-fighters, school classes of no more than 21 pupils, breaking the monopolies controlled by a few tycoons, and so on.

So where from here? There are many possibilities, both good and bad.

Netanyahu can try to buy off the protest with some minor concessions – some billions here, some billions there. This will confront the protesters with the choice of the Indian boy in the movie about becoming a millionaire: take the money and quit, or risk all on answering yet another question.

Or: the movement may continue to gather momentum and force major changes, such as shifting the burden from indirect to direct taxation.

Some rabid optimists (like myself) may even dream of the emergence of a new authentic political party to fill the gaping void on the left side of the political spectrum.

I STARTED with a warning, and I must end with another one: this movement has raised immense hopes. If it fails, it may leave behind an atmosphere of despondency and despair – a mood that will drive those who can to seek a better life somewhere else.

 

Written FOR

TIMELY TOON AND OPEN LETTER TO THE PEOPLE OF PALESTINE

Both image and letter are by Skulz Fontaine

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Click on image to enlarge

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An Open Letter to the People of Palestine:
My dear brothers and sisters in Palestine, my prayers are with you daily. I need to bring up a rather nasty reality here and, Iʼm certain that this reality has not been overlooked by you.
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As Freedom Flotilla II prepares to sail to Gaza, well maybe theyʼll get to sail to Gaza, the freedom sailors are beset with a world of difficulty. Most of that difficulty is the work of Israeli
subterfuge and US interference.
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Binyamin ʻsquirrellyʼ Netanyahu is working his clandestine best to wreck Freedom Flotilla II. For the life of me, I canʼt figure out whatʼs got our buddy Bibs in such a snit. Maybe Bibs figures that if he canʼt stop this flotilla heʼll have lost the last vestige of legitimacy he might, on a good day, be able to claim. Trust me, our buddy Bibs is worlds of short in the legitimacy department. 
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The world knows it. This letter is not about Netanyahu. You know full well the evil Binyamin Netanyahu works on Palestine. The President of these United States, one Barack Obama, managed to sermonize large on Palestine. The rights of Palestinian people. A “fair and equitable” peace for Palestine and Israel. You know, not too far back in the beginning to ʻterm Obamaʼ. Well, thatʼs mostly a load of blah blah blah at present. As you know, the proof for sermonizing is always in the pudding. Ergo, any Obama sermon is mostly bland and thin pudding if not outright gruel. And, one might not want a second serving of Obama gruel. 
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So, Obama is about worked to a frazzle trying to do the bidding of Netanyahu and keep Freedom Flotilla II from reaching Gaza. The Obama diplomatic face, Hillary ʻschoolmarmʼ Clinton, has even cajoled the US State Department into intimidating and making threats on humanitarian workers planning to bring aid and comfort to Gaza. 
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You see, ʻschoolmarmʼ Clinton likes to think of our world as her personal classroom and like the austere teacher attempting to mannerize an unruly class of juveniles, she would browbeat an
entire planet just to make her point. Of course the Clinton point would be, do as I say and not as I do and be amiable little peasants or weʼll bomb you back to Neolithic Hell. 
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Clintonʼs State Department has been about the business of intimidation/harassment of pro-Palestinian Americans for quite awhile now. Clinton even got Eric ʻsilentʼ Holder to go after the
Humanitarian Law Project and Holder managed to garner 23 subpoenas that merely serve to highlight the sheer galling hypocrisy of US policy towards Palestine/Palestinians. By Clintonʼs twisted thought process, aid to Gaza is material support to terrorism. You know, as if Hamas and/or Palestinians were al-Qaeda. Uh-oh, I said the “al-Qaeda” word. Now everyone run around in circles, be afraid, take comprehensive leave of your common senses, and just act all knee-jerk and foolish. 
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My point would be, Hillary the schoolmarm is NO friend of Palestine, Palestinians, and/ or real actual peace for Palestine and a just settlement to longstanding issues like the right-of-return and Iʼll not do a lengthy listing of Palestinian grievances. Yeah, there are many. Grievances.
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Next up, the Imperial US Senate. Or as we living in the Homeland Insecurity like to call them, the good old boy network that turns a handsome profit for senators and not so much for us. 
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87 Imperial US Senators co-sponsored a nifty little Senate Resolution numbered 185. SR185 lays the blame squarely on the Palestinian Authority and of course that icky Hamas for getting
all manner of “uppity” about a State for Palestine. A free and sovereign State. Wow, what a novel notion there boy. You see, the Imperial US Senate does NOT want Palestinians to be doing rash and foolish things like wandering off to the United Nations and submitting a petition for National recognition. Why, that would make matters almost unbearable for Bibs, Israel, and
of course that Israeli occupied territory lovingly known as- The United States Congress. 
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SR185 “warns” that UN recognition of a Palestinian state harms the peace process. Okay, I need just a moment to run outside and spit. Laughing all the way of course. “Peace process?”  Really? What peace process? You see, at least 87 Imperial US Senators are so out-to-lunch as to be laughable. Can we all say, disconnected from the ʻreality-basedʼ community? I knew we all could.
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87 Imperial US Senators also “demand” that Palestinians reconsider “their unity government agreement.” You must understand that a rather ʻbig wordʼ like rapprochement leaves at least 87 Imperial US Senators having to go poopy. (I stole that “poopy” schtick from Mr. Lewis Black. He is one funny man)
Now, I am just your ordinary run-of-the-mill absolute nobody. But, for Fatah and Hamas to sit down and work out longstanding disagreements is hardly the business of the Imperial US
Senate. It isnʼt. None of their darn business and the Senate has NO right to utter word one about any of it. The Imperial US Senate vomiting up SR185 does worlds of harm to any number
of innocent people AND that senatorial brain trust is too stupid (servile to Israel?) to hold even a  modest clue as to what it is theyʼre doing. I canʼt figure out what theyʼre doing and I live here. You know, in the Amerika. 
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The bottom line for SR185 is the cast-in-concrete decision by the US to “veto” Palestinian statehood at the UN. Well and of course, cut off any monies that MIGHT get to the Palestinian
Authority. Ewww, more threats. Yeah, like the US actually sends money to Palestine that does NOT need Israeli approval. Oh thatʼs rich! SR185 has several more “warnings” and “failure to
comply will…” and “serious impact on US aid…” and blah blah blah sprinklings of banal blah blah blahs and so on ad infinitum. 
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My Palestinian brothers and sisters, the good old US of A is not your friend. I know that, you know that, Israel is laughing at you and me as I write this. The Obama may in fact be any number of horrendous hypocrisies and demented bombings of innocent people in places too numerous to bring up here. Obama is no friend of Palestinians. Clinton is simply too evil to be working diplomacy of any sort. That state of affairs is so utterly futile as to be hopeless. It is disheartening, it is shameful, it is egregious on levels that are inhumane. 
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Iʼve made my position known to any Obama admin flunky that I can find an email address for. My spouting off about injustice and Palestine get me about nowhere. Regularly. But enough about that for now. Howʼs the weather? 
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Most respectfully yours,
Skulz Fontaine
el Gran Norté Blanco 
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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.

A WELCOME SURPRISE AT THE JERUSALEM POST

How the following got past the evil eyes of the editorial board at the Jerusalem Post will remain a mystery until or unless Caroline Glick explains its appearance in the weekend edition…. She might even dedicate a new YouTube video for the author (she was one of the producers of We Con The World).
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Read it while it’s still available on-line, something tells me that won’t be for long.
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Hysteria, ‘hasbara’ and the flotilla

By LARRY DERFNER *

Israel’s propaganda machine is in full swing prior to the ships’ upcoming arrival.

 

I just love Israel’s “hasbara” campaign against Freedom Flotilla 2. I mean, butter wouldn’t melt in these people’s mouths.“There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” says Ehud Barak. Gazans are “importing televisions and plasma screens, and exporting agricultural products to the entire Arab world,” says IDF chief Benny Gantz.

Yes, Gaza is economically on the mend – but not because of Israel’s good intentions; rather, despite its bad intentions.

If it were up to the government, Gazans would still be unable to receive terrorist infrastructure equipment such as toys, musical instruments, heaters, newspapers, fishing rods, tractor parts, irrigation pipes and, of course, coriander, on relief trucks coming across the border.

Why did that policy change? What forced Israel to start letting everything through except construction equipment, which it fears Hamas might use to make bunkers? It was Freedom Flotilla 1, remember? It was the killing of nine Turks aboard the Mavi Marmara by Israeli commandos on May 31, 2010, after which Israel was compelled by international outrage to begin allowing all those previously banned weapons of mass destruction – cumin, ginger, dried fruit, industrial margarine, clothing fabric, sewing machines and more – into the Strip.

Likewise, if it were up to the government, Hosni Mubarak would still be ordering Egyptian troops to search out and destroy the tunnels built by Gazans to smuggle in goods. But to the government’s dismay, Mubarak was overthrown and Egypt’s new leadership is less eager to collaborate with our Gaza policy.

The result? “Sacks of cement and piles of gravel… are smuggled through hundreds of tunnels in double shifts, day and night, totaling some 3,000 tons a day… Streets are being paved and buildings constructed,” wrote The New York Times’ Ethan Bronner last weekend.

“Things are better than a year ago,” a leading activist in the Strip told him. “The siege on goods is now 60 to 70 percent over.”

SO YOU see? No need for a flotilla, Gaza’s doing just fine, say Israeli hasbaratists, smiling through gritted teeth.

Incidentally, when Gantz said that Gaza exports agricultural produce, he neglected to mention that that’s all Israel allows Gaza to export – and not much produce, either, or for very long.

“Export from Gaza is prohibited,” wrote Gisha, a Tel Aviv-based NGO, in a pre-flotilla report last week. “Between November 2010 and April 2011, Israel exceptionally allowed export of a minimal amount of strawberries, flowers, peppers and tomatoes from Gaza to European markets. The average rate of export during that time was two truckloads per day… Since May 12, 2011, no trucks carrying goods for export have left the Strip.”

I think Freedom Flotilla 2, even without making much progress toward Gaza, is playing hell with Israel’s image – or, rather, inducing Israel to show off its worst self (much as Freedom Flotilla 1 did.) Once again, Israel has gone hysterical, it’s lost touch with reality.

The Prime Minister’s Office threatened to ban foreign journalists for 10 years and confiscate their equipment if they dared report from aboard the ships. It also publicized a YouTube video made by a Tel Aviv actor pretending to be a foreign gay activist telling how he’d been banned from the flotilla. Israeli agents, presumably, sabotaged one of the Gaza-bound ships docked in Greece. “Senior officials in Jerusalem” claimed to have intelligence that flotilla activists planned to throw sulfur on IDF soldiers coming aboard and light them on fire.

Regarding that last item, Yediot Aharonot’s Alex Fishman, dean of Israeli military correspondents, wrote Wednesday: “There isn’t a shred of substance to the report that extremist elements will put up violent resistance to IDF soldiers aboard the flotilla. Neither is there any clear information regarding deadly weapons on any of the ships. It can be assumed that this is considered a possibility – along with many other scenarios and possibilities that come up in brainstorming sessions among military and intelligence officials preparing for the flotilla. But when a possibility such as this gets turned into a fact within the context of the Israeli hasbara campaign – this can boomerang and show Israel to be lacking in credibility.”

Lacking in credibility? You don’t say! I’m still waiting for the IDF to release all the videos confiscated from the Mavi Marmara – not just those that show the people aboard beating the commandos sliding down the ropes, but the stuff that happened before and after, too, especially the footage of the commandos killing those nine people.

Why won’t the IDF let us see that? Why do “senior officials in Jerusalem” make up scare stories about the flotilla? Why does Benny Gantz try to portray Gaza as a horn of plenty? Why does Israel twist and distort and cherrypick its way through the truth about Freedom Flotilla 1, Freedom Flotilla 2, Operation Cast Lead and everything else that has to do with its treatment of Palestinians?

And why on earth does anyone believe this “hasbara” – which has come to mean “Israeli disinformation” – anymore?

*The writer blogs at Israel Reconsidered (www.israelleft.com)

POLITICAL SCIENCE OR POLITICAL ART AT ITS WORST?

I’ll never understand why they call this field “political science”, for it is political art at its worst.
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A PALESTINIAN VIEW
Political art at its worst
 Sam Bahour
For anyone closely following the Palestinian-Israeli issue, nothing is more insulting than the world’s political players peddling another peace initiative, crusading as the ultimate formula to extract the conflict from its current abyss.

The most recent episode of such political peddling happened in rapid fire from mid-May to early June 2011, when US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu engaged in a ping-pong-like game of four days of policy speeches. The political fallout of these speeches was rather predictable. The media hailed Obama’s words as historic and started to view his approach as a new set of parameters (which are actually a step back from past US parameters) that could serve to bring the parties back to the negotiations table and on a path to resolving the conflict.

Those immersed in this conflict knew better. They saw Obama’s words for what they really were: a total buckling of US policy to an arrogant and intransigent Israeli prime minister who wields tremendous domestic leverage on US politics by way of the pro-Israel lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). For Obama, who already has his eye on the prize of a second term, the pressure was too much to bear.

A few days later, yet another “peace initiative” was announced, this time from France. In reply to the French announcement, the June 6 Haaretz editorial title read loud and clear: “Netanyahu must accept French peace initiative”. The editorial explained why:

France has placed an offer on the desk of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Begin direct negotiations with the Palestinians in September, on the basis of the Obama plan. The proposal does not define Israel’s borders, draw a map of Jerusalem or determine which settlements Israel must remove. It even helps the Israeli position in that it speaks of “two states for two peoples,” in other words it acknowledges that Israel is a Jewish state. It opposes unilateral steps by either side–that is, both the expansion of Israeli settlements and the Palestinians’ intention of seeking UN recognition for their state.

Anyone who knows anything about this conflict can tell you that this so-called “initiative” has as much chance of serving its proclaimed purpose as Hosni Mubarak has of being re-elected as president of Egypt.

The collective global memory seems to be in deep amnesia. We have been here before–at a point where half-baked initiatives and resolutions, non-compliant with international law and absent of any sense of historical justice, were touted as “the right formula”.

Palestinians don’t forget so easily, especially since their deep wounds due to dispossession since 1948, military occupation since 1967 and non-stop institutional discrimination against Palestinians inside Israel have never been given a chance to heal.

To name just a few of the past infamous peace initiatives, whose number is mind-boggling: UN General Assembly Resolution 181 (II) Future Government of Palestine (November 29, 1947), Count Folke Bernadotte proposals (1947-1948), UN Security Council Resolution 242 (November 22, 1967), Jarring Mission (1967-1971), Allon Plan (July 26, 1967), Rogers Plan (1969), UN Security Council Resolution 338 (October 22, 1973), Reagan Plan (Sept. 1, 1982), Oslo Accords (1993), Wye River Memorandum (October 23, 1998), Camp David 2000 Summit (2000), The Clinton Parameters (December 23, 2000), Taba summit (January 2001), The Tenet Plan (June 13, 2001), Elon Peace Plan (2002), Nusseibeh-Ayalon Agreement (2002), Arab Peace Initiative (March 28, 2002), The People’s Voice (July 27, 2002), Road Map for Peace (April 30, 2003), Geneva Accord (October 20, 2003), Sharm el-Sheikh Summit of 2005 (February 8, 2005), 2006 Franco-Italian-Spanish Middle East Peace Plan and, sadly, the list goes on and on.

For those still believing a two-state solution paradigm is possible, one past initiative is worthy to reflect upon: that of Count Folke Bernadotte. On May 20, 1948, Count Bernadotte, a Swedish diplomat and nobleman, was unanimously appointed as the United Nations mediator in Palestine, the first official mediator in UN history. He was assassinated in Jerusalem in 1948 by the militant Zionist group Lehi while pursuing his official duties. Lehi was led at the time by Yitzhak Shamir, who later became prime minister of Israel.

After unsuccessfully trying to promote the idea of a “union” between Palestine and Transjordan, he proposed two independent states. This proposal was completed on September 16, 1948, and its seven “basic premises” were:

  1. Peace must return to Palestine and every feasible measure should be taken to ensure that hostilities will not be resumed and that harmonious relations between Arab and Jew will ultimately be restored.
  2. A Jewish State called Israel exists in Palestine and there are no sound reasons for assuming that it will not continue to do so.
  3. The boundaries of this new State must finally be fixed either by formal agreement between the parties concerned or failing that, by the United Nations.
  4. Adherence to the principle of geographical homogeneity and integration, which should be the major objective of the boundary arrangements, should apply equally to Arab and Jewish territories, whose frontiers should not therefore, be rigidly controlled by the territorial arrangements envisaged in the resolution of 29 November.
  5. The right of innocent people, uprooted from their homes by the present terror and ravages of war, to return to their homes, should be affirmed and made effective, with assurance of adequate compensation for the property of those who may choose not to return.
  6. The City of Jerusalem, because of its religious and international significance and the complexity of interests involved, should be accorded special and separate treatment.
  7. International responsibility should be expressed where desirable and necessary in the form of international guarantees, as a means of allaying existing fears, and particularly with regard to boundaries and human rights.
Although this two-state approach is more honest in its larger context (as it relates to the flawed notion of “Jewish state” and right of return of Palestinian refugees), the text in premise four demonstrates that Count Bernadotte, 64 years earlier, stated the same principle that President Obama and the most recent French “initiative” promote: setting borders not compliant with the reference at the time, which was UN Resolution 181, the Partition Plan.

Sixty-four years has only changed the reference point of borders to the disadvantage of Palestinians, and today, the forces-that-be are proposing that the 1949 Armistice line (1967 green line) not be respected. Palestinians can only expect that remaining on the same path will result in Israel gobbling up more land while the international community continues to grasp for a workable initiative. In the meantime, the entire two-state paradigm is collapsing.

I’ll never understand why they call this field “political science”, for it is political art at its worst.

Written for Bitter Lemons

RABBI MICHAEL LERNER’S ‘PROGRESSIVE ZIONISM’ IS SICKENING

‘Continuing to honor the dishonorable’…..

Justice Richard Goldstone (left) was honored by Rabbi Michael Lerner (right) during an event held at UC Berkeley, 3/14/11, marking the 25th Anniversary of Tikkun Magazine. Photo by Luke Thomas.


I receive emails daily from a broad spectrum of Left and Progressive organisations. I always found it odd however when I receive such mails from a group or individual describing themselves as  ‘Progressive zionist’. I find that term to be an oxymoron.

Michael Lerner, of Tikkun Magazine is one such individual. His views on Israel can be seen in THIS report. The ‘Jewtopia’ he dreams of is just that, a dream.

His organisation claims to stand for ‘healing, repairing and transforming the world’, in actuality it seems to do just the opposite.

An email I received from his group this morning was quite disturbing, instead of attacking Richard Goldstone for his ‘about face’, he attacks Uri Avnery for telling it as it is.

Here is the email in its entirety…. you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about; be sure to read the separate report at the end to see the results of Goldstone’s ‘green light’.

Goldstone and the Israelis–an analysis by Uri Avnery

by Michael Lerner
April 9, 2011           If you prefer to read this on line, go to www.tikkun.org/nextgen/goldstone-and-the-israelis-an-analysis-by-uri-avnery

Editor’s Note: There is much wisdom in Uri Avnery’s analysis of the Goldstone controversy, but I cannot accept the ironic dissing of Goldstone himself. We did not give him the Tikkun award because we agreed with his report–we knew and said publicly long ago that the claim that Israel intentionally sought to kill civilians was at this point unsubstantiated and weakened the report, and I’m glad he repudiated that part. As other commentators have mentioned, Israeli human rights violations remain deeply unethical whether or not they were consciously intended by the Israeli government, or merely the product of what Avnery analyzes below–a systematic inability on the part of Israelis to see Palestinians as human and their suffering as a moral affront to God and humanity.

We gave Goldstone the report for his integrity and willingness to challenge his own people’s blind allegiance to the government of Israel, and I continue to believe in his integrity even if I believe that the op-ed he published in The Washington Post was confused and ambiguous in many respects. Goldstone received the enthusiastic standing ovation from the 600 people who attened Tikkun’s 25th anniversary celebration March 14, 2011,  when he was introduced and when he finished his remarks (which you can actually listen to on http://www.youtube.com/user/TikkunNSP#p/c/3BA201F10A65A3E7/4/rG_58B_y014 ). And we were moved by his insistence on protecting the needs of civilians and his justifiable outrage (which I share) at the brutal killing of an extremist settler family (including a 3 month old baby) by terrorists. Goldstone reported what he saw, given Israel’s refusal to cooperate with the investigation, and his change in the op-ed reflects seeing something differently now. He doesn’t seem to me to be a clever scheming self-interested person, but rather a man of great integrity without much understanding or interest in larger political contexts who uses his judicial training to make conclusions on “the facts” as they are presented to him. For this reason, I doubt Avnery’s account that seems to question his integrity.  Neverthelesss, Uri Avnery has a very important point in arguing that war itself is such a violation of human rights that the notion that we can only protect “innocent civilians” is itself a problematic retreat for those who know that the “legal” murdering that takes place in wars is itself fundamentally immoral. So I hope that Avnery’s cynical comments about Goldstone doesn’t deflect you from considering all the rest of his important analysis. –Rabbi Michael Lerner

Uri Avnery    April 9, 2011

The Gold and the Stone

THERE IS something tragicomic about the persona of Richard Goldstone.

First there was a veritable storm of fury when the original Goldstone report was issued.

What a fiend! A Jew who claims to be a Zionist and an Israel-lover, who publishes the most abominable slanders about against our valiant soldiers, aiding and abetting the worst anti-Semites around the world! The very prototype of a self-hating Jew! Still worse, a “mosser” – a Jew who turns another Jew over to the evil Goyim, the most detested figure in Jewish folklore.

And now the turnabout. Goldstone, the Jew who has recanted. Goldstone who has publicly confessed that he was wrong all along. That the Israeli army committed no crimes in the 2009-2010 “Cast Lead” Gaza operation, On the contrary, while the Israeli army has conducted honest and meticulous investigations into all the allegations, Hamas has not investigated any of the horrendous crimes it has committed.

Goldstone, the Man of Stone, has become Goldstone, the Man of Gold. A man of conscience! A man to be admired!

It was, of course, Binyamin Netanyahu who had the final word. Goldstone’s recantation, he summarized, has confirmed once again that the IDF is the Most Moral Army in the World.

MY HEART bleeds for Judge Goldstone. From the beginning he was placed in an impossible situation.

The UN commission which appointed him to head the inquiry into the allegations of war crimes committed during the operation was acting on a seemingly logical but actually foolish calculation. Appointing to the job a good Jew, and an avowed Zionist to boot, would disarm, it was thought, any allegation of anti-Israeli bias.

Goldstone and his colleagues undoubtedly did an honest and conscientious job. They sifted the evidence laid before them and arrived at reasonable conclusions on that basis. However, almost all the evidence came from Palestinian and UN sources. The commission could not interrogate the officers and soldiers of the Israeli forces because our government, in a typical and almost routine act of folly, refused to cooperate.

Why? The basic assumption is that all the world is out to get us, not because of anything we do, but because we are Jews. We know we are right, and we know that they are out to prove us wrong. So why cooperate with these bloody anti-Semites and Jewish self-haters?

Today, almost all influential Israelis concede that this was a stupid attitude. But there is no guarantee that our leaders will behave any differently next time, especially since the army is dead set against allowing any soldiers to appear before a non-Israeli forum, or, for that matter, before an Israeli non-military forum either.

BACK TO poor Goldstone. After the publication of his commission’s report, his life became hell.

The full fury of the Jewish ghetto against traitors from its midst was turned on him. Jews objected to his attending his grandson’s Bar Mitzvah. His friends turned away from him, He was ostracized by all the people he valued.

So he searched his soul and found that he had been wrong all along. His findings were one-sided. He would have found differently if he had heard the Israeli side of the story. The Israeli army has conducted honest investigations into the allegations, while the barbarous Hamas has not conducted any investigations at all into their obvious war crimes.

So when was Goldstone wrong? The first or the second time?

The answer is, alas, that he was wrong both times.

THE VERY term “war crimes” is problematic. War itself is a crime, never to be justified unless it is the only way to prevent a bigger crime – as with the war against Adolf Hitler, and now – on an incomparably smaller scale – against Muammar Qaddafi.

The idea of war crimes arose after the horrendous atrocities of the 30-year war, which devastated central Europe. The idea was that it is impossible to prevent brutal actions if they are needed to win a war, but that such actions are illegitimate if they are not needed for this purpose. The principle is not moral, but practical. Killing prisoners and civilians is a war crime, because it serves no effective military purpose, since both sides can do it.  So is the wanton destruction of property.

In Israel this principle was embodied in the landmark judgment by Binyamin Halevy after the 1956 Kafr Qasim massacre of innocent farmers, men, women and children. The Judge ruled that a “black flag” flies over “manifestly” illegal orders – orders which even a simple person can see are illegal, without talking to a lawyer. Since then, obeying such orders has been a crime under Israeli law.

THE REAL question about Cast Lead is not whether individual soldiers did commit such crimes. They sure did – any army is composed of all types of human beings, decent youngsters with a moral conscience besides sadists, imbeciles and others suffering from moral insanity. In a war you give all of them arms and a license to kill, and the results can be foreseen. That is one reason why “war is hell”.

The problem with Lebanon War II and Cast Lead is that the basic approach – the same in both cases – makes war crimes as good as inevitable. The planners were no monsters – they just did their job. They superimposed two facts one on the other. The result was inevitable.

One consideration was the requirement to avoid casualties on our side. We have a people’s army, composed of conscripts from all walks of life (like the US army in Vietnam but not in Afghanistan.) Our public opinion judges wars according to the number of (our) soldiers killed and wounded. So the directive to the military planners is: do everything possible so the number of our casualties will be next to nil.

The other fact is the total disregard for the humanity of the other side. Years and years of the occupation have created an army for whom Palestinians, and Arabs in general, are mere objects. Not human enemies, not even human monsters, just objects.

These two mental attitudes lead necessarily to a strategic and tactical doctrine which dictates the application of lethal force to anyone and anything that can possibly menace soldiers advancing in enemy territory – liquidating them in front of the soldiers preferably from afar by artillery and air power.

When the opposition is a resistance movement operating in a densely populated area, the results can almost be calculated mathematically. In Cast Lead, at least 350 Palestinian civilians, among them hundreds of women and children, were killed, together with about 750 enemy fighters. On the Israeli side: altogether 5 (five!) Israeli soldiers were killed by enemy fire (some six more by “friendly fire”).

This result did not contradict the undeclared political aim of the operation. It was to pressure the Gaza Strip population into overthrowing the Hamas government. This result, of course, was not achieved. Rather the opposite.

The logic – and the balance of casualties – of Lebanon War II were about the same, with added huge material destruction of civilian targets.

FOLLOWING THE Goldstone report, our army did indeed conduct quite extensive investigations into individual incidents. The number is impressive, the results are not. Some 150 or so cases were investigated, two soldiers were convicted (one for theft), one officer was indicted for the killing – by mistake – of an entire extended family.

This seems to satisfy Goldstone, who this week gratefully accepted an invitation  from the Israeli Minister of the Interior – perhaps the most rabid racist in the entire government, in which racists abound – to visit Israel. (When the conversation was leaked, Goldstone cancelled the matter and stated that the report would not be withdrawn.)

On the other side, Goldstone is aflame with indignation against Hamas, for launching rockets and mortar shells at civilians in Israel and conducting no investigations at all. Isn’t it rather ridiculous: using the same standards for one of the five mightiest armies in the world and a band of irregular and poorly equipped resistance fighters (alias terrorists).?

Terrorism is the weapon of the weak. (“Give me tanks and airplanes, and I promise I won’t plant bombs’” a Palestinian once said.) Since the entire military strategy of Hamas is terrorizing Israeli communities along the border in order to persuade Israel to put an end to the occupation (and, in the case of Gaza, to the ongoing blockade), Goldstone’s indignation seems a bit surprising.

Altogether, Goldstone has now paved the way for another Cast Lead operation which will be far worse.

I expect , however, that he can now pray in any synagogue he chooses.

–Uri Avnery is chair of the Israeli peace movement  Gush Shalom

~~~~~~~~~~~

GOLDSTONE’S ‘ABOUT FACE’ IN ACTION……

Gaza under attack: death and destruction in Rafah

On the afternoon of Thursday April 7th, Israeli forces escalated their attacks on the Gaza Strip. The murderous offensive has killed 18 people so far, the majority of them being civilians. Among the massacred are a mother, her daughter, two children, two elderly men and four members of Al Qassam Brigades. More than sixty people have been injured, some are still fighting for their lives. Since Thursday afternoon the Gaza Strip is besieged by drones, Apache helicopters, F16 and E15 fighter planes, gunboats in the south and tanks by the border.

At approximately 16:00 on Thursday, Israeli forces targeted areas surrounding the previously destroyed Gaza International Airport in the far southeast of Rafah city, in the south of the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces positioned along the border fired approximately 10 artillery shells, while Apache helicopters opened machine gun fire. A number of the artillery shells landed near three Palestinian civilians who were sitting near the airport. Two of them, Mohammed Eyada Eid el-Mahmoum (25) and Khaled Ismail Hamdan el-Dabari (17) were killed immediately and the third civilian, Saleh Jarmi Ateya al-Tarabin (38) died of his wounds in the hospital on the evening of the same day.

Israeli forces continued to fire as a number of Palestinian civilians attempted to rescue the wounded; Musaab Mohammed Ubeid Sawwaf, 20, was killed and another 14 civilians, including five children and a paramedic from the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, were wounded.

Salama El-Dabari is seated in a tent, mourning the loss of his nephew, the 17 year old Khaled Ismail Hamdan el-Dabari, while he explains to ISM volunteers what has happened.

“Khaled was following the ambulances on his motorbike, to assist the medics in evacuating the injured people. As soon as the ambulances arrived, an Apache helicopter shelled the site again. Khaled got stuck under his motorcycle, which caught fire during the shelling. The ambulances of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society were not able to evacuate him immediately. They recovered his body the next morning, covered in burns, with open head wounds, a hole in the abdomen, bullets in the legs and without hands. His father, my brother, was looking for him, but we didn’t want him to see his son in such a condition, so we sent him home before evacuating Khaled’s body.”

Salama switches to the inequality of the conflict and says the following: “Look at us, the Palestinians; we are a peaceful people who are trying to shake off the occupation to live in freedom. But we don’t have any meaningful military power: we have no drones nor F16′s, we don’t have any of Israel’s modern weaponry. There is no comparison possible. We are desperate. Nobody seems to care about the Palestinians and our struggle for justice.”

21 year old Abdel Hadi Jumma el-Sufi is one of the injured and is currently hospitalized in Shifa hospital in Gaza City. He stares at the ceiling of his hospital room while recalling the murderous event.

“One of the men was hit in the beginning of the attack, so me and my friends approached to evacuate him. We found out that the man was already dead. Tanks kept on shelling and killed another man. We managed to get the two dead bodies and one severely wounded man out of there, into the ambulance, but could not reach the fourth man as shelling prevented us. I thought he was still alive, but in the morning the ambulance recovered another dead body from the scene.” Abdel himself sustained shrapnel wounds to his legs, lungs and the back of his head and is currently awaiting surgery.

20 year old Mahdi Joma’a Abu Athra is worst of: the doctor at Europa hospital in Khan Younes describes him as a dead body kept alive by machinery. His maternal uncles are sitting around the hospital bed and are explaining that Mahdi got married a couple of months ago: his wife is pregnant. It seems unlikely that Mahdi will ever lay eyes on his firstborn.

One of the uncles bursts out: “How come the West is so interested in defending the Lybian’s human rights and is doing nothing for the Palestinians? You, who come here in solidarity with us, should send a clear message to your countries: it is not us that is attacking Israel, it is Israel that is attacking us! They are the terrorists and the criminals! Our rockets and missiles are fireworks compared to Israel’s weaponry! They have the most high-tech accurate equipment: they can target very precisely. When they kill civilians, it’s because they intend to kill civilians!”

Abdel Hadi Jumma el-Suffi

 

Published AT

JENIN MURDER ‘INVESTIGATION’ TURNING INTO ANTI HAMAS WITCH HUNT

“By way of deception, thou shalt do war”
Motto of the Mossad

How humble it was for Israel to ‘allow’ the defunct Palestinian Authority to conduct the investigation into the murder of Juliano Mer-Khamis. After all, the murder did take place on Palestinian soil, therefore it should be investigated by Palestinian authorities.

We must be reminded it was Hamas that was elected by the Palestinians to represent them in the last General Election…not the  Palestinian Authority which was chosen by Israel to represent Palestine instead..

As a result, we are witnessing a situation where the PA is pointing fingers at Hamas members, when very likely it was Israeli terrorists that were orchestrators of this horrendous crime. (look at this photo carefully, it wouldn’t be the first time settlers or the Mossad itself raised a false flag)…. Neither is this the first time the PA has covered up the crimes committed by their partner, the Israelis.



The above photo was a press release from Israeli sources purported to show Palestinian terrorists. However one of the suspected terrorists forgot to take off his star of David before being photographed. THIS IS NOT MEANT TO BE FUNNY, THIS IS TO SHOW YOU HOW FALSE FLAGS ARE RAISED BY THE ZIONISTS.


Israel leaving investigation of Mer-Khamis murder to PA

Zakaria Zubeidi, a former Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades commander who was granted amnesty by Israel and had been co-directing the Freedom Theatre with Mer-Khamis, says all signs point to a planned, professional hit.

JENIN – Palestinian Authority police have arrested a former Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades militant suspected of involvement in Monday’s fatal shooting of half-Jewish, half-Arab actor and director Juliano Mer-Khamis outside the theater he founded in Jenin.

The suspect, a Jenin resident who shifted his allegiance to Hamas after serving a five-year term in an Israeli prison for security offenses, was one of several suspects the PA police arrested within hours of the shooting, but he is the only one still in custody. He has also served eight months in a Palestinian jail.

It remains unclear whether police are convinced the suspect shot Mer-Khamis – he says he didn’t, unlike terror groups which often publicize their involvement in violent acts – and why the actor, who was raised in Israel and is the child of a Jewish mother and a Christian Arab father, was killed.

The investigation is complicated by the reluctance of possible witnesses to come forward.

“Everyone’s saying ‘I heard nothing, I saw nothing,” said an officer in the Palestinian security service. “They’re worried that they’ll be questioned by the PA and that they’ll have trouble.”

Zakaria Zubeidi, a former Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades commander who was granted amnesty by Israel and had been co-directing the Freedom Theatre with Mer-Khamis, said all signs point to a planned, professional hit.

“This was an organized action, not out of anger or rage over the theater’s activities or because of a personal quarrel with Jule,” Zubeidi told reporters in the theater yesterday. “This is something that was done deliberately by an organization or state. We will have no mercy on whoever harmed the man who led the Freedom Theatre. … We will not forgive this.”

But though Zubeidi did not specify which group he thinks may be behind the shooting, he said it looks like Mer-Khamis was killed by a Palestinian from Jenin.

After the shooting Monday, dozens of local residents gathered around the car of the man they knew as “Jule,” who they said never hid his intention of exposing Palestinian children to theater and fomenting a cultural revolution.

The theater has been vandalized by Islamists repeatedly, and there have been two attempts to torch it.

Israel is leaving the investigation of Mer-Khamis’ death to the Palestinian Authority, even though he has Israeli citizenship, Israeli security officials said yesterday.

The sources said the Shin Bet security service would be receiving regular updates from the Palestinian authorities, particularly since the PA has already begun investigating and since it does not appear that Mer-Khamis was killed because of his Israeli citizenship.

Friends of Mer-Khamis, who appears in Julian Schnabel’s recent movie “Miral,” about an orphaned Palestinian girl, dismiss the possibility that he may have been killed because of his Jewish heritage.

There has been unsubstantiated speculation that he may have been targeted for reasons related to financial debts or a romantic liaison.

Though he grew up in Israel, Mer-Khamis never referred to himself as an Israeli Arab, Khaled Abu al-Hijah, a board member at the theater, told the news agency AFP.

“He used to say: ‘I am both Palestinian and Jewish. I cannot divide myself between my mother and my father.'”

Mer-Khamis was born in Nazareth and raised partly in Haifa but has been living in Jenin in recent years. He was killed at 4:40 P.M. on Monday, when a young man called in Arabic for him to stop his car as he was driving away from the Freedom Theatre with his 8-month-old son and a babysitter. The gunman fired seven bullets into Mer-Khamis’ head and chest from close range, killing him on the spot.

The baby survived unscathed and the babysitter, Raida, who is originally from Bethlehem, was lightly wounded.

Raida said the gunman was not wearing a mask when he approached the car, but put one on as he was running away from the scene.

In being shot, Mer-Khamis appears to have become the first half-Jewish shahid, the Arabic word for martyr. Many photographs of him – in a V-for-victory pose – were pasted all over the theater announcing: “Juliano Mer-Khamis, Martyr for Freedom and Culture.”

Friends who gathered at the theater yesterday say his death will leave a huge vacuum but that they will work together to try to keep the theater running.

Source


HASBARA THREATS IN THE NAME OF ISLAM


When I see a ‘threat’ like the following one, I immediately suspect something not quite ‘kosher’ with the situation…..


All Muslims? Just who do these people think they are speaking for all Muslims?

And when FaceBook DID block the page did they boycott as threatened? NO….. they opened a new page. This ‘game’ has gone from Pac Man to Star Wars…. definitely not something to take seriously and definitely not the sentiments of All Palestinians or All Muslims….. seems more like another Hasbara false flag being raised to discredit the efforts of the real struggle.

Just my two cents….

~~~~~~~~~~

What is meant by Hasbara?

The truth does not need hasbara
truth-vs-hasbara-copy.jpg
by Sonja Karkar  

Hasbara is the Hebrew word for “explanation” and is used by Israel and its supporters to describe their efforts to re-shape public opinion and build up Israel’s image abroad.  In fact, it is simply a euphemism for propaganda.

Israel’s recent attacks on Gaza and the shockwaves reverberating around the world from the extent of its savagery has caused a drastic re-think in Israel of how to shape its image in the wake of such sudden uncensored exposure.  There was no doubt that Israel had a public relations disaster on its hands and spokespersons appeared almost robot-like as they tried to make their carefully crafted hasbara credible against the images emblazoned on front pages, the nightly television news and the spread of YouTube videos capturing the sickening detail of the death and destruction that Israel’s military arsenal rained down on the Palestinians.

Israel thought it had learned from its 2006 scorched-earth bombardment of Lebanon when it was having to explain away attacks on UNIFIL observer posts, Red Cross ambulances, TV transmitters, mosques and civilian areas.  This time, it calculated, no effort or expense would be spared to anticipate criticism and challenges once the military machine rolled into Gaza.  Eight months earlier, Israel had set up a National Information Directorate, which coordinated messages locally and around the globe.  By the time the bombs were falling, Foreign Affairs ministry spokesman Andy David told Forward “the aim is to change the reality.” (1)    Such similar newspeak employed by a letter writer to The Guardian had Israeli Professor Avi Shlaim responding and calling it “truly Orwellian”.(2)

It seems Israel is the victim of its own chutzpah, so used is it to believing that it can fool all of the people all of the time. The reality which Israel faces  is the awakening of consciousness in a new generation increasingly used to living in multi-cultural societies in which racism is politically incorrect, if not actually eradicated. Controlling and manipulating the mainstream media is one thing, but the soft power of internet use in individual hands is almost impossible to control.  Aware that it is in danger of losing public opinion, Israel is spending some of its Foreign Ministry budget this year to establish a team of talkback writers who will flood the websites with pro-Israel messages. Ilan Shturman who will supervise the “Internet Combat Campaign” says that “the internet is an arena in every way in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and we must act here or otherwise we lose.” (3)

Every possible method of communication has been in play with teams of spokespeople, bloggers and diplomats all relaying the same message.  None of that helped though, as the number of dead rose dramatically over those three weeks in January and especially when some 40 Palestinian civilians were virtually obliterated in a school compound.  Israel’s hasbara became meaningless as thousands of images of human suffering flooded cyberspace.  Even CNN anchors were shocked into admitting that Israel had broken the ceasefire, and the normally pro-Zionist Time magazine published a front cover showing the Star of David overlaid with barbed wire and the heading “Why Israel Can’t Win”.(4)

Israel had barred international journalists from the Gaza Strip, but the truth got out from that besieged stretch of land anyway.   Palestinian journalists, bloggers and eyewitnesses inside Gaza found themselves inundated with requests for stories and photos and the electricity restrictions imposed by Israel on the beleaguered population only served to heighten the drama as reports were dashed off before power cuts intermittently interrupted communications.

Whatever the pros and cons of the internet’s Facebook, YouTube and now Twitter, in this case, these networks had a way of exposing the truth that trumped the most artful sophistry as Israel’s propagandists found out to their chagrin.  For all the successes on Facebook of QassamCount which allowed some 70,000 members to get updated messages on where rockets landed in Israel (5)  and the 76,000 members who joined the I support the Israel Defense Forces in Preventing Terror Attacks from Gaza group, (6)  it was the appeal to users to support the Palestinians in Gaza that saw the biggest response with over 531,000 signatures. (7)

Never before has the world been more available to the Palestinians.  If Israel can use Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, so too can the Palestinians and their supporters.   The internet is the perfect medium for Palestinian stories, photographs and videos and the place to network a global movement against Israel’s lies and disinformation.  Already, the increasing acceptance of Palestinians into social circles and communities when Palestinians were once barely recognised, has Israel so worried that it has even set up an international educational organisation – StandWithUs.com – that is disseminating information in schools, universities, churches and libraries and facilitating conferences and missions to Israel.

But, people are not buying Israel’s narrative like they once did out of guilt for remaining silent during Hitler’s genocide against the Jews of Europe. Nor are they attracted to the pioneering image that had Jews and non-Jews spend time on a kibbutz in search of some socialist utopia. Under-estimating people’s intelligence and ability to make their own judgments on issues is a common error in this era of instant news and knowledge on tap. Israel’s hasbara worked in the past because people generally could not be bothered looking for alternative views.  This phenomenon was observed by economist and social theorist J A Hobson in the editors of jingo journals writing on the Boer War who “felt quite safe in continuing to repeat the most audacious falsehoods long after they have been exposed, simply because they knew that their readers, though perfectly aware that journals existed which gave another side, would not look at papers which opposed the war.” (8)

However, information today is no longer something for which we have to go looking and it is very difficult to ignore a truth that is self-evident.  That is precisely where new technology has been able to turn public opinion even amongst people who have the greatest affinity with Israel.  It is why we are seeing so many Jews worldwide speaking up against Israel’s apartheid policies and practices.

People who accept Israel’s unbridled use of military power are being dishonest if they choose not to see the Palestinian narrative.  Whether out of expediency, empathy with Israel, or still clinging to the last vestiges of imperialism, they have compromised themselves and the very way of life they claim to defend if they do not make an informed judgment.

The genie is out of the bottle and governments may try to force it back in, but instant information is too alluring for people to accept a return to life without it.  No matter how sophisticated Israel’s information technology or how slick its public relations, Palestinians and their supporters have a chance now to even up the score in the public opinion stakes.   Unlike the Israeli government-funded hasbara brigade, people advocating for Palestine do not need to be paid to defend human rights and justice.  Israel may have the military power, but it is unlikely to ever control the “soft” power of truth.

Taken from the archives of Uruknet

ISRAEL BOYCOTT OPTIONS

I’m an advocate of a two-state solution. I believe that non-violent opposition to the Occupation is gaining traction and has shown itself to be powerful. I would like to believe that a boycott movement could be directed against the Occupation without at the same time shunning the concept of two states.

Boycotting Israel, boycotting Macy Gray, and a third option

As I ride the hurtling down-elevator, while my Zionist life flashes before my eyes, I’d like to take a moment and seek a fresh take on the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions effort.

By Bradley Burston

Macy Gray
Photo by: AP

Macy Gray AP

 

That familiar sinking feeling in the air, the elevator quietly plummeting at breakneck speed, has a great deal to do with Al-Jazeera’s publication of the potentially game-changing Palestine Papers.

No one can yet know to which floor or sub-basement we’re now descending, nor how shattering our landing. While we’re on the way down, though, this might be a good time to consider the range of options available to that majority in the Holy Land and abroad who want to see occupation end and peace between Palestinians and Israelis finally begin.

Specifically, at a time when Israel is going to be increasingly under the gun as the rejectionist party to the Mideast conflict – and at a time when Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak, Avigdor Lieberman and Eli Yishai, who may all be in the midst of their final term, seem all too ready to take the whole ship down with them as long as they can still be at the wheel when Israel takes its final dive – there’s at least one thing that can be reasonably foreseen: Calls to boycott Israel will only increase.

Accordingly, on this, the hurtling down-elevator, while my Zionist life flashes before my eyes, I’d like to take a moment and seek a fresh take on the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions effort.

A sensible place to look is the shrewd and determined band of revolutionaries at +972 Magazine, who continue to carve their way through the deafening white noise of Israeli journalism by never taking the expected for an answer.

A raft of pieces of particular note landed just at the weekend, among then Dahlia Scheindlin’s discussion of the possible upsides – for Israel and America as well as the Palestinians – of a UN condemnation of settlements, and Roi Maor’s thoughtful response to right-wing U.K. journalist Melanie Phillips’ recent, web-shaking appearance on Israel television.

With the Al-Jazeera reports threatening to reinvent the Mideast as we know it, a piece by +972’s Noam Sheizaf was particularly prescient. In combining radicalism and a helping of common sense, Sheizaf’s out-of-the-box proposal on the fascinating, at times hostile, at times hallucinatory Macy Gray-Israel boycott controversy, has set off new streams of debate on the issue.

The case of the pop-soul singer attracted worldwide attention when Gray asked fans to weigh in on her Facebook page over calls that she boycott Israel, where she’s appeared to warm receptions in the past. “What the Israeli government is doing to the Palestinians is disgusting,” she wrote on her Facebook site, “but I wana (sic) go. I gotta lotta fans there I dont want to cancel on and I …don’t know how my NOT going changes anything. What do you think? Stay or go?”

The discussion, which effectively pitted anti-Occupation respondents – some pro-boycott, some anti-boycott – against one another, turned ugly when Gray announced her decision to appear for the two scheduled shows next month.

Departing from standard debates over the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, Sheizaf proposed that artists who oppose occupation and who do choose to appear in Israel, should insist that a percentage of the tickets be sold to Palestinians in the territories, who suffer from severe, Israeli-imposed travel restrictions.

“If the Israeli organizers of the show refuse or if they are unable to deliver – it will become much harder for them to claim that there is no political problem with the gig, or that Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians shouldn’t be compared to Apartheid,” Sheizaf observes. “And if they deliver, the artist gets to play a real part in bringing down the walls between Jews and Arabs. In any case, everyone would know where they stand.”

What follows, in reader responses to the piece, points to one of the primary, and peculiar, elements of the ongoing debate over BDS. Much of the most heated discussion of boycotting Israel – and I am as guilty of anyone of this nastiness and misplaced anger – places a fault line between anti-Occupation activists who favor a one-state solution and anti-Occupation activists who favor two. In this instance, the debate even pits supporters of BDS against one another.

One reader writes, “it’s an interesting idea Noam, but I think it defeats the purpose of the boycott, which should attempt to isolate, marginalize and cut off the Israelis from the rest of the world. That means no international academics, no book tours, no theater, no music, no conferences. Israel must be treated as a pariah state until the Occupation ends. Allowing a few Palestinians to hear Macy Gray is not good enough.”

“Further, we should enhance the effectiveness of the boycott by turning up the heat on those who break it,” the reader continues. “The Macy Grays of the world should be subjected to a concerted campaign of boycott as well. Don’t buy her CDs or attend her shows and spread the word she is persona non grata among conscientious members of the public …”

In this regard, one fundamental question is whether Occupation refers specifically to the land Israel captured in the 1967 war, or if pre-’67 Israel, as a Jewish state, is also viewed as occupied territory. Tel Aviv, West Jerusalem, all of it.

The BDS boycott call to Macy Gray hints at this issue, referring to UN Resolution 194, the basis for demands for the right of return of Palestinian refugees to their former homes.

“In 1948 Israel expelled and confiscated the land and property of about 800,000 Palestinians. They and their descendants are still denied return and compensation as sanctioned by the UN General Assembly Resolution 194.”

The Palestinian United Call for BDS against Israel, the ideological underpinning of the boycott movement, goes further in hinting at a goal of a single Palestine replacing a Jewish state. It declares that boycott should continue until Israel ends “its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands” and respects and promotes “the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194. “
An overwhelming majority of Israelis, including the vast majority of the left in Israel, believes that the Palestinian right of return would spell the end of a Jewish state of any kind in the Holy Land.

“The good news for Israelis is that they maintain a monopoly of violence in the region,” the +972 reader states. “Thanks to the largesse of the United States and its generous donations of fighter jets, armored bulldozers and napalm, no one can militarily challenge Israel. The bad news for Israel is that other than technologies of violence and oppression, it doesn’t produce anything. It has no native culture, so food, music, architecture, literature, film, philosophy…..everything must be imported from the outside world. Cut off this flow of information and the country dries up.”

While I’m still in the reading-while-falling mode, I’d like to add a reader response of my own:

I believe that opposition to Occupation has never been more vital. I’ve seen boycotts work in the past. I understand that the reader quoted above reflects his own opinion alone. Personally, though, I have some questions for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions people.

I’m an advocate of a two-state solution. I believe that non-violent opposition to the Occupation is gaining traction and has shown itself to be powerful. I would like to believe that a boycott movement could be directed against the Occupation without at the same time shunning the concept of two states.

I want two states here. Tell me, please. Does that now mean that I no longer have any place on the left?
 

Source


 

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

BLAMING THE ‘LEFT’ THAT ISN’T THERE

The loss of a radical left in American politics has been catastrophic. The left once harbored militant anarchist and communist labor unions, an independent, alternative press, social movements and politicians not tethered to corporate benefactors. But its disappearance, the result of long witch hunts for communists, post-industrialization and the silencing of those who did not sign on for the utopian vision of globalization, means that there is no counterforce to halt our slide into corporate neofeudalism. This harsh reality, however, is not palatable. So the corporations that control mass communications conjure up the phantom of a left. They blame the phantom for our debacle. And they get us to speak in absurdities.

The Phantom Left

The American left is a phantom. It is conjured up by the right wing to tag Barack Obama as a socialist and used by the liberal class to justify its complacency and lethargy. It diverts attention from corporate power. It perpetuates the myth of a democratic system that is influenced by the votes of citizens, political platforms and the work of legislators. It keeps the world neatly divided into a left and a right. The phantom left functions as a convenient scapegoat. The right wing blames it for moral degeneration and fiscal chaos. The liberal class uses it to call for “moderation.” And while we waste our time talking nonsense, the engines of corporate power–masked, ruthless and unexamined–happily devour the state.

The loss of a radical left in American politics has been catastrophic. The left once harbored militant anarchist and communist labor unions, an independent, alternative press, social movements and politicians not tethered to corporate benefactors. But its disappearance, the result of long witch hunts for communists, post-industrialization and the silencing of those who did not sign on for the utopian vision of globalization, means that there is no counterforce to halt our slide into corporate neofeudalism. This harsh reality, however, is not palatable. So the corporations that control mass communications conjure up the phantom of a left. They blame the phantom for our debacle. And they get us to speak in absurdities.

The phantom left took a central role on the mall this weekend in Washington. It had performed admirably for Glenn Beck, who used it in his own rally as a lightning rod to instill anger and fear. And the phantom left proved equally useful for the comics Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, who spoke to the crowd wearing red-white-and-blue costumes. The two comics evoked the phantom left, as the liberal class always does, in defense of moderation, which might better be described as apathy. If the right wing is crazy and if the left wing is crazy, the argument goes, then we moderates will be reasonable. We will be nice. Exxon and Goldman Sachs, along with predatory banks and the arms industry, may be ripping the guts out of the country, our rights–including habeas corpus–may have been revoked, but don’t get mad. Don’t be shrill. Don’t be like the crazies on the left.

“Why would you work with Marxists actively subverting our Constitution or racists and homophobes who see no one’s humanity but their own?” Stewart asked. “We hear every damn day about how fragile our country is–on the brink of catastrophe–torn by polarizing hate, and how it’s a shame that we can’t work together to get things done. But the truth is we do. We work together to get things done every damn day. The only place we don’t is here [in Washington] or on cable TV.”

The rally delivered a political message devoid of reality or content. The corruption of electoral politics by corporate funds and lobbyists, the naive belief that we can somehow vote ourselves back to democracy, was ignored for emotional catharsis. The right hates. The liberals laugh. And the country is taken hostage.

The Rally to Restore Sanity, held in Washington’s National Mall, was yet another sad footnote to the death of the liberal class. It was as innocuous as a Boy Scout jamboree. It ridiculed followers of the tea party without acknowledging that the pain and suffering expressed by many who support the movement are not only real but legitimate. It made fun of the buffoons who are rising up out of moral swamps to take over the Republican Party without accepting that their supporters were sold out by a liberal class, and especially a Democratic Party, which turned its back on the working class for corporate money.

Fox News’ Beck and his allies on the far right can use hatred as a mobilizing force because there are tens of millions of Americans who have very good reason to hate. They have been betrayed by the elite who run the corporate state, by the two main political parties and by the liberal apologists, including those given public platforms on television, who keep counseling moderation as jobs disappear, wages drop and unemployment insurance runs out. As long as the liberal class speaks in the dead voice of moderation it will continue to fuel the right-wing backlash. Only when it appropriates this rage as its own, only when it stands up to established systems of power, including the Democratic Party, will we have any hope of holding off the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party.

Wall Street’s looting of the Treasury, the curtailing of our civil liberties, the millions of fraudulent foreclosures, the long-term unemployment, the bankruptcies from medical bills, the endless wars in the Middle East and the amassing of trillions in debt that can never be repaid are pushing us toward a Hobbesian world of internal collapse. Being nice and moderate will not help. These are corporate forces that are intent on reconfiguring the United States into a system of neofeudalism. These corporate forces will not be halted by funny signs, comics dressed up like Captain America or nice words.

The liberal class wants to inhabit a political center to remain morally and politically disengaged. As long as there is a phantom left, one that is as ridiculous and stunted as the right wing, the liberal class can remain uncommitted. If the liberal class concedes that power has been wrested from us it will be forced, if it wants to act, to build movements outside the political system. This would require the liberal class to demand acts of resistance, including civil disobedience, to attempt to salvage what is left of our anemic democratic state. But this type of political activity, as costly as it is difficult, is too unpalatable to a bankrupt liberal establishment that has sold its soul to corporate interests. And so the phantom left will be with us for a long time.

Politics in America has become spectacle. It is another form of show business. The crowd in Washington, well trained by television, was conditioned to play its role before the cameras. The signs –“The Rant is Too Damn High,” “Real Patriots Can Handle a Difference of Opinion” or “I Masturbate and I Vote”–reflected the hollowness of current political discourse and television’s perverse epistemology. The rally spoke exclusively in the impoverished iconography and language of television. It was filled with meaningless political pieties, music and jokes. It was like any television variety program. Personalities were being sold, not political platforms. And this is what the society of spectacle is about.

The modern spectacle, as the theorist Guy Debord pointed out, is a potent tool for pacification and depoliticization. It is a “permanent opium war” which stupefies its viewers and disconnects them from the forces that control their lives. The spectacle diverts anger toward phantoms and away from the perpetrators of exploitation and injustice. It manufactures feelings of euphoria. It allows participants to confuse the spectacle itself with political action.

The celebrities from Comedy Central and the trash talk show hosts on Fox are in the same business. They are entertainers. They provide the empty, emotionally laden material that propels endless chatter back and forth on supposed left- and right-wing television programs. It is a national Punch and Judy show. But don’t be fooled. It is not politics. It is entertainment. It is spectacle. All national debate on the airwaves is driven by the same empty gossip, the same absurd trivia, the same celebrity meltdowns and the same ridiculous posturing. It is presented with a different spin. But none of it is about ideas or truth. None of it is about being informed. It caters to emotions. It makes us confuse how we are made to feel with knowledge. And in the end, for those who serve up this drivel, the game is about money in the form of ratings and advertising. Beck, Colbert and Stewart all serve the same masters. And it is not us.


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

 

TERRORISM: THE ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES

Isn’t Muslim culture just so bizarre, primitive, and inscrutable?  As strange as it is, they actually seem to dislike it when foreign militaries bomb, invade and occupy their countries, and Western powers interfere in their internal affairs by overthrowing and covertly manipulating their governments, imposing sanctions that kill hundreds of thousands of Muslim children, and arming their enemies.

They hate us for our occupations

By Glenn Greenwald*


AP

In this Sept 11, 2007 file picture, plumes of fire and smoke fill the sky after a suicide car bomb explosion hit fuel tanker trucks on the main highway south of Kabul, Afghanistan.

In 2004, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld commissioned a task force to study what causes Terrorism, and it concluded that “Muslims do not ‘hate our freedom,’ but rather, they hate our policies”:  specifically, “American direct intervention in the Muslim world” through our “one sided support in favor of Israel”; support for Islamic tyrannies in places like Egypt and Saudi Arabia; and, most of all, “the American occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan” (the full report is here).  Now, a new, comprehensive study from Robert Pape, a University of Chicago political science professor and former Air Force lecturer, substantiates what is (a) already bleedingly obvious and (b) known to the U.S. Government for many years:  namely, that the prime cause of suicide bombings is not Hatred of Our Freedoms or Inherent Violence in Islamic Culture or a Desire for Worldwide Sharia Rule by Caliphate, but rather.  . . . foreign military occupations.  As summarized by Politico‘s Laura Rozen:

Pape. . . will present findings on Capitol Hill Tuesday that argue that the majority of suicide terrorism around the world since 1980 has had a common cause: military occupation.

Pape and his team of researchers draw on data produced by a six-year study of suicide terrorist attacks around the world that was partially funded by the Defense Department’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency. They have compiled the terrorism statistics in a publicly available database comprised of some 10,000 records on some 2,200 suicide terrorism attacks, dating back to the first suicide terrorism attack of modern times – the 1983 truck bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, that killed 241 U.S. Marines.

“We have lots of evidence now that when you put the foreign military presence in, it triggers suicide terrorism campaigns, … and that when the foreign forces leave, it takes away almost 100% of the terrorist campaign,” Pape said in an interview last week on his findings.

Pape said there has been a dramatic spike in suicide bombings in Afghanistan since U.S. forces began to expand their presence to the south and east of the country in 2006. . . . Deaths due to suicide attacks in Afghanistan have gone up by a third in the year since President Obama added another 30,000 U.S. troops. “It is not making it any better,” Pape said.

Pape believes his findings have important implications even for countries where the U.S. does not have a significant direct military presence, but is perceived by the population to be indirectly occupying.

For instance, across the border from Afghanistan, suicide terrorism exploded in Pakistan in 2006 as the U.S. put pressure on then Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf “to divert 100,000 Pakistani army troops from their [perceived] main threat [India] to western Pakistan,” Pape said.

Imagine that.  Isn’t Muslim culture just so bizarre, primitive, and inscrutable?  As strange as it is, they actually seem to dislike it when foreign militaries bomb, invade and occupy their countries, and Western powers interfere in their internal affairs by overthrowing and covertly manipulating their governments, imposing sanctions that kill hundreds of thousands of Muslim children, and arming their enemies.  Therefore (of course), the solution to Terrorism is to interfere more in their countries by continuing to occupy, bomb, invade, assassinate, lawlessly imprison and control them, because that’s the only way we can Stay Safe.  There are people over there who are angry at us for what we’re doing in their world, so we need to do much more of it to eradicate the anger.  That’s the core logic of the War on Terror.  How is that working out?

* * * * *

Akbar Ahmed, the Chair of Islamic Studies at American University, was on Bloggingheads TV yesterday with Robert Wright discussing convicted attempted Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad, and said this:

Take the case of Faisal Shahzad.  He seems to be, if you put him in a category . . .  he grows up with the reputation of being a party guy, a party boy in the tribal areas [in Pakistan]. . . . He then comes to America and all the pictures are of a modern young man. . . . He changes, but he changes, again, for interesting reasons. The media would have us believe that it’s the violence in the Koran and the religion of Islam.  But hear what he’s saying.  He’s in fact saying:  I am taking revenge for the drone strikes in the tribal areas.  So he’s acting more like a tribesman whose involvement in Pashtun values . . .  one of the primary features of that is revenge, rather then saying I’m going to have a jihad or I’ve been trained by literalists . . . .

That is confirmed by mountains of evidence not only about what motivated Shahzad but most anti-American Terrorists as well:  severe anger over the violence and interference the U.S. brings to their part of the world.  The only caveat I’d add to Professor Ahmed’s remarks is that a desire to exact vengeance for foreign killings on your soil is hardly a unique attribute of Pashtun culture.  It’s fairly universal.  See, for instance, the furious American response to the one-day attack on 9/11 — still going strong even after 9 years.  As Professor Pape documents:  “when you put the foreign military presence in, it triggers suicide terrorism campaigns . . . and that when the foreign forces leave, it takes away almost 100% of the terrorist campaign.”  It hardly takes a genius to figure out the most effective way of reducing anti-American Terrorism; the only question is whether that’s the actual goal of those in power.

* I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York. I am the author of two New York Times Bestselling books: “How Would a Patriot Act?” (May, 2006), a critique of the Bush administration’s use of executive power, and “A Tragic Legacy” (June, 2007), which examines the Bush legacy. My most recent book, “Great American Hypocrites”, examines the manipulative electoral tactics used by the GOP and propagated by the establishment press, and was released in April, 2008, by Random House/Crown.

Source

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

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