BACKROOM BLACKMAIL WILL FREE POLLARD

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Convicted spy for Israel Jonathan Pollard will be freed from a US jail before Passover, which begins April 14, a senior Israeli source familiar with ongoing peace negotiations with the Palestinians said Tuesday. The deal would also see hundreds of Palestinian prisoners released by Israel and the Palestinians agreeing to extend talks into 2015. 

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The shame of it all!

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Israeli source: Pollard to go free in return for hundreds of Palestinians

Source says spy to be released before Passover; Kerry meets with Netanyahu as talks teeter on brink of collapse, said set to return Wednesday for Abbas meeting.

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Convicted spy for Israel Jonathan Pollard will be freed from a US jail before Passover, which begins April 14, a senior Israeli source familiar with ongoing peace negotiations with the Palestinians said Tuesday. The deal would also see hundreds of Palestinian prisoners released by Israel and the Palestinians agreeing to extend talks into 2015.

The steps are part of a new proposal by Secretary of State John Kerry to resuscitate the US-brokered negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

According to the details of the proposal, published Tuesday by the Palestinian news agency Ma’an, Israel will expand the currently on-hold fourth and final release of Palestinian prisoners from 26 to several hundred, including senior Palestinian officials jailed in Israel. The four releases, each of 26 long-term prisoners involved in deadly terrorist attacks against Israelis, were a goodwill gesture by Israel announced at the start of the talks last summer.

Ma’an also said that Israel would agree to a “quiet freeze” in settlement construction in the West Bank, although not in Jerusalem, which would hold until the end of this year.

Kerry met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday morning for the second time in less than 12 hours, in an effort salvage the stalled peace talks.

Kerry broke into his travel schedule on Monday for a flying visit to Jerusalem and headed back to Europe again after his early morning discussions with Netanyahu.

A Palestinian official said Kerry might return to the region once more late Wednesday to see Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Their scheduled late-night meeting Monday was cancelled after the Netanyahu talks dragged on too late, US officials said, with Kerry instead meeting at his Jerusalem hotel with Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat.

The negotiations appeared on the brink of collapse at the weekend, when Israel chose not to press ahead with the promised release of the 26 Palestinian prisoners. Israel wanted assurances the Palestinians would not abandon the talks, when the initial deadline for an accord expires on April 29.

 

 

Source

 

LAND DAY IN PALESTINE ~~ THE ONGOING PROCESS

Israel continues to steal land from Palestinians and to displace them in every part of historic Palestine from the north, to the occupied West Bank, to the Naqab (Negev) in the south.

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What is Palestine’s Land Day?

Palestinians display a map of historic Palestine during a rally in the northern Gaza Strip to mark Land Day, on 30 March 2014. (Ashraf Amra / APA images)

On this day in 1976, thousands of Palestinians marched in towns and villages across theGalilee region, in the north of present-day Israel, to protest Israel’s expropriation of vast tracts of land as part of its openly declared policy to “Judaize” the area at the expense of the indigenous population.

No Zionism without “evacuation” and “confiscation”

“Following the Zionist tenets, Israel has systematically and callously followed an intricate and continuous process of Arab land expropriation through the promulgation of new laws, the circumvention of existing laws, harassment and duplicity. Recognizing the naked truth, Y. Ben-Porat, a known ‘hawk’ wrote ‘One truth is that there is no Zionism, no settlement, no Jewish state without evacuation of the Arabs and confiscation and enclosure of their land,’” anthropologist Khalil Nakhleh wrote in The Journal of Palestine Studies in 1976.

Frustration and anger at Israel’s land theft from, and discrmination against, Palestinian citizens of Israel had been mounting for years.

Nakhleh adds: “To protest against the essence of this process and orders for new expropriations, the Arab population declared a general strike for 30 March 1976. In an effort to preempt the strike, army and border police, including armored units, were dispatched to the most affected Arab villages. Violent confrontations ensued, and left behind six Arabs killed, tens wounded and hundreds arrested. March 30 was commemorated as Yawm al-Ard or the Day of the Land.”

Israeli violence

“On that day, quiet demonstrations in the villages of Sakhnin, Arabeh and Dir Hanna were confronted by an aggressive police and army presence which later turned on them in violent confrontations,” historian Ilan Pappe writes in his book The Forgotten Palestinians.

Already, on 28 March, “the Minister of Police declared that his forces were ‘ready to break into the Arab villages’ – he used the Hebrew word ‘lifroz,’ which is usually employed to describe assaults on enemy lines and bases,” Pappe explains.

Pappe gives the names of those killed as Khayr Muhammad Yasin from Arabeh, Raja Hussein Abu Riya, Khader Abd Khalil and Khadija Juhayna from Sakhnin, Muhammad Yusuf Taha from Kafr Kana and Rafat Zuhairi from Nur Shams refugee camp, who was shot in Taybeh.

Turning point

The Day of the Land – or Land Day – marked a turning point as the first mass mobilization by Palestinians within Israel against internal colonialism and land theft.

Its commemoration is a reaffirmation that the Palestinians who remained in the areas on which Israel was declared in 1948 are an inseparable part of the Palestinian people and their struggle.

Land Day continues to resonate with Palestinians everywhere because it does not just mark a past historical event, but draws attention to Israel’s ongoing violent, settler-colonial process of “Judaization.”

Israel continues to steal land from Palestinians and to displace them in every part of historic Palestine from the north, to the occupied West Bank, to the Naqab (Negev) in the south.

Resources

To mark Land Day, The Journal of Palestine Studies has made available several articles from past issues, including Khalil Nakhleh’s, quoted above.

These articles recall the history of Land Day, how it was seen in the context of the Palestinian reality in its time and in the decades since.

Written FOR

REVISITING A POWERFUL POEM ~~ “A JEW TO ZIONIST FIGHTERS, 1988″


GI SPECIAL 6A14-3

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A Jew to Zionist Fighters, 1988

By Erich Fried



What do you actually want?
Do you really want to outdo
those who trod you down
a generation ago
into your own blood
and into your own excrement
Do you want to pass on the old torture
to others now
in all its bloody and dirty detail
with all the brutal delight of torturers
as suffered by your fathers?
Do you really want to be the new Gestapo
the new Wehrmacht
the new SA and SS
and turn the Palestinians
into the new Jews?
Well then I too want,
having fifty years ago
myself been tormented for being a Jewboy
by your tormentors,
to be a new Jew with these new Jews
you are making of the Palestinians
And I want to help lead them as a free people
into their own land of Palestine
from whence you have driven them or in which you plague them
you apprentices of the Swastika
you fools and changelings of history
whose Star of David on your flags
turns ever quicker
into that damned symbol with its four feet
that you just do not want to see
but whose path you are following today

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From 1952 to 1968 he worked as a political commentator for the BBC German Service. He translated works by ShakespeareT. S. Eliot and Dylan Thomas. In 1962 he returned to Vienna for the first time.

Born to Jewish parents Nelly and Hugo Fried in Vienna in 1920, he was a child actor and from an early age wrote strongly political essays and poetry. He fled to London after his father was murdered by the Gestapo after the Anschluss with Nazi Germany…  He arranged  for his mother to leave Nazi occupied Austria, as well as helping many other Jews to come to the UK. He joined Young Austria, a left-wing emigrant youth movement, but left in 1943 in protest at its growing Stalinist tendencies.

He published several volumes of poetry as well as radio plays and a novel. His work was sometimes controversial, including attacks on the Zionist movement and support for left-wing causes. ..The composer Hans Werner Henze set two of Fried’s poems for his song-cycle Voices (1973).

In 1982 Fried regained his Austrian nationality, retaining  the British nationality he had adopted in 1949. He died of intestinal cancer in Baden-BadenWest Germany, in 1988 and is buried in Kensal Green Cemetery, London.

An Austrian literary prize is named after him  the Erich Fried Prize.

He married three times and had six children

 

WHY LAND DAY STILL MATTERS TO ‘A PEOPLE WITHOUT A LAND’

land-day-2011

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Why Land Day still matters

Today, with no resolution in sight to the historic injustices inflicted upon them, Palestinians in Israel and elsewhere use this day to remember and redouble their efforts for emancipation.

By Sam Bahour and Fida Jiryis

Every year since 1976, on March 30, Palestinians around the world have commemorated Land Day. Though it may sound like an environmental celebration, Land Day marks a bloody day in Israel when security forces gunned down six Palestinians as they protested Israeli expropriation of Arab-owned land in the country’s north to build Jewish-only settlements.

The Land Day victims were not Palestinians from the occupied territory but citizens of the state, a group that now numbers over 1.6 million people, or more than 20.5 percent of the population. They are inferior citizens in a state that defines itself as Jewish and democratic, but in reality is neither.

On that dreadful day 38 years ago, in response to Israel’s announcement of a plan to expropriate thousands of acres of Palestinian land for “security and settlement purposes,” a general strike and marches were organized in Palestinian towns within Israel, from the Galilee to the Negev. The night before, in a last-ditch attempt to block the planned protests, the government imposed a curfew on the Palestinian villages of Sakhnin, Arraba, Deir Hanna, Tur’an, Tamra and Kabul, in the Western Galilee. The curfew failed; citizens took to the streets. Palestinian communities in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as those in the refugee communities across the Middle East, joined in solidarity demonstrations.

Palestinians from the Galilee town of Sakhnin commemorating Land Day, March 30, 2013. (Photo by: Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

In the ensuing confrontations with the Israeli army and police, six Palestinian citizens of Israel were killed, about 100 wounded and hundreds arrested. The day lives on, fresh in the Palestinian memory, since today, as in 1976, the conflict is not limited to Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip but is ever-present in the country’s treatment of its own Palestinian Arab citizens.

The month following the killings, an internal government paper, written by senior Interior Ministry official Yisrael Koenig, was leaked to the press. The document, which became known as the Koenig Memorandum, offered recommendations intended to “ensure the [country’s] long-term Jewish national interests.” These included, “the possibility of diluting existing Arab population concentrations.”

Israel has been attempting to “dilute” its Palestinian population − both Muslims and Christians − ever since.

Thirty-eight years later, the situation is as dire as ever. Racism and discrimination, in their rawest forms, are rampant in Israel, and are often more insidious than physical violence. Legislation aimed at ethnically cleansing Palestinians from Israel is part of public discourse. Israeli ministers do not shy away from promoting “population transfers” of Palestinian citizens − code for forced displacement.

Israel’s adamant demand that the Palestinians recognize it as a “Jewish state” leaves them in a situation of having to inherently negate their own existence and accept the situation of inferiority in their own land. Recent efforts in the Knesset to link loyalty to citizenship threaten to target organizations and individuals who express dissent and even the revocation of citizenship, a practice unheard of in other countries.

Budgets for health and education allocated by the Israeli government to the Arab sector are, per capita, a fraction of those allocated to Jewish locales. Although hundreds of new Jewish towns and settlements have been approved and built since Israel’s creation, the state continues to prevent Arab towns and villages from expanding, suffocating their inhabitants and forcing new generations to leave in search of homes. Palestinians living in Israel are heavily discriminated against in employment and wages.

The message is clear: Israel has failed, abysmally, in realizing its oft-cried role as “the only democracy in the Middle East” with such discriminatory policies and a culture of antagonism and neglect vis-a-vis a fifth of its citizens. The original Land Day marked a pivotal point in terms of how Palestinians in Israel − living victims of Israel’s violent establishment − viewed their relations with the state. Today, with no resolution in sight to the historic injustices inflicted upon them, Palestinians in Israel and elsewhere use this day to remember and redouble their efforts for emancipation.

Memorial commemorating the deaths during the events of 1976. Annual Land Day commemoration in Sakhnin, March 30th, 2007. (Photo by Activestills.org)

The names of the six victims of Land Day are written on the front of a monument in the cemetery of Sakhnin, accompanied by the words: “They sacrificed themselves for us to live … thus, they are alive − The martyrs of the day of defending the land, 30 March 1976.” On the back of the monument are the names of the two sculptors who created it: one Arab, one Jewish. Maybe it is this joint recognition of the tragedy of Palestinians that is required in Israel to get us beyond the chasm of denial.

For our part, as second-generation Palestinians born and raised outside Palestine who have decided to return to live in this troubled land, we view Land Day as an ongoing wake-up call to Israeli Jews and Jewry worldwide to understand that land, freedom and equality are an inseparable package − the only one that can deliver a lasting peace to all involved.

Sam Bahour is a Palestinian business consultant from the Palestinian city of El Bireh. He blogs at www.epalestine.com. Fida Jiryis is a Palestinian writer from the Arab village of Fassuta in the Galilee. Her website is www.fidajiryis.net. Sam and Fida were both born in the Diaspora and relocated to their family’s hometowns in Palestine and Israel, respectively.

 

 

Written FOR

LATUFF’S LATEST BDS SPOOF

 

Related Report

TURKEY GOING ALL THE WAY TO DESTROY FREEDOM

Image ‘CopyLeft’ by Carlos Latuff

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Turkey defends YouTube ban

After company refused to take down problematic recordings, Turkish FM defends move to block service, citing need to defend national security.

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Full AP Report HERE

 

TWO OF THE LATEST BDS VICTORIES

King’s College students union backs boycott of Israel

Students’ union votes to support BDS campaign against ‘Israeli products, companies or institution’ that ‘profit for the violation of Palestinian rights.’

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King's College, London.

The entrance gate of King’s College in London. Photo by Dreamstime
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The King’s College London Student Union (KCLSU) passed amotion on Tuesday night to back the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israeli products, companies and institutions “that profit from or are implicated in, the violation of Palestinian rights.”

The motion, which passed by 348-252, says that a call for sanctions “is to ask the global community to recognise Israel’s violations of international law and to act accordingly as they do to other member states of the United Nations.”

The College’s Israel Society, comprising of “Jewish students and/or proud members of the wonderfully diverse King’s College London student community,” had earlier said it was “greatly disturbed by the thought that our university – let alone any university – dedicated to the pursuit of truth and knowledge, could be called on to ban cooperation with the universities and cultural groups of any other country.”

“We appreciate and admire the motion’s proposers desire to see a peaceful outcome to conflict in the Middle East,” they said, “but peace is not achieved by making Israel a pariah state – or destroying the Jewish state altogether.”

The King’s College London administration released a statement after the vote in which it distanced itself from the decision. “King’s College London does not support or engage in boycotts of academic institutions,” it said, adding the KCLSU is “constitutionally separate from, and independent of, King’s College London.”

Meanwhile, an Israel divestment resolution was narrowly passed a second time by the student government of Chicago’s Loyola University on Tuesday, while a similar resolution was defeated at the University of Michigan.

Source

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And the second victory ….

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Divestment wins again at Loyola, goes down fighting in Michigan

HITCHCOCK’S REMAKE OF ‘THE BIRDS’ ~~ TWEETING IN TURKEY

Image by Amos Biderman

TWEETING IN TURKEY

Horror Oldtimer revisited :)
hitchcock

ZIONISTS CONTINUE TO USE THE WORD NAZI

Israel recently passed a law outlawing the use of the word nazi …. BUT it’s OK for zionists abroad use it …

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Ohio State Hillel member calls Desmond Tutu a ‘neo Nazi’ for criticizing Israel

POLLARD WILL ROT IN PRISON

Despite Israeli blackmail attempts, their SuperSpy will live out his days behind bars

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“There are no plans to release Jonathan Pollard at the moment,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki on Wednesday. “Jonathan Pollard was convicted of espionage against the United States – a very serious crime. He was sentenced to life and is currently serving his sentence.”

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US: No plans to free Jonathan Pollard

Recent headlines in Israel have suggested that Obama administration is reportedly considering freeing convicted spy in bid to keep negotiations, prisoners release afloat.

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The United States on Wednesday downplayed recent speculation that it could free convicted spy Jonathan Pollard in return for Israel agreeing to release a fourth and final batch of Palestinian prisoners.

“There are no plans to release Jonathan Pollard at the moment,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki on Wednesday. “Jonathan Pollard was convicted of espionage against the United States – a very serious crime. He was sentenced to life and is currently serving his sentence.”

The possibility that the US would free Pollard as part of its efforts to keep the Israeli-Palestinian peace process afloat has resurfaced in headlines in recent days.

According to the latest reports in Israel, including an item Wednesday morning on Army Radio, the potential step could be a vital move to ensure the fourth and final stage of Israel’s release of long-term Palestinian terrorists as a goodwill gesture, which this time includes Israeli Arabs.

The Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee was to meet Wednesday morning to discuss the Palestinian prisoner release.

While Pollard’s release has been consistently ruled out by consecutive US administrations, media outlets speculated that the US could free him after almost 30 years in jail in a bid to prevent the looming implosion of the current US-brokered peace negotiations, and ensure Israel’s release of the prisoners as demanded by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, .

“There is a range of options, including the possibility of freeing Pollard in return for the Israeli Arab prisoners and the continuation of the negotiations,” said a source in Jerusalem, ahead of the US announcement Wednesday.

“It’s something that has been on the table for a long time and is back in the headlines because we are reaching zero hour. The issue depends primarily on the Americans. They’re passed the buck in the past, but it’s not clear where it stands right now.”

 

Source

FOR A FEE, YOU CAN NOW ‘TALK’ TO THE DEAD IN ISRAEL

The ultra-right is cashing in on this one ….

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If you’re thinking that this whole prayer-by-proxy thing sounds kind of weird — well, it’s nothing new. Thanks to Western Wall Prayers, you can now pay $38 and “a Torah scholar will pray on your behalf at the Kotel for 40 consecutive days ($95 value).” Give a “minimal donation” to a group called Protection on the Road, and “close to 2000 children in our schools will recite Tehilim(Psalms) and additional special tefilos (prayers) of protection for you daily.” Log onto SayKaddish.com, and for the low-low price of $300 rabbis in Israel will recite the mourner’s prayer for your deceased loved one three times a day, every day, for a whole year.
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Seeking Salvation? Dial 1 for Baruch Goldstein

By Sigal Samuel FROM

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Right-wing activist Baruch Marzel wipes his eyes at the grave of Baruch Goldstein. / Getty Images

 

These days, you can order almost anything by phone. Books. Movies. Food. Sex. Salvation?

Sure, why not. Salvation. And not just any old kind, but the kind you can only get by virtue of an appeal to one of Israel’s most notorious killers: Baruch Goldstein.

Goldstein murdered 29 Palestinians in Hebron’s Cave of the Patriarchs 20 years ago, and to this day right-wing Jews still flock to his grave in nearby Kiryat Arba. They go there to pray, hoping that proximity to this “holy man” will help get their prayers through the pearly gates.

But since not everyone can afford to make that pilgrimage, Baruch Marzel — a right-wing activist and Goldstein devotee — has organized a telephone service allowing Jews to outsource their prayers, according to a Walla report cited today in Yeshiva World News.

Call Marzel’s service and you’ll be invited to “Push 1 for a Yeshua,” a salvation. That salvation, which will come by way of a prayer to be said on your behalf at Goldstein’s grave, includes everything from financial and romantic success to improved health and victory in court cases.

 

GETTY IMAGES
Baruch Goldstein

If you’re worried about the spiritual credentials of the person who will be praying on your behalf, don’t be: Only “Jews who are Yirei Shomayim,” God-fearing, will be entrusted with this important task.

If you’re thinking that this whole prayer-by-proxy thing sounds kind of weird — well, it’s nothing new. Thanks to Western Wall Prayers, you can now pay $38 and “a Torah scholar will pray on your behalf at the Kotel for 40 consecutive days ($95 value).” Give a “minimal donation” to a group called Protection on the Road, and “close to 2000 children in our schools will recite Tehilim (Psalms) and additional special tefilos (prayers) of protection for you daily.” Log onto SayKaddish.com, and for the low-low price of $300 rabbis in Israel will recite the mourner’s prayer for your deceased loved one three times a day, every day, for a whole year.

Generally speaking, though, these pay-to-pray deals are transparent moneymaking schemes. What’s new about Marzel’s telephone service is that he doesn’t seem to be interested in turning a profit.

Instead, he’s doing this out of the goodness of his heart.

A heart that genuinely believes routing prayers through a mass murderer’s grave will make them more pleasing to God.

 

 

HOW MUCH WOULD YOU PAY TO HEAR THE ROLLING STONES SING FOR APARTHEID?

Tickets for the concert are to go on sale on Sunday, March 30, at 9am. The tickets cost 695 shekels ($200) for the cheapest spaces, 1,790 shekels ($515) for the “golden ring”, and 2,850 shekels ($820) for VIP seats.

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Rolling Stones to play Tel Aviv concert in June

 

Legendary band finally gets date after months of speculation; tickets for Yarkon Park show start at 695 shekels.

It’s official: The Rolling Stones will play a concert at Yarkon Park in Tel Aviv on June 4, Israeli producer Shuki Weiss confirmed Tuesday.

Tickets for the concert are to go on sale on Sunday, March 30, at 9am. The tickets cost 695 shekels ($200) for the cheapest spaces, 1,790 shekels ($515) for the “golden ring”, and 2,850 shekels ($820) for VIP seats.

“For the first time in my 35 years in the business I have no words to express the size of an event of this kind in Israel,” Weiss told reporters as he announced the concert.

Regarding the ticket prices, Weiss said that they were cheaper than the sums the band charged in other places around the world, and that the concert would boost tourism to Israel. “We are expecting thousands of tourists to come to the show,” he said.

He pointed out that Rolling Stones tickets for other venues that went on sale yesterday had already been sold out.

Ynet reported two weeks ago that Yarkon Park had been reserved on June 4 as the venue for the legendary British rock group’s performance, and that the date had been approved by the band’s representatives.

The previous date requested by the band members, in late May, created a problem for the Tel Aviv and Ramat Gan municipalities, as Justin Timberlake’s concert had already been set for May 28 and, in favor of the area’s residents, major events cannot be held at the park on dates so close to one another.

Other than Weiss, several leading producers, including Marcel Avraham and Gadi Oron, had been fighting for the privilege to bring the Stones to Israel. The lucky winner gets to produce the prestigious show for an estimated $5 million.

The Rolling Stones had postponed concerts in Australia and New Zealand earlier this month, following the death of Mick Jageer’s long-term girlfriend, L’Wren Scott. The group had been due to start the seven-concert leg of their world tour in Perth, Australia. Fans were told to keep their tickets until further information was released. Days later, however, the band began to add dates for the European leg of the tour.

 

 

Source

RACISM SURFACES AGAIN AT NEW YORK TIMES

‘All the racism that’s fit to print’ …. OR NOT!

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The Times must apologize to all its readers, especially to those who are “Palestinian Arabs,” and the newspaper should also reprimand the editor who allowed this libel to get into print.

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‘NYT Book Review’ owes readers an apology for printing blatant racism about Palestinians

THE CASE OF THE DISAPPEARING TOURIST

This is the beginning of the nightmare.
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‘Nobody knew where I was, nobody… I was simply disappeared’: An Italian tourist’s Ben Gurion nightmare

Andrea Pesce FOR
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ben-gurion-airport

My name is Andrea Pesce, I am 44 years old and I’m an Italian citizen.

For 15 years I had the chance to visit Israel and Palestine, thanks to my former job (I used to be a travel agent) and also because I’m interested in the political situation over there. I travelled as a normal person, without any official role or mission.

Last December I have been in Israel and Palestine for one week. I always stayed in a hotel in the Old city of Jerusalem and I went for one day visit to Bethlehem (twice), Ramallah and Nablus, always as a tourist. During my visit in Bethlehem I had the chance to learn about a non-profit organization, named Tent of Nations, which follows a non-violent approach to the conflict.

Between January and February I contacted Tent of Nations staff, and planned a visit in March to volunteer over there. Then I bought an El Al air ticket, from Venice to Tel Aviv and back, departure 18th March, return 16th April.

This is the background to my story and I want to say also that I have never participated in any event, manifestation or whatever against Israel, or have written something or declared something against Israel. On the contrary, in 1999 I wrote a book issued by a Italian publisher, specialized in Jewish Literature and subjects, (Casa editrice La Giuntina) with an afterword by Amos Luzzatto, who at that time was President of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities.

Last 18th March, my day of departure, I arrived at Venice airport at 11 am, 3 hours before scheduled take off. For this kind of flight, there is an Israeli security staff interviewing passengers, according to an agreement between the Italian and Israeli governments. I waited around one hour, as Israeli staff are always allowed to pass Israeli passengers before me and other Italians waiting. Then one woman interviewed me, quite softly, but with some incredible questions like:

“You are going to stay one month away from home, isn’t your daughter sad because of this?”

There is no security reason behind this kind of question, not even to check if you get nervous because you have something to hide: it’s pure harassment, nothing more, nothing less.

I asked, “Why are you asking questions like this ? It’s too personal!”

She seemed to understand, and started to apologize.

Then I was told that my backpack had to be searched and that I cannot bring my camera (old fashioned) with me, it had to go in the hold. They checked everything, which included doing a body search on me.

Eventually they told me that maybe my baggage cannot arrive with me in Tel Aviv on the same flight: I complained a lot, saying that I had been waiting for two hours and I couldn’t understand why they waited so long. At the end they let me leave, I have to say, including my backpack.

During the flight I was tired but also happy: eventually everything was ok, and I was on the way to start my holiday and a wonderful life experience for one month in Israel and Palestine.

I couldn’t imagine what was waiting for me at Ben Gurion Airport.

Once I arrived, at passport control, I was told to wait in a corner of the hall, beside the “passport control office”. Several people were there already. I waited around one hour and then I had the first dialogue. It focused on what I was going to do during this month, I said “nothing special, I will go around”, ok, then wait again other half an hour, and then a second person interviewed me about my job, and what I was going to do it in Israel for one month, and I repeated the same answers again.

Then wait again around half an hour, and then the third interview with other people asking same questions, but in harder way, intimidating me and trying to scare me.

They argued that I was a liar because I didn’t say that somebody was waiting for me in Bethlehem, and that those who lie at the border will be not allowed to enter the country.

At that point I had been traveling for almost twelve hours, I was confused, tired and a little bit scared. But I had nothing to hide and I said, “check whatever you want, I’m a normal person, do what you have to do”. At that point it was pretty clear to me that they had read my emails and knew everything in advance.

Finally around 11.30 pm, I was interviewed by other people (they said they were from the Ministry of Internal Affairs) and after some minutes they told me that my entry was denied because I was a liar: I started to cry, more because of the stress itself, than for the final decision to reject me, even though it has been hard to me to accept the “destruction” of my travel, planned for months.

Andrea Pesci holding his passport with the Israeli "denied entry" stamp.

Andrea Pesci holding his passport with the Israeli “denied entry” stamp.

They started to laugh a little bit, saying that if only I said at the beginning I was going to volunteer they would let me in without any problem. But since I lied about it, I have to be rejected.

Until now, it was hard but not terrifying. But I  still couldn’t expect what I was in for.

Around 1 am they brought me in another airport room where my baggage has been searched again and I had a second body search. Then they took away my backpack, empty, because they said that it was detained for security reason. They gave me a big plastic bag to put all my belongings in.

Funny detail: the bag has a broken zipper.

They brought me back to the same hall, where I was told to not go around. I had to stay near their office.

Please note that I could only drink some water because another tourist gave me some coins to buy a bottle water from a machine. And security staff gave me a sandwich only because I asked for it. In the meantime every request I made — to have some water or to make a phone call to my embassy or simply to alert my hotel in Jerusalem that I couldn’t go there — was refused. And refused is not the right word: I was not a normal person anymore, I started already to be seen like a second class person. I want to say that for the very first time I really felt what racism is.

As they decided to send me back to Italy, the problem was how and when: flights to and from Venice are only once per week. So I was told that I was going to stay in a separate facility, waiting for the flight back to Italy.

This is the beginning of the nightmare.

The separate facility is a “migration facility”, as they call it, which is actually a sort of prison. Around five minutes by car outside of Ben Gurion Airport, I was transferred to this “house” surrounded by iron net, with bars on windows. I was told to leave everything in a room, including my mobile. Strange, but I definitely realised I was under arrest when I was told I could not bring a ballpoint pen with me to my “room”. But actually it was not a room, it was a jail. So around 3 am on the 19th March started my new life experience: being detained in a prison.

I cannot express my feelings exactly: maybe I can say that, having fallen deeply into a total irrational system, the only way to avoid becoming crazy, was to start to think in a completely different way. But it wasn’t easy.

The jail has soundproof doors, so you cannot ask for anything, not even scream. You can only beat the door until somebody, maybe, is willing to listen to you. But you already feel completely unsafe and you are scared even to ask, because you know that they can do everything with you, about you. I cannot say what I thought and felt during that night.

By 7:00 am I was destroyed, I was imploring them to send me home. One man, never seen before just opened the door and screamed to me: “so you go tonight at 06.30 pm, okay or not ?!” I said “Okay, okay, please let me go, I didn’t do anything, I don’t even know why I’m here”. They say “Okay, you will go tonight”.

At that stage nobody knew where I was, nobody. I was simply disappeared.

At 9:00 am I was allowed to call the Italian embassy: an Italian official told me “once you are in that place we cannot do anything, you simply don’t exist for us if you are in that place”. She also expressed sympathy for what I was going through, but the fact I was leaving in the afternoon was decisive. She also called my wife in Italy, as I was not allowed to do it directly.

Then the wait for departure started: I was in another jail, alone, with the door open. But I couldn’t go out, and it’s hard to explain, but I was afraid to ask anything. When around noon they gave me some food (to consume it in the room, without any table, only sitting on the bed) I did ask for some water, they said “We will bring it to you.” They didn’t and I didn’t ask again.

All and all, during my 14 hours in the “migration facility” I had the chance to stay outside in the open courtyard for a total of around 40-45 minutes (in two visits during the morning, none in the afternoon).

Again: I cannot explain my feelings during the time between 4:30 pm and 5:30 pm, knowing that my flight was scheduled for 6:20 pm. I was scared to death that they wouldn’t let me go….

From Andrea Pesci's passport.

It the end, at 5:35 pm they did open the door, let me take my belongings (always in their plastic bag), transferred me to the airplane and let me go. My passport was delivered to me by an Italian officer at Milan airport, after it was handled to him by the El Al staff.

I won’t share anything about the fact that being flown to Milan cost me more fatigue, finding a hotel that night and then catching a train to Venice the next day (20th March).

Nobody, never, in those 24 hours, declared their identity or role to me (they all have a badge, but it’s not easy to read and you don’t’ have the courage to show that you want to know their name). In the end there is no written proof of what they did to me, not even the reason for my rejection and detention. Nothing, nothing at all. I only have a stamp on my passport saying “entry denied”.

The lessons for me at this moment are two questions:

  1. Why do you want me to hate you ?!
  2. If you can do this to me, what you can do to the Palestinians ?!

TRIANGLE FIRE ~~ 104 YEARS AND COUNTING

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pilfering and work-breaks will not be tolerated

The Triangle Shirtwaist fire

March 23, 1911

By Tom Karlson

doors chained

exits blocked

!fire!

infernoed smoke and heat everywhere

elevator pulleys buckle,

fire-escape collapses

women leap

bodies smashed

sculpted by fire and crash

charred pick-up sticks

to be counted and named

by shattered lovers and family

148 sweatshop workers

148 Italian and Jewish women

148 from 14 to 48

on that sidewalk morgue

a flat temporary mausoleum

lined with

tears and blood

from mass murder will come new laws

protecting labor

*
A look at the history

CONFESSIONS OF A TYRANT

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

*

Words of the ‘Sultan’ who never lies ….

“I cannot understand how sensible people still defend Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. They run all kinds of lies.”

Erdogan Defends Twitter Ban

Turkey’s Prime Minister confirms he gave the orders to shut down Twitter, claims the site was breaking Turkey’s laws.
*

Turkey’s Prime Minister confirmed on Sunday that he was the one who gave theorders to shut down Twitter in the country, reports The Associated Press (AP).

Speaking at a campaign event in Istanbul ahead of March 30 municipal elections, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he had given the order because Twitter was not obeying Turkey’s laws.

Previously, the Turkish government said that the telecommunications authority had blocked Twitter on court orders. However, the move came shortly after Erdogan threatened to “rip out the roots” of the website.

Erdogan said Twitter was applying double standards, shutting down accounts when the U.S. or the U.K demand it, but defending freedom when Turkey, Ukraine or Egypt have concerns.

“This isn’t a banana republic!” he declared, according to AP.

At the same rally, Erdogan launched a blistering attack on social media websites, according to the AFP news agency.

“I cannot understand how sensible people still defend Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. They run all kinds of lies,” he declared.

“Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have to respect the Turkish republic’s laws,” he added.

Just two weeks ago, Erdogan threatened that his government could ban websites such as YouTube and Facebook after a raft of online leaks added momentum to a spiraling corruption scandal.

Recordings that were leaked include an apparent discussion between Erdogan and his son about hiding money, as well as others in which he appears to be interfering in business deals, court cases and media coverage.

Some of the most damaging information has come from a Twitter accountunder the name Haramzadeler (“Sons of Thieves”), which appears to have access to a huge trove of secret documents and police wiretaps linked to the investigation. Erdogan has dismissed most of the recordings as “vile” fakes concocted by his rivals.

“If the U.S. president’s phone recordings go online, will Twitter, YouTube and Facebook say it is freedom?” he said Sunday, according to AFP.

Erdogan, who has been in power for 11 years, said he was obliged to act to counter “any attack threatening my country’s security.”

“If Twitter acts honestly, we are ready to support it. If YouTube acts honestly, we are ready to give every support. If Facebook gives up immoralities… it will receive support,” he added.

Many Turkish Twitter users were able to get on the site despite the ban, using the Google DNS service. However, on Saturday it was reported that Turkey had banned that service as well.

Turkey’s ban of Twitter was met with harsh criticism by the United States on Friday, with State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki saying the order to prevent Turks from accessing the site was “contrary to Turkey’s own expressed desire to be a model of democracy.”

The White House also condemned the ban, with spokesman Jay Carney telling reporters, “The United States is deeply concerned that the Turkish government has blocked its citizens access to basic communication tools.”

 

Source

ANOTHER SODASTREAM SPOOF AD

Artists in Finland have produced this clever and funny one-minute spoof ad for SodaStream.

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“SodaScream – Bubble trouble,” as the ad is called, takes aim (pun intended!) at the company that manufactures fizzy-drink machines in the illegal Israeli colony of Maaleh Adumim in the occupied West Bank.

Earlier this year, Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson was at the center of a media storm over her endorsement deal with the company.

She later resigned from her position as global ambassador for the charity Oxfam, which declared that her deal with the occupation profiteer SodaStream was “incompatible” with her humanitarian role.

The video’s makers have set up a website – SodaScream.com that provides brief, clear explanations of why SodaStream’s activities are problematic and urges people to contact the company.

 

FROM

LATUFF MAKES FRONT PAGE IN TURKISH PRESS WITH HIS TWITTER TOON

Latuff’s toon appears at top right

Hurriyet Turkish newspaper March22 2014

TIMELY TOONS — KILLING TWITTER WAS A DUMB MOVE IN TURKEY

Images ‘Copyleft’ By Carlos Latuff

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Yesterday’s Image

Related Post

ABBAS’ VICTORIOUS FAILURE

As Abbas celebrates what he sees as a victory for his people, the truth is that Netanyahu has other plans …

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Netanyahu’s map of ‘Israel’ annexes West Bank, leaves out Gaza

Phil Weiss and Alex Kane FOR
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Netanyahu promotionof Israel

Netanyahu promotion of Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announced a video celebrating the accomplishments of his first year in office on his twitter feed on March 18

So what have we been up to? the frantic narrator asks. Mostly civil and economic improvements.

It’s all a big joke to Bibi ….. worthy of a cartoon

 

But a couple of times in the video the illustrator makes an image of one state of Israel and Palestine, in which the West Bank is annexed and Gaza is purposely cut out. First at :23. The screenshot above is from 1:40 or so. No Green Line. A divot where Gaza used to be. What’s he telling us?

And in all the feverish description of accomplishments, not a word about peace talks or Palestinians. The usual fearful talk about Iran and the borders.

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