Photos © by Bud Korotzer
The following is an attempt to present my own personal dictionary of what seems to be the most charged terminology and concepts attached to the Palestinian solidarity and anti-war discourse.
Palestine– a piece of land on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. For many years Palestine was the home of the Palestinian people: Muslims, Christians and Jews who lived in peace and harmony for hundred of years. In the late 19th century, in the light of emerging European nationalism, a few Jews had decided that Jews should not be left out. They then invented the notions of: “Jewish people”, “Jewish history” and “Jewish nationalism”. They decided to settle the majority of world Jewry in Palestine. Throughout the years the Jewish national project, i.e., Zionism, had become more and more sinister and ruthless. In 1949 70% of the indigenous Palestinian population had already been ethnically cleansed. Nowadays the majority of Palestinians are living behind barbed wire in a state of terror guarded by Israeli soldiers.
Jews– the people who happen to identify themselves as Jews. Jews are not a race, they do not follow a single belief system either. I made myself a rule. I categorically refrain from dealing with “the Jews” as a collective or an ethnic group. Instead I restrict myself to criticism of Jewish politics, Jewish ideology and Jewish identity.
Judaism– one of the many religions practiced by the Jewish people (Jews for Jesus, Jews For Buddha, Jews For Allah and so on). Though Judaism contains some non-ethical aspects and teachings, the one and only peace-seeking collective amongst the Jewish people is actually a religious orthodox sect, namely Torah Jews. This fact is enough to make me very careful when criticising Judaism as a religion. When dealing with Judaism, I would restrict myself to criticism of interpretations of Talmudic racism and the biblically orientated Zionist genocidal plunder of Palestine.
Jewishness– Jewish ideology, the interpretations of the meaning of being a Jew by those who regard themselves as Jews. Jewishness is the core of Jewish identity, it is a dynamic notion. It is hard to pin down. While refraining from criticising Jews (the people) and Judaism (the religion), elaborating on Jewishness is a must, especially considering the crimes committed by the Jewish state in the name of Jewish people. As long as the Jewish state is shelling civilians with white phosphorous, it is our ethical duty to question: Who are the Jews? What does Judaism stand for? What is Jewishness all about?
Palestine vs Israel– Palestine is a country, Israel is a state.
Palestinians– currently the longest lasting sufferers of racist colonial abuse and state terrorism. Palestinians are the only true indigenous inhabitants of Palestine. 4,300,000 Palestinian refugees are scattered in the Middle East. There are Palestinians who managed to hold onto their land yet are denied equal civil rights, others live under military occupation. The Palestinian cause is largely the ethically grounded demand of the Palestinian people to return to their own land. The land that belongs to them and to them alone. The Palestinian cause is the demand to dismantle the Jewish state and to form a State of its Citizens instead.
Zionism– the national colonial practical interpretation of Jewish ideology. It asserts that Jews are entitled to a national home in Zion (Palestine) at the expense of the Palestinian people. Zionism is a colonial racist philosophy that practices genocidal tactics. It is a biblically orientated precept. Although Zionism portrayed itself initially as a secular movement, from the very beginning it transformed the Bible from a religious text into a land registry.
Israel– the Jewish state is a racist political concept. It is a place where Jewish supremacy is celebrated in an institutional manner. Israel is a place where 94% of the population supports dropping white phosphorus on innocent civilians. Israel is the place where Jews can pour their vengeance on the Goyim.
Palestinian resistance– the exercise of the ethical right to resist an invader, an ethnic cleanser and a racist.
Demographic bomb– Israel possesses many bombs, cluster bombs, petrol bombs, atomic bombs, WMD bombs, etc. The Palestinians have only one bomb, the demographic bomb. The Palestinians are the majority of the people between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. This fact itself defines the temporal quality of the Idea of Jewish state in Palestine.
Zionism vs Jewishness– it is difficult or maybe even impossible to determine where Zionism stops and Jewishness begins. Zionism and Jewishness establish a continuum. As it seems, Zionism has become the symbolic identifier of the contemporary Jew. Every Jew is identified by himself and others in reference to the Zionist compass (Zionist, anti-Zionist, oblivious to Zionism, love Zionism but hate Israel, love Israel but hate falafel and so on).
Secular Judaism and Jewish Secular Fundamentalism– secularity has been a very popular precept amongst Jews in the last two centuries. The Jewish form of secularity is very similar to rabbinical Judaism. It is fundamentally monotheistic, it believes in one truth (God is dead until further notice). It is supremacist, it is extremely intolerant of others in general and Muslims in particular, it even promotes wars in the name of enlightenment, liberalism, democracy and even in the name of the victims to come.
Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder– the kind of mental state that leads 94% of the Israeli population to support air raids against civilians. Within the condition of the Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder (Pre-TSD), the stress is the outcome of a phantasmic event, an imaginary episode set in the future; an event that has never taken place. Within Pre-TSD, an illusion pre-empts reality and the condition in which the fantasy of terror is itself becoming grave reality. If it is taken to extremes, even an agenda of total war against the rest of the world is not an unthinkable reaction. Unlike the case of paranoia, wherein the sufferer is subject to his own symptoms, in the case of Pre-TSD the sufferer actually celebrates his symptoms while others are left with the role of the audience or even victim. The sufferers of Pre-TSD within the press and media lobby for global conflict. Once they are in power they just spread death around. They manage to see a threat in almost anything. The Pre-TSD sufferer would call to flatten Iran, he would defend the IDF military campaign in Gaza for his own existential fears. The Pre-TSD sufferer is rather predictable and for one reason or other always to be found in the non-ethical cause.
Jihad– the struggle to improve one’s self and society. Jihad is the attempt to reach a harmony between the self and the world. It is there to bridge the gap between self loving, loving self and the love towards others. Jihad is the answer to chosenness.
Holocaust– an overwhelmingly devastating chapter in recent Jewish past. It would be difficult to imagine the formation of the Jewish state without the effect of the holocaust. Yet, it is impossible to deny the fact that Palestinians ended up paying the ultimate price for crimes that were committed against the Jews by other people (Europeans). Hence, it would make sense to argue that if Europeans feel guilty about the Holocaust, they better take extra care of its last victims, i.e., the Palestinians.
It must be mentioned that due to some legislation that restricts the scrutiny of the holocaust in an open academic manner, the holocaust is no longer treated as an historical chapter. Instead it is regarded by many scholars as a religious narrative (namely, Holocaust Religion). Those who do not obey the religion or follow its restrictions are chased, excluded and jailed. The failure to maintain the holocaust as a vivid historic chapter turned Jewish history into a Pandora’s box sealed by prohibitions, legal restrictions and different forms of threats. In an ideal “free world”, we would be able to look into the holocaust, to regard it as an historical chapter and to draw some lessons out of it. That would mean also questioning its meaning. In an ideal (free) world, we may as well be allowed to wonder how come, time after time, Jews ended up despised and detested by their neighbours. In an ideal (free) world Jews may have a chance to learn from their mistakes in the past. For the time being, as long as we want to keep free, we better avoid questioning the past.
The Meaning of the Holocaust– the Holocaust provides the Jews and others with two obvious lessons. One is universal and almost simplistic, it says: “NO to racism”. As some Jewish intellectuals predicted after the war, Jews were supposed to lead the fight against racism. Seemingly, it didn’t happen. Not only did it fail to happen, but the Jewish state had become the ultimate form of racist practice. Three years after the liberation of Auschwitz the newly formed Jewish state brutally ethnically cleansed the vast majority of indigenous Palestinians. As time goes by, the Jewish state doesn’t try to disguise its racist agenda, i.e., Jews only state.
The second lesson that can be drawn out of the holocaust is far less abstract, it is actually very pragmatic. It suggests to Jews “to be aware of their deed”. It suggests to Jews “to act ethically, or at least to pretend to do so”. Seemingly, this lesson is totally ignored. In the Jewish state young IDF soldiers wear T-shirts depicting pregnant Palestinian women caught in the crosshairs of a rifle, with the disturbing caption “1 shot 2 kills”. In the Jewish state, civilians had been caught picnicking watching their army dropping unconventional weapons on their Palestinian neighbours. The Israeli reality and the forceful Jewish lobbying around the world portray a complete dismissal of any ethical judgment or moral conduct. Whether it is the genocidal practice against the Palestinian people or the lobbying for more and more global conflicts. If the meaning of the holocaust would have been internalised, different appearances of such inhuman behaviour would have been addressed and tackled.
However, within the prohibition to re-visit our history we may still be entitled to reflect over Nazi brutality towards Jews in the light of the Jewish state’s crimes in Palestine. Seemingly, there is no legislation that prohibits us from doing that as yet.
Hamas– political party that was elected in 2006 by the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank. Since then Israel has withheld payments owed to Gaza, causing the Palestinian economy to collapse. It has blockaded Gaza for months, starving the civilian population. And yet, Hamas proved once again that the Palestinian people are resilient. In spite of Israel’s genocidal tactics, in spite of the IDF targeting children, women and the elderly, Hamas’ popularity increases by the day and more so especially after the last Gaza conflict. It has now become clear that Israel does not possess the means of combating Islamic resistance. In other words. Israel’s days are numbered.
Gatekeepers– for many years the Palestinian solidarity discourse had been shattered by those who claimed to know what is right and what is wrong. They also claimed to know what should be discussed and what subject must be dropped. Initially, gatekeepers tried to recruit the Palestinian movement to fight antisemitism. Another bizarre agenda was to use the Palestinian people as another Guinea pig in a dogmatic socialist exercise.
Due to the growing success of Palestinian and Islamic resistance, the power of Gatekeepers is now reduced to none. Though gatekeeping operators still insist upon exercising their powers, their influence is totally restricted to primarily Jewish cells.
Antisemites– in the old days, antisemites were those who didn’t like Jews, nowadays, antisemites are those the Jews don’t like. Considering the growing chasm between the Jewish state and its lobbies and the rest of humanity, we have good reason to believe that before not too long, the entirety of humanity will be denounced as antisemitic by one Jewish lobby or another.
Antisemitism– a misleading signifier. Though it refers largely to anti-Jewish feelings, it gives the impression that these feelings are racially motivated or orientated. It must be clear that Jews are not a race and do not establish a racial continuum. Thus, no one hates the Jews for their race or their racial identity.
Bearing in mind Israeli crimes and Jewish lobbying around the world, anti-Jewish feeling should be realised as a political, ideological and ethical reaction. It is a response to a criminal state and its institutional support amongst world Jewry. Though resentment to Zionism, Israel and Jewish lobbying is rather rational, the failure to distinguish between the “Jew”, and Zionism is indeed very problematic and dangerous especially considering the fact that many Jews have nothing to do with the Zionist crime. However, due to the extensive Jewish institutional support of Israel, it is far from easy to determine where the “Jew” ends and the Zionist starts. In fact, there is no such demarcation line or spot of transition. The outcome is clear, Jews are implicated collectively by the crimes of their national project. One obvious solution for the Jew is to oppose Zionism as an individual, another option is to oppose Zionism in the name of the Torah, it is also possible for the Jew to shun the tribal ideologist in himself.
Self loving– the belief that something about oneself is categorically and fundamentally right, moral and unique. This is the secular interpretation of being chosen.
Self Hatred– the belief that something about oneself is categorically and fundamentally wrong, immoral and ordinary. This state of being may also be a point of departure of a spiritual ethical quest.
Chicken Soup– is what is left once you strip Jewish identity of Judaism, racism, chauvinism, White Phosphorous, supremacy, cluster bombs, secularity, Zionism, Israel, intolerance, Nuclear reactor in Dimona, cosmopolitanism, genocidal tendency, etc. The Jew can always revert to chicken soup, the iconic symbolic identifier of Jewish cultural affiliation. The Jew is always more than welcome to say: “I am not religious nor am I a Zionist, I am not a banker, nor is my name Madoff. I am not a “Labour friend of Israel” nor I am a Lord or look like a cash machine. I am just a little innocent Jew because my mama’le used to feed me with chicken soup when I was slightly unwell.” Let’s face it once and for all, chicken soup is not that dangerous (unless you are a chicken). My grandmother taught me that it was very healthy. In fact I tried it once in winter 1978, I had the flu then. It helped, I feel better now.
What will happen next? Will Palestinian kids be duped to play music to Israeli pilots who exterminated Gaza children with White Phosphorus?
By Khalid Amayreh in Occupied East Jerusalem
It is really hard to write on this subject without getting angry. We all know the extent to which Israel can be evil and satanic. After all, we Palestinians have been on the receiving end of Israeli savagery for decades.
In fact, being thoroughly tormented and killed by the children, grand-children and great grandchildren of the holocaust has always been and continues to be “the” Palestinians’ way of life.
It is at least as insulting and humiliating as some Jews were forced or duped to play music to SS, Gestapo and Wehrmacht soldiers during the Second World War. In both cases, the act was meant to humiliate the victims and rob them of the last visages of human dignity.
And now, Jews in Israel are doing the same thing to Palestinians, Nazism’s vicarious victims.
Last week, a few innocent kids from the Jenin refugee camp were surreptiously taken to Tel Aviv to “cheer up and take part in peace-promoting activities.”
However, once there the kids were unceremoniously driven to a reception where they were made to play music and sing to “holocaust survivors,” some of them are former members of the Hagana and Irgun terrorist gangs who had taken part in the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and expulsion of Palestinians form their homeland.
God knows how much Palestinian blood did these so-called “holocaust survivors” shed in 1948 and subsequent years. Certainly, Dir Yasin, Tantura, Dawaymeh, and the numerous other massacres were not committed by UFOs. They were committed in cold blood by these very people our children
are now cheering up.
Shame on us a thousand times!
Some of the innocent kids were instructed to utter words that should never be uttered by the victims of Zionism. But the kids apparently felt they had to say anything they were asked to say in order to show gratitude for the Jewish “peace contractor” who got them out of the ghetto, otherwise known as Jenin refugee camp, even for a six-our outing in Tel Aviv.
I am not against showing genuine sympathy with the victims of the holocaust. However, a sympathy that is manipulated to justify, rationalize or even extenuate the crime against humanity that is Israel is worse than a crime if only because it serves to promote and perpetuate oppression.
As human beings, we Palestinians do sympathize with all victims of Nazism, Stalinism and imperialism, the wept, the over-wept, and especially the unwept who constitute the vast majority of victims.
Having said that, however, I strongly believe that no honest person under the sun has the slightest right to demand that we pay the price for what the Nazis did or may have done to European Jews nearly 70 years ago.
We didn’t send Jews to the ovens. The German did. We didn’t starve Jews to death as Jews are doing to us today in the Gaza Strip.
We didn’t incinerate Jews in Gas chambers as Jews have recently incinerated Palestinian children with White Phosphorus.
Hence, of all people in this world, Palestinians must never be made to feel guilty for what the Nazis and other Europeans did to Jews. I say so because a feeling of guilt, even a modicum of guilt, on our part, would be construed or misconstrued as a vindication of Zionism, the Nazism of our time.
There are additional reasons that make the latest insensitive manipulation of Palestinian suffering especially ugly and dishonorable.
First, nearly all the young musicians who were taken to Tel Aviv came from the Jenin Refugee camp. For those who have forgotten, this is the very same refugee camp that Israeli tanks pulverized in 2002.
According to eyewitnesses, Israeli tanks and bulldozers destroyed homes right on top of innocent civilians, including the physically handicapped, while dozens of innocent civilians were systematically massacred, very much like Jews were at Ghetto Warsaw. The massacre at the camp was so hideous that Israel refused to allow UN officials to access the camp to inspect what happened.
Well, again the Nazi analogy is inescapable. Just imagine surviving Jewish children from Treblinka or Bergen Belsen made to sing to SS soldiers.!!
Second, the disgraceful concert in Tel Aviv comes on the heel of Israel’s genocidal assault in Gaza where Israeli warplanes showered the children, women and men of coastal enclave with White Phosphorus and other missiles and bombs of death while Israeli Jews were gleefully celebrating the “victory on Hamas” and Israeli rabbis preoccupied with classifying gentiles into “children of light” and “children of darkness.”
In Gaza, the Zionist Jews exposed their shame to all the people of the world by acting like primitive barbarians and murderous savages.
Hence, the utter shamefulness of sending Palestinian children to Tel Aviv to help Israel’s hasbara efforts whitewash Israel’s pornographic barbarianism in Gaza.
Finally, it is obvious that the PA bears much of the blame for this disgraceful event. The PA should never allow so called “cultural exchanges” and “cultural normalization” with the murderers of our children, the very state whose leaders and military commanders view us as “scum, vermin and animals” that ought to be exterminated.
Unfortunately, the PA itself encourages some demoralized Palestinians to endear themselves to Israel, even in the cheapest of manners.
The often cordial meetings and exchanging of kisses between Mahmoud Abbas and Ehud Olmert, the butcher of Gaza, leave one and only impression, not only on the children of the refugee camp in Jenin, but also on TV viewers around the world.
Perhaps the Israel artillery and war planes were showering Gaza with candy, not White Phosphorus.!!!
This is probably the main message the organizers of the Jenin-Tel Aviv tour wanted to communicate to these miserable kids who are obviously having a hard time recognizing their fathers’ killers.
The following is, in part, a post that appeared a year ago….
THE LAND THAT ‘CELEBRATES’ THE NEGATIVE
Unlike any other nation, Palestine has nothing positive to celebrate at this point in time. There are two ‘major holidays’ on the Palestinian calendar, the first being The Nakba, a commemoration of the day Palestine was literally wiped off the map by the zionists….
Internationally, no opportunity must be missed that can bring attention to the plight and suffering of the Palestinian people… they must not be forgotten. They deserve to celebrate life itself, not only death.
Also see the following brilliant essay at the
Image by Walt Handelsman
Tails of Manhattan
By Woody Allen
Two weeks ago, Abe Moscowitz dropped dead of a heart attack and was reincarnated as a lobster. Trapped off the coast of Maine, he was shipped to Manhattan and dumped into a tank at a posh Upper East Side seafood restaurant. In the tank there were several other lobsters, one of whom recognized him. “Abe, is that you?” the creature asked, his antennae perking up.
“Who’s that? Who’s talking to me?” Moscowitz said, still dazed by the mystical slam-bang postmortem that had transmogrified him into a crustacean.
“It’s me, Moe Silverman,” the other lobster said.
“O.M.G.!” Moscowitz piped, recognizing the voice of an old gin-rummy colleague. “What’s going on?”
“We’re reborn,” Moe explained. “As a couple of two-pounders.”
“Lobsters? This is how I wind up after leading a just life? In a tank on Third Avenue?”
“The Lord works in strange ways,” Moe Silverman explained. “Take Phil Pinchuck. The man keeled over with an aneurysm, he’s now a hamster. All day, running at the stupid wheel. For years he was a Yale professor. My point is he’s gotten to like the wheel. He pedals and pedals, running nowhere, but he smiles.”
Moscowitz did not like his new condition at all. Why should a decent citizen like himself, a dentist, a mensch who deserved to relive life as a soaring eagle or ensconced in the lap of some sexy socialite getting his fur stroked, come back ignominiously as an entrée on a menu? It was his cruel fate to be delicious, to turn up as Today’s Special, along with a baked potato and dessert. This led to a discussion by the two lobsters of the mysteries of existence, of religion, and how capricious the universe was, when someone like Sol Drazin, a schlemiel they knew from the catering business, came back after a fatal stroke as a stud horse impregnating cute little thoroughbred fillies for high fees. Feeling sorry for himself and angry, Moscowitz swam about, unable to buy into Silverman’s Buddha-like resignation over the prospect of being served thermidor.
At that moment, who walked into the restaurant and sits down at a nearby table but Bernie Madoff. If Moscowitz had been bitter and agitated before, now he gasped as his tail started churning the water like an Evinrude.
“I don’t believe this,” he said, pressing his little black peepers to the glass walls. “That goniff who should be doing time, chopping rocks, making license plates, somehow slipped out of his apartment confinement and he’s treating himself to a shore dinner.”
“Clock the ice on his immortal beloved,” Moe observed, scanning Mrs. M.’s rings and bracelets.
Moscowitz fought back his acid reflux, a condition that had followed him from his former life. “He’s the reason I’m here,” he said, riled to a fever pitch.
“Tell me about it,” Moe Silverman said. “I played golf with the man in Florida, which incidentally he’ll move the ball with his foot if you’re not watching.”
“Each month I got a statement from him,” Moscowitz ranted. “I knew such numbers looked too good to be kosher, and when I joked to him how it sounded like a Ponzi scheme he choked on his kugel. I had to do the Heimlich maneuver. Finally, after all that high living, it comes out he was a fraud and my net worth was bupkes. P.S., I had a myocardial infarction that registered at the oceanography lab in Tokyo.”
“With me he played it coy,” Silverman said, instinctively frisking his carapace for a Xanax. “He told me at first he had no room for another investor. The more he put me off, the more I wanted in. I had him to dinner, and because he liked Rosalee’s blintzes he promised me the next opening would be mine. The day I found out he could handle my account I was so thrilled I cut my wife’s head out of our wedding photo and put his in. When I learned I was broke, I committed suicide by jumping off the roof of our golf club in Palm Beach. I had to wait half an hour to jump, I was twelfth in line.”
At this moment, the captain escorted Madoff to the lobster tank, where the unctuous sharpie analyzed the assorted saltwater candidates for potential succulence and pointed to Moscowitz and Silverman. An obliging smile played on the captain’s face as he summoned a waiter to extract the pair from the tank.
“This is the last straw!” Moscowitz cried, bracing himself for the consummate outrage. “To swindle me out of my life’s savings and then to nosh me in butter sauce! What kind of universe is this?”
Moscowitz and Silverman, their ire reaching cosmic dimensions, rocked the tank to and fro until it toppled off its table, smashing its glass walls and flooding the hexagonal-tile floor. Heads turned as the alarmed captain looked on in stunned disbelief. Bent on vengeance, the two lobsters scuttled swiftly after Madoff. They reached his table in an instant, and Silverman went for his ankle. Moscowitz, summoning the strength of a madman, leaped from the floor and with one giant pincer took firm hold of Madoff’s nose. Screaming with pain, the gray-haired con artist hopped from the chair as Silverman strangled his instep with both claws. Patrons could not believe their eyes as they recognized Madoff, and began to cheer the lobsters.
“This is for the widows and charities!” yelled Moscowitz. “Thanks to you, Hatikvah Hospital is now a skating rink!”
Madoff, unable to free himself from the two Atlantic denizens, bolted from the restaurant and fled yelping into traffic. When Moscowitz tightened his viselike grip on his septum and Silverman tore through his shoe, they persuaded the oily scammer to plead guilty and apologize for his monumental hustle.
By the end of the day, Madoff was in Lenox Hill Hospital, awash in welts and abrasions. The two renegade main courses, their rage slaked, had just enough strength left to flop away into the cold, deep waters of Sheepshead Bay, where, if I’m not mistaken, Moscowitz lives to this day with Yetta Belkin, whom he recognized from shopping at Fairway. In life she had always resembled a flounder, and after her fatal plane crash she came back as one.
Pat Oliphant, syndicated editorial cartoonist, created a cartoon the other day that has Zionists everywhere screaming their usual accusations of ‘anti-Semitism’. Bravo, Pat, for being one of the few main stream media cartoonists to make a critical statement about the Israeli government’s over kill in Gaza. Anyone who dares criticize Israel is automatically labeled an anti-Semite so the charge has little meaning any longer.
I am surprised that no one has picked up on Oliphant’s reference to the great early 20th Century Communist cartoonist, Robert Minor (1884 – 1952). The Oliphant headless soldier is obviously not ‘NAZI’ imagery but that of the mindless soldier that Robert Minor called, ‘the perfect soldier’. This soldier dates from World War 1 USA and not NAZI era Germany. I suppose most can be forgiven for not knowing Minor’s work. He was a Communist after all. That’s a scary word for most Americans.
By Robert Minor, captioned Army Medical Examiner: “At last a perfect soldier!” (The Masses 8 (July 1916), back cover.)
Oh well, Zionists will scream and cowards will apologize as usual. Israel will continue building unlawful settlements and those settlers will continue to harass Palestinian school children. Murders of Palestinian farmers will continue to go unpunished. Hamas will continue to fire clunky rockets into Israel and Israel will continue to retaliate by obliterating Gaza. The cycle will continue as long as people of good conscience fear the Zionists and Hamas refuses to acknowledge Israel.
Khalid Amayreh plots the ever more aggressive tactics Israel is adopting in its efforts to Judaise occupied East Jerusalem
In its increasingly rabid efforts to consolidate control of traditionally Arab-East Jerusalem, Israel this week moved to suppress Palestinian cultural activities associated with the city being declared the capital of Arab culture for 2009.
On 19 March heavily armed paramilitary police violently dispersed a meeting at the Ambassador Hotel in East Jerusalem, confiscating posters, leaflets, placards and computers.
Israeli police also raided schools, social clubs and community centres to foil activities celebrating Arab culture in the occupied city which Israel considers its “united and undivided capital”.
Several organisers, including East Jerusalem lawmaker Hatem Abdel-Qader, were arrested on charges of disturbing peace.
Israeli security forces cordoned off East Jerusalem by deploying soldiers at all entrances to the city. They turned back visitors, including several delegations from Arabian Gulf states, including Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.
Frustrated by the draconian Israeli measures the Palestinian Authority, the main organiser of the festivities, decided to transfer the main event to Bethlehem, a few kilometres south of Jerusalem. Hundreds of PA officials, foreign dignitaries, religious leaders and diplomats arrived on 21 March to listen to a speech by PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
Abbas reasserted his commitment to establishing a viable Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital, on all Palestinian land Israel occupied in 1967.
“We will continue to reject the Israeli policy of Judaising Al-Quds Al-Sharif [Jerusalem]. And we will not hold peace talks with any Israeli government that rejects the two-state solution,” said Abbas, alluding to Israeli designate-Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu.
The Palestinian leader, who recited a few verses of the Quran pertaining to the status of Jerusalem in Islam, pointed out that Jerusalem was the key to peace in the region and the world, saying that peace will not prevail unless and until the Israeli occupation ends completely.
Addressing the Arab-Muslim world, Abbas said: “I urge our Arab and Muslim brothers to come to the rescue of Jerusalem, protect Jerusalem from the act of rape to which the city is being subjected… Jerusalem is being Judaised by force, its Arab identity is being obliterated, its history is being falsified, its people are being oppressed and tormented. Its homes are being demolished. Jerusalem is the beginning and the end, it is the ultimate address of peace. Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine.”
Addressing Israel, Abbas said: “Peace can’t be made through the building and expansion of settlements, brute force and military insolence. What happened in Gaza recently reflects the Israeli mindset, and with such a mindset, it is clear there can be no peace.”
Abbas’s desperate but defiant words epitomised the situation across the occupied Palestinian territories but especially in Jerusalem, where Israel is planning to destroy hundreds of Palestinian homes.
The planned destruction of the Silwan neighbourhood in the heart of the city has been described by PA officials as “demographic decapitation”.
“They are indulging in ethnic cleansing in broad daylight. They are chasing Palestinians out of their homes. They are trying to decapitate Arab existence in East Jerusalem, step by step, home by home, neighbourhood by neighbourhood, while they continue to lie about their desire for peace,” said Rafiq Al-Husseini, a senior aide to Abbas.
Asked by Al-Ahram Weekly what the PA was going to do to prevent Israel from carrying out the wholesale destruction of the Silwan neighbourhood [the goal is to build a park and recreational facilities for Jewish settlers in the surrounding areas], Al-Husseini said the PA would try to mobilise the international community to stop Israeli crimes.
During her recent visit to the occupied territories US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the planned demolitions as “unhelpful” and “incompatible with Israeli commitments under the roadmap”.
Israeli officials were unimpressed by Clinton’s warnings. Jerusalem’s Jewish mayor, Nir Barkat, described her words as “a lot of air”, claiming she had been misled by the Palestinians.
Barkat, an extreme right-winger, vowed to destroy Arab homes en masse, saying that “what we do in our capital is none of America’s business”.
Israeli efforts to obliterate the Arab-Islamic-Christian identity of Jerusalem began immediately after 1967. Four days after seizing the city Israeli army bulldozers razed the Maghariba and Sharaf neighbourhoods. The Palestinian inhabitants of the two neighbourhoods were expelled at gunpoint. Two mosques, two religious schools or Zawiyas and 135 houses were destroyed.
Several months later Israel seized the Harat Al-Maghariba for “public use” and built a large plaza in front of the Buraq — the Wailing or Western — Wall. The heart of Al-Maghariba and the adjacent, smaller Harat Al-Sharaf were both Islamic Waqf (religious endowment) properties dating back to the time of Salaheddin Al-Ayoubi (Saladin).
According to Palestinian sources Israel has demolished as many as 700 homes in the old town alone, forcing many inhabitants to seek shelter outside the boundaries of the city, e.g. in the West Bank.
Since 1967 Israel has confiscated 34 per cent of East Jerusalem for “public benefit” and designated 44 per cent of the occupied Arab town as “green space”. Nine per cent of the city was confiscated for the purpose of building settlements, leaving only 13 per cent of the original, built up Arab area, for the Palestinians.
In addition Israel has adopted a number of aggressive measures aimed at forcing the town’s Arab inhabitants to leave. These include imposing excessive taxes on real estate, including homes, withholding vital municipal services from Jerusalem’s Arabs in order to force them to relocate and denying residency rights to as many as 20,000 Arabs living in the city.
The Israeli authorities have continued to deny Arabs building licences, exacerbating a housing crisis in the Old Town and surrounding Arab neighbourhoods.
The systematic destruction by Israeli municipal authority of “illegally-built” homes pushed thousands of Jerusalemites to the brink of despair.
Adnan Al-Husseini, the nominal Palestinian governor of Jerusalem, described Israeli measures in Jerusalem as a “full fledged demographic war”.
“The Israeli goal is very clear. It is to force as many Palestinians as possible to leave the city and sell their property to Jewish interests.”
Al-Husseini said Israel was following a variety of tactics to achieve its strategy, including psychological and economic pressure, heavy taxation, physical coercion and harassment and financial incentives to force Arabs to sell their properties. Jerusalemite Arabs were clinging to their city, he said, despite Israeli efforts to curtail Arab demographic growth.
The Palestinian population of Jerusalem has grown extensively since the beginning of the occupation in 1967. Today, the total population of Jerusalem (East and West) is estimated at 720,000, including 475,000 Jews (66 per cent) and 245,000 Arabs (34 per cent).
As many as 260,000 of the Jewish population of the city (54.7 per cent) are living in 34 colonies established in and around East Jerusalem since 1967.
Maali Adomim, Pisgat Zeev, Har Homa and Gush Itzion are among the largest of these settlements.
Israeli demographic experts predict the Palestinian population will make up 40 per cent of the town’s total population by the 2020. It is to forestall this possibility that Israel has been making frantic efforts to confiscate more Arab land in order to build Jewish settler units.
According Israeli sources tenders for building more than 25,000 settler units have been issued since the Annapolis conference in 2007.
Earlier this month the Israeli group Peace Now revealed that the Israeli government was planning to build more than 73,000 units in the occupied West Bank, most of them in existing settlements surrounding East Jerusalem.
The group, which monitors settlement expansion in the West Bank, said the new plans would lead to the doubling of the Israeli settler population and scuttle any prospects for the creation of a viable and contiguous Palestinian state.
Among the most dangerous and explosive aspects of Israel’s efforts to Judaise East Jerusalem is the ongoing excavation and digging beneath the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest shrine.
According to Waqf officials, digging beneath the Al-Aqsa Mosque is seriously undermining the foundations of Islamic shrine and the nearby Dome of the Rock.
Sheikh Mohamed Hussein, head of the Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem, warned that it was only a matter of time before a “major disaster” occurred as a result of Israeli diggings in the vicinity of the Haram Al-Sharif (Al-Aqsa Mosque) esplanade. He accused the Israeli authorities of constructing subterranean tunnels beneath Islamic holy places without any consideration for the safety of Islamic shrines. “I can say without the slightest exaggeration that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is facing the danger of collapse as a result of these excavations.”
Islamic Palestinian leader Raed Salah was even more dramatic in voicing his concerns. “The Al-Aqsa Mosque is facing urgent danger. A medium earthquake could cause the collapse of the mosque.”
Salah was arrested by Israeli police on Monday, 23 March, charged with “disturbing the peace” and “inciting against Israel”.
In recent years the Israeli security authorities have allowed extremist Jews to enter the Haram esplanade and perform Jewish prayers and other rituals.
In 1967 the Israeli army chief rabbi, General Shlomo Goren, tried to convince a commander of the conquering forces, Uzi Narkis, to blow up the mosque “once and for all”.
The story was told by Narkis shortly before his death in 1997 and quoted by Avi Shlaim, an Israeli historian, in The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World.
“There was an atmosphere of spiritual elation. Paratroopers were milling around in a daze. Narkis was standing for a moment on his own, deep in thought, when Goren went up to him and said ‘Uzi, this is the time to put a hundred kilograms of explosives in the Mosque of Omar and that’s it, we’ll get rid of it once and for all.’ Narkis said ‘Rabbi, stop it.” Goren then said to him, ‘Uzi, you’ll enter the history books by virtue of this deed.’ Narkis replied, ‘I have already recorded my name in the pages of the history of Jerusalem.’ Goren walked away without saying another word.”
Two weeks later the Israeli occupation army seized the key to one of the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque (the Moroccan Gate).
Numerous efforts by Jewish extremists to destroy the Islamic shrine have been reported over the years.
Even more than Lieberman, we should worry about Barak, warns Khalid Amayreh from occupied Jerusalem
Defence Minister Ehud Barak is being courted by prime minister-designate Benyamin Netanyahu to stay on in his new coalition government
Israeli prime minister-designate Benyamin Netanyahu and Labour Party leader Ehud Barak have reached an understanding that would pave the way for the latter to join the Likud-led government, expected to be sworn-in next week.
According to the agreement, Barak will remain defence minister and his party will receive a number of other less important portfolios, including agriculture, infrastructure, industry, trade and labour and one minister without portfolio.
Politically, the understanding stipulates that Israel will formulate a comprehensive plan for Middle East peace and cooperation, continue peace negotiations with the Palestinians and commit itself to peace accords already signed.
The agreement also speaks of “acting against illegal Arab and Jewish building” in the West Bank which may suggest that the next government will step up the virulent practice of demolishing Palestinian homes.
Israel has demolished as many as 20,000 Arab homes under a variety of pretexts since it occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in 1967. The Israeli government is also planning to destroy hundreds of homes in occupied East Jerusalem in what one Palestinian leader has described as “a decapitation of Arab demographic presence” in the city. The Palestinian Authority still hopes to make Jerusalem the capital of a prospective Palestinian state.
Israeli commentators argue that the Likud- Labour understandings are too generalised to give a clear picture as to the exact partnership between the two parties. However, the “constructive ambiguity” should give both sides a feeling that they got what they want.
Barak had said repeatedly that he wouldn’t join a right- wing coalition. However, in recent days, he apparently changed his mind despite stiff opposition within his party to joining the Likud coalition, which observers here already label the most right-wing government in Israel‘s history.
The understanding between Barak and Netanyahu is not final, as it must be approved by the Labour Party general assembly which was due to meet to vote on the deal.
A solid plurality, perhaps a majority, within Labour is firmly against joining the Likud-led government for ideological reasons, and also because many traditional Labourites see Barak’s acceptance to play a “second fiddle” to Netanyahu as an expression of cheap opportunism.
This, labour leaders calculate, would seriously harm Labour’s image as a progressive party and prospective alternative to right-wing demagogy. Barak himself used to condemn Likud as representing “swinish capitalism”.
Ophir Pines-Paz is one of the most ardent opponents of Barak and any partnership with the Likud. He says that Netanyahu will only use Barak and whoever will join him from the Labour Party as “a mere fig leaf” to blur and hide the true nature of the next government.
“It is completely natural for Barak to want to join the Bibi-Lieberman government,” says Pines-Paz, the only MK who left Olmert’s government after Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman joined it. “He doesn’t have a problem with their ideology. Perhaps you can remind me how many outposts Barak has evacuated so far and how exactly he abided by the Talia Sasson on settlement expansion,” he said, referring to an official government report published on 8 March 2005.
The report, commissioned by former prime minister Ariel Sharon, was headed by the former head of the State Prosecution Criminal Department, Talia Sasson.
On 23 March, Barak’s opponents within the Labour Party accused him of “trying to turn Labour into Yisrael Beiteinu” and of “acting as if he got 50 seats in the Knesset, rather than suffering an electoral defeat.”
According to Haaretz, seven Labour lawmakers including Pines-Paz sent an unprecedented letter to Netanyahu and his foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, in which they declared that they won’t be bound by the understandings reached between Barak and the Likud leader.
“This is the first time in the history of the Labour Party that the chairman has set up a coalition negotiating team without a thorough and extensive discussion within the party and without getting the approval of any of the party’s organs. It is a gross violation of the party’s constitution.”
The rebels also warned Netanyahu of the consequences of Barak’s actions. “You should know that the negotiating team established by the Barak faction within the Labour Party does not enjoy our backing or the backing of any authorised party official. It is unfortunate that the party chairman chose to manage party matters in this way. Given the circumstances, we must inform you that you can’t count on our support regarding any agreement that you may reach with Ehud Barak.”
Seeking to justify his decision to join the Netanyahu government, Barak told fellow Labour lawmakers that his membership in the government would guarantee that it won’t go too far to the right.
However, this argument is viewed as largely disingenuous and lacking in rectitude.
Barak has already shown he agrees with Likud on expanding settlements. Under his authority as defence minister in the last government, settlement expansion in the West Bank continued unabated despite commitments made to the Americans to freeze expansion. According to prominent Israeli journalist Akiva Eldar, several new settlements created recently were marketed as “merely new neighbourhoods of existing settlements”.
In some cases, the new neighbourhoods are more than five kilometres away of the mother settlement. “Who wants to send his children to a kindergarten on the other side of the fence, not to mention the cost of the infrastructure and the services.” Eldar asked.
In addition, there are signs that Barak is already trying to endear himself to the extreme right-wing parties, such as the settler party, Habayt Hayahudi (Jewish Home) as well as Shas and United Torah Judaism, formerly known as Agudat Yisrael.
His role is clearly to act as a facilitator to the fascist- minded and pro-settler parties, to “launder” their manifestly illegal settlements (illegal even by Israeli standards) built on stolen Arab land.
Last week, Barak, as defence minister, decided to legalise a new settlement Sansana in the southern Hebron hills, which even the Israeli courts declared to be illegal. Similarly, he refused to uphold a court order to dismantle houses built on stolen Palestinian land in the Ofra settlement in the northern West Bank.
In light of this, it is not hard to predict how the Netanyahu-Lieberman-Barak government, backed by settler and extreme religious parties, will function.
Using the words of one Israeli journalist, the next government will have a modus operandi based on deception, subterfuge and prevarication. “It will be a government that will claim to be committed to peace while in reality do everything it can to make peace as elusive and as distant as ever.”
|By Khalid Amayreh
AL-KHALIL, West Bank — Joy Ellison came from Portland, Oregon, US, last year to promote non-violent resistance to the Israeli occupation.
Eventually, she ended up at the small Palestinian hamlet of At-Tuwani in the southern Al-Khalil (Hebron) hills where she, along with a number of mainly North American peace activists known as the Christian Peace-Making Teams (CPT), are now living.
“I decided that I am not going to be less persevering and less resilient than the people here,” Ellison told IslamOnline.net.
Her main daily mission is to escort Palestinian children who can’t go to school and return home school unless accompanied by an Israeli army patrol to protect them from fanatical Jewish settlers.
Still on several occasions the settlers, many of them mature, western-educated immigrants from North America, physically assaulted the children with rocks and sharp objects.
“The settlers routinely attack the kids, chase them, steal their backpacks and shout obscenities and blaspheme at them,” asserted Ellison.
“Sometime they steal livestock animals, poison the wells and kill donkeys. They also place poison in the grazing areas to kill Palestinian sheep.
“The army does virtually nothing about it. The settlers simply do the dirty work for the army and for the Israeli state.”
Mohammed Al-Adara, one of the local villagers, agrees.
“You see the army and the settlers are two sides of the same coin,” he told IOL.
“The army is not authorized to arrest settlers even if they are seen shooting Palestinians.
Law of Jungle
Al-Adara sees the settlers’ harassment and attacks as part of a larger scheme.
“The main reason for the settler presence here is to torment the local Palestinians in order to force them to leave so that the settlers would take over their land.”
Jim, another peace volunteer from New York, shares the same conviction.
“I think these people will just do anything, commit any crime to drive the Palestinians from the land. It is just sheer criminality,” he told IOL.
“In addition, what these settlers do is decidedly against international law and in many instances against the Israeli law.”
Jim blames the Israeli army and police for the “law of the jungle” in the occupied Palestinian territories, especially in outlaying areas where Palestinians and Jewish settlers live next to each other.
“For the slightest misdemeanor, the Israeli army and other security forces arrest and beat Palestinians,” says the New Yorker.
“But they do nothing when the settlers commit real crimes against innocent Palestinians.”
CPT activities are not confined to escorting Palestinian school children and accompanying shepherds and farmers in areas adjacent to Jewish settlements.
They monitor treatment of Palestinians at Israeli military checkpoints and roadblocks.
They also join Israeli and Palestinian peace activists in replanting olive groves destroyed by Jewish settlers and take part in peaceful protests against Israel’s gigantic separation wall being erected through the occupied West Bank.
Under the pretext of building the wall for security reasons, Israel has arrogated large swathes of Palestinian farmland.
In a landmark ruling in 2004, the Hague-based International Court of Justice branded the wall “absolutely illegal” and “incompatible with international law.”
Ellison says that non-violent resistance to the settlers, considered among the most fanatical and brutal of Jewish settlers anywhere, has not been in vain.
“We use media, videos to document their attacks. We also go to courts as witnesses,” she explains.
“So we have been successful. We gained access to land previously declared off-limit to the local. This has infuriated the settlers, prompting them to physically attack our members,” added the American peace activist.
The CPT’s daring, non-violent activism has not been cost-free.
In September 2004, settlers attacked team members Chris Brown and Kim Lamberty as they accompanied Palestinian kids to school in al-Tuwani.
The children, from the nearby village of Tuba, have repeatedly experienced harassment from settlers in the past.
According to the CPT account, five settlers, dressed in black and wearing masks, attacked Brown and Lamberty with a chain and bat.
The children escaped injury by running back to their homes.
The settlers pushed Brown to the ground, whipped him with a chain and kicked him in the chest.
Hospital reports stated that he sustained broken ribs, a punctured lung for which he required surgery and a contusion to his temple.
The settlers also kicked Lamberty in the legs and as a result she couldn’t walk and she had a broken arm.
They also stole her waist-pack which held her passport, money and cell phone.
None of the settlers was arrested, let alone prosecuted.
The Israeli army claimed there was no proof that the attackers were settlers since they were masked.
However, harassment and physical assaults have failed to scare away Ellison and the other Christian peace activists.
“We have to keep the non-violent resistance, it has become a way of life.”
Kris Petersen writing from Ramallah, occupied West Bank
And for nearly two months, I found myself sharing the experience of waiting — for Israel to allow me into Gaza.
Last year, I spent an extended period of time in Gaza working with the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), helping them to document human rights abuses in the occupied territories. But the abuses I documented then now seem tame in comparison to the recent heights of atrocity Gaza has endured.
Applying for entry into Gaza through the Israeli military authorities is a Kafkaesque and constantly evolving process. One is not allowed to even approach the Erez military checkpoint on the boundary between Gaza and Israel without prior security clearance and already within a year’s time, the application for such clearance had changed dramatically.
Because I had been approved without difficulty in the past, I felt confident that my application would be successful this time as well. The process should have taken no more than five working days, but assuming the situation might be unpredictable, I applied for clearance nearly one month in advance of my arrival in the region. How naive I was.
To my dismay, the Israeli military had not yet reached a decision by the time I flew to Tel Aviv weeks later. The bored, adolescent voices of Israeli soldiers at Erez informed me that there had been no definitive response from security officials and that my application was “still in process.”
Undaunted, I began calling daily — only to receive the same laconic phrase: “still in process.” On more than five occasions, I was instructed to call back later that day, sometimes at a specific hour, and when I did my call inevitably went unanswered. Most often, the response at Erez was nothing more than a friendly hang up, often in mid-conversation. When I was able to pry some information from my friendly military interlocutors, the response was mechanical and scripted:
“Because of the security situation, it is difficult to process applications at this time. Some people have been waiting for months, but try calling tomorrow.”
Apparently Israel was in no mood for quixotic Westerners with a penchant for human rights. But was there any evidence of Israel intentionally prolonging my application process? Looking into the matter, I soon found that I was just one among many human rights and humanitarian workers that have been systematically blocked from entering Gaza by the Israeli military following the invasion.
In early March 2009, the Israeli human rights groups B’Tselem and Hamoked announced that they had petitioned the Israeli high court demanding their staff members be allowed to enter Gaza for the purposes of human rights monitoring. They derided what they called Israel’s “constant foot-dragging” and ultimate “rejection without sufficient explanation.” The two organizations, joined by the US-based group Human Rights Watch, reported late last month that their employees “faced continuous delays from the IDF [Israeli army] unit reviewing the applications.”
As Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director of Human Rights Watch, explained, “Israel’s refusal to allow human rights groups access to Gaza raises a strong suspicion that there are things it doesn’t want us to see or the world to know about its military operation there.”
Contacting friends in Gaza, I discovered that scores of human rights workers have been waiting months for a response from Israel. Some of them are now illegally working in Gaza because Israel’s delays have lasted longer than the validity of their original clearance.
For the lucky few that have received any kind of response at all, Israel has apparently instituted a new policy of requiring organizations to be registered with the Israeli Ministry of Social Affairs — a previously unknown requirement and one that is not explained on the official application for security clearance. The process of registering with this governmental ministry is an obstacle that could potentially take months and even then without the guarantee of being permitted to enter Gaza.
Forced to explore other options, my focus turned to the potential of crossing into Gaza via Egypt, Gaza’s frequently sealed backdoor. In the weeks following Israel’s assault, Egypt opened the Rafah crossing point in coordination with Hamas and small groups of humanitarian workers, activists and journalists made their way into Gaza — most notably, British MP George Galloway and American author Alice Walker. But this method is unpredictable; according to a 2005 agreement following Israel’s unilateral disengagement, those who do not hold a Palestinian ID are technically forbidden to cross at Rafah. More significantly, Israel’s continuation of the military siege prevented the crossing from being open for more than 57 days in 2007 and figures are similar for 2008. Although the border has been opened more frequently so far in 2009, Israel typically requires one to exit Gaza the same way one entered, so this raises the very real possibility of being trapped in the coastal territory if the crossing happens to be sealed upon entering. Unfortunately, I was not in a position for this to happen so my only option remained with the Erez checkpoint.
The reality of Israel’s current policy is that by not giving a definitive “no,” it avoids the negative public relations of explicitly denying human rights workers access to the Gaza Strip. By prolonging applications indefinitely, it becomes difficult for activists to accuse Israel of systematically blocking access to Gaza, but this is precisely what they are doing. Israel permits most UN employees to enter Gaza as it does some of the larger international groups like CARE or Amnesty International (not to do so would unnecessarily inflame international tempers), but who will raise a cry over the hundreds of smaller organizations effectively banned from entering a territory Israel claims to have quit?
From the rooftop of my Ramallah hotel I could just barely see Tel Aviv beyond the pastoral West Bank landscape. If I was lucky, I could even catch a glimpse of the sea, shimmering in a kaleidoscopic pink and orange as the sun ritually descends into it. This placid scene was frequently shattered by the screams of Israeli fighter jets, tearing mercilessly across the sky — south towards Gaza — and the feelings of powerlessness became almost too much for me to take.
My heart aches for Gaza: for the fresh sea air and the desert breeze, for the sweet smell of orange groves and the bitterness of unripe pomelo, for the hospitality offered by those who have lost everything but their lives, for my friends suffering indescribable horrors and for the indomitable spirit of a people who refuse to be extinguished in spite of it all. As I catch my flight out of the region, I am acutely conscious of the fact that Israel has scored a minor success by preventing me from entering Gaza. I could not wait there indefinitely. But I know that there are many other ways to fight Israeli oppression. And through it all, Gaza will endure.
Kris Petersen is a graduate student who worked for the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in the Gaza Strip between September 2007-January 2008. He blogs on issues related to Palestine at http://www.harmonicminor.com and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally written for
By Khalid Amayreh
Note to readers:
To my dear readers: Greeting to each and every one of you:
I am re-posting this article, which I wrote seven months ago, on the occasion of the provocative Judeo-Nazi march by Jewish extremists at the Arab town of Um el Fahm across the green line in what is known as Israel.
The march, which took place today (24 March, 2009) was protected by as many as 2500 Israeli soldiers and paramilitary policemen. As expected, the people of Um el Fahm rose up to defend their city against the Jewish disciples of Hitler who wanted to communicate the same message the “Hitler Youth” and other Nazi groups communicated to Jews at Kristallnacht, long before Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Bergen Belsen.
The marchers, mostly Jewish settlers from the West Bank, said they only wanted to exercise their freedom of speech. This is the same argument that members of the American Nazi party made in justifying their march through the small Jewish town of Skoke near Chicago in 1977.
I was studying in the United States in 1977 and I remember I took part in a protest against the Nazi provocation.
Now, it seems, the Israeli state, and security forces, as well as the vast bulk of Israeli Jews, are saying nothing and doing nothing as they watch these despicable thugs shout “death to the Arabs” and “Arabs to the Gas chambers.”
Interestingly, the march at Um el Fahm, comes only three months after the genocidal Israeli blitzkrieg against the people of the Gaza Strip which destroyed the bulk of the coastal enclave’s civilian infrastructure and killed and maimed more than 6000 people, the vast majority of them children and innocent civilians. It also coincides with the pornographic confessions being made by Israeli soldiers that they were ordered by their superiors to murder civilians in cold blood.
This is Israel of 2008-2009. It is very much like Germany in 1938-39.
When members of the National Socialist Party of America (the Nazi Party) declared their intention to march through the predominantly-Jewish Chicago suburb of Skokie in 1977, Jewish groups vociferously denounced the “attempted re-enactment of the Nazi nightmare.”
And while the American Nazis claimed the right to free speech in accordance with the First Amendment, the Jews and their supporters’ claim that their right to live without intimidation and harassment overrides the Nazis’ right to freedom of speech and expression.
Eventually, after exhaustive legal actions by both sides, the Nazis were allowed to parade in Skokie.
Ironically, the American Nazi group never did march in Skokie as its leader, Frank Collin, himself the son of a Jewish Holocaust survivor, decided at the last moment that the court verdict was a big victory for freedom of speech and that this was good enough for the group.
The reason I am invoking this story, which took place 35 years ago, is because the government of Israel is finding itself today in the shoes of the American Nazi group, while the Arabs of Israel are forced to play the role of the people of Skokie.
Last week, the Israeli High Court decided to allow the followers of the infamous racist Rabbi Meir Kahana, to march through the Arab town of Um-el-Fahm in northern Israel.
The Kahana disciples argued through their lawyer that they were only exercising their freedom of speech and expression.
The truth, however, is that freedom of speech and expression is the last thing these people would value, especially when their political opponents, Arab or Jewish, are involved.
Indeed, these Judeo-Nazi thugs openly teach that basic human rights, including the right to life, don’t apply to non-Jews in general and Arabs in particular.
Kahana himself back in the mid 1970s wrote a book entitled “They Must Go” in which he urged the Israeli state to ethnically cleanse all non-Jews from Israel-Palestine.
To be sure, the racists will not be marching in Um-el-Fahm in order to assert their right to freedom of expression. It would be more than naïve to think that this is their real purpose.
The main goal behind their planned provocative parade is to assert their genocidal ideology and shout “Mawet le Arabim” (death to the Arabs) and “Arabs out of Israel.”
This is very much similar to the anti-Jewish behavior by the Nazi youth groups in Germany throughout the 1930s. We all know the rest of the story.
The Kahana group may look small in terms of sheer numbers and political representation. However, it is very clear that the group enjoys a lot of backing by powerful political parties such as the Likud, National Union, MIFDAL, Shas as well as the powerful Jewish settler lobby. Moreover, there is conspicuous flaccidity displayed by the Israeli occupation army toward this terrorist group.
Furthermore, it is also well known that the group, which had produced Baruch Goldstein, the American-Jewish physician who in 1994 murdered 29 Muslim worshipers while praying at the Ibrahimi Mosque in downtown Hebron, is backed by powerful rabbinic circles, especially from the Merkaz Harav Talmudic college in West Jerusalem which teaches the doctrine that non-Jews living under Halacha or the Jewish law must be enslaved as water carriers or wood-hewers, or expelled or exterminated.
The Israeli court decision to allow these racist thugs to march through Um-el-Fahm coincided with the screening in Israel last week of a blatantly anti-Islam film produced by a notorious Dutch Islamophobe who had called for banning Islam from the Netherlands.
On Wednesday, 3 September, the Nazi-minded Israeli parliamentarian Aryeh Eldad, who sponsored the screening of the hateful film, said he would seek to form an international parliamentary front with European colleagues against Muslims and Arabs.
This is the same Jewish lawmaker who a few years ago referred to Jews as “human beings” and to non-Jews as “non-human beings.” According to the Israeli press, when the Israeli army and border police forcibly vacated Jewish settlers from the small settler outpost of Ammona in the West Bank a few years ago, Eldad castigated the police for treating “human beings” (the settlers) the way Arabs were being treated.
I am not really presenting these facts in order to incite hatred against Jews or Judaism. I know true Judaism is not like this. I also know that probably most Jews are reasonable people who reject racism.
After all, Jews had been premier victims of the most virulent form of racism, and it is only logical that they should adopt an uncompromising stand against it.
However, it is also important to expose these hypocritical and morally duplicitous Jews who would react vociferously to racism when the victims are Jews but remain silent, or even be enthusiastically supportive, when the perpetrators happen to be Jews or Israelis.
A few years ago, when a Russian court decided to ban Shulhan Aruch, a summarized Talmudic text, Jews around the world cried out against the ugly face of Russian anti-Semitism. Eventually, the Russian court reconsidered its verdict.
However, today in Israel, we see that the entire Israeli state, including the government, the intelligentsia, the media as well as the religious establishment, is totally silent as Islam, the religion of nearly one fourth of Israel’s citizens, is openly vilified by a member of the Israeli parliament, in cooperation with a later-day European disciple of Adolph Hitler.
Moreover, one is really prompted to ask where are the voices that are being raised in Israel and among Jews worldwide against allowing the thugs of Kahana to march through Um-el-Fahm? Have you all forgotten Skokie?
We know and you know that this is not an issue of freedom of speech. This is an issue of a manifestly fascist group inciting against and trying to de-legitimize the very existence of 1.5 million Israeli citizens and another 3.5 million Palestinians living under a nefarious military occupation across the Green Line.
In short, Jews, like the rest of humanity, are expected to be morally consistent.
This means they must speak up against racism, not only when Jews are victims, but also when Jews happen to be perpetrators as well.
Also see THIS post…..
Israeli general: Soldiers did not act in ‘cold blood’
JERUSALEM (CNN) — Israel’s top general said Monday he did not believe the country’s soldiers “hurt civilians in cold blood” after newspaper reports quoted soldiers who said the army had treated Gaza as a free-fire zone during its offensive this winter.
Israeli soldiers, just back from Gaza, January 17, 2009, along the Gaza-Israeli border in Israel.
“I tell you that this is a moral and ideological army,” Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, the chief of staff, said in a speech.
Israeli soldiers said last week that Palestinian civilians were killed and Palestinian property was intentionally destroyed during Israel’s military campaign in Gaza, according to the newspaper Haaretz.
About 1,300 Palestinians died during “Operation Cast Lead,” which aimed to stop militants from firing rockets into Israel from Gaza.
The Israel Defense Forces has said it is investigating the claims.
“I don’t believe that soldiers serving in the IDF hurt civilians in cold blood, but we shall wait for the results of the investigation,” Ashkenazi said.
He blamed Hamas, the militant Palestinian group which runs Gaza, for choosing “to fight in heavily populated areas.”
“It (was) a complex atmosphere that includes civilians, and we took every measure possible to reduce harm of the innocent,” he said, according to an IDF statement.
The accounts in Haaretz are from Israeli soldiers who graduated from a pre-military course at an Israeli college.
TheIsraeli soldiers complain in the reports that the rules of engagement often defied logic and left the impression with Israeli troops that “inside Gaza you are allowed to do anything you want.”
“At first the specified action was to go into a house,” one squad leader is quoted as saying. “We were supposed to go in with an armored personnel carrier called an Achzarit [which translates to “Cruel”] to burst through the lower door, to start shooting inside and then …
“I call this murder … in effect, we were supposed to go up floor by floor, and any person we identified we were supposed to shoot. I initially asked myself: ‘Where is the logic in this?’
“From above they said it was permissible, because anyone who remained in the sector and inside Gaza City was in effect condemned, a terrorist, because they hadn’t fled. I didn’t really understand: On the one hand they don’t really have anywhere to flee to, but on the other hand they’re telling us they hadn’t fled so it’s their fault … This also scared me a bit.”
The Israeli military’s advocate general ordered an immediate investigation into the soldiers’ accounts, the Israeli military spokesman’s office said Thursday.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Army Radio Thursday that “Israel has the most moral army in the world” and that the accounts will be checked carefully.
But graduates of the Yitzhak Rabin pre-military preparatory program at Oranim Academic College in Kiryat Tivon, the newspaper reported, gave accounts that ran counter to military claims that “Israeli troops observed a high level of moral behavior during the operation.”
The accounts were written down by the head of the college’s pre-military program, Danny Zamir. He told Haaretz that he did not know what the soldiers were going to say and that what they heard “shocked us.”
According to Haaretz, Zamir passed on the soldiers’ comments to Ashkenazi, saying he “feared a serious moral failure in the IDF.”
Contacted by CNN, Zamir said he would not comment to the foreign media on the matter. He told an Israeli television network that “what was most disturbing in this matter was the perception that they gave in certain units that the normative atmosphere was ‘all is permissible’ when you are dealing with Palestinian homes, property, and in the most extreme cases also their lives.”
In one account, a squad leader from a brigade serving in Gaza described an incident in which an elderly Palestinian woman was shot and killed at the orders of a company commander.
None of the Israeli soldiers quoted in the Haaretz articles admitted to taking part first-hand in the killing of Palestinian civilians, and it is unclear whether all of them witnessed the events they described.
“We take these allegations very seriously … and if there was wrongdoing there will be consequences,” Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said. “But this is second-, third-hand information, hearsay information. We have to get to the bottom, we have to get to the truth.”
Separately, a coalition of nine Israeli human rights groups called on Israeli Attorney General Menachem Mazuz to reconsider his refusal to establish an independent investigative body to examine the military’s actions during the Gaza campaign.
The groups — The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Bimkom, B’tselem, Gisha, Hamoked, The Public Committee Against Torture, Yesh Din, Physicians for Human Rights, Rabbis for Human Rights, Adalah and Itach – Women Lawyers for Social Justice — said accounts by Palestinians raise the possibility that acts by the military were worse than previously suspected.
Israelis told to fight ‘holy war’ in Gaza
Many Israeli troops had the sense of fighting a “religious war” against Gentiles during the 22-day offensive in Gaza, according to a soldier who has highlighted the martial role of military rabbis during the operation.
The soldier testified that the “clear” message of literature distributed to troops by the rabbinate was: “We are the Jewish people, we came to this land by a miracle, God brought us back to this land and now we need to fight to expel the Gentiles who are interfering with our conquest of this holy land.”
The claim comes in the detailed transcript of a post-war discussion by soldiers, publication of which has triggered a military police inquiry into allegations about the use of lethal firepower against unarmed civilians.
The investigation was ordered by the military’s advocate general Avichai Mandleblit on Thursday after the liberal daily newspaper Haaretz published extracts from the transcript describing incidents in which Palestinian civilians were killed and property wantonly damaged.
In the fuller version of the transcript published yesterday, the soldier, a unit commander from the Givati brigade, says: “This was the main message and the whole sense many soldiers had in this operation was of a religious war.” He recalled that his own sergeant was from a hesder yeshiva, a college combining religious study and military service, who led the whole platoon in prayer before going into battle. The commander added that he had sought to talk to the men about Palestinian politics and society and, “about how not everyone in Gaza is Hamas and not every inhabitant wants to vanquish us”.
After the offensive, Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights group called for the dismissal of the military’s head chaplain, Rabbi Avichai Rontzki, a brigadier general. It said that he had distributed to troops a booklet saying that it was “terribly immoral” to show mercy to a “cruel enemy” and that the soldiers were fighting “murderers”.
The longer transcript conveys a fuller sense of the debate involving graduates from the Yitzhak Rabin military preparatory course. At one point Danny Zamir, the head of the course, says he would have questioned the killing of 180 traffic policemen during bombing on the first day of the operation. One pilot replies: “Tactically speaking you call them police. In any case they are armed and belong to Hamas … during better times they take Fatah people and throw them off the roofs and see what happens.”
The latest casualty figures published by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights list the names of 1,434 dead of whom they say 926 were civilians, 236 fighters and 255 police officers.
“Our race is the Master Race. We are divine gods on this planet. We are as different from the inferior races as they are from insects. In fact, compared to our race, other races are beasts and animals, cattle at best. Other races are considered as human excrement. Our destiny is to rule over the inferior races. Our earthly kingdom will be ruled by our leader with a rod of iron. The masses will lick our feet and serve us as our slaves.”
— Menachem Begin – Israeli Prime Minister 1977–1983