Scores of New Yorkers gathered last night to hear reports and welcome home the Viva Palestina Convoy that went to Gaza a few weeks ago.

As always, our ‘Star’ Associates were there to capture the spirit of the evening. Commentary is by Chippy Dee, photos by Bud Korotzer.

On July 29th, 2009, despite the heat, thunder, lightening, and periodic torrential downpours, people crowded into the House of the Lord Church in Brooklyn to hear a report from the Viva Palestina Humanitarian Aid Convoy to Gaza. Reverend Herbert Daughtry, often referred to as the people’s pastor, welcomed everyone and said that it was an honour to be part of this humanitarian effort. NYC Councilman Charles Barron, Nayo Joy Simmons (Operation P.O.W.E.R. Co-Chair). and Lamont Carolina, both on Councilman Barron’s staff, and, all three, convoy participants informally shared the presentation with the other convoy participants in the room.

Charles Barron first addressed the question of why they went to Gaza. He said it was all the same fight because the oppressors are the same all over. We won’t be free until Africa and Latin America are free. If a baby is starving in Palestine it is the same as if a baby is starving in Harlem. The Middle East is a complex place, he added, at what historical point do we begin? But wherever we begin, terrorism is the targeting of innocent people for violence. Israel is guilty of that. The babies of Gaza never shot rockets at anyone. There can be no justification. Collateral damage is terrorism. In Gaza he met a little boy who always wanted to be at his mother’s side because he knew she would be killed and he said he wanted to die with her. Children listen for the sounds of the aircraft knowing that the bombing and shelling will begin and then be followed by a naval and ground assault. Gaza is a death camp and our tax dollars should be used to feed the children there, not pay for Israeli bombs to kill them. The victory of the Viva Palestina convoy getting into Gaza was tremendous – they broke the siege.

Councilman Barron went on to explain how difficult it was to get the convoy through Egypt and into Gaza. The Egyptian people were very supportive but their government was not. They put roadblocks in the way at every turn. There was also no help from the White House or the U.S. State Department. In fact, all participants had to pay $30 a piece to sign an affidavit absolving the government of the U.S. from any responsibility for protecting them if they entered Gaza. At one point, at the Suez Canal, convoy participants stayed on their buses for twelve hours while there were negotiations about whether or not to let them pass. An Egyptian official told them that if they demonstrated there it could get ugly. The military was standing there armed and ready for whatever. Barron replied, yes, for both of us.

Finally all were allowed to pass at the Rafah crossing but only after nightfall to minimize the size of the Palestinian crowd waiting to greet them.

Then everyone at the church viewed a slide show. We saw photos of a demonstration of convoy participants at the Israeli Embassy in Egypt demanding that Cynthia McKinney be released from prison in Israel. She was placed there after the Israeli Navy, in an act of piracy, kidnapped her and twenty other humanitarian aid workers while on the high seas attempting to bring crayons, colouring books, and teddy bears to comfort the children of Gaza. There were photos of the buses which the convoy actually lived on. Egyptian Secret Service agents, fully armed, rode on the buses with them. There were slides taken at the Rafah crossing. Many Palestinian people were camped there, sometimes for months, waiting to reenter Gaza. They may have left for a day to visit family or meet immediate needs and then were not allowed back into Gaza. There was a photo of several Black convoy participants, including rapper M1, of the revolutionary hip-hop group Dead Prez (who made contact with Palestinian hip-hoppers) holding the red, black, and green liberation flag representing Africans in the U.S. The flag was taken on this important mission.

The slides showed the triumphant entry into Gaza where McKinney (after three tries), Barron, and British MP George Galloway got on their knees and kissed the ground.

There were many photos of the devastation Israel created last December and January. There was the American school, built with U.S. money and then destroyed with bombs that the U.S. paid for. The U.S. taxpayers send $6.8 million to Israel everyday. Homes, schools, factories, and government buildings were all turned to rubble. People without homes are living in little tents or within the rubble.

There were slides of the medicine, purchased in Egypt by a convoy medical team, along with walkers and wheelchairs, being delivered to a hospital. A doctor told them that when the electricity is cut off (from lack of fuel), even for a few seconds, patients die. Participants felt that their being there, breaking the siege, and showing Gaza that it is not alone or forgotten, gave even greater comfort than the medical supplies.

There was a slide of a group of women whose husbands were all in Israeli prisons. There are over 11,000 Palestinians in those prisons, including 700 children.

Charles Barron tried to converse with children in Gaza and found it very difficult. Israeli brutality has robbed them of their childhood. They have to be “little warriors”. A video was shown of two little girls that had lost their entire family. They kept asking”Why are the Israelis doing this?” “I lost my family and I could do nothing”. This tiny person felt that she should have been able to prevent it! “We will never forget. We will never forgive”.

Councilman Barron said that it was a life altering trip for all involved. He ended with “Long live the people of Gaza”.

Convoy members then came to the front of the room and briefly commented on why they went. Brandon King from the New Malcolm X Grass Roots Movement said he saw a connection between the people in Gaza and those in New Orleans who lost their homes and couldn’t go back because homes for lower income people are not being rebuilt. It’s the same enemy, he said. Ralph Lefler, from the International Action Center, said that the cruelty of the zionists made it clear that they wanted to destroy the people there. Sharon Eolis, also from the IAC, believes that it was important that there be non-zionist Jews on the convoy. They saw the cruelty and racist epithets written on buildings by the IDF. She added that the blockade is killing the people of Gaza – food, medicine, and fuel are all very scarce. Bill Doar, from Al-Awda, a long time activist for Palestine, had been there before. He said that Gaza was the largest prison on earth and that children were dying there. Ayman El-Sayed from Existence is Resistance said that the attack on Gaza was clearly an attack on the people, not Hamas. He made rapper contacts there. Soozy Duncan, a journalist from The Indypendent, pointed out that of the 1.5 million people living in Gaza half are children. Nancy Masour was able to visit family while there. She said that breaking the siege was a vast accomplishment against colonialism. Taking back what is stolen from you, she added, is a fundamental human right. The next convoy will be from Venezuela in October.

Although participants were very enthusiastic, brave, tenacious, and committed it was clear that this was not an easy trip. There was much frustration, waiting, tension, and discomfort. All two hundred members deserve our praise, admiration, affection, and appreciation. Their spirit of humanity and their internationalist understanding is overwhelming. It is reminiscent of the response to the Spanish Civil War in 1936.

Charles Barron is going to take the presentation anywhere there are people who want to see it – churches, schools, neighborhoods. All the convoy members made the commonality very clear to the audience. What is happening in Palestine is the same as what is happening in Africa, in New Orleans, and to Native Americans. The same struggle – the same fight.

The audience was very moved by what they heard and saw and got the message loud and clear. The evening ended with chants of “Free Palestine!” and “Free Africa!” and a determination to do everything within our collective means to stop the genocidal policies of the zionists against the people of Palestine. 

Photos © by Bud Korotzer


la_kosher_nostra_tshirt-p235448027961060542qjha_400 They call themselves ‘rightious’….. I call them CRIMINALS!
Crimes covered up by religion….. and refuted by accusations of anti-Semitism. Unadulterated CHUTZPAH!

An Inside Look at a Syrian-Jewish Enclave

Solidarity Forever, or ‘Medieval Minds in Armani Designs’?

gate of the lord

All in the Family: Congregants linger in front of the Deal Synagogue in Deal, N.J., where the father of an informant in a federal money laundering case is senior rabbi and one of those arrested is assistant rabbi. The Hebrew inscription at the entrance reads: ‘This is the gate of the Lord through which the righteous will enter.’


By Larry Cohler-Esses


At the Deal Synagogue on the final Saturday afternoon of July, congregants were treated to the spectacle of a revered rabbi of the Syrian community disavowing his son.

“It was at the Seudat Shlishit,” one community leader said, referring to the third meal of the Sabbath, when many observant Jews in the community join their rabbi for a session of learning. Like virtually everyone connected to Deal’s Syrian community, the leader declined to speak for the record. But he confided, “Without using the word ‘disown,’ he said his son was no longer welcome in his home.”

According to two sources, the senior Dwek delivered a blistering speech at the gathering, in which he denounced the actions of a Jew being an informant against fellow Jews and requested the community’s prayers for him in a time of suffering. And then, as if to underline the point, the elder Dwek taught a class together with Nachum, the man caught in his son’s sting.

Reached by phone, Dwek declined to comment. “This is something I don’t wish to talk about now,” he said graciously, adding, “God bless you” when a reporter said he understood.

Deal, N.J., is a quiet and bucolic seashore summer community for the prosperous, largely Brooklyn-based Syrian-Jewish community of about 75,000. But that tranquility has been buried in a din of rumor and gossip since money laundering charges were lodged against the three Syrian rabbis, who are out on bail. There is a deep historical irony to these arrests: Solomon Dwek took down the rabbis from the two main rival families whose leadership struggle divided the community some 15 years ago. And in damaging these pillars of the community, some say, Dwek may have strengthened the ultra-Orthodox “black hat” stream that has been a rising force, at least among the rank and file.

Others see it, to the contrary, as offering an opening to the community’s more liberal wing, since the rabbis arrested were all strong traditionalists, if not black hat themselves.

As Sephardim — Jews of Iberian and north African descent — the Syrians don’t fit neatly into the religious denominations that define their Eastern European counterparts, but their fealty to their rabbis is profound.

So talk of the federal case is everywhere: at the Casino Beach Club abutting the Jersey Shore, where many gather to play cards and swim in the football-field-sized pool; in the large homes where extended families gather for meals in a summer ritual, and in restaurants, shopping malls and on Web sites. Not surprising for a community that reveres its rabbis as few others do, there were declarations of solidarity. “We should stand by our Rabbis in Solidarity and let what ever happened today play out,” activist Albert Edery wrote in a lengthy letter of support on the Web site symall.com, a popular community bulletin board.

But that was not the only reaction. A different Web site, enclavement.com, maintained by present and former members of the community with a bent clearly more critical, offered a faux news report with the lead:

“A heavy blow was dealt to the enclave yesterday, as news spread that some of the community’s most trusted, religious, and morally upright figures were guilty of the most serious crime imaginable: getting caught. This public embarrassment has engendered a mass outpouring of outrage and condemnation.”

This was precisely the type of reaction bound to enrage and frustrate community members mortified at the notion that the arrested rabbis might, as a result of their positions, be seen as embodying the community’s own values. It is an image that, to some extent, has been reinforced by public commentary on the community even before the events of late July. A recent Broadway play by David Adjmi skewered the Syrian-Jewish community — his former home — as corrupt and materialistically obsessed. And two years ago, a New York Times Magazine piece by Zev Chafets conveyed a similar theme.

“Their alleged actions in no way characterize this community,” one important activist argued, referring to the arrested rabbis. Recalling a previous fraud scandal involving another Syrian Jew, regional retailer “Crazy Eddie,” he acknowledged, “Once in a while, you may have an Eddie Antar.” But he noted the increased presence in recent years of an emergent Ashkenazic-style black hat faction within the community, and insisted: “This has more to do with the Haredi community. The regular community feels their traditions have been hijacked.”

As it happens, Solomon Dwek and his father are at the center of this black hat faction in Deal. But the leadership struggle goes back to 1994, when Rabbi Saul Kassin, now 87 and out of jail on $200,000 bail, won the titular title of chief rabbi after the death of his father, Rabbi Jacob Kassin, spiritual leader since the 1930s. In doing so, he beat out Rabbi Baruch Ben-Haim, who, incidentally, was married to the elder Kassin’s daughter, and whom many considered better qualified for the job.

The choice, reportedly based on the last will and testament of Jacob Kassin, was not universally popular. In the wake of losing the contest for succession, Ben-Haim withdrew from the community’s mainstream in many ways, including no longer attending the community’s rabbinic council meetings regularly, according to one source. Over time, this source related, he turned increasingly toward the ultra-Orthodox wing of the community, an orientation sustained by his son, Eli Ben-Haim, who also was charged.

Even before the arrests, some would speculate about who — if anyone — might succeed Kassin as chief rabbi. His arrest has now accentuated the question.

One longtime observer from within the community predicted that Solomon Dwek’s choice of whom to sting would inevitably strengthen the Haredi faction in the years to come. The Deal Yeshiva and Deal Kollel, both headed by Dwek’s father, are the centers for the ultra-Orthodox in Deal and remain untouched by the scandal, as does Ateret Torah, the central ultra-Orthodox Syrian congregation in Brooklyn.

But another source deeply involved in community affairs dismissed this. “No one takes seriously any longer the idea of succession,” he said. Under the relatively weak leadership of Saul Kassin, he explained, individual congregations have increasingly looked to their own spiritual leaders. This close observer of trends in the community also pointed to increasing gaps between the ultra-Orthodox and the mainstream that he predicted would, over time, erode the traditional Sephardic ethos of belief in traditional observance and simultaneous toleration of laxity of the same.

“There will very probably be a split in the community down the road,” he said. “These are centrifugal forces.”

This source noted the ultra-Orthodox emphasis on studying over work for the men in the community, and spoke of the increasing economic strain this was putting on the community’s famously comprehensive social services for its own members, generated in large part by contributions from within. The economic downturn had only exacerbated this tension, he said.

Also, in contrast to the past, when boys were encouraged to go into business right out of school, “There are now a lot of people in our community who insist on higher secular education for their children. The Haredim don’t tolerate that.”

It’s not a universal view. “It’s true there’s been a bit of polarization in the community in the last 15 to 20 years,” one rabbi said. “But the community is complex. We’re not ideological. People marry each other. The streams overlap.”

Solidarity is how this community has survived intact even as other, less insular, Sephardic communities — the Greeks, for example — have scattered and assimilated in America. The Syrians’ communal trajectory has traced the reverse course of Ashkenazic Jewry, in which each generation of the mainstream has been more assimilated than the last. With the Syrian Jews, each generation has been more insular.

It is an insularity reinforced in no small part by a rabbinic edict from the 1930s — since updated and strengthened — that, in its current interpretation, forbids community members from marrying converts to Judaism, even if validly converted by an Orthodox rabbi elsewhere. It is an insularity that has grown, even as their wealth has burgeoned due to their elaborate, family-linked network of mutual aid in business and philanthropy.

This has led some wags to describe the community as medieval minds in Armani designs. But its defenders point, instead, to the unparalleled benefits community member share.

“No community has been as successful in building such an extensive infrastructure for its members,” noted Sarina Roffe, a writer and researcher whose work focuses on her community — and who was one of the few sources willing to speak on the record.

Now this community’s absolute fealty to its rabbis will face a test unlike any it has faced before. And no one knows for sure in which direction its members will turn — toward greater openness to the outside or further fortification against it.






And just what was all the fuss about?


What makes matters even worse is that more than 80,000 people are on the kidney transplant waiting list in the United States, and every year about 4,500 die while waiting, according to the National Kidney Foundation.


So, for a price you can save a life in Israel and let an American die.



How Kidneys Are Bought And Sold on Black Market

By Rebecca Dube


Six months ago, Ronen came to the United States from Israel on a life-or-death mission. He needed a kidney transplant, or he would die.

Soon after he arrived and moved into a donated basement apartment in Brooklyn, a man approached him and offered to give him what he wanted most in the world — for a fee. Ronen would have to pay $160,000 for a kidney; the “donor” would get $10,000.



By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank


I think it would be safe to say that virtually all Palestinians, including Hamas, would like to see Fatah’s upcoming Congress succeed in rehabilitating the movement, mainly  by extricating it from the quagmire of corruption, treachery and “security coordination” with Israel, the Nazi-like occupier of our homeland and tormentor of our people.

Fatah is a large movement and its role in leading  Palestinian struggle against Zionist colonialism can’t be denied. But it is also true that for many years Fatah has been metamorphosed into a “contra force” working, knowingly or unknowingly, against the national interests of the Palestinian people.

Fatah officials and spokesmen would vociferously deny such descriptions. However, the facts speak for themselves.  The ongoing inquisition against Hamas in the West Bank , which is fully coordinated with the Israeli occupation army, serves as a clarion proof underscoring to the extent to which Fatah has deviated from its original goals.

This disgraceful de facto alliance between the Fatah-dominated  Palestinian Authority (PA)  against the forces of resistance effectively transforms the American-backed and American-funded  security forces into a quisling entity, a Palestinian Judenrat.

I know the words might be harsh and painful, but truth must be told, even at the expense of upsetting and alienating many people. A painful treatment is often necessary to eradicate a malignant malady.

The original raison d’etre of Fatah had always been to liberate Palestine and enable Palestinian refugees, brutally uprooted from their ancestral homeland,  to return home.

However, since the scandalous  Oslo Agreement, Fatah’s main function has been redefined  and re-oriented toward  fighting  “the enemies of peace” and “the extremists” in order to obtain a certificate of good conduct from the criminal Zionists and their western supporters and allies.

Many important but gullible Fatah leaders thought naively that Israel might award them a state in return for doing Israel ’s bidding.

However, instead of getting a Palestinian state with al-Quds as its capital, as the Olso-era mantra was constantly invoked,  Israel dotted the West Bank with hundreds of malignant colonies, stepped up ethnic cleansing in East Jerusalem and nearly succeeded in redefining the Palestinian cause from a struggle against foreign occupation and apartheid into a Palestinian-Palestinian conflict between Fatah and Hamas.

This scandalous Kafkaesque  distortion of the Palestinian struggle wouldn’t have occurred had the free-minded Fatah leadership  prevented certain thugs within the movement, who acted on America’s and Israel’s  beck and call, from igniting inter-Palestinian civil war which eventually forced Hamas to oust the criminal provocateurs from the Gaza Strip.

We do hope that it is not too late for the free-minded forces within Fatah to rectify the situation and fix the immense damage done by the saboteurs and apostates who disguise themselves as Palestinian patriots while having the heart  and mind of a traitor.

Today,  Fatah  faces a host of complicated problems endangering the very survival of the movement as a liberation movement.

First, Fatah must deal with the aftereffects of the death of Yasser Arafat who, despite all his mistakes and shortcomings, managed to preserve the cohesion of the Palestinian national movement.

Now, a new power structure has been created, a power structure that views national resistance against the Israeli occupation as anachronistic and  even repugnant.

More to the point, this power structure would be willing to go to any extent to safeguard its criminal interests. Needless to say, the current police-state apparatus in the West Bank shows that the Ramallah junta and its numerous cohorts and hangers-on can’t be entrusted to deal with the national burden. They are simply too subservient to Israel and too enslaved by their own parochial interests to honestly  represent the true collective conscience of the Palestinian people and its enduring struggle for freedom and Justice.

 Hence, it  is amply wrong for the free-minded forces within Fatah to think that the sole goal behind “security coordination” with Israel is to fight or eradicate Hamas.

In truth, the real goal is to intimidate, suppress and if necessary eliminate  any opposition to any attempted  liquidation of the Palestinian cause. Therefore, the free men and women within Fatah who might be tempted to  say “NO” to an imposed deal, which would perpetuate the Israeli domination over Palestinian land and life , would  be crushed by the faithless  soldiers of Dayton who have been brainwashed into believing that the enemy of the Palestinian people  is “Hamas and the forces of resistance,” not Israel.

Second, the free-minded forces within Fatah must also  recognize  that during the past few years a huge bureaucracy  of Fatah officials, clerks, operatives, security commanders and business people whose interests and financial and economic well-being depend largely on the preservation of  the status quo, namely the persistence of the master-slave relationship between Israel and the PA.

These people would  fight tooth and nail to prolong or even  perpetuate the present situation, namely PA subservience to and subjugation by  the Israeli occupation.

One more point, it is an open secret that Fatah’s financial survival depends to a large extent on the coffers of the  American-backed government of Salam Fayyad. Hence, any genuine effort by Fatah to deliver itself from the American-Israel stranglehold would be strongly resisted by the Fayyad government.

Indeed, there are those who believe that one of the main reasons for the creation of the Fayyad government is to emasculate and “domesticate” Fatah. Unfortunately, their view has been largely vindicated by events in the past few years.

This means that Fatah can’t exercise its free will, even if it wants to, as long as it remains financially dependent on the Fayyad’s government’s coffers. Which will eventually force  Fatah to choose either of two choices,  to coalesce into the PA government structure and kiss all pretensions about resistance good by, or be financially independent in order to be politically free and able to resist Israeli dictates.

In the final analysis, you can’t say “No” to the hands that feed you.

Fatah should devote itself to ending the rift with Hamas as soon as possible mainly by purging its ranks of   Israel’s agents, and, sadly, they are many.

Fatah should realize that it alone can’t attain the goals of liberation and independence. This is why one of the central goals of the Fatah convention should be to mend relations with Hamas and restore Palestinian national unity

It is simply  unacceptable and scandalous for a liberation movement to have some of its leaders  telling  Israeli occupation army commanders that “We are allies, and our goals are the same, and our common enemy is Hamas.” Some years ago, those uttering such words would have met a harsh fate.

This is why such people shouldn’t stay in their jobs, let alone in Fatah, for one minute.

In the final analysis, the real contradiction is between us, the Palestinian people,  and Israel , the Nazi-like occupier of our country, not among ourselves. This is what every Palestinian, including every member of Fatah, ought to understand.


israel stop killing peace They say that ‘the truth will set us free’……. we arn’t quite free yet, but that day IS coming. Despite zionist efforts to keep the truth a secret, Jews of conscience won out in this particular ‘battle’….
Read on to see ‘what the controversy was all about’….. followed by a number of videos taken at the screening itself.
So this is what the controversy was about?
By Sydney Levy

Now you can go to YouTube and hear for yourself the intro to Rachel’s movie by San Francisco Jewish Film Festival’s Peter Stein, the speech by S.F. Voice for Israel’s Michael Harris, and the Q&A with Cindy Corrie after the film. The video quality is not always good, but you get to hear it all (except for watching the movie itself!)

Michael Harris spoke before the movie. He spent quite some time giving a long list of people that were innocent victims of violence. He added: “Just as Rachel Corrie should be alive today, so should all these men and women.” Of course, we agree. But conspicuously absent from Harris’ long list were the Palestinians. Apparently not a single one of them is worth a mention, let alone compassion. This did not sit well with most of the audience.

As Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb described it: “The fact that the vast majority of people in the crowd at the Castro Theatre would not let the Voice of Israel representative speak his mind without interruption reflects growing frustration with the use of pubic slander, character assassination, cancellation of speakers, firing of faculty and demand for resignations by the so-called defenders of Israel. Since when are people with views that differ from AIPAC, for instance, invited into mainstream circles to speak for five minutes before a pro-Israel speech or film? The representative of Voice of Israel was not there to dialogue. Only to chastise. The crowd refused to be chastised. When the impassioned proponent of Israel mentioned JVP and AFSC in order to condemn them as virulent anti-Semites, the crowd burst into cheers and applause to honor them instead.”

Cindy Corrie spoke after the film. Those who expected to find hatred in what she had to say were sadly disappointed. Cindy addressed not only the loss of her daughter, but about the grief of Palestinian parents in Gaza and Israeli parents whose children were the victims of suicide bombs. She and her husband met with both. This is what she observed: “We encountered many people, both Israelis and Palestinians and others who have had very personal losses, and the losses are all the same.”

When asked about the controversy surrounding her presence at the festival, she answered: ‘‘this has a lot less to do with me and with Rachel that it is with the discussion that is happening within the Jewish community.” Later she added, “I hope for the sake of all people in Israel and Palestine and for us here in the US that we can have the dialogue that needs to happen, but more than dialog, the action that needs to happen to bring an end to the trauma…”

It is an open question whether those who were opposed to the film are interested in dialog.

If you want to see the full thing in YouTube, here it is:

SFJFF ‘09: Rachel – Introduction (1 of 3)

SFJFF ‘09: Rachel – Introduction (2 of 3)

SFJFF ‘09: Rachel – Introduction (3 of 3)

SFJFF ‘09: Rachel – Cindy Q&A (1 of 5)
SFJFF ‘09: Rachel – Cindy Q&A (2 of 5)
SFJFF ‘09: Rachel – Cindy Q&A (3 of 5)
SFJFF ‘09: Rachel – Cindy Q&A (4 of 5)
SFJFF ‘09: Rachel – Cindy Q&A (5 of 5)



Image by Mr. Fish
Too often we see one nation conquer another one just because ‘they can’. We see these crimes committed both by the United States and Israel almost on a daily basis. Both of these countries believe that they are the superior nations, both morally and spiritually.
Israel goes as far as referring to themselves as ‘God’s Chosen People’. This, they believe gives them the right to do whatever is in their power to destroy other nations and cultures under the guise of ‘security’. Along with their belief system comes the attitude that no nation, other than themselves, has a viable history….. which allows them to destroy even furthur.
We see this throughout the Middle East via actions from the United States, and supported by Israel on all fronts.
Following is a comment made by Michael Rivero At What Really Happened
One of the great crimes committed against the people of Iraq was the looting of the Baghdad Museum and the destruction of many important ancient sites inside Iraq.

I think that destruction of ancient sites is deliberate policy.

Egypt is literally littered with the ruins of the ancient temples and palaces of her rulers. As much as has been found, it is estimated that only 1/3 of Egypt’s archeological wonders have been uncovered. A newly discovered temple was uncovered while digging a sewer line, and a cache of finely preserved mummies was literally stumbled over by a cow in a pasture.

Iraq’s ancient heritage was enshrined in its ancient sites and museum. As a result of the war, many of those sites have been damaged or destroyed. Part of the ancient city or Ur now lies underneath a US air base runway. Nebuchadnezzar’s palace now lies underneath a US-built parking lot. The treasures of the museum have only partly been recovered. The treasures from the looted archaeological sites have been scattered to the world.

All of this wealth of archaeological treasures must of course annoy Israel. We are raised from birth with Old Testament tales of the greatness of the ancient Israelites, of the powerful kingdoms of Solomon and David and the first temple. Yet Israel, while rich in antiquities, is almost totally devoid of artifacts from this supposedly glorious time in her history. The existence of the fabled First Temple was supported with just two artifacts, a carved staff ornament in the shape of a pomegranate and the Jehoash tablet. Both of these artifacts have been exposed as frauds. We are told that once there was a magnificent temple on that hill, but it “all went away.”

The wonders emerging from the soil of Egypt, Iraq, and Iran serve as a constant reminder that ancient buildings of such a scale as we are told the First Temple was simply do not vanish without a trace.
There is considerable reason to suspect that the tales told in the Old Testament are just that; tales. The Bible is not science, it is the collected stories of a primitive tribal people telling each other how important they are. And like fishermen talking about the one that got away, or Ramses with his temple carvings of the did-not-really-happen victory over the Hittites at Kadesh, the writers of the ancient testaments assumed that the people they were telling stories to had no way to verify the claims for themselves. So “embellishment” was a low-risk activity.

We do know from the available archaeological evidence that the Exodus probably actually happened to the Hyksos, not the Israelites. We know that the story of Moses is suspect because no Egyptian princess would hide a Hebrew child inside Pharaoh’s household, then give the kid a Hebrew name (“Moses” is actually an Egyptian title meaning “Prince” and is included in the names of many Pharaoh’s names such as Tut-Moses, Ah-Moses, Ra-Moses (Ramses) etc.)
Likewise, the story of Masada may be less than accurate. The remains found on the mountain were buried with pig bones, something no proper Jewish funeral would tolerate, which suggests that the bodies found and venerated as heroes of ancient Judea were actually those of dead Romans, for whom burial often involved animals as gifts to the spirit of the dead.

But a good story is a good story and the writers of the ancient texts were probably not thinking much further into the future than the guys who pen the “Celebrity dates space alien” stories you see at supermarket checkout lines. The fact that the celebrity is a real person does not prove the space alien exists. It’s just a story.
Given enough time, even a simple story written in jest can take on a life of its own. Scientology began as a bet between two science fiction writers; look how wide spread that has become in just a short time.

But, over time, entire religions with attendant wealth and power structures have been built on the premise that these old testament stories really happened exactly as written. And today, here in the 21st century world, science has started to catch up with these ancient legends and call many of them into doubt.

So, for a nation that justifies its existence on the writings of the Torah, the plethora of sites and artifacts confirming the ancient histories of Egypt, Iraq, Iran, etc. etc. etc. must seem a dire political threat for a nation whose own ancient history seems to have left little if any traces at all.

In that context, the strange behavior of the US military which posted guards around the Iraq oil ministry while bulldozing Iraq’s archaeological sites starts to make sense, if the supporters of a very insecure nation decide that leveling the archaeological playing field is preferable to allowing the obvious disparity in artifacts to remain visible to the world.


The above comment was made in response to the following…..


Babylon’s Ancient Wonder, Lying in Ruins
History Not Served By U.S. Presence

By Nada Bakri
Washington Post Foreign Service



HILLA, Iraq — Maytham Hamzah cast his eyes toward the remains of King Nebuchadnezzar‘s guest palace in Babylon, one of the world’s first great cities. He smiled, bitterly.

“They destroyed the whole country,” Hamzah, the head of the Babylon museum, said of U.S. forces in Iraq. “So what are a few old bricks and mud walls in comparison?”

U.S. forces did not exactly destroy the 4,000-year-old city, home of one of the world’s original seven wonders, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Even before the troops arrived, there was not much left: a mound of broken mud-brick buildings and archaeological fragments in a fertile plain between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers.

But they did turn it into Camp Alpha, a military base, shortly after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Their 18-month stay there caused “major damage” and represented a “grave encroachment on this internationally known archeological site,” a report released this month in Paris by the United Nations’ cultural agency, UNESCO, says.

The ruins stretch over a rectangular area measuring 2,100 acres along the western banks of the Euphrates. The site consists of Nebuchadnezzar’s palace, which then-President Saddam Hussein rebuilt in the 1980s; the remains of the Temple of Ninmakh; and a palace for royal guests. In addition, there is the Lion of Babylon, a 2,600-year-old sculpture, and the remains of the Ishtar Gate, the most beautiful of the eight gates that once ringed the perimeter of the town. It still bears the symbols of Babylonian gods.

According to the report, which comes after five years of investigation by a team of Iraqi and international experts, foreign troops and contractors bulldozed hilltops and then covered them with gravel to serve as parking lots for military vehicles and trailers. They drove heavy vehicles over the fragile paving of once-sacred pathways.

The report also says that forces built barriers and embankments to protect the base, pulverizing ancient pottery and bricks that were engraved with cuneiform characters. They dug trenches where they stored fuel tanks for their helicopters, which landed near an ancient theater. Among the structures that suffered the most damage, according to the report, were the Ishtar Gate and a processional thoroughfare. Experts also say troops filled their sandbags with soil from a site that was littered with archaeological fragments.

Bricks were looted as well — both those of Babylonian vintage and newer ones that Hussein used to rebuild parts of the ruins. The latter variety was emblazoned with an ode to himself.

“The damage was so great,” said Maryam Mussa, an official from the Iraqi state board of heritage and antiquities, which is in charge of the site. “It would be so difficult to repair it, and nothing can make up for it.”

Spokesmen for the U.S. military in Iraq did not respond to requests for comment. But the military has previously said that looting would have been far worse had it not been for the presence of its troops. The military also said in 2005 that it had discussed setting up the base with Iraqi archaeologists in charge of the site.

The site has been closed to the public since 2003. Facing mounting criticism from archaeologists in Iraq and around the world, troops vacated it in summer 2004. It was reopened this June, despite warnings from experts that the ruins might suffer further damage unless they were first restored and given proper protection.

Many residents of Hilla, a town 60 miles south of Baghdad that sits near the ruins, said they have not been to the site because they can’t bear to see the damage.

“What ruins are you talking about?” said Jawad Kathem, a 55-year-old owner of a small grocery store in the village of Jumjumah, a few miles away. “There is nothing left of it. It was all destroyed and looted.”

“They are occupying forces,” said Sabah Hassan, a 41-year-old resident of Hilla who owns a cafe near the ruins. “Nobody can tell them what to do.”

On a recent day, wind swept across the deserted ruin as Hamzah, the museum’s head, gave a tour to visitors. He recited the history of ancient Babylon with the enthusiasm of someone who had been waiting for years to share his knowledge. The gates of the museum were locked.

“From this room, King Nebuchadnezzar ruled his kingdom,” he said as he waved his hand across a spacious room where Nebuchadnezzar II is believed to have sat. The king turned Babylon into one of the wonders of the ancient world. Historians say he was prouder of his construction projects than he was of his many military victories.

Several efforts to restore Babylon have been announced in the past six years, but none has made progress. Now, with security in Iraq improving, officials hope to start work on a $700,000, two-year project funded by the U.S. State Department to restore the site. The United Nations is also trying to name the place a World Heritage site, a designation that would provide support and protection.

“Of course this is not enough, but it is better than nothing,” lamented Mussa, the site director. “We had hoped that work would start this year.”

On her desk were papers detailing the damage, gathering dust.




Homeward bound: Gaza in 24 hours
Dr. Mona El-Farra writing from the occupied Gaza Strip
International activists from the Viva Palestina US delegation arrive into the Gaza Strip from Egypt, 15 July 2009. (Hatem Omar/MaanImages)

As soon as I arrived home I felt a great relief, if that is the right word. I have been unable to return to Gaza before because of Israel’s winter invasion and the ongoing siege. I am not sure that the word relief summarizes my intense and conflicting emotions. Mixed feelings of relief, happiness, but also disorientation continued to overwhelm me. Gaza my beautiful home, yes my beautiful home, my beautiful people, who are trying so hard to live. To continue from one day to another. Despite the odds, the hardships, the deaf ears of the world.

The same day I arrived home, 9 July, I could see from my balcony the rubble of what at one time was Yasser Arafat’s headquarters. The whole building was completely demolished, leveled to the ground, blowing out the windows on one side of my apartment building. It is the same place where one of my cousins was killed the first day of Israel’s assault in December.

I now see a different Gaza, and it is not the Gaza I have known, it is like a city after an earthquake.

Many of the historically important buildings were leveled to the ground. I decided to postpone my field visits to the different areas where the assaults were the most savage and brutal. I thought it might be a good idea to wait for the arrival of the delegation of US citizens who were due to cross the border.

In the meantime, I met some dear friends and coworkers who came to say hello. All of them were loaded with war stories and the panic they faced during the attacks against Gaza. One friend who was a political prisoner, who spent 15 years in the Israeli jails said to me, “I never felt afraid of anything there like the fear I felt this time.” I find it strange to even write this sentence, but while we Palestinians are determined to continue our struggle, the reality is that this assault against Gaza was severe and fierce, and cannot be forgotten — we will feel its effects as a people for a long time.

Our friends from the US were only granted visas from Egypt to visit Gaza for 24 hours. As I waited I pondered, “How can we condense or begin to understand what children, women and men went through during 23 days of the assault in a 24 hours visit?”

Upon the arrival of the Viva Palestina US delegation, I sat at the borders to receive the delegation with some colleagues from PNGO (Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations’ Network). It was a touching and affectionate moment for me, to see American, British, and French activists of different ages and ethnicities united under one goal and voicing to the world: “Gaza you are not alone, you are not forgotten, despite the shameful stand of the governments of the world, we stand with you, the people of Gaza!”

We had to get to work immediately, and were fortunate to have a solid team of colleagues. I was accompanied by Barbara Lubin, Director of the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA), Reem Salhi, an activist lawyer and human rights advocate, Danny Muller, a MECA colleague, Travis Wilkerson, a filmmaker and professor, Jaiel Kayed, a Palestinian-American computer expert, Talal Abu Shaweesh, Director of New Horizons, and Mohammed Magdalawi, a student from Gaza and MECA volunteer.

In the Nuseirat refugee camp, we were invited by New Horizons to see the activities of their project loosely translated as “Let them Play and Heal,” a program treating childhood trauma sponsored by MECA. The project involves activities for mothers and their children to help the children recover after the war trauma. There were around 500 kids, 6-12 years old boys and girls with their mothers attending. We had the chance to see the little faces of hundreds of happy children, singing along with a traditional debka dance performance.

We then visited the al-Bureeg School, where MECA has implemented water purification and desalinization systems to provide clean drinking water for schoolchildren. This is one of three water treatment projects MECA has recently implemented in the refugee camps, and we aim to build many more with the help of our friends and allies. We then moved to the north and while the van was going on, we could clearly see many demolished homes everywhere, and tent cities around the homes where families now lived.

We could not miss the Zaytoun area, where one of the many tragic events of the war occurred at the home of the Samouni family. The van went through neighborhood after neighborhood, through areas of vast destruction. How can I convey to you what I have seen in the little faces, eyes of sadness mixed with hope and excitement? On top of that some of the kids who had broken or missing arms and legs, post-operative scars, who are living in the rubble of their former homes, and with their little voices they tried to tell us their stories.

I listened to their stories. I stopped writing about the rest of our activities, the rest of our day, the rest of my return home. At that moment I felt, and still feel, “I don’t want to hear or listen, I just want to cuddle these children and help them to forget.” But I want the world to remember what was done here in Gaza, and that those of who are picking up the pieces, as hard as we try, we cannot forget.

Mona El-Farra is a physician by training and a human rights and women’s rights activist in practice in the occupied Gaza Strip. Her blog is From Gaza, with Love.




It didn’t take long at all for the ‘truth’ to come out regarding the criminal rabbis in the United States. It’s obviously just another case of FBI inspired anti-Semitism! That ‘charge’ does not even come from Foxman… it comes directly from the so-called ultra orthodox community in Israel…. the ones that are actually benefiting from the criminal activities involving organ sales and money laundering.

Methinks they whine too much 🙂

The following quote says it all….. “After Madoff, now there is this. I’m frankly concerned about the rise of anti-Semitism in the US“.

Read the rest of the nonsense below…..

‘FBI sting was a case of anti-Semitism’

By Matthew Wagner

Anti-Semitism was behind the highly publicized arrests last week of rabbis, including three from the Aleppo-Syrian Jewish community in New York and New Jersey, according to Yitzhak Kakun, editor-in-chief of the Shas weekly Yom Le’Yom.

Shas MK Nissim Ze'ev.

Shas MK Nissim Ze’ev. Photo: The Knesset

“There is a feeling here that the FBI purposely attempted to arrest as many rabbis as possible at once in an attempt to humiliate them,” Kakun said in a telephone interview Sunday.

“Regardless of the details of the case – I am not familiar with the precise charges and the evidence – you would never see the FBI and police behaving that way with Muslim sheikhs or Christian priests. It is so obvious that the whole thing is motivated by anti-Semitism,” he said.

Kakun added that he planned on devoting the editorial of his paper to an attack on the Obama administration for attempting to whip up anti-Semitic feelings against the Orthodox Jewish community in the US.

Meanwhile, Shas MK Nissim Ze’ev said US police authorities had deliberately created the false impression that members of the Aleppo community were somehow connected with organ trafficking and extortion, when in reality their only crime was money-laundering.

“There is absolutely no connection between the rabbis from the Aleppo community and those others,” said Ze’ev, who was once a rabbi for the Aleppo community in Brooklyn and continues to pray with the community on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

“The US police are trying to make it seem as though there is some kind of Jewish mafia,” he said.

Ze’ev was referring to impression some media outlets had given by calling the group of rabbis involved the “Kosher Nostra,” a play on the words “Cosa Nostra.”

He also rejected any special connections between Shas and the Aleppo Jewish community in the US.

“Saul Kassin [one of the suspects in the money-laundering scheme] is a man who contributes to many different causes, many of them very Zionistic,” said Ze’ev.

“He helps various charitable institutions in Israel and he has also helped fund IDF projects,” added Ze’ev. “We are not talking about a community that is particularly supportive of Shas. They are much more Zionist and nationalist.”

Members of the Aleppo Jewish community who were arrested on suspicion of money laundering are Eliyahu Ben-Haim, rabbi of Congregation Ohel Yaacob in Deal, New Jersey; Edmond Nahum of the Deal Synagogue; and Saul Kassin of Shaarei Zion Synagogue in Brooklyn.

Ben-Haim is known to have ties to Yehaveh Da’at, a Torah institution headed by Rabbi David Yosef, the son of Shas mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. Members of the Aleppo community contributed to the construction of its large building, located near the elder Yosef’s home in Jerusalem’s Har Nof neighborhood.

Two other Orthodox Jews – Mordechai Fish of Congregation Sheves Achim, and Label Schwartz – were also charged with money-laundering.

Another man, Levy Izhak Rosenbaum of Brooklyn, was charged with allegedly acquiring and trading in human organs.

Ze’ev claimed there was no connection between the members of the Aleppo community and the others, besides their mutual connections with Solomon Duek, an Aleppo Jew charged with bank fraud in 2006 who apparently turned FBI informant.

Revelations regarding the money-laundering came after the haredi community in Israel had been the subject of several negative media reports.

In recent weeks, a haredi woman from Beit Shemesh known as the “Taliban mother,” due to her custom of wearing multiple layers of clothing and covering all parts of her body, including her face and hands, was convicted of child abuse.

Meanwhile, another haredi woman from Jerusalem’s Mea She’arim neighborhood was accused recently of starving her three-year-old son. Her arrest sparked a string of violent street demonstrations and clashes between groups of haredim and police in the capital.

Moshe Grylak, editor-in-chief of the haredi weekly Mishpacha, said the recent spate of bad publicity had put the haredi community in Israel on the defensive.

“The secular population is convinced we are a bunch of Talibans who starve their children and money-launder,” said Grylak, who argued that the local media had broken the rules of journalistic ethics by labeling the perpetrators as haredi.

“And on top of it all, we are also a bunch of parasites who don’t work,” he said. “It’s been a tough time for us. And Tisha Be’av is just around the corner.”

Grylak added that the FBI had purposely created a media fanfare around the US incident in an attempt to cover up the bureau’s failures in uncovering the Madoff scam.

“It was obvious they were trying to prove something, trying to show they were capable,” he said.

Both Grylak and Ze’ev were concerned about possible anti-Semitic repercussions from the incident.

“After Madoff, now there is this. I’m frankly concerned about the rise of anti-Semitism in the US,” said Grylak.


This all brings back memories of the following video…. do you ‘need a Jew’ to teach you how to whine? (from Family Guy)



Demonstrators rally outside the prime minister’s home against US pressure on Israel’s settlement policy.
Photo: AP

Jerusalem Welcomes American Envoys with Chants of “Saddam Hussein Obama”

A rally was held this evening protesting the arrival of the US envoys in Israel. Members of National Union, Likud and Israel Beiteinu led the crowd, which included Kahanists wearing t-shirts saying “Kahane was right,” referring to Meir Kahane’s ideology of violence against all who stand in the way of the constant expansion of Jewish territory.

The people that attended the rally think that occupying another people and chanting racist slurs at the first black president of the United States (who was elected by a majority of American Jews who support him) is their expression of freedom and democracy. As a humanist and a pragmatist, it can feel very uneasy and unsafe in this country.

While the people opposing settlement expansion get no coverage in the media, those supporting it get plenty. As we were filming the event numerous people asked us detailed questions about where we are from and what we planned on doing with the footage. It was striking that MK Michael Ari made a special point to thank Arutz Sheva, the Israel National News. The coverage they put out is fine, but our attempt to show the world their racism is definitely a no-no. Their relative self-awareness added a new layer to our understanding of settler insanity.

Most people we talked to did not hesitate to attack Obama and his administration, of which many are Jews themselves. The general atmosphere of the rally was that Obama is a Muslim and a racist who denies the Jewish people their right to control the Land of Israel. When asked about American aid to Israel, most replied that this was a separate issue.

Rightwing settler groups and political parties held a rally welcoming American envoys to Israel for high level peace talks. The rally was attended by over 1500 people and addressed by members of the Israeli Knesset. Obama has serious work to do.



Image by Bendib



breaking the silence

Breaking The Silence has more guts than most other Israeli NGO’s. They were pretty much dared to reveal their sources of funding last week…. AND THEY DID!

Europeans funding ‘Breaking the Silence’

A day after releasing a damning report on Operation Cast Lead, and amid accusations that it is operating without transparency, the group Breaking the Silence on Thursday presented The Jerusalem Post with its donor list for the year 2008, which included several European governments.

On Wednesday, Breaking the Silence released a report including testimonies from 26 unnamed soldiers who participated in the campaign and which claimed that the IDF used Gazans as human shields, improperly fired incendiary white phosphorous shells over civilian areas and used overwhelming firepower that caused needless deaths and destruction.

On Thursday, military sources and NGO Monitor – a Jerusalem-based research organization – raised suspicions regarding Breaking the Silence’s setup as a nonprofit limited company and not an amuta, or nonprofit organization. The difference is that an amuta is required by law to publicly declare the identity of its donors. A limited company is not always required to do so.

“From our work, going through the files of dozens of Israeli nonprofits, we feel that groups like this that are not listed [as an amuta] raises a lot of red flags,” said Prof. Gerald Steinberg, the head of NGO Monitor.

In response to the claims, Breaking the Silence presented the Post with its donor list for 2008. The British Embassy in Tel Aviv gave the organization NIS 226,589; the Dutch Embassy donated €19,999; and the European Union gave Breaking the Silence €43,514.

The NGO also received funding from the New Israel Fund amounting to NIS 229,949.

In 2007, Breaking the Silence received a total of NIS 500,000, and in 2008 it managed to raise NIS 1.5 million.

“We have nothing to hide,” said Yehuda Shaul, one of the heads of Breaking the Silence. “We are open to complete transparency and are prepared to share this information with the public.”

The above was found HERE

It seems that Israel cannot live with honesty…. a word not in their lexicon, so the following is what they are doing…..

Israeli Government Atttempts to Stop Foreign Funding of Breaking The Silence

In reaction to a recent report by Breaking the Silence, containing testimonies of Israeli soldiers, discussing possible Israeli military violations of international law during the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip earlier this year, it was reported that the Israeli ambassador to the Netherlands met with the director general of the Dutch Foreign Ministry, demanding that the Dutch government reevaluate its

Video still from one of the soldiers' testimonies regarding events that occured during Operation Cast Lead.Video still from one of the soldiers’ testimonies regarding events that occured during Operation Cast Lead.

funding of the organization. However, according to the Dutch newspaper, de Volkskrant, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs denies that Israel has complained. There is therefore no reason for public subsidy to stop.” This fits into the human rights policy, a priority of Minister Verhagen.

Founded in 2004 to expose Israeli society to the experiences of soldiers who have served in Gaza and the West Bank, and to widen the continuum of conversation among Israelis about the moral implications of military service, Breaking the Silence has faced criticism from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs since the release of the report.

Detailing the use of white phosphorous gas, the razing of innocent civilian homes, and the use of Palestinians as human shields, the report raises fundamental questions about the morality of the military offensive that left thousands dead, Israel’s adherence to international law, and the use of proportionality.

In response to the release of the fifty-four testimonies that constitute the report, the Dutch Foreign Ministry has announced that it will revisit its decision to fund the organization. This decision is the result of pressure from Israeli ambassador Harry Knei-Tal, who believes that “the Dutch taxpayer’s money could be better used to promote peace and human rights” than through support for the report, Haaretz reports.

Responding to the matter, another Israeli official noted that “a friendly government can not fund opposition bodies.” In line with this line of reasoning, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs asserted their regret that “yet another human rights organization is presenting to Israel and the world a report based on anonymous and general testimonies, without investigating their details or credibility.” Defense Minister Ehud Barak likewise lamented that the report was not first brought to him for approval.

Yet in their criticisms of the report, both the Israeli military and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ignore the importance of explicitly non-governmental organizations in unearthing all too often silenced stories that occur as a result of government and military led initiatives. When international human rights organizations first raised questions about the use of white phosphorus gas during the war on Gaza, a tactic that is illegal under international law, the Israeli military conducted a cursory investigation that revealed that there was no use of the substance. But soldiers’ testimonies and assessments by non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch indicate otherwise, underlining the dubiousness of the official investigation.

When the investigations of “opposition bodies” reveal the same evidence of war crimes, and the revelations stand in sharp contrast to those of the official government investigations, it is crucial that further investigations from sources outside the government body take place, and that the work of groups like Breaking the Silence continues.

In their criticisms of Breaking the Silence, both ambassador Knei-Tal and representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also overlook the main objective of the organization, which is first and foremost to widen the continuum of dialogue within Israeli society about the “questionable orders” Israeli soldiers are given in the West Bank and Gaza and to provide military accountability, a subject that would otherwise be difficult to broach.

The efforts of ambassador Knei-Tal to halt funding for Breaking the Silence because it is an “opposition group” comes at the same time as a recent Knesset decision to outlaw the funding of organizations that commemorate the Nakba. Both government actions work in similar ways to quell discordant voices that could ultimately build a stronger and more democratic society that does not fear engaging in the “serious self-reflection” that President Obama has recently discussed.

That appeared HERE


One of the main items that was discussed on Israeli TV last night was the ‘threat’ Iran is to the security of Israel. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates seemed to be in agreement with every statement made by Ehud Barak, Israel’s Minister of Defense.

One of the points discussed was “what appears to be [Iran’s] intent to develop nuclear weapons.” …. KEY WORD IS INTENT….
Israel already has nuclear weapons. This is a long known fact. The man who ‘blew the whistle’ on Israel, Mordechai Vanunu, is still kept silent by the Israeli authorities regarding this. Despite having served his time in an Israeli prison, he is still forbidden to speak to foreign reporters or leave the country. This makes one wonder what Israel might be trying to hide.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, left, shakes hands with his Israeli counterpart, Ehud Barak.


“I think we’re in full agreement of the negative consequences of Iran obtaining this kind of a capability,” Gates said. “I think we are also agreed that it is important to take every opportunity to try and persuade the Iranians to reconsider what is actually in their own security interest.”


The purpose of Gates’ visit to the region is supposedly to ‘jump-start’ the stalled ‘peace process’ between Israel and the Palestinians. It makes sense then that Israel would rather discuss potential war with Iran than the actual problems that they face today. Peace is obviously NOT on Israel’s day to day agenda.


The Iranian leadership antagonizes Israel. At public events, Iranian leaders call on the crowd to chant, “Death to Israel.” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for the end of Israel as a Jewish state.

Israel has said that the idea of a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities is on the table.

Obama recently told CNN he had not given Israel his approval for a potential strike.

The italics are taken from THIS CNN report.


So, the questions remain, is chanting more dangerous than nuclear bombs? Is Iran a threat to Israel or is it the other way around??

Image by Bendib



The following was too amusing (in a sick way) not to share… could we call this a case of ‘the pot calling the kettle black”? (pardon the expression)

Israeli racists calling President Obama a racist…..because his support of apartheid is questionable at this time…..

Obama slammed as ‘racist’ at Jerusalem rally
‘This insolence will bring about the downfall of the American leadership’
By Aaron Klein

Rally at U.S. consulate in Jerusalem last night (WND photo)

JERUSALEM – President Obama’s policies against Jewish construction in eastern Jerusalem and the strategic West Bank were slammed as “racist” today by participants in a rally drawing about 2,000 Israelis in front of the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem.

“George Mitchell go home!” yelled protestors in front of the U.S. government building.

Mitchell, Obama’s envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is here discussing the American administration’s call for a halt to all Jewish settlement activity, including natural growth or accommodating the needs of existing Jewish populations in the areas in question.

“Obama should not be pressing Israel to compromise and freeze building in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem,” protest organizer Yaacov Steinberg told WND.

“All these steps in the past just brought more Palestinian terror and showed Israeli weakness,” said Steinberg, director of a coalition of West Bank Jewish organizations.

Speaking at the rally, Rabbi Eliezer Waldman, who heads the prestigious “Nir” Torah seminary in the West Bank city of Kiryat Arba, called Obama a “racist.”

“How dare he tell the Jews where they can or can’t live! The era when Jews were banned from living in different places has ended,” Waldman exclaimed.

Rally at U.S. consulate in Jerusalem last night (WND photo)

“Obama beware. This insolence will bring about the downfall of the American leadership. Anyone who dares give an order to prevent Israeli life in Jerusalem or anywhere else in the land of Israel is destined to fall,” he said.

Pinchas Wallerstein, director of the Yesha council of Jewish communities in the West Bank, told the crowds, “This week the American pressure reached new highs that are a shame to democratic societies.”

Wallerstein was referring to the summoning of Israel’s ambassador to Washington last week by the State Department to demand a Jewish construction project in eastern Jerusalem be immediately halted.

“It’s absolutely an outrageously racist policy,” Mort Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, told WND. “Especially in light of how Obama should be sensitive when it comes to anything that would remotely constitute discrimination of people based on ethnicity or religion.”

Rally at U.S. consulate in Jerusalem last night (WND photo)

The construction project at the center of attention, financed by Miami Beach philanthropist Irving Moskowitz, is located just meters from Israel’s national police headquarters and other government ministries. It is a few blocks from the country’s prestigious Hebrew University, underscoring the centrality of the Jewish real estate being condemned by the U.S.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly rejected the State Department demand, telling a cabinet meeting Sunday that Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem was not a matter up for discussion.

“Imagine what would happen if someone were to suggest Jews could not live in or purchase [property] in certain neighborhoods in London, New York, Paris or Rome,” he said.

“The international community would certainly raise protest. Likewise, we cannot accept such a ruling on East Jerusalem,” Netanyahu told ministers.

Rally at U.S. consulate in Jerusalem last night (WND photo)

In a statement released to WND, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, long considered one of the most powerful Jewish groups in the U.S., took strong issue with the U.S. demand against Jewish construction in Jerusalem.

“We find disturbing the objections raised to the proposed construction of residential units on property that was legally purchased and approved by the appropriate authorities. The area in question houses major Israeli governmental agencies, including the national police headquarters.”

“The U.S. has in the past and recently raised objections to the removal of illegal structures built by Arabs in eastern Jerusalem even though they were built in violation of zoning and other requirements often on usurped land,” read the statement.

The group’s statement pointed out Moskowitz’s housing project formerly was the house of the infamous mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who spent the war years in Berlin as a close ally of Adolf Hitler, aiding and abetting the Nazi extermination of Jews.

Al-Husseini was also linked to the 1929 massacre of Jews in Jerusalem and Hebron and to other acts of incitement that resulted in death and destruction in what was then called Palestine. Some Palestinians have expressed a desire to preserve the building as a tribute to Husseini.

Historically, there was never any separation between eastern and western Jerusalem. The terminology came after Jordan occupied the eastern section of the city, including the Temple Mount, from 1947 until it used the territory to attack the Jewish state in 1967. Israel reunited Jerusalem when it won the 1967 Six Day War.



By Khalid Amayreh

Avigdor Lieberman, the brashly-racist foreign minister of the apartheid Israeli state, reportedly recently ordered Zionist embassies around the world to circulate a 1941 photo showing the former Mufti of Jerusalem Hajj Amin Husseini meeting with German Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. Lieberman hopes that the picture would help  counter growing international pressure on the Zionist regime to stop ethnic-cleansing measures against the Palestinians, especially in occupied Jerusalem .

The release of the picture is widely viewed as a desperate feat by the widely-reviled Lieberman to make a difference as a foreign minister.

Lieberman has been largely boycotted by the international community, mainly due to his radical and expressly racist views.

Given his pariah status around the world, the Israeli government went as far as asking other Israeli officials, such as Defence Minister Ehud Barak, to carry out the Foreign Minister’s functions, especially in talks with American and European officials.

Lieberman’s desperate act is likely to raise many eyebrows since it comes from a man whose mindset and ideological convictions differ little from those of Adolf Hitler.

Indeed, Lieberman’s infatuation with Jewish nationalism (the correct term is Jewish fascism) can be viewed as a virtual carbon copy of Hitler’s obsession with German nationalism.

Moreover, Lieberman’s brazenly racist discourse against non-Jews in general and Israel’s Palestinian  population is nothing short of  a later-day echo of the Aryan Nazi ideology.

Furthermore, Liberman’s strident bellicosity and pugnacity resemble to a large extent the Nazi rhetoric against Germany’s neighbours which later found expression in the invasion of Poland and occupation of large parts of Europe .

For example, Lieberman has called for dropping a nuclear bomb on Gaza, blanket-bombing Palestinian streets, shopping centres, banks, and neighbourhoods for the purpose of forcing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to flee their homeland in order to make a “lebensraum” available for Jewish settlers.

He also called for drowning Palestinian political prisoners in the Dead Sea, bombing Tehran and the Aswan Dam in Egypt.

In fact, this thuggish petty criminal is the last person on earth who is morally qualified to criticize Amin Husseini for having a brief encounter with the leader of the Third Reich.

Well, does Lieberman dare to tell us how many Jewish Zionist leaders allied themselves with Hitler? Does he dare to tell us how many Jewish soldiers and officers served in the Wehrmacht, Gestapo and SS? And then  what about the close relationship between the Third Reich and Jewish terrorist groups operating in Palestine , such as the Stern Gang? And what about the tacit understandings between the Zionist and Nazi leaderships according to which the Zionists accepted  that hundreds of thousands of European Jews be annihilated rather than allowed to immigrate to North America?

According to the late Israeli writer and intellectual Israel Shahak, Jewish soldiers serving in the Nazi security apparatus were most feared by the local Jewish population. Shahak, a holocaust survivor himself, related that when a Jewish mother sent her son to do an errand, she taught him that he might pass through a German checkpoint but never through a Jewish-manned checkpoint.

Besides, Husseini was a man who saw his country, his ancestral homeland, being devoured by the British-backed Zionist movement, and thought, rightly or wrongly, that enlisting the support of a contemporary world power like Germany might help his people save their country and regain their freedom and independence.

Hence, one might really ask why it was perfectly acceptable for Zionists to collaborate with the Nazis in order to save Jewish lives whereas it was totally wrong for the leadership of a people facing near extermination at the hands of Zionism to behave similarly for the purpose of saving their people.

True, Hitler was a mass murderer, par excellence.  But how about Jewish mass murderers, before and after Hitler?

Today, in Israel, school students complete their high school education without ever hearing the name “Genrikh Yagoda” (Genrich Grigorivc Yagoda), who is one of the greatest murderers of all time.

Yagoda diligently carried out Stalin’s collectivization orders and was responsible for the death of at least 10 million people. His Jewish deputies established and managed the genocidal Gulag system.  And after Stalin no longer viewed him favourably, Yagoda was demoted and subsequently executed, and was replaced as Chief Hangman in 1936 by Yezhov, the ‘bloodthirsty dwarf’ who had a Jewish wife.

Another Russian Jew named Lazar Kaganovitch, also an aide to Stalin, was responsible for the extermination of  millions of  Ukrainians. During the harsh winter of 1932-33, mass starvation created by Kaganovitch reached critical levels and Ukrainians were forced to eat their pets, boots and belts, plus bark and roots. Some parents even ate infant children.

More to the point, it is really ironic in a certain sense that Zionism projects itself as an antithesis of Nazism when nearly all Nazi characters have been nearly literally copied by the Zionist leadership.

Zionism, for example,  has declared all Jews a distinct ethnicity, just as the Nazis had declared all Germans a distinct ethnicity.

Both Zionism and Nazism strove to build a ‘state’ that would be ‘redeemed’ through violent purification (in the case of Nazi Germany) and ‘an Iron wall’ (in the case of Zionist Israel).

In both instances, ethnic cleansing was the main tool used to obliterate the ‘inferiors,’ the ‘water carriers and wood hewers’ in order to create ‘German-only’ settlements in Europe and ‘Jewish-only’ settlements in Palestine .

In all honesty, there are no fundamental differences between Jewish national socialism (Zionism) and German national socialism (Nazism). The Nazis preached the  ‘Master Race’ to justify Nazism while Zionists adopted the ancient myth of the ‘Chosen People’ to justify Zionism.

Moreover, we can’t really ignore the absolute similarity between the Zionist ethnic conquest of Palestine and the implanting therein of ‘Jewish settlers’ at the expense of the native Palestinian Muslims and Christians, and the Nazi drive for ‘Lebensraum’ in Poland and the importation of  ‘Aryans’ at the expense of the indigenous population.

Yes, there in Europe, the Nazis sought to steal the Sudetenland and here in Palestine , the Zionists are stealing the West Bank . The arguments are the same, the lies are the same and the means are nearly identical.

We need to highlight these similarities and the ‘common ground’ between Zionism and Nazism, irrespective of how many people will be upset by these comparisons. The truth is always a paramount value in itself.

The Nazi-like occupation of Palestine by Israel is not the act of a few Israeli Jews. It is not even the act of the military establishment alone.  It is the collective act of a morally desensitized society that has nearly lost its humanity and succumbed to a collective psychosis that is not unlike the moral blindness that struck the German people more than sixty years ago.

In some ways, Palestinians have fared far worse than Hitler’s victims; for the Palestinian tragedy is ongoing and Palestinians, unlike Jews, who still receive compensation for losses dating back sixty years, receive no reparations for lost personal property, not even an acknowledgment from their tormenters of any responsibility for their dispossession.

Sixty years ago Zionists demolished 438 Palestinian villages and poisoned or destroyed wells to ensure that their rightful owners would not return.  Today, Zionists keep on behaving more or less along the same traditions, demolishing homes, destroying farms, and narrowing people’s horizons, all with the goal of making them emigrate.

Today in every junior high school in America , students read Anne Frank, while in every high school Elie Wiesel’s ‘Night’ is requisite reading. This is the man who says brazenly that he readily identifies with Israeli crimes and that he couldn’t bring himself to say bad things about Israel.
The victims of the first Kristallnacht enjoy the world’s approbation and sympathy, while at the same time having succeeded in demonizing an entire people, for whom Kristallnacht still remains a night without end.

But, unlike the German national socialists, Jewish national socialists are falsifying history and reality to justify their crimes against humanity. The Holocaust narrative, which has been elevated to the status of a religion, allows Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, to invoke the mantra ‘Never Again’ while it sits on Arab lands stolen from Ein Karem and overlooking the unmarked graves of Palestinians massacred by Judeo-Nazi terrorists at Deir Yassin.

It is sad, really sad, that most Jews are now finding themselves in the shoes of their former oppressors, knowingly and consciously.

On August 23, 1947, nearly one year before Israel ’s birth, Harry Truman wrote the following to Eleanor Roosevelt, apparently in the wake of another Jewish atrocity in Palestine :

“I fear very much that the Jews are like all underdogs. When they get on the top they are just as intolerant and cruel as the people were to them when they were underneath.  I regret this situation very much because my sympathy has always been on their side.

In light of Israel’s Nazi-like behavior in Palestine, it is difficult to view Truman’s prophetic words with indifference.  In fact, it is a moral obligation of the first order to oppose Zionism with the same vigour and same determination the world demonstrated in the face of Nazism.


It is really sad that the children still think of the cruel war against Gaza earlier this year. These are talented children but in drawing the scenes of war and prison their worst nightmares are relived over and over again. Let the pictures speak for themselves!

Photos of the Images by Ayman Quader (on Picasa Web)



YouTube removed the brilliant video called Feeling the Hate in Jerusalem….

Censorship is zionism’s favourite game…. especially if the truth about Israel or zionism is exposed.

Just what was all the fuss about? and why did YouTube remove it??

Joseph Dana, one of the co-creators of the video above, has written the following to explain why he and Max Blumenthal made the video, and what he thinks it shows:

It’s about entitlement, stupid.

Max and I went on to the streets of Jerusalem at ten o’clock on a Wednesday to ascertain the feelings of the young population about Obama’s upcoming speech in Cairo. As is often the case, the streets of central Jerusalem were not filled with native Israelis but American Jews. Doubtlessly anyone who has visited Jerusalem has encountered the droves of American Jewish kids that are sent to Israel to study for a period of time from Teaneck or Westchester. We asked people a simple question, “What do you think of Obama and Israel?” Most of the people that we talked to were dual American Israeli citizens. The answers in this video reflect the education and worrisome perspectives that many American Jews harbor towards Israeli politics. The sense of entitlement that the American Jewish community has when it comes to Israeli policy is on full raw display in the words of these young adults.

Based on our interviews these people were from high socio economic backgrounds and had developed thoughts about current Israeli politics. The question is why more journalists are not covering this story. All you have to do is walk the streets of Jerusalem and you will find dozens of people that harbor the same beliefs. As a resident of Jerusalem, I can say that the people represented in this video are not members of a fringe group or simply drunk college kids. These people reflect the sentiments shared by many people in this country and this city. These people and their families are the core of the opposition to meaningful peace between Israel and her neighbors. This is what Obama is up against.

It’s also what the Palestinians are up against…. they are presently a voiceless people and zionism aims to keep them that way. But…. that ain’t gonna be the case!

If you click on the video on YouTube, this is the message you will get…

This video has been removed due to terms of use violation.

In other words…. This video shows the true nature of zionism which is a violation of YouTube’s policies….

For those of you who missed the video because of the ban, What Really Happened has it ready for you to download on MPEG4….. Just click HERE to get your copy. Prepare yourself for some very rude language.

The producers of the video offer an explanation here about the ban.


‘Jews protest Arab construction in Israel’

I had to read and reread that headline a dozen times before I realised that it was not Jews building on Palestinian land. But when you read the article and see which Jews are doing the protesting, you can understand the irony of it all….”They are taking over the land of Israel without permission, building on hilltops as you can see here to the right and to the left,” said Baruch Marzel, who is associated with the banned Kach movement. It should be noted that the ‘Jews’ involved in this protest live on illegal settlements built on Palestinian land.

Just who is this Baruch Marzel? Wikipedia offers the following information anout him…. Baruch Marzel (Hebrew: ברוך מרזל‎) is an Israeli politician. Marzel, an American-born Orthodox Jew, lives in the Jewish community of Hebron in Tel Rumeida with his wife and nine children. He is the leader of the Religious Zionism-orientated Jewish National Front party. He claims he was the “right hand man” of assassinated Rabbi Meir Kahane, acting as spokesman for the American rabbi’s Kach organization for ten years until it was outlawed in Israel and the US as a terrorist organization. The mainstream Israeli press regularly describes him as an “extreme right-wing activist.

Jewish National Front Party? Right hand man of assassinated Rabbi Meir Kahane?? Extreme right-wing activist??? That is being way to kind! He’s a god damn nazi!! Just look at this criminal…. how could his own mother even love that?

After reading the article below and seeing which ‘Jews’ were involved in the protest I felt that the headline was very misleading… it should have read ‘nazis protest Arab construction in Israel’.

Jews protest Arab construction in Israel

By Izzy Lemberg

More than 1,000 police officers were deployed to the southern Israeli Bedouin town of Rahat on Sunday morning as two dozen Jewish right-wing extremists protested what they said was unlawful Arab construction on neighboring hilltops.

A Bedouin Arab girl protests near an Israeli police roadblock on the outskirts of Rahat in Israel on Sunday.

A Bedouin Arab girl protests near an Israeli police roadblock on the outskirts of Rahat in Israel on Sunday.

Several hundred Bedouin residents who are Israeli citizens held a counter-demonstration in the center of town.

About 25 protesters arrived in two buses under police presence. They were allowed to march a short distance, as police on horseback and in a helicopter hovered around.

Police closed off the main road to prevent the two sides from coming into contact.

“They are taking over the land of Israel without permission, building on hilltops as you can see here to the right and to the left,” said Baruch Marzel, who is associated with the banned Kach movement.

Far-right parliament member Michael Ben Ari of the National Union party said allowing Bedouins to settle on hilltops while removing Jews from hilltops in the West Bank is discrimination.

In the town center, residents held a demonstration with lawmakers from Israeli Arab parties in attendance.

Talab El-Sana, a Bedouin from the Democratic Arab Party, urged the counter-demonstrators to show restraint.

“We told the people to be quiet, we are not against the policemen, we are against these people who call for discrimination or transfer for the Arabs,” he told CNN.


Meanwhile….. from the Israeli Press….

Settler organizations have publicly proclaimed their intention of rebuilding at least eleven outposts in newspapers across Israel today. They claim to be taking a stand against the international pressure on Israel to destroy illegal settlements and freeze all settlement activity. What is really going on with this public proclamation of intent?

Why would they inform the entire world about their intent before doing anything? Why not rebuild the outposts and then tell the world? This is another instance of the game that the settlers along with the authorities of the state of Israel are playing to make the settlement issue into something that it is not. It is not a violent internal struggle, at least between the settlers and the IDF. The settlers do not exist without the full permission of the Israeli government and the military support of the IDF. These settler proclamations are a simple way to create an image of a problem for the international media. Israel attempts to create the illusion of a painful cost of removing outposts as a result of stunts like this settler proclamation. It is a silly game.

settler advert proclaiming their intention to build eleven outposts in the coming dayssettler advert proclaiming their intention to build eleven outposts in the coming days

We should also keep in mind that it is the middle of summer which means summer vacation for the children. What is a better way for children to spend summer vacation than to rebuild outposts and fight with the army in staged photo op?

Posted By Iben Ezra

As well as the following video…..

July 26th, 2009. Israeli settlers occupy a house in Sheik Jarrah, a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem. This is part of a larger plan by settlers, the most visible of them, Irving Moskowitz, an American Jew, to put facts on the ground in East Jerusalem, halting any attempts by Palestinians to claim East Jerusalem as a capital for their future state. In the meantime what is occurring is nothing short of ethnic cleansing of thousands of Palestinians from homes they have lived in for fifty years or more.

CNN for some reason DOES NOT report on these incidents…. I wonder why.


Leonard Peltier, an almost forgotten name, but one that is remembered by many as the symbol of injustices suffered by the Native Peoples of America.

Below is a commentary by Chippy Dee and photos by Bud Korotzer from a cultural evening held in his honour……

At weeks end scores of people gathered at the Judson Memorial Church in N.Y.C. for a concert and discussion about Leonard Peltier, a man who has spent the past 33 years in prison despite the fact that very many people believe him to be innocent. Peltier will have a parole hearing on July 28th.

The evening began with an opening prayer in the Lakota language from Tiokasin Ghosthorse and with music he played on his flute. There were musical performances from David Lippman, Grupo Raices, David Amran, who played his flute, and Rolando Victorio Mousaa who read a letter that Pete Seeger wrote to the Parole Board on Peltier’s behalf, and then sang a song that Pete asked him to sing. Lady Penumbra and Ty Conscious recited poetry that Peltier wrote. There was an audio played of an interview with Eric Seitz, a parole attorney, and several videos were viewed: Leonard Crowdog on Peltier, No Boundaries by Peter Matthiesen, and Wounded Knee by Dennis Banks. Attorney Lynne Stewart spoke very favorably of the kind of person Peltier is. She said that Mumia and Leonard are held in prison to scare the rest of us out of fighting injustice. Peltier’s current attorney, Mike Kuzma, said that efforts to get files on the case from the FBI using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) were being stonewalled either by the FBI or the courts. There are 143,000 pages of FBI documents on the case that remain undisclosed.

The events that led to Peltier’s conviction began in the early 1970s when tensions broke out on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota between the then tribal chairman Dick Wilson, who was pro-assimilation, and the traditionalists. Wilson was accused of giving economic benefits to the assimilationists and leaving the others in poverty. The growing conflict prompted the traditionalists to band together with the American Indian Movement (AIM), a civil rights group committed to uniting all Native Peoples.

In 1973 local traditionalists and AIM occupied the Pine Ridge hamlet of Wounded Knee to protest the abuses they were suffering. The government responded by firing 250,000 rounds of ammunition into the area and killing 2 occupants. The occupation lasted 71 days and only ended after the government agreed to look into their complaints. This never happened and conditions on the reservation worsened. Wilson outlawed AIM and hired vigilantes who called themselves Guardians of the Oglala Nation (GOONs) to enforce his rules.

Between 1973 & 1976 anyone associated with AIM was targeted for violence – over 60 traditionalists were murdered. Instead of stopping the violence the FBI supplied the GOONs with weaponry and intelligence on AIM.

As the situation worsened the traditionalists asked AIM to return to the reservation. Leonard Peltier was one that answered the call. He and 12 others set up a camp on the Jumping Bull ranch at Pine Ridge.

On June 26, 1975 two FBI agents in unmarked cars pursued a red pick-up truck onto the ranch supposedly looking for someone who had gotten into a fight and stolen a pair of boots. Gunshots rang out. 150 FBI swat team members responded along with Bureau of Indian Affairs police and GOONs. When it was over 1 AIM member and 2 FBI agents lay dead.

Four people were indicted for the deaths of the FBI agents. The charges against one were dropped and 2 were found innocent on the grounds of self-defense. Peltier escaped to Canada where he was apprehended in February, 1976. The FBI presented a Canadian court with an affidavit from a woman named Myrtle Poor Bear who claimed she was Peltier’s girl friend and that she had witnessed him shooting the agents. But Poor Bear had never met Peltier, nor had she been present at the time of the shooting – a fact later confirmed by the US Prosecutor and by her subsequent declaration that she had given false testimony.

There is much evidence that Leonard Peltier did not get a fair trial and the prosecutor failed to produce a single witness that could identify him as the shooter. Still he was sentenced to 60 years in prison – two life sentences.

Jim Messerschmidt, who wrote “The Trial of Leonard Peltier”, said, “…the conviction of Peltier for the murder of two FBI agents was based on coerced testimony and the suppression and fabrication of evidence, and inconsistencies and contradictions in the government’s case. Since Peltier’s incarceration over thirty years ago people worldwide have demanded justice in this case as it has deservedly gained international attention. People around the world must now insist that a favorable parole decision be rendered on July 28th….”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has joined the call for Peltier’s parole characterizing his continued incarceration as, ” … a sad commentary on the U.S. government and the humanitarian values Americans profess.”

* The history of this case was capsulated from information printed by the Leonard Peltier Defense and Offense Committee (LPDOC) www.whoisleonardpeltier.info

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

Click on the following two images to enlarge

The following links are from What Really Happened….
they are all worth reading.

Peltier Eligible for Parole
… of Wounded Knee. Log in to vote 2 Peltier Poster I still have a framed copy of a Free Leonard Peltier poster that I picked up at a public event table in San …

Write a letter in support of parole for Leonard Peltier.
An innocent man, Leonard Peltier was wrongfully convicted in 1977 and has served over 30 years in … have refused to take corrective action. A model prisoner, Leonard also has been denied fair consideration for parole and Executive …

Leonard Peltier’s Safety Is In Jeopardy!
Leonard was wrongfully convicted. All he ever wanted was a new trial. … White House! Now, on the verge of parole after 30 years, Leonard was just transferred to a new prison, where he knows no one. Upon …



“Cruel, but Necessary” explores attitudes in Jerusalem on the treatment of Palestinians, Obama’s moves toward peace, and settlements. Featuring Jslam’s own Joseph Dana and Aussie journalist Antony Lowenestein, this litany of deadpan chauvinism drops as a collaborative project with David Jacobus of the thedailynuisance.com , (set to launch in August) spinning the reels and flipping the clips.

Thanks TO for finding this.


Documentary sparks uproar at Jewish film fest

Matthai Kuruvila

The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival has come under siege after deciding to show a documentary about Rachel Corrie, a Washington state 23-year-old killed in 2003 while trying to prevent an Israeli military bulldozer from demolishing a Palestinian’s home.

Whether Corrie naively put herself in harm’s way in support of terrorists or was intentionally killed by the Israeli military is the nexus of the controversy.

Compounding the issue, festival organizers invited Corrie’s mother, Cindy, to speak after today’s showing at the Castro Theatre of the film “Rachel.” It is one of 71 films at this year’s festival, which includes two films profiling kidnapped Israeli soldiers.

The reaction has been outrage. The festival board’s president stepped down from her role, opening-night ceremonies were boycotted by some, and Israel Consul General Akiva Tor said it was a “big mistake to invite Mrs. Corrie.”

At the core of the debate are questions about how broadly Jews can discuss Israel within their own community – and how Jews represent Israel to the broader world. It is also overlaid with accusations of the “new anti-Semitism,” prejudice that is disguised as particular criticisms of Israel, the only Jewish state.

“The furor is much larger than this one film or this one speaker,” said Peter L. Stein, the festival’s executive director. “It reveals a rift in our community that we all need to help understand and hopefully heal.”

Family feud

The 29-year-old festival is the oldest and largest Jewish film festival in the nation, yet it’s also like a small family. The film festival’s board includes members with close links to both the accusers and those accused of the new anti-Semitism.

Allegations of new anti-Semitism have been particularly vociferous from the Koret and Taube foundations, longtime backers of the festival. The foundations criticized Jewish Voice for Peace and the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization widely considered to be on the vanguard of Christian pacificism. The festival had asked the two groups to promote “Rachel” within their constituencies. The two Jewish foundations issued a joint statement labeling the Quaker and Jewish peace organizations as “two virulently anti-Israel, anti-Semitic” groups associated with “groups that aid and abet terror against the Jewish state.”

Mervyn Danker, San Francisco director of the American Jewish Committee, also called the Quaker group “virulently anti-Semitic” because it had co-hosted – with other Christian pacificists – a dinner with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Iranian president has called the Holocaust a myth and declared that “Israel must be wiped off the map.”

“This goes beyond the acceptable realms of open discourse,” said Danker.

The Quaker group

Mark Graham, external affairs director for the Philadelphia-based American Friends Service Committee, said his organization doesn’t support “anything that aids and abets terror,” nor does it have any boycotts against Israel.

“We’re a Quaker pacificist organization, in our founding and our roots,” he said. “Things that promote violence, such as arms sales, are things we’re against.”

As for the dinner with Ahmadinejad, Graham said, “fundamental in the DNA of this organization is that differences can be resolved through dialogue. Having a dinner was one way to have a dialogue.”

Cindy Corrie, meanwhile, said she was surprised at the uproar at this festival, which did not happen at a screening of “Rachel” at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York.

“I don’t think it has a whole lot to do with me,” she said. “It has more to do with the discussion that is happening within the Jewish community and how that discussion has grown – which is a very healthy thing.”

For more information about “Rachel” and the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, go to www.sfjff.org.


“The best place one could be on Earth”
Alice Walker
Alice Walker in Gaza with Palestinian member of parliament and mother of five, Huda Naim.
Photo by Kim Kim

Last March, poet, novelist and feminist Alice Walker joined a delegation organized by Code Pink, to travel to the Gaza Strip just weeks after the 22-day Israeli bombardment and invasion. Walker, globally acclaimed for her Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Color Purple, had also traveled to Rwanda, Eastern Congo and other places where she witnessed cruel and barbaric behavior that left her speechless. In an essay on her blog entitled “Overcoming Speechlessness: A Poet Encounters “the horror” in Rwanda, Eastern Congo and Palestine/Israel,” Walker recounts the stories of the people she met, and offers a lyrical analysis that ties their oppression and struggles to what she and her community experienced growing up in the violence and fear of the segregated American South. The excerpt below begins with her arrival in Gaza after a long overland journey through Egypt.

Coming “home” to Gaza

Rolling into Gaza I had a feeling of homecoming. There is a flavor to the ghetto. To the Bantustan. To the “rez.” To the “colored section.” In some ways it is surprisingly comforting. Because consciousness is comforting. Everyone you see has an awareness of struggle, of resistance, just as you do. The man driving the donkey cart. The woman selling vegetables. The young person arranging rugs on the sidewalk or flowers in a vase. When I lived in segregated Eatonton, Georgia I used to breathe normally only in my own neighborhood, only in the black section of town. Everywhere else was too dangerous. A friend was beaten and thrown in prison for helping a white girl, in broad daylight, fix her bicycle chain.

But even this sliver of a neighborhood, so rightly named the Gaza Strip, was not safe. It had been bombed for 22 days. I thought of how, in the US perhaps the first use of aerial attacks on US soil, prior to 9/11, was the bombing and shooting from biplanes during the destruction by white mobs of the black neighborhoods in Tulsa, Olklahoma in 1921. The black people who created these neighborhoods were considered, by white racists, too prosperous and therefore “uppity.” Everything they created was destroyed. This was followed by the charge already rampant in white American culture, that black people never tried to “better” themselves.

There is ample evidence in Gaza that the Palestinians never stop trying to “better” themselves. What started as a refugee camp with tents, has evolved into a city with buildings rivaling those in almost any other city in the “developing” world. There are houses, apartment buildings, schools, mosques, churches, libraries, hospitals. Driving along the streets, we could see right away that many of these were in ruins. I realized I had never understood the true meaning of “rubble.” Such and such was “reduced to rubble” is a phrase we hear. It is different seeing what demolished buildings actually look like. Buildings in which people were living. Buildings from which hundreds of broken bodies have been removed; so thorough a job have the Palestinians done in removing the dead from squashed dwellings that no scent of death remains. What this task must have been like, both physically and psychologically, staggers the mind.

We pass police stations that were simply flattened, and all the young (most Palestinians are young) officers in them killed, hundreds of them. We pass ministries, bombed into fragments. We pass a hospital, bombed and gutted by fire. If one is not safe in a hospital, when one is already sick and afraid, where is one safe? If children are not safe playing in their schoolyards, where are they safe? Where are The World Parents of All Children? The World Caretakers of All the Sick?

My companion and I are assigned to the home of two sisters who share their space with friends and relatives who come and go. One morning I get up early to find an aunt sleeping on the floor in the living room. Another time, a cousin. In the middle of the night I hear one of the sisters consoling her aged father, who sounds disoriented, and helping him back to bed. There is such respect, such tenderness in her voice. This is the same place that, just weeks earlier, was surrounded by rocket fire, a missile landing every 27 seconds for 22 days. I can only imagine what the elderly residents must feel, as, even in their old age they are subjected to so much fear. Each morning we are sent off to learn what we can in our four days in Gaza, well fed on falafel, hummus, olives and dates, sometimes eggs, tomatoes, salad and cheese. All of it simple, all of it delicious.

More delicious because we realize how difficult it is to find such food here; the blockade keeps out most of it. Delicious also because it is shared with such generosity and graciousness. Always the culinary student, I try to learn to make the especially tasty dish that consists mainly of tomatoes and eggs. I learn the tea I like so much is made out of sage!

Dance in the face of disaster

On International Women’s Day we leave for the celebration for which we have come, a gathering with the women of Gaza. Gael Murphy, Medea Benjamin, Susan Griffin and I, along with 20 or so other women had been arrested for protesting the war on Iraq on International Women’s Day, 2003. If the world had paid attention we could have saved a lot of money, countless sons’ and daughters’ lives, as well as prevented a lot of war-generated pollution that hastens globe-threatening climate change. How doofus humans are going to look — we thought as we marched, sang, accepted our handcuffs — still firing rockets into apartment buildings full of families, and dropping bombs on school children and their pets, when the ice melts completely in the Arctic and puts an end to our regressive, greed sourced rage forever. That had been a wonderful day; this International Women’s Day, of 2009, was also. It was the kind of day that makes life, already accepted as a gift, a prize. Early in the morning of 8 March, we were shuttled to a women’s center in the north of Gaza City, to meet women who, like their compatriots, had survived the recent bombardment and, so far, the siege.

This center for women was opened under the auspices of the United Nations, which has been administering to the Palestinian people since 1948, when thousands of Palestinians fleeing their homes under Israeli attack, became refugees. It is a modest building with a small library whose shelves hold few books. It isn’t clear whether most of the women read. The idea, as it is explained to us, is to offer the women a place to gather outside the home, since, in Palestinian culture the mobility of most women is limited by their work in the home as mothers and caretakers of their families. Many women rarely leave their compounds.

However, today, International Women’s Day, is different. Many women are out and about, and women who frequent this particular center are on hand to welcome us. After arranging ourselves around a table in the library, we, about 30 of us, sit in council. I learn something I’d heard but never experienced: Arabs introduce themselves by telling you they are the mother or father of one of their children, perhaps their eldest. Then they tell you how many children they have. They do this with a pride and joy I have never seen before. Only one woman had one child. Everyone else had at least five. There is a feeling of festivity as the women, beautifully dressed and wearing elegant headscarves, laugh and joke among themselves. They are eager to talk.

Only the woman with one child has trouble speaking. When I turn to her, I notice she is the only woman wearing black, and that her eyes are tearing. Unable to speak, she hands me instead a photograph that she has been holding in her lap. She is a brown-skinned woman, of African descent, as some Palestinians (to my surprise) are; the photograph is of her daughter, who looks European. The child looks about six years old. A student of ballet, she is dressed in a white tutu and is dancing. Her mother tries to speak, but still cannot, as I sit, holding her arm. It is another woman who explains: during the bombardment, the child was hit in the arm and the leg and the chest and bled to death in her mother’s arms. The mother and I embrace, and throughout our meeting I hold the photograph of the child, while the mother draws her chair closer to mine.

What do we talk about?

We talk about hatred.

But before we talk about hatred I want to know about headscarves. What’s the deal about wearing the scarf? Why do so many women wear it? I am told something I’d never considered: in desert countries most of one’s hydration is lost at the back of the neck, which can quickly lead to heat stroke, so a headscarf that wraps around the neck is essential to block this loss. The top of the head is covered because if a woman is living a traditional life and is outside a lot, the sun beats down on it. This causes headache, dizziness, nausea, stroke, and other health problems. In Gaza, one of the women pointed out, there were many women who did not wear scarves, primarily because they worked in offices. This was true of the women in whose home we were sheltered. They seemed to own a lot of scarves that they draped about themselves casually, just as my friends and I might do in the United States.

Because I had shaved my head a week or so before going to Gaza, I understood exactly the importance of the headscarf. Without a covering on my head I could not bear the sun for more than a few minutes. And, indeed, one of the first gifts I received from an anonymous Palestinian woman was a thick black and red embroidered scarf, which I wore everywhere, gratefully.

Our host told us a story about the uglier side of the headscarf business: On the first day of bombing she was working downstairs in the basement and wasn’t aware that her apartment building was next to one that was being shelled. When the policemen came to clear her building, and she stepped out of the elevator, one of them, a political and religious conservative, was taken aback at the sight of her bare head. So much so that instead of instantly helping her to a shelter, he called a colleague to come and witness her attire. Or lack thereof. He was angry with her, for not wearing a headscarf, though Israeli rockets were tearing into buildings all around them. And what could we do but sigh along with her, as she related this experience with appropriate shrugs and grimaces of exasperation. Backwardness is backwardness, wherever it occurs, and explains lack of progressive movement in afflicted societies, whether under siege or not.

One of the triumphs of the Civil Rights Movement is that when you travel through the American South today you do not feel overwhelmed by a residue of grievance and hate. This is the legacy of people brought up in the Christian tradition, true believers of every word Jesus had to say on the issue of justice, loving kindness, and peace. This dovetailed nicely with what we learned of Gandhian nonviolence, brought into the movement by Bayard Rustin, a gay strategist for the Civil Rights Movement.

A lot of thought went into how to create “the beloved community,” so that our country would not be stuck with violent hatred between black and white, and the continuous spectacle, and suffering, of communities going up in flames. It is astonishing, the progress, and I will always love Southerners, black and white, for the way we have all grown. Ironically, though there was so much suffering and despair as the struggle for justice tested us, it is in this very “backward” part of our country today that one is most likely to find simple human helpfulness, thoughtfulness and impersonal courtesy.

I speak a little about this American history, but it isn’t history that these women know. They’re too young. They’ve never been taught it. It feels irrelevant. Following their example of speaking of their families, I talk about my Southern parents’ teachings during our experience of America’s apartheid years. When white people owned and controlled all the resources and the land, in addition to the political, legal and military apparatus, and used their power to intimidate black people in the most barbaric and merciless ways. These whites who tormented us daily were like Israelis who have cut down millions of trees planted by Arab Palestinians; stolen Palestinian water, even topsoil. They have bulldozed innumerable villages, houses, mosques, and in their place built settlements for strangers who have no connection whatsoever with Palestine; settlers who have been the most rabid anti-Palestinian of all, attacking the children, the women, everyone, old and young alike, viciously, and forcing Palestinians to use separate roads from themselves.

It feels very familiar, I tell them, what is happening here. When something similar was happening to us, in Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, I say, our parents taught us to think of the racists as we thought of any other disaster. To deal with that disaster as best we could, but not to attach to it by allowing ourselves to hate. This was a tall order, and as I’m talking, I begin to understand, as if for the first time, why some of our parents’ prayers were so long and fervent as they stayed there, long minutes, on their knees in church.

And why people often wept, and fainted, and why there was so much tenderness as people deliberately silenced themselves, or camouflaged atrocities done to or witnessed by them, using representative figures from the Bible. At the end of the table across from me is a woman who looks like Oprah’s twin. In fact, earlier she had said to me: Alice, tell Oprah to come see us. We will take good care of her.” I promised I would email Oprah, and, on returning home, did so.

She laughs, this handsome woman; then speaks earnestly. We don’t hate Israelis, Alice, she says, quietly, what we hate is being bombed, watching our little ones live in fear, burying them, being starved to death, and being driven from our land. We hate this eternal crying out to the world to open its eyes and ears to the truth of what is happening, and being ignored. Israelis, no. If they stopped humiliating and torturing us, if they stopped taking everything we have, including our lives, we would hardly think about them at all. Why would we?

There is, finally, a sense of overwhelm, trying to bring comfort to someone whose sleeping child has been killed and buried, a few weeks ago, up to her neck in rubble; or a mother who has lost fifteen members of her family, all her children, grandchildren, brothers and sisters, her husband. What does one say to people whose families came out of their shelled houses waving white flags of surrender only to be shot down anyway? To mothers whose children were, at this moment, playing in the white phosphorous laden rubble that, after 22 days of bombing, is everywhere in Gaza? White phosphorus, once on the skin, never stops burning. There is really nothing to say. Nothing to say to those who, back home in America, don’t want to hear the news. Nothing to do, finally, but dance.

The women and I and everyone with us from Code Pink went across the hall to a big common room where music was turned up full volume. At first I sat exchanging smiles and murmurs with an ancient grandmother who was knitting booties, and who gave me two pairs, for my own grandchildren. Sitting didn’t last. Without preamble I was pulled to my feet by several women at once, and the dance was on. Sorrow, loss, pain, suffering, all pounded into the floor for over an hour. Sweat flowing, wails and tears around the room. And then, the rising that always comes from such dancing; the sense of joy, of unity, of solidarity and gratitude to be in the best place one could be on Earth; with sisters who have experienced the full measure of disaster and have the heart to rise above it. The feeling of love is immense. The ecstasy, sublime. I was conscious of exchanging and receiving Spirit in the dance. I also knew that this Spirit, which I have encountered in Mississippi, Georgia, the Congo, Cuba, Rwanda and Burma, among other places, this Spirit that knows how to dance in the face of disaster, will never be crushed. It is as timeless as the wind. We think it is only inside our bodies, but we also inhabit it. Even when we are unaware of its presence internally, it wears us like a cloak.

Our silence will not protect us

I could have gone home then. I had learned what I came to know: that humans are an amazing lot. That to willfully harm any one of us is to damage us all. That hatred of ourselves is the root cause of any harm done to others, others so like us! And that we are lucky to live at a time when all lies will be exposed, along with the relief of not having to serve them any longer. But I did not go home. I went instead to visit the homeless.

Coming out of a small grouping of tents, with absolutely nothing inside them, no bedding, no food, no water, were middle-aged and elderly people who looked as if their sky had fallen. It had. An old, old man, leaning on a stick, met me as I trudged up a hill so I might see the extent of the devastation. Vast. Look, look! He said to me in English, come look at my house! He was wearing dusty cotton trousers and an old army great coat. I felt dragged along by the look in his eyes. He led me to what had been his house. It had obviously, from the remains, been a large and spacious dwelling; now he and his wife lived between two of the fallen walls that made a haphazard upside down “V.” She looked as stunned and as lost as he. There was not a single usable item visible. Near what must have been the front entrance, the old man placed me directly in front of the remains of bulldozed trees: They broke my house, he said, by bombing it, and then they came with bulldozers and they broke my lemon and olives trees. The Israeli military has destroyed over two and a half million olive and fruit trees alone since 1948. Having planted many trees myself, I shared his sorrow about the fate of these. I imagined them alive and sparkling with life, offering olives and lemons, the old man and his wife able to sit in the shade of the trees in the afternoons, and have a cup of tea there, in the evenings.

You speak English, I observed. Yes, he said, I was once in the British army. I supposed this was during the time Britain controlled Palestine, before 1948. We walked along in silence, as I did what I had come to do: witness. Code Pink members and my companion and I walked through the rubble of demolished homes, schools, medical centers, factories, for half an hour. After the bombing the Israelis had indeed bulldozed everything so that I was able to find just one piece of evidence that beauty had flourished on this hillside; a shard from a piece of colorful tile, about the size of my hand. Someone in our group wanted it, and I gave it to her. They had taken pains to pulverize what they had destroyed.

Coming upon another grouping of tents, I encountered an old woman sitting on the ground in what would have been, perhaps, the doorway of her demolished, pulverized home. She was clean and impeccably dressed, the kind of old woman who is known and loved and respected by everyone in the community, as my own mother had been. Her eyes were dark and full of life. She talked to us freely. I gave her a gift I had brought, and she thanked me. Looking into my eyes she said: May God Protect You From the Jews. When the young Palestinian interpreter told me what she’d said, I responded: It’s too late, I already married one. I said this partly because, like so many Jews in America, my former husband could not tolerate criticism of Israel’s behavior toward the Palestinians.

Our very different positions on what is happening now in Palestine/Israel and what has been happening for over fifty years, has been perhaps our most severe disagreement. It is a subject we have never been able to rationally discuss. He does not see the racist treatment of Palestinians as the same racist treatment of blacks and some Jews that he fought against so nobly in Mississippi. And that he objected to in his own Brooklyn-based family. When his younger brother knew he was seeing me, a black person, he bought and nailed over an entire side of his bedroom the largest Confederate flag either of us had ever seen. His brother, a young Jewish man who had never traveled South, and had perhaps learned most of what he knew about black history from Gone With the Wind, expressed his contempt for black people in this way. His mother, when told of our marriage, sat shiva, which declared my husband dead. These were people who knew how to hate, and how to severely punish others, even those beloved, as he was, of their own. This is one reason I understand the courage it takes for some Jews to speak out against Israeli brutality and against what they know are crimes against humanity. Most Jews who know their own history see how relentlessly the Israeli government is attempting to turn Palestinians into the “new Jews,” patterned on Jews of the Holocaust era, as if someone must hold that place, in order for Jews to avoid it.

Lucky for me, my husband’s family were not the only Jews I knew, having met Howard Zinn, my history teacher at Spelman College in 1961, as my very first (secular) Jew, and later poet Muriel Rukeyser, at Sarah Lawrence College, who like Grace Paley, the short story writer, raised her voice against the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the horrible mistreatment of the Palestinian people. There are my Jewish friends of the planet: Amy Goodman, Jack Kornfield, Noam Chomsky, Medea Benjamin, and Barbara Lubin, who are as piercing in their assessments of Israeli behavior as they have been of African or African American, or Indian, or Chinese, or Burmese behavior. I place my faith in them, and others like us, who see how greed and brutality are not limited to any segment of humanity but will grow wherever they are unchecked, in any society whatsoever.

The people of Israel have not been helped by America’s blind loyalty to their survival as a Jewish State, by any means necessary. The very settlers — they’ve used American taxpayer money to install on Palestinian land — turn out to be a scary lot, fighting not only against Palestinians, but against Israelis, when they do not get their way. Israelis stand now exposed, the warmongers and peacemakers alike, as people who are ruled by leaders that the world considers irrational, vengeful, scornful of international law, and utterly frightening.

There are differing opinions about this, of course, but my belief is that when a country primarily instills fear in the minds and hearts of the people of the world, it is no longer useful in joining the dialogue we need for saving the planet. There is no hiding what Israel has done or what it does on a daily basis to protect and extend its power. It uses weapons that cut off limbs without bleeding; it drops bombs into people’s homes that never stop detonating in the bodies of anyone who is hit; it causes pollution so severe it is probable that Gaza may be uninhabitable for years to come, though Palestinians, having nowhere else to go, will have to live there. This is a chilling use of power, supported by the United States of America, no small foe, if one stands up to it. No wonder that most people prefer to look the other way during this genocide, hoping their disagreement with Israeli policies will not be noted. Good Germans, Good Americans, Good Jews. But, as our sister Audre Lorde liked to warn us: Our silence will not protect us. In the ongoing global climate devastation that is worsened by war activities, we will all suffer, and we will also be afraid.

Finding our voices

The world knows it is too late for a two-state solution. This old idea, bandied about since at least the Eighties, denounced by Israel for decades, isn’t likely to become reality with the massive buildup of settlements all over what remains of Palestinian land. Ariel Sharon is having the last word: Jewish settlements exactly like a Pastrami sandwich; Palestinian life erased, as if it never existed, or crushed under the weight of a superior Israeli military presence and a teaching of Jewish supremacy sure to stunt Palestinian identity among Arabs living in Israel.

What is to be done? Our revered Tolstoy asked this question generations ago, speaking also of War and Peace. I believe there must be a one-state solution. That Palestinians and Jews, who have lived together in peace in the past, must work together to make this a reality once again. That this land (so soaked in Jewish and Palestinian blood, and with America’s taxpayer dollars wasted on violence the majority of us would never, if we knew, support) must become, like South Africa, the secure and peaceful home of everyone who lives there. This will require that Palestinians, like Jews, have the right of return to their homes and their lands. Which will mean what Israelis most fear: Jews will be outnumbered and, instead of a Jewish state, there will be a Jewish, Muslim, Christian country, which is how Palestine functioned before the Europeans arrived. What is so awful about that?

The tribunals, the generals will no doubt say. But both South Africa and Rwanda present a model of restorative justice in their Truth and Reconciliation Councils. Some crimes against humanity are so heinous nothing will ever rectify them. All we can do is attempt to understand their causes and do everything in our power to prevent them happening, to anyone, ever again. Human beings are intelligent and very often, compassionate. We can learn to heal ourselves without inflicting fresh wounds.

Watching a video recently about Cuba’s role in the ending of apartheid in South Africa, I was moved by the testimony of Pik Botha, once a high ranking official of white South Africa. He talked about how liberating it had been when South Africa was forced to attend talks prior to negotiating Nelson Mandela’s release from prison and a change from a fascist, white supremacist regime to a democratic society. He said the feeling of not being hated and feared and treated like a leper everywhere he went was wonderful. The talks were held in Egypt and for the first time he felt welcomed by the Egyptians and took the opportunity to visit the pyramids and the Sphinx and to ride on a camel!

As a white supremacist representative of a repressive, much hated government, he’d never felt relaxed enough to do that. His words demonstrate what we all know in our hearts to be true: allowing freedom to others, brings freedom to ourselves. It is true that what one reads in the papers sometimes about the birthing pains of the New South Africa can bring sadness, alarm, and near despair. But I doubt that anyone in South Africa wishes to return to the old days of injustice and violence that scarred whites and blacks and coloreds so badly. Not just citizens of South Africa were demoralized, oppressed and discouraged by white South Africa’s behavior, but citizens of the world. Israel helped keep the racist regime in power in South Africa, giving it arms and expertise, and still the people of the world, in our outrage at the damage done to defenseless people, rose to the challenge of setting them free. That is what is happening today in Palestine.

The world has found its voice and though the horror of what we are witnessing in places like Rwanda and Congo and Burma and Israel/Palestine threatens our very ability to speak, we will speak. And we will be heard.

Alice Walker is a poet, novelist, feminist and activist whose award-winning works have sold over ten million copies. These excerpts, reproduced with the author’s permission, first appeared on her blog (www.alicewalker.info) as part of the essay “Overcoming Speechlessness: A Poet Encounters “the horror” in Rwanda, Eastern Congo and Palestine/Israel.”


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