There is an old adage that goes “those that can do, those that cannot teach”. One can add another sentence to that, ‘ Those that cannot teach do research’. I added that after reading the post that follows, written by a PhD researcher at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In my opinion, he’s nothing more than a moron that mastered the English language well enough to get published in the Jerusalem Post.

The Post has proven many times that they believe that anyone with an opinion about anything is an expert on the subject. (as long as it is an opinion from a Right Winger)

Perhaps this ‘expert researcher’ should study the situation a bit closer and open his eyes before he jumps to the conclusions he arrived at in the following……

Terra Incognita: McCarthyism!


For all the hysteria, no government is behind the “campaigns against groups and people on the Left.”

Hardly a week goes by here without the claim, usually by groups on the Left, that people are being silenced and censored by McCarthyism. In an October 2009 article, Benjamin Pogrund claimed that university groups such as Isracampus and Israel Academic Monitor were attacking leftist professors in “classic McCarthyite style.” David Newman of Ben-Gurion University has written that “the academic McCarthyism of the right endangers Israeli democracy and society. It threatens the very basis of freedom of speech.”

The hullabaloo over Naomi Chazan, former Knesset member, professor and chief of the New Israel Fund, in early 2010 resulted in a wave of claims of McCarthyism. An interview with her by Donald Macintyre in The Independent was titled “The new McCarthyism sweeping Israel.” Hagai El-ad of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel claimed “these are classic McCarthy techniques, portraying our organizations as enemies of the state.”

Then earlier this month, the Education Ministry ordered its logo removed from a Web site called Common Ground that is supported by the Abraham Fund, an organization that claims it supports “coexistence.” In response, a senior official at a non-governmental organization claimed that “this is a McCarthyist period we’re going through.” Prof. Daniel Bar-Tal and many others have, in recent years, joined the chorus claiming McCarthyism is growing in Israel.When Joel Kovel, author of the anti-Israel book Overcoming Zionism, was sacked at Bard College, one commentator claimed it was a sign of “McCarthyism.” In a 2007 article in The Nation, Larry Cohler-Esses argued that Nadia Abu el-Haj, a Barnard professor, was a victim of McCarthyism because pro-Israel groups were angered that someone they perceived as a radical ideologue was up for tenure; “This is the modus operandi of the New McCarthyism. It targets a new enemy for our era: Muslims, Arabs and others in the Middle East field who are identified as stepping over an unstated line in criticizing Israel.”

IT IS obvious that a lot of people think that McCarthyism is in the air. But do their fears and claims truly illustrate knowledge of what McCarthyism was? The use of words like “McCarthyism,” “apartheid” and “Nazism” in contemporary parlance should require that those using them and those reading them at least have a modicum of understanding of what they originally described.

Joseph McCarthy was born in 1908 and raised on a farm in rural Wisconsin. At 33 he served as a Marine Corps officer in World War II and was decorated. McCarthy was elected to the US Senate in the postwar Republican landslide. He came to the nation’s attention in 1950 with his speech at Wheeling, West Virginia in which he claimed that “the State Department is infested with communists.”

In 1953, after winning reelection, McCarthy was made head of the Senate Committee on Government Operations, an obscure body that he transformed into a center of investigations into communist influence in the US administration. He used this committee and his legal lieutenants, such as Bobby Kennedy, to go after government bodies such as Voice of America and the International Information Agency (an overseas library program).

In 1954 McCarthy laid into the US Army and ran afoul of Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had so recently left the service to become president. By this time, the American public had tired of McCarthy’s claims and outbursts and famed journalist Edward Murrow noted, “We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.”

By December 1954 it was all over. McCarthy was censured by the Senate and he died two and a half years later.

The irony of McCarthy’s life is that his activities became associated with “McCarthyism.” In fact it was the House Committee on Un-American Activities in the House of Representatives that became infamous for blacklists and subpoenaing civilians, such as Hollywood writers. It was this committee that demanded to know: “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party of the United States?”

The blacklist was a series of directives by Hollywood studio executives in which they refused to hire communists. Many of the Hollywood directors affected were Jewish. Never did the US government order people to be fired.

The truth about McCarthyism is that while originally some people had their careers harmed or ruined by having been, or accused of having been, communists, the claim of being a “victim” of McCarthyism has been far more helpful to people’s careers than actually being a victim was ever harmful. Those who today claim they are victims of McCarthyism dream of being victims; they want to be the lone voice standing up to the government.

But theirs is a fantasy, no government is behind the campaigns against Haj, Chazan or the Abraham Fund. Instead, private individuals, expressing their right to freedom of speech, have condemned the activities of those they disagree with. When, several years ago, a student at the Hebrew University’s Rothberg International School penned an editorial on Ynet about how his professors were using the classroom to spread anti-Israel propaganda, he was called in by administrators to explain himself; “they basically made me promise not to write anything else.”

He didn’t cry “McCarthyism!”

Those who cry McCarthyism want attention. They are fear-mongers and extremists with little understanding of the concept of free speech and less understanding of history.

The writer is a PhD researcher at Hebrew University.


Palestinian Land Day call for equality

By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank

Palestinians in Israel and the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip have marked the 28th anniversary of Land Day with renewed demands for equality and an end to Israel’s occupation.

Numerous rallies, parades and demonstrations were organised on Tuesday in Arab towns and villages in Israel to mark the prominent annual anniversary.

Land Day marks the 1976 Israeli killing of six Palestinians in northern Israel as they protested the confiscation of large swathes of Arab land.

One of the largest rallies took place in the northern Israeli town of Arrabeh, where one of the six youths was killed.

There, speaker after speaker reiterated the all-too familiar demands of the Arab community in Israel, namely civil equality and an end to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

“This is an occasion to demonstrate the unity of the Arab community in Israel,” said Adil Abu al-Haija, mayor of the town of Tamra.

He accused Israeli governments of denying the 1.3 million-strong Arab minority – about 20% of Israel’s population – equal rights granted to other Israeli citizens.

“There can be no real coexistence without equality before the law,” he said.

Another large rally took place in the Galilee town of Kfar Kanna where demonstrators carried the portrait of Shaikh Raid Salah, the jailed leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel.

Israel is holding Salah and three of his colleagues without trial or charge for the last nine months for allegedly supporting anti-occupation attacks.

Palestinians say he provides relief material to impoverished Palestinian families in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Speaking during the rally, Shaikh Kamal al-Khatib, deputy-chief of the Islamic Movement, said there is an “absence of justice and equity in this state”.

“In order to enjoy full equality in Israel, you’ve got to be a Jew. We are being discriminated against because of our religion.”

The crux

Palestinian Knesset member Abd al-Malik Dahamshi lashed out at successive Israeli governments for “adopting a policy of dispossessing our people of their land”.

“Land is the crux of the matter, and without our land, we can’t really realise our rights as citizens in this country.”

Dahamshi also blasted the Sharon government for “tormenting and systematically persecuting the Palestinian people”.

“Obviously, we can’t expect much from a government that supervises the killing of men, women and children. They don’t even spare the life of an old paralysed man,” he said, alluding to the assassination of Hamas founder and spiritual leader Shaikh Ahmad Yasin last week.

Institutionalised discrimination

The Arab community in Israel has always been subjected to de-facto discrimination since the creation of Israel in 1948.

They are in many respects subjected to the same discrimination and brutal treatment experienced by their brethren across the Green Line since 1967.

This includes excessive land confiscation, rampant home demolitions, violent repression of peaceful demonstrations and arbitrary arrests.

According to the advocacy organisation for Israeli Arabs, Musawa, the Israeli authorities demolished as many as 340 Arab homes throughout Israel in 2003 and another 72 in the Negev region and 269 in the Triangle and Galilee regions.

A few weeks ago, Israeli planes sprayed large areas of Arab crops with pesticide, a recurrent measure aimed at driving farmers away from their land.


In recent years, especially since Ariel Sharon’s government took power three years ago, Israeli officials have escalated their verbal attacks on the Palestinian community.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu recently referred to the Arab minority’s high birth rate as “a danger to the Jewish nature of Israel”.

Sharon himself suggested that the inhabitants of such Arab towns as Umm al-Fahm should be “transferred” to the West Bank to “sooth our demographic problem”.

Eifi Eitam of the National Religious party and Benny Elon of the National Union have called for “ethnically cleansing the Arabs from the land of Israel”.

Facing these worries, the leaders of the Arab community are trying to explore every conceivable avenue to consolidate their attachment to their ancestral homeland.

However, Israel’s harsh response to the Intifada seems to have convinced many in the Arab community that they will not be able to obtain equality until Israel ends its occupation.


Land Day 2010
“In memory of those who fell on Land Day. They died so that we can live, and their spirit lives on”. Text on the memorial site at Sakhnin (Photo: Makbula Nassar, 2003)

For a quarter of a century, the Palestinian minority in Israel has celebrated Land Day on 30 March 30 as a protest against Israel’s discriminatory policies toward its one million Palestinian citizens and to underline its collective and individual rights. Land Day, or Yoam al-‘Ard in Arabic, is also a commemoration of the bloody confrontations with state “security” forces that took place in 1976 when six Palestinians were killed and some 100 injured.

The main action this year was in the town of Sakhnin in areas occupied since 1948.  Over 10,000 attended the events from throughout historic Palestine.


By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD

We now have three videos up on youtube for  the historic march that breached the apartheid walls on Palm Sunday insisting on right of freedom of movement.  Ten people of the original 16 are still held by the occupation forces (as are the donkey and horse used in the event! )

Since then, the Israeli authorities are trying to punish the town by preventing even those few with permits from crossing between Bethlehem and Jerusalem (again a war crime to do collective punishment). But the people will not succumb and in Bethlehem area we had other events in the days that followed.  It also happened that Tuesday was land Day and hundreds of demonstrations, vigils, and other events were held not only in Palestine but throughout the world.

I will start with our own event in Beit Sahour.  Land day events were appropriately held at Ush Ghrab (threatened area of the Bethlehem district) and despite an Israeli military presence at the site, the events involved participation from over 1000 individuals from throughout the district (several towns and villages represented).  Over 300 women and their very young kids participated (also a belated celebration of International Women’s day).  Six high schools sent buses.  We also had volunteers and activists of all walks of life.  See story at

and video

and photos at

The main action this year was in the town of Sakhnin in areas occupied since 1948.  Over 10,000 attended the events from throughout historic Palestine. See pictures here (scroll to bottom, truly inspiring)
and Haaretz story here
It is a shame the this event is covered widely throughout the region but not in many western media outlets.

In other areas, the Israeli troops attacked demonstrators (e.g. in Budrus where several civilians were injured including a TV reporter, and in several locations in Gaza near the borders were Israeli troops opened fire on demonstrators killing a youth and injuring many). Actions were also held outside of Palestine on Land Day (which is also International Day of Boycotts, Divestments, and Sanctions against Israeli
Apartheid).  An example of action from over 400 events world-wide is shown in this video (again illustrating what a few individuals can do to make a huge impact)


Rachel Corrie’s family takes case to court in Israel

Corrie was killed by an Israeli bulldozer while trying to protect Palestinian homes. Her family has been met with hostility while pursuing a civil suit after calling the investigation a ‘whitewash.’

Craig and Cynthia Corrie speak about their daughter Rachel, shown on a poster, at a press conference on Capitol Hill. (Stephen Jaffe AFP/Getty Images)

Reporting from Haifa, Israel – The American parents sit stoically in a sky-lit courtroom, listening to testimony about how an Israeli military bulldozer crushed their daughter to death seven years ago.

They hear about the dangerous game of chicken played for several hours that winter afternoon in 2003, between bulldozers and international activists trying to protect Palestinian homes, before Rachel Corrie disappeared under a creeping mound of dirt.

Now her parents, calling an Israeli investigation that found no fault a “whitewash” and suspecting that the bulldozer driver deliberately ran over their daughter, are pursuing a civil lawsuit against the government. It opened this month in Haifa.

“We need to know what really happened,” said Cindy Corrie, mother of the 23-year-old college student from Olympia, Wash.

But it’s a cause that has been met in Israel with indifference or, more often, hostility.

When the Corries arrived for the trial opening, University of Haifa professor Steve Plaut called them a “two-person anti-Israel SWAT team.” On his website, the right-wing commentator likened Rachel Corrie to a Nazi sympathizer and accused her parents of exploiting the “suicide death of their clueless daughter” to launch a “pogrom” against Israel.

One newspaper columnist called Rachel Corrie a “propaganda treasure.” Most Israeli media have ignored the trial altogether.

On the streets outside the courtroom, there’s little sympathy. People point to the many Israelis who also have died, from suicide attacks and rockets.

Foreign activists “live in a bubble,” said Haifa student Yehuda Efraim, 26. “They romanticize reality. But they don’t live in our reality.”

Even in the U.S., pro-Israel activists sometimes picket the family’s public appearances. Last summer, opponents lobbied unsuccessfully to cancel Cindy Corrie’s participation in a panel at the San Francisco screening of the documentary “Rachel.” A New York production of the play “My Name Is Rachel Corrie” was delayed because of protests.

Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.), who represents the Olympia area, said the family had been subjected to an ugly counter-campaign for pursuing their daughter’s case. He and others say it’s a pattern that’s increasingly common.

“Any questioning of Israel is met with hostility, no matter who asks the questions — a congressman, a journalist or even the president of the United States,” said Baird, adding that his support of the Corrie family had cost him campaign donations.

Mark Regev, an Israeli government spokesman, said much of the criticism in Israel is directed at the International Solidarity Movement, the pro-Palestinian protest group with which Rachel Corrie worked.

“It’s more about ISM, not about her,” he said. “The idea that they would send young activists into ground zero of a war zone is criminally reprehensible. But of course, no one is taking them to trial.”

In fact, some of the Israeli hostility toward the case may reflect how Palestinians have embraced the young woman as a hero. They dedicated a street in her name. Her parents started a foundation to support Palestinian causes.

Baird compared her courage to that of the Tiananmen Square protester who faced down a Chinese tank in 1989.

Many thought Corrie’s death would be settled out of court, given the close U.S.-Israeli relations and disturbing circumstances. But diplomatic efforts to resolve the case failed and Israel’s government insists that it bears no responsibility. An internal military inquiry concluded that the driver did not see Corrie and that the young woman should never have put herself in the middle of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Corries accuse the Israeli government of stonewalling their case. The full military report, including video evidence, has never been publicly released, they say. This month, they learned that an Israeli autopsy doctor took tissue samples from Corrie’s body without authorization and then lost track of them.

U.S. officials had to intervene when the Israeli government refused to allow key witnesses to enter the country to testify, officials said. Last week, the family learned that legal proceedings might be delayed until next year.

“Our family never wanted to file a lawsuit,” said Sarah Corrie Simpson, Rachel’s sister. “But we need some level of accountability taken by the Israeli government for what happened to Rachel.”

Family members say Israel has never apologized. Shortly after the incident, an Israeli consul in the U.S. phoned the family and offered condolences, Cindy Corrie said. A few days later, he called to retract them, clarifying that he was speaking only personally.

For Cindy Corrie, the hardest part has been the vilification of her daughter by critics who often portray the woman as an anti-Semitic supporter of violence.

Simpson, who first learned about her sister’s death from a television news ticker, said the family tries to take the verbal attacks in stride. “My sister being killed is the worst pain you could ever give to this family,” she said. “Everything else that is said or done just pales in comparison.”


Image by David Baldinger

Israel’s ‘War on Terror Children’ continues. Hardly a day goes by without the murder of a Palestinian child in Gaza or the Occupied West Bank, either by terrorist gunfire by Israeli soldiers or by the denial of medical services due to the inhumane siege on the entire Gaza Strip. Either way, it’s MURDER.

The following reports deal with this situation….

Child Killed By Army Fire In Rafah

Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported Tuesday morning that a child was shot and killed by Israeli military fire in Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

File - Reuters
File – Reuters

The child was identified as Mohammad Zeid Al Farmawi, 15, from Qishtat neighborhood in Rafah.

Local sources reported that the child was shot by Israeli soldiers after he crossed through the border fence, east of the Gaza International Airport.

Medics rushed to the scene but the child was already dead when they arrived; his body was moved to Abu Yousef Al Najjar in Rafah.

On Saturday, a 5-year-old child died at a local hospital due to the ongoing illegal Israeli siege on the coastal region.

The child, Fuad Swerih, 5, suffered respiratory issues, and Israeli prevented his transfer to hospitals outside the besieged and war- torn Gaza Strip.

Swerih is from Al Nusseirat refugee camp, in central Gaza.

The doctors were trying to have him transferred to an Israeli hospital but Israel rejected all applications.



Israel’s war against children

Shadi Salman AlQarra

Naseem Jawad Abu Dakka, 14, was playing in front of his grandfather’s house, under the lemon tree in the front of the house, 800 metres from the area where Israeli army the made an incursion, firing tanks shells and bullets. One medium calibre bullet entered his back and exited from his chest, leading to a fracture in the spine in the ninth and tenth vertebrae. The second bullet pierced his chest and has harmed him so much that his spleen had to be removed.

He is now in the intensive care unit in the hospital

His injury has also lead to blood poisoning

His spleen has been removed

His lung is damaged

He is breathing through a respirator

He is in a pharmacological state of coma

He is in critical condition.



Look into my eyes and tell me I have no right to live a life in peace and dignity……
Now tell me how you allow your government to support the murderous state of Israel? Your tax dollars are what allows this genocide to continue.


Image by Bendib
Click on image to enlarge


Lest We Forget
Land Day Martyrs

Reham Alhelsi


Click HERE for a background of Land Day


1 Kheir Mohammad Salim Yasin (23 yrs old) from Arraba, shot dead by the IOF

2 Khadija Qasem Shawahneh (23 yrs old) from Sakhneen, shot dead by the IOF

3 Raja Hussein Abu Rayya (30 yrs old) from Sakhneen, shot dead by the IOF

4 Khader Eid Mahmoud Khalaila (24 yrs old) from Sakhneen, shot dead by the IOF

5 Muhsin Hasan Said Taha (15 yrs old) from Kufr Kanna, shot dead by the IOF

6 Ra’fat Ali Az-Zheiri (21 yrs old) from Nur Shams refugee camp and was shot dead by the IOF in Al-Taybeh


1 Sliman Ahmad Al-Jundi (17 yrs old), from Yatta, Hebron, shot dead by the IOF

2 Mohammad Faris Az-Zein (17 yrs old), from Al-Yamoun, Jenin, shot dead by the IOF

3 Husni Mohammad Shahin (22 yrs old), from Al-Yamoun, Jenin, shot dead by the IOF

4 Mohammad ‘Arif Qasim Salah (22 yrs old), from Burqa, Nablus, shot dead by the IOF

5 Khalid Mohammad Salah (23 yrs old), from Burqa, Nablus, shot dead by the IOF

6 Wajiha Yousif Rabi’ (50 yrs old), from Deir Abu Mish’al, Ramallah, shot dead by the IOF

7 Abdil-Karim Mohammad Musa Al-Halayqah (25 yrs old), from Ash-Shayyukh, Hebron, shot dead by the IOF

8 Shakir Mohammad Ali Malsiyeh (20 yrs old), from Deir Bzeigh, Ramallah, shot dead by the IOF

9 Mousa ‘Azmi (30 yrs old), from Zita, Tulkarim, shot dead by the IOF

10 Iyad ‘Azmi (21 yrs old), from Zita, Tulkarim, shot dead by the IOF

11 Ma’rouf Mahmoud Nu’man (27 yrs old), from Zita, Tulkarim, shot dead by the IOF


1 Sheikha Yousif Abu Salih (72 yrs old), from Sakhneen, suffocated by gas fired by the IOF


1 Ayish Ghazi ‘Mustafa Zamil (19 yrs old), from Deir Al-Hatab, Nablus, shot dead by the IOF

2 Ahmad Mahmoud Abu Maraheel (16 yrs old), from Balata RC, Nablus, shot dead by the IOF

3 Sufian Sa’eed Abdel Rahman Saloum (31 yrs old), from Balata RC, Nablus, shot dead by the IOF

4 Murad Salih Ahmad Sharay’ah (21 yrs old), from Balata RC, Nablus, shot dead by the IOF

5 Khalid Shihadeh Deeb Al-Nahleh (27 yrs old), from Nablus, shot dead by the IOF

6 Mohammad Abdel Muhsin Khalid Al-Wawi (20 yrs old), from Ramallah, shot dead by the IOF


1 Ahmad Fathi Mahmoud ‘Ajaj (23 yrs old), from Seda, Tulkarim, killed by IOF missile

2 Azmi ‘Adel Mahmoud ‘Ajaj (21 yrs old), from Seda, Tulkarim, killed by IOF missile

3 Ahmad Abdel Jawad (22 yrs old), from Nablus, killed by an explosion

4 Isma’il Ibrahim Deeb Isa (56 yrs old), from Ramallah, shot dead by the IOF

5 Hussein Husni Hussein Al-Ashqar (27 yrs old), from Qalqilia, shot dead by the IOF

6 Fathi Jihad Fathi ‘Amerah (18 yrs old), from Nablus, shot dead by the IOF

7 Majdi Abdel Jawad Abdel Jabbar Khanfar (21 yrs old), from Silet Ath-Thahir, Jenin, shot dead by the IOF

8 Muhannad Ibrahim Fayyad Salahat (16 yrs old), from Bethlehem, shot dead by the IOF

9 Nuha Ziyad Ahmad Ikte’ (8 yrs old), from Gaza, shot dead by the IOF

10 Khalid Fathi Mohammad ‘Awad Allah (32 yrs old), from Gaza, shot dead by the IOF

11 Sa’id Abdel Rahman Mohammad Mahdi (60 yrs old), from Gaza, shot dead by the IOF

12 Omar Musa Mohammad Diab (54 yrs old), from Jericho, killed by IOF missile

13 Ahmad Kallab (61 yrs old), from Gaza, shot dead by the IOF

14 Shahir Abu Sharar (33 yrs old), from Ramallah, shot dead by the IOF

15 Abdel Rahman Tawfiq Abdallah Is’id (58 yrs old), from Gaza, shot dead by the IOF


1 Mahmoud Ali An-Najjar (18 yrs old), from Jabalia, Gaza, shot dead by the IOF

2 Rami Jamil Mutlaq Ghanim (20 yrs old), from Deir Al-Ghusoun, Tulkarim, shot dead by the IOF

3 Mahmoud Mohammad Rashid Al-Mashharawi (22 yrs old), from Ash-Shaja’iyyah, Gaza, shot dead by the IOF

4 Mohammad Farouq Tafish (16 yrs old), from Jabalia, Gaza, shot dead by the IOF


1 Fatima Mohammad Shreiqi Al-Jallad (7 yrs old), from Khan Younis, Gaza, shot dead by the IOF


1 Mu’tasim Al-Aqea’ from Qablan, Nablus, shot dead by the IOF


1Ahmad Mahmoud Ahmad Masharqa (23 years old), from Hebron, shot dead by the IOF


1 Kamil Kamal Kamil Mousa (21 years old), from Al-Maghazi, Gaza, shot dead by the IOF



In another demonstration of hypocrisy, Barack Obama celebrated the Passover with a festive meal (Seder) in the White House. Surrounding himself with leaders of the Jewish community, he spoke of fighting oppression everywhere, but as usual, no specific mention of the oppression by the ‘Jewish State’ against the people of Palestine. Also no mention of the oppression inflicted on the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other regions by his own administration.

President Barack Obama celebrating the Seder on Monday in the White House.

Obama in Passover message: Fight oppression everywhere

The celebration of Passover reminds us to fight oppression everywhere, U.S. President Barack Obama said in his annual holiday greeting on Monday, also highlighting the battle against all forms of discrimination.

In a statement released by the White House and signed by Obama, the U.S. president wrote that the story of Exodus taught that, “wherever we live, there is oppression to be fought and freedom to be won.”

“In retelling this story from generation to generation, we are reminded of our ongoing responsibility to fight against all forms of suffering and discrimination,” Obama wrote, adding that by doing so “we reaffirm the ties that bind us all.”

The rest of the above report can be read HERE



by Sonja Karkar


“There isn’t one I haven’t heard” or so goes one of the lines in a well-known American musical.  Yet, this time the world is imbuing the words with new meaning when it comes to US/Israel relations. The hope is that at long last the US is going to discipline Israel.

Alas, in the flurry of words, the music has not changed.  America seems as much bedazzled by Israel as a parent who is blind to the antics of an over-indulged, demanding child.  No amount of insults seems to shatter their illusion that the precious being is in fact a monster.

In their attempts to convince the rest of us not so enamoured, they fail to see that they have allowed their symbiotic relationships to become abusive.  Just as the parent can no longer control a child’s obnoxious behaviour, so too America finds itself hamstrung by Israel’s illegal settlement expansion into Palestinian territory and its determination to take and Judaise all of Jerusalem.  And while this time there have been some firm admonishments, there have been no follow-up consequences, America lapsing into the same old routine of placating Israel with promises to keep the faith.

The AIPAC conference in Washington DC provided the meeting place for the usual Israel love-in.  There, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu plumbed the depths. He lied when he said that Jews had built Jerusalem 3,000 years ago.  He lied when he said it was theirs to build again.  He lied when he said “it is our capital”.

No one pulled him up over those lies. Instead Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waffled on about how Israel’s behaviour exposes the daylight between them that others in the region hope to exploit – the same daylight that US Vice-president Biden vowed did not exist between the two countries – and how it endangers the proximity talks and America’s essential role in bringing those to fruition.  But, not before she had told the audience that America’s commitment to Israel was “rock solid, enduring, unwavering and forever”.

Her prime concern was not that Israel’s behaviour denies millions of Palestinians the right to live in their own homeland and cruelly oppresses those who still do, but rather that America’s credibility as an honest broker in a long-defunct peace process might be at risk.

Nothing was said about Jerusalem being a corpus separatum under UN trusteeship since the Partition of Palestine in 1947 or that Israel does not have sovereignty over Jerusalem, despite its military conquests.  Not a mention was made that East Jerusalem is occupied territory and that Israel is in breach of international law.

Netanyahu’s claims over Jerusalem presuppose an “eternal connection” between Jews and the land.  But the historical record on that is clear.  Not only are there non-Jewish groups who ruled Jerusalem for centuries rather than the brief 170 years of likely Jewish rule, but also the city existed long before Judaism took form.

On any reading, Jerusalem is no more Jewish than it is Christian or Islamic.  Yet, if anyone can lay claim to it by an “eternal connection”, it is the Palestinians whose history goes back millennia to the Canaanites who worshipped pagan deities and then to those who converted to emerging Judaism, Christianity and centuries later to ascendant Islam. Thus, the three monotheistic religions believe they too have a claim.  For this reason, the 1947 UN Partition resolution sought to give Jerusalem international status as a separate body.

To this day, the international community has refused to officially recognise Israeli sovereignty of Jerusalem.  Notwithstanding this, Israel has pursued an aggressive policy of “unification” and “reunification” of Jewish Jerusalem by pushing out the boundaries of Palestinian East Jerusalem to some 73 sq km, well into the military-occupied West Bank where Israel has illegally settled some 300,000 Jews.

Secretary Clinton’s “no to settlements” and “no to natural growth” at the end of last year were empty words. Within days, she had eagerly announced that Netanyahu’s guarantees of no new settlement building and no new land grabs were “unprecedented” concessions. Nothing was said about the building going on in East Jerusalem, let alone the forced evictions of Palestinians, the demolition of their homes and Israeli building policies, which are deliberately skewed towards Jewish population growth.

One has to wonder what meaning words have at all when carefully considered ones are ignored.  A United Nations report of May 2009 put as many as 60,000 Palestinians at risk of eviction from their homes and called for a freeze on demolitions in East Jerusalem. Yet, the most that Secretary Clinton could say then – 10 months ago –  was that Israel’s actions were “unhelpful” in advancing the peace process.

As has happened innumerable times in the past, the chiding words of US emissaries and government officials, are always quickly followed up with other words to reassure Israel of “the unbreakable bond” between the two countries, and more significantly, actions that belie the reprimands. In the midst of all the recent hoo-ha about chilling relations, a $210 million arms deal with Israel and paid for by US military aid nevertheless went ahead with an estimated massive $3 billion F-35 warplane deal still in the offing.

In other words, regardless of the song-sheet, America never misses a beat to give Israel what it wants.   It will be interesting to see if the US does withdraw support for Israel in the United Nations on any resolutions before the Security Council critical of Israel’s settlement policies in occupied East Jerusalem.  The rumours are fulminating amongst denials from both sides.  While to many this signifies a change of heart in America’s love affair with Israel, it may be no more than the stuff of gossip columns to re-make America’s image as honest broker in the Middle East.

The disconnect between words and actions might please those who want peace more than they want justice for the Palestinians, but for many, the words have been done to death. By the time proximity talks morph into full negotiations, there will be no Jerusalem left to negotiate and no Palestinians left in Jerusalem. All words will then be meaningless.

  • Sonja Karkar is the founder  of Women for Palestine and one of the founders and co-convener of Australians for Palestine in Melbourne,  Australia.  She is also the editor of and contributes articles on Palestine regularly to various publications. She can be contacted at sonjakarkar (at) womenforpalestine dot org


At one time all diamonds were mined and crafted in South Africa….. today the ‘crafting capital’ is Israel.
‘They’ say that “Diamonds are forever”!
WE say that apartheid isn’t!!

Israel’s blood diamonds
Seán Clinton

Every year, consumers the world over unwittingly spend billions of dollars on diamonds crafted in Israel, thereby helping to fund one of the world’s most protracted and contentious conflicts. Most people are unaware that Israel is one of the world’s leading producers of cut and polished diamonds. As diamonds are normally not hallmarked, consumers cannot distinguish an Israeli diamond from one crafted in India, Belgium, South Africa or elsewhere. The global diamond industry and aligned governments, including the EU, have hoodwinked consumers into believing the diamond trade has been cleansed of diamonds that fund human rights abuses, but the facts are startlingly different.

Israel — which stands accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, genocide, the crime of apartheid, extrajudicial executions within and outside the territory it controls and persistent serious breaches of the Geneva Conventions — is the world’s leading exporter of diamonds (see Figure 1 below). Israeli companies import rough diamonds for cutting and polishing, adding significantly to their value, and export them globally via distribution hubs in Antwerp, London, Hong Kong, New York and Mumbai.

Figure 1
In July 2000, the global diamond industry set up the World Diamond Council (WDC). The WDC was established as a response to public outrage about the use of diamonds to fund bloody conflicts in western African countries and it includes representatives from the World Federation of Diamond Bourses and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association. The council’s ultimate mandate is “the development, implementation and oversight of a tracking system for the export and import of rough diamonds to prevent the exploitation of diamonds for illicit purposes such as war and inhumane acts.” Significantly, the WDC limits its concern about human rights violations to those funded by rough diamonds only.

In 2003, the WDC introduced a system of self-regulation called the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme to stem the flow of “conflict” or “blood diamonds.” In keeping with the limited concerns of the WDC the UN-mandated Kimberly Process adopted a very narrow definition of what constitutes a conflict or blood diamond: “rough diamonds used by rebel movements or their allies to finance conflict aimed at undermining legitimate governments.” As a result of this tight ring-fencing, the much more lucrative trade in cut and polished diamonds avoids the human rights strictures applying to rough diamonds, provided the industry uses only Kimberly Process-compliant rough diamonds. Regardless of the human rights violations and atrocities funded by revenue from the Israeli diamond industry, governments and other vested interests party to the Kimberly Process facilitate the unrestricted access of diamonds crafted in Israel to the multi-billion dollar global diamond market.

The WDC created a web site called to promote the virtues of the industry. It lists 24 facts extolling the benefits of the diamond industry — primarily to India and countries in Africa. Some of the benefits include that an estimated 5 million people have access to appropriate healthcare globally thanks to revenues from diamonds; diamond revenues enable every child in Botswana to receive free education up to the age of 13; the revenue from diamonds is instrumental in the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

While these facts are laudable the list makes no mention of other less savory facts, including the fact that revenue from the diamond industry in Israel helps fund atrocities and human rights abuses such as the killing, maiming and terrorizing of thousands of innocent men, women and children in Palestine and Lebanon — the sort of atrocities the Kimberly Process is supposed to prevent being funded by revenue from diamonds.

The list of “Diamond Facts” paints a one-sided, positive image of the industry. It implies that the greatest benefits are being felt in some of the poorest nations of the world. But Israel, one of the wealthiest nations, towers over all other countries in terms of the net benefit derived from the diamond industry. The added value to the Israeli economy from the export of diamonds was nearly $10 billion in 2008 (see Figure 2 below).

Figure 2
The WDC website is equally selective when it comes to providing information about which countries are most dependent on diamonds. It explains that Namibia, one of the minor diamond exporting countries in monetary terms, derives 40 percent (<$1 billion) of its annual export earnings from diamonds and that 33 percent ($3 billion) of the GDP of Botswana, another minor player, is derived from diamond exports. The WDC fails to mention that the much more lucrative, high-value end of the diamond industry is the main artery of the Israeli economy, accounting for more than 30 percent of Israel’s total manufacturing exports worth nearly $20 billion in 2008 (“Trade Performance HS: Exports of Israel” accessed 25 March 2010) (See Figures 3 and 4). By comparison, the budget for Israel’s Ministry of Defense was $16 billion in 2008.

Figure 3

Figure 4
Revenue from the diamond industry helps fund Israel’s illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories, its brutal subjugation of the Palestinian people and its international network of saboteurs, spies and assassins. None of this is alluded to in the WDC’s “Diamond Facts.”

Contrary to claims by the diamond industry and jewelers that all diamonds are now conflict free, they are not. Israel’s dominant position in the industry means that diamonds crafted in Israel are interspersed globally with diamonds crafted in other countries. Consumers who purchase diamonds that are not laser-inscribed to identify where they were crafted run a significant risk of purchasing a diamond crafted in Israel, thereby helping to fund gross human rights violations. The Kimberly Process Certification Scheme strictures only apply to rough diamonds, thus allowing diamonds crafted in Israel to freely enter the market regardless of the criminal actions of the Israeli government and armed forces. The Kimberly Process is seriously flawed and is being used by the diamond industry and jewelers to pull the wool over consumers’ eyes by telling them that all diamonds are now “conflict free” without explaining the limitations and exactly what that means.

All this is hardly surprising given Israel’s dominant position in the diamond industry. Israel currently chairs the Kimberly Process. The notion of self-regulation by any industry that is intrinsically linked to the violations it purports to want to eliminate is something that neither governments nor the general public should tolerate. It is impossible for the public to have confidence in the diamond industry’s attempt to self-regulate as long as it facilitates the trade in diamonds crafted in Israel, which, if the Kimberly Process applied the same standards to all diamonds, would rightly be classified as blood diamonds and treated accordingly.

Given the failure of Western governments to hold Israel to account for numerous breaches of international law including international humanitarian law, breaches of the UN Charter, its failure to abide by more than 30 binding UN Security Council Resolutions, breaches of EU Agreements and disregard for the 2004 advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, they are unlikely to insist that the diamond industry broaden the definition of a conflict diamond to include cut and polished diamonds that fund human rights abuses.

Consumers should have the right to know where a diamond was crafted and consequently the right to choose an Israel-free diamond. These rights are not available to consumers today.

In 2005, Palestinian civil society called for an international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel similar to that which helped bring an end to the apartheid regime in South Africa. The international BDS campaign has to date focused much of its boycott activities on the most easily targeted Israeli products including fruit, vegetable, cosmetics and some plastic products. Targeting these products helps to increase public awareness of Israeli crimes and to some extent satisfies the public’s desire to register disapproval of Israel’s actions. However, these products account for only a small fraction of Israel’s total manufacturing exports. Even if the boycott of these products was totally successful it would not make a significant difference to the Israeli economy or to Israel’s ability to further its expansionist goals.

Figure 5
The diamond industry is a major pillar of the Israeli economy (see Figure 5 above). No other developed country is so heavily dependent on a single luxury commodity and the goodwill of individual consumers globally. Anything that threatens the carefully-nurtured image of diamonds as objects of desire, romance and purity could have serious consequences for the Israel diamond industry and the country’s ability to continue funding its illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories, the construction of illegal colonies and other associated criminal activities that render it the pariah of the modern age.

The international BDS campaign needs to focus global attention on the diamond trade that facilitates Israel’s ongoing crimes against the Palestinian people and its neighbors in the region.

Seán Clinton is the chairperson of the Limerick branch of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign and a former Boycott Officer on the National Committee of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign.


Following International Public Pressure Campaign, Award-winning Palestinian Journalist to be Allowed Entry to the U.S.

“Reflections on Life and War in Gaza,”

Featuring Mohammed Omer

Speaking Tour on Conditions in Palestine to Take Place as Debate Between U.S. and Israel over Expanded Settlements Continues

Chicago: 7:00 pm, Monday, April 5th at the Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton
with ALI ABUNIMAH, author, One Country, and founder, Electronic Intifada
Hosted by Haymarket Books, Contact: 773-583-7884, Free and Open to the Public

Houston: 7:00 pm, Tuesday, April 6th at the Rothko Chapel, 3900 Yupon
Contact: 713-524-9839, Free and Open to the Public

Albuquerque: 11:00 am, Thursday, April 8th at UNM Student Union Building (SUB) Ballroom
Hosted by the UNM Coalition, Free and Open to the Public
6:30 pm, Thursday, April 8th, at the Albuquerque Mennonite Church, 1300 Girard
Hosted by Middle East Peace and Justice Alliance, Suggested Donation: $20 (no one turned away), Contact:

Santa Fe: 6:30 pm, Friday, April 9th at the Unitarian Church in Santa Fe, 107 West Barcelona
with DAHR JAMAIL, author, Beyond the Green Zone and The Will to Resist, and co-recipient of the 2008 Martha GellhornAward
Hosted by Middle East Peace and Justice Alliance and Another Jewish Voice-Santa Fe, Suggested Donation: $5 (no one turned away), Contact:

CHICAGO, IL— Back from the brink of cancellation, a speaking tour on conditions in Palestine will take place April 5th-9th with award-winning journalist and photographer Mohammed Omer. Subjected to an extended, and unexplained, hold on his visa, Omer and supporters launched a public pressure campaign, winning his entry from the U.S. consulate.

As Omer related, “The support has been essential, and it proves that public pressure is effective. I am immensely grateful and can’t wait to thank all of you in person. I have always regarded the United States as the champion of freedom of the press. This is where I hope to practice this right.”
In 2008, Omer became the youngest recipient of the prestigious Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, for his firsthand reportage of life in the besieged Gaza strip. As his prize citation explained, “Everyday, he reports from a war zone, where he is also a prisoner. He is a profoundly humane witness to one of the great injustices of our time. He is the voice of the voiceless… Working alone in extremely difficult and often dangerous circumstances, [Omer has] reported unpalatable truths validated by powerful facts.”

Upon attempting to return to Gaza following his acceptance of the Gellhorn award in London, Omer was detained, interrogated, and beaten by the Shin Bet Israeli security force for hours; and eventually hospitalized with cracked ribs and respiratory problems (For the full story, visit Israel’s Haaretz). He has since resided in the Netherlands and continues to undergo medical treatment there for his subsequent health problems.

Nearly canceling his planned speaking tour, the U.S. consulate held his visa application without explanation. Organizers decided to protest, as in recent years, numerous foreign scholars and experts have been subject to visa delays and denials that have prohibited them from speaking and teaching in the U.S.—a process the American Civil Liberties Union describes as “Ideological Exclusion.”

As his hosts at Haymarket Books commented, “The issue of Palestine, and particularly the voice of Palestinians is so frequently side-stepped and marginalized in mainstream political discourse. Yet the Israeli-Palestinian conflict plays a huge role in American foreign policy, as we can see in the ongoing debate between the U.S. and Israel over expanded settlements. We believe that the conditions in Palestine represent one of the great humanitarian catastrophes of our time; and we were simply not willing to accept that Mohammed did not have the right to travel to the U.S. to share his reportage—and that Chicagoans did not have the right to hear what he has to say.”

Omer will visit Houston, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Chicago, as planned, to discuss his reportage, personal experience, and the struggle for Palestinian rights.

Background on Mohammed Omer:
Mohammed Omer was born and raised in the Rafah refugee camp in the Gaza strip. He maintains the website Rafah Today and is a correspondent for the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. His home in Rafah was crushed by an Israeli bulldozer while the family was inside, seriously injuring his mother. Yet, as Omer explained in an article he wrote upon winning the award, “My ambition was to get the truth out, not as pro-Palestinian or anti-Israeli, but as an independent voice and witness.” His reportage features interviews with regular Gazans attempting to survive amidst bombing, home demolitions, and the crippling economic blockade, which has created devastating shortages of electricity, water, fuel, and other necessities for survival.

Mohammed Omer is available for select interviews. To request, contact: Sarah Macaraeg, 312-315-8476,

Additional background:


Image ‘Copyleft’ By Carlos Latuff

Boycotting H&M over Israeli branch openings….

This campaign builds on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) call made by the Palestinian civil society in 2005 and the international BDS movement that followed. Inspired by the non-violent struggle against the Israeli occupation and oppression of Palestine, we acted when we heard that H&M were about to open seven stores in
Israel. To buy into the occupation and oppression is not fashionable and it shouldn’t be profitable. Make your voice heard – tell H&M not to invest in Israel until Israel respects international law and human

On the 11th of March H&M opened its first store in the Azrieli Mall in Tel Aviv. The second store opened on the 16th of March in Malcha Mall in Jerusalem. We will keep you updated.

Join the Facebook group “H&M, don’t buy into Occupation!“:


Another Arab Summit: Another Exercise in Political Impotence

By Khalid Amayreh

Once again, hundreds of millions of Arabs and Muslims around the world are affronted with another Arab summit conference, which is taking place in Serte in Libya. There, flamboyant dictators, dynastic despots and presidents-for-life have converged on the North African Arab nation to perform an annual futile ritual known as the Arab summit conference.

Over the years, the annual ritual effectively became a buzzword for futility, incompetence and idiotic wrangling among petty dictators and tribesmen-like heads of state.

Eventually, the chronic, striking inability of these summiteers to get anything worthwhile done earned them special notoriety for political inertness, ineptness and impotence. To cover up their annual season of shame, these leaders would issue a communiqué that is as mendacious as a whore’s mouth.

Take, for example, the Palestinian question. Dozens of Arab conferences have been held since the creation in Palestine of the criminal state called Israel. However, every time these impotent tyrants met, they would regurgitate the same impotence and ineptitude they had displayed the previous year.

Today, we are told that the Serte summit will discuss the ordeal facing Jerusalem which houses al Masjidul Aqsa (Aqsa Mosque), the holy place to which the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was taken from Makka by the night and from which his subsequent miraculous journey to the highest heaven took place.

Jerusalem is being stolen house by house, wall by wall and even stone by stone by the merchants of lie and falsifiers of history, the Khazari Zionist Jews, who have committed the grandest act of theft since Adam and Eve. A few years from now, it is possible that no East Jerusalem will have been left if the present state of affair in the Arab-Muslim world remains unchanged.

It is really sad and lamentable that the issue of Jerusalem and Palestine is being entrusted to essentially morally corrupt leaders who can do no good. In the Quran, it is related in Surat Younus, verse 81, that “Allah prospereth not the work of the mischief-makers.”

This means that nothing good or constructive can be expected from these summits for one simple reason, namely that these Arab leaders are actually part of the problem, if not the problem itself, facing the Arab world and as such they can’t be part of the solution.

To begin with, these so-called heads of states have no sovereign will of their own, given their scandalous subservience to foreign powers. We all know that the Arab world can have immense leverage on US policy toward the Middle East, especially the enduring Palestinian plight.

However, instead of dealing with the US in the language of mutual interests, we see that these despots are often willing to surrender all their sovereignty and national dignity to the Zionist-run Washington in return for receiving American assurances and backing, especially with regard to them staying in power for life.

These hopelessly impotent and undignified kings, princes and presidents are not only betraying Arab and Muslim interests, but are also conspiring and conniving with the enemies of Islam in order to enable Israel to liquidate the Palestinian cause.

This shocking perfidy has lately manifested itself in the collective Arab stance vis-à-vis Gaza where 1.6 million Arabs have been on the receiving end of a slow-motion holocaust being perpetrated by the children, grand-children and great grandchildren of the holocaust victims. And instead of adopting a dignified posture in the face of Zionist insolence and criminality, some of these Arab states even refused to sever diplomatic relations with the Nazis or our time.

In fact, some of these Arab despots are not only looking on passively as Gaza children and women are being thoroughly savaged and brutalized by the Judeo-Nazi regime but are actually perfecting and tightening the infernal siege on the people of Gaza on no account other than the fact that the victims had dared elect Hamas, a political party that dared say NO to Jewish Nazism and American hegemony.

Added to this is the fact that most if not all Arab regimes do excel in tormenting and savaging their own peoples by denying them the most basic human rights, political freedoms and civil liberties, including the right to elect their own rulers. Hence, it would be foolhardy and infinitely naïve to expect these dictators and tyrants to help the Palestinian people and their enduring just cause in any substantive manner.

Even the Arab masses, with a few notable exceptions, can’t freely express their solidarity with the Palestinian people because they fear getting arrested and tortured by the police-state agents whose main job is to torment and persecute the citizens in order to ensure that no opposition to the dictator is allowed to see the light of the day.

Besides, and despite all the claims to the contrary, the Palestinian cause has never been a truly pressing priority for most Arab regimes, especially the Gulf Sheikhdoms whose leaders are basking in their oil wealth and having nearly pornographic obsequious alliances with the United States, while Israel, America’s spoiled child, is constantly trying to decapitate the Palestinian cause, destroy Islamic holy places in Jerusalem and liquidate the national existence of the Palestinian people.

Some of these decadent despots and their hangers-on might think that allocating a few hundred million dollars would save Jerusalem and help the Palestinians ward off the Zionist beast.

But this is not the case because money alone will not stop Israel from liquidating the Palestinian cause and obliterating the fast-fading Arab-Islamic identity of Jerusalem.

The liberation of Jerusalem requires competent leadership, strong political will and true statesmanship. The Arabs must give America the “red eye” if they are sincere about linking their relations with Washington to Washington’s enduring embrace of Israeli Nazism.

But America will not take any Arab measure seriously if Arab leaders keep indulging in the same treacherous tradition of denouncing America and Israel during their summit conferences while at the same time intimating to American diplomats that they really didn’t meant it and that they only had to say what they said for Arab public opinion consumption.

For sure, the cause of Jerusalem and al Masjidul Aqsa can’t and will not be served by this treasonous duplicity.


Israel is sliding toward McCarthyism and racism
By David Landau

“In every generation a man is to consider himself as if he personally experienced the Exodus from Egypt.” That is the central message of the Haggadah, of the seder night and indeed of Passover itself – the Festival of Freedom.

The message isn’t necessarily confined to the experience of the Hebrew slaves, who were delivered from bondage. The entire epic of the Exodus is meaningful. Our generation, in particular, the generation of renaissance and occupation, might do well to consider the narrative from the Egyptian perspective.

In other words, how does a society professing the noblest values toward the Other – “In the best of the land bring your father and your brothers to live,” Pharaoh urges Joseph (Genesis 47:6); “the foundations of freedom, justice and peace,” Israel’s Declaration of Independence proclaims – how does such a society come to adopt policies of discrimination, persecution and endless conflict? “Let’s double-cross them,” the new pharaoh, the one who “knew not Joseph,” says of his Jewish minority. “Or else they’ll grow demographically, and when war comes, they’ll side with the enemy …” Sound familiar?

How, then, does a society morph in this way? The answer seems to be, inadvertently. Since last Passover, over the first year of Benjamin Netanyahu’s prime ministership, Israel has slid almost inadvertently a long way down the slope that leads to McCarthyism and racism.

Inadvertently. That must be the explanation. Otherwise, how to explain the dismal fact that during this year a heinous travesty was perpetrated against Naomi Chazan – and the streets of our cities weren’t seething with mass demonstrations? Major crossroads around the country were adorned with a literally Sturmer-like cartoon portraying this hitherto respected and distinguished woman, until recently a deputy speaker of the Knesset, who heads a fund that pours millions of philanthropic dollars into educational and civil, social projects in Israel – and thousands of decent people were not out there shouting, ‘Fascism shall not pass!’ One needn’t like all of the organizations that Chazan’s New Israel Fund supports to be outraged and disgusted and frightened by the style of the campaign that was mounted against her. (Full disclosure: I’ve lectured on occasion for the New Israel Fund.)

What’s so depressing about the Chazan affair is not so much the crude brutishness of her adversaries as the limp impotence of the many people who tut-tutted – and did nothing. When this form of inadvertence descends on an enlightened society, it numbs and paralyzes. That, perhaps, is how to understand a recent academic discussion broadcast on Army Radio about the “Nakba Law.” A noted jurist explained that a bill submitted by a group of MKs, slapping a three-year jail term on anyone mourning the Nakba [“the catastrophe,” as the Palestinians see 1948 and after] on Independence Day was unlikely to get through the Knesset. Even if it did, she went on, it would probably be struck down by the High Court of Justice. The criminal code, she explained, was not the appropriate means to deal with “the problem.” However, she added, completely matter-of-fact, a bill cutting off state funding from any local authority marking the Nakba on Independence Day would probably get through. Its curtailment of freedom of speech could be deemed proportionate. (A bill in this vein has since passed its first reading.) Not a word of reservation from this jurist or her interviewer, who himself is an academic lawyer. No value judgment. Just dry academic analysis.

Without making any ghastly comparisons, listening to this radio program, one found oneself thinking that in other countries where the regime steadily transformed from democratic to non-democratic, there must have been liberal-minded, gently spoken academics who provided meticulous, legalistic analysis of malevolent laws enacted against minorities.

As history, both ancient and more recent, teaches us, there is another vital component in the inculcation of a whole society with xenophobia. It’s the big lie, repeated over and over until ordinary people inadvertently come to regard it as truth. “Go and worship your God,” Pharaoh pretended to Moses, time after time. His own people no doubt believed him.

In our own case, this past year, Netanyahu has incessantly repeated his mantra that he’s merely doing in Jerusalem “what all my predecessors have done for 43 years.” The purpose of this pretense is to erase from the public mind, at home and abroad, the fact that two of his predecessors negotiated with the Palestinians and the Americans over dividing the city. The purpose, too, is deliberately to blur the hugely significant difference between building in the Jewish neighborhoods that have been developed over decades and forcibly inserting Jewish settlers into all-Arab neighborhoods like Sheikh Jarrah. The purpose, basically, is to obliterate any chance of implementing the “Clinton parameters” – Jewish areas to Israel, Arab areas to Palestine, Holy Basin to God [or an international consortium representing Him] and thus reaching a fair compromise on Jerusalem.

The demonstrations taking place on Fridays at Sheikh Jarrah offer some smidgen of hope that not everyone has been duped and silenced. The Naomi Chazan front was abandoned. The “Nakba Law” front was lost without a fight. The battle line in Israel’s war of survival as a Jewish and democratic state now runs through the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem. There, alongside the few brave Israelis out demonstrating, the president of the United States has planted his pennant, too. Is that the line, at last, where Israel’s decline will be halted?



Happy Passover from Gaza
By Sam Bahour

In 2010, Jews in Israel and around the world will celebrate Passover beginning on March 30th. Passover is the seven-day holiday of the Feast of Unleavened Bread commemorating the ancient Hebrews’ escape from enslavement in Egypt. (In Israel, March 30th is also Land Day: the day when Palestinians commemorate and protest the confiscation of their lands by the Israeli government; but that’s another story.)

As I’m learning, the Passover holiday begins with the Seder, a traditional ceremonial meal. Its centerpiece is a special Seder plate containing six symbolic foods. Each has its own significance in the retelling of the story of the Hebrews’ exodus from Egypt. The stack of three matzos, or unleavened bread, a kind of cracker made of plain white flour and water, has its own separate plate on the Seder table.

For each of the six traditional items on the Seder plate (as per Wikipedia and the Chabad website) —listed here by its Hebrew name—I note its traditional symbolic role and offer an additional, alternative interpretation. I hope my alternative can help Jews around the world, and especially in Israel, connect with a broader perspective on the meaning of Passover right here, right now, in the land that became the eventual endpoint of that ancient exodus.

Maror and Chazeret — Bitter herbs, symbolizing the bitterness and harshness of the slavery which the Jews endured in Egypt. Slavery: severe curtailment of one’s freedom. Today, one and a half million Palestinians in Gaza are tasting the bitterness of unfreedom, hermetically sealed in their encircled enclave with no end in sight. Sixty percent are under the age of 16. The Jewish citizens of Israel have hardened their hearts to this reality and they have expected the rest of the world’s Jews to do likewise. For how long will you wait for Palestinians to vanish?

Charoset — A coarse mixture of chopped nuts, apples or dates, and wine, meant to symbolize the mortar used by the Jewish slaves to build the storehouses of Egypt. Today, Israel permits no mortar, or cement, or any other building materials, to enter Gaza. Let them sleep in tents! This, after last winter’s assault on Gaza, internationally documented war crimes (and possibly crimes against humanity), causing over 1,400 deaths in 22 days between December 2008 and January 2009– leaving scores homeless in the rubble. Is this the freedom Moses envisioned? The freedom to attack civilians with the tanks, planes and warships of the “Jewish” State? Doesn’t sound very Jewish to me. Not at all.

Karpas — A vegetable other than bitter herbs, dipped into salt water (which represents tears) to recall the pain felt by the Jewish slaves in Egypt. Tears! Pain! In your name, my Jewish friends, Israel continues its inhuman siege on Gaza. The folks there shed tears as salty as anyone’s; their pain is beyond description. Two of every three of today’s Gaza residents originally lost their homes in what is now Israel when the state was established. Six decades later, they find themselves living a nightmare, a kind of living death: their economy in ruins, their neighborhoods in ruins, their educational and health systems in ruins, even their sanitation systems in ruins. Israel refuses to allow reconstruction. What comes after stripping Gazans from their last remaining sense of sanity?

Z’roa — A roasted lamb shankbone (or a chicken wing, or chicken neck) symbolizes the paschal sacrifice offered originally on the eve of the exodus and later in the Temple in Jerusalem. Sacrifice!  Do you insist on sacrificing the possibility of a sustainable future for modern Israel in the name of its founding myth – since discredited – that Palestine was “a land without people, for a people without a land”? A million of today’s Gazans are from the families that Israel expelled. Gazans have remained steadfast under conditions even the early Hebrews might have found intolerable in Egypt. Gazans, together with all Palestinians, are the people that Jews in Israel are destined to live with, today, tomorrow, and forever.  The only uncertainty is how much more hate will be generated by military occupation and armed assault before a process of shared rehabilitation can begin.

Beitzah — A hard-boiled egg, symbolizing the main festival sacrifice that was offered in the Temple in Jerusalem and roasted and eaten as part of the meal on Seder night. The egg is a symbol of mourning. Eggs are the first thing served to mourners after a Jewish funeral. The egg on the Seder plate evokes the mourning over the destruction of the Temple and the subsequent inability to offer sacrifices there in honor of the Pesach holiday.  Mourning!  As Jews, you know a lot about mourning; consider the sixty-two years of mourning, consider every day of every one of those years, among the people–real people, with real names and real children—in Gaza and in squalid refugee camps all around Israel who can see their homeland with the naked eye, but are denied their basic human right of returning home. Sixty-two Passovers and counting. All I ask of you on this year’s holy day, as you contemplate the egg on the Seder plate, is to remember them, no more.

My Jewish sisters and brothers, you can continue to look away as Israel claims to speak and to act in your name.  It kills and maims in your name.  It dispossesses and occupies in your name.  It talks peace and wages war in your name.  If you turn a deaf ear to their mourning again this year, if you harden your heart again this year, if your voice is not raised this year in protest – then you are acquiescing in the ongoing ethnic cleansing of another people, in your name.  If you cannot see Palestinians as fully human now, you will hear them trying to give voice to their humanity in your nightmares, year after year, until you can see and until you can hear.

It is written in the Talmud: We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are. I urge you, while you commemorate the Hebrews’ ancient slavery and deliverance, to see yourselves finally as equals in this world: equal with your neighbors, neither their masters nor their slaves.  I urge you to see yourself and your children in the image of every Palestinian mother, father and child in Gaza. Let this year be the year of your shared redemption!

Free Gaza now!  End the occupation now!  Happy Passover from Gaza!


Iron gate constructed at Bethlehem’s northern entrance separating Bethlehem from Jerusalem

The apartheid walls of Jerusalem breached on Palm Sunday

By Mazin Qumsiyeh

Wow, what a day: over 100 native Palestinian Christians and Muslims and internationals including Israelis, breached the tight security separating the Palestinian cities of Bethlehem from the occupied city of Jerusalem.  Donkeys and people arrested!

We were initially some 150 strong and started from the Church of Nativity at 11:45 AM carrying palm leaves an banners asking for freedom of worship and movement (as demanded by international law).  The demonstration included individuals riding 2 donkeys and a horse.  Appropriate since Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey.  Like him, we knew this was not going to be an easy entry but we did believe in the goodness of humanity.  We arrived at the main gate used for tourist buses at around 12:30 and decided to just keep going. The few soldiers and police at the gate tried to close it but we managed to get in and the huge 8 meter high metal gate stopped half way perhaps as a safety mechanisms since there were dozens of people passing and they could be crushed if it continued.

The Israeli security forces tried to close other fences but we kept going.  As word reached their offices, the Israeli army was mobilizing its forces and soon several army jeeps arrived and blocked the road half way between the gate and Deir Mar Elias (the monastery at the edge of the city). The blocked our way.  Ibrahim Salah riding his donkey was speaking to them in Hebrew and saying why can’t we go to Jerusalem.  It is our right to travel.   He was the first to be violently knocked down off his donkey and arrested.  The next was an American girl, then some Palestinians. All violently wrestled to the ground when even many were just peacefully walking back to the gates.  It seemed like a calculated move to punish some of us so that others get the message not to try this again.

Some 60 of us ended up being rounded up in between a wall, a hill, a gate, and a cordon of police officers.  We expected to be all arrested.  The occupation soldiers instead plucked random people that they thought were the key people.

We had significant local and national and international media coverage (email us if you are a media outlet and want to do a story or receive video and and/or pictures).  The people are willing to pay the price.  Israeli forces released 4 Israelis and the one American student.  They kept 11 Palestinians that they kidnapped and are charging them with “incitement”, “participating in an unauthorized demonstration” “entering ‘Israel’ without a permit (as if occupied Arab East Jerusalem is Israel)”, and “interfering in police business”.  Lawyers will show that this is all bogus. But in any case, the popular resistance movement is growing and is willing to pay the price for such significant achievement as this.

Oh and yes, a donkey and a horse belonging to Ibrahim were also arrested by the mighty army of apartheid Israel for they too need permits from the Israeli military to get in.  Maybe more arrests will come tonight.  The repression only strengthened our collective will to move forward.  We were all elated at this success.  We know some Israeli officers; maybe the private “security” company that is contracted by the Israeli government to manage these apartheid wall system. Entering Jerusalem beyond the apartheid wall on Palm sunday shoed what popular resistance can achieve.  When I talked to one of the people they kidnapped, he indicated they were all in good spirits and were holding together.

While we hear “Arab leaders” met in Libya and issued more useless declarations, the popular resistance celebrates this victory in Bethlehem and will work to achieve others.  A demonstration will be held on Monday at noon in front of the gate at Bilal’s mosque/Rachel’s tomb area. Hope to see those of you who can there.


Published stories … Here, Here and Here in Arabic)

Here are the names of our 11 friends who were kidnapped by the Israeli army for daring to do what every human being on earth is entitled to do (move freely within their own country):

Abbas Zaki, member of the Fatah Central Committee
Ibrahim Salah, from Bethlehem
Mohammad Al-Hubani, from Bethlehem
Mahmoud Zawahreh, Al-Ma’sara
Fadi Hamad, Associated Press photographer from Bethlehem
Hassen Breijeiyah, Al-Ma’sara
Marwan Fararjeh,Bethlehem
Toni Shahwwan, Beit Jala
Ahmad Al-Azza, from Azza Refugee Camp
Shadi Fawaghreh, Wad Rahhal
Marwan Abushaaban

Palestinian Christians have demanded entry to Jerusalem without the regime of special permits (apartheid system): see. We will continue to demand this basic human right for all Palestinians regardless of their religion. The train of freedom is on the march and we are all asked to get on board.


Tuwani versus Havat Ma’on: Microcosm of Israeli Apartheid
TuwaniBy Khalid Amayreh

No catalogue of Israeli oppression and persecution of the Palestinian people can be complete without the ongoing plight of the villagers of Tuwani in the southern West Bank.

The small hamlet, which residents say dates back to time immemorial, has been a frequent target of harassment, vandalism, attacks and assaults of all sorts by the neighboring Jewish settlement outpost, known as Havat Ma’on.

Tuwani Havat MaonHavat Ma’on, originally an army outpost, is inhabited by 300-400 fanatical settlers, some originating in places as far as Moscow and Baltimore. Indoctrinated in the Jewish messianic ideology, the settlers are considered among the most criminal elements of the settler movement. They believe they have a mandate from God to harass, torment and kill “goyem” or non-Jews.

“Criminality is the mindset of these people. They think that their practice of Judaism is measured in proportion to the amount of persecution and aggression meted out to their Palestinian neighbors,” say Ahmed al Hreini, a resident of Tuwani.

“They are more than just bad neighbors, more than a thorn in our side; they are a cancer.”

Tuwani School ChildrenThey want to seize our land

Saber Hreini, 55, is the head of Tuwani’s local council. He says that the Ma’on’s settlers’ ultimate goal is to force the inhabitants of the small village to leave in order to take over their land.

“And in order to effect their criminal goal, they commit every conceivable crime against our people, including poisoning our sources of water, poisoning our sheep and cattle, assaulting our shepherds, beating our school children on their way to school and back home, uprooting our trees, and terrorizing us nearly on a daily basis”

“Hardly a day passes without an incident. They want to keep us on the edge, constantly nervous, so that we reach a point where we will have had enough and leave.”

Tuwani CPtersHreini has some unlikely witnesses testifying to the veracity of his accusations. They are a small group of mainly North American peace activists, known as Christian Peace-making Teams or CPT, who have maintained an uninterrupted presence at Tuwani for the past 15 years.

Generally speaking, the Christian activists, who promote nonviolent resistance to the Israeli occupation, monitor Israeli violations of human rights in the occupied territories, especially in the southern West Bank.

At Tuwani, their activities center on providing daily escort for Palestinian children walking to and from school as well as accompanying Palestinian shepherds and farmers to fields where they are exposed to assault by the extremist settlers.

This activism has earned them the wrath of the settlers and anger of the Israeli government and army. On numerous occasions, CPTers were seriously assaulted and injured by masked settler thugs. However, whenever the victims sought redress, the Israeli police and courts would demand proof that were nearly impossible to obtain such as the perpetrators’ full names, photos, and addresses.

“I think there is a clear collusion between the settlers at Havat Ma’on and the Israeli army and government. Their common goal is to harass the Palestinians to leave in order to expand the settlement,” said one CPTer from the United States.

“I can say that the settlers operate in sync with the Israeli army, they are more or less two sides of the same coin.”

Saber HreinihreiniFerocious beasts

Saber Hreini, pointing his finger toward the nearby small forest, explains the “inherent contradiction” between nature and settlers.

“You see this beautiful scenery, this small forest, the lofty trees. You wouldn’t believe that inside the forest exist ferocious human beasts that would be happy to strangle and murder school kids on their way to school or back home from school. Do people like these exist in any other place on earth?”

In addition to planting poison pellets in Tuwani fields, which have killed sheep, gazelle and other domestic and wild animals, the settlers also keep monitoring any new building at the village.

“Whenever they see any family or individual build a new home, they call the army to come and destroy it.”

Hreini says the Israeli army destroyed his own home twice.

“They just would like to see us evaporate into non-existence. They want us to be obliterated from the face of earth. They want to do to us what the ‘white man’ did to native Americans.”

No water, no electricity, no roads

According to villagers, the bulk of Tuwani’s homes, including the local small mosque and clinic, are facing the prospect of demolition by the Israeli occupation authorities. Such facilities are viewed by the Israelis as factors encouraging villagers to stay.

On 19 March 2009, Tony Blair, the Special Middle East Envoy of the Quartet, visited Tuwani, assuring villagers that an oral permission had been granted by the Israeli military authorities to begin the work needed to bring electricity to the village.

He said “without a new and different system applying in Area C [the area in the West Bank under Israeli military and civilian control], then it is very hard for Palestinians to enjoy the standard of living that they should enjoy and be able to develop their land as they should be able to develop in freedom.”

However, Blair, viewed by many Muslims throughout the world as a war criminal for his role in effecting the invasion and occupation of Iraq by the United States and her western allies, didn’t keep his word, or more probably the Israelis didn’t take him seriously.

A few weeks later, the Israeli army issued a demolition order to the newly constructed electricity pylons in At-Tuwani.

On 25 May 2009, Israeli occupation troops stormed Tuwani  and ordered villagers to halt construction work on new electricity pylons in the village. No written orders were delivered. Saber Hreini wrote to Blair requesting his help in obtaining written permission for the electricity work to continue

“We hope that in your role as envoy for the Quartet, you can be of assistance to us in contacting the Israeli government with the hopes of procuring written permission for these projects. We fear without written permission our problems will continue.”

Tony Blair never responded.

On 20 December, 2009, the Israeli army confiscated all the equipment that was to be used in the electrification of the village.

Moreover, the army issued another order barring the rehabilitation and pavement of the entrance to the village, a measure Hreini says “epitomizes a thoroughly racist mentality.”

“Israel, which calls itself a democracy, is trying to kill our community. They won’t allow us to have running tap water, electricity or a decent access road that would connect us with the outside world.”

“But we are clinging to our land like never before. I assure you that Tuwani, which predated Ma’on by many decades if not centuries, will remain much longer after Ma’on has gone.”

Unfortunately, this writer couldn’t access the Jewish settlement to obtain the settlers’ side of the story.  A settler, carrying an automatic rifle, trained his weapon toward us, saying in Hebrew, go back or I will shoot.


It must have been a slow week in the offices of the ADL…. they seem to have found time to dig up some dirt on Jimmy Carter and throw it in his face…..

BUT….. they obviously did not read the second linked article on this post or they might not be so quick to condemn.

ADL: Carter has reverted to anti-Israel stance, despite recent apology

Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter’s apology to the Jewish community over his anti-Israel views should not be taken seriously, an Anti-Defamation League statement said Sunday, claiming that Carter had continued attacking Israel even after sending an apologetic letter to the leaders of the U.S. Jewish community.

Late last year, the former U.S. president apologized to the American Jewish community for “stigmatizing Israel” in a letter published by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, and asked for forgiveness for his actions.

“We must recognize Israel’s achievements under difficult circumstances, even as we strive in a positive way to help Israel continue to improve its relations with its Arab populations, but we must not permit criticisms for improvement to stigmatize Israel,” Carter wrote.


Perhaps the reasons for Carter’s positions can be found in the following…..

Israel should thank Obama for acting like a friend
By Gideon Levy

If Israel had a real peace camp, if the silent majority had broken its sickly silence, if more Israelis approached the situation as a collective rather than individuals yearning for the next holiday or car, if more Israelis refused to accept blindly the deceptions of Israeli diplomacy and propaganda, Rabin Square would have been filled with demonstrators yesterday. Among the banners and flags, one sign would have stood out in this hour of risks and fateful decisions: “Thank you, friend.” Thank you, Barack Obama, friend of Israel.

The tidal wave of slurs and slanders, the unitary portrayal of Obama as someone trying to subjugate and humiliate Israel should have been answered with a dissenting voice saying that Obama was doing exactly what a true friend would do. Yes, it’s unpleasant, but after 43 years there’s just no other way. After a regrettable one-year delay and despite constant doubts and question marks, there now seems to be a chance that the 44th president of the United States will prevail where all his predecessors failed. There’s a chance Obama will pull Israel out of the crisis it created and work to achieve a better future, a future where it will claim what’s its own, but only what’s really its own.

The first step is encouraging and hope-inspiring. Among Obama’s modest demands – a construction freeze in Jerusalem and extending the freeze in the settlements, two basic conditions for “negotiations without preconditions” and for anyone who really wants a two-state solution – there’s a demand that the Israelis themselves should have made long ago.

Read the rest HERE


But NO!! Not in Israel….

Next year, the way things are going, it might be ALL of Jerusalem that gets sealed off….. read THIS for updates on settler expansion.
IDF to seal off West Bank for the duration of Passover

Israel will close off the West Bank from Midnight Sunday until midnight, April 6, for the duration of Passover holiday, the Israeli military spokesman announced Sunday morning.

However, persons needing medical attention will be allowed to enter Israel, and humanitarian aid, as well as doctors, NGO workers and lawyers will can enter the West Bank.

The closure is in keeping with the Israeli practice of sealing off the West Bank ahead of Jewish festivals, fearing militants might try to launch attacks to disrupt the festivities.

On March 27, 2002 a Hamas suicide bomber killed 30 people and injured 140 more, when he blew himself up in an Israeli hotel at the beginning of the traditional Passover feast.

Passover, which commemorates the Exodus of the Israelis from Egypt, begins this year at sundown Monday, and ends at Sundown, Tuesday April 6.


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