A newspaper with close links to Egypt’s government has been slammed by Israel for an “antisemitic” cartoon showing an Israeli flag with a Nazi swastika in the place of the Star of David.

The caricature, in Egyptian daily Al-Watani al-Youm (the National Today) imagines an aid ship headed for Gaza being grabbed by an octopus carrying the vandalised Israeli flag.

I feel like a proud father showing off my son’s perfect report card. In this case it’s about the work of my Associate, Carlos Latuff. The ziopress has been featuring it in front page headlines…. not because they like it, just the opposite, they loathe it.

How much prouder could a father be? Keep it up Son!

First, the Jewish Chronicle in London ….

Carlos Latuff said Israeli criticism would not prevent him from “keeping on making my cartoons on behalf of the brave Palestinian people.”

Then, the mouthpiece of Israel’s extreme right, Arutz Sheva ….

“Using the Nazi swastika symbol in the heart of the cartoon, and even the idea of using it, is an insult to humanity and is tantamount to an anti-Semitic statement,” the letter said in part. Newspaper editor Mohammad el-Alfy defended his decision to publish the cartoon in a subsequent editorial, claiming it was an issue of freedom of expression.

Brazilian cartoonist Carol Latuff was equally unrepentant in an email to Reuters in which he said “The Israeli ambassador could show the same interest that he shows for my cartoons, for the lives of the activists lost in the Freedom flotilla. Allegations of anti-Semitism are a well-known strategy of the Israeli government and its supporters in order to neutralize any criticism against the Israeli apartheid. These malicious allegations will not prevent me keeping on making my cartoons on behalf of the brave Palestinian people.” (

The cartoon itself could just be the tool needed to change Egypt’s attitude towards Israel as indicated here….

This latest blow to relations between Israel and Egypt follows the accusation by President Hosni Mubarak that Israel “is trying to shirk its responsibility to Gaza and throw it at Egypt.”

Needless to say, DesertPeace will continue to feature the works of this great artist….

Also see the following two posts….




-I only knew Bill by his convictions. By those he was a giant.-

Remembering Bill Christison

Anti-War Movement Loses A Wonderful Activist and

Advocate For Peace and For Palestine


Donna J Volatile

I first met Bill and Kathy Christison, several years ago, at a dinner hosted by a dear friend and political activist, who brought a group of us together: Christians, Palestinians, Israeli and American Jewish activists and others.

When I found out that Bill and Kathy were retired CIA analysts, my radar went way up and I told myself there was no way I was going to trust these people… How could I possibly trust them? They had been career people with ‘the agency’!

Thankfully, it did not take long for me to see how very wrong headed I was and from the moment I realized they were on ‘our side’, I also came to recognize what better assets could there possibly be, for the anti-war movement and to advocate for the Palestinian cause, than two people who knew and understood the inner workings of US Foreign Policy, having been on the inside of that establishment.

It’s almost impossible to speak about Bill without mentioning Kathy because they were a team and that is how we have known them on just about every level.

Separately and together, Bill and Kathy wrote a multitude of articles, they have appeared on numerous radio and television programs, traveled extensively to promote peace and the Palestinian cause and to expose the absolute failure of US Foreign Policy, most especially in the Middle East. Kathy has written two books and (Perceptions of Palestine and The Wound of Dispossession) she and Bill wrote one book together, Palestine in Pieces: Graphic Perspectives on The Israeli Occupation. They have traveled many times to Palestine and Israel to speak and to help to rebuild Israeli bulldozed Palestinian homes. They walked their talk and they have been mentors to many people, including myself. Their combined efforts have helped to bridge the gap between Israelis and Palestinians, contributed to promoting dialog and action and they never stopped, not until Bill was struck down with a rapidly advancing neurological disorder…

On June 18, 2010, a memorial service was held for Bill and it was standing room only. Writer and activist, Joe Mowrey, who headed the service, offered his wonderful impressions of Bill and woven throughout, were marvelous tributes from Bill’s grown children, friends and acquaintances, both here and abroad, as people poured forth with vivid descriptions of how Bill had impacted their personal and political lives, their words speak volumes about Bill and also about Kathy:

-Bill has been a secret model for me for many years, and to have him go like this hits me very hard.-

-To be selfish about it, I wanted more time with Bill. There was so much to learn from him. And he was so much fun and clever, about intellectual things, about people, and his fascination with gadgets.-

-If a life is summed up by a person’s actions and character, then Bill has been a superb human being. His contributions to Peace and Social Justice will always be remembered by those who knew him. I can think of no greater gift to humanity.-

-I’ve always marveled at your collective energies. A lesser man would have slowed long before.-

-Whenever we think of Palestine, and all our international friends and supporters, we think of Bill and Kathy. We think of all the positions and ideas we reviewed together; we think of all the kindness and genuine feelings they expressed towards our Palestinian people. We keep reiterating how much they committed the rest of their lives to struggle against injustice. We celebrate their unending commitment to just causes. We just wish that many Palestinians would reach this level of commitment. We feel very sad to lose Bill.-

-What an immeasurable loss to our community of people working to help Palestinians achieve a justice-based peace. Bill always reminded us to have a sense of urgency about our work and to keep our eyes on the prize and not get sidetracked with bureaucratic matters. Bill, may you rest in peace—you deserve it.-

-Bill has been the bedrock of factual, compassionate, in-depth historical and legal reportage and analysis of the world’s surely most crucial issue—a cross of iron! Now, to learn that Bill is so ill—we are desolate! So precious is he, so good to and for all, so astute and effective for just peace, the only peace.

I first met Bill and Kathy at the Santa Fe Ski Basin almost 27 years ago. Since that time I have never met any other couple so unselfishly dedicated, not only to each other, but also to a common goal. Now that Bill’s life has ended, he leaves behind a wife who will continue to work to see their common dream come true. Hopefully, if and when the goal of Palestinians for a separate independent state in the Middle East is realized, the names of Bill and Kathy will be honored in perpetuity as persons contributing toward that end. May his children, during this time of remembrance, take comfort in knowing that their father, unlike others more needing of fame and fortune, devoted his life to a cause in which he believed. It was a life well-lived.

-I’m sure I speak for MANY Palestinians who will miss Bill’s contribution to our struggle for justice, freedom and true peace. Our real consolation is that we are confident you shall carry on with a mission that you both committed yourselves to.-

-He will be sorely missed, and will always have a distinguished spot in the annals of Palestine.-

-He was a wonderful person, and his passing leaves a giant, Bill-shaped hole in the world, and in our hearts.-

-Bill was a truth teller long before many of us understood the truth. He was a patient teacher who taught me and others so much, and I feel honored to have known him. We will continue the struggle for justice and land for Palestinians in his honor.-

-Just one of Bill’s many exceptional qualities I will remember was his always irrepressible good humor, even when delivering a deservedly tough critique of a wrongheaded US policy or someone promoting the policy. Bill taught and influenced a great many people. He will be very fondly remembered.-

-I felt a real bonding with you two as you took on the serious business of working for peace in the Middle East. Your articles, while not yet carrying the day, are finally making inroads into the American consciousness. This has not been done without sacrifice, I suspect. Friends take offense and criticize and sometimes disappear. Even close associates. This is painful. Yet you and Bill persevered and probably looked back on your CIA days as mere preparation for your life’s work. What a legacy! What a life!-

-Bill has been an inspiration to so many of us. Profoundly knowledgeable, intelligent, and principled, he produced work for peace and justice that history, I believe, will show helped make this a better country and the world a better, safer, and less violent place. Even though I only met him a few times, I’ll miss him so much. It was good to know he was there. It made our movement stronger—and will continue to do so as his memory and accomplishments remain. I am glad he reached peace at the end. His work, I believe, will help the world eventually reach this.-

-Kathy, live the rest of your life with his great memories. Both of you together have recorded enough history to last 80 more years. What a mission you both have chosen to live your golden years together. I know that the mission will continue, with Bill’s spirit and determination, we will make the difference which will make him rest peacefully.-

-Bill Christison was a member of a select, rare group of people devoted unreservedly and totally to honesty, fair play, and the pursuit of justice for all mankind. He was more than a great American citizen, he was a giant citizen of the world.-

-I only knew Bill by his convictions. By those he was a giant.-

These heartfelt comments sum up what we all know about Bill (and Kathy) and their contributions to Peace and Social Justice, and we all know that Kathy will carry on, in her own way, because just as Bill remained committed until his untimely passing, Kathy remains steadfast and there is much left to do.

We will all carry on and we will always remember how Bill touched and shaped our political and personal lives.

We will continue to fight for what is right, through Global Peaceful Resistance, we will actively work to lift the illegal siege against Gaza and work for the liberation of Palestine and we will work constructively toward a fair and just Peace in the Middle East.

And I know Bill will be watching, from his vantage point, in the Universe, from the point of infinite consciousness and all that he contributed toward that end…

We thank you Bill.

-In my humble opinion, non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good.-
Mahatma Gandhi

For Bill Christson’s obituary in our local Santa Fe paper

From David Ray Griffin

From Alexander Cockburn on Counter Punch


Barred from Jerusalem for crime of being Palestinian

Engineer’s battle to overturn loss of residency highlights plight of thousands

By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem

Samir Abu-Khalaf holds a photograph of his son Murad

Samir Abu-Khalaf holds a photograph of his son Murad, whose East Jerusalem residency was revoked by Israeli authorities

To say that Palestinian Murad Abu-Khalaf’s roots are in Jerusalem is a serious understatement. His family lived in the Baka district of West Jerusalem until they were forced to leave in the war of 1948. They have since lived – and live – in the inner East Jerusalem district of Ras al-Amud. His family doctor father’s clinic in East Jerusalem’s main street of Salahadin is opposite three shops owned by each of his uncles. One of his brothers, also a doctor, works at one of Jerusalem’s two main (Israeli) hospitals, the Shaare Zedek Medical Centre. The city is, in short, his home.

But when the next hearing of a case of fundamental importance to the future of this super-qualified young man takes place in the Jerusalem District Court today, he won’t be there. At the age of 33, he has suddenly become, to use his own word, “stateless”. His only “crime” has been to spend several years in the US doing an electrical engineering PhD, completing post-doctoral research funded by a division of the US Army, acquiring high-tech work experience with the sole purpose of bettering his future career prospects in the Holy Land, and being a little homesick.

Yet in 2008 the young Dr Abu-Khalaf became a statistic, one of a record 4,577 Palestinian residents to have their Israeli-conferred status as a resident of East Jerusalem revoked in that year and with it the right to live permanently or work in either Israel or the occupied Palestinian territories. It is this revocation which is being challenged in court on his behalf by the Israeli human rights lawyer Leah Tsemel today, and about which he says: “Losing my residency in my country is a source of pain to me… I feel I am being asked to choose between building my career and my homeland.”

For Dr Abu-Khalaf has been told his only chance of having the revocation “reconsidered” – and it’s far from certain this would succeed – is if he gives up his high-flying job as a software developer, leaves the US and stays here for at least two years – maybe “working in a café”, as he puts it. So far Dr Abu- Khalaf has been told he will no longer qualify for an Israeli travel document. He would still be able to visit the country as a tourist, though not work or live in it, and then only if he obtains a US travel document.

If Dr Abu-Khalaf was an Israeli citizen he would be able to take up temporary residency for as long as he liked without losing his rights. But his case exemplifies the fragile status of more than 200,000 East Jerusalem Palestinians, who have Israeli conferred ID, and the right – denied to most West Bank Palestinians – to travel in Israel and access to certain benefits like Israeli health insurance, but not the security of full citizenship. According to Ir Amim, an Israeli NGO campaigning for an “equitable and stable” shared Jerusalem, the sharp increase in residency revocations are part of “an ongoing Israeli policy to reduce the Palestinian presence in East Jerusalem”.

When Israel unilaterally annexed Arab East Jerusalem after the Six-Day War – an annexation whose legality has never been accepted by most of the international community, including Britain – it offered Palestinian residents citizenship. But the large majority refused, believing that to accept would reinforce Israel’s claim on occupied East Jerusalem.

Part of Dr Abu-Khalaf’s problem was that he applied successfully for a “green card” purely to maximise his job opportunities, but unwittingly reinforcing Israel’s determination to cut off his Jerusalem residency. Dr Abu-Khalaf said when he was job-searching “many potential employers replied to me asking if I held a green card.” They told him that “otherwise they could not employ me… I never knew it would cause all this fiasco.”

His father, Samir Abu-Khalaf, wanted Murad to return and marry when he had laid the firm basis of a career. “It’s injustice to deal with us in this way,” he said. “It seems they want Palestinians only to be workers, cleaners.” To his son it is illogical that in an age when academic and corporate life is increasingly multinational, he should be penalised for participating in it. The loss of residency “in my home country”, he said, is “at best inconsiderate… extremely backward looking, and short-sighted.”

An Interior Ministry spokeswoman said the law prescribed that East Jerusalem residents were treated like any other people with resident status, losing it if they are away for more seven years or take up residency elsewhere. Asked whether the position of native East Jerusalemites was not different from – say – those from France temporarily living and working in Israel she added: “If you want someone to justify the policy you are asking the wrong person. But it’s the law.”

Source via Uruknet


This is why I only buy tuna in water


If this is an example of the Israeli ‘Left’s leadership’ you can understand why they never got anywhere…..

A Response to Mr. Yossi Beilin’s letter to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in USA

Rifat Odeh Kassis

On June 24, B’nai B’rith International circulated a letter written by Mr. Yossi Beilin, Israel’s Former Deputy Foreign Minister, and issued to delegates of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA). According to B’nai B’rith, Beilin’s letter sought to urge them against “unbalanced or counter-productive steps” on the Middle East.

One example of the “counter-productivity” Mr. Beilin feels the Presbyterian Church has wrongly endorsed is “A Moment of Truth,” the Kairos Document itself.  Mr. Beilin refers to the document as “polemical,” promoting a “blanket” strategy of boycott and sanctions. He criticizes the Presbyterian Church for supporting the views expressed in “A Moment of Truth” “without stated qualification,” citing the Kairos Document as a material that “[places] inordinate blame on Israel for the conflict.” Throughout his letter, Mr. Beilin presents himself as a leading proponent of the peace process, a spokesperson for Israeli democracy, and an individual among the “most progressive and moderate among us” – in short, a voice whose calls for peace have been silenced by initiatives like the Kairos Document.

As the coordinator and a co-author of the Kairos Document – by which I also mean, as a member of a community working not only for peace, but also for peace with justice – I would like to respond to Mr. Beilin’s claims and statements. Mr. Beilin dramatically misunderstands and misstates the goals, content, and consequences of “A Moment of Truth.” Even more, however, his letter reveals misrepresentations of the very terms – “democracy,” “balance,” “peace process” – he supposedly extols. Indeed, rhetoric like Beilin’s heavily contributes to the continuation of the Israeli occupation, as well as to the justification of this status quo on the international stage.

What follows is a discussion of the major points I wish to contest.

1. Mr. Beilin introduces himself as a politician and peace activist whose career “has been defined by vigorous engagement in the pursuit of reconciliation and coexistence in the Middle East.” Chief among his stated credentials is his role as an initiator of the Oslo accords of 1993. Yet Mr. Beilin refers to Oslo as if it were a success – as if it were truly a symbol of, to use his words, reconciliation and coexistence. For Palestinians, this has never been the case. In fact, we have experienced the opposite. The Oslo Accords have led to more illegal Israeli settlements, the Al-Aqsa Intifada, two wars (against Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza in 2008-2009), the Apartheid wall, and an astonishing number of violent deaths and brutal detentions. I wonder how long Mr. Beilin expects the Palestinian people to wait for Oslo to bear fruit for us – when we have seen no indication that it will. The “historic peace process” he defines as the Oslo Accords has been, for us, a historic failure.

2. I would also like to dispute Mr. Beilin’s argument against economic sanctions (which, as part of the global BDS campaign opposing the Israeli occupation, Kairos Palestine does support) on the grounds that Israel is a democracy. “I do believe in economic sanctions,” Beilin writes, “but when they are directed against democracies they are counter-productive.” Does this mean that he only believes in economic activism leveled against dictatorships? I fail to see how Israel’s “democratic” structure makes it immune to such measures – or to its inhabitants’ right to undertaking them. The implications of Mr. Beilin’s logic are baffling: a democracy like Israel can behave as it likes, kill whom it wants, demolish homes, evict families, strip citizenships, imprison people for months or years without so much as informing them of the charges – but nothing should be done against it because it is a democracy? Israel’s much-touted reputation as “the only democracy in the Middle East” is always ironic, given its shocking track record of violating human rights and international law. But Mr. Beilin’s brief, weak argument against economic sanctions, using the existence of this “democracy” as its flimsy premise, is absurd indeed – especially when it comes from a former cabinet and parliament member of the democracy in question – and full of double standards.

3. Mr. Beilin addresses “narratives and activism,” specifically including the Kairos Document, “that appear to target Israelis or exclude recognition of any of Israel’s positive contributions to peace.” Does Mr. Beilin feel that we haven’t been adequately appreciative? It seems, rather, that Mr. Beilin himself is excluding recognition of Israel’s cynical, incendiary, and relentless actions that render the peace process humiliating at best and untenable at worst. The Israeli government continues to build settlements in the West Bank despite the so-called freeze, persists in demolishing the lives of Palestinian residents in East Jerusalem (the latest atrocity is the 22-house demolition order in Silwan, which will lead to the construction of a park), routinely nulls the citizenship of East Jerusalemites if they leave the country, keeps the keys to the jail of the West Bank and the solitary confinement of Gaza, besieging Gaza punishing more than one a half million people, slaughtered over 1400 Gazans (mostly civilians, including 350 children) in the war of 2008/2009, and murdered nine humanitarian activists (in international waters) aboard the Gaza-bound flotilla on May 31 of this year. If these actions have anything to do with Israeli’s contributions to peace, then we would prefer the contributions to stop.

4. Beilin concludes his letter to the Presbyterian delegates by urging them “to act for peace in a way that strengthens Israeli and Palestinian peacemakers alike.” It is for this very reason that we propose BDS as a means for peacemakers inside Israel to advocate for justice. Regrettably, the Israeli leftist movement has remained very weak. This weakness relates to the fact that strong criticism of Israel is often ignored or dismissed within the international community: many people fear Israel itself, or fear the stigma of being labeled anti-Semitic. This environment of fear and hesitation thus undermines the movement inside Israel and its endeavor to end the occupation. But BDS, as a tactic with particular immediacy and collective power – including when enacted by Israelis, those who supposed to benefit from the occupation as it stands – is a unique chance to confront this environment and truly change it, both within Israel and with the solidarity of the international BDS movement. In short, we believe that BDS is an empowering, transformative peacemaking tool for Israeli and Palestinian activists alike.

Mr. Beilin’s attitude toward BDS, dismissing it as “imbalanced” or overly punitive, is by no means unfamiliar to us. Many, both in Israel and elsewhere, continue to reduce the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to a “balanced” dispute between two sides, refusing acknowledge that the situation is irrefutably otherwise: an apartheid state, brutally militarized and shamelessly discriminatory. The Israeli occupation is a strategic, consistent, deliberate, historically constructed, externally condoned and internally sustained attempt to separate Palestinian and Israel rights and lives in the very place where we make and have always made our home. Boycotting Israel signifies boycotting this entire range of injustice.

If Mr. Beilin rejects BDS as a valid way to call for change, and as a right in and of itself, then what other means does he propose for creating peace in our region? With so much blood already shed and so many words (“democracy,” “balance,” “peace process”) sapped of their sincere, unironic meanings, how else does he believe Israel can be made to stop its destructive course? The Israeli occupation of our land and our rights is not selective; justice must never be. This – justice, without which peace is meaningless – is what has been and continues to be missing from the peace process Mr. Yossi Beilin refers to in his letter. Justice is what both the Kairos Document and the BDS movement seek. And justice is what we ask Mr. Beilin to remember.

Boycott Updates can be seen HERE


Click here… The cartoon that rocked the foundations of zion this week ….

It was created by Carlos Latuff, a long time Associate of this Website and a longtime friend. Below is a recent interview with Carlos which will give you an idea what kind of person he is and why he is loathed by the state of Israel, yet loved by all who strive for Justice throughout the world:

Interview With Carlos Latuff

Kourosh Ziabari
Independent freelance journalist, Iran

Interview with Carlos Latuff:
I don’t trade ideology for money
Interview by Kourosh Ziabari for Iran’s Jame-Jam newspaper

The hero of “freedom of speech”, boycotted by the corporate, mainstream media that are irresistible against the astringent truth: this is the most precise and accurate introduction which I can present about Carlos Latuff. Born in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, he is an artist of conscience whose artistic commitment and morality prevented him from becoming the pawn of imperialism.

Carlos Latuff is a world-renowned cartoonist who has long brought into existence artistic works and cartoons in which the footsteps of creativity, novelty, intelligence and decency can be traced noticeably. He has never been given the opportunity to showcase his matchless cartoons in the New York Times, Guardian, Washington Post, BBC or CNN; however, the narrow hallways of personal blogs and independent media outlets which allowed his cartoons to breathe in the atmosphere of publicity, made him a man of genuineness and reality, known by those who seek something beyond the outdated, obsolete propaganda of “all options are on the table”.
Carlos Latuff has drawn numerous cartoons which depict the pains of oppressed nations around the world; from the Palestinians being suffocated under the Israeli occupation to the Iranians receiving the spates of psychological operation co-manufactured by the White House and Tel Aviv.

Here is the complete text of my interview with Carlos Latuff, conducted for Iran’s best-selling newspaper Jame-Jam, where we elaborately discussed his intellectual mission and the prospect of his artistic trajectory.

Kourosh Ziabari: Dear Carlos; it seems that you’ve dedicated your entire mission to independent, freelance journalism and one can clearly figure out that you are not usually paid in lieu of what you draw for the magazines, newspapers and websites since a complete set of your cartoons and caricatures are available on your website for free. Do you accede to draw cartoons which are contrary to your ideological mindset should you be offered remarkable, irresistible payments?

Carlos Latuff: No way! I will only make artworks according my own Leftist beliefs. I don’t trade ideology for money. I work for Leftist trade union (workers) press since 1990, that’s what I make for living. Mainstream media would never pay me for making anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist artworks. But I have what I call of “artistic activism”, producing cartoons and making them available on the Web for free of charge reproduction; cartoons with a different point of view from the Western mainstream media; cartoons exposing what Michael Moore would call of “the awful truth”. I already refused payments for my drawings about Palestine. Solidarity can’t be measured by dollars.

KZ: You’ve received serious death threats from the Zionist circles and Israeli groups a number of times. Would you please explain for us a little about the details of these threats and the consequential events that followed them? Have you ever thought of putting aside your professional and artistic mission in order to preserve your safe, tranquil life?

CL: In 2006 a website associated to Likud (Likudnik) published a long article about me, my art, my support to Palestinians and labeled me as an agent at the service of a supposed “Iranian propaganda machine”, comparing me with Nazi propagandists. The author of the article argued why Israel didn’t take care of me before and urged readers to take steps against me. Let me be straight, I really don’t care about threats. Along the Palestinian cause I also support human rights organizations against police brutality in Brazil. This kind of activism alone could put me in high risk of life. But, as I said, I don’t care; I will continue with my artistic support, ’cause if Zionists worldwide are pissed off about my cartoons, it’s because I’m doing something right. Death can stop me yes, but not my cartoons. That’s why I make them run free around the world through Internet.

KZ: You belong to a prosperous country which is the 8th economic power of the world and the 10th trade partner of the United States. Brazil also maintains normal ties with Israel and this is something which many anti-war and anti-imperialism activists dislike. Coming from such a country, you profoundly grasped the essence of oppressed nations’ suffering and sympathized with them wholeheartedly. How did you rise from Brazil and came to assist the oppressed nations?

CL: I grown up in the suburbs of Rio and my parents worked hard to give me study and a humble but decent life. Being the 8th economic power makes no difference to the ordinary people in Brazil. We have poverty, corruption, criminal and police violence, influent and strong landowners in countryside, people dying of dengue fever and malaria, and a mainstream media which is always trying to convince public opinion that everything is ok with capitalism. As someone living in a Third World country I can’t turn a blind eye to this situation here and in other parts of the world. Last year I was in Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon, places very similar to Brazilian slums (favelas). It wasn’t hard to realize that the language of poverty is universal, as universal must be the solidarity with people in need.

KZ: You’ve for years cooperated with a number of media outlets in the Western countries and can precisely estimate the veracity of the slogan of “freedom of expression” in the countries who introduce themselves as the harbingers of liberty and tolerance. I clearly remember the spates of verbal and political attacks on the artists who had participated in Iran’s International Holocaust Cartoon Competition. Even the then United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan had condemned the contest and this could simply demonstrate the lopsidedness of “freedom” which they claim to be the pioneers thereof. What’s your idea about that? Are the western media outlets really free?

CL: Still today I’ve been accused of denying Holocaust because of that artwork for which I won the second place in the Iranian cartoon contest. It’s funny since the cartoon shows a Palestinian elderly wearing a concentration camp uniform, which not only affirms the existence of the Nazi Holocaust as well as making a comparison between it and the suffering of the Palestinians. I believe that this contest had exposed the Western’s double standard. When you ridicule and attack Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Islam or Muslims, then this is called “satire”, “humor”, “freedom of speech”, whatever. Joking about Islam is pretty acceptable. Islamophobia is popular in the US and Europe, specially after September 11. However the same freedom you have for making cartoons about Islam and its Prophet you won’t have while dealing with Holocaust and Israel. If you dare draw Israeli soldiers killing Palestinians (isn’t a fact?), you will be automatically labeled as anti-Semitic. While Muhammad cartoons were wide spread in Europe, Holocaust cartoons weren’t not reproduced in any European newspaper.

KZ: Your stance towards Iran’s nuclear program (Iran intends to meet its energy, electricity needs through nuclear reactors) and Israel’s nuclear program (Israel possess up to 200 nuclear warheads, according to the Federation of American Scientists) is delicately accurate and specific, indicating your extensive acquaintance with the regional equations and developments. Iran is being lethally pressured to halt its civilian nuclear program and Israel has been unconditionally safeguarded by Washington to keep up with its military atomic program. What’s your take on this?

CL: In fact all this turmoil about Iranian nuclear program has more to do with the fear of US, Europe and Israel of having a country in Middle East with nuclear capability. It will change the geopolitics in the region, since no Arab country was ever allowed by US of having anything nuclear. Only Israel can have not only nuclear plants but also nukes, immune to inspections and international law. If Iran will develop nuclear capabilities for civilian or military use, it doesn’t matter. The point is, if US, Europe and Israel are so concerned about threats to peace, why don’t they start proposing sanctions against Pakistan and India, since both countries have a nuclear arms race since long time? Because both countries are allies of Washington? Why not a single word about the Israeli nuclear program? Why Mordecai Vanunu is prevented to speak about it?

KZ: Most of your critics accuse you of arising anti-Semitic sentiments by drawing cartoons which condemn the State of Israel and its leaders for the atrocities and felonies they commit. Is this the case that you’re opposed to Jews as the followers of a divine religion, or do you simply go up against the expansionist Zionists who commit crimes against humanity and massacre the defenseless people of Palestine?

CL: I’m not a religious man, and none of my cartoons deal with Judaism. You won’t find any of my artworks attacking the Jewish. My issue with Israel and their supporters is only about politics, imperialism. Even not being Muslim, I do support Muslims against Islamophobia, since I can’t agree with prejudice against religion. Of course anything that may be slightly perceived as criticism towards Israel will be associated with hatred towards Jews. This old trick is applied to anyone who dares speak against Israeli apartheid. But everyday more activists understand this misuse of anti-Semitism and keep the struggle regardless of the false allegations and smear campaigns from Zionists.

KZ: Have the global mainstream media outlets (the New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian, Los Angeles Times, BBC, Reuters, Associated Press and so forth) which universally rule the public opinions ever published your cartoons? Why don’t such media outlets which assert to be the pioneers of freedom of expression accept allowing the publication of disparate viewpoints which are contrary to their focal approach?

CL: Reuters made a video interview with me last year about my art and views. I had some of my cartoons shown on Al Jazeera and George Galloway show at Press TV, but this is an exception. Usually only Arab media outlets are interested in my opinions. Western mainstream media isn’t interested in giving space to a Leftist artist who supports people’s struggle in Palestine, Iraq and elsewhere. But in a way or another, I find a place to make my opinions visible. Internet is my best ally. You see, even not being a famous artist promoted by mainstream media, you and your newspaper know about me and my cartoons. Internet has broken the obstacles imposed by corporate media. And I won’t make concessions for mere 15 minutes of fame; will keep fidelity with my principles.

KZ: The subjugated people of Palestine and other countries which have been subject to the brutality of imperialism throughout the history will be encouraged and hopeful when they find conscientious artists like you sympathizing with them. Have you ever felt the courage and valor you present to the people of Palestine with your artistic endeavors?

CL: I’m very suspicious for talking about the Palestinians. I have never seen such a brave and courageous people like them. I started making cartoons about Palestinians since my trip to West Bank in 1999 and since then my sympathy for their cause only grow up. After my recent visit to Jordan and Lebanon, invited by Al Hannouneh Society for Popular Culture, I realized that my relation with Palestinians is not only political. I have pure love for that people.

KZ: Please tell us about your latest activities. How was the experience of winning a prize in the Iran-based International Holocaust Cartoon Competition? Do you like to come to Iran once again and touch the pains and difficulties of the Iranian people in person?

CL: Usually I don’t participate in contests, since I’m not interested in the prizes and stuff. The purpose of my art is supporting social movements, rather than feeding my own ego. But I saw the Holocaust cartoon competition as a timely opportunity for making visual comment about Palestinian suffering. In that occasion, I was invited by my good friend Massoud Tabatabai to attend the prize award ceremony in Teheran but unfortunately I wasn’t able to travel. But of course if I had another chance, I would be more than glad to visit Iran.

The above interview appeared on this Blog in April of this year.


Further report on THIS situation….

Violence in Silwan Days After Major Protest

Two days after hundreds of Israelis marched through the East Jerusalem city of Silwan in protest of expanding settlements, the Palestinian residents of the city experienced another reminder of their position as occupied in the holy city. Confusion broke out last night around one of the main settler houses in Silwan, Beit Yoantan. Palestinians thought an eviction was going to take place and became understandably excited. However, there was no eviction. A private security force that guard the settler house started shooting very closely into the house that the settlers threatened to evict, prompting the family (and the whole village) to think that they are trying to invade and take over the house. Rock throwing began and the border police began to fire tear gas into Palestinian homes in the village. 20 Palestinians were injured and a handful of border police troops. Video from last night below:

Days after one of the major protests of the Israeli left in recent history the question of how effective the protest movement has become is on the minds of Israeli protest planners. Perhaps the time has come for a change of tacit to the East Jerusalem problem within the Israeli left.

Palestinian Children in Silwan Friday. Photo by Joseph Dana.

Posted by Joseph Dana


Images by Pete Pasho

Exhibit ‘A’



Yesterday I posted a piece which made reference to Israel’s Foreign Minister being a nazi…
Today Israel sent a protest to an Egyptian newspaper for publishing a cartoon linking Israel to nazis…. Instead of protesting, perhaps they should stop acting as such.

The Toon in question (BTW, By Carlos Latuff)
See his statement in the article that follows….

Israel protests Nazi cartoon

Egyptian caricature published by ruling party’s newspaper features swastika-bearing flag


The Israeli embassy has sent a complaint to the newspaper of Egypt’s ruling party about a cartoon that linked Israel and Nazis, an unusual step from a mission that tends to ignore its Egyptian media critics.

Al-Watani al-Youm (the National Today) published a cartoon on June 15 showing an aid ship apparently bound for Gaza being grabbed by an octopus carrying an Israeli flag with a Nazi swastika in place of the Star of David symbol.

The weekly is the mouthpiece of President Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party.

“The Israeli Embassy chose to comment on this caricature specifically because of the comparison between Israel and Nazism,” spokeswoman Shani Cooper-Zubida told Reuters.

“There are a lot of anti-Semitic comments and caricatures in the Egyptian media that we prefer not to comment on. This one didn’t present legitimate opposition to Israeli policy, but defamation,” she said in an e-mailed response.

“Using the Nazi swastika symbol in the heart of the cartoon, and even the idea of using it, is an insult to humanity and is tantamount to an anti-Semitic statement,” said the letter sent to the newspaper and that was passed to Reuters by the embassy.

Editor Mohamed el-Alfy defended his newspapers position in an editorial saying it was a matter of freedom of expression.



Israeli mission complains over Egypt press cartoon

CAIRO (Reuters) – The Israeli embassy has sent a complaint to the newspaper of Egypt’s ruling party about a cartoon that linked Israel and Nazis, an unusual step from a mission that tends to ignore its Egyptian media critics.

Al-Watani al-Youm (the National Today) published a cartoon on June 15 showing an aid ship apparently bound for Gaza being grabbed by an octopus carrying an Israeli flag with a Nazi swastika in place of the Star of David symbol.

The weekly is the mouthpiece of President Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party.

“The Israeli Embassy chose to comment on this caricature specifically because of the comparison between Israel and Nazism,” spokeswoman Shani Cooper-Zubida told Reuters.

“There are a lot of anti-Semitic comments and caricatures in the Egyptian media that we prefer not to comment on. This one didn’t present legitimate opposition to Israeli policy, but defamation,” she said in an emailed response.

The cartoonist, Carlos Latuff, a Brazilian, said in an email to Reuters: “The Israeli ambassador could show the same interest, that he shows for my cartoons, for the lives of the activists lost in the Freedom flotilla.”

“Allegations of anti-Semitism are a well-known strategy of the Israeli government and its supporters in order to neutralise any criticism against the Israeli apartheid. These malicious allegations will not prevent me keeping on making my cartoons on behalf of the brave Palestinian people,” he added.

Egypt in 1979 became the first Arab state to sign a peace treaty with Israel, but ties have often been chilly. The storming of a Gaza aid flotilla in May by Israeli forces in which nine activists died drew Egyptian and world criticism.

The flotilla had sought to break an Israeli blockade of Gaza. Egypt, the only Arab state to border Gaza, had been criticised by the Arab public for also imposing restrictions on border crossings. Those restrictions have now been partially lifted.

“Using the Nazi swastika symbol in the heart of the cartoon, and even the idea of using it, is an insult to humanity and is tantamount to an anti-Semitic statement,” said the letter sent to the newspaper and passed to Reuters by the embassy.

Editor Mohammad el-Alfy defended his newspaper’s position in an editorial, saying it was a matter of freedom of expression.

Egypt’s president and other officials hold frequent meetings with top Israelis, but the government is often critical of Israeli policies.

Egyptian media and the public are more vocal critics, particularly over Israel’s dealings with Palestinians. The flotilla raid drew critical articles in Egypt’s press.

(Reporting by Yasmine Saleh, editing by Edmund Blair and Peter Graff)



Over time, Israeli will perhaps take further measures to ease the assault on daily life Gaza. However, until Israel permits exports out of Gaza, raw materials to enter, and freedom of movement, no amount of chocolate and mayonnaise can ease the misery the siege is causing.

Response to the Israeli Cabinet’s Decision to Ease the Siege on Gaza

Bianca Zammit

On June 17th 2010, the Israeli Cabinet decided to take steps to ease the Israeli-imposed siege on Gaza by allowing more items to enter. These items include mayonnaise, ketchup, chocolate, sweets and children’s toys, all of which have been prohibted from entering Gaza for the last 3 years. Some other items which will be allowed to enter will be going to civilian projects under the auspices of international NGOs.

While welcoming this Israeli initiative, the fact remains that many people in Gaza are living below the poverty line and cannot afford to buy these items. 80% of the population in Gaza is dependent on the UNRWA for food staples and basic living amenities. Now in its fourth year, the siege has created a miserable and unsustainable reality for all. The majority of the population albeit educated and skilled is unemployed and is forced to rely on foreign aid in order to get by. Factory workers can no longer operate since the siege halted raw materials from entering Gaza. In addition, Israel has impeded factories from exporting their goods to the outside world. Since the start of the siege 90% of Gaza’s factories are defunct. During Operation Cast Lead, factories were a major target and have remained so to date. In March 2010, Israeli warplanes struck a cheese factory in a deliberate attack, destroying equipment and machinery. Items which enter Gaza are screened for their possible usage in factories. A tahina factory in Gaza requested the entry of plastic containers. In response, Israel declared that it would not allow containers in but instead it would allow tahina made in Israel to enter. To allow Gaza to export products and import raw materials is a critical step in ending the humanitarian crisis brought about by the siege.

The siege has forced 60% of Gaza’ population into unemployment. Besides targeting factory workers, the siege has also direct implications for the traditional farming and fishing industries. Israel has tightened its grip on both sea and land and imposed new policies which fall short of international law and agreements. Live ammunition is used, with deadly consequences, against farmers and fisherpersons working in internationally-recognized Gazan sea and land. The potentially lethal risk faced by these workers has forced many into unemployment. Further injuring the industries, Israel has banned all equipment related to farming and fishing.

The siege has caused more than half of the population into unemployment and dependency on foreign aid. The siege also puts a complete halt to freedom of movement. Every border crossing in Gaza is closed, including the sea and air on which Israel exerts full control. The only Gazans allowed to exit are people requiring treatment in a foreign hospital, students and pilgrims. Even for these people, exit is never guaranteed and often requires days of sleeping at the border and humiliating security checks. The wait can be so long that many people die before they can visit a specialist hospital outside of Gaza. Families spread between Gaza and the West Bank or other counties outside the Occupied Palestinian Territories are not permitted to meet. A new policy enacted in April 2010 seeks to deport to Gaza all Gaza-born Palestinians living in the West Bank. This policy creates further suffering, causing families to become separated. This policy has direct implications for Gazan students studying at West Bank universities, as they can be arrested and brought to Gaza at any time, preventing them from completing their studies.. For the last three years, families who have a member in an Israeli jail have also been denied prison visit permits.

Over time, Israeli will perhaps take further measures to ease the assault on daily life Gaza. However, until Israel permits exports out of Gaza, raw materials to enter, and freedom of movement, no amount of chocolate and mayonnaise can ease the misery the siege is causing.

Bianca Zammit is a Maltese activist with the International Solidarity Movement in Gaza.



Easing the siege so that Gaza starves more slowly may be better than nothing. But breaking 1.5 million Palestinians out of the prison Israel has built for them is the real duty of the international community.

Blockade “eased” as Gaza starves more slowly
Jonathan Cook

Palestinians receive food aid in the southern Gaza Strip. (Hatem Omar/MaanImages)

As Israel this week declared the “easing” of the four-year blockade of Gaza, an official explained the new guiding principle: “Civilian goods for civilian people.” The severe and apparently arbitrary restrictions on foodstuffs entering the enclave — coriander bad, cinnamon good — will finally end, we are told. Gaza’s 1.5 million inhabitants will have all the coriander they want.

This “adjustment,” as the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu termed it, is aimed solely at damage limitation. With Israel responsible for killing nine civilians aboard a Gaza-bound aid flotilla three weeks ago, the world has finally begun to wonder what purpose the siege serves. Did those nine really need to die to stop coriander, chocolate and children’s toys from reaching Gaza? And, as Israel awaits other flotillas, will more need to be executed to enforce the policy?

Faced with this unwelcome scrutiny, Israel — as well as the United States and the European states that have been complicit in the siege — desperately wants to deflect attention away from demands for the blockade to be lifted entirely. Instead it prefers to argue that the more liberal blockade for Gaza will distinguish effectively between necessary “security” measures and an unfair “civilian” blockade. Israel has cast itself as the surgeon who, faced with Siamese twins, is mastering the miraculous operation needed to decouple them.

The result, Netanyahu told his cabinet, would be a “tightening of the security blockade because we have taken away Hamas’ ability to blame Israel for harming the civilian population.” Listen to Israeli officials and it sounds as if thousands of “civilian” items are ready to pour into Gaza. No Qassam rockets for Hamas but soon, if we are to believe them, Gaza’s shops will be as well-stocked as your average Wal-Mart.

Be sure, it won’t happen.

Even if many items are no longer banned, they still have to find their way into the enclave. Israel controls the crossing points and determines how many trucks are allowed in daily. Currently, only a quarter of the number once permitted are able to deliver their cargo, and that is unlikely to change to any significant degree. Moreover, as part of the “security” blockade, the ban is expected to remain on items such as cement and steel desperately needed to build and repair the thousands of homes devastated by Israel’s attack 18 months ago.

In any case, until Gaza’s borders, port and airspace are its own, its factories are rebuilt, and exports are again possible, the hobbled economy has no hope of recovering. For the overwhelming majority of Palestinians in Gaza, mired in poverty, the new list of permissible items — including coriander — will remain nothing more than an aspiration.

But more importantly for Israel, by concentrating our attention on the supposed ending of the “civilian” blockade, Israel hopes we will forget to ask a more pertinent question: what is the purpose of this refashioned “security” blockade?

Over the years Israelis have variously been told that the blockade was imposed to isolate Gaza’s “terrorist” rulers, Hamas; to serve as leverage to stop rocket attacks on nearby Israeli communities; to prevent arms smuggling into Gaza; and to force the return of the captured soldier Gilad Shalit.

None of the reasons stands up to minimal scrutiny. Hamas is more powerful than ever; the rocket attacks all but ceased long ago; arms smugglers use the plentiful tunnels under the Egyptian border, not Erez or Karni crossings; and Gilad Shalit would already be home had Israel seriously wanted to trade him for an end to the siege.

The real goal of the blockade was set out in blunt fashion at its inception, in early 2006, shortly after Hamas won the Palestinian elections. Dov Weisglass, the government’s chief adviser at the time, said it would put Palestinians in Gaza “on a diet, but not make them die of hunger.” Aid agencies can testify to the rampant malnutrition that followed. The ultimate aim, Weisglass admitted, was to punish ordinary Gazans in the hope that they would overthrow Hamas.

Is Weisglass a relic of the pre-Netanyahu era, his blockade-as-diet long ago superseded? Not a bit. Only last month, during a court case against the siege, Netanyahu’s government justified the policy not as a security measure but as “economic warfare” against Gaza. One document even set out the minimum calories — or “red lines,” as they were also referred to — needed by Gazans according to their age and sex.

In truth, Israel’s “security” blockade is, in both its old and new incarnations, every bit a “civilian” blockade. It was designed and continues to be “collective punishment” of the people of Gaza for electing the wrong rulers. Helpfully, international law defines the status of Israel’s policy: it is a crime against humanity.

Easing the siege so that Gaza starves more slowly may be better than nothing. But breaking 1.5 million Palestinians out of the prison Israel has built for them is the real duty of the international community.



With a panel member of this calibre we can guess the outcome of the Flotilla ‘probe’ even before it starts…..

Amos Horev: Castrated Palestinian in Blood Vengeance

amos horevAmos Horev, Palmach officer meted out ‘Biblical justice’ to alleged Palestinian rapist (Wikipedia)

Amos Horev, the retired IDF general, former Technion president, and chief booster of the Israeli defense industry, has a rather sordid past that many might find akin to being a terrorist, Israel-style.

He is one of three panel members of the Gaza flotilla investigation and this incident, described by the inimitable Tom Segev in a 2002 Haaretz article, should shed light on the type of justice he might mete out in this inquiry:

`We castrated you, Mohammed!’

In the mid-1940s, a popular song [by Haim Hefer] among the members of the Palmach was entitled “We castrated you, we castrated you, Mohammed!” [Serasnucha ya Muhammad–the Hebrew lyrics censor the word for “castration” and substitute the meaningless Saragosa in order to permit Israeli youth groups to sing and dance to the song without having to explain the true meaning to such tender ears] That song is remembered even today. During the 60 years that have passed since that time, various theories have surfaced about the song’s origin. However, it was commonly assumed that members of the Palmach had tracked down and then castrated an Arab who had raped a Jewish woman. This was not an isolated case. In his biography of Yitzhak Sadeh, Zvika Dror writes that the commander of the Palmach even sent some of his men to a special course that was given at the Mendele clinic of the Kupat Holim Clalit health maintenance organization. “We would go there at 8:30 P.M. when the clinic was empty,” Dror quotes his source. “A physician and a nurse taught us anatomy and afterward we practiced a castration procedure.”

Now it is official: A book by Gamliel Cohen, “Undercover: The Untold Story of the Palmach’s Undercover Arab Unit,” published by the Ministry of Defense and the Galili Center for Defense Studies, reveals, with amazing precision, who the mythological “Mohammed” was, whom he raped, who authorized the rapist’s castration, who performed the castration and how precisely the “surgical operation” was carried out. Cohen eventually joined the Mossad. He describes how the Palmach’s undercover agents performed their liquidations; the same procedure is being used today in the territories.

The rapist…is identified in Cohen’s book as Araf Ahmed Shatawi, a broad-shouldered, muscular man who lived in the village of Bissan, where the town of Beit She’an is presently located. Shatawi was suspected of having attempted to rape a young woman from Kibbutz Messilot. According to Cohen, the suspicions were based on intelligence data. Shatawi was alleged to have spotted the woman as she descended from a bus and to have dragged her into the bushes. She struggled and managed to thwart the rape attempt. Since the atmosphere in the kibbutz was already highly charged and since this was not the first attempted rape, the supreme command of the Haganah decided that it would provide an effective response to the incident. At first it was proposed that Shatawi be assassinated; however, because of the fear that an assassination might set off a chain of blood vendettas, it was decided, as Cohen puts it, “to deal with him in accordance with the biblical principle that calls for the chopping off of a thief’s hand and which, in this case, would call for attacking the organ he used to perform the crime, namely, for castrating him.”

The plan was submitted to Shaul Avigur for approval. He was somewhat hesitant, in view of the cruel nature of the proposed action; however, Yehoshua Palmon, who later became the prime minister’s adviser on Arab affairs, persuaded him, and Avigur gave the plan the green light. According to Cohen, who quotes documents preserved in the IDF archives, the two individuals who carried out the castration procedure were Yohai Bin-Nun, who later became a major general and the commander-in-chief of the Israel Navy, and Amos Horev, who also later became a major general, the chief scientist of the defense establishment and the president of the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. There was a third man, named Yaakuba Cohen; however, according to the Ministry of Defense version of the incident, he did not actually participate in the castration but instead stood guard over the rapist’s family, while Bin-Nun and Horev dragged him from his home into an open field, where they castrated him. Before they set off for this mission, they were briefed by the chief physician of the communities of Tel Yosef and Ein Harod. Cohen does not name him. The book then goes on to provide a detailed surgical description of the castration, which sounds almost like a “do-it-yourself” manual. In the final analysis, according to the Ministry of Defense version, the “operation, it was pointed out, proved highly valuable because it had an immense impact on the entire Beit She’an Valley and horrified the Arab population.”

No doubt, Amos Horev feels like the Israeli bus driver who decorated his bus with a banner that read:

Flotilla 13 [the navy unit that attacked the Mavi Marmara], be ashamed.  Why did you kill so few?

Yes, there are those who will say this incident happened nearly 70 years ago and times have changed and that people change.  I’m not even going to argue with this proposition though I disagree with it.  The fact is that Horev should not have been appointed because his past taints his participation in the present inquiry.  Surely, not even a reasonable supporter of the Gaza attack can argue that Horev has the type of past that would instill confidence that he can judge the facts dispassionately.

As an aside, if Israel embraces the type of Biblical justice meted out by the Palmach to the alleged Palestinian rapist, then should we expect, in the unlikely event the Israeli commission finds Flotilla 13 guilty of criminal acts against the Mavi Marmara passengers, that Horev will advocate cutting off the trigger fingers of the shooters?  Or perhaps Turkey should take that mission on itself in the event the commission absolves the team of any culpability?

And the next time any supporter of Israel’s draconian policies rants about Arab terror, let them consider for a moment the rather sordid past of some of Israel’s current elite.  If those who engaged in acts of terror like Horev can play major roles in their nation’s subsequent history, there is no reason why those Israel currently labels dangerous, murderous terrorists cannot do the same in Palestine.

Written by Richard Silverstein FOR

Also published at Uruknet

Also see THIS report from HaAretz


a stark reminder of the privilege Jewish-Americans hold in our society and how racism against Arabs is an accepted part of our national discourse

A tale of two schools

by Alex Kane

When plans were announced in February 2007 to open the Khalil Gibran International Academy (KGIA), New York City’s first dual-language Arabic public school, ugly anti-Arab racism and Islamophobia reared its head.

Yesterday, the New York Times profiled a Brooklyn-based Hebrew language charter school.  There has been barely a peep about this school–a stark reminder of the privilege Jewish-Americans hold in our society and how racism against Arabs is an accepted part of our national discourse.

Here’s an excerpt from a great New York Times profile by Andrea Elliott of KGIA’s founding principal Debbie Almontaser about the concocted controversy:

In newspaper articles and Internet postings, on television and talk radio, Ms. Almontaser was branded a “radical,” a “jihadist” and a “9/11 denier.” She stood accused of harboring unpatriotic leanings and of secretly planning to proselytize her students. Despite Ms. Almontaser’s longstanding reputation as a Muslim moderate, her critics quickly succeeded in recasting her image.

The conflict tapped into a well of post-9/11 anxieties. But Ms. Almontaser’s downfall was not merely the result of a spontaneous outcry by concerned parents and neighborhood activists. It was also the work of a growing and organized movement to stop Muslim citizens who are seeking an expanded role in American public life. The fight against the school, participants in the effort say, was only an early skirmish in a broader, national struggle.

One of the more pernicious, and completely false, charges against KGIA was that the school had a political agenda to indoctrinate students to believe in “radical Islam.”

The Hebrew-language charter school, on the other hand, does have politics, namely Zionism, infused into it:

There are reminders of Israel everywhere — blue-and-white flags adorn the walls of one classroom, and another class often watches an Israeli children’s show. The students celebrated Israeli Independence Day this year. (In the parlance of 5- and 6-year-olds, the day was known as the country’s “62nd birthday,” and prompted a project of construction-paper birthday cards.)

Appeared AT


The Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee is set to approve an unprecedented master plan that calls for the expansion of Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, a move largely based on construction on privately owned Arab property.

Jerusalem master plan: Expansion of Jewish enclaves across the city

The Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee is set to approve a master plan that calls for the expansion of Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.

By Akiva Eldar and Nir Hasson

The Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee is set to approve an unprecedented master plan that calls for the expansion of Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, a move largely based on construction on privately owned Arab property.

The committee’s proposal would codify the municipality’s planning policy for the entire city. In essence, Jerusalem would uniformly apply its zoning and construction procedures to both halves of the city.

Before giving the go-ahead, the committee will give objectors to the plan 60 days to submit their reservations. This is the decisive stage in the planning process, because only rarely are plans altered.

Once the 60-day period expires, the plan’s approval is a fait accompli. Such a development would probably invite a hail of criticism from the Palestinians, Arab countries and the international community.

The United States has recently communicated its expectation that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will prevent any change in the city’s status quo pending the conclusion of final-status talks with the Palestinian Authority. Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington early next month.

Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem Jerusalem’s Har Homa neighborhood in 2008.
Photo by: Emil Salman

For over a decade, dozens of architects have worked to draw up the latest Jerusalem master plan, meant to replace the one in effect since 1959, eight years before the Six-Day War. While the plan did not attract opposition from the international community and leftist organizations, political developments over the last year – including the spat with the United States over the Ramat Shlomo building project – are likely to touch off renewed diplomatic tensions.

According to a document prepared by Ir Amim, an NGO that “seeks to render Jerusalem a more viable and equitable city,” the master plan vastly underestimates the construction needs of the Arab population in the city. While the plan calls for 13,500 new residential units in East Jerusalem for Palestinians, updated demographic studies indicate that this amount barely represents half the minimum needs for the Arab population by 2030.

Ir Amim officials also said that while the plan allows for Palestinian construction in the north and south of the capital, it barely provides for an expansion of Arab construction projects in the center of the city, particularly in the area next to the holy basin.

The group added that the plan creates a spate of bureaucratic obstacles for Palestinians who wish to build in the city. Ir Amim warns that the plan is likely to be perceived as an Israeli provocation because most of the Jewish building projects are designated for areas east of the Green Line.

In October 2008, the district committee opted to promote a master plan submitted by Moshe Cohen, formerly the chief Jerusalem planner at the Interior Ministry. Right-wing political parties in Jerusalem protested to Interior Minister Eli Yishai over the plan’s intention to add significantly larger residential areas for the benefit of the Arab population at the expense of green areas.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat instructed his subordinates to alter the plan in line with his policy of thickening the Jewish presence around the holy basin and the eastern half of the city.

Despite the National Planning and Building Committee’s decision to designate the City of David – which sits in the heart of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan – as “a national park,” the new master plan allows for the construction of residential units in the area.

The Ir David Foundation, a nonprofit group that seeks to increase Jewish settlement in the City of David and whose heads are close associates of the mayor, has in recent years bought houses near the Old City in an effort to “Judaize” the area.

Last week, the Jerusalem municipality’s planning and building committee approved a controversial plan for the Silwan neighborhood that calls for razing 22 Palestinian homes built without permits and constructing a tourism center in their place. Barkat said the illegal construction in the area is preventing the municipality from building a tourism center, which would include restaurants and boutique hotels.

Earlier this year planning officials received an internal memo circulated by Cohen, who was later dismissed as head of the master plan staff. Cohen wrote that the plans for the City of David are an example “of the district committee’s ambitious intention to satisfy contradictory positions.” He warned that this would not pass legal muster.

Cohen objected to the city’s decision to convert 2,500 dunams that were listed as “open areas” into residential neighborhoods.

A Jerusalem municipality spokesman said in response: “Indeed, the plan will be brought for a discussion before the district committee.” A spokesman from Yishai’s office said: “Professional deliberations are taking place in an effort to approve the plan.”



The reason….. Protests in the neighborhood have been a regular event in recent months, but picked up speed last week after Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat approved the demolition of 22 illegally built Arab homes in the neighborhood to make room for a for a tourist park.

Considering that the ENTIRE state of Israel has been built ILLEGALLY…..

East Jerusalem fracas leads to heavy clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians

Six Border Police officers hurt by stone-throwers, Palestinian women suffer gas inhalation after forces allegedly fire tear gas into homes.

By Liel Kyzer and Nir Hasson

Palestinian protesters and Border Police officers engaged in heavy clashes late Sunday near a Jewish enclave in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan.

The clashes began with a fracas between some 150 protesters and the settlers’ security guards, according to Palestinian sources, and spiraled into an exchange of stone throwing on the part of the demonstrators and tear gas being fired by the Israeli forces.

Palestinian youths throw stones at Israeli military vehicle in  East Jerusalem Palestinian youths throw stones at Israeli military vehicle in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem, in May 2010
Photo by: Archive

Some Palestinian witnesses said that the Israeli forces also used live fire to disperse protesters, who were throwing firebombs at a Jewish-inhabited apartment building.

Six Border Police officers were wounded when hit by stones, and Palestinian witnesses said dozens of women and children suffered from tear gas inhalation after the Israeli forces began firing into homes.

Protests in the neighborhood have been a regular event in recent months, but picked up speed last week after Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat approved the demolition of 22 illegally built Arab homes in the neighborhood to make room for a for a tourist park.

The plan stipulates that all homes west of the neighborhood’s narrow main drag will be demolished, and all those east of it spared.



Midnight on the Mavi Marmara

Norman Finkelstein’s last book, This Time We Went Too Far, was published by new figure on the scene. OR Books.

Now, in late July, comes a new title, Midnight on the Mavi Marmara :

About the Book

“We have been attacked while in international waters. That means the Israelis have behaved like pirates … The moment they start to steer this ship towards Israel, we have also been kidnapped. The whole action is illegal.”—Henning Mankell, aboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla Eastern Mediterranean, Monday, May 31st, 2010, 4.30am: Israeli commandos, boarding from sea and air, attack the six boats of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla as it sails through international waters bringing humanitarian relief to the beleaguered Palestinians of Gaza.  Within minutes, nine peace activists are dead, shot by the Israelis. Scores of others are injured.  The 700 people on board the ships are arrested before being transported to detention centers in Israel and then deported. Within hours, outrage at Israel’s action echoes around the world. Spontaneous demonstrations in Europe, the United States, Turkey, and Gaza itself denounce the attack.  Turkey’s prime minister describes it as a “bloody massacre” and “state terrorism.” Lebanon’s prime minister calls it “a dangerous and crazy step that will exacerbate tensions in the region.” In these pages, a range of activists, journalists, and analysts piece together the events that occurred that June night, unpicking their meanings for Israel’s illegal, three-year-long blockade of Gaza and the decades-long Israel/Palestine conflict more generally. Mixing together first-hand testimony, documentary record, and illustration, with hard-headed analysis and historical overview, Midnight on the Mavi Marmara reveals why the attack on Gaza Freedom Flotilla may just turn out to be Israel’s Selma, Alabama: the beginning of the end for an apartheid Palestine. Contributors include: Omar Barghouti, Max Blumenthal, Juan Cole, Sara Roy, Norman Finkelstein, Glenn Greenwald, Rashid Khalidi, Alia Malek , Lubna Masarwa and Raja Shehadeh.


Hundreds March Through Silwan Against Israeli Settlement Activity in East Jerusalem

By Joseph Dana
Hundreds of Israeli, Palestinians and international activists marched through the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Friday afternoon protesting increased Israeli settlement activity in the disputed area. The march was peaceful with only small occurrences of Israeli settler rock throwing reported. However, the march saw the addition of many new Israeli activists who have deiced that the time to protest the dangerous policies of Israel’s government is now. The march was one of the largest Israeli protests against settlements in East Jerusalem in recent history. Video provided by Israel Putermam. Photos by Joseph Dana.

Palestinian Boy in Silwan on Friday


Image made especially for the Group, by Carlos Latuff


On 15 June 2010, the people of Derry were waiting with great anticipation for the long awaited Saville report to be released. The town was filled with people, thousands gathering and assembling at the Guildhall Square and overflowing down to Williams Street and up Shipquay Street waiting for the Truth to be Set Free. It was as if the whole town was “one” That day.

At 3:15 the first sign emerged to the thousands waiting outside, a thumbs up from the windows of the Guildhall to the crowd below,

The cheers spread across the crowd in all directions. A short time later the families emerged victoriously, with cheers of “Innocent” ringing from the Guildhall steps. I remember the faces of people in the crowd, a day I will never forget, there were cheers, tears and joy in Derry that day. I thought of the poor family members who fought for the truth to be set free for so many years, yet who had passed away never having the chance to see this day come. I noticed someone in the crowd was flying a Palestinian flag, and I found myself thinking of the hundreds of innocent Palestinians murdered, and wondered would their truth ever be set free. And I thought of how many Bloody Sunday’s, Monday’s, Tuesday’s, Wednesday’s, Thursday’s, Friday’s and Saturday’s they have suffered for so many years.

As the Truth was finally set free in Derry, and as each Bloody Sunday family member spoke of their murdered loved one, followed by the word “Innocent!” we all stood and cheered as one. But we were more than one that day.

As people in our little corner of the world were rejoicing at the coming of a day they had dreamed of for 38 years, yet far away in Palestine, others were also affected by our victory that day. In our sister town of Khan Younis the news spread about what was taking place in Derry. It was soon decided that an official celebration for the people of Derry should be organized, so that the people of Khan Younis could show their solidarity in our long awaited victory, a victory they also have dreamed of, with regard to their own innocent civilians who have been murdered by their occupiers and oppressors.

And so it was that on 22nd June 2010, the people of Khan Younis came out in a show of solidarity for Derry. Hundreds assembled in front of the Khan Younis Municipality Building, a place that has fond memories. As I viewed the photos of the day’s event, it was almost overwhelming. To see the people of Khan Younis holding the placards of those faces we know only too well here in Derry, the 14 murdered on Bloody Sunday, this illustrated what our victory in Derry meant to others around the world, it represented “hope” that their day of truth would one day come as well. And this was voiced so eloquently in the speech given in Khan Younis that day, a copy of which is provided below the video.

Full Text of Speech Below:

I am very pleased to speak on behalf of the people of my city Khanyounis and all the Palestinians inside Palestine and the Diaspora to extend our hearty congratulation to and support for the people of Derry and all the Irish people on the release of the Final Report of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry.
Though it is said: better late than never, it is still very sad that justice took 38 years to be served in Derry. On this historic day, the city of Khanyounis shares with Derry and the families of the martyrs of Bloody Sunday happiness that their beloved heroes were declared innocent.

We call upon all humanitarians and people concerned to exert all their efforts to bring the murderers to justice and specially Brigadier General Robert Ford who was the one to give orders to kill. It is not only Ford and his soldiers that should be charged, but all those who committed the massacres in Derry. All the soldiers that have committed atrocities against Palestinians and the people of Gaza should be charged for their crimes against humanity.

Bloody Sunday brings to mind Black Sunday in 1990 when 6 Palestinian workers were slain by the hands of a criminal Zionist who opened fire on them while trying to find work to sustain their offspring.

This event also brings to mind the Balfour declaration that resulted in the suffering and misery of our Palestinian people after he promised a home for the Zionists on our land in 1917. We take this opportunity to call upon the present British Government to apologize to the Palestinian people for the agonies resulted from this promise.

The people of Derry and Ireland have stood steadfast and in solidarity with the people of Gaza and all Palestinians that live both inside and outside of Palestine. For the struggles you have endured in the past are similar to those that Palestinians continue to face today. A humane and just world implores that all concerned humanitarians from the Irish to Palestinians, from Ireland to Gaza, and from all over the world, join together in the struggle against injustice, suppression and the innocent killing and massacre of people.

Derry and the Irish have aided the people of Gaza since the Israeli massacre of Palestinian women, men and children. The aid and, more importantly, the support given will be forever remembered in the hearts and minds of Gaza’s wee ones, as well as the old.

Like the martyrs of Bloody Sunday, one day the martyrs of Palestine including Palestinians and Internationals will be vindicated and commemorated worldwide. They will be forever remembered for their heroic actions because the voice of the voiceless will not be relent until injustice is reversed and justice is prevailed and until the Gaza siege has been completed lifted and a Palestinian state declared.

So as the Truth was finally Set Free in Derry, we must remember our friends who are still waiting for their truth to be set free. And pray it does not take another 38 years for them InshAllah

Written FOR


Western zionists are waking up in the middle of the night screaming, rattled by the same bad dream…. a dream called Israel. They are worried that their ‘little Democratic entity’ in the Middle East is being threatened by world opinion.

Every day my in-box is flooded with spam mails from zionists. This afternoon one arrived, one that I thought should be shared. It originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal, written by a non-Jew.

May their nightmares continue until the nightmare they created for the world ends!

This, of course, is not the reality of modern Israel. Israel does not seek to oppress or occupy—and certainly not to annihilate—the Palestinians in the pursuit of some atavistic Jewish supremacy. But the merest echo of the shameful Western past is enough to chill support for Israel in the West.

Of course not….. why would people think otherwise?

One of the world’s oldest stories is playing out before our eyes: The Jews are being scapegoated again.

The most interesting voice in all the fallout surrounding the Gaza flotilla incident is that sanctimonious and meddling voice known as “world opinion.” At every turn “world opinion,” like a school marm, takes offense and condemns Israel for yet another infraction of the world’s moral sensibility. And this voice has achieved an international political legitimacy so that even the silliest condemnation of Israel is an opportunity for self-congratulation.

Rock bands now find moral imprimatur in canceling their summer tour stops in Israel (Elvis Costello, the Pixies, the Gorillaz, the Klaxons). A demonstrator at an anti-Israel rally in New York carries a sign depicting the skull and crossbones drawn over the word “Israel.” White House correspondent Helen Thomas, in one of the ugliest incarnations of this voice, calls on Jews to move back to Poland. And of course the United Nations and other international organizations smugly pass one condemnatory resolution after another against Israel while the Obama administration either joins in or demurs with a wink.

This is something new in the world, this almost complete segregation of Israel in the community of nations. And if Helen Thomas’s remarks were pathetic and ugly, didn’t they also point to the end game of this isolation effort: the nullification of Israel’s legitimacy as a nation? There is a chilling familiarity in all this. One of the world’s oldest stories is playing out before our eyes: The Jews are being scapegoated again.

“World opinion” labors mightily to make Israel look like South Africa looked in its apartheid era—a nation beyond the moral pale. And it projects onto Israel the same sin that made apartheid South Africa so untouchable: white supremacy. Somehow “world opinion” has moved away from the old 20th century view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a complicated territorial dispute between two long-suffering peoples. Today the world puts its thumb on the scale for the Palestinians by demonizing the stronger and whiter Israel as essentially a colonial power committed to the “occupation” of a beleaguered Third World people.

This is now—figuratively in some quarters and literally in others—the moral template through which Israel is seen. It doesn’t matter that much of the world may actually know better. This template has become propriety itself, a form of good manners, a political correctness. Thus it is good manners to be outraged at Israel’s blockade of Gaza, and it is bad manners to be outraged at Hamas’s recent attack on a school because it educated girls, or at the thousands of rockets Hamas has fired into Israeli towns—or even at the fact that Hamas is armed and funded by Iran. The world wants independent investigations of Israel, not of Hamas.

One reason for this is that the entire Western world has suffered from a deficit of moral authority for decades now. Today we in the West are reluctant to use our full military might in war lest we seem imperialistic; we hesitate to enforce our borders lest we seem racist; we are reluctant to ask for assimilation from new immigrants lest we seem xenophobic; and we are pained to give Western Civilization primacy in our educational curricula lest we seem supremacist. Today the West lives on the defensive, the very legitimacy of our modern societies requiring constant dissociation from the sins of the Western past—racism, economic exploitation, imperialism and so on. When the Israeli commandos boarded that last boat in the flotilla and, after being attacked with metal rods, killed nine of their attackers, they were acting in a world without the moral authority to give them the benefit of the doubt. By appearances they were shock troopers from a largely white First World nation willing to slaughter even “peace activists” in order to enforce a blockade against the impoverished brown people of Gaza. Thus the irony: In the eyes of a morally compromised Western world, the Israelis looked like the Gestapo.

This, of course, is not the reality of modern Israel. Israel does not seek to oppress or occupy—and certainly not to annihilate—the Palestinians in the pursuit of some atavistic Jewish supremacy. But the merest echo of the shameful Western past is enough to chill support for Israel in the West.

The West also lacks the self-assurance to see the Palestinians accurately. Here again it is safer in the white West to see the Palestinians as they advertise themselves—as an “occupied” people denied sovereignty and simple human dignity by a white Western colonizer. The West is simply too vulnerable to the racist stigma to object to this “neo-colonial” characterization.

Our problem in the West is understandable. We don’t want to lose more moral authority than we already have. So we choose not to see certain things that are right in front of us. For example, we ignore that the Palestinians—and for that matter much of the Middle East—are driven to militancy and war not by legitimate complaints against Israel or the West but by an internalized sense of inferiority. If the Palestinians got everything they want—a sovereign nation and even, let’s say, a nuclear weapon—they would wake the next morning still hounded by a sense of inferiority. For better or for worse, modernity is now the measure of man.

And the quickest cover for inferiority is hatred. The problem is not me; it is them. And in my victimization I enjoy a moral and human grandiosity—no matter how smart and modern my enemy is, I have the innocence that defines victims. I may be poor but my hands are clean. Even my backwardness and poverty only reflect a moral superiority, while my enemy’s wealth proves his inhumanity.

In other words, my hatred is my self-esteem. This must have much to do with why Yasser Arafat rejected Ehud Barak’s famous Camp David offer of 2000 in which Israel offered more than 90% of what the Palestinians had demanded. To have accepted that offer would have been to forgo hatred as consolation and meaning. Thus it would have plunged the Palestinians—and by implication the broader Muslim world—into a confrontation with their inferiority relative to modernity. Arafat knew that without the Jews to hate an all-defining cohesion would leave the Muslim world. So he said no to peace.

And this recalcitrance in the Muslim world, this attraction to the consolations of hatred, is one of the world’s great problems today—whether in the suburbs of Paris and London, or in Kabul and Karachi, or in Queens, N.Y., and Gaza. The fervor for hatred as deliverance may not define the Muslim world, but it has become a drug that consoles elements of that world in the larger competition with the West. This is the problem we in the West have no easy solution to, and we scapegoat Israel—admonish it to behave better—so as not to feel helpless. We see our own vulnerability there. Mr. Steele is a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.



The growth of this wonderful young couple is directly tied to the growth of the International Solidarity Movement. They met in Jerusalem while volunteering for an organisation called Seeds of Peace. He, Adam Shapiro, a  ‘nice Jewish boy’ from Brooklyn, she, Huwaida Arraf, A Palestinian-American from Detroit. They were wed shortly afterwards and have been busy raising their ‘child’ over the past few years, The International Solidarity Movement.

ISM is not like other organisations that meet once a month to discuss a particular situation, they are out there ‘in the field’ doing what has to be done. Obviously they are doing it right if the zionists despise them. As the old saying goes… “an enemy of my enemy is my friend”……

Just what exactly do these people do? Have you ever seen a woman stand up to armed Israeli soldiers and tell them to stop the shooting? You can see it in this video taken yesterday in Nabi Saleh, Huwaida Arraf vs the IDF……

Here she is again a few months ago….

TRUE Profiles in Courage!

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