A special rapporteur for the UN’s Human Rights Council has called for a boycott on all companies involved with Israeli settlements until they adhere to international rights standards. Israel and the US have condemned the move.

‘Boycott them!’ UN rapporteur slams companies aiding Israeli settlements



The illegal Ulpana outpost, adjacent to the Beit El Jewish settlement. (AFP Photo / Gali Tibbon)

The illegal Ulpana outpost, adjacent to the Beit El Jewish settlement. (AFP Photo / Gali Tibbon)

A special rapporteur for the UN’s Human Rights Council has called for a boycott on all companies involved with Israeli settlements until they adhere to international rights standards. Israel and the US have condemned the move.

In a report presented to the UN General Assembly, American professor Richard Falk said that many US, European and Mexican companies appeared to be violating international human rights and humanitarian laws. The companies are allegedly exploiting Palestinian resources, helping Israel construct illegal settlements and providing security for settlers.

Falk said the call for a boycott is an effort to take infractions of international law seriously. He said the pace of Israeli settlement building has accelerated and that Israel has ignored UN resolutions condemning the practice, so “there is a sense that what the UN says doesn’t count.”

Although Falk admitted that further investigations were necessary to determine severity of the violations, the US and Israel were quick to condemn the report, accusing the UN special rapporteur of bias against Israel and calling for his removal.

US Ambassador Susan Rice stated, “Mr. Falk’s recommendations do nothing to further a peaceful settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and indeed poison the environment for peace. His continued service in the role of a UN Special Rapporteur is deeply regrettable and only damages the credibility of the UN.”

Spokesperson for the Israeli Mission Karaen Peretz added that, “Israel is deeply committed to advancing human rights and firmly believes that this cause will be better served without Falk and his distasteful sideshow. While he spends pages and pages attacking Israel, Falk fails to mention even once the horrific human rights violations and ongoing terrorist attacks by Hamas.”

The Anti-Defamation League urged UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to rescind his preliminary endorsement of the report. Ki-moon has previously said that settlement activity is illegal, and “runs contrary to Israel’s obligations under the Road Map and repeated Quartet calls for the parties to refrain from provocations.”

Representatives from several countries in the UN General Assembly – including Egypt and Iran – praised Falk’s report as fair.

Richard Falk, an American professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University, previously angered Israel by comparing the country to Nazi Germany, and accusing it of crimes against humanity for its treatment of Palestinians.

Since 2008, Israel has barred Falk from visiting the Palestinian territories.

In July 2012, the UN Human Rights Council initiated a probe into Jewish settlements. Israel responded by saying it would bar the Council’s experts from accessing the sites.

The vast majority of the international community considers the settlements in the occupied territories to be illegal. The United Nations has repeatedly upheld the view that Israel’s construction of settlements constitutes a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The International Court of Justice also said the settlements were illegal. No foreign government actively supports Israel’s building of settlements.

Israel disputes the position of the international community and the legal arguments deeming the settlements illegal. The country cites its historical and biblical links to the West Bank, saying the status of the settlements should be decided in peace negotiations.




And from South Africa via The Electronic Intifada


Israel “far worse than apartheid South Africa” says ANC chair as Pretoria conference backs boycott

Submitted by Ali Abunimah

People around the world increasingly agree with Palestinians who say they live in an apartheid system.(Mamoun Wazwaz / APA images)

Activists in South Africa have welcomed a decision by the African National Congress(ANC) International Solidarity Conference to support the Palestinian-led campaign ofboycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.

The ANC, South Africa’s ruling party, led the decades-long struggle against apartheid.

The official declaration of the conference, held in Pretoria/Tshwane from 25-28 October, “Reiterated its support for Palestinian aspirations for an independent state including the full membership of the UN; and called on the UN Security Council to show leadership in halting the expansion of Israeli settlements and the harassment of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.”

It also stated that the conference “supports the call of civil society’s BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign.

ANC Chair: Israel “far worse than Apartheid South Africa”

BDS South Africa said in a press release distributed via email:

There was widespread support from international delegates for the adoption and support of the Palestinian BDS call. However, there was one objection from a delegate from Germany who argued that Israel cannot be compared to Apartheid South Africa and thus an all-out boycott of Israel is “ill-informed.” The ANC Chairperson, Baleka Mbete, strongly responded saying that she has been to Palestine herself and that the Israeli regime is not only comparable but “far worse than Apartheid South Africa.” Ms Mbete received a resounding round of applause from delegates for articulating this position.

Mbete, the National Chairperson of the ANC, was Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa from 2008-2009 and is a former Speaker of the National Assembly.

Muhammed Desai of BDS South Africa, who heard Mbete make her statement, told The Electronic Intifada that the adoption of the BDS call was an “absolutely beautiful moment.”

A spokesman for South Africa’s Jewish Board of Deputies, the most outspoken Zionist organization in the country, condemned the conference decision and claimed that “Israel is starting to see the South African government as being as hostile as the Iranian regime,”according to local newspaper The Citizen.

The conference declaration was issued after Adri Nieuwhof presented an appeal, on behalf of over 150 former international anti-Apartheid activists, calling on the ANC to support the BDS movement.

The statement read by Nieuwhof, BDS South Africa noted, “had the support of signatories from more than 19 countries, belonging to over 35 organizations. It also had the backing of long-time South African supporters such as E.S. Reddy, Alice Walker, Victoria Brittain and Prexy Nesbitt.”


And from Israel as well … From the Archives





Boycott From Within
Boycott from Within is a group of Israeli citizens that supports the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). The AIC sat down with Israeli activist Ofer Neiman to discuss the Boycott from Within movement, its goals and what impact he thinks it will have on ending the Israeli occupation.


 Not that Sandy is in any way a laughing matter, but even those that suffered damage might get a chuckle out of this ….. Hopefully this will not offend anyone.
Miss Liberty Monroe


Anyone old enough to remember this?
Hurricane Sandy could help those who might have forgotten the above …. but where is Noah? Has New York’s Mayor Bloomberg assumed the role??
Flooding has already been reported in parts of Manhattan and Mayor Michael Bloomberg called for the evacuation of residents in low-lying Zone A.
According to reports in the Forward, Jewish communities on the East Coast seem to be the hardest hit by the power of the storm. We wait with baited breath for Abe Foxman to label God Himself an anti-Semite..
Here is one of the reports from the Forward expressing concern about the Jewish residents in the storm’s path …. BUT where is the concern about everyone else? Where is the concern about the non-Jewish residents, the elderly or disabled or the homeless. These ‘chosen’ attitudes of the self declared ‘chosen’ makes one wonder if Sandy really is a warning from God for those attitudes to start changing.

Hurricane Sandy Pounds Jewish Communities

Hatzalah and Disaster Experts Warn on Seagate, Five Towns

Worries Mount: As Sandy plowed ashore, disaster management experts are worried about the safety of Jewish residents in oceanfront communities.
Worries Mount: As Sandy plowed ashore, disaster management experts are worried about the safety of Jewish residents in oceanfront communities.



As fierce winds battered New York City and Long Island, emergency experts continued to express concern about conditions in heavily Jewish oceanfront neighborhoods.

Brighton Beach, Coney Island, and Far Rockaway in Brooklyn and Queens have been under mandatory evacuation since last night. In Long Island, parts of the Five Towns have also received evacuation orders.

Severe flooding from the Hurricane Sandy is expected Monday night, with the storm lingering through much of Tuesday. Streets in low-lying areas already flooded with this morning’s high tide.

Some in the threatened areas continue to disregard those warnings.

“The captain doesn’t leave the ship,” said Pinny Dembitzer, a resident of Seagate, a gated community on Coney Island. Dembitzer, president of Seagate’s homeowners association, has decided to stay put, despite repeated warnings from city officials. “It’s very windy outside. The winds are really picking up,” he said.

Dembitzer, a Bobov Hasid, said that about half of the residents of Seagate had already left. Standing in the community’s management office, he said he could see others leaving.

The Five Towns and the Rockaways are in particular danger, according to David Pollock, director of security and emergency planning for the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York.

“In the Far Rockaway section people have relatively little distance to go to reach safe ground, but the road can all be blocked,” Pollock said. “We’ve been telling people move now if you have someplace to move to.”

Mandatory evacuations have been ordered in parts of Lawrence, Woodmere, Long Beach, Valley Stream, and other heavily Jewish Long Island towns.

Nassau County has opened a shelter serving Kosher food in West Hempstead.

Hatzalah, the Jewish ambulance service covering the New York area, is currently receiving fewer calls than on a normal day, according Dovid Cohen, the group’s CEO. “Our guys are ready,” Cohen said.

“We’re very concerned about the possible loss of power for our phones and radio systems,” Cohen said.



OMG! Can you believe that???
That is what I was told the other morning by a neighbour who recently visited a small town near Tel Aviv …
He went further to identify the ‘guy’ as Steve. OMG! C’est Moi!!!
My cover has been blown …. what to do??
It seems that for most of my adult life I have been accused of many things by a wide mixture of both zionists and Islamophobes, but this ‘accusation’ takes the cake. I have always taken pride in the fact that I consider myself a hate free person. The only people I have a problem with are those that hate, so call me an anti hate person. Does that make me an Arab lover? Yes, I have Arab friends and neighbours that I love, but I also have Jewish neighbours and friends that I love. Why then was I not labeled ‘the guy in your neighbourhood that loves Jews’? Perhaps because it is a known fact by all who know me that I am a supporter of Palestinian rights and support the creation of a Palestinian State on the lands that were stolen from them by the zionists. If that makes me an Arab lover, then I guess I am guilty as charged.
But why the accusation in the first place??? Simple explanation …. it’s an accusation based on ignorance. One of my favourite quotes comes from a non person, Yoda of Star Wars fame … Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” I have seen enogh suffering in my lifetime and refuse to be a part of seeing it continue, so I will continue refusing to hate.
Below is an excerp from a post I did a few years ago about life in my neighbourhood….
Clash of the Cultures

You see everything in Jerusalem. It draws tourists from all over the world, every race, every religion, every political persuasion. Our own local population is quite a mixture as well…

We have Muslim women who dress like this woman…

We have Jewish men that dress like these men…

It was once thought that ignorance is bliss… that is certainly not the case today and there is no excuse for much of our ignorance, especially when it pertains to our fellow citizens.

A quote from a beloved Star Wars character, Yoda is…“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
It was expanded by an unknown writer to say…”IGNORANCE leads to FEAR which causes HATE which leads to ANGER, which ends in SUFFERING.”
I prefer the second quote and it is fitting to the following episode I wish to relate here…

There was a woman walking towards the bank in my neighbourhood the other day. She was dressed like the woman in the photo. A man, on his way to the coffee shop passed her, he was dressed like one of the men in the other photo.

She covers her face so it would not be seen by men other than her husband, he, by his garb represents the ultra orthodox section of Judaism, is not supposed to look at other women. But he did, and he panicked. He ran from that woman as if he saw the devil himself. Why, because of ignorance. He had no idea why her face was covered. He was afraid. Most likely his fear will lead to hate and that will lead to suffering.

We cannot continue to live in our little isolated worlds. We have to open our windows and see who else dwells there. That alone will be a start to end this type of behaviour. It might even lead to peace.


The Guardian’s Comment is free ran the following about my neighbourhood a few years ago … after reading it you will understand why I chose this particular area as my home. It will also clue you in to the fact that I am not the only guy in my neighbourhood that ‘loves Arabs’.

Thank God, Thank God Almighty I am not alone!



Could the harmony that has developed from an influx of Arab families in an area of Jerusalem set the tone for the rest of the country?

By Seth Freedman


Many critics of Israel’s security wall assert that its construction has driven another nail into the coffin of possible integration between the local Jews and Arabs. However, thanks to an unexpected phenomenon arising from its erection, certain Jewish parts of Jerusalem are experiencing an influx of Arabs into their areas – and the early indications are that their assimilation is progressing relatively smoothly.

The district of French Hill, which is technically over the Green Line but in reality bears little resemblance to the typical “settlement” stereotype, has seen a steep rise in the number of Arabs seeking to move into its neighbourhood in recent years. Not wanting to be caught on the “wrong” side of the security wall, many Arab families have sought homes on the Israeli side of the barrier, in order to ensure their Israeli IDs aren’t revoked, as well as to avoid hours-long delays at checkpoints as they commute to and from work.

With prices in the Arab villages of East Jerusalem soaring in the wake of a flood of eager buyers, those with fewer funds available have opted to move into Jewish parts of the city, including French Hill and nearby Pisgat Ze’ev. Their arrival hasn’t been to everyone’s liking, with the usual suspects up in arms and demanding that other residents band together to keep the Arabs out and ensure that the neighbourhoods remain strictly Jewish.

One such charming individual was quoted as saying: “As a Jew I am happy to be a racist,” claiming that it was the only way to preserve his children’s future in the face of the Arab invasion. Fortunately, however, his odious attitude is very much a minority one – at least, as far as I could tell from a visit to the area.

On arrival in the town centre, it was plain to see that the more level-headed and sedate residents have no problem with their neighbours and fellow shoppers. Jews and Arabs alike thronged the cafes, jostling for position in the bright sunshine as they downed cappuccinos and mint teas at the outdoor tables. The local bank was doing equally brisk business, and customers in kipot (skullcaps) stood in line behind others in Arabic headscarves with no hint of tension present.

Sitting behind the counter at Cafe Malcha, the Jewish owner spoke proudly of the mixed group of customers who pack his shop every day. “There’s no problem here. Jews and Arabs sit together, everyone’s friendly, and they come from all over, including the centre of Jerusalem and the surrounding [Arab] villages.” He pointed out that it is mainly the secular Jews and Arabs who socialise with one another, “since the religious on both sides are far more cautious.”

Iyal, a 19-year-old Arab who waits tables at the cafe, agreed with his boss that French Hill is largely devoid of any racial tension. “I’ve worked here for years”, he said, “and I never see any racism in the area”. Sitting outside was a group of five Arab workers, chatting loudly to one another in Arabic and clearly at ease in their surroundings – belying the image that some reporters portray of French Hill as being a hotbed of anti-Arab racism.

However, that’s not to say that under the surface there doesn’t linger some degree of antipathy between the area’s ethnic groups. Isawiya’s youth have something of a poor track record when it comes to their treatment of any Jews who enter the village. Many Jews go there to shop, or get their cars repaired, and are often pelted with rocks and stones by the local children, which does nothing to enhance relations between the two sides. At the same time, local Arab residents have made no bones about their desire to keep their neighbourhoods all-Arab, forbidding the sale of homes to Jewish buyers for fear of losing the Arab identity of their districts.

Similarly, one Jewish girl I spoke to had a great deal of venom in her system when it came to the local Arabs. “I can’t trust them enough to live alongside them,” she said flatly, before going on to assert that “they all want to kill us simply because we’re Jews, so why should we let them move into our neighbourhoods and get the chance to?” When pressed, however, she conceded that her work as a local receptionist has brought her into contact with plenty of Arabs, “and the ones I know aren’t like that at all. I suppose I shouldn’t generalise about them, actually.”

Despite it going against her defensive mentality, it is clear that the experience of working alongside Arab colleagues and discovering what they’re like as individuals – rather than collectively tarring them as “the Arabs” – has produced a chink in her armour. While I still wouldn’t want her in charge of the peace process, given her overriding penchant for painting the Arabs as bloodthirsty Jew haters, the fact that she softened her position at all during the course of our conversation indicates that the process of assimilation is bearing positive fruit.

And, in the words of another local I spoke to who said: “I can barely tell who’s Jewish and who’s Arab round here”, the success of French Hill’s multicultural exercise might well set the tone for the rest of the country one day. Of course, things aren’t going to change overnight – Arabs are still treated with a great deal of suspicion by many Israelis, at both street and institutional levels, but that shouldn’t stop the moderates on both sides forging on with their goal of overcoming the prevalent racist attitudes.

There is an aphoristic piece of graffiti sprayed near thecheckpoint between Jerusalem and Bethlehem that reads: “Fear builds walls,” which is as true as it is depressing. However, one unlikely byproduct of the security barrier’s construction could, ultimately, end up eradicating at least some of the fear that exists between the two communities, thanks to the Arab migration into Jewish neighbourhoods that it has created. And that, despite the overarching negativity that surrounds the building of the wall in the first place, is well worth clinging on to for those seeking at least a modicum of hope from a seemingly hopeless situation.


But the Islamophobia industry does not just exist in the fever swamps of the online world. There’s real on the ground work being done. And there are disparate players in this industry. They come, principally, from right-wing Zionism and evangelical Christianity, uniting to form a Judeo-Christian front in their battle against Islam. Their funders, too, come from these worlds–though the right-wing Zionist world has fueled the majority of anti-Muslim activists.

An ‘industry’ built on hate: How the right-wing successfully brought anti-Muslim bigotry into the American mainstream

by Alex Kane

Ahmed Sharif was a 44-year-old Muslim Bangladeshi taxi driver in New York City. It was August 24, 2010, a time that marked the height of vitriolic protests against a planned Islamic center to be located in lower Manhattan, a few blocks away from the site of Ground Zero. Sharif picked up 21-year-old Michael Enright for an early evening ride. Everything was going smoothly until Enright, three blocks away from his stop, yelled at Sharif, “this is a checkpoint, motherfucker, and I have to bring you down.”

Enright, a filmmaker who kept a diary filled with strong anti-Muslim sentiment,pulled out a knife and slashed Sharif across the throat, face and arms. Enright tried to escape, but was arrested by the New York Police Department. Sharif survived, but he packed up and moved to Buffalo, in upstate New York. It was a crime that seemed to fit in with the general climate of hysteria over Muslims that developed that summer.


This is how Nathan Lean begins telling the story of how a small group of bigots seized upon the frustrations and fears of post-9/11 America and exploited those feelings to create a circular industry of hate. Lean’s new book, The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims, is a compact and punchy look at this industry stretching across continents that has sowed hatred of Muslims into the fabric of Western society.

The book, written by the editor-in-chief of Aslan Media, comes at an opportune time. Released in September 2012, the book landed just one month after American Muslims witnessed a stark increase in hate attacks during the holy month of Ramadan. A report by the Council on American Islamic Relationsdocumented that the Ramadan of 2012 “saw one of the worst spikes of anti-Muslim incidents in over a decade.”

From the beginning of 2012 to July 20, which is when Ramadan began, there were 10 incidents in which Muslim places of worship were targeted. During Ramadan–specifically over 13 days in August–“Muslim places of worship were targeted eight times.” These incidents include the destruction of a mosque in Missouri by fire; the leaving of pig legs at a planned mosque site in California; and the firing of air rifles outside a mosque in Illinois.

How, exactly, did we get here? By the time Ramadan of 2012 rolled around, it had been almost 11 years since the September 11, 2001 attacks were carried out by a group of Islamic fundamentalists part of Al Qaeda. You would expect anti-Muslim bigotry to decrease after the wounds of 9/11 healed, after it became clear that the vast majority of American Muslims have no inclination to attack their own country. You would be wrong.

Jumping from the U.S. to Israel to Europe, Lean traces the arc of the Islamophobic sentiment that has exploded in the West. The foreword from scholar on Islam John Esposito lays out the importance of Lean’s work: “It exposes the multi-million dollar cottage industry of fear mongers and the network of funders and organizations that support and perpetuate bigotry, xenophobia, and racism, and produce a climate of fear that sustains a threatening social cancer.”

Lean properly places anti-Muslim bigotry in the context of American hysteria over religions and ideologies that refused to conform to mainstream standards. Before jumping into the contemporary context, he reminds readers that Catholics were once the target of acceptable religious bigotry. The conspiracy theories spun out of thin air about Catholics would ring a familiar bell to those consuming Frank Gaffney’s utterly insane theory that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the U.S. government and is subverting it from within.

But by far the most important contribution Lean makes is his unmasking of the bigots who have infused American politics with virulent anti-Muslim sentiment. Lean zeroes in on a number of high-profile episodes and figures to make his points, from the pro-settler Clarion Fund’s distribution of an anti-Muslim film to the 2010 Values Voter summit to Anders Behring Breivik’s killing spree in Norway. Lean points to an “industry” of hate mongers that have gone to “great lengths to sell its message to the public.” The difference, though, between this industry and others is that “in many cases the very networks that spread their products are themselves participants in the ruse to whip up public fear of Muslims….It is a relationship of mutual benefit, where ideologies and political proclivities converge to advance the same agenda.”

The most important nodes in this industry are the online peddlers of hate. The author particularly focuses on Pamela Geller, the blogger at the front of the network of Islamophobes in the U.S. You can see Geller’s fingerprints in many of the public battles over Islam in this country, most prominently the ginned-up hysteria over the Park 51 Islamic center. Currently, Geller is in the spotlight for a series of anti-Muslim ads she has put up in New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.–with more on the way. She has used her celebrity, boosted by Fox News (a principal player in the Islamophobia industry), to create cross-continental activist networks against Islam. Robert Spencer, Geller’s partner in crime, is also a focus of Lean’s. “People such as Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes, or Martin Kramer, all online Islamophobes, spread each others’ postings and write-ups to their own audience,” writes Lean. “With each new click of the mouse, the story grows.”

But the Islamophobia industry does not just exist in the fever swamps of the online world. There’s real on the ground work being done. And there are disparate players in this industry. They come, principally, from right-wing Zionism and evangelical Christianity, uniting to form a Judeo-Christian front in their battle against Islam. Their funders, too, come from these worlds–though the right-wing Zionist world has fueled the majority of anti-Muslim activists.

Right-wing Christian ideology places Muslims beyond the pale. “The idea that Muslims may also be in possession of God’s revelation and truth, is not only unacceptable, it is an offense so blasphemous that it must be stopped,” Lean notes. Evangelical Christians, as a core part of the Republican base, have actively pushed their ideas about Islam into the mainstream of American politics. They have been aided by figures such as Newt Gingrich, who while reinventing himself as an ardent Christian conservative has also spread panic about Sharia law taking over the United States. Many Christian conservatives are also, of course, Christian Zionists who see Israel as the fulfillment of biblical prophecy that will continue until the Messiah comes down again.

It is this Christian Zionism that closely binds right-wing evangelicals with strong supporters of the Jewish state. The Zionists who spread anti-Muslim bigotry can be placed in three camps, according to Lean: religious (Jewish) Zionism, Christian Zionism and political Zionism. “For Religious Zionists, prophecy is the main driver of their Islamophobic fervor. For them, Palestinians are not just unbidden inhabitants; they are not just Arabs in Jewish lands. They are not just Muslims, even. They are non-Jews–outsiders cut from a different cloth–and God’s commandments regarding them are quite clear,” he writes. And there is the political Zionism that sheds religious language but is still hostile towards Muslims. As Max Blumenthal wrote, these figures, some of whom are neoconservatives, believe that “the Jewish state [is] a Middle Eastern Fort Apache on the front lines of the Global War on Terror.”

Lean’s spot-on analysis about how Zionism is connected to Islamophobia is a refreshing departure from other works and institutions that shy away from examining the connection. The most prominent investigative reporting on Islamophobia and its sources of funding has come from the Obama-linked Center for American Progress (CAP). But the Zionist motivations of many of the funders CAP highlights are not interrogated. You have to turn to this piece by activists Donna Nevel and Elly Bulkin on those connections to get the full picture.

Lean also pinpoints how anti-Muslim bigtory has spread from the Internet world to the very heart of some government policies on terrorism. From the New York Police Department’s surveillance program to Peter King’s hearings on “Muslim radicalization,” anti-Muslim bigotry has become institutionalized in some quarters of government.

But Lean’s discussion of how parts of the U.S. government have become infused with Islamophobia does not tell the full story–and this is the main critique I have of an otherwise excellent book. Lean correctly focuses on how the right has manufactured fear and hatred of Muslims. But it would be wrong to leave out the other side of the equation: how liberals in this country who are part of the Democratic Party have also helped anti-Muslim sentiment to spread.

This is not to say that Democrats spew Islamophobia in their election campaigns. No, the Democratic Party does not go that far. But they are largely silent when ugly anti-Muslim bigotry comes into play, which allows the right to step into the vacuum in a debate over Islam in the U.S. When the Democrats run away from the issue, there is no one left in the mainstream to challenge the right’s Islamophobia.

As Deepa Kumar, author of her own book on Islamophobia, pointed out in The Nation, Islamophobia is a “bipartisan project.” Liberal Islamophobia, Kumar writes, “may be rhetorically gentler but it reserves the right of the US to wage war against ‘Islamic terrorism’ around the world, with no respect for the right of self-determination by people in the countries it targets.” You can see this liberal Islamophobia in action when you look at the fact that “Obama has continued Bush’s policies of torture, extraordinary rendition and pre-emptive prosecution. American Muslims continue to be harassed and persecuted by the state.” And then there was Obama counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan pronouncing that the NYPD’s targeting of Muslim in their surveillance program was legitimate. “My conversations with Commissioner [Ray] Kelly indicate he’s done everything according to the law,” Brennan told reporters.

While the White House walked back his comments, Brennan’s continued presence in the administration tells you all you need to know. Liberal Islamophobia’s march continues ahead–and ignoring how the Obama administration has failed to combat anti-Muslim bigotry is setting people up for failure. The way to combat Islamophobia is through activism and coalition-building, but if you ignore its manifestations no matter where they emanate from, you won’t get very far.

Besides that oversight, though, Lean’s The Islamophobia Industry is a vital contribution to the still-growing body of literature on anti-Muslim sentiment in the U.S. If you want to understand the genesis of the right’s toxic Islamophobia and how it has spread, pick up Lean’s book. You won’t regret it.

Written FOR


 Israeli PM Netanyahu (R) and Israeli FM Lieberman shake hands after they announced that their parties will unite for polls. EPA photo

Israeli PM Netanyahu (R) and Israeli FM Lieberman shake hands after they announced that their parties will unite for polls. EPA photo


In any given election, the voters should be given a choice. In Israel, this is not the case. Political parties and candidates change their appearance and loyalties by habit, not to please the public, but to gain support for themselves and themselves only.
The idea of Netanyahu, probably Israel’s most right wing Prime Minister ever, merging forces with Lieberman is just plain sick. It is merely a tactic to insure that the million or so immigrants from the former Soviet Union vote for the Likud ticket in the next election, and they probably will. Smart move on the part of Netanyahu, but bad move as far as Israel is concerned.
At a crucial time when a Just Peace should be the major issue, war and hatred takes its place. Lieberman’s record speaks for itself. His former involvement as a member of kahana’s outlawed Kach Party speaks volumes. His personal ideology has not changed to this day. More about him can be read HERE.
A short video exposing his extremism can be seen in the following…
Palestinians will suffer even more than Israelis if this new union meets with success. The dream of Palestinian Statehood will not only be placed on the ‘back burner’, it will be delayed indefinitely. War with Iran will surely become a reality as the two champions of evil con their ways through the coridors of AIPAC’s offices, guaranteeing that the new US Administration will support any and all whims of Israel. So, in reality, the entire world will suffer from this merger.
What I said earlier about these moves not being made to please the public but to get support for themselves will become apparent. We will witness the ultra orthodox parties, Shas in particular, kiss the asses of these two secular ‘leaders’ to gain entrance to the newly formed government. Opportunism par excellence on all sides.
Truly, the so called ‘light unto the nations’ grows dimmer with each passing day.
There were some who had doubts about a recent poll in Israel showing that 59% of the Jewish citizens supprt living in an apartheid state. A victory resulting from this political merger will prove them wrong. Let us hope we will not see that become a reality.


The Israeli Philharmonic concert goers were met with a street concert this week in New York…
Photos © by Bud Korotzer


New Obama video, like 2010 pro-Israel ad, uses sleazy sex talk to lure youth support

Submitted by Ali Abunimah 

The Obama campaign has released a sleazy video featuring actress and filmmaker Lena Dunham, likening voting for Obama to having sex for the first time.



Leaning into the camera, using language suggestive of how mass media talk about sex, Dunham says, “Your first time shouldn’t be with just anybody. You wanna do it with a great guy. It should be a guy with a beautiful …. someone who really cares about and understands women.”

By the end of the one minute ad, it’s clear Dunham is appealing to youth to use their first time voting to support Obama.

This ploy reminded me of another attempt to liken a political act to sex. In 2010 a Canadian pro-Israel hasbara campaign called “Size Doesn’t Matter” released a video of a couple in bed.



The man appears to be trying to convince a young woman to engage him in oral sex. “It’s small,” she complains, “I don’t know if I can go there.”

The gag at the end is that he is actually trying to convince her to come with him to Israel.

Another disturbing Israeli hasbara video, “Sex with the Psychologist,” likened criticism of Israel to a sexual assault, while simultaneously presenting the female “victim” in a sexualized manner.

Such ads reduce women from political actors to sexual objects doing men’s bidding, succumbing to the seduction of a powerful politician, supporting an apartheid state. The Obama ad in particular is “creepy,” as @hkubra tweeted, and “demeaning to women by alluding [to] sex as the identifier of transition from ‘girl’ to ‘woman.’”

The “seduction” hides the violence – of Obama’s wars and Israel’s occupation, colonization and apartheid. Women’s bodies are being used to sell us the candidate responsible for killing so many women, men and children – invisible and unheard. Exposing women’s bodies and exploiting sexuality are his desperate last resort to justify voting for him.

Written FOR


The Muslim Festival, Eid Al-Adha will start tonight at sundown. It is a celebration to remember the willingness of ʾIbrāhīm (Abraham) to sacrifice his son Ismā’īl (Ishmael) as an act of obedience to God, before God intervened to provide him with a sheep to sacrifice instead.
If we look at the reality of the Middle East today, we see that it is not a sheep that is being sacrificed, but rather the entire nation of Palestine. It is not Ibrahim that stands at the alter today, but rather it is the zionist entity called Israel that thinks it is fulfilling its obedience to God, in their chosen role of the Chosen People.
It is no longer a three day celebration, but rather an ongoing one for over 60 years. Below are just a few of the latest examples describing the situation in Israel/Palestine today, examples which should shame any supporter of zionism throughout the world. But first, allow me to wish all of my Muslim Brothers and Sisters
Eid Al-Adha Mubarek!
May we very soon see a free Palestine!!

Palestinians beaten, arrested during protest at settlement supermarket

By Mya Guarnieri

Approximately 100 Palestinians and a handful of international activists entered the Rami Levy supermarket in the West Bank settlement of Sha’ar Binyamin Wednesday morning to ‘protest occupation and settler terror’ and to call for the boycott of ‘the occupation and its products.’ Two Palestinians and two internationals were beaten and arrested. 

Activists in Rami Levy supermarket in Shaar Binyamin settlement (photo: flickr/Activestills)

Palestinian and international activists were unarmed. Carrying flags and signs, they entered the supermarket, chanting for freedom. They say that the Israeli police used excessive force to disperse the nonviolent protest.

Activist Abir Kopty, who was at the scene, reported that “as activists exited the building, about forty policemen and soldiers were waiting outside, they attacked physically the demonstrators and fired stun grenades at them, causing several injuries, two of which were taken by ambulance to the hospital.”

Bassem Tamimi, head of Nabi Saleh’s Popular Committee, was among the injured. He reportedly suffered broken ribs as a result of being beaten by Israeli forces as he was arrested.

This protest emphasizes, according to Kopty, that “as long as there is no justice to Palestinians, Israeli and settler daily life can’t continue on as normal.”

Bassem Tamimi being arrested in the Shaar Binyamin settlement today (photo: flickr/Activestills)

Last week also saw a protest that disrupted the flow of Israelis and settlers everyday life when a group of 50 Palestinian activists blocked Route 443 for half an hour. The road is built on occupied Palestinian land and connects settlements, which the international community considers illegal, to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. To an Israeli driver, Route 443 essentially erases the Green Line and gives the impression that the occupied West Bank is part of the country. The action of blocking the road may have reminded the Israelis who use it that the land 443 runs through is, indeed, occupied.





And from Gideon Levy;


Meet the Israelis

One-third of Israelis want to deny Arab citizens the right to vote; about half of Israelis favor a policy of ‘transferring’ Arabs out of the country; and a majority says there is apartheid here. We need to finally give up on the hope that things will get better.

By Gideon Levy 

Nice to make your acquaintance, we’re racist and pro-apartheid. The poll whose results were published in Haaretz on Tuesday, conducted by Dialog and commissioned by the Yisraela Goldblum Fund, proved what we always knew, if not so bluntly. It’s important to recognize the truth that has been thrown in our faces and those of the world (where the survey is making waves ). But it’s even more important to draw the necessary conclusions from it.

Given the current reality, making peace would be an almost anti-democratic act: Most Israelis don’t want it. A just, egalitarian society would also violate the wishes of most Israelis: That, too, is something they don’t want. They’re satisfied with the racism, comfortable with the occupation, pleased with the apartheid; things are very good for them in this country. That’s what they told the pollsters.

Until a courageous leadership arises here, the kind that appears only rarely in history, and tries to change this nationalist, racist mood, there’s no point in hoping for change to come from below. It won’t come; indeed, it can’t come, because it is contrary to the desires of most Israelis. This fact must be recognized.

The world must also recognize this. Those who long to reach an agreement and draw up periodic peace plans must finally recognize that Israelis are plainly telling them, “No thanks, we’re not interested.” The Arab world must similarly recognize that this survey (and others like it ) is Israel’s real Bar-Ilan speech.

It’s hard to blame Israelis. Years of brainwashing; the demonization and dehumanization of Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular; coupled with years of vicious terror, have left their scars. What, for heaven’s sake, do you want from Israelis, who are exposed daily to the media telling them, for instance, that the recent visit to the Gaza Strip by the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, who came to donate hundreds of millions of dollars to build roads, is “Qatar for terror” (as the lead headline in yesterday’s Hebrew edition of Israel Hayom put it )? Why would they want to make peace with those who for decades have been systematically portrayed to them seeking only to annihilate them?

Why would the average Israeli agree to have an Arab student in his child’s class or an Arab family in his apartment building if he has never met an Arab and knows of them only as terrorists, criminals or primitive people – the only images of Arabs to which he has been exposed? Why would he think that discrimination against Arabs by government ministries is a bad thing if the only reality he knows is one where Arabs are sewer workers or street sweepers, and he doesn’t know that Arabs are capable of more than that?

After all, even secular Israelis, who displayed the most tolerant views in the survey, don’t actually know who they’re talking about. When have they ever met an Arab? When have their children met one? And if they have, what kind of Arab have they met besides the delivery boy from the grocery store, the owner of the neighborhood greengrocer, the car-wash employee, Ahmed the plasterer or scaffolding builder? And that’s without even talking about Palestinians: The last time (and also the first ) they met a Palestinian, if ever, was during their army service, through the sight of a rifle, as a suspicious and dangerous object.

Nevertheless, this brainwashing doesn’t absolve Israelis of responsibility. It’s true that the education system, and even more so the media, incite and inflame, sow hatred and fear. But they do so to conform to their audience’s tastes. It’s a depressingly vicious circle, in which it isn’t clear which came first.

After all, if the Israeli media thought their brainwashing was repulsive to its customers they would long since have abandoned it. But it knows its customers’ hearts. The political establishment, too, understands the nature of the beast. That’s why we are now caught in a mad, dizzying race to the right: Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid is vying with Labor Party leader Shelly Yacimovich over who is more right-wing.

Thus the situation can’t be excused on the grounds of incitement: Israelis are always happy to be incited against the Arab from Baka or the Palestinian from the casbah. Ratings-conscious media and politicians facing primary battles are only hitching a ride on them.

One-third of Israelis want to deny Arab citizens the right to vote; about half of Israelis favor a policy of “transferring” Arabs out of the country; and a majority says there is apartheid here. We need to finally give up on the hope that things will get better.


 Meir Kahana would be proud, 22 years after his death his legacy of hatred lives on in the hearts of most Israeli Jews. Needless to say, the rest of us are not proud of this.
Speaking in the streets of Jerusalem
And in Germany a few years earlier

Same tone, same message
The Russians register the highest rate of satisfaction with life in Israel (77 percent ) and the secular Israelis the lowest – only 63 percent. On average, 69 percent of Israelis are satisfied with life in Israel. 
The ultra-Orthodox are also the most anti-Arab group – 70 percent of them support legally barring Israeli Arabs from voting, 82 percent support preferential treatment from the state toward Jews, and 95 percent are in favor of discrimination against Arabs in admission to workplaces
Secular Israelis appear to be the least racist – 68 percent of them would not mind having Arab neighbors in their apartment building, 73 percent would not mind Arab students in their children’s class and 50 percent believe Arabs should not be discriminated against in admission to workplaces. 

checkpoint - Nir Kafri - February 11 2011
Palestinians waiting to cross through the Hawara checkpoint near Nablus. Photo by Nir Kafri

Survey: Most Israeli Jews would support apartheid regime in Israel 

Survey, conducted by Dialog on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, exposes anti-Arab, ultra-nationalist views espoused by a majority of Israeli Jews. 

Gideon Levy 
The survey, conducted by Dialog on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, exposes anti-Arab, ultra-nationalist views espoused by a majority of Israeli Jews. The survey was commissioned by the Yisraela Goldblum Fund and is based on a sample of 503 interviewees.  
The questions were written by a group of academia-based peace and civil rights activists. Dialog is headed by Tel Aviv University Prof. Camil Fuchs. 

The majority of the Jewish public, 59 percent, wants preference for Jews over Arabs in admission to jobs in government ministries. Almost half the Jews, 49 percent, want the state to treat Jewish citizens better than Arab ones; 42 percent don’t want to live in the same building with Arabs and 42 percent don’t want their children in the same class with Arab children. 
A third of the Jewish public wants a law barring Israeli Arabs from voting for the Knesset and a large majority of 69 percent objects to giving 2.5 million Palestinians the right to vote if Israel annexes the West Bank. 
A sweeping 74 percent majority is in favor of separate roads for Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank. A quarter – 24 percent – believe separate roads are “a good situation” and 50 percent believe they are “a necessary situation.” 
Almost half – 47 percent – want part of Israel’s Arab population to be transferred to the Palestinian Authority and 36 percent support transferring some of the Arab towns from Israel to the PA, in exchange for keeping some of the West Bank settlements. 
Although the territories have not been annexed, most of the Jewish public (58 percent ) already believes Israel practices apartheid against Arabs. Only 31 percent think such a system is not in force here. Over a third (38 percent ) of the Jewish public wants Israel to annex the territories with settlements on them, while 48 percent object. 
The survey distinguishes among the various communities in Israeli society – secular, observant, religious, ultra-Orthodox and former Soviet immigrants. The ultra-Orthodox, in contrast to those who described themselves as religious or observant, hold the most extreme positions against the Palestinians. An overwhelming majority (83 percent ) of Haredim are in favor of segregated roads and 71 percent are in favor of transfer. 
The ultra-Orthodox are also the most anti-Arab group – 70 percent of them support legally barring Israeli Arabs from voting, 82 percent support preferential treatment from the state toward Jews, and 95 percent are in favor of discrimination against Arabs in admission to workplaces. 
The group classifying itself as religious is the second most anti-Arab. New immigrants from former Soviet states are closer in their views of the Palestinians to secular Israelis, and are far less radical than the religious and Haredi groups. However, the number of people who answered “don’t know” in the “Russian” community was higher than in any other. 
The Russians register the highest rate of satisfaction with life in Israel (77 percent ) and the secular Israelis the lowest – only 63 percent. On average, 69 percent of Israelis are satisfied with life in Israel. 
Secular Israelis appear to be the least racist – 68 percent of them would not mind having Arab neighbors in their apartment building, 73 percent would not mind Arab students in their children’s class and 50 percent believe Arabs should not be discriminated against in admission to workplaces
The survey indicates that a third to half of Jewish Israelis want to live in a state that practices formal, open discrimination against its Arab citizens. An even larger majority wants to live in an apartheid state if Israel annexes the territories. 
The survey conductors say perhaps the term “apartheid” was not clear enough to some interviewees. However, the interviewees did not object strongly to describing Israel’s character as “apartheid” already today, without annexing the territories. Only 31 percent objected to calling Israel an “apartheid state” and said “there’s no apartheid at all.” 
In contrast, 39 percent believe apartheid is practiced “in a few fields”; 19 percent believe “there’s apartheid in many fields” and 11 percent do not know. 
The “Russians,” as the survey calls them, display the most objection to classifying their new country as an apartheid state. A third of them – 35 percent – believe Israel practices no apartheid at all, compared to 28 percent of the secular and ultra-Orthodox communities, 27 percent of the religious and 30 percent of the observant Jews who hold that view. Altogether, 58 percent of all the groups believe Israel practices apartheid “in a few fields” or “in many fields,” while 11 percent don’t know.


 The following images were sent to me by Michael Rivero to share with my readers…
It makes sense to the likes of these few….
Now look at the following (disturbing) photos to see how zionism is repeating the crimes of history, can you honestly say this makes sense? Yet, these attrocities are supported by the United States government, the European Union and others, even receiving Nobel ‘Peace’ Prizes for that support. Surely this cannot make sense to any rational person.

GERMANY 1940               ISRAEL 2009


“There’s room at the top they’re telling you still
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill
If you want to be like the folks on the hill”

– John Lennon, Working Class Hero

What We Won’t Hear in Boca:
Nine Things to Remember During the Iran Section of the Presidential Debate Tonight

By Nima Shirazi

“How could I possibly explain using the military to destroy the nuclear facilities of a country the intelligence community said had no active nuclear weapons program?”

– George W. Bush, in his 2010 memoir Decision Points
“There’s room at the top they’re telling you still
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill
If you want to be like the folks on the hill”
– John Lennon, Working Class Hero


Yesterday, Politico posted a copy of the predetermined topics of discussion for this evening’s third and final presidential debate in Boca Raton, Florida, the focus of which will be foreign policy.One of the topics is, naturally, “Red Lines – Israel and Iran.”

You’d be forgiven for thinking this might mean that the two candidates will discuss what sort of limitations – identified by non-negotiable trigger points and definable events – the United States would set on Israeli war crimes, colonization, human rights violations and warmongering, but that would just mean you’re a logical, thinking person who doesn’t pay attention to the world in which we actually live.

No, instead, two grown men vying to be the most powerful person on the planet, will trip all over themselves to prostrate themselves at the altar of Israel fear-mongering, gloating about how much Iranians are suffering because of US-imposed sanctions, cyberattacks, sidewalk executions, covert operations, industrial sabotage, economic hardship and hyperinflation and threatening to launch an unprovoked military attack if Iran doesn’t do as its told by the United States.  These actions are intended, we will hear from President Obama, to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon; or, in Romney’s case, to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons capability – that is, the point at which Iran will have the technical, technological and scientific ability to theoretically begin the process of assembling a single atomic bomb, if the leader of the country were to ever make that decision, which at this point everyone agrees he hasn’t done and probably won’t ever do.

We will hear Romney clam that “Iran is now four years closer to a nuclear weapon” and watch Obama insist that “all options are on the table” when it comes to confronting Iran over its national rights.  We’ll hear that Iran’s nuclear program poses a great – if not the greatest – threat to not only Israel and its neighbors in the region, but to Europe, the United States and the entire world.

So, as you’re watching the show tonight, it might be best to keep some things in mind:

1. Iran has no nuclear weapons program.

United States intelligence community and its allies have long assessed that Iran is not and never has been in possession of nuclear weapons, is not building nuclear weapons, and its leadership has not made any decision to build nuclear weapons.  Iranian officials have consistently maintained they will never pursue such weapons on religious, strategic, political, moral and legal grounds.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Brigadier General Martin Dempsey, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Ronald Burgess, President Barack Obama, his National Security Council, and Vice President Joe Biden have all agreed Iran isn’t actively building nuclear weapons.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, and Military Intelligence Director Aviv Kochavi have also said the same thing.

Furthermore, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) continually confirms – that Iran has no active nuclear weapons program and stated it has “no concrete proof that Iran has or has ever had a nuclear weapons program.” (emphasis added)

2. Iran has never violated its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Iran is a signatory, and charter member, to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which affirms (not grants, merely acknowledges) the “inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with articles I and II of this Treaty.”

Under the terms of the treaty, non-nuclear weapons states such as Iran are fully entitled to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes and must have a safeguards agreement in place with the autonomous IAEA, the “exclusive purpose” of which is the “verification of the fulfillment of its obligations assumed under this Treaty with a view to preventing diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.”

Iran has never been found to have breached its NPT obligations as such a violation could only occur if Iran began “to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons.”

With regard to its safeguards agreement with the IAEA, Iran – while in the past had been found in non-compliance for its “failure to report” otherwise totally legal activities due to the deliberate policy of obstructionism of the United States – has never been found to have diverted any nuclear material to weaponization.

“Claims of an imminent Iranian nuclear bomb are without foundation,” IAEA spokesman Georges Delcoigne stated on May 9, 1984.  In 1991, then-IAEA Director-General Hans Blix explained that Iran’s efforts to acquire nuclear technology was “no cause for concern.”

Twelve years later, in November 2003, the IAEA affirmed that “to date, there is no evidence that the previously undeclared nuclear material and activities referred to above were related to a nuclear weapons programme.” And the following year, after extensive inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities were conducted under the auspices of the IAEA’s intrusive Additional Protocol (implemented voluntarily by Iran for two years) the IAEA again concluded that “all the declared nuclear material in Iran has been accounted for, and therefore such material is not diverted to prohibited activities.”

In 2007, then-IAEA Director-General Mohammad ElBaradei confirmed, “I have not received any information that there is a concrete active nuclear weapons program going on right now,” adding, “Have we seen Iran having the nuclear material that can readily be used into a weapon? No. Have we seen an active weapons program? No.”

After agreeing on a “Work Plan” to “clarify the outstanding issues” between Iran and the IAEA, by February 2008, ElBaradei was able to report, “We have managed to clarify all the remaining outstanding issues, including the most important issue, which is the scope and nature of Iran’s enrichment programme” and the IAEA continued “to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran.”

“As long as we are monitoring their facilities, they cannot develop nuclear weapons,” ElBaradei said. “And they still do not have the ingredients to make a bomb overnight.”

In September 2009, ElBaradei told the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists that “the idea that we’ll wake up tomorrow and Iran will have a nuclear weapon is an idea that isn’t supported by the facts as we have seen them so far,” continuing, “Nobody is sitting in Iran today developing nuclear weapons. Tehran doesn’t have an ongoing nuclear weapons program,” adding that “the threat has been hyped.”

The following month, ElBaradei stated:

“The only time we found Iran in breach of its obligations not to use undeclared nuclear material was when they had experimented in 2003 and 2004 at Kalaye. Those were experiments. And I have been making it very clear that with regard to these alleged studies, we have not seen any use of nuclear material, we have not received any information that Iran has manufactured any part of a nuclear weapon or component. That’s why I say, to present the Iran threat as imminent is hype.”

The “alleged studies” ElBaradei referred to are alleged documents supposedly obtained from a mysterious stolen Iranian Laptop of Death, the authenticity of which has long been known to rest somewhere on the spectrum of dubious to fabricated, and which was provided to the IAEA by the United States by way of the MEK by way of the Mossad and has never been made fully available to the IAEA itself, the press, the public or even Iran itself to investigate, authenticate or assess.  In fact, reportedly, the laptop’s “information does not contain any words such as nuclear or nuclear warhead.”

Furthermore, a 2007 report from The Los Angeles Times revealed that, according to IAEA officials, “most U.S. intelligence shared with the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency has proved inaccurate, and none has led to significant discoveries inside Iran” and confirmed that its inspectors “have found no proof that nuclear material has been diverted for use in weapons.” A senior diplomat at the IAEA was quoted as saying, “Since 2002, pretty much all the intelligence that’s come to us has proved to be wrong.”

Despite the appointment of Yukiya Amano, the America’s man in Vienna (and self-declared as “solidly in the U.S. court on every key strategic decision”), as IAEA Director-General, the agency has continued to verify Iran’s safeguard commitments.

3. The IAEA safeguards and inspects all nuclear facilities in Iran.

Iran’s nuclear sites, facilities, and centrifuges are all under 24-hour video surveillance by the IAEA, subject to IAEA monitoring and bimonthly inspections, and material seal application.  Though not required or authorized under Iran’s Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA, since March 2007 the IAEA has conducted dozens of unannounced and snap inspections of Iran’s facilities.

“There is no truth to media reports claiming that the IAEA was not able to get access” to Iran’s nuclear facilities, IAEA spokesman Marc Vidricaire affirmed in 2007. “We have not been denied access at any time.”

The IAEA has consistently confirmed – often four times a year for nearly a decade – that “all the declared nuclear material in Iran has been accounted for, and therefore such material is not diverted to prohibited activities.”

Parchin is not a nuclear facility.  It is a military facility not safeguarded by the IAEA and therefore off-limits legally to its inspectors.  Iran voluntarily allowed two rounds of inspections of Parchin by IAEA personnel in 2005.  No traces of nuclear weapons work were found.

4. Iran, by default, already has “nuclear weapons capability.”

Iran, with its operational enrichment facilities and a functioning power plant, theoretically already has such “capability,” as do at least 140 other countries that “currently have the basic technical capacity to produce nuclear weapons.” Additionally,according to Green Peace, “[o]ver 40 countries have the materials and knowhow to build nuclear weapons quickly, a capacity that is referred to as ‘rapid break-out.'”

Nevertheless, Iran has consistently offered curbing and capping their enrichment program, accepting international cooperation, and have actually taken serious scientific and technological steps to reduce their medium-enriched uranium stockpile, thus decreasing the perceived threat of any nascent Iranian “breakout” capacity.
5. Israel has hundreds of nuclear weapons.  It is not a member of the NPT.
Unlike Iran, which doesn’t have a single nuclear bomb, Israel maintains a massive, undeclared and unmonitored arsenal of hundreds of nuclear weapons. Additionally, Israel has never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and refuses to do so when repeatedly called upon to do so by the international community.  The hypocrisy is staggering.

In May 2010, the 189 member nations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – including Iran – agreed to “the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction.” In response, Israel denounced the accord, describing it as “deeply flawed and hypocritical,” and declared, “As a nonsignatory state of the NPT, Israel is not obligated by the decisions of this Conference, which has no authority over Israel. Given the distorted nature of this resolution, Israel will not be able to take part in its implementation.”

The document called upon Pakistan, India, and Israel (the only three states never to have signed to NPT, each of which has a nuclear arsenal unmonitored by the IAEA) to all sign the treaty and abide by its protocols “without further delay and without any preconditions,” and demanded that North Korea (which withdrew from the NPT in 2003) abandon “all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs.”

Nevertheless, both President Obama and National Security Adviser General James Jones condemned the resolution (which the U.S. signed) as unfairly “singl[ing] out Israel.”  Obama added that the U.S. would “oppose actions that jeopardize Israel’s national security.”  Considering Obama’s alleged determination to address the issue of global nuclear proliferation, this statement and the absence of any high-level U.S. government personnel at the summit speaks volumes.

Early in his presidency, in April 2009, Obama delivered a major speech in Prague about nuclear weapons and proliferation.  In it he declared, “clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons,” shortly thereafter reaffirming that “the United States will take concrete steps toward a world without nuclear weapons.”

While Obama set out parameters to strengthen the NPT, stating his vision that “countries with nuclear weapons will move toward disarmament, countries without nuclear weapons will not acquire them; and all countries can access peaceful nuclear energy,” he name-checked both North Korea and Iran, while never once mentioning Israel’s stockpile of hundreds of deliverable nuclear warheads.

In October of that year, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced that the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize would be “awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” continuing that, “[t]he Committee has attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.”

After Obama convened and presided over a Nuclear Security Summit in April 2010, he gave a press conference in which he noted that “[w]hen the United States improves our own nuclear security and transparency, it encourages others to do the same,” adding, “When the United States fulfills our responsibilities as a nuclear power committed to the NPT, we strengthen our global efforts to ensure that other nations fulfill their responsibilities.”

Scott Wilson of the Washington Post asked Obama whether, in his effort “to bring U.S. policy in line with its treaty obligations internationally” and “eliminate the perception of hypocrisy that some of the world sees toward the United States and its allies,” he would “call on Israel to declare its nuclear program and sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty” and “if not, why wouldn’t other countries see that as an incentive not to sign on to the treaty that you say is important to strengthen?”  Obama replied,

Well, Scott, initially you were talking about U.S. behavior and then suddenly we’re talking about Israel…

And as far as Israel goes, I’m not going to comment on their program.  What I’m going to point to is the fact that consistently we have urged all countries to become members of the NPT.

So there’s no contradiction there.

This non-answer harkens back to the president’s very first White House press conference in February 2009, when veteran correspondent Helen Thomas asked Obama a painfully simple question: “Mr. President, do you know of any country in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons?”

In response, the new commander-in-chief responded, “With respect to nuclear weapons, I don’t want to speculate. What I know is this: that if we see a nuclear arms race in a region as volatile as the Middle East, everyone will be in danger. And one of my goals is to prevent nuclear proliferation generally.”

Clearly, though a world without nuclear weapons may be a goal of Obama, maintaining Israel’s posture of “nuclear ambiguityappears to be a presidential obligation.

Exactly a week before the Nobel Committee announced Obama as its Peace Prize laureate, it was reported on October 2, 2009 by Eli Lake of the Washington Times that, in May of that year, Obama had “reaffirmed a 4-decade-old secret understanding that has allowed Israel to keep a nuclear arsenal without opening it to international inspections.”  Lake explained, “Under the understanding, the U.S. has not pressured Israel to disclose its nuclear weapons or to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which could require Israel to give up its estimated several hundred nuclear bombs.”

A Senate staffer familiar with the secret agreement told Lake:

What this means is that the president gave commitments that politically he had no choice but to give regarding Israel’s nuclear program. However, it calls into question virtually every part of the president’s nonproliferation agenda.  The president gave Israel an NPT treaty get out of jail free card.

6. Sanctions are the West’s other weapon of mass destruction.

Tonight, Obama will praise his policy of collective punishment of a civilian population over a nuclear weapons program even he has admitted doesn’t even exist while Romney will call for even more destructive measures to hurt the Iranian people.  Sanctions target Iran’s citizens with the hope of causing enough suffering to instigate regime change.  That won’t happen.  In the meantime, the Iranian people suffer for a crime their government isn’t even committing.

During the vice presidential debate, Joe Biden boasted, “These are the most crippling sanctions in the history of sanctions, period, period.”

While Mitt Romney will surely scold the president for “not supporting” the so-called Iranian opposition following the election in 2009 (even though no dissident leader or group asked for “help” from the U.S.; quite the contrary), we won’t hear that Iranians across the political spectrum uniformly oppose sanctions and wholly support their country’s indigenous nuclear energy program.

Just today, AFP reports, “Some six million patients in Iran are affected by Western economic sanctions as import of medicine is becoming increasingly difficult” because restrictions on Iran’s banking sector “severely” curtail “the import of drugs and pharmaceutical devices for treatment of complex illnesses.”

As sanctions mount and more are promised, thought should be given to the lethal effects of a decade of similarly draconian measures on Iraq following the Gulf War.

In 1995, The New York Times reported, “As many as 576,000 Iraqi children may have died since the end of the Persian Gulf war because of economic sanctions imposed by the Security Council.”  When, the following year, Leslie Stahl interviewed Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on 60 Minutes about these tragic and genocidal effects of brutal economic U.S. sanctions against Iraq and asked, “We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?” Nonplussed, Albright immediately replied, “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price, we think the price is worth it.”

Despite the uninformed lip-service both candidates pay to caring about the welfare of the Iranian people, there is no doubt both Obama and Romney believe the current sanctions on Iran are also worth it.

“In many ways, the sanctions on the Iraqi people were worse than the war because the economy was taken back decades and the health service deteriorated massively,” Carne Ross, former British Foreign Office diplomat and the UK’s Iraq expert at the United Nations Security Council, has said.

But deliberately causing a humanitarian disaster that destroys the lives of an entire civilian population isn’t an alternative to war.  It is one.

7. Attacking Iran is not only immoral, it is uncontrovertibly illegal.

Any military campaign against Iran would result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iranians.

As journalist Marsha Cohen pointed out earlier this year, a 2009 study produced for theCenter for International and Strategic Studies briefly addressed “the human and environmental human catastrophe that would result just from an attack on the Iranian nuclear power plant in Bushehr,” and determined:

Any strike on the Bushehr Nuclear Reactor will cause the immediate death of thousands of people living in or adjacent to the site, and thousands of subsequent cancer deaths or even up to hundreds of thousands depending on the population density along the contamination plume.

A devastating new analysis on “The Human Cost of Military Strikes Against Iran’s Nuclear Facilities” has determined “it is highly likely that the casualty rate at the physical sites will be close to 100 percent” and continues:

Assuming an average two-shift operation, between 3,500 and 5,500 people would be present at the time of the strikes, most of whom would be killed or injured as a result of the physical and thermal impact of the blasts. If one were to include casualties at other targets, one could extrapolate to other facilities, in which case the total number of people killed and injured could exceed 10,000.

David Isenberg, in a Time article on the report, writes that “attacks at Isfahan and Natanz would release existing stocks of fluorine and fluorine compounds which would turn into hydrofluoric acid — a highly-reactive agent that, when inhaled, would make people ‘drown in their lungs.’ Fluorine gases are more corrosive and toxic than the chlorine gas used in World War I. Once airborne, at lethal concentrations, these toxic plumes could kill virtually all life forms in their path.”

He adds:

Aside from the fluorine, the uranium hexafluoride itself also poses dire consequences. The report estimates that if only 5% of 371 metric tons of uranium hexafluoride produced at the Isfahan facility becomes airborne during or after an attack, the toxic plumes could travel five miles with the Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH) level of 25 milligrams per cubic liter spreading over 13 square miles:

With prevailing wind directions and speeds at 9.4 miles/hour moving towards the city, in about one hour, this plume could expose some of the 240,000 residents in Isfahan municipality’s eastern districts, particularly districts 4 and 6. At a 20% release, the IDLH plume will travel 9 miles covering 41 square miles and could expose some of the 352,000 residents, mainly in districts 13, 4, and 6, as well as residents in the region north of district 4. If we assume a conservative casualty rate of 5 to 20% among these populations, we can expect casualties in the range of 12,000-70,000 people. [emphasis in original]

Not only would such an attack by unconscionable for moral reasons, an assault on Iranian nuclear facilities, military installments and civilian infrastructure would in no be considered legal.

All so-called “preemptive” military attacks are illegal and explicitly forbidden by Chapter I, Article 2.4 of the United Nations Charter. The Charter also makes clear that it recognizes the “inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations,” (Chapter VII, Article 51), which undoubtedly rules out any and all “preemptive,” “precautionary,” “anticipatory self-defense,” or “preventative” military actions of one State against another.

Moreover, following World War II, the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg described the willful initiation of a “war of aggression” as “the supreme international crime,” a defining tenet of current international law.

“Preemptive self-defense is clearly unlawful under international law,” law professor Mary Ellen O’Connell wrote in 2002.  In her extensive analysis, “The Myth of Preemptive Self-Defense,” O’Connell explains, “The right of self-defense is limited to the right to use force to repel an attack in progress, to prevent future enemy attacks following an initial attack, or to reverse the consequences of an enemy attack, such as ending an occupation” and also points out that “the United States as a government has consistently supported the prohibition on such preemptive use of force.”

O’Connell continues, “the reality is that the United States has no right to use force to prevent possible, as distinct from actual, armed attacks. The further reality is that the United States does not advance its security or its moral standing in the world by doing so.” Throughout her paper, O’Connell stresses that all nations are bound by these same rules.

“There is no self-appointed right to attack another state because of fear that the state is making plans or developing weapons usable in a hypothetical campaign,” she states, elaborating that “a state may not take military action against another state when an attack is only a hypothetical possibility, and not yet in progress—even in the case of weapons of mass destruction” since even “possession of such weapons without more does not amount to an armed attack.”

Also, the simple act of attacking any nation’s nuclear facilities is in itself unquestionably illegal.

On September 21, 1990, the IAEA General Conference adopted a resolution during its 332nd plenary meeting which addressed “measures to strengthen international co-operations in matters relating to nuclear safety and radiological protection.”

The resolution specifically and unconditionally called for the “Prohibition of all armed attacks against nuclear installations devoted to peaceful purposes whether under construction or in operation.”

The resolution refers to an earlier IAEA document which maintains that “any armed attack on and threat against nuclear facilities devoted to peaceful purposes constitutes a violation of the principles of the United Nations Charter, international law and the Statute of the Agency” and that warns that “an armed attack on a nuclear installation could result in radioactive releases with grave consequences within and beyond the boundaries of the State which has been attacked.”

Furthermore, the resolution “[r]ecognizes that attacks or threats of attack on nuclear facilities devoted to peaceful purposes could jeopardize the development of nuclear energy; [c]onsiders that the safeguards system of the Agency is a reliable means of verifying the peaceful uses of nuclear energy; [r]ecognizes that an armed attack or a threat of armed attack on a safeguarded nuclear facility, in operation or under construction, would create a situation in which the United Nations Security Council would have to act immediately in accordance with the provisions of the United Nations Charter; [and e]ncourages all Member States to be ready to provide – if requested – immediate peaceful assistance in accordance with international law to any State whose safeguarded nuclear facilities have been subjected to an armed attack.”

It is important to note that while Israel is not a signatory of the NPT, it has however been a member of the IAEA since 1957 and therefore such a resolution is just as binding upon Israel as it is upon all other member states.

The illegality of any Israeli or American attack on Iran is clear.  It would not only be a war crime in the truest sense of the term as articulated by the Nuremberg Tribunal, but it would also constitute a grave crime against humanity due to the inevitable and unavoidable cost of human lives and suffering such an attack would cause.  That both Israel and the United States are naturally aware of such consequences would make any attack all the more despicable and its crimes deliberate.

8. This is really about maintaining unchallenged American and Israeli hegemony in the Middle East.

The scariest thing for proponents of American empire and Israeli impunity is the prospect of the U.S. and Israel not being able to invade, occupy, overthrow bomb, blockade and murder at will.  Glenn Greenwald recently pointed out that the real fear over the Iranian program is that “Iranian nuclear weapons would prevent the US from attacking Iran at will, and that is what is intolerable.”

In his December 2011 call for the United States to soon launch an unprovoked attack on Iran, Matthew Kroenig wrote in Foreign Affairs that a “nuclear-armed Iran would immediately limit U.S. freedom of action in the Middle East. With atomic power behind it, Iran could threaten any U.S. political or military initiative in the Middle East with nuclear war, forcing Washington to think twice before acting in the region.”

The same month, hawkish American Enterprise Institute maven Danielle Pletka admitted, “The biggest problem for the United States is not Iran getting a nuclear weapon and testing it. It’s Iran getting a nuclear weapon and not using it.”

Yet even the mere “breakout capacity” is what worries Israel the most.  Writing in Asia Times this past summer, Richard Javad Heydarian explained that “the Iranian nuclear issue is fundamentally about the balance of power in West Asia. Israel is essentially concerned with the emergence of a ‘virtual’ – possessing a ‘break-out’ capacity to develop a warhead on a short notice – nuclear-armed state in Tehran, eliminate Israel’s regional nuclear monopoly. This would undermine Israel’s four decades of strategic impunity to shape the regional environment to its own liking,” adding, “Thus, it is crucial for Israel to prevent any Iran-West diplomatic compromise, which will give Tehran a free hand to enhance its regional influence and maintain a robust nuclear infrastructure.”

9. What we won’t hear.

The reason we’ll be subjected to a quarter-hour of Obama and Romney talking about our unbreakable, sacrosanct, unique special bond and unflinching commitment to Israel’s security, how the United States will never allow Iran to threaten our “number one ally in the region,” how bumblingbipolar used-car salesman are deployed by an evil regime to assassinate our best friends’ ambassadors and how Iranian leaders threaten Israel with genocidal destruction, is because, that way, we won’t hear the words “Palestinian human rights,” “Israeli war crimes,” “apartheid,” “occupation,” “Gaza,” “colonial settlements,” “African migrants in internment camps,” or “ethnic cleansing.”

Get it?

Mission accomplished.

Written FOR


 Image by Oliphant
After being released by the Israeli kidnappers, Marco Ramazzotti Stockel tells what has happened since yesterday morning, when at 10 am he was abducted from the ship Estelle, attacked by Israeli Navy ships.
He confirms the reasons behind his choice to take part in this peace mission, aimed at breaking the severe blockade of Gaza.
Stockel, is very important for him.. “Write it, please, so they understand I am Jewish and that if I fight against the occupation it is for the Jews themselves, because the occupation harms them and not only the Palestinians” 

Marco Ramazzotti has over 35 years of experience in development aid, as a legal anthropologist and socio-economist, and project manager and NGO representative. He has worked in twenty-six developing countries for Italian and international NGOs, international consulting companies, the EU and several UN agencies (FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP), and Italian Development Cooperation. He has been advisor to an African government and, most recently, has organised and taught in security courses for NGOs, religious missions and companies working abroad. He holds a degree in international law and is a Fellow of Churchill College Cambridge, UK.

He has a political past in the Italian Communist Party and was a member of the major Italian trade-union, CGIL. Since the year 2000, he has been a member of ECO (Ebrei contro l’Ocupazione, Jews against Occupation) and of EJSP, European Jews for a Just Peace. He joined the Freedom Flottilla for Gaza in Athens in 2010, with the French group.



EXCLUSIVE: Photos from the Gaza aid boat intercepted by the IDF

Mouse over photos for description

The following are exclusive photos taken on board the Estelle, as the ship was sailing toward the Gaza Strip in an attempt to break Israel’s siege on the coastal territory. The Israeli navy took over the ship before it reached its destination, and arrested some twenty activists, among them three Israeli citizens.

Huge efforts were made by the IDF Spokesperson’s Office to curtail media coverage of the story. The ship was brought into the Ashdod Port after dark, more than ten hours after the Israeli forces took it over. Later that night, the Israeli citizens under arrest were brought to a police station through a back door, to prevent media from covering their arrival. The IDF spokesman told Israeli media there was no humanitarian aid on the boat, as claimed by activists, but refused to release documentation to support his claims.

The photos below shows the hours before the ship was intercepted, and minutes before the IDF takeover. The activists are seen releasing pigeons towards the Israeli forces. The last photo shows Israeli naval commandos advancing towards the ship, and we can assume that it was not possible to continue shooting afterwards. According to testimonies given by the arrested activists, IDF used taser guns during the takeover. All international activists were transferred to the custody of Israel immigration authorities.

The three Israeli aboard the boat were brought before an Ashkelon court on Sunday. The judge extended their custody until Tuesday, despite them not posing a threat. According to witnesses at the courthouse, the activists were charged with violating a legal order, violating the Disengagement Law, aiding the enemy and  incitement and sedition. After appealing the ruling, the activists will be summoned to a Be’er Sheva court on Monday at 8:30 a.m.

UPDATE: Most charges against the Israeli Estelle passengers have been unofficially dismissed by a Be’er Sheva judge. They were  released earlier today to house arrest until Tuesday, and are barred from approaching the border with Gaza.



“I come from an American situation in which apartheid has been in one shape or another the reality of the country from its beginning up to the 1950s and 1960s, and then a struggle with how to get rid of it. As I have listened to my sisters and brothers here I felt familiarity and identification. I could identify on both levels – it’s important to emphasize I came here as someone deeply in love with specific Jewish people, and deeply concerned by the great tragedy of the Holocaust experience. I came here as someone who experienced and fought against racial segregation and racial domination for half a century or more. So all this was very fresh and painful to me and very recognizable.”

You need to have a dream, veteran U.S. civil rights activist tells Obama after visiting West Bank

Vincent Harding, a friend and associate of Dr. Martin Luther King, says Washington should reexamine its relationship with Israel in light of its ‘official policy toward the indigenous Palestinian populace.’

By Amira Hass

Harding in A-Nabi Saleh.
Harding in A-Nabi Saleh, in the Tamimi home. Photo by Amira Hass

“In one of my letters to my brother and son, Obama, I suggested to him that what he needed was the courage of his mother and the willingness to take chances that she represented in her life.” The writer, Dr. Vincent Harding, is familiar to U.S. President Barack Obama, and we can assume that he also arouses feelings of affection, admiration and gratitude in him.

To Americans his name is immediately connected with Dr. Martin Luther King, because Harding was a close friend and partner of this leader of the struggle for equal rights in the United States, who was assassinated on April 4, 1968. The 80-year-old historian and theologian, a native of Harlem and a believing Christian, wrote (and says ) in polite words that Obama’s problem is that he was not sufficiently daring.

“I quoted somebody [in the letter] who mentioned Franklin D. Roosevelt. One of the ways he developed to serve the nation was that he was willing to go outside the traditional borders in search of advisors. He sought out advisors that nobody ever heard of, because he was willing to go out of the expected respectable ways.

“Obama was not able, was not free maybe to make those kinds of choices. Because, cautious man that he so often is, he probably didn’t want to bring in too visible associates with him, too many people that would simply be counted as African Americans. I think he has continued to suffer from the paucity of creative inventiveness that deviate from the accepted norms.”

Harding does not conceal the warm place in his heart for the black president: He formulated his opinions based on a reading of Obama’s memoirs, which were written before Obama thought of running for the presidency. He saw Obama as a man of “deep integrity, intelligence and deep concern for those who were in trouble in this society and around the world,” and in his opinion “he probably came into the presidency not recognizing all of the mechanism of American presidential power and responsibilities that he should take on and work with. I think he did think he was going to change much and did hope, but didn’t know what a fight it would require.

“He still has a magnificent heart. What is happening to that heart, when he allows himself to be the keeper of the hit list of the CIA drones, is another deep and difficult question that I would not try to go into very much, but I often wonder what is the nature of the conversation that he has when, thank God, he tries as often as he can to sit at the dining room table with his daughters and wife and mother-in-law, because his girls are going to a Quaker school [belonging to a Christian denomination that is committed to social equality and an anti-militaristic approach, which supported King and his friends] and I wonder what kind of questions are coming up about what their father is doing, in the light of what I hope the school is teaching them.”

Those remarks about Obama were given three days ago in the village of Nabi Saleh, in the home of Neriman and Bassem Tamimi, among the leaders of the popular struggle in their village.

Harding is a member of a delegation that is currently visiting the West Bank, composed of American social and political activists including several veterans of the struggle for equal rights in the United States, such as Harding and Dorothy Cotton, an educator and a dedicated activist since the 1950s who worked alongside King. The initiative for the visit came from the eponymous Dorothy Cotton Institute, an education and resource center that trains leaders for a global human rights movement.

Harding wrote King’s speech against continuing the war in Vietnam, which was delivered to a huge audience at a New York church exactly a year before King’s murder. Harding reassures us that King usually wrote his speeches by himself, but “at the time he apparently assumed that college professors had more time than freedom leaders.”

They formulated their views against the war together. Harding and King told the skeptics within the black community that “we have been very glad whenever voices came from outside the U.S., especially from the Third World, to stand in solidarity with us.”

For the same reason it is natural for Harding and his friends to come now and listen to the Palestinians and Israelis who are actively fighting the occupation: In Jerusalem and Bil’in, Ramallah, Hebron, the Deheisheh refugee camp and the village of Walaja. One of the things that he learned immediately in the first two days was “how ignorant I was about what is really happening in this part of the world, how little I know and how little I have thought about how little I know – which is not characteristic of me. I come to this situation not simply as somebody who has been involved with non-violent actions of various kinds over many years, but as someone who for some known and unknown reasons, ever since I was in high school, was deeply concerned about learning about the Holocaust.

“Part of it was inspired by the Jewish teachers that I had in high school, a number of whom loved me deeply and inspired me to take my own possibilities very seriously, and then going on to the City College of New York. When I went there in 1948 it was still about 96 percent Jewish in the student body, I was surrounded by the world of the children of the Holocaust and survivors themselves, and that was all part of my reality.

“I also was closely related to some of the many Jewish people who had come to join us in the freedom movement in the South, and some gave their lives for that. So I came to this situation with all kinds of sensibilities. That’s part of the large space that I have, to be deeply hurt by what I have seen and felt.

“I come from an American situation in which apartheid has been in one shape or another the reality of the country from its beginning up to the 1950s and 1960s, and then a struggle with how to get rid of it. As I have listened to my sisters and brothers here I felt familiarity and identification. I could identify on both levels – it’s important to emphasize I came here as someone deeply in love with specific Jewish people, and deeply concerned by the great tragedy of the Holocaust experience. I came here as someone who experienced and fought against racial segregation and racial domination for half a century or more. So all this was very fresh and painful to me and very recognizable.”

And what will you do now with what you’ve learned?

“I have been gifted with a great network of acquaintances, friends and colleagues, and I see a great responsibility right now to disseminate this knowledge and information in writing and by word. I will meet with lawmakers.”

And with Obama? “If I could I would, if people I know, who have some access [arrange a meeting]. I believe deeply in participatory democracy, so that my focus is not simply on Obama but on the people who must push Obama for a reexamination of what our relationship to Israel is all about, in the light of the official Israeli policy toward its indigenous Palestinian populace.”

But this is American policy no less than it is Israeli policy, which people in America also want.

“People wanted segregation until a major movement against it created a change.” .



 I thought (and hoped) that Noam Chomsky was on a path to redemption when he was one of the sponsors of the Russell Tribunal last month. His current trip to Gaza was also seen as a feather in his cap, but apparently that feather is a bit ruffled as can be seen in an interview he granted to the Electronic Intifada, where he spoke against the Academic Boycott against Israel. As an educator, it would be beneficial for all of us if he would help educate the American public as to the reasons behind the Boycott (as he himself suggests) rather than speak out against it.
Today, if you look at the people’s understandings and beliefs, a call for an academic boycott on Tel Aviv University will strengthen support for Israel and US policy because it’s not understood. There is no point of talking to people in Swahili if they don’t understand what you are saying. There could be circumstances in which a boycott of Tel Aviv would be helpful, but first you have to do the educational and organizational work.

Chomsky in Gaza: academic boycott “will strengthen support for Israel”

Rami Almeghari 

US scholar Noam Chomsky at the Islamic University, Gaza City, 20 October (Majdi Fathi / APA images)

Legendary MIT linguistics professor and political author Noam Chomsky has been visiting the Gaza Strip for a linguistics conference and as a demonstration of political solidarity.

The Electronic Intifada’s Rami Almeghari sat down with Chomsky in Gaza City to talk about his views on the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, the Palestinian Authority’s UN bid, and what a political settlement in Palestine may look like.

Rami Almeghari: Your current visit to the Gaza Strip is said to be within your own attempt to help break the Israeli siege of Gaza. Why has it taken place now?

Noam Chomsky: It has been a matter of arrangements and you know I am here taking part in the linguistic conference for the Islamic University of Gaza and this is a good chance for me to help break the blockade of Gaza .

RA: Do you agree with the international and Palestinian calls to boycott Israel academically and economically?

NC: So, in the case of South Africa, for example, in which I was involved in the boycotts, they were highly selective and they were selected in a way which would lead to help for the victims, not to make us feel good, help for the victims. The same in the case of the Vietnam war, where I was involved, and I was imprisoned many times, I was involved in civil disobedience, organizing resistance and so on.

But we always had to ask ourselves, when we pick a particular tactic, what does it mean for the Vietnamese not what does it mean for us? And sometimes there are things you should do and sometimes there are things you shouldn’t do and in fact they were very helpful in that regard.

And the same is true with boycotts. If you call for an academic boycott of say Tel Aviv University you have to ask yourself, what the consequences are of that call for the Palestinians and there’s an indirect answer. When you carry out an act in the United States, you are trying to reach the American population and you’re trying to bring the American population to be more supportive of Palestinian rights and opposed to Israeli and US policies.

So you therefore ask yourself, will an academic boycott of Tel Aviv University have – you ask yourself what the effect would be on the American audience in the United States that you are trying to reach. Now, that depends on the amount of organization and education that has taken place in the United States.

Today, if you look at the people’s understandings and beliefs, a call for an academic boycott on Tel Aviv University will strengthen support for Israel and US policy because it’s not understood. There is no point of talking to people in Swahili if they don’t understand what you are saying. There could be circumstances in which a boycott of Tel Aviv would be helpful, but first you have to do the educational and organizational work.

Same with South Africa. The equivalent of BDS, the boycott and sanctions programs, they began really around 1980. There were a few before, but mainly around then. That was after twenty years of serious organizing and activism which had led to a situation in which there was almost universal opposition to apartheid. Corporations were pulling out following the Sullivan law, the [US] Congress was passing sanctions and the UN had already declared embargo. We’re nowhere near that in the case of Palestine. We are not even close.

RA: Do you agree or not agree, do you agree partially… ?

NC:You can’t agree or disagree, it’s meaningless. In the case of any tactic, you ask yourself, what are its consequences, ultimately for the victims, and indirectly for the audience you are trying to reach. So you ask, do the people I am trying to reach see this as a step towards undercutting US policy and freeing the Palestinians or do they see this tactic as a reason to strengthen their support for US policy and attacking the Palestinians. That’s the question you ask when you carry out any tactic, whether it is disobedience, breaking bank windows, demonstrations, whatever it is. Those are the questions you ask if you care about the victims, if you don’t care about the victims, you won’t bother with these questions and you just do what makes you feel good.

RA: [Palestinian Authority] President Mahmoud Abbas called on the UN to recognize Palestine as a non-member state of the UN. What do you think about this move amidst Israel’s ongoing unilateral actions on the ground that change facts on the ground?

NC: The question is whether this act will improve the situation of the Palestinians and it is independent of what Israel is doing on the ground, which is a separate issue. Abbas can’t change what Israel is doing on the ground.

He can, or Palestinians can, take steps which will improve their situation in the international arena, so we ask ourselves whether a move towards recognition of Palestine as a non-observer status would be of benefit to the Palestinians or not.

Well, I think it could be of some benefit. For example, there’s a good reason why the United States and Israel are so passionately opposed to it. The reason they are passionately opposed is that it would be of benefit to the Palestinians. For example, it would give them the status in which they might consider bringing criminal charges against Israel to theInternational Criminal Court.

Now that’s almost certainly not going to succeed but it could be an important educational step. And that’s what you think about if you care about the victims. As I said, if you don’t care about the victims you don’t ask these questions.

But if you care about the victims you ask what this action will have to do, how will it affect their fate. How will it affect the people of Gaza and the people of Palestine generally. In this case, I think it can have some mild positive effects. And we should pay attention to the fact that both US and Israel are passionately opposed, and if they are passionately opposed we should ask ourselves why? And they are opposed precisely because it could be of benefit to the Palestinians.

RA: Some call for a two-state solution between Palestine and Israel, while others call for aone democratic state solution. Which is more workable for you?

NC: It is not a choice. I have been in favor of the what’s called a one-state-solution or binational state solution for seventy years and, so ok, I’m in favor of it. I am also in favor of peace in the world and … getting rid of poverty. There’s a lot of things I’m in favor of.

But if you are serious, you say, “how do we get from here to there?” That’s the question. We can all say it’s a wonderful idea. In fact I don’t think one state is a good idea, I think there should be a no-state solution that should erode the imperial borders. There’s no reason to worship French and British decisions on where to draw borders. A no-state solution would be much better, but again we ask, how do we get there?

Over the past seventy years I have been involved, there have been different ways in which you could move to that direction. Circumstances change, so your tactics change and under current circumstances, in fact since 1975, there is only one way that has ever been proposed, and that is in stages, through a two-state solution as the first stage. If there’s another way, nobody’s told us. They can say “I like this outcome,” but they don’t tell us how we get there. Now that’s as interesting as someone [who] says I’d like to have peace in the world.

RA: Thank you very much.

Rami Almeghari is a journalist and university lecturer based in the Gaza Strip.

Written FOR (Click on link to hear transcripts of the interview)


I left the United States in 1967 with no intention of ever returning there. Yet, I have the right to vote in US elections. Does that make any sense to you? It doesn’t to me.
My next country of residence was Canada which I left in 1984, also with no intention of returning. I do not have the right to vote in Canadian elections. That makes sense to me. Canada has a Parliamentary System whose representatives are elected by voters living in a given area. Israel is NOT one of those areas. Is that fair? It is to Canadians.
The talk in the street in Israel these days (among  former American residents) is; Did you vote yet? And who do they vote for? Obviously whichever candidate has a stronger pro Israel position. There is little or no concern about which candidate will make a better President for the American people.
This is what I call the right to vote wrong!
This brings to mind the election practices of the Southern States up till the early 60’s … Afro-American RESIDENTS of those states did not enjoy the benefit of voting in elections. Because of the strength of groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, many of these residents were afraid to even register to vote. Their fear was justified as can be seen in what happened to those that tried to change that situation. Even worse was the participation of the Federal Government, through its local agencies in carrying out the criminal activities.
Yet, in those very days, American citizens (permanently) living abroad had the right to vote. Again, this seems wrong.
American citizens living in the United States should all have the right to vote for the candidate who will represent AMERICAN interests in AMERICA, NOT IN ISRAEL or elsewhere.
Then, it won’t be wrong!
Americans in Israel can learn something from the following piece written by a distinguished educator and two time Vice Presidential candidate, rather than burying their heads to the plight of the Palestinians. To know the history of their own nation could help prevent its evils continuing in other nations.
Ask not what an American President can do for you, but rather ask what you can do for the country you reside in.

Jim Crow and the Palestinians


The controversy generated by Newt Gingrich’s outrageous statement last year that Palestinians are “an invented people” should have led to greater caution in the formulation of politicians’ public statements on Israel and Palestine. However, this seems not to have been the case: Mitt Romney recently offered the judgment that “Palestinians have no interest in peace” as if he were making an uncontested factual observation.

This was the moral equivalent of saying that African Americans were never interested in ending Jim Crow or that black South Africans did not want to see Apartheid dismantled.

It is revealing that Romney proposed this characterization of Palestinians’ political stance in the same speech (at a fund-raiser among the ultra-wealthy in Florida) in which he insisted that 47 percent of the people in this country believe that they are entitled to government assistance and do not want to “take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

The convergence of backward positions regarding governmental guarantees of universal availability of food, health care, housing, and other necessities and retrograde policies on settler colonialism practiced by Israel might be expected. But the Democratic Party scarcely fares better when it comes to Israel and Palestine.

At its recent national convention, the party leadership chose to disregard voting preferences of delegates by passing a two-thirds voice vote — despite the fact that the convention’s oral response clearly indicated otherwise — asserting that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Such flagrantly undemocratic behavior summons up such past moments in convention history as the conduct toward Fannie Lou Hamer and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in 1964.

In my home state of California, elected officials have gone so far as to encourage the violation of First Amendment rights in order to control opposition to Israel. Largely in response to University of California students’ support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel, state legislators recently passed an Assembly Bill (HR 35) that, while unbinding, calls upon campus authorities to restrict student activism that is critical of Israel.

Such desperate measures implicitly proclaim that curbing criticism of Israel is more important than safeguarding constitutional rights. Perhaps those who support these measures fear the increasingly widespread use of the “apartheid” label to describe Israel, employed not only by students but also by such prominent figures as President Jimmy Carter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

If they fear the emergence of a new anti-apartheid movement, this time directed against Israel, they may very well be correct. The BDS movement is rapidly gaining support: this past spring, the Eighth Annual Israeli Apartheid Week was observed on campuses in South Africa and throughout Europe, North America and the Arab World.

Shortly after the passage of California Assembly Bill HR 35, the University of California Student Association passed a strong resolution that not only opposed HR 35 but recognized “the legitimacy of boycotts and divestment as important social movement tools” and encouraged “all institutions of higher learning to cleanse their investment portfolios of unethical investment in companies implicated in or profiting from violations of international human rights law, without making special exemptions for any country.”

We here in the U.S. should be especially conscious of the similarities between historical Jim Crow practices and contemporary regimes of segregation in Occupied Palestine. If we have learned the most important lesson promulgated by Dr. Martin Luther King — that justice is always indivisible — it should be clear that a mass movement in solidarity with Palestinian freedom is long overdue.

*Angela Davis is Distinguished Professor Emerita, University of California Santa Cruz and a member of the jury for the 2012 Russell Tribunal on Palestine. She is author of many books including “The Meaning of Freedom” and New Critical Edition of Frederick Douglass’s  ”Narrative of a Life of a Slave,” both published in the Open Media Series by City Lights Books,

Written FOR


 The nerve of them!
They are under siege, occupied, residents of the largest open air concentration camp in the world …. they should be starving!
Not so according to many Israelis …
Even their drinking water is a hazard to their health…

Of course, there are a lot of Israelis who believe that even the 2,279 daily calories that Israel in its great mercy approved for every Gazan is 2,279 calories too many. If you don’t believe me, just ask them.


For some Israelis, Gazans receive 2,279 calories too many

Who came up with the idea of calculating the caloric intake for 1.5 million people under siege in Gaza?

By Gideon Levy

The closet is about to burst from the number of skeletons stuffed inside it. Occasionally one falls out, threatening to wake up complacent Israelis, until it’s quickly pushed back inside, out of sight. But the skeletons are still there, deep in the closet, and they will continue to haunt Israelis for many years. One skeleton forced its way out last week: The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories was forced to hand over its “Red Lines Report,” of 2008, in which it calculated the minimum number of calories Gaza residents would need so as not to starve. This followed a successful three-and-a-half year legal battle by the Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement association. Amira Hass reported on the document, and Haaretz gave it the proper play as its lead story last Wednesday. Some parts of the document had already appeared in Haaretz in 2009, in a report by Uri Blau and Yotam Feldman.

In neither case, however, did the reports raise a storm. The country has plenty of ways (this newspaper being an exception) of burying skeletons deep in the closet so that Israelis shouldn’t be overly disturbed. But the skeleton sticking out now belongs to a monster. The COGAT office insists that this was an “internal staff document” and a “working paper” that was never implemented. That’s doubtful, but in any case the very fact that work was done and such a working paper was produced is disgusting.

Who came up with the idea of calculating the caloric intake for 1.5 million people under siege? What train of thought even gives Israel the right to enter the mouths and invade the stomachs of the people living under its jackboots? So now it’s not just their bedrooms that are brutally broken into every night; now it’s also their digestive system.

Even after the writing of this document, Israel continued to brazenly claim that the occupation of Gaza had ended. The very fact that such a document was composed, whether it was used or not, points to a satanic way of thinking. But the reason that army didn’t want this document made public had nothing to do with its diabolical content. Nor did it fear a public storm, which it knew wasn’t likely to happen in a country afflicted with blindness. The reason the Israel Defense Forces was reluctant to publicize this document was because it would make Israel look even worse in world opinion than it already does. It’s a matter of image, you know; the goyim shouldn’t find out. It’s not nice for the goyim to know how low Israeli racism could sink. The document details the “model formulated by the Health Ministry – according to average Israeli consumption,” and the IDF plan for the Palestinians, whose figures were “adjusted to culture and experience” in Gaza. The IDF, the new “Israel food association,” knows how to distinguish between what types of foods enlightened types need, and what the savages and natives need. More fruits and vegetables for the enlightened, more sugar and oil for the savages. Since they are so humane, they took into account “‘sampling’ by toddlers under the age of 2,” by adding another 34 tons of food a day as charity that would save them from death. Though the people at the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories made mathematical calculations, from time to time their resolve weakened: At the end of 2008 they approved the entry of shampoo into Gaza, but not conditioner; hummus, but not pine nuts. Imagine that.

Now that the document has been released, it’s time to attach names to it. The government headed by Ehud Olmert was the one that in 2007 decided to restrict the entry of goods into Gaza even further. It tightened its grip in an effort to achieve the release of captured soldier Gilad Shalit and to bring down the Hamas regime, but this collective punishment, which is illegal under international law, achieved nothing. Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna’i, a man of the Labor Party, Atzmaut and the Israel “left,” approved the composition of the document. Maj. Gen. Amos Gilad was the Coordinator of Government Activities who ordered the policy to be translated into tables and statistics. Vilna’i and Gilad still serve in senior positions and enjoy public prestige; Olmert was tried on totally unrelated issues. War criminals? Are you kidding? That’s a term reserved for Serbs and Congolese.

Of course, there are a lot of Israelis who believe that even the 2,279 daily calories that Israel in its great mercy approved for every Gazan is 2,279 calories too many. If you don’t believe me, just ask them.



Read THIS report as well


Israel Navy intercepts pro-Palestinian activist ship off Gaza

No one hurt during boarding of the vessel, which was carrying 30 activists, including 3 Israelis; ship was rerouted by army to Ashdod port.

By Gili Cohen and Reuters
American scholar and activist Noam Chomsky speaks at a protest in a Gaza port

American scholar and activist Noam Chomsky speaks at a protest in a Gaza port on October 20, 2012 in support of the Estelle, a ship intercepted by Israel en route to breach Israel’s naval blockade. Photo by Reuters

The Israeli navy seized an international pro-Palestinian activist ship on the Mediterranean high seas on Saturday to prevent it from breaching Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, a military spokeswoman said.

She said no one was hurt when marines boarded the SV Estelle, a three-mast schooner, and that it was rerouted to the Israeli port of Ashdod after it ignored orders to turn away from the Hamas-governed Palestinian enclave.

The Estelle was carrying 30 activists from Europe, Canada and Israel, humanitarian cargo such as cement and goodwill items such as children’s books, a mission spokesman said on Saturday.

Among the passengers on the Estelle are three Israeli peace activists: Elik Elhanan, Reut Mor, and Yonathan Shapira. They arrived by speedboat off the Greek coast, dodging the local coast guard. They boarded the ship together with five MPs from Sweden, Norway, Spain and Greece.

Shipboard activists could not immediately be reached for comment on the interception, which was carried out in international waters as they were on their final Gaza approach.

Greece, five of whose citizens were among the activists, said in a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry in Athens that all of the Estelle’s passengers were in good health.

Citing a need to stem arms smuggling to Hamas and other Palestinian militants, Israel maintains a tight naval blockade of Gaza. Israel and neighboring Egypt also limit overland traffic to and from the territory.

Palestinians describe the curbs as collective punishment for Gaza’s 1.6 million residents, and their supporters abroad have mounted several attempts to break the blockade by sea. Most were stopped by Israel, and detained foreign activists repatriated.

In a May 2010 interception, Israeli marines killed nine Turkish activists in clashes aboard their Gaza-bound ship.

An inquiry into that incident commissioned by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon found the Gaza blockade legal but faulted the Israeli navy for excessive force.



Ynet report HERE


And a more truthful account HERE



Image by Pete Pasho
Many Zionists constantly claim that anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism, while anti-Semites try to convince us that their hatred of Jews as Jews is actually anti-Zionism. So both Zionists and anti-Semites constantly collude to blur the line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, and between Zionism and Judaism. We should do nothing to help them.

A final word on Greta Berlin and the Free Gaza controversy

Submitted by Ali Abunimah 

On 6 October I published a post casting doubt on Free Gaza movement co-founder Greta Berlin’s explanation of how she came to tweet a link to a video of an anti-Jewish diatribe by notorious anti-Semite and conspiracy theorist Eustace Mullins, from the @freegazaorg Twitter account.

Like others, I had at first accepted Berlin’s explanations that it had all been a mistake, just one single tweet posted in the wrong place, that was supposed to have been part of an anti-racist discussion in a private Facebook group.

But as the versions of the story began to vary, my doubts grew. Once I saw the content of the “Our Land” Facebook group that Berlin administers, I was certain we were dealing with a well-established pattern of exchanging, tolerating and indulging truly racist material that has no connection to Palestine solidarity work.

Today in an article on Mondoweiss, Bekah Wolf has published some of the racist material I saw in that group.

Even though I knew about this material, I did not elaborate on it in my 6 October post. Instead, other than the Mullins video, I restricted my comments to what was not in the group, rather than what was there:

This evening I had an opportunity to spend several hours with full access to a private Facebook group of which Berlin is an administrator, and where the video was first posted by another administrator on 28 September with the comment “This will be a real thought provoker for some.”

When the video was posted on 28 September it was neither preceded nor followed by any interactions that would fit the description that it “was shared with a group of people who were discussing propaganda and racism, and this link was an example of the terrible propaganda that could be spewed on websites.” This context does not exist.

Contrary to various claims I’ve seen, I never labeled Berlin an “anti-Semite.” Yet as Wolfwrites:

Greta is an active administrator of a Facebook group that is full of unabashedly anti-Semitic rhetoric and has been called out before by activists for it but has never done anything to challenge or stop it.

And as Wolf shows, Berlin often went beyond that.

Should I have been more explicit about what I saw? Perhaps, but I had my reasons to take a more restrained approach. I had hoped that by sounding the alarm, and signaling that Berlin’s explanations were not credible, Berlin herself would begin to take the issue seriously, and that the new Free Gaza board would do the same. Sadly that did not happen.

The most dispiriting spectacle over the past two weeks was seeing Berlin disseminating, and a small group of people embellishing, outlandish stories intended to distract and shift the blame on to those who were asking for accountability.

Almost every day, I’ve received emails alleging, among other things, that I am a “Zionist agent,” that I’ve been “conned” by Israel into attacking Berlin so that Israel can steal Gaza’s natural gas, that I am engaged in a “vendetta” because Berlin endorsed a book I didn’t like, and so on. A few of these messages came from people I had previously believed to be reasonable and sensible, which added to the disappointment.

Berlin herself has used Islamophobic epithets against me, accusing me of issuing “fatwas” and mocking me as “Ali Ayatollah.” But for me this is not and has never been about Greta Berlin. I knew that what I saw in the “Our Land” group could not be more damaging and discrediting to the Palestinian rights movement.

I also received tremendous encouragement and affirmation that was far louder. I am thankful to individuals including Élise Hendrick who understood what was at stake from the start, and has helped illuminate some of the disturbing connections that have come out of this.

As someone who is frequently accused by Zionists of being “anti-Semitic,” I do not take these matters lightly. But this episode also helped me gain some clarity about the symbiotic relationship between Zionism and anti-Semitism.

Many Zionists constantly claim that anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism, while anti-Semites try to convince us that their hatred of Jews as Jews is actually anti-Zionism. So both Zionists and anti-Semites constantly collude to blur the line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, and between Zionism and Judaism. We should do nothing to help them.

The movement I am proud to be part of eschews racism and bigotry in all their forms, and doesn’t seek the support of those who trade in them.

Written FOR


 As Latuff views Israel’s point of view …
US Jews cancel talks with Protestants over Israel
Groups announce decision to withdraw from national Christian-Jewish Round table in response to request by mainline Protestant leaders for Congress to re-evaluate US military aid to Jewish state

The above headline is a bit confusing, it should read;

US hateful zionists cancel talks with Protestants over Israel

The ADL DOES NOT speak for Jews, it speaks for hatred and bigotry.


If you are inclined to read the article, it’s HERE.


More can be read HERE.


And here you can see the truth about zionism … See why zionism murdered Rachel Corrie … the true face of zionism … and why REAL Christians cannot support it.


here is the truth behind the middle east conflict.

ask yourself: Why aren’t Americans shown these honest facts on any of the over 1,700 major media outlets?


Rachel Corrie: ‘a true hero’ was killed by the state of Israel, and by its brutal regime that practises not only ‘mass punishment’ but also ‘ethnic cleansing’.

The same regime that has displaced over 4 million Palestinians, and killed many thousands. The same regime that has denied the right to self-determination to the Palestinian people. 

A regime that systematically destroys the lives of innocents every single DAY.


Alex Kane had THIS to add …

Jewish establishment pulls out of interfaith dialogue, threatens Congressional investigation of ‘delegitimizers’ over Christian letter

by Alex Kane
Palestinian Methodist Missionary and Pastor Alex Awad outside the Tampa convention center, where the Methodist divestment vote took place last Spring. (Photo: Anna Baltzer)

Mainstream Jewish establishment groups have upped the ante in a battle with Christian churches that was sparked by a mild letter calling on Congress to investigate whether military aid to Israel violates U.S. law.

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) announced October 17 that their group and six other organizations were pulling out of a planned interfaith dialogue group scheduled for later this month. Instead, the Jewish groups are calling for a “summit” to take place in order to “communicate face-to-face at the highest levels and determine a more positive path forward for our communities.” In other words, the Jewish establishment wants to meet on its own terms, and not discuss the human rights violations of Israel.

“These churches have squandered our trust. They either refuse to pay attention to our plea for a fair appraisal of the situation or they simply do not care,” said JCPA president Steve Gutow, a former official with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

The statement from the JCPA also conflates “anti-Christian, anti-Muslim, and anti-Palestinian activities” with “anti-Zionist activities that have found comfortable homes in [Christian] denominations,” as JCPA official Larry Gold put it.

The interfaith roundtable that was scheduled to meet later this month was created in 2004 after proposals to divest from companies doing business with the Israeli military began to gather strength in Christian denominations.

The letter (pdf here) that sparked the fracas is relatively mild. Signed by 15 leaders of Christian groups, the letter acknowledges that “Israel faces real security threats and that it has both a right and a duty to protect both the state and its citizens.” But the language that sparked the controversy was the call for “an immediate investigation into possible violations by Israel of the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act and the U.S. Arms Export Control Act.”

These laws “respectively prohibit assistance to any country which engages in a consistent pattern of human rights violations and limit the use of U.S. weapons to ‘internal security’ or ‘legitimate self-defense.’…We urge Congress to hold hearings to examine Israel’s compliance, and we request regular reporting on compliance and the withholding of military aid for non-compliance,” the Christian letter reads. Included in the letter are examples of Israeli human rights violations being carried out with U.S. weapons, such as the killing of Palestinian civilians and home demolitions and forced displacement. The letter was sent to every member of Congress.

After the letter was publicized, Jewish establishment groups went ballistic. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was the first group to pull out the interfaith roundtable. “It is outrageous that mere days after the Iranian president repeated his call for Israel’s elimination, these American Protestant leaders would launch a biased attack against the Jewish state by calling on Congress to investigate Israel’s use of foreign aid,” ADL head Abraham Foxman said in a statement.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency adds to the story by reporting on an alarming threat from the JCPA. Ethan Felson, the vice president of the JCPA, told the news agency that “JCPA is considering as a response asking Congress to investigate delegitimizers of Israel and to issue a resolution against their efforts.” Felson also suggested that “American Jewish groups could retaliate by advocating against U.S. aid to the Palestinians.”

Still, Jewish Voice for Peace’s Rabbinical Council has come out in favor of the Christian letter. Other Christian groups that pushed for boycott and divestment at recent church meetings have also come out strongly in favor of the letter.

“Israel’s grave and systematic abuses of Palestinian human rights and violations of international law have been thoroughly documented for many years,” said Rev. Jeff DeYoe, the advocacy chair for the Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church, in a statement. “We’re pleased and encouraged that church leaders from a growing number of denominations are recognizing this and taking a stand in favor of justice and freedom for all the peoples of the Holy Land. We hope members of Congress will do the same.”

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